State Lawmakers Rep. Gates and Sen. Shimabukuro Secure Over $20 Million for the Wai‘anae Coast Community

Honolulu, Hawaii –The Wai‘anae Coast will finally see some substantial funding, as lawmakers approved the state budget yesterday. More than $20 million will go toward the improvement of the area’s infrastructure and over a million dollars will funnel into non-profit organizations and programs.

“The community of Wai‘anae has waited too long for these needed improvements to our coastline, and I’m proud to say those improvements are finally funded in the budget passed Monday,” said Rep. Cedric Gates. “In a joint effort with Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, a lot was done for the Wai‘anae Coast.”

Like every community, certain organizations are the heartbeats of its residents. The Wai‘anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, approved to receive $850,000 for the construction of its dental clinic, will assist in the community’s dental care needs, especially for the keiki. Waianae’s youth will also benefit from the $100,000 slated for the After-School All-Stars athletic initiative. The acclaimed Searider Productions Foundation, known for its digital media expertise, will receive $110,000 for a hospitality-training program for Mākaha, Ko‘Olina, and Kapolei.

For the first time, the Wai‘anae Coast Community Foundation received approval for a $68,200 state grant to implement community events like Sunset on the Beach, Toys for Tots, food distribution, and other events.

“For years, I’ve heard their voices and the passion in them,” said Sen. Shimabukuro. “I am glad to help bring the community together in acquiring these much needed funds and resources. This is long overdue.” Other funding highlights include $151,000 and three permanent positions for Nānākuli Library, $2.5 million for the Youth Challenge Academy at Kalaeloa, and $800,000 for Nānākuli Voice of America Phase 1 Infrastructure by DHHL, all located in Sen. Shimabukuro’s district on the Wai‘anae Coast.

Additionally, Rep. Gates passed House bill HB845 which garnered $25,000 to require the Department of Public Safety, in collaboration with agencies to issue civil identification cards and to assist inmates in obtaining their birth certificate, Social Security card, and other relevant identification necessary for successful reentry into society.

Weary residents may find relief with the over $20 million in Capital Improvement Projects dedicated to Wai‘anae Coast transportation infrastructure and pedestrian safety, approved yesterday by the legislature. The rehabilitation of the Mākaha and Kaupuni bridges, the fifth-lane road extension study from Kalaeloa to Hakimo Road, and the bikeway from Waipio Point to Lualualei Naval Road will significantly help the community travel within and out of the area.

Wai‘anae Coast residents will also see agricultural park improvements, a Marine Science learning center and a rubberized, all-weather track and field for Waianae High School; crosswalk improvements, traffic signal cameras, and highway widening for efficient traffic flow, and finally, plans for the land acquisition, design, and construction of the Wai‘anae Coast secondary access road.

Lawmakers Rep. Gates and Sen. Shimabukuro, who are members of their respective finance committees, also helped garner over $100 million for projects that will benefit Leeward Oahu tremendously. UH West Oahu improvements, $18 million for Kalaeloa Airport, Kupuna care and early learning initiatives, $3 million for Kalaeloa Enterprise Avenue Energy Corridor, charter school enrichment, homeless outreach, HI Farmers Union United programs, mental illness and health care treatment programs are among those approved by the legislature’s finance committees. All will have a lasting and positive impact on the state as a whole.

Rep. Gates and Sen. Shimabukuro represent House District 44 and Senate District 21 respectively. Together, their districts encompass the Wai‘anae Coast of Mākua, Mākaha, Wai‘anae, Mai‘li, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale,
Ko ‘Olina, and Nānākuli. Both agree that the Wai‘anae Coast is not the only community in the state that deserves funding, but according to Rep. Gates, “it is our responsibility to make sure that our district residents receive their fair share and the support they deserve.”

Here are some of the highlights from HB100 CD1, the final version of the 2017 Budget:

TRANSPORTATION:

$3m Farrington Highway 5th Lane Extension Study / Traffic Solutions for Waianae Coast

$3m 2nd Access Road / Traffic Congestion Relief (Funding for Rep. Cedric Gates’ second acces bill, HB1378)

$400,000 Leeward Bikeway/Multi-Use Path from Waipio to Lualualei Naval Rd

$92m Highway, intersection, and other traffic improvements – statewide

EDUCATION

$1.75m / $650,000 Waianae High School rubberized all-weather track and field and marine science learning center

$151,000 and 3 permanent positions: Nanakuli Library

$75,000 Read to Me International Foundation GIA

$158m DOE facilities maintenance and improvements; ground and site improvements; new facilities; equipment and appurtenances; classroom renovations – statewide

