Sunday, March 25, 2012

UHH Distinguished Alumni Dinner

Five honorees were celebrated at the UH Hilo 12th Annual Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards Banquet. From left to right, State Representative Mark Nakashima; UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney; honorees Jimmy Yagi, basketball coach; Gary Hara, Brigadier General, Hawaiʻi National Guard; Miyoko Sugano, Professor Emeritus; Ross Wilson, Principal, Current Events; Gladys Sonomura, community volunteer; and State Senator Gil Kahele.

First Robotics ReBound Rumble

Kohala High School
 More than 1,000 high school students from around the world will had the opportunity to showcase their hard work after an intense six weeks of designing and building an original robot in the FIRST Hawaii Regional Robotics Competition.  FIRST = For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

Honokaa High School
The 2012 Rebound Rumble robotics game is played between two Alliances of three teams each.  Each Alliance competes by trying to score as many of the basketballs in the hoops as possible during the two minute and 15-second match.  

Congratulations to Kohala High School which represented Hawaii at the 2012 FIRST Championships in St. Louis, MO.  Also representing Hawaii are Baldwin High, Island Pacific Academy, Kealakehe High, Waialua High, and Kalani High.

Hilo High School

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rev. Ryoso Toshima at House Chambers to provide Invocation before House Session

Thursday, March 15, 2012

National Distinguished Principal

Principal Joyce Iwashita of Kalanianaole School in Papaikou with Mark and Reps Chang and Tsuji
Joyce Iwashita, principal of Kalanianaole Elementary and Intermediate School, was recognized by the House of Representatives as Hawaii’s 2011 National Distinguished Principal during Education Week at the Capitol.  She was selected by committee through a process conducted by the Hawaii Elementary and Middle School Administrators Association (HEMSAA).

In her recommendation, Hilo/Laupahoehoe/Waiakea complex area superintendent Valerie Takata wrote, “When Joyce first became principal of the school, she needed to assess and reevaluate the school’s efforts. She did this with the support of the complex area team who conducted a comprehensive needs assessment with the school. This also meant she needed to make difficult decisions and work collaboratively with the staff to move to another providers who could better meet the needs of the school. Her leadership skills and courage enabled her to make this decision and to transition the staff with minimal disruption.

Under Principal Iwashita’s leadership, Kalanianaole School has shown dramatic student performance gains as measured by the Hawaii State Assessment. From 2004 to 2010, the percentage of students testing proficient in reading rose from 38 percent to 62 percent. In math, it rose from 9 percent to 47 percent.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Punt, Pass and Kick

Mark with Rep. Scott Nishimoto and Rep. Corin Ching Representing Higher Ed.

The University of Hawai‘i was showcased at the State Capitol on Tuesday, March 13th, as part of the annual Hawai‘i State Senate Education Week celebration.
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa coaches and athletic department members were be on hand to meet and greet legislators, staff members and the public, and to participate in a special “Punt, Pass, Kick” competition.
Staff from the 10 campuses of the University of Hawai‘i System will be in attendance with displays highlighting campus programs and students from the Kapi‘olani Community College culinary arts program will provide cooking demonstrations and samples.
House Captain Representative Scott Nishimoto scored the best PASS to insure that the House Team was not SKUNKED by the Senate or Administration Teams.  The Administration captured the nest PUNT and KICK to take the 2012 competition.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kalo Challenge

Cooking teams assemble near the stage as awards are 
presented and teams are  recognized for their efforts.
Ka Hana Noeau, a mentoring and leadership development group hosted their 4th Annual Sustainability event at the Intergenerational Center at Kamehameha Park in Kapaau.  This year's special ingredient is kalo which has been raised by several Kohala families in part of a sustainability demonstration project that has been on-going in Kohala for the past couple of years.

Several "celebrity" teams made of of representatives of the Governor's Office, County Council, Kohala Boys, ILWU, Mayor's Team and others prepared a variety of dishes from pastas, stews, and dumplings competing for selection as "Most Savory," "Most Creative," "Most Aromatic," "Best Presentation," and the "People's Choice" awards.
Rep Cindy Evans, Mark, Rep Jerry Chang,
Rep Heather Guigni, Trustee Robert Lindsey.
and Councilman Dennis Onishi
Participation had grown each year with six teams participating in the chicken cook off in the first year to a field of eleven teams this year participating in the Kalo Challenge.  These dishes have also been increasingly harder to judge as the judges bring a number of differences and expectations to the table.  Judging on such a diverse number of criteria also adds complexity to the challenge of balancing of diverse tastes, eye appeal and textures.  An additional category which was much more straight forward was based on sustainability.  This was measured by the cooking team's use of a variety of items that were brought in by local farmers and placed on a table for use by the teams.  The OHA Team led by Trustee Robert Lindsey took this recognition by utilizing sixteen ingredients from the table in their entry.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Art in the Capitol

Mark speaks with Artist Franco Salmoiraghi
during the Art in the Capitol event.
Mark with Arts in the Capitol Sponsors Rep
Issac Choy, Sen Brian Taniguchi, Rep Della
Belatti, and Arts Ex Dir Eva Laird Smith
For the fourth year, Representative Nakashima co-hosted the Art in the Capitol event which invites the community to the State Capitol to view the various works of art that make up the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Art in Public Places Collection.  The offices in the Capitol are adorned by the pieces collected over the years and often reflect the tastes and personality of the office's occupant.  

In recent years, the artists with pieces on display in the capitol have been invited to interact with the public and to speak to patrons about their pieces or inspirations.  This year, Franco Salmoiraghi, a photographer who spent quite a bit of time photographing the Big Island spent time in my office and shared his experiences while working and touring Hawaii.

The Art in the Capitol program is part of the larger community "First Friday" events that has served as the downtown renaissance inviting lovers of the arts into the many galleries and performance spaces that now occupy the Downtown/Chinatown area.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

League of Cities of the Philippines Visit Hawaii

Mark with Mayor and Mrs. Melandres De Sagun
of City of Trece Martires is the youngest mayor
first elected at 25.
Mark joins fellow Big Islanders Senator Gil
Kahele and Mayor Billy Kenoi at reception for
Filipino Mayors at Washington Place
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the League of Cities of the Philippines and the State of Hawaii at a special ceremony held at Washington Place.  The Event, Hosted by Governor Neil Abercrombie and the Hawaii State Legislature Filipino Caucus formalized an agreement to continue to work together for future political, social, and economic cooperation between the State of Hawaii and the League of Cities of the Philippines.