Senator Russell Ruderman

SBA State of Hawaii Small Business Person of the Year

Senator Russell RudermanSenator Russell E. Ruderman was named the State of Hawaii Small Business Person of the Year, 2015 by the US Small Business Administration Hawaii District Office. Along with awardees in 8 other categories, Senator Ruderman was honored by colleagues on the Senate and House floor.

The award was given to Senator Ruderman as President and Founder of Island Naturals, a group of natural and organic food stores on the Big Island known for its commitment to quality and creativity. Established in 1997, Island Naturals now employs 150 people at three locations in Kona, Hilo, and Pahoa.

The U.S. Small Business Administration was founded in 1953, largely as a response to the pressures of the Great Depression and World War II. It has since delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses.

The Hawaii District Office, under the leadership of District Director Jane A. Sawyer, oversees the delivery of SBA’s programs throughout the State of Hawaii, the Territories of Guam and American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Senator Russell Ruderman extends an invitation for you to join him…

Senator Russell Ruderman extends a warm invitation to you to join him for his first ever fundraiser in Honolulu at the Mandalay Restaurant.

Donations: If you are unable to attend but would like to show your support with a donation please use the Donate button.

Suggested donation $50 – $100

Come support and meet the man who represents all of the district of Puna and the town of Pahala in Ka’u at the Hawaiian State Legislature.

Enjoy delicious Cantonese cuisine and the elegant atmosphere of the Mandalay.

Bishop Square parking across the street from The Mandalay after 5:00 pm and Alii Place public / private park.

Please RSVP

Feel free to forward this invitation to friends that you would like to invite or that you know would like to support Senator Ruderman to continue to work for the good of all of Hawaii.

Senator Russell Ruderman

Governor Ige Names Additional Cabinet Members

Governor Ige Names Additional Cabinet Members

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige today announced the appointments of six additional members of his Cabinet and two deputy directors. These appointments are subject to confirmation by the State Senate.

The Governor also announced the appointments of his deputy chief of staff, and four individuals to head the Departments of the Accounting and General Services, Attorney General, Health, and Human Services, until appointments to fill the positions for the duration of his term are made. In addition, until appointments can be made to fill their positions for the next four years, the directors and deputy directors of the remaining departments will either continue to serve as hold-overs, or serve until their terms expire on Dec. 31, 2014.

“We are committed to finding the best and brightest in our community to serve as effective leaders in state government,” said Governor Ige. “These appointments show a variety of talented and dedicated individuals from both the public and private sectors, who have decided to work together to create a better Hawaii for future generations.”

Wesley Machida has been named Director of Finance and the head of the Department of Budget and Finance (B&F). Mr. Machida is currently the Executive Director of the $14 billion Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Hawaii. His other work experience has been as an Assistant Auditor in the Office of the Auditor and Assistant Administrator for the Child Support Enforcement Agency. Mr. Machida, a former Certified Public Accountant, worked for various public accounting firms before and in-between his employment with the State, with his last private sector employment as a Senior Audit Manager with Grant Thornton LLP.

Mr. Machida serves on the Board of Trustees for the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority, and is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association and the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. He graduated from the Kamehameha Schools, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa with an MBA in Business Administration and BA in Economics.

Douglas G. Murdock has been named Comptroller and will head the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) beginning Jan. 1, 2015. Murdock is presently serving as the vice president for Administrative and Fiscal Affairs of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. He has held his current position since August 2012 and is responsible for HTA procurement, accounting, personnel, convention center operations, information technology, quality assurance, policies and procedures, procurement integrity and ethics, and general administration support to the board and HTA staff. Before joining HTA, he was in private practice with local law firm Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing. Prior to that, he served in the Air Force for 25 years as a Judge Advocate (attorney) and attained the rank of Colonel. Murdock has a B.S. degree in Economics, a M.S. degree in Public Administration and a J.D. from the University of Washington. He is a Certified Professional Contracts Manager through the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), is a past president of the Aloha Chapter of NCMA and has served on the State of Hawaii Procurement Policy Board.

James Nishimoto has been named director for the Department of Human Resources Development (DHRD). Nishimoto has 38 years of government service and has served in a wide range of positions, including executive assistant to the President of the University of Hawaii; vice president for Budget and Finance/Chief Financial Officer, University of Hawaii; director of Academic Personnel Administration, Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Hawaii System; associate director of Human Resources, University of Hawaii System Office; deputy director, DHRD; administrator, Collective Bargaining and Negotiations, Hawaii State Department of Education. Nishimoto holds various degrees: Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from the University of Southern California; M.A., Business Personnel Administration/Public Administration from Central Michigan University; and M.A., Public Administration Central Michigan University; and B.S., University of Kentucky.

