Hawaii’s Little Fire Ants – hosted by Rep.Beth Fukumoto Chang

August 13, 2014

Representative Beth Fukumoto Chang discusses Hawaii’s Little Fire Ants with Rob Curtiss, Acting Plant Pest Control Branch Manager, Hawaii Department of Agriculture and Dr. Cas Vanderwoude, Hawaii ant Lab , UH Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit.

Rep Fukumoto Rob curtiss Dr Vanderwoude

Contact: http://www.bethfukumotochang.com Telephone 808-586-9460

Hawaii Ant Lab website:  http://www.littlefireants.com


August 12, 2014

Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) plans to introduce legislation that will make it legal for a terminally ill patient to access investigational drugs. The bill, modeled after a Colorado law that allows terminally ill patients to use experimental drugs without getting federal approval, addresses issues that may arise when terminally ill patients seek to use a medication whose safety and effectiveness is still being tested in clinical trials. Such “right to try” laws have also been passed in Louisiana and Missouri, and will be put to Arizona voters this November as a ballot proposition.

“The bottom line is that, whether it be through speeding up valuable research, or by encouraging the FDA to support expanded access to experimental treatments, this bill is all about saving lives,” Ward said.

According to the Goldwater Institute, fewer than three percent of the sickest patients are able to access investigational drugs through clinical trials, and more than one million Americans die from a terminal illness each year.

This legislation does not require manufacturers to make investigational products available to terminally ill patients, but gives them the “Right to Try” to access potentially life-saving investigational drugs. “The terminally ill patient must assume ultimate responsibility for any consequences resulting from taking the investigational medicine, good or bad, but people should have that choice, and giving them that option is the hallmark of a compassionate society,” Ward said.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFor further information contact:

 Rep. Gene Ward, Minority Leader Emeritus

808-781-9931; repward@capitol.hawaii.gov

A Word with Ward Aerial Advertisements

August 1, 2014

Representative Gene Ward speaks with Alexandra Avery
President of The Outdoor Circle and Representative Tom Brower Chair, House Committee on Tourism, on Aerial Advertisements.

Representative Tom Brower (Waikiki, Ala Moana) announced plans to introduce legislation banning aerial advertisement in the state of Hawaii. The proposed legislation will seek to clarify the ambiguities and jurisdiction of aerial advertising written in federal, state, and city law. The measure will specifically make it illegal for a pilot to fly a plane out of a state airport for the purpose of towing a banner for advertisement.

“I have had discussions with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and state officials to identify what we can do. Due to the ambiguities of city, state and federal law, there is a need for legislation to add more clarity. Right now, we have federal and state laws that need further explanation,” said Brower. “Our skies are under federal and local jurisdiction, but state airport officials issue contracts and agreements with pilots and businesses. While the FAA has indicated that plane operators need to abide by state law and county ordinance, the contract signed by the particular pilot in question did not specifically allow or deny the operation of a tow banner business.” Friday, July 11th, 2014 | Posted by Hawaii Reporter

Reps Brower Ward and Alexandra AveryContact:  repbrower@capitol.hawaii.gov or repward@capitol.hawaii.gov

Inmates, Lions Pitch In At North Road Cleanup

July 7, 2014

midweekMcDermott’s Message…Rep. Bob McDermott July 3rd 2014


As we continue the work of beautifying the Ewa area, I was asked by several community members to clean up some roadside growth. Litter and vegetation had overgrown a portion of North Road, and many folks expressed concern over its unsightly appearance. The area in need was about 800 yards in length, but both sides of the road needed attention, so that meant the job entailed 1,600 linear yards. A big job — too big for a weekend community cleanup lasting two hours. Generally speaking, this is not something the municipal agencies engage in because of funding restrictions.

