By Jeff King
When “NFL” and “Hawai’i” are used in the same sentence, it is usually in reference to the Pro Bowl game…a “trophy dance” that allows fans to see a superstar gathering of their favorite pro football players. The game has been a staple in Hawai’i for more than 30 years. Now, for the second time in four years, the game will not be played here.
Hawaii lost its pitch to host the 2015 Pro Bowl to Arizona, site of next’s year’s Super Bowl, but the annual all-star game will return in 2016, the National Football League announced Wednesday.
The NFL said that the 2015 Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 25 at the University of Phoenix Stadium, and the following year’s Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 31, 2016, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, with an option to play the game here in 2017 as well.
“While we would have liked to have had the Pro Bowl in Hawaii in 2015, the return of the Pro Bowl in 2016 provides the state with an opportunity to showcase our islands unique culture and beauty,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement.
Stats provided by the Hawaii Tourism Authority said that this year’s Pro Bowl drew more than 47,000 people and reached 11. 4 million viewers across the mostly-chilly mainland. The entire event is a “moving postcard” promoting Hawai’i. The game has been long on scenery but short on action as key players on opposing Super Bowl teams are as protected as can be to avoid injury before the “real” championship game.
The last time the Pro Bowl was played outside of Hawaii was in 2010, when Miami hosted the game.
Honolulu, Hawaii – Maui legislators secured more than $460 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island. The largest single item by far was $130 million for construction of the new Kihei High School. Construction is expected to begin in 2015, and the full funding will allow bidding on the whole project, saving the State millions of dollars.
“Even as recent projections on growth for the State are tempered, we still need to evaluate our priorities to ensure that public funds are spent where they are warranted and most needed,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki, who represents Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku and Waikapu.
“There has been much said about the cooling of our economy, with the new forecast from the state Council on Revenues. But that should not frighten us into taking no action, but motivate us to sharpen our pens so that we spend prudently, making the most of the dollars we do have.”
Here are the highlights of the CIP funding secured for the Maui districts:
Joseph M. Souki (District 8)
Justin H. Woodson (District 9)
Angus McKelvey (District 10)
Kaniela Ing (District 11)
Kyle T. Yamashita (District 12)
Mele Carroll (District 13)
Honolulu – In observance of the 60th anniversary of the conclusion of the Korean War, the Hawaii House of Representatives recognized several Korean War veterans and organizations on the House floor.
On June 25, 1950 a civil conflict between North Korea and South Korea divided the country as soldiers from the North Korean Communist army crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea. In response, President Harry Truman, with support of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, ordered the United States Army to provide aid and support to the South Koreans. Over five million Americans risked their lives and served throughout the following three years of the Korean War which ended on July 27, 1953.
Since the conclusion of the Korean War, veterans of the conflict have established the 20th chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association; since 1996, Hawaii Chapter 1 has furthered the expansion of nationally chartered Korean War Veterans chapters on all islands, including the Big Island Chapter, West Hawaii Chapter, Maui No Ka Oi Chapter, Kauai Chapter, and the Aloha Chapter in Honolulu; Hawaii Chapter 1 has taken the leadership role in all of the Korean War Veterans events in Hawaii and has been recognized by Honolulu’s Korean community as the key Korean War Veterans organization in the State.
Introduced by Representative K. Mark Takai (Aiea), HR30 recognizes those special individuals whose initiative, professionalism, and dedication to the United States Armed Forces have strongly influenced the lives of those they touch with courage, bravery, and brotherhood.
“As a member of the armed forces, I truly understand the commitment and sacrifice of those who have chosen to serve our country over the course of our nation’s history,” said Representative Takai. “I am proud to honor and express my deep appreciation to all Korean War Veterans for their dedicated service to our nation.”
Veterans who were honored today include:
HONOLULU — State authorities have taken action against a man accused of creating as many as 13 different personas to take more than $1.4 million from an elderly Hawaii woman and using the money for gambling and personal expenses instead of investments.
Hawaii Commissioner of Securities Tung Chan of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs issued a Preliminary Order to Cease and Desist and Notice of Right to Hearing against Bing Long Yee for violating state securities laws.
The order asserts that, from 1998 through February 2013, Yee solicited an elderly Hawaii woman to invest in an elaborate business venture. Yee allegedly told the woman that he ran various businesses, including real estate, jade stone exportation, and a restaurant start-up, and needed money to help fund his businesses.
Yee allegedly created as many as 13 fake identities of individuals who were supposedly involved in his businesses and he assumed at least three different personas by disguising his voice while on the phone with the woman. As a result, the order alleges the woman provided a combined total of $1,414,145 to Yee for investment in his businesses.
The order further alleges that none of the woman’s money was used as promised. Instead, Yee allegedly spent all $1,414,145 to gamble at casinos in Las Vegas and on personal living expenses. To date, the woman has not received any of her principal or promised returns.
State securities laws provide anti-fraud provisions and require securities such as investment contracts, as well as individuals or entities soliciting or transacting securities, to be registered with the state. The order asserts that Yee violated the state’s anti-fraud provisions by employing deceptive schemes and devices to perpetuate and conceal the fraud from the woman, that Yee was not registered to transact securities in Hawaii, and that the security he sold to the woman was also unregistered.