Luis P. Salaveria has been named director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). Salaveria brings more than 20 years of public and private sector experience and most recently served as the deputy director of finance where he assisted the director of finance in the planning, design and management of the annual $12 billion operational and $3 billion capital improvement budgets of the State of Hawaii; managing the State Treasury with more than $3 billion in assets; conducting general obligation and revenue bond issuances; introducing and implementing fiscal and economic legislation and policies; conducting public affairs and stakeholder outreach; and administering the operations of all divisions and attached agencies (Employee Retirement System, Employer Union Trust Fund, Public Utilities Commission, and Public Defenders Office) of the more than 300-employee department.

Salaveria holds a degree in economics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is a graduate of Kaiser Permanente’s National Manager’s Leadership Program, and earned his Fiduciary Trustee Certificate from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Mary Alice Evans will continue her service as deputy director at DBEDT. She took the post in April 2011 after working as an employee of the Department for 33 years and serving as DAGS’ deputy comptroller for two years. Evans holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is a previous president of the Hawaii Chapter of American Planning Association and chair of the Honolulu City Planning Commission.

Rachael Wong, DrPH, will serve as the director of the Department of Human Services (DHS), beginning Jan. 1, 2015. Wong has most recently served as the vice president and chief operating officer of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, where she leads collaborations to improve community health and advocates for a comprehensive and financially strong healthcare system that successfully responds to Hawaii’s diverse and changing health needs.

Wong received degrees from Princeton University, the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Pacific Business News “Forty Under 40,” a Pacific Century Fellow, St. Francis International Center for Healthcare Ethics Bioethics Fellow and is currently enrolled in the Omidyar Fellows program.

Maria Zielinski has been named to serve as the director of Taxation and head of the Department of Taxation. She previously served as deputy Comptroller for the State of Hawaii and served as accounting administrator for the County of Maui. Maria has also served in the private sector as chief financial officer for the California School Employees Association (CSEA) the largest classified employee labor union in the United States, Haleakala Ranch, Haleakala Dairy, and the Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation. Ms. Zielinski is a CPA (State of New York).

Pankaj Bhanot will serve as deputy director at the Department of Human Services (DHS). He is currently serving as the department’s division administrator for the Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD). Bhanot previously served as the deputy director for DHS from December 2010 January 2012. Among honors received are the 2006 DHS Employee of the Year Award; 2006 Governor’s Award for the Distinguished State Service; 2013 DHS Manager of the Year; and 2013 State of Hawaii Manager of the Year. Bhanot has a B.A. (Honors) in Political Science; and LL.B. from the University of Delhi; an LL.M. degree from the Cornell University Law School; and completed post-graduate research in Public International Law at the School of Law, University of Nottingham (United Kingdom).

Laurel A. Johnston has been selected as Gov. Ige’s deputy chief of staff. The former director of the University of Hawaii System Budget Office, Johnston has served as a researcher, writer, and administrator in the diverse policy areas of education, public health, criminal and social justice, economic development and public finance during her 28-year career in Hawaii.

Previously, Johnston served as assistant senate clerk for the Hawaii Senate, assistant superintendent for Planning and Budgeting at the Hawaii Department of Education, and executive director of the Hawaii Uninsured Project. She holds a Master of Science degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology, both from Florida State University.

Scott Enright, Jobie Masagatani, and William J. Aila. Jr., will continue to serve as the chairperson of the Board of Agriculture, the chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission, and the chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, respectively, until their terms expire on December 31.

The following directors and deputies have agreed to continue serving as heads and deputy directors of their respective departments as holdovers:

Ken Kakesako, deputy to the chairperson of the Board of Agriculture

Darrell T. Young, deputy to the chairman, Hawaiian Homes Commission

Kealii Lopez, director, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

Jo Ann Uchida Takeuchi, deputy director, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

Jesse Souki, first deputy to the chairperson, Board of Land and Natural Resources

Maj. Gen. Darryll Wong, adjutant general and director of civil defense, Department of Defense

Brig. Gen. Joe Kim, deputy adjutant general

Gary Gill, deputy director, Environmental Health Administration, Department of Health (DOH)

Dr. David Sakamoto, deputy director, Health Resources Administration, DOH

Lynn Fallin, deputy director, Behavioral Health Administration, DOH

Ted Sakai, director, Department of Public Safety

Dwight Takamine, director, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Until appointments can be made to fill the positions for the duration of Gov. Ige’s term, the following employees and former first deputy directors of DAGS, the Department of the Attorney General, DHS, and DOH have been appointed to head those departments:

Kerry Yoneshige, DAGS

Russell Suzuki, Department of the Attorney General

Barbara Yamashita, DHS

Keith Yamamoto, DOH


Keauohana Native Forest Restoration on December 21st

Keauohana Native Forest Restoration

Fine Forest Friends,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Already we are in December of 2014! This month our work party will be held on Sunday the 21st, solstice day and it is a great way to celebrate together! We hope to see some of your shinning faces at Keauohana Forest Reserve for some native forest restoration.

