Puna Community Meeting on Police Related Concerns

Media Release:

The Hawai’i Police Department will hold a community meeting on Tuesday, May 24, from noon to 2 p.m. at Cooper Center in Volcano.

The purpose of the meeting is to allow the public to meet the Police Department’s command staff and to discuss police-related concerns with the police chief and commanders who oversee police operations in the Puna District.

The Puna event continues district community meetings, which are rotated throughout the eight police districts on the Big Island. To aid police commanders in focusing on specific community concerns, they ask that participation in this meeting be limited to persons who live or work in the Puna District.

Those interested in participating but unable to attend may e-mail their concerns or comments to copsysop@hawaiipolice.com.

For more information, you may call Acting Captain Glenn Uehana at 965-2717.

Transit Operations Manager Tom Brown to Discuss Hele-On Bus System and Other Issues

Media Release:

The District 6 Matters meetings for May will host Transit Operations Administrator Tom Brown who will be available to discuss the Hele-On Bus System and other issues pertaining to mass transit on Hawai‘i Island.

Tom Brown, Mayor Kenoi and Senator Inouye

Tom Brown, Mayor Kenoi and Senator Inouye

Direct questions and comments are welcome from attendees on any subject dealing with Hawai’i County Mass Transit Agency services and issues.

Please see the schedule below to find a meeting at a location nearest you:
May 11, 7:00 PM – Ocean View Community Center
May 19, 7:00 PM – Volcano Cooper Center
May 25, 6:30 PM – Yano Hall, S. Kona
May 26, 7:00 PM – Fern Acres Community Center

Trees Stolen From Waiakea High School

Media Release:

Big Island police have initiated a felony theft case in connection with trees that were cut and removed from Waiākea High School in Hilo.

The three ku’u trees, ranging from 20- to 30-feet high, were cut down sometime between 5 p.m. Monday (May 9) and 6 a.m. Tuesday (May 10). Their combined estimated value was $4,500.

Police ask that anyone who may have seen anything suspicious or who knows anything about this case call Officer Cory Hasegawa at 961-2213 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Fair Elections Supporters Say “Mahalo”

Media Release:

Citizens and students gathered yesterday in front of the Kamehameha Statue on Kam Avenue to say “mahalo” to the Hawaii County council for supporting Big Island’s new Fair Elections law, a pilot program that provides a full public funding option for county council elections. In the 2010 elections, four out of nine councilors won their election campaigns using the pilot program, also known as Act 244.

Student Rally

2010 Student Rally for Clean Elections

The candidates who received public funds using Act 244 collected 200 signatures from registered voters within the districts in which they were running. Those signatures had to be accompanied by a five dollar check or money order to ensure those signing were serious about their support.

The original partial public funding system was established during the 1978 Constitutional Convention, creating the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund which is paid for by a $3 check of on state income tax forms. The fund is managed by the state’s Campaign Spending Commission.

Currently, the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund has about $4.6 million dollars. It currently funds the statewide partial public funding program, the Big Island pilot, and the Campaign Spending Commission. The Hawaii County pilot is scheduled to expire after the 2014 elections.

Advocates for Fair Elections stood on Kamehameha Avenue to thank the Big Island County council, which originally pushed for Act 244 in 2008, and who they now believe support Fair Elections as a majority.

“I am grateful to the County Council members who pushed for this critically important reform that can restore our democracy.  It is the reform that makes all the other reforms possible,” said Dr. Noelie Rodriguez, a sociology professor at Hilo Community College.

Student Jennifer Ruggles agreed. “Getting private interests out of our public policy is the first step and when officials run on only public money they become accountable solely to the public’s needs,” she said.

Money in politics has been a contentious issue lately since the shocking U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts on independent expenditures, contributions that are not officially associated with a candidate’s political action committee or campaign.

Fair Elections advocates believe a full public funding option for elections is the antidote to the “Citizens United” decision. “Public funding allows candidates to focus on long-term solutions in the public interest instead of short term priorities of special interest campaign donors”, said Keahi Tajon, a student organizer.

The Supreme Court stunned election law experts again when they decided to hear a case challenging one piece of Arizona’s Fair Elections law. The matching funds provision of Arizona’s law provides extra money to qualified publicly funded candidates when they’re outspend by a privately funded competitor.

Since Hawaii’s Big Island pilot program is similar to Arizona’s law, the pending Supreme Court decision is significant. Advocates say they have replacement language to insert into Hawaii’s law if there’s a negative decision by the Supreme Court, however.

“In the event that the Supreme Court rules against the matching funds mechanism, we can replace that one section of the law with new language that is safe from this conservative court”, said Kory Payne, executive director for Voter Owned Hawaii, a non-partisan group that helped push for the Big Island pilot.

“Delegates and voters in the 1978 Constitutional Convention knew that getting private money out of elections was the right thing to do. We owe it to them to update the partial public funding system, and remember how private money in elections can end up costing us all in the end”, added Payne.

Pahoa Teacher Receives Exemplary School Award for Exceptional Teaching

Congratulations to Pahoa teacher Suzanne Nozaki and her class at Pahoa High and Intermediate for winning an Exemplary School Award in the National Healthy Kids Challenge Recipe Contest.

Healthy Kids

Media Release:

Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) teacher, Suzanne Nozaki, and her class at Pahoa High and Intermediate School, Pahoa, Hawaii, received an Exemplary School Award for exceptional teaching skills using the Stirring Up Health National Middle School Recipe Contest.

Winning Recipe - Sprownies

Winning Recipe - Sprownies

Using the recipe contest as a class project, Suzanne challenged her students to be creative, attend to detail, strive for a quality recipe and learn about healthy eating and physical activity in the process.

Students submitted six outstanding essays and recipes for desserts, snacks and a main dish.

View the winners now, they’re featured on the web site here: 2010-2011 Kids’ Healthy Recipe Contest Winners.

Recipe Category: Healthy Dessert
Recipe Name: Sprownies
Servings: 24 approx.

1 box brownie mix (used 19.5 oz. Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix)
4 egg whites
1/3 c. canola oil
1/3 c. soft tofu, mashed
2/3 c. Del Monte Canned Spinach, drained well and cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp. water (drained from spinach)
2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
Garnishes: lollipop sticks, green gumdrops, commercially-prepared fondant

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease insides of 2 silicone flower-shaped brownie pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; stir 50 strokes.
  4. Carefully pour batter into prepared pans; wipe away any spilled batter.
  5. Place silicone pans on a baking sheet. Bake 28-30 minutes.
  6. Remove brownies from pans when completely cooled.
  7. Decorate brownies using lollipop sticks, gum-drops and fondant.

“The highlights of this recipe are the two ingredients: tofu and spinach!”