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Six Culinary Scholarships Awarded

The ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association awarded six scholarships Saturday at the Christmas with the Chefs gala on the grounds of Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.

Pictured with their scholarship envelopes are from top left: Angeli Aoki, Taylor Neufeld and Hokuao Umiamaka with Associate Professor and Palamanui Culinary Arts Program Coordinator Paul Heerlein, CCC, CCE. Bottom from left: Brittney Badua, Jenna Shiroma and Leila Lewis.

Recipients are all local culinary students attending Hawaii Community College-Palamanui and volunteered at the event. In addition, HCC graduates served as chefs at three of the 20 culinary stations: Ash Danao at Daylight Mind Coffee Company and Café, Scott Hiraishi of The Feeding Leaf and Darcy Ambrosio of A-Bays Island Grill.

In its 28th year, the annual fundraiser benefits culinary students attending Hawai‘i Community College—Palamanui and members of the Kona Kohala Chefs wanting to further their education. Mark your calendar for next year’s benefit on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017.

Councilwoman Jen Ruggles Available in Pahoa and Hilo Offices

On Monday, December 5th I took an oath to serve the people of our island to the best of my ability.  I am deeply humbled and honored to say that I’ve officially taken office as your District 5 council representative and now the real work begins.

Our Hilo and Pahoa offices are being set up and constituent meetings have already begun. We will continue our open door policy for the Hilo Office, while balancing our residents needs to meet in the district in Pahoa.

Our Hilo Office is located in the lava rock faced County Building at 25 Aupuni St. Hilo, HI 96720 and in Pahoa we are located at 15-2879 Pahoa Village Road, two properties down from the 7/11 Store on the same side of the road.

We will have an official County website up and running within the next few months and will migrate our notices, events, and pertinent constituent information as soon as we can.

I am also pleased to introduce you to our competent hard-working staff  who share my passion of service: Amber Shouse and Nelson Ho.  Amber will be serving as our council aid  while Nelson will be our legislative assistant.

To schedule a meeting with me please contact Amber at 961-8026 or Amber.Shouse@hawaiicounty.gov. Nelson can be contacted at 961-8536 and Nelson.Ho@hawaiicounty.gov.

Have a safe and happy holiday season. We will keep you posted on upcoming council hearings and important community events.

Yours truly,

Councilwoman Jen Ruggles

Large Fishing Net Removed From Beach at Kapa’a

A large fishing net, estimated to weigh about two tons, was removed from the beach at Kapa‘a fronting the Coral Reef Resort, yesterday.

Staff from the Kaua‘i office of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), Department of Land and Natural Resources first learned about the net mass very late Wednesday evening via a posting on social media. After an initial on-site assessment early Thursday morning by Kaua‘i DOBOR District Manager Joseph Borden, DOBOR staffers were dispatched to move and secure the net.

As far as staff could tell, no marine life was trapped in the next, and not even barnacles were evident.

Two sizable, heavy trucks with chains were required to roll the partially buried in sand net mass above the high wash of the waves and onto the property of the Coral Reef Resort hotel.

The net was staged there with the permission of the hotel for removal today. The net mass and any debris that came loose during the removal have been collected by Conserve Kauai and the net mass will be shipped to O‘ahu for recycling/disposal.

Reports of large nets or marine debris on shorelines may be made to dlnr.marine.debris@hawaii.gov.

Waiakea One of Four Schools Earning Spots In Hawaii LifeSmarts State Competition

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Office of the Securities Commissioner announces the top scoring high school teams for the online portion of the annual Hawaii LifeSmarts State Competition.

The top four teams are from Maryknoll, Pearl City, Roosevelt and Waiakea high schools.  They have earned a spot to compete at the in-person State Competition, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Campus Center Ballroom from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  The event is open to the general public.

LifeSmarts is a consumer education program designed to teach students in grades 6-12 about personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities. The Hawaii LifeSmarts program is sponsored by the DCCA Office of the Securities Commissioner in partnership with the Hawaii Credit Union League and the National Consumers League.

The teams will test their skills through written tests, a “speed dating the experts” activity, and gameshow style buzzer rounds at the State Competition.  The winner of the competition will represent Hawaii at the National LifeSmarts Competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from April 21 – 24, 2017.

“Thank you to all the students and coaches for their dedication and participation in this year’s LifeSmarts online competition.  Congratulations to the top four teams who will move on to the State Competition”, said Securities Commissioner Ty Nohara.

