State Lawmakers Rep. Gates and Sen. Shimabukuro Secure Over $20 Million for the Wai‘anae Coast Community

Honolulu, Hawaii –The Wai‘anae Coast will finally see some substantial funding, as lawmakers approved the state budget yesterday. More than $20 million will go toward the improvement of the area’s infrastructure and over a million dollars will funnel into non-profit organizations and programs.

“The community of Wai‘anae has waited too long for these needed improvements to our coastline, and I’m proud to say those improvements are finally funded in the budget passed Monday,” said Rep. Cedric Gates. “In a joint effort with Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, a lot was done for the Wai‘anae Coast.”

Like every community, certain organizations are the heartbeats of its residents. The Wai‘anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, approved to receive $850,000 for the construction of its dental clinic, will assist in the community’s dental care needs, especially for the keiki. Waianae’s youth will also benefit from the $100,000 slated for the After-School All-Stars athletic initiative. The acclaimed Searider Productions Foundation, known for its digital media expertise, will receive $110,000 for a hospitality-training program for Mākaha, Ko‘Olina, and Kapolei.

For the first time, the Wai‘anae Coast Community Foundation received approval for a $68,200 state grant to implement community events like Sunset on the Beach, Toys for Tots, food distribution, and other events.

“For years, I’ve heard their voices and the passion in them,” said Sen. Shimabukuro. “I am glad to help bring the community together in acquiring these much needed funds and resources. This is long overdue.” Other funding highlights include $151,000 and three permanent positions for Nānākuli Library, $2.5 million for the Youth Challenge Academy at Kalaeloa, and $800,000 for Nānākuli Voice of America Phase 1 Infrastructure by DHHL, all located in Sen. Shimabukuro’s district on the Wai‘anae Coast.

Additionally, Rep. Gates passed House bill HB845 which garnered $25,000 to require the Department of Public Safety, in collaboration with agencies to issue civil identification cards and to assist inmates in obtaining their birth certificate, Social Security card, and other relevant identification necessary for successful reentry into society.

Weary residents may find relief with the over $20 million in Capital Improvement Projects dedicated to Wai‘anae Coast transportation infrastructure and pedestrian safety, approved yesterday by the legislature. The rehabilitation of the Mākaha and Kaupuni bridges, the fifth-lane road extension study from Kalaeloa to Hakimo Road, and the bikeway from Waipio Point to Lualualei Naval Road will significantly help the community travel within and out of the area.

Wai‘anae Coast residents will also see agricultural park improvements, a Marine Science learning center and a rubberized, all-weather track and field for Waianae High School; crosswalk improvements, traffic signal cameras, and highway widening for efficient traffic flow, and finally, plans for the land acquisition, design, and construction of the Wai‘anae Coast secondary access road.

Lawmakers Rep. Gates and Sen. Shimabukuro, who are members of their respective finance committees, also helped garner over $100 million for projects that will benefit Leeward Oahu tremendously. UH West Oahu improvements, $18 million for Kalaeloa Airport, Kupuna care and early learning initiatives, $3 million for Kalaeloa Enterprise Avenue Energy Corridor, charter school enrichment, homeless outreach, HI Farmers Union United programs, mental illness and health care treatment programs are among those approved by the legislature’s finance committees. All will have a lasting and positive impact on the state as a whole.

Rep. Gates and Sen. Shimabukuro represent House District 44 and Senate District 21 respectively. Together, their districts encompass the Wai‘anae Coast of Mākua, Mākaha, Wai‘anae, Mai‘li, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale,
Ko ‘Olina, and Nānākuli. Both agree that the Wai‘anae Coast is not the only community in the state that deserves funding, but according to Rep. Gates, “it is our responsibility to make sure that our district residents receive their fair share and the support they deserve.”

Here are some of the highlights from HB100 CD1, the final version of the 2017 Budget:


$3m Farrington Highway 5th Lane Extension Study / Traffic Solutions for Waianae Coast

$3m 2nd Access Road / Traffic Congestion Relief (Funding for Rep. Cedric Gates’ second acces bill, HB1378)

$400,000 Leeward Bikeway/Multi-Use Path from Waipio to Lualualei Naval Rd

$92m Highway, intersection, and other traffic improvements – statewide


$1.75m / $650,000 Waianae High School rubberized all-weather track and field and marine science learning center

$151,000 and 3 permanent positions: Nanakuli Library

$75,000 Read to Me International Foundation GIA

$158m DOE facilities maintenance and improvements; ground and site improvements; new facilities; equipment and appurtenances; classroom renovations – statewide


