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President's Message | March 2017

Aloha mai kakou,

The end of the first quarter of 2017 is right around the corner and as the 2017 Hawai‘i State Legislative Session moves into full speed mode, our Chamber has chimed in with testimony for Healthcare, economic revitalization and economic development. Our Government Affairs Committee will keep us updated as the session continues, the first crossover date will be March 9.

The TMT contested case hearing came to an end on Thursday, March 2, 2017. The extensive hearing received input from 71 witnesses including Native Hawaiian cultural and religious practitioners, astronomers, and government officials, regarding whether to reissue a construction permit to build the telescope atop Mauna Kea.

There were also several events and activities held during the month of February.

On the 9th, the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce presented the Bank of Hawai‘i and KTA Super Stores Athena Award for 2016 to Debra Ching Maiava, Owner/Manager of Ken’s House of Pancakes & Ponds Hilo. Congratulations again to Debra for making all of us proud. Also a special mahalo to Brenda Ho for sharing her “PAY IT FORWARD” experience with all of us. Our Special Guest and Keynote speaker, Cheryl “Quack” Moore, shared an inspiring personal reflection of her life experiences in growing up and shared her love for working with music and the performing arts.

During mid-morning on Valentine’s Day, the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) met in West Hawai‘i to decide on the National Park Service (NPS) petition seeking designation of the Keauhou Aquifer System as a groundwater management area. The Commission, by a vote of six (6) to one (1), denied the National Park Service (NPS) petition. This outcome was welcomed by Hawai‘i County, large land owners and business organizations and several others on the west side of our island.

In the early afternoon on Valetine’s Day, a New Membership Orientation was held at the Innovation Center, where we welcomed new members Hope Chu-Hing of Hope Chu-Hing, State Farm Agent, RosaLei Quinting Androyna of SMART Plumbing Hawaii, and Bill Wilson of I.Kitagawa & Co., Ltd.

Mahalo to SMART Plumbing Hawaii, who sponsored the New Member Orientation Luncheon, and to Membership Committee Chair Kim Pua and Committee member Nina Decker, for organizing the orientation. Baby Colette and grandma Marge also joined us in the festivities.

While most people were enjoying the day off on February 20, in honor of President’s Day, our Chamber held its signature fundraising and fellowship event- The Whitey Rose Memorial President’s Cup Golf Tournament, held at the Big Island Country Club. Mahalo to all of the golfers that took the time to participate and support our Chamber of Commerce. Mahalo to Chad Cabral and the team from the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island for providing the awesome BBQ lunch during the awards presentation. It got windy later in the day, but we all had a blast. Last, but most certainly not least, mahalo nui to all of the volunteers that spent their holiday helping the Chamber with making this event a successful one. Sharon, Sandy, Lynda, Roberta, Anna, Ryan, Dave, Wendy, Nagahiro, Jess, Riley, Kristen and Miles. I can’t thank you enough, but wanted to let all of you know that you are all very much appreciated!

On February 22, the PTA Advisory group met at the Innovation Center for an update with Lt. Colonel Chris Marquez. There were several other PTA team members who provided insights into what’s going on at PTA. The lease for PTA terminates in 2029. Lt. Colonel Marquez informed everyone that a $30 million dollar project was recently completed, with another project of $26 million scheduled for sewer work in the cantonment area. PTA is planning to spend up to $174 Million dollars in infrastructure upgrades, but the military needs an extension on the lease in order to secure the additional $174 million for projects at PTA. We will need all of our members support to help the Pohakuloa Training Area with a lease extension. Stay tuned for further information on this.

During the month of March, please consider supporting the 13th annual Journey Through the Universe Educator’s Reception that will be held at the Grand Naniloa Hotel. This year, our featured guest speaker will be Hilo’s own Devin Chu. Devin, the son of Roberta and Newton Chu, will share his experiences in astronomy and how the Journey program helped to guide his dream of becoming an astronomer.

Anyone interested in an update of what’s going on at the legislature, please consider attending the Listening Session with Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i President and CEO, Sherry Menor-McNamara and Pono Chong, VP of Business Advocacy and Development. Topics that may affect your business will be discussed. Minimum wage, mandatory paid sick and family leave, transient accommodation tax are some of the talking points for this event. Hope to see you there!

‘Ahui hou, Mike.

March 2017 Chamber Connection Newsletter