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & JOB TRAINING

$110,000 Searider Productions Foundation GIA

$40,000 Marimed Foundation for Island Health Care Training GIA

$2.5m Magnet school development with industry partners

$2.5m UHWO improvements and library

HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS

$68,200 Waianae Coast Community Foundation GIA

$500,000 Medical treatment for homeless with serious mental illness

$250,000 ID card obtainment for homeless (civil legal service assistance)

$54m Rental Housing Trust Fund, Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund, and Low Income Housing Tax Credit Loans

HEALTH

$850,000 Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center (WCCHC) dental building expansion

$200,000 Project Vision HI GIA

$150,000 Life Foundation GIA

HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS

$800,000 Nanakuli Voice of America Phase 1 Infrastructure by DHHL

$200,000 Pacific Islanders in Communication GIA

$45,000 Polynesian Voyaging Society GIA

WATER & LAND

$10m Makaha Bridges Replacement

$1.5m Kaupuni Stream Bridge Rehabilitation

$18m Kalaeloa Airport improvements

AGRICULTURE

$500,000 Waianae Agricultural Park Improvements

$1.5m Slaughterhouse Facility

$90,000 HI Farmers Union United GIA

PUBLIC SAFETY & MILITARY AFFAIRS

$1.75m Youth Challenge Academy at Kalaeloa and Hawaii Island operating expenses

$800,000 Youth Challenge Academy at Kalaeloa building improvements

$25,000 ID card assistance for prisoners being released

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

$3m Kalaeloa Enterprise Avenue Energy Corridor

$200,000 Kupu GIA

$9.9m Safe Drinking Water Revolving Fund

Sen. Shimabukuro’s SB-502 IVF Equal Coverage Bill Update 4/24/17

Bill seeks in-vitro fertilization coverage equality
By Taylor Polson
Star-Advertiser, April 12, 2017

Lawmakers are once again considering a measure to require insurance companies to offer in-vitro fertilization coverage to same-sex couples, unmarried couples and unmarried women.

Advocates of the measure say the current system amounts to discrimination because only married, heterosexual couples currently qualify for the benefit.

Planned Parenthood, in supporting Senate Bill 502, wrote that, at present, “insurance coverage discriminates against and essentially restricts a person’s reproduction based on their sex, sexual orientation and/or marital status. This kind of discrimination simply has no place in Hawaii law.”

The LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party also offered testimony in strong support of the measure, which passed the state Senate and is up for a vote in the House this week.

Sen. Maile shimabukuro (D, Kalaeloa-­Waianae-Makaha), who introduced the bill, said this is the third session at which such legislation has been presented. She said similar measures weren’t passed in previous sessions in part because insurance companies were concerned about expenses.  Continue reading

2017 Neighborhood Board Elections April 28 – May 19

All eligible voters are encouraged to cast their vote for their neighborhood board representatives. The list of Neighborhood Board candidates as well as their profiles are on the NCO main page and a list of all contested seats is here.

The voting period is from Friday, April 28 through Friday, May 19. The main method of voting is online; however voters may request paper ballots. Results of the elections will be released no later than June 1, 2017.

Star-Advertiser: ‘Gold bars use kiawe as base’ 3/28/17

By Jason Genegabus
Star-Advertiser 3/28/17

I love discovering products that are both good for me and make me feel good about buying them. ‘Ai Pohaku’s Waianae Gold ‘Aina Bars fit that description, with two types of treats made with an unlikely ingredient common throughout the islands.

‘Aina Bars in 6 oz containers. Wai’anae Gold ‘Aina Bars are a rich slow burning energy food. Perfect for the long run.

According to ‘Ai Pohaku founder Vince Kana‘i Dodge, kiawe trees have grown in Hawaii for nearly two centuries but were never used for food. Dodge discovered in 2006 that indigenous people from the southwestern United States milled mesquite wood into flour; he also traveled to Argentina in 2012 to visit with the indigenous Wichi, who have used kiawe flour for hundreds of years.

Vince Kana‘i Dodge, Tel. 808-478-6492, Email aipohaku@hotmail.com

Dodge’s two ‘Aina Bars are made with kiawe bean-pod flour, organic ground peanuts and organic raw honey. Blondie bars then add Hawaiian sea salt; Brownie bars use organic cacao for a chocolate note.

While kiawe flour produces a noticeable grittiness, the peanuts and honey balance things out and make it seem like you’re eating an energy bar.

Find the bars at Oahu Down to Earth stores. A 6-ounce container of Blondies is $10.79; Brownies are $12.39; a 50-50 mix is $11.59. They’re also sold at the Waianae Store, Kahumana Cafe Store and Kokua Market. Call 478-6492 or visit waianaegold.com for info.

Read the full article on the Star-Advertiser site.