For program information on the next competition season and/or sponsorship inquiries, please contact LifeSmarts State Coordinator, Theresa Kong Kee at 808-587-7400 or email tkongkee@dcca.hawaii.gov.  For up-to-date happenings on the LifeSmarts Hawaii program, follow the Office of the Securities Commissioner on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching “HISecurities”.

Suspicious Device Closes Shopping Mall and Road in Kona

Hawaiʻi Island police have closed a shopping mall and part of a road in Kona because of a suspicious device.

At 7:23 a.m., police received a call about a suspicious device in front of a business at the King Kamehameha Mall in Kailua-Kona. Police evacuated the mall and formed a perimeter around the area. As a result, Kuakini Highway, from Palani Road to Kaiwi Street is closed to traffic and is expected to remain closed through the afternoon.

Personnel from the U.S. Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) are responding.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area. Police thank the public for their cooperation.

Maunalua Makes Their Kahilu Theatre Debut

On Friday, December 23, 2016, at 7PM, the award-winning Hawaiian music trio Maunalua, known for its tight harmonies, strong vocals, and slack key guitar licks makes its Kahilu Theatre debut.

A longtime favorite with audiences all over the aloha state and the continental United States, Maunalua’s always-entertaining performances range from fun high-energy songs to sweet and soulful ballads interspersed with banter between the three group members and the audience. Formed in 1993, Maunalua is comprised of Bobby Moderow, Jr. (Slack Key Guitar, Lead and Background Vocals), Kahi Kaonohi (Electric Bass, Lead and Background Vocals), and Richard Gideon (Guitar, ‘Ukulele, Lead and Background Vocals). The trio has won numerous awards over the years, with the most recent being the award for 2016 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Group of the Year.

Doors open at 6PM for the performance and there will be beverages and snacks available for sale at the Kahilu Theatre bar.

Tickets are $68 / $58 / $48 / $20 and available for purchase online at www.kahilutheatre.org, by calling (808) 885-6868, or at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI 96743, Monday – Friday, from 9am to 1pm.

This performance is made possible by generous sponsorship from Peter Souza, Kalei Kamalani & Matthew Kamalani, Working Class Hawaii, and Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

The Kahilu 2016/17 Hawaiian Series is sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines and KAPA Radio.

Coast Guard Calls Off Search for Man Wanted By Police

The Coast Guard suspended the active search Wednesday at sunset for the boater missing off the Big Island.

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 52-year-old Honokaʻa man who is wanted for violating terms of bail.
Derek Liu is described as 5-foot-10, 165 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Derek Liu, 52, remains missing.

“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Liu,” said Lt. Scott Carr, the Coast Guard 14th District public affairs officer. “We extend our thanks to our partners in the Hawaii County Fire Department and the Navy for their support and time on this search.”

Responders conducted a total of 26 sorties covering 820 square miles (713 sq. nautical miles) over four days.

Involved in the search were:

  • Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • The crews of the USCGC Ahi (WPB 87364) and USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316)
  • Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter crews from HSM-37 at Kaneohe Bay
  • Hawaii County Fire Department air crews, boat crews and divers

Watchstanders from the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received notification from the Hawaii County Fire Department Sunday morning regarding a 12-foot Zodiac dinghy found adrift offshore by a mariner. The dinghy had evidence of recent use with two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard.


Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 52-year-old Honokaʻa man who is wanted for violating terms of bail.

Derek Liu is described as 5-foot-10, 165 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Students Participate in 25th Annual Deaf Santa Program

Santa Claus greeted more than 100 students from across the state during the 25th annual Deaf Santa program at Pearlridge Elementary. Participants were able to communicate their holiday wishes with Santa without an interpreter.

​More than 100 students from across the state are hoping their holiday wishes come true after meeting with Santa. Today’s occasion brought children who are hearing impaired to Pearlridge Shopping Center for the 25th Annual Deaf Santa Program.

This year was extra special for six students who traveled from Kea’au Elementary.

“This is an opportunity for the students to come and be with peers who have similar backgrounds and situations,” said Kea’au Elementary Principal Ron Jarvis. “We come from an area of the island with high poverty rates and some of the students don’t have the opportunity to travel, so they were excited from the moment we got to the airport.”

Other schools participating in the event included Waimalu Elementary, Pōmaika’i Elementary, Lehua Elementary and the Hawai’i School for the Deaf and the Blind. Students were treated to train rides on the Pearlridge Express, a meet and greet with Santa as well as live entertainment featuring the students.