Prisoner clean up July 2014

State Rep. Bob McDermott on site during the recent North Road cleanup project

What to do? How can we tackle this large job with little or no funding? I pondered this problem and then contacted the state Department of Corrections to inquire if inmates could perform this task. I specified I wanted low-risk offenders, people close to their release date who have exhibited exemplary behavior. Safety of everyone in the community was my top concern. The department responded with precisely what I asked for and in spades. It gave me even more comfort, since the road in question is somewhat remote. The inmates were polite, respectful, hard-working and eager for a second chance. They went to work with vigor and enthusiasm, cutting the vegetation, raking the green waste and picking up trash with gusto. Supervised by several public safety officers, these men worked very hard. Each day one of the Iroquois Point residents, such as Lt. Col. David Staggs (Ret.), would ensure that the men were fed and had an ample supply of water. Kurt Fevella and Mitchell Tynanes of Ewa Beach Lions Club helped out by collecting the trash bags and taking the rubbish to the dump. With all of us pitching in and thinking creatively, we have made a significant change to the appearance of the area. Thank you to all those people who had a role in making this happen — there are too many of you to name individually. Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott represents District 40 (Ewa, Ewa Beach and Iroquois Point).He can be reached at 586-9730 or by email to repmcdermott@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Read Midweek Article:


The Navy and private companies collaborate to turn wave energy into electricity

July 2, 2014

Hawaii Business

July 2014 – By Beverly Creamer
The Navy and private companies collaborate on tests that could eventually turn wave energy into a commercial power source

headshot dec 2011Devices to measure wave energy and convert it into electricity will be deployed in Kaneohe Bay near Marine Corps Base Hawaii starting this year, say the Navy, state Rep. Cynthia Thielen and a private company. The eventual goal is to develop a full-scale source of electricity that can be added to Oahu’s grid.

wave1.jpegThe wave-energy conversion device, called Azura, was developed by Northwest Energy Innovations, a company based in Portland. The 50-foot-high device will bob on the surface while anchored to the bottom in 100 feet of water, about three-fifths of a mile offshore.

The plan is to run tests for up to a year, with the hope of eventually going into commercial operation, Thielen says. Such devices could plug into Oahu’s grid, but also serve as prototypes to supply energy to areas throughout the Pacific, according to the Oregon company.

Two more devices called Wave Energy Technology-New Zealand or WET-NZ – each more advanced than the first test device – will be deployed later, sometime after 2015, in deeper parts of Kaneohe Bay. These types of energy converters, first developed in New Zealand, maximize the amount of energy captured because they use all of a wave’s motions: heave, surge and pitch. Heave is the up-and-down motion of waves, surge is front-and-back motion, and pitch or sway is side-to-side motion.

“The wave energy test site (WETS) is a Navy-funded project that supports the research and development of renewable energy sources by providing a location off Marine Corps Base Hawaii to test wave energy conversion devices,” explains Alexandra DeVisser, WETS project manager for the U.S. Navy, in an email.

“In addition to the 30-meter test berth, WETS infrastructure will include two new, deep-water berths to be installed in the fall,” says DeVisser. “The two new test berths will each contain three mooring legs into which each wave-energy conversion (WEC) device will attach, undersea power and data communications to shore, and connections to on-shore electrical equipment.”

Thielen says the deeper berths will be in water that is about 200 feet and 300 feet deep, off MCBH. DeVisser says they will be a little more than a mile offshore.

The diagram shows how a wave energy conversion device that floats partly on the surface is anchored to the ocean floor, and held in position with buoys. A cable carries generated electricity to shore.

DeVisser says developing a wave-energy industry will take time. “Wave-energy conversion technology is in the early stages of development, so it will be a few years before these types of devices are designed and built specifically for full-commercial scale operations,” she says.

However, she adds, “It is the goal of all ocean-wave energy developers to convert ocean-wave energy into useable electric power for utility or grid-scale applications. Wherever isolated grids, remote locations, high costs of energy, and energy security are of importance, wave-energy conversion may become another distributed generation option for diversifying the energy system.”

Steven Kopf, founder and CEO of Northwest Energy Innovations, points out in an email that the goal of the test device in Kaneohe Bay is “to validate our computer simulations.”

“The test data that will be obtained from this test,” Kopf adds, “is a critical step in developing a full-scale commercial machine.”

DeVisser says all project-related buoys and devices will be equipped with U.S. Coast Guard-approved warning lights and signage. The public will be prohibited from tying up to or boarding any of the devices or buoys.

