Well Santa has finished delivering his presents and according to the NORAD Santa Tracker, his last stop was in Maui, Hawaii:
Mele Kalikmaka, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays…
The Grinch Rap:
SONG AVAILABLE SOON!
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Edited by Blake O’Neal http://www.youtube.com/user/StationTutorials
Song Written and Performed by Alex Farnham & Shay Carl
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in cooperation with the Department of Land and Natural Resources, is investigating the deaths of two Hawaiian monk seals on the south shore of Moloka‘i.
A young female was found dead this past week. This follows the death of an adult male seal in mid- November. Necropsies indicate that both seals appear to have died under suspicious circumstances and that foul play cannot be ruled out as the cause of death in either case.
“I was saddened to hear of these two incidents, especially the loss of a young female who would have helped restore the diminished seal population.” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson. “Monk seals are an important part of the Hawaiian ecosystem and need to be respected as a valued part of our natural and cultural environment. The harm to one is a blow to Hawai‘i,” he said.
In June 2010, the Legislature passed Act 165*, specifically to increase penalties for taking (which is defined to include harassing or killing) a monk seal. It’s a Class C felony (up to 5 years imprisonment).
Someone convicted under this law could face a fine of up to $50,000. It is also against federal law to kill or harm a Hawaiian monk seal.
Anyone having information related to these deaths should call the NOAA OLE hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) at (808) 873-3990 or after hours call 643-DLNR.
Filed under: Environment, Legal, Rumors, State Affairs | Tagged: Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaiian Monk Seal, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Leave a comment »
The Hawai‘i State Department of Health announced the release of a new series of influenza education videos. Working in partnership with the Department of Education and private schools, the video series was developed with input from students and teachers as well as community pediatricians.
“The whole idea was to involve youth and see how we could help our educational partners inform kids about important health and science topics while having fun,” stated Dr. Sarah Y. Park, State Epidemiologist. “Working with the kids was amazing,” she added.
In the videos, students in grades 4–6 explore and explain various facts about influenza, “going viral,” flu prevention, and pandemic preparedness in a series of skits and real-world scenes.
Highlights include the Blue Flu Rap:
An interview with a local family caught overseas and falling ill during the early days of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
The flu video release is a timely reminder of the importance of continuing flu vaccination during and after the holiday season, into January and beyond. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get the annual flu vaccination.
Formore information about getting vaccinated, please talk to your healthcare provider. For a listing on where to get vaccinated, go to: http://hawaii.gov/health/flu-hawaiigov/Documents/flushotschedule.pdf.
The family-friendly videos are:
“The Flu is a Very Viral Thing,”
“Keep the Flu from Going Viral,”
“Prepare Your Family,”
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Education, Hawaii, Health, Kids, State Affairs | Tagged: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health Releases Influenza Educational Videos, Influenza, U.S. Centers for Disease Control | Leave a comment »
Big Island police are investigating a reported home invasion that occurred last month in Puna.
Police received a call at about 10:32 p.m. on November 25 from a 29-year-old Keaʻau man, who reported that while he was in his home in Hawaiian Paradise Park, two unknown men armed with sharpened weapons forced their way inside. During the ensuing confrontation, the victim managed to disarm one of the suspects, and he injured him with the same edged weapon. Both suspects fled the area on foot in an unknown direction.
The victim was treated and released at Hilo Medical Center for his injuries, which were not life threatening.
One suspect was described as being in his late 30s, about 5-foot-6, around 210 pounds, bald with a heavy build, a dark complexion, and possibly of Hawaiian-Caucasian-Portuguese descent. He was wearing denim jeans, possibly a grey long-sleeve shirt and unknown footwear.
The second man was described as being possibly Caucasian, in his mid to late 20s, around 5-foot-9 to 5-foot-10, about 160 pounds with with blue eyes, short blond hair, a slim build, a fair complexion and facial acne scars. He wore faded black long pants, a black short-sleeved shirt that had a “Da Hui” design logo. He may have suffered an injury during the confrontation.
Detectives from the Criminal Investigation Section are conducting the investigation into this incident, which is classified as a first-degree burglary and first-degree assault. They are asking for the public’s help in identifying either suspect. Police ask that anyone with information on this case call Detective Joel Field at 961-2381 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has taken civil enforcement action this month against 9 Kahala oceanfront property owners whose encroaching vegetation is blocking the public beach transit corridor. These cases are still pending landowner response to comply.