$110,000 Searider Productions Foundation GIA

$40,000 Marimed Foundation for Island Health Care Training GIA

$2.5m Magnet school development with industry partners

$2.5m UHWO improvements and library


$68,200 Waianae Coast Community Foundation GIA

$500,000 Medical treatment for homeless with serious mental illness

$250,000 ID card obtainment for homeless (civil legal service assistance)

$54m Rental Housing Trust Fund, Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund, and Low Income Housing Tax Credit Loans


$850,000 Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center (WCCHC) dental building expansion

$200,000 Project Vision HI GIA

$150,000 Life Foundation GIA


$800,000 Nanakuli Voice of America Phase 1 Infrastructure by DHHL

$200,000 Pacific Islanders in Communication GIA

$45,000 Polynesian Voyaging Society GIA


$10m Makaha Bridges Replacement

$1.5m Kaupuni Stream Bridge Rehabilitation

$18m Kalaeloa Airport improvements


$500,000 Waianae Agricultural Park Improvements

$1.5m Slaughterhouse Facility

$90,000 HI Farmers Union United GIA


$1.75m Youth Challenge Academy at Kalaeloa and Hawaii Island operating expenses

$800,000 Youth Challenge Academy at Kalaeloa building improvements

$25,000 ID card assistance for prisoners being released


$3m Kalaeloa Enterprise Avenue Energy Corridor

$200,000 Kupu GIA

$9.9m Safe Drinking Water Revolving Fund

Sen. Shimabukuro’s SB-502 IVF Equal Coverage Bill Update 4/24/17

Bill seeks in-vitro fertilization coverage equality
By Taylor Polson
Star-Advertiser, April 12, 2017

Lawmakers are once again considering a measure to require insurance companies to offer in-vitro fertilization coverage to same-sex couples, unmarried couples and unmarried women.

Advocates of the measure say the current system amounts to discrimination because only married, heterosexual couples currently qualify for the benefit.

Planned Parenthood, in supporting Senate Bill 502, wrote that, at present, “insurance coverage discriminates against and essentially restricts a person’s reproduction based on their sex, sexual orientation and/or marital status. This kind of discrimination simply has no place in Hawaii law.”

The LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party also offered testimony in strong support of the measure, which passed the state Senate and is up for a vote in the House this week.

Sen. Maile shimabukuro (D, Kalaeloa-­Waianae-Makaha), who introduced the bill, said this is the third session at which such legislation has been presented. She said similar measures weren’t passed in previous sessions in part because insurance companies were concerned about expenses.  Continue reading

2017 Neighborhood Board Elections April 28 – May 19

All eligible voters are encouraged to cast their vote for their neighborhood board representatives. The list of Neighborhood Board candidates as well as their profiles are on the NCO main page and a list of all contested seats is here.

The voting period is from Friday, April 28 through Friday, May 19. The main method of voting is online; however voters may request paper ballots. Results of the elections will be released no later than June 1, 2017.

Star-Advertiser: ‘Gold bars use kiawe as base’ 3/28/17

By Jason Genegabus
Star-Advertiser 3/28/17

I love discovering products that are both good for me and make me feel good about buying them. ‘Ai Pohaku’s Waianae Gold ‘Aina Bars fit that description, with two types of treats made with an unlikely ingredient common throughout the islands.

‘Aina Bars in 6 oz containers. Wai’anae Gold ‘Aina Bars are a rich slow burning energy food. Perfect for the long run.

According to ‘Ai Pohaku founder Vince Kana‘i Dodge, kiawe trees have grown in Hawaii for nearly two centuries but were never used for food. Dodge discovered in 2006 that indigenous people from the southwestern United States milled mesquite wood into flour; he also traveled to Argentina in 2012 to visit with the indigenous Wichi, who have used kiawe flour for hundreds of years.

Vince Kana‘i Dodge, Tel. 808-478-6492, Email

Dodge’s two ‘Aina Bars are made with kiawe bean-pod flour, organic ground peanuts and organic raw honey. Blondie bars then add Hawaiian sea salt; Brownie bars use organic cacao for a chocolate note.

While kiawe flour produces a noticeable grittiness, the peanuts and honey balance things out and make it seem like you’re eating an energy bar.

Find the bars at Oahu Down to Earth stores. A 6-ounce container of Blondies is $10.79; Brownies are $12.39; a 50-50 mix is $11.59. They’re also sold at the Waianae Store, Kahumana Cafe Store and Kokua Market. Call 478-6492 or visit for info.

Read the full article on the Star-Advertiser site.