Big Island Police Searching for Puna Man Wanted for Connection in Burglary

Big Island police are searching for a 24-year-old Puna man wanted in connection with a burglary investigation.

Turner Kaimana Au

Turner Kaimana Au

Turner Kaimana Au is described as 5-foot-10, 180 pounds with short blond or brown hair and green eyes. His last known address was in Kurtistown.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call Detective John Rodrigues Jr. at 961-2382 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

Big Island Coffee Growers Favor APEC Free Trade Deal

Earlier this week, Barack Obama, the US president, announced plans to create a free trade agreement with some Asia-Pacific countries during an Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Hawaii.

The decision comes as coffee growers in the US state struggle to keep their generations-old businesses going.

A Kona Coffee Grower say Asian markets are "willing to pay more for a good product than the average American Citizen".

Big Island growers say they are in favor of the proposed deal because Asian markets are “willing to pay more for a good product than the average American citizen”.

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Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane reports from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Free Microsoft IT Training and Certification Now Available to Hawaii Public Library Patrons

The Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS), in partnership with Microsoft Corp., today announced that HSPLS has become the first statewide public library system in the world to adopt Digital Literacy and Microsoft IT Academy programs for technology training and preparation for certifications for all library patrons in Hawaii. The Microsoft IT Academy Program is the first training program to launch under the HSPLS HI Tech Academy initiative and is expected to reach nearly 1 million people across the state of Hawaii.

Craig Mundie, Microsoft chief research and strategy officer; Donald Horner, chairman of the Hawaii State Board of Education; and Richard Burns, Hawaii State librarian, announced the kickoff of the Microsoft IT Academy in a news conference today at the Hawaii State Library.

The Microsoft IT Academy Program includes training and certification in Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint, in addition to advanced subjects such as programming, Web development and database development. The program’s digital literacy resources will equip Hawaii’s library patrons with the technical skills needed to become more employable and successful in the 21st-century workplace.

“For students and workers alike, technological literacy is essential to compete in today’s economy,” Mundie said. “Programs that help nurture 21st-century skills at scale will help prepare more people in Hawaii, in the U.S. and around the world to participate and succeed in the global workforce.”

The Microsoft IT Academy provides access to e-learning, certification preparation and official Microsoft course materials, which will help users qualify for and acquire industry-recognized Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Technology Associate or Microsoft Certified Professional certifications.

Funding for the Microsoft IT Academy is provided by the federal Library Services and Technology Act, which is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The launch of the Microsoft IT Academy marks the first time the subscription-based program will be made available to Hawaii’s library users through in-library and remote access via Windows Internet Explorer. In Hawaii, hundreds of thousands of library cardholders will have free, unlimited access to more than 350 Microsoft courses, ranging from basic computer skills to advanced network architecture and design. The Microsoft IT Academy will provide many of the vocational and adult-education resources that have been reduced in Hawaii as a result of budget cuts.

“IT certifications are increasingly recognized as valuable credentials that give young people expanded career opportunities,” Horner said. “The Microsoft IT Academy ensures patrons equal access to IT training and certification through all libraries across the state, regardless of location or economic status.”

The Microsoft IT Academy will expand educational, workforce development and lifelong learning opportunities for all the people of Hawaii. The program will also help students, as library patrons, become college- and career-ready upon graduation from high school and will improve their abilities to compete in the rapidly evolving modern workplace.

“With the unveiling of the Microsoft IT Academy, we are excited that all our patrons — from keiki to kupuna — will be able to access technology training that has the potential to affect transformational change in Hawaii’s education and workforce landscape and is closely aligned with Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s New Day in Hawaii Plan’s Hawaii Broadband Initiative and his emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math education,” Burns said. “We enthusiastically encourage all our patrons to take full advantage of the Microsoft IT Academy — it will truly benefit everyone who participates.”

Access to the Microsoft IT Academy will be available through the HSPLS website, http://www.librarieshawaii.org. Library patrons with valid library cards can access the courses of their choice by following simple instructions. The courses are accessible at any time in all public libraries and remotely. The courses are self-paced and several sessions in length, and patrons can stop and resume their coursework at their convenience.

