State of Hawaii, Senate Staff, Sheriff Deputies Face Civil Suit

Yesterday I posted the video of Mitchell Kahle and Kevin Hughes getting arrested for free speech at the Hawaii State Legislature…

Today it was announced that a 14 count civil suit complaint has been filed against the State of Hawaii, The Senate Staff, Sheriff Deputies.

You can view the press release here that is being released to the newspapers or you can simply see the lawsuit itself: Mitchell Kahle and Kevin Hughes vs. Bienvenido Villalor and Others.

Ralph Nader Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Hear His Hawaii Ballot Access Case

File this under the “You learn something new every day” category:

On November 30, Ralph Nader asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his ballot access case from Hawaii.  The case number has not been assigned yet.  The case originated in 2004, and challenges the Hawaii policy that requires six times as many signatures for an independent presidential candidate, as for an entire new party.  When a new party qualifies in Hawaii, it is entitled to its own primary, and the easy ability to run a candidate for every partisan office in the state.  Thus, a new party has far more impact on the ballot than a single independent presidential candidate…

Full story at Ballot Access News.

Capitol Protester Found Not Guilty… The Video of the Protest

“On April 29, 2010, activists Mitch Kahle and Kevin Hughes were assaulted by Ben Villaflor, the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms, and State Sheriff’s Deputies, for objecting to unconstitutional Christian prayers used to begin each session of the Hawaii State Legislature. Hughes was injured in the attack and was taken to the hospital for x-rays and treatment. Kahle was arrested and prosecuted, but was ultimately vindicated when Judge Leslie Hayashi found Kahle “NOT GUILTY” and ruled that: “The Senate’s [Christian] prayers violate the constitutional separation of church and state.”

(Arrest begins at 1:30)

RELATED: Capitol protestor found not guilty Hawaii News Now – Nov 25, 2010

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h7ekCD6uE4]

Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church

Yellowjacket Invasion in Hawaii is Wrecking Havoc with Ecology?

Great just when we were worried about the varroa bee mite…  it turns out yellowjacket’s themselves are a threat to native species in Hawaii:

…The Western yellowjacket, native to the western United States and first discovered in Hawaii in 1977, is like “a vacuum cleaner” and is clearly a threat to native species in Hawaii, said Wilson, a postdoctoral scholar in the Louie Yang lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology.

Wilson, the lead author of Hawaii-based research published in the current edition of the journal Ecology, will speak on “Yellowjacket Life History Shifts Modify Invasion Impacts in Hawaiian Ecosystems” from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 1 in 122 Briggs Hall.

Her talk, part of the department’s fall seminar series and free and open to the public, will be webcast live at http://uc-d.na4.acrobat.com/ucsn1/ and then archived on the entomology website…

Full article here: Yellowjacket invasion in Hawaii is wrecking havoc with ecology.

The Scaries Defeat the Fairies… Roller Derby Returns to Hawaii

Tonight marked the return of Roller Derby on the Big Island of Hawaii and The Paradise Roller Girls put on one hell of a show to a sold out Hilo Civic Stadium.

The Team Rosters (Click to Enlarge)

The Scaries

The Fairies

The match was pretty even up until the final few minutes of the game and thats when the Scaries pulled away for the win 137 – 112.

I have never seen the civic so full before and this is a great sign for things to come.

“…We are your mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, daughters and friends.  Take a close look at our roster… You may be surprised by some of the faces you see.  Yes, that is the woman who sold you your house last year.  Yes, that other girl owns that store you go into all the time.  And that chick, yep, she’s your son’s elementary school teacher… ” Meg Premo  President of Paradise Roller Girls stated in the brochure.

So be sure to check out the next bout when it happens.  I’ll be sure to announce it here as well.  Here is a short clip of a “Jam”:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JydT8UVBVhU]

For those of you that think this might be the fake stuff… well you can ask “Knuckle Slamwitch” how fake this is as she ended up with a pretty serious injury.

I had a great time… and even my son tried to get in on the action with a little half time hula hoop show!

Feel free to click on any of the pictures below or above for a larger shot:

Of course we can’t forget the Ref’s and the other members of the Paradise Roller Girls:

Kamehameha Lip Dub 2010

A video produced by the Kamehameha Kapalama Advanced Video Productions.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8Wugetsezo]

OTEC Pilot Plant Off Big Island a Step Closer to Reality

An Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) pilot plant off the coast of Hawaii’s Big Island is now a step closer to reality. The U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NFEC) has just awarded Lockheed Martin a US$4.4 million contract modification to develop critical system components and designs for the plant – this amount is in addition to the $8.1 million contract the NFEC issued in 2009, as well as two grants totaling $1 million that Lockheed Martin received from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2008 and this March. Hopefully, this means the streets of Kona may someday be lit by electricity obtained from the temperature difference between warm and cold sea water.