The program was created for students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade that are deaf, deaf and blind or hard-of-hearing. The Deaf Santa program is made possible through the support of ASL, Deaf Education & Interpreter Education at Kapiolani Community College; Hawai’i State Department of Education’s Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support Exceptional Needs Branch; Pearlridge Center; Cookie Corner; Pizza Hut; Razor Concepts; Sprint Relay Hawaii; Expressions Photography; Ground Transport; and Roberts Hawaii.

Magic Camp in Honoka’a

The holiday season is a magical time of year, and award-winning magicians Bruce and Jennifer Meyers are celebrating with a very special four-day Magic Camp to future wizards age six and up.

A joint project of Meyers and the Peace Committee of Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, Magic Camp takes place December 27-29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and December 30, 5-7 p.m., in the temple’s social hall.

Young magicians will be taught new tricks every day of camp, including how to make things appear and disappear, levitate, switch places, and more. And, they will build their own magic kit to take home and astound their friends.

“The study of magic is educational and valuable for young people in many ways. It can boost confidence, inspire a positive attitude, and so much more,” said Meyers. “And that’s the real magic, helping the kids.”

Cost for Magic Camp is $70 per student. Please register in advance at www.BruceMeyers.com, or call (808) 982-9294.  Financial assistance will be available; please inquire.

For families unable to afford the cost of Magic Camp, the producers welcome contributions or offers to sponsor students in need.  Donations can be sent to “Peace Committee” (c/o Honokaa Hongwanji; PO Box 1667, Honokaa HI 96727).

For further information on how to donate contact: misterokumura@yahoo.com.

TSUNAMI WATCH ISSUED FOR STATE OF HAWAII

UPDATE: THE TSUNAMI WATCH IS CANCELLED FOR THE STATE OF HAWAII EFFECTIVE AT 0836 AM HST.

TO – EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

SUBJECT – TSUNAMI WATCH

A TSUNAMI WATCH IS ISSUED FOR THE STATE OF HAWAII EFFECTIVE AT 0748 AM HST.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

ORIGIN TIME – 0739 AM HST 08 DEC 2016

COORDINATES – 10.7 SOUTH  161.4 EAST

LOCATION    – SOLOMON ISLANDS

MAGNITUDE   – 8.0  MOMENT

EVALUATION

BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA A TSUNAMI MAY HAVE BEEN GENERATED BY  THIS EARTHQUAKE THAT COULD BE DESTRUCTIVE ON COASTAL AREAS EVEN FAR FROM THE EPICENTER.

AN INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY TO DETERMINE IF THERE IS A TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII.

 IF TSUNAMI WAVES IMPACT HAWAII THE ESTIMATED EARLIEST ARRIVAL OF  THE FIRST TSUNAMI WAVE IS        0256 PM HST THU 08 DEC 2016

FURTHER MESSAGES WILL BE ISSUED HOURLY OR SOONER AS CONDITIONS WARRANT UNTIL THE THREAT TO HAWAII HAS PASSED.

36 Endangered Hawaiian Seabirds Fledge in First Two Years of Relocation Effort

“An enormous success,” is how people and organizations involved in an effort to further protect endangered Hawaiian seabirds describe the first two seasons of translocating Hawaiian Petrels and the first Newell’s Shearwaters to a predator-proof enclosure at Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kaua‘i’s north shore.

Newell’s Shearwater Miracle Chick and First Fledglings

Today, the last of 20 Hawaiian Petrels brought into the 7.8 acre Nihoku colony this fall, fledged – flying safely out to sea.  Dr. Lindsay Young, of Pacific Rim Conservation, the non-profit organization responsible for care and feeding of the birds at Nihoku, said, “Each time one of these young birds fledges it leads us one step closer to our ultimate goal of recovery for these native birds. A huge number of individuals and organizations are involved in this project and the success of these first two years of translocations bodes well for the future.”

All of the birds were collected from colonies located in Kaua‘i’s rugged, mountainous interior, where the birds are under threat from introduced predators and loss of breeding habitat.  This, coupled with collisions with powerlines and attraction to artificial lights, has dramatically reduced their populations on Kaua’i.  Once carefully extracted from their burrows, the birds were flown by helicopter to Princeville airport where they were then driven to the Nihoku enclosure.