Patrons who decide to pursue Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Technology Associate or Microsoft Certified Professional certifications will have the opportunity to take an exam at an official Microsoft Certification site. Access to the Microsoft IT Academy, a list of the certification sites and course curriculum are available on the library system’s website at http://www.librarieshawaii.org.

About HSPLS

The Hawaii State Public Library System is the nation’s only statewide public library system, comprised of 50 branches located on six islands. Its mission is to provide Hawaii’s residents, in all walks of life, and at each stage of their lives, with access to education, information, programs and services, and to teach and nurture the love of reading and the habit of life-long learning.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 15-Year-Old Boy

Big Island police are searching for a 15-year-old boy reported as missing from Hilo since November 11.

 Christopher Davis-Souz

Christopher Davis-Souz

Christopher Davis-Souza is described as 6-feet tall, about 170 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a black and red hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, black ball cap and black shoes.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Video of President Obama’s Press Conference at the APEC Summit

President Obama makes remarks and takes questions about progress made at the 19th annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leader’s summit. November 13, 2011.

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Mayor Billy Kenoi to Unveil First Increment of the $43.9 Million Kamakoa Nui Community in Waikoloa on Friday

Mayor Billy Kenoi on Friday, Nov. 18 will unveil the first increment of an attractive new community in Waikoloa that will provide affordable home ownership opportunities near West Hawai‘i employment hubs. At the same time, the mayor will open the gates to a new community park in Waikoloa.

The initial offering of eight homes within the $43.9 million Kamakoa Nui community will feature bungalows and single-family homes. The homes were designed by MVE Pacific, and prices for the new units will range from $240,000 to $325,000.

This single-family home is one of four model homes already built at the Kamakoa Nui Workforce Housing Community in Waikoloa. The community will be blessed Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Mayor Billy Kenoi and honored guests will be on hand to untie the maile lei to Kamakoa Nui, and the county park which will be opened to the public on that day as well.

Construction of four single-family model homes is complete, with pre-sales of homes in the first increment scheduled to begin next month.

“Our working families deserve this opportunity for home ownership in a desirable, well-planned community that is close to work and recreational facilities,” said Mayor Kenoi, who will untie the maile lei at the park at 10 a.m. and do the same for the model homes about a half an hour later.

“This project benefits the hard-working hotel employees, teachers, firefighters, police officers and others who want their own home in West Hawai‘i. This is an affordable community where they can live comfortably and raise their families.”

The 23 bungalows will be one and two-story units with two or three bedrooms, two baths or two-and-a-half baths, and 1,108 to 1482 square feet of living space.

The 68 one and two-story single-family homes will have three bedrooms, and buyers will have a choice between two baths or two-and-a-half baths. The homes will have 1,361 square feet to 1,512 square feet of living space including lanais.

Kamakoa Nui is being developed by the County of Hawai‘i, and will eventually grow into a diverse community of about 1,200 rental and for-sale homes on 268 acres in Waikoloa.

“I am delighted that the model homes of the Kamakoa Nui housing project are complete,” said Steve Arnett, county Housing Administrator. “I am so proud of my staff who implemented the plans and specs to completion, specifically Dan Russell, Michael Prinslow and Annie Bailey.”

The first phase of Kamakoa Nui will include a new 12-acre county park in Waikoloa. The park features a baseball diamond designed for youth baseball and senior softball games. It will also include a new high school-regulation soccer field that can double as a Pop Warner football field.

“Kamakoa Nui Park and Housing Project is another example of Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration working together focusing on ‘laulima’ to accomplish great things for island residents,” said Parks and Recreation Director Bob Fitzgerald.

“We now have additional field space in Waikoloa to schedule more practice and game time for teams participating in sports such as soccer and baseball. There will now be a home field for the possible start up of a new Pop Warner football team in Waikoloa.”