An artist's impression of Lockheed Martin's Hawaii OTEC pilot plant

Full article here:  More Funds for Hawaii’s Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Project

From the Mayor’s Office – On the Proposed $56 Million Bond

From the Mayor’s Office:

Those who suggest we run for the bunker in tough economic times fail to see the opportunities that we have to make our island a better place to live. Lost in the anxiety many are feeling over the County budget is a practical application of sound economic principles.

We need to recognize and take advantage of the opportunities that tough times provide by funding capital improvement projects that will benefit our island now and in the future.

This administration proposes a $56 million bond authorization to take advantage of these opportunities. With these funds the County will build important roads, parks, housing and waste disposal projects that our communities desperately need. The bond authorization will position us to take advantage of near-record low interest rates and any additional federal stimulus programs that offer interest rebates. Construction companies desperate for the work are submitting low bids, so we save more money while employing workers to keep our families strong and dollars flowing throughout our local economy.

Even while our economy is struggling, our island is still growing with a resulting increase in demands for service. We cannot afford to sit on our hands and say “no can” to our critical needs when we have the capacity to address them.

This is our administration’s first bond authorization request because we preserved our borrowing capacity to use at the right time, which is now, and the debt will be paid down over 20 years with the bulk of it paid as our economy improves. Such long-term borrowing is the normal way governments manage the cost of capital improvements.

Our current debt service rate of 10.3 percent will remain below the 15 percent threshold for responsible borrowing even with the addition of the bond sale we are proposing.

In July, three national bond rating firms — Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch — evaluated our County’s financial outlook and determined that Hawai`i County is a good investment risk because of our sound approach to budgeting and willingness to take the necessary steps to keep our financial outlook strong.

Projects we propose to build include:

  • La`aloa Avenue extension to improve public health, safety and the flow of traffic in Kona.
  • An additional 16 units of Kaloko transitional housing to provide a safe haven for the most vulnerable Kona residents to help them stabilize their lives.
  • Kapiolani Street extension to spur growth and development at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo by opening up nearly 42 acres of undeveloped land for businesses to invest in housing and new commercial activity around the campus.
  • New County park facilities in the rapidly growing Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision in Puna to provide organized and supervised activities for children, seniors and families that will strengthen the community and make it safer for residents.
  • A regional rubbish transfer station and recycling center at Waiohinu to serve the growing needs of the sprawling Ka`u District for solid waste disposal facilities and give businesses relief from the long, costly drive to a landfill in Hilo or Kona.
  • New photovoltaic systems in County buildings to save long-term costs and contribute to energy conservation and sustainability.
  • Planning the Puna Makai Alternative Route (PMAR), a critical need in the County’s fastest growing district for access in and out during emergencies, to improve traffic safety and congestion on existing roads and provide opportunities to leverage County dollars with federal funding.
  • Repairs and upgrades to recreational facilities in North Kohala, including Kamehameha and Keokea Beach parks where facilities that are used extensively by the community have been closed since the 2006 Kiholo Bay earthquake.

These are some of the proposed projects we are proposing to be funded with the sale of bonds that will put people to work, save taxpayer dollars, strengthen our communities and help us paddle our canoe out of the economic doldrums.

The Hawai`i County Council again will consider our proposed bond authorization Bill 311 on Nov. 30, and the administration urges Council members to confirm their earlier decision to authorize the sale of bonds for these projects for the benefit of our residents and the future of our island.

Black Friday: Midnight Arrives and Chaos Begins at Walmart Keeaumoku

Video from John Garcia:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33w22XyDkSs]

The Turkey Crisis Hotline

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5Gv3QFcMsE]

Wordless Wednesday – Burger Kings Hiding Something From Us

Hawaii Forest & Trail Honored as 2010 Rotary Club of Kona Business of the Year

Media Release:

Hawaii Forest & Trail was honored as the Rotary Club of Kona 2010 Business of the Year at their recent monthly membership meeting and luncheon.