There the birds were placed into artificial burrows and, over the course of several weeks were fed and cared for by a dedicated team until they finally fledged. Dr. André Raine, who leads the Kaua‘i Endangered Forest Bird Recovery Project explained, “Like the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine,’ Kaua‘i’s endangered seabirds serve as a warning for the overall health of our forests and watersheds.  With the breeding populations of these iconic birds dropping so precipitously in the last two decades, we should look to the overall health of our native forests and watersheds which is also at risk.”

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a primary partner in the planned five-year translocation effort to establish breeding colonies of Hawaiian Petrels and Newell’s Shearwaters at Nihoku. Hannah Nevins, ABC Seabird Program Director, remarked, “The Nihoku colony is the only fully protected colony of federally listed seabirds in Hawai‘i and what’s happened over the past two years is a major achievement and step forward in stabilizing and recovering these important endemic Kaua‘i seabirds.”

The effort is a collaboration among the Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP), Pacific Rim Conservation, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. KESRP is a DOFAW/Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit project. Other partners also provided much-needed assistance for the project. The Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative provided critical support for predator control in collaboration with DOFAW at montane nesting areas within the Hono O Na Pali Natural Area Reserve and the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) at Upper Limahuli Preserve. NTBG also conducted vegetation restoration at Nihokū, where the fence is located in the refuge. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provided critical funding support. The Kaua‘i DOFAW Natural Area Reserve team also provided on-the-ground support.

“We hope that residents of Kaua‘i, folks from around the state, and Hawai‘i’s millions of visitors, along with people the world over will appreciate the scope of this management tool and partnership as a critical step toward reversing the decline of both Hawaiian Petrels and Newell’s Shearwaters,” concluded Heather Tonneson, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s, Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

UH Hilo Receives OHA Grant Funding

Na Pua No`eau- The Center for Gifted and Talented Native Hawaiian Children has announced that the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has received funding from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) `Ahahui Grants program. The funds support UH Hilo’s strategic goal to strengthen its impact on the State of Hawai’i by working in partnership with other UH campuses to deliver joint program events or activities.

On February 23, 2017, Na Pua No`eau will present “E Ho`okama`aina” at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College (UHMC). OHA awarded a total of $5,300 for this event, which will invite high school juniors and seniors to engage and learn about the various degree programs from faculty and program coordinators to inspire them to enter into higher education and further their career aspirations.

“Ma Uka a i Kai Akamai Engineers” will be held on April 3, 2017 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mänoa. OHA awarded $1,950 to invite K-12 students and their `ohana to explore how the different types of engineering (mechanical, electric, civil, etc.) were applied during the days of their kupuna. The Native Hawaiian Science and Engineering Mentorship Program is a partner in the event, which will include games and work on projects that provide hands-on learning about the field of engineering.

`Ahahui Grants support community events that meet at least one primary strategic result. The events will address OHA’s Exceed Education Standards and UH’s Hawai’i Graduation Initiative (HGI). For more information, contact Nä Pua No`eau Director Kinohi Gomes at kinohi@hawaii.edu.

Big Island Officer of the Month: Andrew Springer

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Kona Patrol Officer Andrew Springer as “Officer of the Month” for December in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (December 7) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Andrew Springer

Springer was honored for arresting a man who had broken into one vehicle and appeared to be selecting his next target.

On May 24, police received a report that someone had entered a parked vehicle at a store in Kailua-Kona and removed a backpack. After reviewing surveillance video, Officer Springer made checks in the immediate area and then expanded his search. He located the suspect in the parking lot of a nearby business. The man was sitting in a pickup truck and using the victim’s binoculars to focus on a third parking lot, where he apparently was targeting his next victim.

Springer arrested him and recovered the victim’s property. Police also recovered a small amount of crystal meth and a smoking pipe from the suspect’s truck.

The suspect was charged with unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

As “Officer of the Month,” Springer is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee is an organization that encourages community involvement in aiding and supporting police in West Hawaiʻi.

Mayor Kim Takes Oath of Office – Outlines Past Accomplishments

Mayor Harry Kim took the “Oath of Office” at the Hawaii County Inaugural Ceremonies on Monday, December 5th at the Hilo Civic Center.

Soon after, the Hawaii County website changed to reflect the new mayor’s vision with a statement from him on the side of the website along with a couple announcements talking about what he accomplished the previous time he was in office:

The following are some highlights of my previous administration from 2000-2008. The key at the bottom of the post indicates what level of involvement we had from identifying a site, negotiating, conducting an EA, acquiring a site, preliminary planning, obtaining funding, planned, funded, construction started, to construction completed.

