East Hawaii News

Yuen Appointed to Land Board, Again

July 11, 2014, 6:23 PM HST
* Updated July 13, 3:56 PM
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie has named former Hawaii County Planning Director Christopher Yuen to fill a vacancy on the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

Yuen was one of three people the governor appointed to the BLRN today, two of whom filled vacancies created by recent resignations resulting from a new state law mandating that financial disclosure forms be made public.

Yuen, a resident of Ninole, previously represented Hawaii County on the land board for two terms, from 1990 to 1998.

He served as planning director under former Mayor Harry Kim and is also a former deputy county attorney.

Since 1995, Yuen has been the owner and manager of The Family Farm Inc., a 20-acre certified organic farm on the Hamakua coast. He also serves on the advisory councils for the Laupahoehoe and Puuwaawaa experimental tropic forests.

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He holds a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University, a master’s degree in environmental science from State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a law degree from the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

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Yuen was appointed to fill one of two vacant at-large seats and to fulfill a requirement that at least one land board member have extensive background in conservation.

Appointed to another vacant at-large seat was Vernon Char, an Oahu attorney with extensive experience in appointed positions, including a stint from 2003 to 2011 on the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Wes Furtado. The Kailua, Oahu resident resigned from the land board less than a month after his appointment. Courtesy photo.

Wes Furtado. The Kailua, Oahu resident was appointed to the land board on June 16 and resigned this week. Courtesy photo.

One of the at-large seats was vacated by Wes Furtado, a longtime official in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union who resigned less than a month after being appointed on June 16.

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The terms of the previous at-large representatives were set to expire by June 30.

Furtado is among at least 18 members of state boards and commission who have resigned over the financial disclosure law which went into effect July 1.

They included Reed Kishinami, who represented Oahu on the land board.

He was replaced today by Ulalia Woodside, a former employee of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and current regional asset manager for natural and cultural resources at Kamehameha Schools.

Woodside fulfills another requirement of state law that a BLNR member have a background in Native Hawaiian cultural practices.

The appointments are subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

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