Cindy and Rob Pacheco Accept the 2010 Rotary Club of Kona Business of the Year Award

The Rotary Club of Kona has been honoring local businesses in the West Hawaii community with quarterly awards for several years. The Business of The Year award recognizes recipients for their outstanding commitment to the community. This year, the service club decided to move from quarterly awards to honoring one business that aligned with its own dedication to community service as a source for hard work and a better life in the community.

This was the ride that took us out to Waipio Valley

The 2010 Business of the Year Award honored Hawaii Forest & Trail for its commitment to environmental education, creating a healthy workplace and for e hoomaluo (conserve our natural resources), a program within the company designed to support and inspire the conservation of Hawaii’s natural resources through corporate giving, stewardship and sustainable business practices.

Travel Writer John Fischer (About.Com) and Deston Nokes (www.destonnokes.com) hike Waipio Valley while Becky Ryan from Irondog Communications (www.irondogpr.com) follows up the pack

“This is an exciting time for Hawaii Forest & Trail. We inspire guests everyday on our guided nature tours. Through this inspiration, we turn guests into stakeholders in Hawaii and Hawaii Forest & Trail,”said Hawaii Forest & Trail President and Founder Rob Pacheco. “As we inspire others to conserve Hawaii’s rich natural and cultural resources, a deeper experience emerges for our visitors and community.”

Our guide Rob Pacheco tells us about Waipio Valley and the history of the valley

Hawaii Forest & Trail has received several awards including 2009 Rand McNally Best of the Road Editor’s pick, Hot Blue 100 List, and was a recent recipient of the Ecotour Operator of the Year Award by the Hawaii Ecotourism Association.

I take in one of the many waterfalls along the Waipio Rim hike

About Hawaii Forest & Trail

Hawaii Forest & Trail was founded and is operated by Rob and Cindy Pacheco, who share their passion and knowledge of Hawaii’s natural beauty with visitors from all over the world. Hawaii Forest & Trail’s vision is to inspire the conservation of Hawaii’s natural resources. Most recently, Hawaii Forest & Trail Hawaii launched their new company-wide conservation initiative entitled e hoomaluo (conserve our natural resources). The program mission is to support and inspire the conservation of Hawaii’s natural resources through corporate giving, stewardship and sustainable business practices.

US Forest Service, UH Hilo and Stanford Team Up to Develop New Ecosystems for Hawaiian Forests

Media Release:

In collaboration with Stanford University and the University of Hawaii, Hilo, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station’s Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry will begin research next spring on developing “hybrid ecosystems” a mix of native and non-native species in an effort to create a sustainable ecosystem in tropical forests.

The research team, comprised of Dr. Susan Cordell, USDA Forest Service Research Ecologist; Dr. Rebecca Ostertag, Biology Associate Professor from the University of Hawaii at Hilo; and Dr. Peter Vitousek, Professor of Biology and the Clifford G. Morrison Professor in Population and Resource Studies from Stanford University, recently received a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) to conduct their work on the 200-acre Hawaii Army National Guard Keaukaha Military Reservation on the island of Hawaii.

The proliferation of invasive plant species in lowland tropical forests in Hawaii have become so pervasive that it is neither cost-effective nor practical to eradicate all non-native species. These highly endangered ecosystems are often degraded by invasive species, and continue to be lost at a rapid rate. The research team will examine how to create new ecosystems incorporating native and non-native (but non-invasive) species that will also optimize carbon storage and support and encourage native biodiversity.

The project will begin in April 2011 and be conducted in two phases over a five-year time period. The first phase will include a 14-month study and analysis of traits of existing native and non-native species including cultural species. The second phase will include test plantings of several combinations of species.

“Invasive species are so prevalent. You’re hand weeding, trying to eliminate them and aren’t able to keep up with them. It feels like you’re fighting a losing battle. Restoring these lowland tropical forests to a historic native state is not financially or physically feasible,” Cordell says. “We’re excited about this grant because it will allow us to conduct our research and try to find ways to co-exist with a sub-set of these species, and promote the sustainability and biodiversity of these forests.”

The SERDP, DoD’s environmental science and technology program, invests across a broad spectrum of basic and applied research, as well as advanced development. SERDP focuses on cross-service requirements and pursues solutions to the Department’s environmental challenges. The development and application of innovative environmental technologies will reduce the costs, environmental risks, and time required to resolve environmental problems while, at the same time, enhancing and sustaining military readiness.