Budgeting Through Hard Times & Good Times

In 2000, the economy was bad, and it soon got worse after 9/11/01. Immediate mid-year budget cuts were required and taken. A tax rate increase was passed in May 2002 just to maintain current services. Property values started increasing around 2004, so relief for homeowners was proposed and passed:

  • 3% cap on increase in value per year
  • Higher exemption based on % of value
  • Improved Homeowner Dedication program

Also proposed were revisions to agriculture tax laws for fairness and relief. As property values continued soaring, we prepared for future hard times:

  • Created and proposed funding reserves
  • Created “Rainy Day” Fund
  • Disaster & Emergency Fund
  • We were also able to address long needed priorities and programs that were neglected during many years of hardship.

In November 2008 – County’s bond rating by Standard & Poor’s was upgraded due to sound financial management.

Environment

HI5 redemption (“bottle bill”) When bill was proposed at legislature and seemed unlikely to pass, Hawai‘i County offered to be a “pilot program” to promote passage.

Recyling

  • Hired first Recycling Coordinator
  • Increased land ll diversion from 13.9% in 2001 to 29.1% in 2008
  • Established at 19 transfer stations

Reuse Center

  • First one developed at Keaau Transfer Station, 2003

Hilo Landfill

  • Increased life by up to 10 years

Scrap metal

  • Established long-term contract for scrap metal recycling to encourage private investment – succeeded in eliminating decades-old scrap metal piles

Programs & Initiatives

2005 General Plan

  • Included “important ag lands” designation
  • Community Development Plans

Free bus rides

An economic stimulus, as free bus rides allowed those who use the bus to spend more money on family and other things

Aging and Disability Resource Center

First in state, bringing together agencies dealing with seniors and caregivers in a single facility

Community Development Plans

Initiated & adopted

  • Kona (2005-2008)
  • Puna (2006-2008)
  • North and South Kohala (2007-2008)

Shoreline public access

  • Ten miles new public access in N. Kohala
  • Three miles new public access in Pepeekeo
  • Kohanaiki compromise, new park
  • Donation of Hakalau Mill site
  • Honl’s (Waiaha) beach park, Kailua-Kona
  • Honuapo, 145 acres purchased
  • Waipio Ranger Program

“Concurrency”

Concept introduced in 2004

Fiber optic

Upgraded County’s telecommunications network with fiber optic

Waste to Energy

Followed the County’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan and pursued a waste to energy project. Issued a nationwide RFP and the final selection of Wheelabrator was made after committee review. Project fell short of implementation because of Council concern over costs.

Public Safety

During the second term, County was able to finally address long-unmet needs for increased police and reprotection, especially
in the fast-growing districts of Kona and Puna. Personnel shortages were caused by the many years of hiring freeze due to the extreme revenue shortages of the 1990s and early 2000s. We were able to support department requests for new positions:

  • Police – Added 143 new positions
  • Fire – Added 141 new positions

Buildings

  • West Hawaii Civic Center (2)
  • Aupuni Center (1)
  • Pahoa Fire Station (2)
  • Pahoa Police Station (4)
  • County Building Renovation (2)
  • East Hawaii Detention Facility (1)
  • Makalei Fire Station Site (6)

Roads

  • Keanalehu-Manawalea Connector Road (2)
  • Ane Keohokalole Highway (prelim planning) (5)
  • Puainako (Saddle Road) Extension (1)
  • Kuakini Highway, Palani to Hualalai (1)
  • Palani Rd Improvements at Kealaka’a St (2)
  • Mamalahoa Hwy Impr, Honalo to Captain Cook (2)
  • Pohoiki Road Realignment (1)
  • Waikoloa Emergency Road (1)
  • Mamalahoa Resurfacing, S. Kohala (1)
  • Mud Lane Resurfacing (1)
  • Puako Escape Route (1)
  • Coastview/Wonderview-Palisades connectors (2)

Parks

  • Pohoiki/Isaac Hale Beach Park Improvement (1)
  • Reeds Bay Beach Park Improvements (2) West
  • Hawaii Veterans Cemetery Expansion (1)
  • Waiaha Beach Park (Honi’s) (1)
  • Pahoa park land – 50 acres purchased (1)
  • Pu’umaile/Lehia Beach Park (King’s Landing) (1)

Other (Managed by DWS)

  • HOVE Water Well (State funded) (2)
  • Island-wide Water Spigots (2)
  • Kona Coastview/Wonderview Water I.D. (1)

Infrastructure Key

  1. Planned, funded, construction complete
  2. Planned, funded, construction started
  3. Site identified and acquired, master plan approved
  4. Site identified and acquired, planning phase
  5. Preliminary planning and EA done so ready to go
  6. Site identified, in negotiations

Civic Projects:

Kona Community Development Plan (CDP)

Initiated the General Plan’s intent of community development plans that provide a forum for community input into managing
growth and coordinating delivery of government services.