DLNR’s Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands and its Administrative Proceedings Office also jointly issued 9 Civil Resource Violation Notices between September to November targeting beach encroachment violations at sites scattered from the Diamond Head area to Hawai’i Kai on the island of O’ahu.
“Maintaining public access along the shoreline is important and fortunately, a law is in place to ensure the beaches are kept free of encroaching vegetation from coastal properties that block the public right of way,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.
“Our goal is to preserve the State’s beach resources for the promotion of economic and recreational activities by Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors alike,” Aila said.
“We are pleased that so far property owners have responded positively, and have satisfactorily removed or trimmed back encroaching vegetation so that people can continue to use public beach areas,” he said.
Act 160 passed by the 2009 Legislature amended Chapter 115, HRS to reaffirm public policy of extending public use and ownership of Hawai‘i’s shoreline to ensure the public’s lateral access along the shoreline.
Under this statute, DLNR is authorized to maintain public access within beach transit corridors under Chapters 115 and 183C, HRS by requiring private property owners to ensure that beach transit corridors abutting their lands shall be kept passable and free from human–induced, enhanced, or unmaintained vegetation that interferes or encroaches in the beach transit corridors.
After notification, property owners are given 21 days to come into compliance or face criminal fines (HRS Sec. 115-9) of $1,000 after 21 days, and $2,000 for repeated violations. Civil fines may also be levied under Sec. 183C-7, HRS up to $15,000 plus administrative and enforcement costs as well as any mitigation and restoration costs that might be incurred by the department.
Continued compliance with the law means keeping beach corridors passable and free of encroaching vegetation DLNR stresses that the community’s support and voluntary compliance are essential in fulfilling its mission in protecting the State’s coastal land and shoreline.
Filed under: Announcements, Environment, Hawaii, Legal, Oahu, State Affairs | Tagged: Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources, William J. Aila | Leave a comment »
Mark your fishing calendars for another exciting Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT) scheduled for August 12-18, 2012 in Kona, Hawaii.
This prestige Tournament built on strict International Game Fish Association (IGFA) rules for world records, kicks off Sunday August 12 as teams register, draw for their tournament boats and participate in the HIBT parade through Historic Kailua Village. Then starting Monday, August 13 at 8am sharp, teams begin five days of tournament fishing. Last fishing day ends Friday, August 17 at exactly 4:30 pm. On Saturday August 18, teams, anglers, friends, captains and crew gather for the annual Crying Towel and Awards Dinner.
So far, International teams from Papua New Guinea, Japan, and the U.S. have registered for the 2012 HIBT. Be expecting a show of teams from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, China, California, Florida, Hawaii and North Carolina.
For more information or to request team registration, log onto www.hibtfishing.com
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Big Island, Hawaii, Kona, Sports, Tourism | Tagged: International Game Fish Association, The 53rd Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament | Leave a comment »
Subaru Hawaii will donate $250 for every new vehicle sold by December 31; Public can vote for favorite non-profit on Subaru Hawaii ’s Facebook page
The race is on and the public will decide which Hawaii non-profit will win an additional $5,000 from Subaru Hawaii during the “Share the Love” sales event. In addition to the $5,000 donation to one lucky non-profit, for every new vehicle sold by December 31, Subaru Hawaii will donate $250 to a group of great causes — Hawaii Wildlife Fund, Hawaii Literacy, Oahu SPCA, SPCA Maui and Hawaii Island Humane Society.
The public has an opportunity to vote for their favorite participating non-profit organization through Subaru Hawaii ’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SubaruHI. At the end of the sales event period on December 31, Subaru Hawaii will award the organization with the most votes an additional $5,000.
“We are delighted to be able to give back to the community with the help of Subaru owners, who are very active members of their communities, and the general public,” said Glenn Inouye, Senior Vice President, Servco representing the Subaru Hawaii Dealers. “It has been our pleasure to work with the five non-profit organizations during the ‘Share the Love’ event. For Subaru owners looking for an upgrade on their vehicle, we encourage you to stop by any of our five dealerships statewide before December 31. We also encourage the public to support their favorite non-profit organization by voting on Subaru Hawaii ’s Facebook page before the December 31 deadline.”
The U.S. Pacific Command is in the middle of a $600,000 study to find out why thousands of military families are not sending their school-age children to public schools in Hawaii.
After determining that 9,000 of the eligible 24,000 school-age students in military families were not attending public schools, top military leaders commissioned Johns Hopkins University researchers to focus on attitudes and opinions about the Hawaii education system.
The study, which began in 2009, is expected to conclude in June…
A Paul CSIGE production: “Fairmont – A Day in the Life” – celebrating the contributions that colleagues at Fairmont Orchid and other workers in the travel / tourism / hospitality / service industry make to provide visitors to Hawaii with a memorable experience.
MAHALO TO ALL! – this video was premiered at the December 2011 Fairmont Orchid Colleague Holiday Party
The Magic of Christmas has been happening this past week at the Hawaii County Council building from 8 am to 8 pm each day with entertainment happening in the evenings.
Tonight’s entertainment will be provided by the Andrew Stevens Group at 5, followed by Yisa Var at 6 and rounding the night out will be ‘Old School.
I just got wind that tomorrow evening, Friday December 23rd, Hollywood Celebrity and Local Girl Kristina Anapau will be making an appearance at the Magic of Christmas.
She was last on the Big Island back in October for less then 24 hours where she lead an acting and directing workshop at UH Hilo.
I arrived late to the class and had to leave early so I didn’t get a chance to talk with her directly back in October but I did talk to some folks that attended the class and they were very stoked to be getting acting and directing lessons from someone like her.
The last time I had a chance to actually speak with Kristina she had just finished filming her role of Maurella in the seaon finale of last years HBO hit series “True Blood”.
So come check out the Magic of Christmas tomorrow night as the little bird told me that she would be making an appearance sometime between 5 pm and 6 pm.
Besides Kristina making an appearance, Victor Chock and Island Harmony will be on hand to entertain folks so come check things out at the County Building.
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Entertainment, Hawaii, Movies and Film, Television | Tagged: Big Island Film Festival, Hawaii County Building, Kristina Anapau, Magic of Christmas | Leave a comment »
Big Island police are investigating a possible drowning at South Point on Tuesday afternoon (December 20).
The victim has been identified as 49-year-old Gordon Kimo Lopes of Ocean View.
Kaʻū patrol officers responded to the reported drowning at 7:15 p.m. A 47-year-old Ocean View man reported that he had been on shore while his friend was scuba diving for fish fronting the lighthouse at South Point. The scuba diver entered the water around 6:45 p.m. About a half-hour later, his friend heard him yelling for help and called 911.
When police and firefighters arrived, they were unable to locate the victim. Because of rough seas, firefighters could not enter the water. A rescue boat from Keauhou arrived around 11 p.m. and firefighters used it to locate and retrieve the victim’s body. Lopes was was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was officially pronounced dead at 2:59 a.m. Wednesday (December 21).
Police are investigating this case as a public accident.
The Jetlev has made it’s Hawaii appearance and is now available for rentals!
The Jetlev is a patented watersports vessel that allows you to safely and easily fly up to 30 feet in the air, harnessing the power of controlled water pressure. The Jetlev pod unit pumps water from the ocean, pushes it up the 33 foot hose into the backpack, where it is directed downward from the control nozzles, propelling the pilot smoothly up into the air.
You can check out their website at: Jet Lev Hawaii
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Entertainment, Hawaii, Something New?, Technology, Tourism, Transportation | Tagged: Hawaii Jet Lev, Jet Lev, Jetlev, jetpack, Water Propelled Jets | Leave a comment »
A federal jury in San Jose on Tuesday convicted a Hawaiian businessman of fraud in a tax return scam that involved a South Bay office, federal authorities said Wednesday.
Eric Aaron Lighter, 61, was found guilty of 17 total counts, including conspiracies to defraud the United States, commit wire fraud and blackmail, plus witness tampering.
Lighter’s National Trust Services in Volcano, Hawaii, marketed and sold “abusive trust packages” and understated his clients’ federal income tax liabilities starting in the 1990s before he was indicted in March 2009, federal prosecutors said.
His co-conspirator, Samuel Fung, was a return preparer who maintained an office in San Jose and referred clients, including some in the Bay Area, to Lighter…
More Here: South Bay Jury Convicts Hawaiian in Tax Scam
Hawaiian Telcom Holdco, Inc. (NASDAQ: HCOM) has notified employees and IBEW Local Union 1357 leadership that with negotiations having reached an impasse, beginning on January 1, 2012, the Company will implement modified terms of employment consistent with the offers previously proposed to the Union. The Company must implement the changes at this time in order for modified benefit provisions to apply throughout the 2012 calendar year. Union leadership has advised the Company to anticipate a legal challenge of the Company’s bargaining process.
Since the results of the Union’s recent vote rejecting the Company’s updated collective bargaining agreement (CBA) offer were announced on Dec. 13, discussions continued and a pact to refrain from any strike or lockout through Jan. 6 was reached. With mutual agreement and ratification of new CBA terms not achievable at this time, both sides recognize a need to move forward and work responsibly, while “agreeing to disagree” on certain collective bargaining issues and seeking to resolve differences through other means.
While most of the Company’s modified employment terms are scheduled to be in effect as of Jan. 1, the 1% wage increase is being applied as of Dec. 18 and changes to union retirement benefits (i.e., pension plan freeze and enhanced 401(k) match) will occur on March 1, 2012 for legal compliance and administrative reasons. As there was no ratification, the ratification bonus that had been offered will not be paid. Union employees will begin paying 5% of the premiums for their chosen healthcare coverage in 2012.
Hawaiian Telcom has informed employees that while ratification would have been preferred over implementation as described above, the Company must proceed forward with implementation of the new terms in order to achieve success into the future.
In addition to historical information, this release includes certain statements and predictions that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In particular, any statement, projection or estimate that includes or references the words “believes”, “anticipates”, “intends”, “expects”, or any similar expression falls within the safe harbor of forward-looking statements contained in the Reform Act. Actual results or outcomes may differ materially from those indicated or suggested by any such forward-looking statement for a variety of reasons. More information on potential risks and uncertainties is available in recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Hawaiian Telcom’s 2010 Annual Report on Form 10-K and its Form 10-Q filed November 14, 2011. The information contained in this release is as of December 21, 2011. It is anticipated that subsequent events and developments may cause estimates to change.
Filed under: Announcements, Hawaii, State Affairs, Technology | Tagged: Hawaiian Telcom to Implement New Union Employment Terms Beginning Jan. 1; Union Legal Challenge Anticipated, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission | Leave a comment »
In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan, incumbent-protected districts. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander ( /ˈdʒɛriˌmændər/); however, that word can also refer to the process.
Gerrymandering may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a political, racial, linguistic, religious or class group.
When used to allege that a given party is gaining disproportionate power, the term gerrymandering has negative connotations. However, a gerrymander may also be used for purposes that some perceive as positive, such as in US federal voting district boundaries that produce a majority of constituents representative of African-American or other racial minorities (these are thus called “minority-majority districts“).
Many folks have been wondering if there was any gerrymandering going on during the Hawaii County Redistricting process. On Wednesday, December 16th a special meeting was called to order to address this situation.
The following is the minutes from the meeting:
Wednesday, December 16, 2011
County Council Chambers
25 Aupuni Street
Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720
CALL TO ORDER:
CHR. SIRACUSA: It is 1:35 p.m., so I am going to call this meeting to order. This is the 13th session of the Hawai‘i County Redistricting Commission,and this is a Special Meeting. Do we have anyone in Kona or Waimea; or are we all here? We are all here.
Present: Mr. Joseph Carvalho, Commissioner, Mr. Patrick Kahawaiola’a, Commissioner, Mr. Craig “Bo” Kahui, Commissioner, Mr. Dru Mamo Kanuha, Commissioner, Mr. Jeffrey Melrose, Commissioner, Mr. Mike Middlesworth, Commissioner, Ms. René Siracusa, Chair, Ms. Valerie Poindexter, Commissioner, Ms. Linda Ugalde, Commissioner
Also Present: Michael Udovic, Deputy Corporation Counsel, Joseph Kamelamela, Deputy Corporation Counseln Charmaine Shigimura, Executive Assistant to Mayor Kenoi, Jamae K. K. Kawauchi, County Clerk, Steve “Kawena” Lopez, Deputy County Clerk, Cori Saiki, Elections Staff, Shyla Ayau, Elections Staff, Nora Avenue, Committees Section Staff, Maile David, Legislative Specialist, Manu Hanano, Council Aide in Waimea, Barbara Lively, Legislative Assistant, Pahoa, Leslie “Lali” Robinson, Deputy Executive Assistant in Kona, Karen Eoff, Secretary
CHR. SIRACUSA: Okay, we are all present and accounted for. We have no guests, is that correct?
MR. KANUHA: Madam Chair, before we continue, I would like to make a motion to go into Executive Session to talk about what we are actually here for, with our attorney.
Mr. Kanuha moved to go into Executive Session to discuss with Corporation Counsel, the purpose of the Special Meeting. Seconded by Ms. Poindexter.
CHR. SIRACUSA: Is there any discussion? I believe we need a two-thirds vote.
MR. MELROSE: I just want to suggest, that we really don’t know why; and I think that more for the community’s perspective, I want to get into a conversation that we understand where it’s going. The reason why we are here is not all that clear to me from a special purpose perspective. So, I think it’s a good idea to have a conversation, because we haven’t had a chance to—What is the authority for calling it, and all of those kinds of questions. It would be helpful, useful to me, before we get to the Order of Business.
MS. POINDEXTER: I agree; I totally agree. We are just blindsided here. I feel blindsided by this.
CHR. SIRACUSA: I think we definitely need to have a conversation. But I am wondering if it would be a good idea to have it in Executive Session; as opposed to everything else we have done so far has been totally out in the open. And I think the minute we start going into Executive Session, people are going to start getting suspicious.
Guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91), assigned to Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, disrupted a group of suspected pirates close to the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), south of Yemen, Dec. 19.
The Merchant Shipping Industry Best Management Practices, Version 4 (BMPv4) encourages merchant vessels to register with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO) while transiting areas known to be high risk for piracy.
At approximately 8:40 a.m., the Motor Vessel (M/V) Nordic Apollo reported to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO) they were under attack and been fired upon by pirates from a skiff.
Having registered their route with UKMTO in accordance with BMPv4, Nordic Apollo’s position was relayed to counter-piracy forces operating in the region.
At approximately 11:00 a.m., the M/V Heather, operating 30 nautical miles from Nordic Apollo, reported suspicious activity by a skiff.
Pakistan Navy Rear Adm. Kaleem Shaukat, CTF 151′s commander, authorized Pinckney to investigate.
Nordic Apollo confirmed the pirate attack, but stated they no longer had sight of the skiff. In response to the distress call, Pinckney made best speed to the area, issued a radio warning to other vessels in the vicinity, and launched its MH-60R helicopter.
The helicopter crew successfully tracked and located the skiff, observing nine suspected pirates and pirate paraphernalia on board, including several ladders, weapons and fuel containers. The suspected pirates were seen attempting to cover their weapons with blankets and throwing the ladders overboard as Pinckney closed their position.
Intercepted by the helicopter and Pinckney, the skiff stopped and the suspected pirates threw their weapons, identified as five AK-47 rifles, one rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launcher and three RPG rounds, overboard.
Pinckney was given authorization to conduct a boarding using their visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team and once aboard, the VBSS team confirmed there were nine suspected pirates, one grappling hook, 36 barrels of fuel, and 75 and 45 horsepower outboard engines. The VBSS team scuttled one outboard motor and left the skiff with enough fuel and water to return back to shore.
Cmdr. Matthew M. McGonigle, Pinckney’s commanding officer, praised the crew for their efforts.
“My crew responded in an exceptional reaction time and with complete professionalism. With the helicopter in the air, acting in conjunction with the ship, we were able to have full coverage of the situation and stop them carrying out any further illegal activities.
“The operation was carried out in accordance with our pre-rehearsed responses to such an event, and I am very proud of the Pinckney’s crew and all those involved.”
Piracy is a threat to the security of all nations and requires an international solution. The presence of coalition navy vessels in the region demonstrates a commitment to regional security and stability. To continue to counter and deter piracy successfully, coalition efforts must be complimented by proactive measures by commercial shippers, regional governments, and the international community.
Pinckney, homeported in San Diego, is assigned to Combined Task Force 151, a multi-national, mission-based task force working under Combined Maritime Forces, to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean.
On Tuesday of last week, my old friend from high school visited the Big Island with his girlfriend and we rented a boat from Kona Boat Rentals.
We then rode down the Kona Coastline to Kealakekua Bay where we kicked back and talked story for a while.
I showed my friends the Captain Cook Monument and one of them went snorkeling for a short bit of time.
After our half day boat rental… I then checked into the Hilton Waikoloa Resort for a couple of days of rest and relaxation!
I had a great room in the Lagoon Tower overlooking the main pool and the Dolphin lagoon.
It was a very relaxing few days and I spent much of the time soaking my body in the hot tubs!
I guess in a sense… this was my Christmas present to myself from a few of my sponsors!
The weather at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort is almost always gorgeous despite what might be happening on other parts of the Big Island and it was good to come over for a few days and thaw out!