3.3 Earthquake Follows the 4.7 – No Worry Folks… We Live on a Volcano!

Magnitude 3.3
Date-Time
Location 20.135°N, 156.058°W
Depth 0.2 km (~0.1 mile) (poorly constrained)
Region MAUI REGION, HAWAII
Distances
  • 26 km (16 miles) WSW (243°) from Hawi, HI
  • 28 km (18 miles) WSW (247°) from Kapaau, HI
  • 30 km (19 miles) NW (318°) from Puako, HI
  • 42 km (26 miles) WNW (287°) from Waimea, HI
  • 112 km (70 miles) WNW (295°) from Hilo, HI
  • 226 km (140 miles) SE (125°) from Honolulu, HI



4.7 Earthquake Strikes Hawaii… No Tsunami Reported Yet

Magnitude 4.7 (Preliminary magnitude — update expected within 15 minutes)
Date-Time
  • Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 04:34:12 UTC
  • Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 06:34:12 PM at epicenter
Location 20.590°N, 156.550°W
Depth 15.3 km (9.5 miles) set by location program
Region MAUI REGION, HAWAII
Distances
  • 16 km (10 miles) SW (226°) from Wailea-Makena, HI
  • 21 km (13 miles) SSW (207°) from Kihei, HI
  • 25 km (16 miles) SSW (194°) from Maalaea, HI
  • 34 km (21 miles) SSW (195°) from Kahului, HI
  • 155 km (96 miles) ESE (121°) from Honolulu, HI

More Here: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Quakes/pt10328000.php

*Update:

TSUNAMI SEISMIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NUMBER   1
NWS PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER EWA BEACH HI
641 PM HST TUE NOV 23 2010

TO - CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

SUBJECT - LOCAL TSUNAMI INFORMATION

THIS STATEMENT IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. NO ACTION REQUIRED.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

   ORIGIN TIME - 0634 PM HST 23 NOV 2010
   COORDINATES - 20.6 NORTH  156.6 WEST
   LOCATION    - AT THE ISLAND OF KAHOOLAWE
   MAGNITUDE   - 4.6

EVALUATION

 NO TSUNAMI IS EXPECTED. REPEAT. NO TSUNAMI IS EXPECTED.
 HOWEVER...SOME AREAS MAY HAVE EXPERIENCED SHAKING.

THIS WILL BE THE ONLY STATEMENT ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS
ADDITIONAL DATA ARE RECEIVED.

Governor Lingle Gets $16,350 Self Portrait Taken at Tax Payers Expense

From the Governors site:

Governor Linda Lingle’s official State portrait was unveiled this evening at a ceremony held at Washington Place.  The portrait of Governor Lingle standing in the garden at Washington Place is the first official portrait of a Hawai‘i Governor that was painted by a local artist since Governor John Burns, and the first portrait of a Governor wearing a flower lei.

Governor Lingle’s portrait was painted by local artist Christy Fujii.  The Governor selected Fujii after seeing a painting of Queen Emma that the artist had done for The Queen’s Medical Center.  While Governor Lingle reviewed portfolios of other artists who expressed interest in painting her portrait, it was Fujii’s stirring portrait of Queen Emma that won the Governor’s final approval.  Fujii was commissioned by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

The oil on canvas portrait was painted by Fujii from a digital photograph of Governor Lingle that was taken by local photographer Ric Noyle.  Fujii painted the portrait over a span of seven weeks.  The portrait, which measures 36 inches by 48 inches, is framed in a six-inch wood frame with four layers, the largest part being koa wood, and gold highlights.  The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts budgeted $35,000 for the portrait.  The final cost for the photo, portrait and framing came in under budget at $16,350.

The portrait will be installed next week in the Executive Chambers at the Hawai‘i State Capitol, alongside the portraits of Hawai‘i’s past 11 Territorial Governors and five State Governors.  Governor Lingle’s portrait will hang next to the portrait of Governor George Ariyoshi in the Ceremony Room where State visits, news conferences, proclamation ceremonies and other official events are held.

The unveiling ceremony at Washington Place was hosted by the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and the Board of the Friends of Hawai‘i Robotics.

Governor Lingle chose to highlight one of her Administration’s key initiatives, educational robotics, as part of the unveiling.