  • 2005: Kona selected as the first of seven geographic districts to begin the process of creating a CDP.

    The process involved hundreds of meetings and thousands of individuals.

  • 2008: Kona CDP adopted by ordinance, and the work of the Action Committee continues.

West Hawai‘i Civic Center

Identified the need to bring County services together in one place and prioritized the construction of a new West Hawai‘i civic center. Extensive community input guided the design of the facility as a “gathering place”, resulting in an inviting and energy-efficient civic center that received LEED Silver certification.

  • 2002: Site selected; land acquired from State by E.O. 3952
  • 2005: Contract awarded for design and community input
  • 2008: $50.5M of County funds committed for design/build contract; groundbreaking in October
  • 2011: Construction completed

Road Projects

The following projects were initiated by the Kim Administration and were in various stages of completion by the end of 2008:

Keāhole to Hōnaunau Regional Circulation Plan:

Completed in 2003, this plan comprehensively analyzed options to address the growing commuter traffic from Ka’u and South Kona traveling through North Kona. The recommendations were incorporated into the Kona CDP and is the foundation for
Kona road projects.

Ane Keohokalole Highway:

The Keāhole to Kailua Development Plan introduced the concept of a Mid-Level Road in 1991. In 2007 started engineering and an environmental assessment. In 2008 the Kona CDP officially recognized this road as a priority. These actions positioned
this project to qualify for federal stimulus funding.

Keanalehu-Manawalea Connector Road:

This road connects the Villages of La‘i ‘Ōpua, Kealakehe Elementary School, Kealakehe Intermediate School, Kealakehe High School, and the Kealakehe houselots to reduce the travel times for school children. In 2007 secured funding and started construction.

Kuakini Highway Improvements:

This project widened Kuakini Highway from two to four lanes from Palani Road to Hualālai Street. Weekly meetings were held among the contractor, Public Works staff, and the community. Completed in 2006.

Palani Road Safety Improvements at Kealaka‘a Street:

This project realigns Kealaka‘a Street to intersect with Palani Road and Palihiolo Street with a traffic light. In 2006 funds secured and construction started.

La‘aloa Avenue:

This project improves mauka-makai connectivity between Ali‘i Drive and Kuakini Highway for traffic flow and emergency evacuation purposes. In 2004 secured funds for engineering, environmental assessment, and land acquisition. In 2008 final environmental
assessment culminated months of meetings with the community; funding secured for construction.

Māmalahoa Bypass:

Negotiated with the Hokuli‘a developer to grant an easement to the County for the use of the Māmalahoa Bypass on a limited basis for southbound afternoon traffic. Introduced amendments to the rezoning ordinance and traffic code to allow use of Haleki‘i Street as a connector prior to the opening of entire bypass to Nāpō‘opo‘o, and specify improvements to Ali‘i Drive and Haleki‘i Street to accommodate the increased traffic.

Traffic Flow Improvements:

Completed a number of smaller projects to improve traffic flow on existing streets — Hina Lani/Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway, right turn lane; Hina Lani/Māmalahoa Highway, traffic signal; Kaiminani/ Queen Ka‘ahumanu and Kaiminani/Māmalahoa Highway, right turn lanes; various improvements to Māmalahoa Highway, Honalo to Captain Cook.

Housing, Water, & Public Safety Projects

“A Friendly Place” for Homeless:

When previous attempts to locate a homeless service center and shelter faced community resistance, the Administration relocated a County baseyard in the Kailua Industrial area to build a homeless intake and service center. The structure was donated by developer Stanford Carr.

Emergency Housing for Homeless:

The Administration initiated a homeless shelter on the Friendly Place site. In 2008 a partnership between the County, State and HUD allowed construction to go forward.

Kaloko Housing Program:

This project provided decent, safe and sanitary housing and support services to qualified homeless families with children. This was an urgent need due to the pending closure of the Kawaihae transitional housing. In 2006 secured the site by working with the private developer of the Kaloko Industrial Park, TSA Corporation, to acquire eight acres of land along Hina Lani Street.

