Mayor Kenoi Names Deputies in Three Departments

From the Mayor’s Office:

County of Hawai‘i Mayor Billy Kenoi has announced the appointments of three deputies to key posts in the Department of Public Works, Department of Environmental Management and the Office of Housing and Community Development.

Former Deputy Corporation Counsel Brandon Gonzalez has been appointed deputy director of the County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works, Mayor Kenoi announced.

Gonzalez, 36, will work on strategic planning, formulation of the fiscal year 2011-12 budget and implementation of recommendations of recent audits.

Gonzalez worked as deputy corporation counsel from 2003 until this year. His responsibilities included defending the county in civil lawsuits; advising the Windward and Leeward Planning Commissions on legal matters; and assisting with collective bargaining. Gonzalez previously worked as a deputy prosecutor for the City & County of Honolulu.

“Brandon is an important addition to the Public Works team,” said Public Works Director Warren Lee. “His legal background and his experience in planning and collective bargaining issues will help the department more quickly reach its key goals.”

Gonzalez is also vice president of the East Hawai‘i Bar Association, and is a member of the board of the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of East Hawai‘i.

Mayor Kenoi also announced the appointment of Hunter Bishop, 59, as deputy director of the County Department of Environmental Management.

Hunter Bishop and Mayor Kenoi

Bishop was formerly executive assistant to the mayor, and has worked on projects that include planning and coordinating anti-dumping education and enforcement efforts that involve community groups, the Department of Environmental Management, police and prosecutors.

“Our county Department of Environmental Management faces many challenges in keeping Hawai‘i Island clean and healthy at a time of limited funding,” said Mayor Kenoi. “One of the department’s most important tasks is finding ways to reach out to residents to remind them of the importance of waste reduction, conservation and recycling. Hunter has many years of experience in communications and a passion for environmental protection, and I am pleased he is joining DEM Director Frank DeMarco and his staff in managing our island’s wastewater and solid waste disposal operations.”

Bishop has a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Temple University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1970. He also has 27 years experience in journalism.

Mayor Kenoi also announced the appointment of Niniau Simmons as assistant Housing Administrator in the Office of Housing and Community Development.

Simmons is the former chief operations and finance officer for Hui Malama Ola Na ‘Oiwi, a health care system with offices across the island. Most recently she served as executive director of the state King Kamehameha Day Celebration Commission, and was assistant director of Hale Kuamo‘o, which is the Hawaiian language center within Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikolani, the College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

She is a Harry S. Truman Scholar (2000), and has a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

“I am very pleased Niniau has agreed to join our team at the Office of Housing and Community Development,” Mayor Kenoi said. “Her leadership skills and experience in both the government and non-profit sectors will be important assets for the department.”

Hapuna Beach Closed Pending Possible UXO Investigation

Media Release:

The Department of Land and Natural Resources today temporarily closed a portion of the beach at Hapuna State Recreation Area in Kona for public safety until further notice, pending investigation of possible unexploded ordnance.

Hapuna Beach

A Hawaii County Ocean Safety lifeguard today spotted a cylindrical object in waters 4-5 feet deep at the south end of Hapuna Beach. The object has been described as 4-6″ in diameter and about 8″ of it is showing above the sand.  It has not yet been investigated nor confirmed as unexploded ordnance.

Yellow “CAUTION” tape has been put up along the beach from the south lifeguard tower and going northward, and also near the rock outcropping between the state park side of the beach and the Prince Hotel side of the beach. The public is advised to stay out of this area along the beach and in the adjacent waters.  The park is closed overnight.

DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement dispatched an officer to the scene upon notification by lifeguards. The US Army’s Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) office on Oahu was notified.

Paradise Roller Girls Ready to Roll Against Kauai Team in Second PRG Bout

The Paradise Roller Girls, whose very first bout last November sold out the Hilo Civic to an unprecedented crowd, are ready to lace up and rumble again – against Kauai’s “Garden Island Renegade Rollerz.”

The inter-island bout is Sat., Mar. 12 at Hilo’s 3,000-seat Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Doors open at 4 p.m., and the bout starts at 6 p.m.

The Hilo Civic was packed at the first PRG bout

Tickets are now available online at or through your favorite Paradise Roller Girl. Other outlets include CD Wizard in Hilo, Mountain View Village Video, Hilo Burger Joint, and Akmal’s Indian Food. Pre-sale tickets – available until Mar. 5 – are $8 in advance. After Mar. 5, prices are $10 at outlets and at the door the night of the event – if any remain. Children five and under are free.

Suicide Seating Available for a limited time

PRG expects to sell out the Civic again and fans are encouraged to purchase tickets as soon as possible.

