Kapolei, Hawai‘i – U.S.VETS – Barbers Point (U.S.VETS-BP), based in Kapolei, has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Department of Labor under the department’s Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans with Families Program (HFVVWF) program. The grant will expand current service in Oahu in addition to bringing much needed employment services to female veterans and veteran families living on the neighbor islands of Maui, Hawai‘i and Kaua‘i. The grant targets enrollment of 120 veteran households with a yearly employment placement goal of 84 veterans.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service awarded a total of 22 grants, totaling more than $5 million, to provide about 1,900 homeless female veterans and veterans with families with job training to help them succeed in civilian careers.
U.S.VETS-BP recently completed its 10th year of serving veterans experiencing homelessness in Hawaii. The agency has operated transitional and permanent housing programs in Barbers Point (Kalealoa) for disabled, homeless veterans since 2003 as well as the Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP) since 2005 which provides employment assistance and training to homeless, unemployed veterans in the rural areas on the island of O‘ahu.
The agency’s new Women-focus employment grant will provide services which include job placement, on-the-job and classroom training, career counseling, life skills and money management mentoring to homeless female veterans and veteran families. With its 8 years of experience providing workforce development assistance to veterans in need, U.S.VETS-BP is eager to expand its services on the island of O‘ahu and neighboring islands.
Since 2009 when President Obama and Secretary Shinseki announced the federal government’s goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015, U.S.VETS – Barbers Point has made a concerted effort to diversify its programs in order to serve the greatest number of veterans. This HVRP HFVVWF grant, along with the newly awarded $1.0 million SSVF grant, allows U.S.VETS to expand its effort and impact in Hawaii.
For more information about HVRP or any of the programs operated by U.S.VETS – Barbers Point, please contact Kim Cook, Psy.D. at (808) 682-9010 or the local U.S.VETS site at (808) 672-2977 or visit the website at www.usvetsinc.org.
LIHU‘E – A large colony of Hawaiian ‘ua‘u kani (wedge-tailed shearwaters) located along a coastal path on the south shore of Kaua‘i has been decimated in two attacks this summer by dogs and feral cats.
Recently, several more freshly killed birds were found in the area, suggesting that the colony is still being hit hard by dogs and cats. At the same time state biologists searching wedge-tailed shearwater burrows in the area known to have been active this year, found that the burrows were now abandoned, many with dead eggs inside.
Earlier, in July and August, more than 80 of the native seabirds (many of them actively breeding) have been found slaughtered in their nesting area. Injuries sustained by the birds showed that they were killed by dogs and feral cats.
“It appears that the entire colony in this area has been severely depleted, and it is likely that very few breeding birds now remain,” said Thomas Kaiakapu, Kaua‘i wildlife manager for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW).
The wedge-tailed shearwater, also known as “matori” to local fishermen, is one of the more familiar seabirds on Kaua‘i, with large concentrations of the birds seen off shore in the late afternoon as they gather to return to nest sites at night. At this time of year, the birds are either sitting on eggs or raising very small chicks, making them particularly vulnerable to dogs and cats.
“Large feeding flocks of matori, or ‘ua‘u kani, help fishermen to locate feeding schools of tuna,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “The birds use tuna to drive their prey (small fish and squid) to the surface where they can catch them. We ask that fishermen speak to their neighbors about keeping their dogs and cats under control so that these important friends to fishermen can survive.”
“There are signs placed along the south coast path asking dog owners to keep their dogs on leashes and their cats indoors. No matter how friendly or docile you think your dog may be, if it gets near a nesting seabird the dog will kill it – it’s as simple as that. We ask the general public to act responsibly in these areas with their pets to prevent similar instances from happening again.”
“While this large kill of shearwaters is particularly alarming, we unfortunately get reports of mass kills of this species every year on the island,” said Kaiakapu. “As these birds breed in dense colonies along the coast, they are particularly vulnerable to dogs that have been let off of their leashes or feral cat colonies located near the breeding areas.”
LIHUE, KAUAI — The Department of Land and Natural Resources today closed the Kalalau trail in Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, until further notice, due to a helicopter accident at Kalalau beach this afternoon. The park is closed in order to preserve the location of the accident pending investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. Kalalau trail as at the very end of Kuhio Highway near Hanalei on Kauai’s north shore.
The DLNR Division of State Parks will contact hikers holding camping permits for Kalalau beach to notify them of the closure. Full refunds will be issued for persons unable to camp due to this closure.