Summary of Transportation Update Meeting on 03/13/17

  
Speakers at the 03/13/17 Transportation Update meeting hosted by the Ahupua`a O Nanakuli Homestead (AONH) included, L-R: Sen. Shimabukuro, DOT Deputy Director-Highways Edwin Sniffen, DHHL Deputy Director William Aila Jr., Rep. Gates, Jewelynn Kirkland (AONH), and Rep. Tupola.

Aloha! Here is a summary of the Transportation Update Meeting on 03/13/17.

In regards to the 2nd Access, DOT will study it, and DHHL will also work on it. One thought is to turn the existing Waianae Coast Emergency Access Road (WCEAR) into a more accessible road. The city is considering expanding the use of WCEAR beyond emergencies, to include other events, such as road work.   

In terms of the WCEAR, DHHL plans to work on an EIS to extend it from Helelua St. to Nanakuli Ave. They are drawing up plans and talking to homeowners. DOT plans to provide solar powered flashing signs to direct drivers to the WCEAR, and alert drivers about traffic delays.

DOT is also focusing on improving Farrington Highway congestion. They will try to find ways to continue the contraflow after its December 2017 projected end date, by making use of the 1.2 mile turn lane they are now constructing for contraflow. Further, DOT will continue to push to extend the turn/contraflow lane to Hakimo Road.  

Questions were raised about the need to synchronize the traffic lights. DOT responded that they are installing traffic cameras and heat sensors at Nanakuli Ave, Haleakala Ave, and Helelua St. These measures should help to improve traffic flow.

Questions were also raised about why DOT is expending funds on another traffic study rather than improvements. DOT explained that they must conduct an updated study to obtain federal funds. 

Contact me with your concerns at 586-7793. Have a Happy Easter!
 

HNN: Waianae Coast Emergency Access Road 3/13/17


Jobeth Devera, “Efforts underway to alleviate Leeward Coast’s traffic woes,” Hawaii News Now, 13 March 2017. For more on this topic, go to Maile’s Facebook page.

SA – Cataluna: ‘Ain’t no traffic like a commute to Waianae’

Excerpt from Lee Cataluna’s “Ain’t no traffic like a commute to Waianae” (Star-Advertiser, March 12, 2017). Read the full article.

Exit 5A going into Ewa is stopped down, bumper to bumper as I drive past. That’s another situation, that clogged main artery in and out of all those bedroom neighborhoods. On the freeway, things are still moving.

Around Kahe Point, it starts to change. The flow of the freeway ends and there are stoplights and side streets and pedestrians. The closer to Waianae, the more congested the road. Along the roadside are houses with outdoor furniture that isn’t there just to create a decorative tableau. People sit in those chairs and couches and survey the situation.

When I get to my destination in Waianae, I’m an hour early because I had anticipated the worst. I am asked, “How was your drive?” I say that I started from town at 3:15 to make sure I got to Waianae by 6 o’clock. I see the distinct look of “Girl, you don’t even know” pass across some of the faces.

One lady tells me that when she goes to Vegas, they leave their house in Waianae at 5 in the morning to be sure they make it to the airport in time for a 2 p.m. flight. Once they get into town, they kill time in a restaurant until it’s time to check in. She doesn’t want to chance getting stuck in some horrific snarl that will make her miss her flight and then have to eat the cost of the ticket.

Another tells me that traveling the 2-mile corridor of Farrington Highway in Waianae can take two hours because of an accident. Someone else says often there is no accident or stall to blame. It’s just bad.

Rep. Andria Tupola tells the story of a Saturday morning traffic stall last year caused by unannounced roadside brush clearing. The traffic was stuck for three hours. “People missed their flights, their appointments, and one guy missed his own wedding!” she said. Tupola started a Facebook group, Westside Traffic Alert, where people can update their fellow travelers in real time. There are no traffic cameras in the area, so residents have to rely on each other for traffic reports.

None of this would be alleviated by rail. If traffic is stopped down on Farrington Highway in Waianae, none of those people can even get to the train.

There are plans in play to alleviate the problems. A comprehensive approach requires cooperation from the Army, Navy, state agencies and city departments. A community meeting is being held Monday night to update residents on the efforts. In attendance will be Sen. Maile Shimabukuro (D, Kalaeloa- Waianae-Makaha), Rep. Cedric Gates (D, Waianae-Makaha-Makua), Councilmember Kymberly Pine and Tupola (R, Kalaeloa-Ko Olina-Maili).

There’s terrible traffic all over Oahu, but in other places, there are options. Folks on the North Shore have a bypass road and can head around to the Windward side. There are two ways into Waimanalo and three ways over the Pali. But the Leeward Coast is isolated. Tupola calls it “the largest cul-de-sac on the island.”

Of course, this is not news to residents of the Leeward Coast. They live this every day and marvel at how their situation feels so unimaginable to people who live on the same island. It’s news to those of us who think WE have it bad, but we don’t even know.

Read the full article on the Star-Advertiser site.