15th Annual Citizen-Scholar Awards
On Tuesday, we celebrated 42 exemplary high school seniors from across the state as we lauded their accomplishments and community service at our 15th Annual Citizen-Scholar Awards. Over 200 students, family members, school officials, and HLTA Member sponsors gathered at the ‘Alohilani Resort for this annual luncheon.
The Citizen-Scholar Awards are a partnership between the Honolulu Star Advertiser, the Department of Education, and HLTA. The Star-Advertiser provides a centerfold newspaper spread highlighting each of the students and their sponsors, the DOE provides the student nominations from each public high school, and our amazing members generously provide the scholarships to each deserving student.
The awards program began with remarks from Oahu Publications’ Senior Vice President, Ron Nagasawa; Department of Education Assistant Superintendent Cynthia Covell; and yours truly. I stressed the importance of extending the "mahalo principle" of thanking those who have assisted and encouraged them thus far, and to implore them to also help others on their journey through life. We were also favored with inspiring speeches from Jacob Lott of Kea'au High School and Cheanne-Marie Cabang of Nanakuli High School. During the lunch segment, students, parents, and faculty had the opportunity to meet with and thank their individual sponsors.
Two years ago, we also implemented an additional $2,500 scholarship, presented to a “Most Outstanding Citizen-Scholar” in each of the four counties.
This year, we congratulated:
Hawai‘i Island: Zea Levine, Kealakehe High School
Zea recently received a grant to help her develop her own website, S-E-T Kona, which will allow her to create a region-specific page with information about reproductive health and how to access health care in West Hawaii. The Colorado College-bound Levine is also the Founder and current President of the Gender Sexuality Alliance & Advocacy club at Kealakehe.
Kaua‘i: Hannah Collins-Doijode, Kapa’a High School
Hannah won first place in the state HOSA CPR/first aid competition, and spent her summer interning at Hawaii Pacific Health. She will be attending Johns Hopkins University, and plans to pursue a career as a physician. Collins-Doijode aspires to return home to practice in Hawaii after completing her education.
Maui: Josh Ooka, Baldwin High School
Josh planned a wellness week for Baldwin High School to encourage students and faculty to support the Blue Zones philosophy and promote a healthy lifestyle. The aspiring doctor heads to UCLA in the fall, and wants to provide health care in his hometown on Maui Island after graduation.
O‘ahu: Anna Peters, Waialua High School
Harvard University early admit Anna plans to pursue a degree in either biology or neuroscience. She has volunteered at Queen’s Medical Center West Oahu and at Cardinal Tien Hospital in Taiwan, and dreams of becoming a doctor.
Congratulations to all these model young leaders! I’d like to thank our partners, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the Department of Education, and our HLTA members for sponsoring and supporting our next generation. Mahalo to all those parents, teachers, and principals supporting these exceptional students. Thanks to our emcees, Diane Ako and Yunji De Nies; and lastly but certainly not least, to our hosts, Cheryl Williams, Regional Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Highgate Hotels and Matt Grauso, General Manager of the ‘Alohilani Resort, and their wonderful banquet team.
For a complete listing of all 42 scholarship winners and their sponsors, please go to the Star-Advertiser spread, click HERE. To see the complete Program, click HERE.
Moving Forward: The Transient Vacation Rental Issue
This past Tuesday, the State’s controversial transient vacation rental measure, Senate Bill 1292, was revived and once again heard on the Senate Floor after failing to receive a positive majority vote last week Friday. Due to a slight shift in votes, the measure narrowly passed through the Senate with 13 ayes to 12 noes in support of the House of Representative’s amended version. The controversy over SB1292 remains with the understanding that it is strictly a taxation mechanism and lacks the necessary “teeth” to support county enforcement. The Bill has now been issued to the Governor where he has 45 days to sign the bill into law, or 35 days to issue his intent to veto. He has publicly stated that he will carefully review the measure and confer with the county mayors before he makes a decision on the matter. He will seek their opinion on whether SB1292 will in fact impede their respective county’s ability to enforce local ordinances. He also agreed to meet with HLTA before rendering his decision.
With the State unable to move on this issue in a comprehensive nature for a number of years, I have said from the outset that we need to turn our focus to the counties and their enforcement of meaningful regulations on TVRs. Therefore, we believe more than ever, that the counties need to pass and enact ordinances that will face the issue head on; such is the current case with legislation at the Honolulu City Council.
This past Monday, the Honolulu Committee on Planning reconvened their public hearing on Bill 89 (2018) CD1 and Bill 85 (2018), both dealing with the regulation of transient vacation rentals on Oahu . The measures were postponed from last week Tuesday as droves of testimony came in on both sides of the issue; seeking everything from stricter guidelines, to carve outs for certain types of TVRs. Through the seven CD2’s that were proposed and deliberated on this week, we stood firm on our stance that there should be no expansion of Transient Vacation Rentals and that they should be restricted to their current legal zones, or if they are operating with a nonconforming use certificate. The two measures that closely mirrored our sentiments were Bill 89 CD1 and the CD2 proposed by Councilmember Ron Menor. These measures would only allow for a controlled expansion of bed & breakfast units within the county. In most cases, these short-term rentals are either owner occupied or have a manager physically on site. With a 5-0 vote (1 member excused), the Committee on Planning passed Councilmember Menor’s CD2 which will now go to a final full council vote before it heads to the Mayor’s desk.
With concerns hovering on State Senate Bill 1292, now before the Governor, I urge our members to join me in support of Bill 89 (2018) CD2, the key enforcement component in the City & County of Honolulu. The measure states that it is unlawful for hosting platforms to collect, book, or receive a fee for booking services from illegal operators, and that it shall further be unlawful for them to offer these services if they are not registered with the Department of Permitting and Planning.
The measure is slated for third reading on May 8th at Honolulu Hale, for more information find the council agenda here.
Should you have any questions please feel free to contact myself or my Senior Director of Government & Community Affairs, Jared Higashi at (808) 923-0407 or via email at email@example.com.
Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger Grand Opening
Monday evening, we celebrated with the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger team as they debuted their $35 million renovation. The 498-room property now boast flat screen TVs, a new pool terrace, and beautiful meeting rooms. Great to see so many of the industry folks there for this happy occasion.
Congratulations to the Outrigger Hospitality Group, particularly Beachcomber General Manager Ike Cockett, who was very active with the Kauai chapter of HLTA during his time there , and Outrigger Vice President of Hotel Operations Mike Shaff. During his remarks, OHG President Jeff Wagoner made a point to recognize Mike, an HLTA Board Member, as he took special care in managing this renovation from the corporate level. We look forward to having an event at your property soon!
41st Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk Begins!
Tomorrow morning, the 41st Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk will kick off on Lanai and Molokai islands! As we gear up for next week's Walks on Hawaii Island, Kauai and Maui, and close with Oahu’s Walk on May 18th, I hope you are all still fundraising!
As a reminder, all monies raised for Charity Walk on each island will remain on that island, and go to support a wonderful local 501(c)3 organization working in service of one of our 8 pillars:
Hawaii Island: $17,967
Kauai and Maui are locked in a tight race at this point for the lead! Please support your island and its local nonprofits, click to donate now.
Don’t forget that Oahu will be launching Hawaii’s first 1K Slippah Walk on May 18th; registration is available through the Charity Walk registration!
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