A further update indicates that the pilot and his two passengers were uninjured, but taken to the hospital as a precaution. KHON-2 reports that the FAA has indicated the craft did not crash – in fact landed safely. However, a tarp blew into the spinning rotors, causing the damage and creating the accident scene.
Coast Guard rescue units were extremely busy over the weekend. The Coast Guard medically evacuated a snorkeler in distress approximately one mile from Kalalau Beach, Kauai, Saturday.
The 61-year-old man lost consciousness after returning to passenger vessel Na Pali Runabout. The vessel operator contacted Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake on VHF channel 16. The vessel pulled alongside Kittiwake where the patient was safely transported by stokes litter.
Once aboard Kittiwake, the patient was further assessed by crewmembers and a Coast Guard flight surgeon determined the patient needed an immediate evacuation.
Coast Guard Sector Honolulu dispatched an MH- 65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. The Dolphin crew hoisted the patient from Kittiwake at 1230 p.m. and safely transported him to emergency medical services at Lihue Airport. The patient was then transported to Wilcox Memorial Hospital in Lihue, Hawaii, where he is reportedly in stable condition.
Sunday found Coast Guard crews responding to a huli call off Kahili, O’ahu. The Coast Guard rescued five mariners from a capsized vessel approximately one mile from Kalihi Channel.
At 3:39 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received a mayday call over VHF channel 16 from the owner of a 21-foot recreational vessel that overturned off Sand Island. Hear the mayday call here.
A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Honolulu arrived on scene at 3:52 p.m., rescued the five people and transferred them to Ke’ehi Lagoon.
“This case had a happy ending because they had a working VHF radio on board their vessel,” said Lt. Patton Epperson, command duty officer at Sector Honolulu. “As soon as this vessel used their radio to call mayday, followed by their position and a description of the boat, we were able to send a rescue boat directly to their location.”
The Coast Guard advises all mariners to carry appropriate safety equipment to include a VHF radio, lifejackets and flares. Maritime accidents can occur quickly and without warning and mariners should take appropriate steps to be prepared. For more information on boating safety, mariners can visit www.uscgboating.org.
A commercial salvage company removed the vessel from the water.
HONOLULU—The Hawai‘i State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations today announced that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June declined to 4.6 percent, from 4.7 percent in May. The last time the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent was in September 2008.
Statewide, there were 617,250 employed and 29,700 unemployed in June, for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 646,950. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in June, unchanged from May.
Initial claims and weeks claims decreased by 48 or -2.5 percent and by 1,796 or -13.0 percent consecutively for unemployment benefits compared to one year ago. Over-the-month both initial claims and weeks claims increased by 2.6 percent and 1.9 percent consecutively in May 2013.
Maui County’s “not seasonally adjusted” rate jumped from 4.7 percent in May to 5.4 percent in June. Similar jumps occurred statewide. Honolulu rose from 4.o percent in May to 4.7 percent in June. The Big Island from 6.5 percent in May to 7.5 percent in June and Kauai rose from 5.3 percent in May to 5.9 percent in June. The state rate inmcreased from 4.5 percent in May to 5.2 percent in June – but all counties are down significantly from June, 2012.
The national “not seasonally adjusted” rate increased from 7.3 percent in May to 7.8 percent in June. “Seasonal adjustment” is a term that applies to the numbers of jobs in specific job categories (i.e., agriculture, harvesting, tourism, etc,) that vary throughout the year. Generally, when The seasinal adjustment is applied, that is a sign that there have been jobvs added to that category.
After weeks of double-digit gains, Hawaii hotels enjoyed a modest increase in the statewide average daily room rate compared to last year, while occupancy rate grew by 4 percentage points, according to a report by Hospitality Advisors LLC and Smith Travel Research.
The statewide occupancy rate was 75.6 percent for the week ended April 13, which was 3.7 percent higher than the same week a year ago. The statewide average daily room rate was $217.07, which was 2.5 percent higher than a year ago.
Oahu hotels saw the greatest gain in room rates. The average daily room rate on Oahu last week was $193.79, which was 10.2 percent higher than a year ago. Occupancy at Oahu hotels rose 1.7 percentage points to 78 percent.
Kauai hotels also saw gains in room rates, as the average daily room rate rose 2.8 percent to $232.55, and occupancy rose 2.2 percentage points to 67.4 percent.
Maui hotels saw the greatest gain in occupancy, as the islandwide rate rose 7.1 percentage points to 83.5 percent. But the average daily room rate on Maui fell 6.7 percent to $259.29.
Occupancy at Big Island hotels rose 5 percentage points to 58.3 percent, while the average daily room rate fell 3.8 percent to $214.18.
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