Maui Receives National Awards for Finances and Budgeting

Amid an economic crunch and a budget shortfall, Maui County is getting recognition for its Financial and Budgeting efforts.

 

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Photo Courtesy: County of Maui. L-R: Budget Director Fred Pablo (standing); Helene Kau, Assistant Budget Director; Mayor Charmaine Tavares; Ty Yoshimi, Accounting System Administrator; Kalbert Young, Finance Director (standing).

The county received two national awards:  A Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, and a Distinguished Budget award for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2009, both from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

 

According to the GFOA, the awards represent the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting, financial reporting and budgeting. The County’s FY 2007-2008 comprehensive annual financial report and FY 2009-2010 annual budget met all mandatory criteria and were rated proficient in all categories.

 

“We are proud of the efforts of County staff to continually improve the quality of our financial reporting and budgeting,” said Mayor Tavares. “I would like to recognize the diligent work of our Finance Department, led by Director Kalbert Young, Deputy Director Agnes Hayashi and Accounting System Administrator Ty Yoshimi. On the Budget side, Budget Director Fred Pablo, Assistant Budget Director Helene Kau and their dedicated team not only assembled a nationally-recognized document, but have already begun taking proactive measures on the next budget cycle by coordinating the series of Budget Community Meetings that we held throughout Maui County. I am proud of our achievements in meeting and exceeding the expectations for effective financial reporting and budgeting.”

 

The County’s annual financial report, which has been honored for 26 consecutive years, was acknowledged for demonstrating a “constructive spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the financial report. The County’s annual budget was judged on how well it serves as a policy document, financial plan, operation guide and communications device.

 

The Government Finance Officers Association is a non-profit professional organization serving over 17,600 government finance professionals throughout the country.  The GFOA established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (CAFR Program) in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.

 

More than 3,500 governments participate in the awards programs each year.

 

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Information provided by the County of Maui)

High Surf on Maui as Weekend Swell Builds

A northwest swell is expected to reach Maui Saturday afternoon bringing advisory level surf.

 

The swell is being generated by a former typhoon that turned into a powerful storm off the Western Aleutian Islands earlier this week.

 

High Surf will first affect Niihau and Kauai on Saturday morning with surf rising to 12 to 15 feet.  Surf on other islands, including Maui will increase to 10 to 15 feet along exposed northwest shores on Saturday afternoon and evening.

 

A High Surf Advisory was issued by the National Weather Service from 6 a.m. Saturday, October 31, 2009 to 6 p.m. Monday, November 2, 2009.

 

A High Surf Advisory means that high surf will affect beaches in the advisory area, producing rip currents and localized beach erosion.

 

(Posted by Wendy Osher)

Hawaiian Civic Clubs Host 50th Annual Convention on Maui

The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs holds its 50th Annual Convention on Maui November 1-8 at the Makena Beach and Golf Resort.  Speakers will address the challenges and opportunities of balancing Hawaii’s economic development and cultural sustainability.  The AHCC is the oldest Hawaiian community based grassroots organization and is dedicated to civic service in the Native Hawaiian community.

 

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Image courtesy: Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs

The theme of this year’s event, Aloha ‘Āina, speaks of the love for the land and respect for ancestors.

 

Among the list of Keynote Speakers are Dr. Noa Emmett Aluli, who will share the work of the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission and the sacrifices made for the survival of the island and the spirit of the Native Hawaiian.  Office of Hawaiian Affairs Administrator Clyde Namuo will update attendees on the critical issues facing the Hawaiian community and OHA initiatives.  And a host of other guest speakers will be on hand for break out sessions throughout the week.

 

Three taro farmers, Jim Cain, Waipio Valley; Jerry Konanui, Kauai; and Ke’eaumoku Kapu, Maui have devoted their lives to the sustainment and cultivation of taro.  They share with us the important work of the Taro Security and Purity Task Force and of its recommendations on Wednesday November 4 from 9-10 a.m. at the Kahili Court.

The topic of contemporary activism comes to light as three leaders in the community discuss the kuleana of Native Hawaiians in fulfilling their obligations as envisioned by the kumulipo in the face of a contemporary society and new methods for generating energy for our island community…two from the perspective of managing large tracts of land by their organization, one from the perspective of the land and its relationship to the health of our people.  The Panel includes: Neil Hannahs, Director of Land Assets Division Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate; Kaulana Park, Chair, Hawaiian Homes Commission, Dept of  Hawaiian Home Lands; and Hardy Spoehr, Executive Director, Papa Ola Lōkahi. The discussion gets underway at 8:10 a.m. at the Plenary on Friday, November 6, 2009.

 

Welcoming remarks will be made by U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, America’s first Senator of Native Hawaiian ancestry.  Additional remarks will also be made by Lt. Governor James “Duke” Aiona, Jr., Representative Mele Carroll and Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares.