The U.S. Department of Energy is also playing a role in testing wave-energy devices in Hawaii and during the next two years will provide $10 million in grant funding. The Department of Energy website notes that the grant will help “test prototypes designed to generate clean, renewable electricity from ocean waves and help diversify America’s energy portfolio.”

“This is extremely exciting,” says Thielen, a longtime advocate of wave energy. “Hawaii, on average, has the highest recorded wave power in the world. Wave power is different from surfer waves, totally different. It’s the surge, the movement of the ocean. It can take place up to a mile or more offshore.

“Because we have forecasts from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) 24 to 48 hours in advance,” Thielen says, “we can forecast what the wave-energy climate could be. Maybe 8 percent of the time, when the wave climate is not as powerful, HECO would have that data and be able to make an adjustment.”

That means wave energy is a form of reliable or firm power – like burning oil – and not a variable energy source, such as solar or wind power.

Countries as varied as Australia, Ireland, Britain, Portugal and Spain are already using wave energy in some form, Thielen says, and their use and experiments have helped move the technology forward.

Thielen believes the testing in Kaneohe Bay provides the opportunity to move wave energy in Hawaii from testing to commercial use.
“This is better than fossil fuel,” Thielen says. In some areas of the world, she says, the cost in cents per kilowatt hour of wave energy is “single digits.” Compare that to the cost of electricity in Hawaii, where “we pay over 30 cents per kilowatt hour,” she says.

The military has supported wave-energy tests in Hawaii before. In 2010, a power-generating buoy developed by Ocean Power Technologies was installed off the Marine base. Under optimal conditions, the yellow bobbing buoy – a small generator – created enough electricity to power 20 to 25 homes.

At that time, Brian Cable, a mechanical engineer and project manager for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command’s Wave Energy Technology project, said in a statement quoted on the Department of Energy website: “We’re really trying to help the Navy meet its energy goals, which are to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The Navy’s goal is to utilize half of our total energy consumption, ashore and afloat, from alternate energy sources by 2020.”

Cable also noted: “The main goal is to power onshore military installations like MCBH, and the larger onshore power grid. The other potential application would be to power autonomous systems with smaller power needs, such as scientific data collection points in the middle of the ocean.”



June 24, 2014

Hawaii Reporter June 24, 2014


 KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERARepresentative Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) has sent a letter to the Department of Transportation questioning the repaving plan slated to begin on Monday, June 23.

Ward questioned the lane closures plan as well as the length of the project. “It took 4 years to add 2 lanes to the old 4-lane Kalanianaole Highway while at the same time paving 6 lanes, acquiring land, moving and relocating underground utilities, and other related electrical, telephone, and sewer problems. This same 5-mile stretch of road is now said to take almost 2 years (20 months) to just resurface. Is this an accurate calculation,” Ward questioned.

Ward also noted that the outrage among his constituents during the Kalanianaole Highway Widening Project of the early 1990’s was resolved by the formation of a Kalanianaole Highway Task Force. The task force was comprised of East Oahu elected officials, the DOT, and paving contractors and resolved such issues as implementing a hotline, the first-ever contraflow in East Honolulu, and placement of irrigated trees in the middle of the medial strip rather than rocks and cement proposed by the DOT.

“If we’ve learned anything from what my community went through in the last paving project, it’s for the DOT to be receptive and not defensive, and just listen to the community and history will never be repeated.” Ward concluded by proposing the reactivation of such a task force.