Please bring gloves, sturdy shoes/boots, rain gear, mosquito repellant, water and snacks. Useful tools include pruning saws, loppers and machetes. A lunch of local foods will be provided at this zero-waste event, so please also bring your own cups, bowls and utensils.

Parking is at the intersection of Pahoa-Kalapana Rd and Upper Puna Rd, near Black Sands subdivision. This is between mm 16 and 17 on the highway. The trail into the forest is just across the highway from the intersection.

Feel free to come and go as you like between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm. Invite anyone you think might be interested. Please take care to avoid bringing weed seeds into the forest by brushing off and spraying boot soles at entrance.

Looking forward to seeing some of you there!

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Puna’s State Senator is getting ready to take the needs of his lava threatened district to the Capitol. Russell Ruderman recently outlined his plans for the upcoming legislative session before a Hawaii County Council committee. Ruderman testified from Hilo. The 2015 legislative session starts in January.


Hawaii County Civil Defense Update For Oct. 30 at 8 a.m. HST

The flow continues to remain active and has advanced approximately 90 yards since 8:30 yesterday morning and is currently approximately 160 yards or approximately 480 feet from Pāhoa Village Road. The flow front is currently moving in a northeast direction and remains on a private residential property. The flow advancement has been averaging approximately less than 5 yards per hour.

Smoke conditions continue to be moderate with moderate trade winds from the northeast pushing the smoke in a south southwest direction. Presently burning activity is involving a variety of materials and smoke conditions may increase in some areas. Residents down wind that may be sensitive or have respiratory problems are advised to take necessary precautions and to remain indoors. Additional health advisories may be issued depending upon materials involved with any fires associated with the lava flow.

Based on the current flow location, direction and advancement, residents in the flow path were placed on an evacuation advisory and notified of possible need for evacuation. The evacuation advisory for those residents down slope of the flow will continue and residents will be kept informed of the flow status and advancement.

The Pahoa Village Road between Apa’a Street and the Post Office Road will remain closed and limited to area residents only. Motorist should use caution and slow down on Highway 130 near the Post Office Road intersection. Residents of the restricted area should not bring unauthorized persons into the restricted area. In addition, Civil Defense and public safety personnel will be operating in the area round the clock to maintain close observations of flow activity. Additional updates will be broadcasted as conditions change.1030usgsMap

PGV gate

PGV – TS Ana Update October 16, 2014

PGV gate


Just a quick update on the approaching hurricane and the planned shutdown of PGV operations to reduce the chance of negative impacts to the surrounding community … PPA and surrounding area residents want to thank HELCO, Civil Defense, and PGV for this change in storm protocols … Mahalo

With the continuing lava threat we have not been sending out regular updates. However we remain actively engaged on many levels with the county, state, and federal regulatory and permitting bodies. I will be putting out an update in the near future.

If anyone has questions they can email me or Barb.

I know a lot of you have been concerned about the approaching hurricane threat and what PGV’s plans are. I just talked with Daryl at Civil Defense and Mike from PGV, and they both told me out of caution from lessons learned during tropical storm Isselle, that PGV will shut down and as the storm passes by it will be evaluated as to when it is safe to bring the plant back online. I personally want to thank them for the change in procedures. PPA believes that protecting the area residents should come first and we are grateful to all involved for this decision.

For those unfamiliar with the background, on Tuesday, October 14th, an editorial in the Honolulu Star Advertiser referred to how during tropical storm Iselle “transmission lines that ordinarily transfer power to the grid were downed by fallen trees, tripping off the plant. To relieve pressure, the plant released a plume of geothermal fluid containing high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide. More than 100 people living nearby reported with discomfort, complaints including severe lethargy, nausea, red eyes, burning eyes and respiratory problems … the geothermal accident also underscored the need for better safeguards in the operation of the system, especially under the duress of a major storm. One of the release valves that was supposed to keep pressure from building had become stuck, leading to the release of high concentrations of gas. Such unanticipated problems show the need for oversight of operations, and the prudence of the request by Hawaii County Civil Defense: PGV must cut back its operations in advance of future wind events and have power backup to maintain its monitoring system.”

Shutting down as a precautionary measure in view of the potential threat of severe weather avoids the risk of needing an emergency shut-down and the associated risks of escaping gas, toxic exposure, alarm and potential health impacts in the community. We look forward to continuing to work with PGV, HELCO and government officials in this manner as part of the ongoing effort to improve the situation.


Copyright © 2014 Puna Pono Alliance, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Puna Pono Alliance
P.O. Box 492668
Kea`au, HI 96749



Hawaii News Now’s Sunrise program on live TV, discussing the economic effects of Maui’s GMO initiative with Howard Dicus. The incorrect assertion that jobs will be lost is being used to create fear, without any basis in reality.