 

For a complete list of Convention activities, click on the following link: to the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.

 

(Posted by Wendy Osher)

Crews Work to Repair Broken Waterline on Kaahumanu Ave

Crews are working this morning (Friday, October 30, 2009) to repair a 12” broken water line on Kaahumanu Avenue fronting the Checkers Auto Store in Kahului.

 

The break resulted in the closure of 2 of 3 lanes on Kaahumanu Avenue and affected water service to a portion of the Maui Mall.  Mall officials say part of the mall is on a different waterline and those businesses are not affected.

 

Vehicle traffic through the area is impacted while County crews work to complete repairs.

 

Offices and services located at Kahului Harbor will have low water pressure until repairs are completed.

 

The Department of Water Supply estimates that water service will be restored around noon when repairs are projected to be complete.

 

(Posted by Wendy Osher)

DLNR HOLDS PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED ‘ILIO POINT NATURAL AREA RESERVE

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, November 9, to receive public testimony on a proposed new Natural Area Reserve at ‘Ilio Point on the northwestern tip of Moloka‘i.

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Limestone shelves and cliffs and tidepools at ‘Ilio Point. Photo Courtesy Hawaii DLNR.

The meeting will take place at the Mitchell Pau‘ole Community Center conference room at Aiona St. and Ala Malama Ave., Kaunakakai, HI 96748.

“We welcome the public’s input on this proposal to designate ‘Ilio Point as a natural area reserve. This would recognize the area’s extraordinary natural resources, and focus management on protecting its natural resources, under the oversight of the NARS Commission,’ said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.

The NAR nomination and public hearing notice documents are posted on the bulletin board of the Mitchell Pau‘ole Center on Moloka‘i where the hearing will be held. They are also available online at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw/nars/ilio.doc

The proposed 261-acre reserve is meant to protect and help restore a coastal ecosystem that is part of a larger wilderness area. This type of ecosystem merits conservation and restoration effort because coastal areas have been severely modified by invasive species and human activity and development in Hawaii.

It also contains significant geological features of lithified sand dunes, sea cliffs, and subfossil bird bones and land snails.

The State of Hawai‘i created the Natural Area Reserves System to preserve and protect representative samples of Hawaiian biological ecosystems and geological formations.

‘Ilio Point has long been known for its significant biological and geological features. The coastal vegetation is particularly rich, with 23 native plant species. Some of these plant species are extremely rare and only found in Moloka‘i.

The sand dunes and cliffs are predicted to be able to support abundant seabird populations if threats are controlled. The endangered Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) also has been seen resting at ‘Ilio Point.

(Posted by Wendy Osher:  Information courtesy the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources)

State Moves Closer in its Plan to Ship Wind Energy From Maui to Oahu

The state is seeking bids from companies interested in linking Maui County to Oahu using a system of undersea cables.

 

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File Photo by Wendy Osher. Governor Linda Lingle (L) touring the Kaheawa Wind Power facility in Maalaea in February of 2008.

The proposed project was unveiled a year ago when the state entered into an agreement with Hawaiian Electric companies to connect the islands into one electrical grid, allowing renewable wind power generated in Maui County to be transmitted to Oahu for consumption.

 

Those opposed to the project rejected the concept of valuable resources begin shipped off island; and argued that resources should benefit the respective islands first.

 

Governor Linda Lingle voiced her support for the project saying, “The interisland cable project is an important piece of infrastructure needed to achieve the goal of the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative of 70 percent clean energy by 2030.”  “We are committed to making sure all environmental, economic, cultural and community issues are fully addressed,” she said.

“As the most oil-dependent state in the nation, a clean energy future is no longer simply a desire, it is an absolute necessity.  The State-Hawaiian Electric energy agreement represents a bold step towards achieving energy security, and the progress made over the past year demonstrates that Hawai‘i can serve as a clean energy role model for the rest of the nation,” said Lingle.

Hawaiian Electric Executive Vice President Robbie Alm said, “This achievement – and achievements yet to come – depend on an unprecedented unity of purpose and willingness to cooperate among individuals, businesses, institutions and government in Hawaii.  Whether oil prices go up or down, we must stay focused on making the long-term investments to get to a clean energy future.”

In September, the PUC issued its decision and order on the feed-in tariff principles, which provides a price guarantee for electricity produced by sun, wind and hydroelectric sources that Hawaiian Electric companies will pay for renewable energy fed into the electricity grid.  The set rate under the feed-in tariff provides an incentive for renewable energy developers to invest in Hawai‘i by creating certainty and transparency.

In addition, Clean Energy Scenario Planning and Advanced Meter Infrastructure or “Smart-Grid” (planning ahead to enable more distribution of renewable energy on the grid) are among the other PUC proceedings underway.