The order seeks total penalties of $150,000 in addition to a permanent injunction against Yee for transacting securities in the state, rescission, and restitution for the elderly woman.
Anyone who has been solicited by or transacted business with Yee or who may have information regarding this matter is urged to contact the State Securities Enforcement Branch.
Securities Enforcement Branch
Oahu (808) 586-2740
Kauai: (808) 274-3141, followed by 62740 and the # sign
Maui: (808) 984-2400, followed by 62740 and the # sign
Hawaii: (808) 974-4000, followed by 62740 and the # sign
Lanai and Molokai: 1-800-468-4644 (toll free), followed by 62740 and the # sign
The Securities Enforcement Branch of the DCCA receives and investigates complaints regarding potential violations of Hawaii securities laws and prosecutes securities fraud and other securities violations.
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Honolulu – When a faulty pipe caused a massive molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor last September, it revealed more than a leaking pipeline. It revealed that shortcomings in harbor operations management, oversight and reporting procedures also contributed to the emergency unpreparedness we witnessed last year.
Consequently, Representative Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimanalo), who chairs the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection, has introduced measures addressing issues relating to harbor spills, including emergency response and reporting, and oversight responsibilities that state agencies involved in ocean spills. This includes the Harbors Division of the state Department of Transportation.
“The investigation continues, but in the meantime there are concrete steps we can begin to take to ensure avoidable disasters like this never happen again,” said Lee. “It’s critical that we learn from this and update Hawaii’s disaster planning, ensure potential incidents are reported immediately, and be ready to restore our damaged reefs.”
The measures include:
HB 2620<http://capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=2620&year=2014>, Relating to the environment
Requires the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program to submit a report updating the 1996 report on oil spills. Appropriates funds for staffing and resources to update the report, effective July 1, 2014.
HB 2621<http://capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=2621&year=2014>, Relating to government accountability
Expands the procurement policy board’s mandate to adopt rules regarding lost, stolen, damaged, unserviceable or unsuitable property to include time limits on issue reporting and a duty for government agencies and contractors to cooperate in the investigation of raised issues.
HB 2622<http://capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=2622&year=2014>, Relating to marine resources
Establishes a special fund for the Marine Life Conservation Program within the Department of Land and Natural Resources, effective July 1, 2014.
HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency, welcomed the first regularly-scheduled nonstop flight from Beijing to Honolulu today. Air China’s flight CA837 departed Beijing, China on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 1:30 a.m. Beijing time. Carrying approximately 270 passengers, the Airbus 330-200 is landing at Honolulu International Airport on Monday, Jan. 20 at the scheduled arrival time of 4:30 p.m. HST. Passengers were greeted with lei, Hawaiian music and hula.
“China is a tremendous market for our tourism economy and this new route will provide greater ease of access to our Hawaiian Islands,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “The process to obtain a U.S. visa in China has also improved, which will support our efforts to grow this expansive market.”
The flight will operate three times a week arriving in Honolulu on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The HTA estimates the flight will provide $80.4 million in visitor spending and $8.6 million in state tax revenue annually.
“As a major airline in China and a member of the Star Alliance, Air China has always been committed to providing our passengers with convenient, high quality service,” said Mr. Wang Mingyuan, vice president of Air China. “One of our goals is to create an internationally competitive network and this newly launched Beijing to Honolulu direct route is in line with our strategies. We hope that our extensive network of routes and convenient, quality flight experience will drive more visitors from around the world to the Hawaiian Islands.”
During the first 11 months of 2013, Hawai‘i welcomed more than 123,000 visitors from China. This year, the HTA projects reaching 182,000 visitors, an increase of 21.5 percent. The China market is the highest spending visitor market with an average of $392 per person per day spending.
“Diversification of our tourism profile for the long-term sustainability of Hawai‘i’s visitor industry is an important goal in 2014 and we will continue to work with our airline, industry and marketing partners to drive international demand,” added McCartney.
Air China is China’s only national flag carrier and a member of the world’s largest airline network – Star Alliance. By October 2013, Air China had a fleet of 488 passenger aircrafts and freighters of mainly Boeing and Airbus families. It operates 291 routes, including 68 international routes, 14 regional routes and 209 domestic routes. It serves 150 cities in 30 countries and regions, including 45 international cities, 3 regional cities and 102 domestic cities. Every week, Air China offers over 1.3 million seats on over 7,000 flights per week. Utilizing its extensive network and its hub in Beijing, especially after its admission to the Star Alliance, Air China can fly passengers to 1,328 airports in 195 countries. For more information, visit Air China’s official website http://www.airchina.com.cn.
Established in 1998, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the state’s tourism agency, is responsible for strategically managing tourism to optimize benefits for Hawai‘i that integrates the interest of visitors, the community and visitor industry. Tourism is our state’s leading economic driver and largest employer and the HTA continually works to ensure its sustainability well into the future. For more information on the HTA, please visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@HawaiiHTA).
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