Concerns from the letter:

  • LANE CLOSURES: According to your department’s plans, two lanes will be closed from 9 am to 3 pm for the purpose of accommodating rush hour traffic. Are the two closed lanes in the same or opposite directions? If in the same direction, I am concerned that the closing 2 of 3 lanes going or coming in the same direction could be traumatic for our residents in East Honolulu. While these closures appear to be the biggest hardship for our seniors with medical appointments during the daytime, I am concerned that the lane closures are subject to change without public input. On your Department of Transportation’s website for example, it notes upfront in its Lane Closures section it warns: Lane closure schedules may change at any time without further notice. That is a bit scary given what our community went through with highway improvements over the past 20 years.
  • LENGTH OF PROJECT: It took 4 years to add 2 lanes to the old 4-lane Kalanianaole Highway while at the same time paving 6 lanes, acquiring land, moving and relocating underground utilities, rebuilding sidewalks and bike lanes and host of other related electrical, telephone, and sewer arrangements. This same 5-mile stretch of road is now said to take almost 2 years (20 months) to just resurface. Is this an accurate calculation? Does this number include anticipated delays, or is this the actual build time to be used by the contractor?   While we were warned about these lane closures ahead of time, there had been no previous timeline announcements that this repaving project will take this long to complete. Again, this is reminiscent of the Kalanianaole Highway Widening project of the 1990’s that took over 4 years to complete, and was cruel and unusual punishment for our community, and this one appears to be too long of a project for just repaving. Please explain.
  • COMMUNITY MONITORING OF PROJECT: Lastly I am concerned that history is going to repeat itself between the DOT and the Hawaii Kai community and communications are going to break down in the midst of a barrage of complaints. The solution to this problem would be to do what we did under DOT Director, Rex Johnson, and formed the Kalanianaole Highway Task Force comprised of elected officials from East Honolulu, the DOT and its contractors.

 Some of the good things that came out of the Task Force’s monthly meetings included:

  1. An informed public who had a hotline to voice their suggestions and complaints;
  2. An informed elected and DOT leadership that kept the be no trees planted and watered on the medial strip between Aina Haina and Hawaii Kai on Kalanianaole Highway as they are now.
  3. It created a contra flow near the end of the project that appeared to be impossible at the beginning of the project.
  4. Lastly, the Task Force can be attributed to have improved the quality of the highway paving by its complaints about the rough and undulating Dillingham paving by between Aina Haina and Niu Valley and the smoother later phase completed by Kiewit between Niu Valley and Hawaii Kai.

Do you concur we establish another task force? Thank you for your attention to these concerns.

Read the Article in the Hawaii Reporter

A Word With Ward and Alfred Castle

June 19, 2014

Representatives Gene Ward talks with Alfred Castle. Mr. Castle is Executive Director of one of America’s oldest charitable foundations, the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation. He also serves as Hawaii Manager of the St Louis, Missouri-based Pettus Foundation and as a trustee of the Martha S. Trimble Charitable Trust in Colorado. As a director of the Federal Philanthropy Fund and the Early Educational Funders Collaborative in Washington, DC, , he is active with national foundations in supporting greater public and private investments in pre-school education.

Alfred Castle has authored 3 books and some 60 professional journal articles, book reviews and encyclopedia essays in the fields of philosophy, history and the management of non-profits.

Alfred Castle and WardContact: repward@capitol.hawaii.gov

Campbell JROTC Cadets Are Learning How To Lead

June 10, 2014

midweekMcDermott’s Message … by Rep. Bob McDermott   June 04 2014

Campbell High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) teaches values of citizenship, service to the country, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment.

The NJROTC program was established by public law in 1964. The program is conducted at accredited secondary schools throughout the nation, including Campbell High, and is led by instructors who are retired Coast Guard officers, Marine Corps, Navy and enlisted personnel.

The curriculum emphasizes citizenship and leadership development, as well as our maritime heritage.

Topics include the fundamentals of naval operations, seamanship, significance of sea power, navigation and meteorology.

JROTC Cadet Aryha Silvas

State Rep. Bob McDermott with Campbell High School cadet Aryha Silvas. Photo from Rep. McDermott’s office.

Classroom instruction is augmented throughout the year by community service activities, drill competition, field meets, flights, naval activities visits, marksmanship training and other military training. Uniforms, textbooks, training aides, travel allowance and a substantial portion of instructors’ salaries are provided by the U.S. Navy.

As a former U.S. Marine officer, I appreciate the Junior ROTC programs being in our schools. I do everything I can to help recognize its contribution to developing our youths, while providing a strong framework where young men and women can develop valuable discipline and skills.