The Scaries look on as a sold out civic looks on behind them

The competitive bout will test the strength, teamwork and agility of the East Hawaii-based PRG, many of whom recently returned from an intense three-day derby training camp on Kauai dubbed “Lei’d on the Track.”

Pep Talk

“There are seriously competitive athletes on the Kauai team who will definitely give us a run for the money,” said PRG Coach Blue “Irish I Was Bashin’ Ya” Davis. “It is going to be an extremely grueling game, with both teams bringing their best skaters to the track,” Irish said.

PRG Coach Blue "Irish I Was Bashin' Ya" Davis

Paradise Roller Girls is a women’s flat track roller derby league based out of Hilo, Hawaii. The league began in February 2010 with a small group of thrill-seeking women looking for good fun in a quiet town. Now, more than 60 women are part of the spirited “warriors on wheels” group, which holds practices five times a week throughout East Hawaii.

No holds barred!

While the PRG have been seriously committed for the year they’ve existed, the Garden Island Renegade Rollerz have been honing their skills as well, and officially formed their league in October 2009.

The Garden Island Renegade Rollers

The PRG roster includes Anita Whiskey, FyreFly Fatale, AvaTart, OkiPunKture, Devil’d Meggs, Smash Yo Face Stace, and many more skilled skaters. Kauai is bringing a contingent of their fiercest females, including Pushy Brat, Jen-a-Roll Electric, Kaizer PermaMento, Hard LiqHer and league president Suki-2U.

Waiting for the start

Despite the tough personas, the outlandish and clever costumes, and the undeniable brute physicality of the sport, roller derby – especially that practiced by the PRG – is a family-friendly sport and all ages are encouraged to attend.

See anyone you know?

“It is a physical and demanding sport, but derby truly empowers women. When you lace up your skates and start weaving and bashing your way around the track, you leave all your troubles behind. Family, work, relationships, all take the back seat when you are trying to stay upright and score points,” PRG president Meg “Megative” Premo, said.

The PRG Fairies get ready to take the ring

PRG adheres to Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) rules and has qualified referees in the league.

The Zebra Needs Glasses!

Sponsors of the March bout include WillKill Termites & Pests, Aloha Coast Realty, Kapohokine Adventures, Kona Marine Supply, Law Offices of Steven Strauss, Kauai Skate,and Curly Pinky Designs.


Come out and support your local roller derby, with action packed entertainment, and family fun. For more information and to meet the PRG, check out

Valentine Arrested

Big Island Police Report:

A Waimea man has been arrested and charged in connection with a restaurant burglary last week.

South Kohala patrol officers responded to a 2:12 a.m. report Thursday (February 10) and learned that a cleaning crew had encountered a man in a storage room at a restaurant on Opelo Road in Waimea. The man verbally threatened the crew, attempted to flee in a sedan, crashed the car into a tree and then abandoned it and fled on foot.

Valentine Joseph Gines

Police investigation led to the arrest later that day of 44-year-old Valentine Joseph Gines of Waimea. Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section took over the investigation.

Shortly before 5 p.m. Friday (February 11), detectives charged Gines with second-degree burglary, third-degree criminal property damage, second-degree robbery, inattention to driving and false reporting. The false reporting offense was for reporting that his car had been stolen. His bail was set at $38,000.

Gines was held at the Kona police cellblock pending his initial court appearance on Monday (February 14).

Public Invited to the Grand Opening of the New Pahoa Police Station

Media Release:

The public is invited to the grand opening of the new Pāhoa police station on Thursday, February 17.

Only nine months off the target completion date

The new station, located just north of Pāhoa town on Highway 130, will replace a converted kit house in Pāhoa town that functions as a police substation.

The Old Pahoa Police Station

Puna Captain Samuel Jelsma said the opening of the new station is an “important milestone” that will provide better service to the public and allow police officers to work more effectively. “This new structure provides a secure facility, more workspace, three holding cells, surveillance cameras and adequate parking,” Jelsma said.

He added that the station will provide a stronger police presence for lower Puna, which generates the vast majority of calls for police assistance in the Puna District. “The location along Highway 130 will provide quicker response times in an emergency to most subdivisions in the area, as officers will no longer need to negotiate the narrow roadways of Pāhoa Village before reaching the highway when responding from the station,” Jelsma said.

Artist rendition

Citizens are already able to renew their driver’s licenses and register their vehicles in a portion of the new building operated by the County Department of Finance. In the near future, they will be able to register firearms by appointment. (The Police Department will notify the public when firearm registration at the Pāhoa station becomes available.)

A ceremony marking the station’s grand opening is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Thursday, February 17. After the ceremony, refreshments will be served during an open house from 10-11 a.m.