This bungalow-style home is one of four model homes already built at the Kamakoa Nui Workforce Housing Community in Waikoloa. The community will be blessed Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Mayor Billy Kenoi and honored guests will be on hand to untie the maile lei to Kamakoa Nui, and the county park which will be opened to the public on that day as well.

The park also includes a comfort station, event lawn and parking, and a private group is developing a skateboard park on a designated portion of the park site.

Hawaii County has contracted with Aldridge Associates, a real estate brokerage firm specializing in the Waikoloa market, to market the first increment of the project. The project will offer financing to qualified buyers with a down payment of up to 5 percent of the sales price.

To qualify, buyers should live within a 30-mile radius of Kamakoa Nui and have an income of 70 percent of the area median income (AMI). Potential buyers must also live in the homes and cannot have owned a home within the last three years.

To discourage speculation and help to keep the units affordable, owners who re-sell their units at Kamakoa Nui within 15 years of their initial purchase will be required to share any windfall profits from the re-sales with the county. After 15 years, all restrictions on re-sales are satisfied.

West Hawai‘i Civic Center Approaches Zero Waste

Hawaii County’s path to Zero Waste just got a little shorter.

A recent recycling audit of the West Hawai`i Civic Center (WHCC), home to offices for 11 County agencies, found it to be almost completely a Zero Waste facility.

The audit, conducted in October, established that 98 percent of the waste generated at the facility by County employees is being recycled or reused instead of being thrown into our landfills. The diversion rate for the entire facility, including public-generated waste, is 90 percent.

Zero Waste is a way of life, demonstrated by the ancient Hawaiians, that promotes the goal of reducing the amount of material we throw away.  Instead, it reincorporates materials of one system for use for another system. In this way, we greatly reduce our impact on Hawai’i Island’s natural environment and how much rubbish we generate, protect Hawai’i Island’s natural environment, preserve our resources for future generations, and save our community tax dollars.

“This is a tremendous achievement for the County and for our island.  Only with the support of all of the staff at the Civic Center , we successfully demonstrated that zero waste is possible,” said Angela Kang, West Hawaii Recycling Specialist for the County who conducted the audit of waste generated at the Civic Center.

When opened in January 2011, the WHCC implemented its Zero Waste Program, diverting nearly all of its solid waste from the landfill with its “Blue Bin” mixed recycling bins to divert paper, plastics and metals. Employees also use on-site composting bins to divert food scraps and green waste. HI-5 and office equipment collections take care of e-waste, batteries, ink/toner cartridges and other recyclable materials.

Kang has worked closely with County workers on new and different ways to reduce, recycle and reuse the rubbish they produce and was pleased with how excited and committed they were to making the program a success.

“The County of Hawai`i , Zero Waste Program gives us the opportunity to take the lead in eliminating much of our daily trash. By separating items to be recycled, we can take the lead by protecting our fragile environment on the Island of Hawaii and the State,” said Len Losalio, Liquor Investigator with the Department of Liquor Control with the West Hawai`i Enforcement Division.

The 80,000-square foot Civic Center is located on seven acres in the Villages of La`i`opua in Kealakehe.  As a part of the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certification currently under review by the US Green Building Council, buildings are designed to control temperature and lighting with systems to reduce heat gain and energy consumption throughout the complex. A highlight of the LEED certification is the 250 kW photovoltaic system atop the center’s parking.  This system is the first phase of the goal to achieve Net Zero Energy and Zero Carbon Emissions.  This photovoltaic system, first of its kind for government facilities in the State of Hawai ‘i provides 100% solar energy by harnessing the power of the sun, saving the County $46,000 dollars a year in electricity cost.  Other features include water-efficient landscaping, use of recycled and certified wood products, a construction waste management plan to divert waste away from landfills, bicycle parking and electric vehicle charging stations for future use.

The Hawai`i County Council adopted the principles of Zero Waste as a long-term goal in December 2008.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi has committed the County to making the WHCC Zero Waste program a model for expansion to County facilities island-wide.For more information on this program or any County recycling programs and services, please visit the County’s Solid Waste Division website at www.hawaiizerowaste.org.