Kona Coastview/Wonderview Water System Improvement District:

Responded to a community’s outcry for assistance through an innovative partnering of County and federal resources. This project constructed a County dedicable water system serving 437 Kona households to replace aging private water systems and leakage-prone
“spaghetti lines”.

Mākālei Fire Station:

Upon determining a previous site as too costly and not suitable, in 2007 secured a site donated by a landowner with assistance of Mr. Yamamoto and Mr. Lynch. In 2008 Final EA published.

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Kona Girl Missing Since August

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Kona girl who was reported missing.

Summer Steenolsen

Summer Steenolsen was last seen in Waimea on August 10.

She is described as 5-foot-7, 135 pounds with blond hair and green eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

VIDEO – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Honors 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard honored the 75th Anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor:

“My heart is in Hawaiʻi today. At almost this exact time, on this very day 75 years ago, the first bombs were dropped in the attack on Pearl Harbor. More than 2,400 people perished on that fateful day that will forever live in infamy.

“We remember our brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate price, and those who answered the call to serve in the months and years that followed, including our two former Senators Inouye and Akaka, and the more than 320,000 who gave their lives in that war.

“We remember the Japanese Americans whose lives forever changed when after the attack on Pearl Harbor, they were thrown into internment camps. And the brave Nisei, who in spite of these atrocities, volunteered to serve, forming the Nisei-only “Go For Broke” 442nd Infantry Regiment, serving courageously, and sacrificing greatly.

“May we never forget what happened at Pearl Harbor, the lessons learned, and the sacrifices of all who served.”

Background: Last month, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard reintroduced a House resolution originally authored by Congressman Takai that commemorates the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and honoring the more than 320,000 men and women who gave their lives in defense of the United States during World War II.

Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park Unveil New Submarine Exhibit

Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Frederick “Fritz” J. Roegge, in partnership with Chuck Merkel, executive director of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, unveiled a new submarine exhibit in honor of the 75th commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, Dec. 6.

Rear Adm. Fredrick "Fritz" Roegge, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, addresses guests during an unveiling of a new submarine exhibit at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park. Dec. 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. The U.S. military and the State of Hawaii are hosting a series of remembrance events throughout the week to honor the courage and sacrifices of those who served Dec. 7, 1941, and throughout the Pacific theater. As a Pacific nation, the U.S. is committed to continue its responsibility of protecting the Pacific sea-lanes, advancing international ideals and relationships, well as delivering security, influence and responsiveness in the region. (Navy Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael H. Lee/Released)

Rear Adm. Fredrick “Fritz” Roegge, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, addresses guests during an unveiling of a new submarine exhibit at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park. Dec. 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. The U.S. military and the State of Hawaii are hosting a series of remembrance events throughout the week to honor the courage and sacrifices of those who served Dec. 7, 1941, and throughout the Pacific theater. As a Pacific nation, the U.S. is committed to continue its responsibility of protecting the Pacific sea-lanes, advancing international ideals and relationships, well as delivering security, influence and responsiveness in the region. (Navy Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael H. Lee/Released)

Roegge spoke to more than 150 guests, military and civilian, about the importance of the submarine force during World War II.

“Within hours of the attack, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold Stark ordered, ‘Execute against Japan unrestricted air and submarine warfare.’ Our submarines were the only forces able to immediately begin war patrols. They carried the battle across the Pacific and into Imperial Japanese home waters while the fleet was repaired.”

He explained that while the submarine forces made up only two percent of our entire Navy, they sank 30% of all Japanese warships, and 55% of all Japanese merchant ships sunk during the war.

“Submariners also paid the heavy price of the greatest casualty rate of any American branch of service in the war,” Roegge said. “Submariners are well-aware that the challenges of World War II produced some of our greatest successes, our greatest heroes, and our greatest sacrifices.”

In 2011 I got to tour the Submarine USS Cheyenne.

In 2011 I got to tour the Submarine USS Cheyenne.

Roegge explained the intention behind the exhibit by noting that, “It’s hard to find that important story within the existing narrative on display across the many museums and memorials that fill the horizon, and failing to highlight those details reflects a missed opportunity – not only to honor our heroes, but to share our story here at Hawaii’s most popular tourist and historical destination until today.”

Today, we begin to share that story – honoring our heroes – with a new display located in front of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, free and accessible to anyone visiting Pearl Harbor’s iconic landmarks.

