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Bench Dedicated to Jan Dapitan Installed at Maui Courthouse

Posted on May 5, 2017 in Featured News, News & Reports
Photograph of Jan Dapitan sitting on a bench dedicated in her behalf for the role she played in establishing Hawaii's Environmental Court. The top of the bench is covered with leis.

Jan Dapitan sits on the Second Circuit Courthouse bench, at Hoapili Hale, dedicated in her honor on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Dapitan was instrumental in establishing Hawaii’s Environmental Court. Photo courtesy of Megan Moseley, Malama Maui Nui.

Jan Dapitan was honored during a special ceremony on Thursday, April 27, at Hoapili Hale, the Second Circuit Court building in Wailuku, for her role in spearheading Hawaii’s Environmental Court. A newly installed bench, made entirely of recycled plastic, was dedicated to Dapitan. Dapitan is the founder of the local non-profit Mālama Maui Nui, formally the Community Workday Program, and Hawaii’s former Keep America Beautiful leader.

Special guest speakers included Dan Goodfellow of Goodfellow Bros., Inc., Leah Belmonte from the Office of Governor David Ige, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter of Shelby County, Tennessee, Gabrielle Schuerger and Barbara Fernandez of Maui Green and Beautiful / Malama Maui Nui, and Keep America Beautiful Senior Vice President Cecile Carson. The blessing of the new courthouse bench was administered by Kahu John Tomaso.

“Jan was a staunch advocate of the state’s Environmental Court because of her commitment to protecting Hawaii’s environment, particularly its beauty,” said Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Michael Wilson. “She stood for the proposition that an Environmental Court is important to provide for judges’ understanding of technical issues and the environmental laws we have in Hawaii. Jan worked with the Keep Maui Beautiful organization along with Maui’s state senators and representatives to develop the Environmental Court legislation.”

Hawaii is only the second state in America to have a statewide environmental court. The Environmental court was established pursuant to Act 218, Session Laws of Hawaii 2014, enacted as Hawaii Revised Statues Chapter 604A “Environmental Courts.”

In February 2016, Dapitan received the Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson Award, Keep America Beautiful’s highest level of recognition.


Photograph of Bench Dedication Ceremony participants.

The April 27 Bench Dedication Ceremony at Hoapili Hale. From the left: Honoree Jan Dapitan, next to Dan Goodfellow, of Goodfellow Bros, Inc. who sponsored the Bench and provided refreshments. First row: Mayor Alan Arakawa, Second Circuit Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza, Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Michael Wilson, along with many family, friends and other community leaders. Kahu John Tomoso gives the blessing from the podium. Photo courtesy of Judge Adrianne Heely.