About the Artist

Christy Fujii, owner of Christy Fujii Gallery in Chinatown, is a contemporary landscape artist that utilizes elements of impressionism in her pieces.   In her childhood years, she would sketch portraits and images from her hometown of Gyongju in South Korea.  She began to work with oil paint in her early teens and moved to Hawai‘i in 1973.  Inspired by the beauty of the islands, she enhanced her painting skills and learned to incorporate the palette knife under the guidance of her mentor, George Eguchi.  Each of her paintings reflects her imagination, her talent, and her love of art.  Fujii is currently a member of the Korean Artist Association of Hawai‘i.

About the Photographer

Ric Noyle, born in Capetown, South Africa, has resided in Honolulu for the past 30 years.  In this time, Noyle’s award-winning work has been used and enjoyed by his vast worldwide clientele. He operates Ric Noyle Photography, a full-service commercial photography studio and specializes in photographing people, food and resorts.  In addition to his assignment work, he also maintains an extensive stock library which contains more than 30,000 images of Hawai‘i.  Noyle has become a leader in the field of digital photography over the past years.  He has produced many catalogs, aerials, murals and advertising material with his state-of-the-art digital scan backs.

Junior Achievement “Trade Fair” Offers Handmade Gifts and Chance to Help High Schoolers Learn Business

Media Release:

Nearly a hundred students from East Hawaii high schools will market their hand-made gifts at the Junior Achievement Trade Fair. The event takes place at Prince Kuhio Plaza on “Black Friday,” November 26 from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Holiday shoppers looking for unique items will find a wide variety at the Trade Fair. Some of the many items made and marketed by the students include koa bookmarks, cookie baking kits, t-shirts, hats, greeting cards, coffee packages, Christmas stockings, coupon books, calendars and koa tree ornaments.

Members of Junior Achievement Company “Ke Kumu `Ike” prepare “create your own cookbooks” which will be on sale at the JA Trade Fair this Friday and Saturday at Prince Kuhio Plaza.

The students are formed into six Junior Achievement “companies” which have been in operation since September.  The companies are “Big Island Goods” sponsored by HELCO, “F.A.S.T. (Forever All Standing Together)” advised by UH Hilo students, “Ke Kumu `Ike” sponsored by Bank of Hawaii, “Ka `ike” sponsored by HPM Building Supply, “F.L.O.H. (Future Leaders of Hawaii)” sponsored by HFS Federal Credit Union and “U Like?” sponsored by Big Island Toyota.

The only one of its kind in the State, the JA High School Company Program provides students the opportunity after school to learn business by doing.  Each company is comprised of 18 to 25 high school students from East Hawaii high schools. Lead by their student management team and advised by volunteers from local businesses, the companies select company names, design, produce and market products, account for expenses and revenues, manage human resources, create business plans, and learn other practical business skills after school from September through December. Company and individual prizes are awarded in January based on results.

Members of Junior Achievement Company “Ke Kumu `Ike” hand made four products including koa bookmarks which will be on sale at the JA Trade Fair this Friday and Saturday at Prince Kuhio Plaza.

The Company Program is one of several programs offered by JA of Hawaii Island (JAHI) to students from Kindergarten through twelfth grade. Last year JAHI serviced over 3,000 East Hawaii students.

For information about Junior Achievement programs on our island, parents, teachers and concerned community members can contact Susan Labrenz, District Manager at JA-Susan@hawaii.rr.com.

Lighthouse Delicatessen Opens in Downtown Hawi

Friendly city-style eatery offers highly anticipated options to Kohalans and visitors

Media Release:

The community of North Kohala is now home to an attractive new dining experience. Located next to Lighthouse Liquors in the Kohala Trade Center, Lighthouse Delicatessen offers delicious sandwiches & specialties, munchies & desserts, meats & cheeses by the pound, as well as beer and wine by the glass.


“It’s a perfect place to crush a sandwich and a beer,” said Chris Scelza, one of four friends who also opened neighboring Lighthouse Liquors almost a year ago. “It’s a city-style deli with a Kohala twist.”

Lighthouse Delicatessen is named in honor of the recently demolished Kauhola Point Lighthouse, and is the offspring of four North Kohala residents – General Manager & Chef Chris Scelza, local yoga instructor Bobby Hoyt, marketing manager Marci Elizondo, and carpentry guru Rick Klaus. With recipes inspired by the women in Scelza’s Italian family, a cozy ambiance highlighted by the same wooden flooring, beautiful sapele mahogany accents and deep red walls that adorn Lighthouse Liquors, this deli provides a tasty and charming new option for hungry patrons…
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Party Like It’s 1945 at the Pacific Aviation Museum

Los Lobos to Rock the Islands Next Month