Hula to be Featured at UH Hilo Fall Commencement

Fall commencement at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo takes on a different look this year, reflecting the view of higher education through an indigenous lens promoted by the UH System’s Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao initiative. The program will feature a student speaker, a hula presentation about learning and growth, and the awarding of degrees on Saturday, December 17 at 9 a.m. in Vulcan Gym.
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A total of 242 students have petitioned for 318 degrees and/or certificates from the colleges of Arts and Sciences (233), Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (21), Business and Economics (30), Pharmacy (6) and Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language (7), while 21 others are candidates for various post-graduate honors.

Kyle James Davis, an agriculture major, will represent the graduating class as student speaker. Davis, who will receive a BS in tropical horticulture, has maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.48. His academic achievements include being named to the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management Dean’s List in 2013 and 2015. Davis also earned a Semester at Sea Scholarship and spent spring 2014 studying aboard the MV Explorer in nearly a dozen countries.

Davis is an ordained minister, who served five years in the US Army, including over two and a half years in Iraq as a combat medic. His commencement address will draw from his numerous life experiences and will include a call for his fellow graduates to broaden their horizons.

The chant- hula will be performed by UNUKUPUKUPU, Indigenous Leadership through Hula Program under the directorship of Pele Ka`io, Hawaiian Protocols Committee chairperson, and Dr. Taupōuri Tangarō, director of Hawaiian Culture and Protocols Engagement, at UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College.

Organizers anticipate a dynamic performance, with at least 50 individuals representing UH Hilo, HawCC, and Waiākea High School. Gail Makuakāne-Lundin, interim executive assistant to Chancellor Donald Straney, director of Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, and a member of UNUKUPUKUPU, will introduce the chant-hula, entitled ʻUlei Pahu I Ta Motu, which was composed more than 200 years ago and documents the evolution of world view.

The chant-hula will be preceded and followed by the sounding of 20 pahu (drums) and 20 pū (conch-shell trumpets). The 20 pū will also sound honoring Moana-nui-ākea (large and broad oceans) that connect Hawaiʻi to the world. The performance concludes with the presentation of Paʻakai (sea-salt) to honor the profound intersection where the learner transitions to graduate.

Straney said fall commencement provides a unique opportunity to showcase the UH Hilo – Hawaiʻi Community College Papa O Ke Ao collaboration, which seeks to make the UH campuses leaders in indigenous education.

$3,000 Raised for the Food Basket at Taste of Mauna Lani

The 7th Annual “Taste of Mauna Lani” fundraising event to benefit Hawai‘i Island Food Basket raised 50 percent more than the 2015 event.

shops-at-mauna-lani
The Taste of Mauna Lani is held during three weeks in September, with participating restaurants offering specially discounted three-course prix-fixe dinners.  A portion of each sale is donated to Hawai‘i Island Food Basket. Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar at The Shops at Mauna Lani contributed over $1,000 from sales during the event.

Other participating restaurants at The Shops at Mauna Lani included Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Blue Room Brasserie & Bar and Monstera Noodles & Sushi.  CanoeHouse at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalow was the second highest contributor with over $500 donated to the charity.  A new participant this year was Brown’s Beach House at The Fairmont Orchid.  In addition, The Shops at Mauna Lani made a 20% matching contribution to all funds raised by the restaurants.

“With everyone’s participation in this event, a total of $3,000 was raised by ‘Taste of Mauna Lani,’ which is a significant increase over last year’s amount.” said General Manager Michael Oh. “We are always looking for ways to give back, especially to the Food Basket, who works so hard all year round to help the people who need it most in our community.”

To make a donation as an individual or business, visit www.hawaiifoodbasket.org.

Rod S. Tanonaka Named House Sergeant-At-Arms

Rod. S. Tanonaka has been named the State House of Representatives Sergeant-at-Arms effective January 3, 2017.

capitalTanonaka replaces Kevin R. Kuroda who held the position since 2003. Kuroda announced his retirement last month to address personal and family concerns.

“Kevin has done an outstanding job and we will miss his steady presence at the Capitol,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki. “We also believe Rod has the experience and skills needed to capably fulfill the requirements of the position.”

Tanonaka previously served as Chief of Staff for the late U.S. Rep. K. Mark Takai and prior to that held the same post for U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa during her first term in office.

The Sergeant-at-Arms Office’s duties include providing security for the offices and chambers of the state House. The staff attends and maintains order during all House sessions and is responsible for executing the commands of the House leadership.