The mission of JROTC is “to motivate young people to become better citizens.” JROTC offers students challenges and opportunities to:

* Develop citizenship and patriotism

* Develop self-reliance and responsiveness to all authority

* Improve the ability to communicate well both orally and in writing

* Develop an appreciation of the importance of physical fitness

* Increase respect for the role of the U.S. Armed Forces in support of national objectives

* Develop a knowledge of team-building skills and basic military skills

* Rank higher if they pursue a military career.

JROTC is partly funded by the United States Department of Defense with an allocation in the military budget of approximately $340 million for fiscal year 2007.

Instructors continue to receive retirement pay from the federal government, but in addition, the schools pay the difference from what the instructors would receive if they were on active duty.

JROTC programs in schools like Campbell High and elsewhere in Hawaii are particularly active and successful because of our communities’ close association with the military. Hawaii has a long and deep relationship with all branches of the U.S. military, and their contribution to our Islands has always been one of good citizenship.

State Rep. Bob McDermott represents District 40 Ewa, Ewa Beach and Iroquois Point. Readers may him at 586-9730 or email repmcdermott@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Rep. Thielen joins the Governor for the signing of SB 2175 – Hemp Research

May 6, 2014

“This has been underway for a long time and the reason I think that it hasn’t come to fruition up till now is it got lost in the weeds of the arguments about marijuana,” Abercrombie said during the bill-signing ceremony. He later added, “Regardless of whatever has been in the past, I think we’re ready to move forward.”
Thielen touted hemp as an economic engine that could create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship and fill an agricultural void created when the isles’ sugar industry dissolved.
“We’re going to have a wonderful agricultural crop that will cleanse our soil and clothe us, feed us, and shelter us,” she said, lifting up a hempcrete brick and giving it a tap.
The state in 1999 implemented a law similar to the proposed bill, but Thielen said earlier this session that the DEA “really yanked the rug out from under that project after three years.”

Report Title: Industrial Hemp; Two-year Industrial Hemp Remediation and Biofuel Crop Research Program; College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources; University of Hawaii
Description: Authorizes the Dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii at Manoa to establish a two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel research program. Requires a final report to the legislature prior to the convening of the regular session of 2016. Defines industrial hemp. Repeals 07/01/2016. (SB2175 HD2)

Thielen with hemp block and govContact: repthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov

Super-Majority Leadership Doesn’t Like Criticism

May 5, 2014

ImageBy Representative Gene Ward 05/02/2014

Kudos to Civil Beat and Chad Blair for being the only ones covering all of Tuesday’s nine hours of floor debate including the tiff with Speaker Joe Souki that almost got me removed from the House floor.

The only problem was that Mr. Blair got my quote wrong.

When my colleague, Rep. Richard Fale, was being rudely interrupted in his floor speech by Majority Leader Scott Saiki, I said, “Mr. Speaker, point of order — there is nothing in the House Rules that says we can’t criticize this body.”

Blair quote me as saying “members” instead of “this body”.

This caused an immediate recess to wit Speaker Souki got all upset when I said, “Joe, this is America — not Russia, you just can’t shut people down like that.”

After I said this, he called for the sergeant-at-arms to have me removed from the floor, but subsequently changed his mind by the time the sergeant-at-arms arrived.

So much for freedom of speech when you can’t criticize your own legislature — not its members, as Mr. Blair suggested I was doing.

Generally I wouldn’t comment on things like this because I am pretty used to it, but I think it is time for the public to know a bit more about our inner workings at the Capitol.

Compared to the state Senate, freedom of speech in the House is rather limited, especially against members of the minority who are more likely to be critical and honest about what they think about legislation.

So when a member is saying something that leadership doesn’t like, the bullying begins, though they call it “sticking to the merits of the bill.”

What they really mean is that you should not say anything negative about an overly sensitive super-majority leadership that disdains criticism of its legislation.

Rep. Fale’s remarks did not deserve to be shut down, but in a one-party state with 69 Democrats and seven Republicans, freedom of speech must be fought for and protected.

ImageAbout the author: Rep. Gene Ward is the minority leader emeritus of the House.



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