Maui already has a 30 megawatt wind farm located in the hills above Ukumehame.  First Wind’s Kaheawa facility became the first operating wind farm in the United States to have a habitat conservation plan.

The EIS for the Undersea cable project will consider the impacts from the installation, operation, maintenance, possible repair, and potential long term development envisioned for the interisland power cable, mitigation strategies, and alternatives.  A contract award is expected by the end of this calendar year.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Supporting information provided by the Office of the Governor, State of Hawaii)

Honouliuli Internment Camp Study Among Items in Proposed Bill

The U.S. House passed an Interior Appropriations bill that helps to secure $12.3 million for six Hawaii projects.  Congresswoman Mazie Hirono lobbied for the inclusion of the projects that at aimed at enhancing wildlife habitat, combating invasive species, protection island waters, and preserving historical sites.

 

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Surviving structure at the Honouliuli Internment Camp. August 28, 2009. Photo courtesy: Office of U.S. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono.

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Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono is briefed by Brian Niiya of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii at the Honouliuli Internment Camp site on Oahu. August 28, 2009. Courtesy Photo.

Another highlight of the bill was the inclusion by Senator Inouye of an authorization for a special resource study of the site of the former World War II era Honouliuli Internment Camp. This will accomplish the goals of Senator Inouye’s Honouliuli Internment Camp Special Resources Study Act of 2009 (S. 871); Congresswoman Hirono introduced the House companion to that bill (H.R. 2079). The study will determine the historical significance of the Honouliuli site related to the forcible internment of Japanese Americans, European Americans, and other individuals.

 

“I consider every one of these projects essential in preserving our island environment, natural resources, and historic locations,” said Congresswoman Hirono. “I recently visited the site of the Honouliuli Internment Camp where some of the camp structures still stand. While the confining of Japanese-Americans during World War II is seen as a dark chapter in Hawaii’s history, and the history of our country, preserving such locations is important to ensure that type of injustice never happens again.”

 

Specific projects included in the bill are:

 

$7,400,000 for James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge

This funding will be used to finalize the acquisition of remaining land (to a total of approximately 1,100 acres) on Oahu’s north shore in order to complete the establish of the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge as a natural coastal dune and wetland ecosystem. Established in 1976, James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge is considered one of the premier endangered Hawaiian waterbird recovery areas in the state.

 

$1,460,000 for Construction of a Research and Education Center at the Hawaii Experimental Tropical Forest

These funds are an addition to the U.S. Forest Service’s budget designated to establish and build a Research and Education center necessary to achieve the potential of the recently established Hawaii Experimental Tropical Forest on the island of Hawaii.  The new facility will serve as a center for long-term research as well as a focal point for developing and transferring knowledge and expertise for the management of tropical landscapes.

 

$1,000,000 for Invasive Species Management

This represents additional funding to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife budget to continue its ongoing efforts to address invasive species issues in the State of Hawaii. These funds are needed to reduce the impact of invasive species already present and the potential of future introductions on Hawaii’s endangered species, insular ecosystems, and human health, as well as the viability of its tourism and agriculture-based economy.

$1,000,000 for Kilauea Point Lighthouse Restoration

This funding will go toward the cost of restoring Kilauea Point Lighthouse, which is part of the Kilauea Point Light Station National Historic Site on this island of Kauai. The lighthouse, which was built in 1931 has national significance as a historical landmark based on its associations with the evolution of trans-oceanic commerce, architectural merit, special role in the history of the Army’s Air Corps, and contribution to the island’s visitor industry.

 

$1,000,000 for Waimea Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion

These funds will assist the County of Kauai in meeting design and construction costs for expansion of the Waimea Wastewater Treatment Plant on the island of Kauai. The total project cost is $12,000,000. The Waimea Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) was originally constructed in the 1970s and has a capacity of 300,000 gallons per day (gpd), an average daily flow. Currently, the plant is operating at approximately 90 percent capacity, and the County is restricting new sewer service connections due to the lack of available WWTP capacity. Funds are needed to expand the capacity of the WWTP by approximately 700,000 gpd.

 

$500,000 for Native Hawaiian Arts and Culture Program

This funding will help fuel the Native Hawaiian Culture and Arts Program in order to foster a greater sense of cultural awareness and ethnic pride among Native Hawaiians. NHCAP’s efforts are focused on assisting Hawaiians to be practitioners of the culture in a rapidly changing multicultural world. The program also aims to share knowledge of and celebrate Hawaiian art and culture, which include educational programs, exhibits, publications, and increased access to Bishop’s Museum’s vast cultural collections (artifacts, documents, and images).

 

The legislation passed out the House by a vote of 247 yeas to 178 nays.

 

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Information provided by the office of U.S. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono)