Big Island Police Seeking Man Wanted for Intimidating a Witness

Big Island Police are requesting the public’s help in locating 48-year-old Shawn A. Keolanui, who is wanted on a warrant of arrest.

Shawn A. Keolanui

He is also wanted for questioning in connection with an intimidating a witness investigation.

Keolanui was last known to reside in Hilo. He is described as 5-foot-10, about 180 pounds with shaved/bald head, brown eyes and facial hair on his chin. He has tribal tattoos on his upper right arm and on his entire left arm.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call Detective Ian Lee Loy at 961-2249 or the Police Department 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 $1000. 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.

Attention Big Island Political Candidates – Ads Sorry, Twitter Free

I will not be accepting any advertising on the sidebars of my website this political season.

I am offering tweets to any Big Island candidate that has officially submitted nomination papers. I will begin a spot on my site soon where I will put the twitter feeds of folks running for office.

Feel free to direct message me on my twitter feed at @DamonTucker to have your tweets put on my site.

State to Recapitalize Hurricane Relief and Rainy Day Funds

Abercrombie Administration Continues to Tackle State Debt, Sells $1.28 Billion of General Obligation Bonds

Retail and institutional investors responded favorably to the State of Hawai’i’s creditworthiness and financial planning as reflected in the State’s recent bond transaction in New York.  Governor Neil Abercrombie and Budget & Finance Director Kalbert Young announced today the State of Hawai’i successfully sold $1.28 billion of General Obligation Bonds (Bonds) over a week ago.  This latest financial action is the result of the culmination of work by the Abercrombie Administration to restructure its debt and create a solid financial foundation.

Following the transaction, Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service and Fitch Ratings affirmed the State’s credit ratings of Aa2/AA/AA. Standard & Poor’s commented, “Governor Neil Abercrombie’s willingness to implement aggressive solutions, totaling $1.32 billion, to balance the fiscal 2011-2013 biennial budget in light of a projected budget shortfall that had reached $1.25 billion for the biennium.”

Moody’s further cited the State’s “historical fiscal conservatism” because all of Hawai’i’s General Obligation debt is issued at a fixed rate, and repayment is relatively rapid with 95% of principal repaid in 15 years.  In addition, Fitch affirmed that the State’s “financial management is sound.”


Taking advantage of the market’s lower interest rates, the Bonds also refinanced $488 million in previously issued bonds for economic savings.  For the refinanced bonds alone, the cost was refinance to 2.3 percent. These Bonds will also help the State of Hawai’i reduce its annual debt service payments with significant economic savings from the refinancing – over $59 million of present value savings (or 9.65 percent of the refunded principal amount).   The total transaction had an interest cost of 3.34 percent.

“A year ago, we inherited a tremendous budget deficit and I made the commitment to get us out of that deep fiscal hole,” said Governor Abercrombie. “My Administration stayed the course by being fiscally disciplined and having clear objectives.  We made the tough decisions, and garnered a lot of criticism.  Now, one year later, we have turned the corner and investors have taken notice.”

Earlier this year, Governor Abercrombie made the tough decision to use money from the Hurricane Relief and Rainy Day Funds to assist in balancing the budget. The Bond transaction now allows the State to recapitalize those reserves.

“This transaction exemplifies that our actions were, in fact, prudent and beneficial to the State and taxpayers.  Because of our hard decisions, the State is in a much stronger financial position and is now being recognized as a leader among other states for improving our financial condition,” stated Governor Abercrombie.

In completing the bond transaction, the Abercrombie Administration also sought to improve the State’s credit rating.  “To achieve this objective the State’s financial goal in the near term is to show positive results in rebuilding reserves, reducing unfunded liabilities ratios, and balancing future revenue drivers such as military contributions and federal program spending,” said Director Young.  “Credit agency reports evaluating the State’s financial management positively highlighted the State’s planned efforts.”

This transaction achieved the following:

Reduced debt service by saving $59 million on refunded outstanding debt

Keeps debt service for fiscal year 2012 – 2013 at legislatively-appropriated level

Restructured current outstanding debt

Normalizes the State’s debt service profile

Builds debt capacity from 2014 to 2019

Improves the state’s financial position

Garnered positive credit rating review

Enables recapitalization of the Hurricane Relief and Rainy Day Funds

“This is the largest bond issue in the history of the State of Hawai’i to date,” added Director Young. “The merits and components of this transaction execute on our objective to get our financial house in order and at the same time we are rebuilding investor confidence.”

Director Young led a finance team from the State of Hawai’i to complete this transaction during a recent trip to New York City.  The team included Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Director Richard Lim, B&F Financial Administrator Scott Kami, State Economist Eugene Tian, Ph.D., and Representative Kyle Yamashita.

“I commend our team who sought a very attractive interest rate in selling this amount of bonds and ensuring that our taxpayer dollars are being invested for the benefit of our fiscal future,” said Governor Abercrombie. “We are beginning to reshape the way Government does business in Hawai’i and building a more financially stable government. Future generations will benefit greatly as we continue to work on minimizing future debt.”

The $1.28 billion in bonds included $800 million in new debt, but was complemented with $488 million in refunding currently existing bonds at a lower interest rate.

Bond buyers benefit from purchasing Hawai’i bonds because interest on the bonds is excluded from gross income for Federal income tax purposes and exempt from all taxation by the State of Hawai’i.

The $800 million of new money proceeds from the bond sale will be used for various public improvement projects, including public buildings and facilities, elementary and secondary schools, community college and university facilities, libraries and parks.
Chamber of Commerce of Hawai’i Board of Directors’ Chair Dr. Ginny Pressler stated, “It is clear that the Abercrombie Administration is taking a business approach in dealing with its finances. Investors have given their approval, which is great for the overall business of Hawai’i.”

“The response by these investors is welcomed news to Hawai’i,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara Chief Operating Officer of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai’i. “This transaction proves that our State government is doing business to stabilize its finances.”

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs and Co. served as the joint bookrunner managers for the bond sale, with Barclays Capital, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Citi serving as co-managers.  Firms with offices in Hawai’i also participated in a retail selling group for the Bonds.

CLICK HERE TO SEE STANDARD & POOR’S RATING REPORT

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Mayor Kenoi Proclaims December as “Think Local, Buy Local” Month

Calling it an opportunity to help our neighbors, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi proclaimed December as Think Local, Buy Local month on Hawaii Island.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi proclaims Thursday, Dec. 1 as Think Local, Buy Local Day in the County of Hawaii. The ceremony took place at the historic Mooheau Bandstand.

“All we’re talking about here is helping each other,” said Kenoi, who read the proclamation Thursday morning at the historic Mooheau Bandstand. “Helping each other is one of those values which we treasure here in Hilo .” He was joined by the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association, Hawai‘i Alliance for a Local Economy and local business owners to mark the event.

The Hawai‘i Alliance for a Local Economy (HALE) developed this pilot public education initiative which highlights how purchasing locally made and grown products and shopping at locally owned businesses can benefit the community, environment and economy of Hawai‘i Island.

The Think Local, Buy Local initiative is being launched in downtown Hilo in partnership with the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association and 40 locally owned businesses. Participating Hilo businesses are displaying Think Local, Buy Local window signs and highlighting Made on Hawai‘i Island products.

A cornerstone of the initiative is the Black and White Night/Think Local, Buy Local button which offers Hawai‘i Island residents discounts at participating locally owned businesses throughout the holiday season. Buttons are $5 and are available at the Hilo Information Center at the Mo’oheau Bus Station, Palace Theatre, Diabolik Surf and Glass and Basically Books.

Think Local, Buy Local is launching in downtown Hilo and expanding island-wide. Instead of a discount button, businesses outside of the downtown Hilo area will be offering coupons online at www.ThinkLocalBuyLocal.org to incentivize residents to think and buy local this holiday season.

A 2010 national report on “buy local” campaigns found that communities with an active “buy local” campaign experienced markedly stronger revenue growth compared to communities without such a campaign and independent retailers in “buy local” communities saw a 5.2 percent increase in holiday sales, while those elsewhere reported an average gain of less than 1 percent. During the holiday season, the Think Local, Buy Local campaign will be focusing attention on Hawai‘i Island grown and made products and locally owned businesses.

“Local businesses have always been the backbone of our economy,” said Mayor Kenoi. “During these challenging economic times, a renewed focus on products and food produced on Hawai‘i Island and on island-owned businesses is good for our economy and our community.”

To learn more and participate in Think Local, Buy Local visit www.ThinkLocalBuyLocal.org or call Andrea Dean at 960-3727.

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Input Sought from Big Island Coffee Growers

Aloha Coffee Leaders,

We need more CBB survey responses from farmers. We received 40 responses in the first 24 hrs- that’s great, but only a total of 65 in the first week. Its not possible to get every farmer to respond; let’s try to a 100 of the 700 plus growers.

Please remind your members and neighbors about the survey. Even offer to help those farmers without internet access to complete it.

Our goal is to complete the analysis and report back to you before the new year, when sanitary pruning and trapping season arrives.

Below is a link for the on-line survey for coffee farmers and processors to complete about their experience with the Coffee Berry Borer (CBB). The survey is on-line, you need only forward this email or copy the link and send it your coffee organization members.

We are relying on you, the coffee leaders in Hawaii, to see that virtually every coffee growers and processors in the state have an opportunity to complete the survey.

Paste this link in your browser. It will take you to the Survey Monkey website where the survey is located.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B5TXJY2

Thank you,

Skip

H.C. “Skip” Bittenbender, Ph.D.
Extension Specialist for Coffee, Kava and Cacao
Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences
CTAHR- College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx Calls for Nationwide Plastic Bottle Recycling Law

Neighbor Island Democratic Congressional candidate Bob Marx has called for a nationwide plastic bottle recycling law similar to Hawaii’s.

Bob Marx

Speaking to residents in Ocean View on Hawaii Island, Marx said such a law is necessary law to halt the degradation of the Pacific Ocean.

At the convergence of the Northern Pacific gyre between California and Hawaii there is an island of floating mostly-plastic trash, estimated to be twice the size of Texas.

“If you want to know where those plastic grocery bags, plastic bottles, old printer cartridges, and old fishing nets end up,” Marx said, “this spot is home for much of your trash contributing to the Pacific Ocean’s growing pile of waste along with the 2011 Japan tsunami debris.

In a slow but steady trip, that piece of plastic dropped or blown from your hand is carried on to the nearest stream, then to a larger stream and on to the Pacific Ocean.  The North Pacific sub-tropical gyre circulates clockwise in a slow spiral catching the plastic and holding it for many years.

“The solution is straightforward but difficult.  Together, we must reduce our use of plastics,” Marx said.

“We must re-use those plastics that we do use, and recycle those plastic items that otherwise may be bound for the ocean from the thousands of watersheds around the globe,” said the Neighbor Island Democrat who seeks the Second Congressional seat.

“A nationwide “Bottle Bill” requiring recycling would encourage the reuse and reduction of more plastics.  Hawaii and more than 10 other states have required bottles to have deposits.  A national law should expand this to include other plastic containers,” Marx added.
“One of my first priorities in Congress will be preserving the Pacific Ocean,” Marx said. “The plastics threaten the very habitat of ocean life.”
“This part of the Pacific is an important reproduction area for many of the Pacific’s marine mammals and sea birds,” Marx said.  “The plastic not only destroys their habitat but also endangers the smallest but most important part of the marine life system, plankton.”

Plankton consists of extremely small plants and animals that float passively in the water or have extremely limited swimming power, and are carried by the ocean current.

Phytoplankton produce more oxygen than all the other plant life on earth.  Phytoplankton are tiny, photosynthetic organisms, which many scientists consider to be plants, because they produce their own food using sunlight, i.e., photosynthesis.  They create oxygen and filter our oceans and are an important source of food for many marine animals.

When plastic breaks down, as it will do over time and at about 86 degrees Fahrenheit, it is absorbed by plankton.  These plankton are then eaten by small and large marine fish and animals.  One of the harmful plastic by-products is BPA, which probably interferes with the reproductive processes in marine animals.  Many of the other plastic by-products of this breaking down process are known carcinogens (cancer causing agents.)

Big Island Police Searching for 39-Year-Old Kailua-Kona Man

Big Island police are searching for a 39-year-old Pierre Malosi Apisaloma of Kailua-Kona, who is wanted for parole violation.

Pierre Malosi Apisaloma

Apisaloma is also wanted for questioning in connection with a kidnapping, abuse, phone ripping, unlawful imprisonment and criminal property damage investigation.

He is described as 5-foot-10, 190 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

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 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.