Big Island Police Seeking the Public’s Help in Identifying Suspects in Thursdays Robbery in Kona

Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects involved in a robbery Thursday afternoon (January 12) at a business in the Kona District.

Top: Suspects in Thursday's robbery fled in a Jeep similar to this. Bottom: Surveillance image from Jan. 5 robbery

Shortly before 1 p.m. a man described as a local male with a dark complexion entered the Keauhou Store in Holualoa and forcibly removed an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register. A 34-year-old female cashier suffered minor injuries but declined medical treatment.

Surveillance video shows the suspect and another man, who appears to be standing lookout in front of the store.

The first suspect was described as in his mid-20s to mid-30s, approximately 5-foot-10, 150-170 pounds, unshaven and with kinky dark hair. He was wearing blue jeans and a green T-shirt, slippers and a white cap with a dark brim. The second suspect is described as Caucasion, in his mid 20s, with a slim build and a goatee. He was wearing a light green shirt with buttons, a light-colored baseball cap, dark shorts and shoes.

They both fled north on Highway 180 in a white 2-door Jeep Wrangler with a tan hard top. The Jeep is similar to a Sahara model.

Detectives believe the primary suspect was also involved in a robbery in the Kaloko business area on January 5.

Both men are considered dangerous and possibly armed. Police again advised the public not to approach them.

Police ask that anyone with information on their identity or whereabouts call Detective Walter Ah Mow at 326-4646, extension 238, 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.

USARPAC Commander Outlines Hawaii’s Importance to Army at Community Leaders’ Talk

Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski joined senior military leaders of the Pacific Command at the 11th annual Hawaii Military Partnership Conference Jan. 5 in Waikiki.


Wiercinski, the U.S. Army Pacific commander, and other PACOM component commanders from each of the services based in Hawaii, presented an overview of current and projected posturing of the U.S. military in Asia and the Pacific to the Military Affairs Council, the Chamber of Commerce and other officials.

Wiercinski stressed the importance of Army forces in the Pacific.

“I’m here today to talk about the Army,” he said. “What is a fact, is that in a geopolitical and economic sense, the Pacific is the future. And it is, in this century because you are seeing a fundamental shift from Europe to the Pacific of our forces, of our priorities and where we’re headed.”

He stressed the significance of Hawaii to USARPAC.

“Obviously our center of gravity is here in Hawaii. It’s where the majority of our forces are, it’s where the majority of our families live, it’s where our headquarters are located. But we have forces prepositioned and stationed around the entire Pacific realm.”

Solider deployments from USARPAC have played a critical role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Wiercinski said. Since 2001, USARPAC has deployed 115,000 Soldiers from the U.S. Army Pacific into those areas.

The commander also praised the success of U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii and its partnership with the local community.

“Our garrison here in Hawaii is the fourth largest garrison that we have in the Army. Just like we’ve signed a U.S. Army Covenant to our Families and our Soldiers, we’ve signed a Hawaii Covenant that is also a commitment to the people here in Hawaii, the local community and the ohana that we all belong. We have many forums that we conduct monthly, quarterly and yearly to make sure we’re staying on that path to meet our requirements and responsibilities. Some of the things that we do is teaching partnership and watching out for the environment and culture that is so rich here in Hawaii,” he said.

Admiral Willard talks to reporters at the 12th Annual Chief of Defense Conference

The keynote speaker at the conference was Adm. Robert F. Willard, U.S. Pacific Commander. He said Hawaii, as the forward most state, is the most strategic in terms of entry into Asia and is an important region of the world.

The Rain Follows the Forest – A Plan to Replenish Hawaii’s Source of Water

The Department of Land and Natural Resources released a plan to ensure mauka watersheds are fully functioning so fresh water resources can be utilized and enjoyed by the people of Hawaii in perpetuity.

Click picture to read the plan


  • The Rain Follows the Forest seeks to ensure mauka watersheds are fully functioning so fresh water resources can be utilized and enjoyed by the people of Hawai`i in perpetuity. This plan implements the central goals of the Abercrombie administration’s A New Day in Hawaii plan to steward the natural resources that our survival, economy, and quality of life depend on.
  • The Rain Follows the Forest provides policy solutions to manage invasive species, increase Hawaii’s ability to withstand impacts from climate change, and restore capabilities of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) by finding additional sources of funding.
  • Hawaii’s water supplies are under threat from hotter and drier conditions from climate change, as well as loss of watershed forests.
  • Over half of Hawaii’s forests have been lost. Invasive alien (non-native) species trample and devour vegetation, leaving bare ground or openings for alien plants that consume more water and increase runoff. Controlling these and other threats while also re-planting forests requires a large-scale effort.
  • Protecting mauka forest areas is the most cost effective and efficient way to absorb rainwater and replenish groundwater. The Hawaiian islands’ sustainability and continued over-all well being of its residents and future generations depends on the continued health of the upland forests.
  • In addition to protecting our water supply, the protection of forests is essential to prevent erosion that muddies beaches, coral reefs, and fisheries, reduce Hawaii’s greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the native plants and animals unique to our islands.
  • Currently only 10% of the priority watershed areas are protected, a level of management that has taken 40 years to achieve. DLNR’s goal is double the level of protection in the next ten years, which will require approximately $11 million a year. If funded, this initiative will create over 150 local jobs.
  • In an October 2011 statewide telephone poll of 700 residents, 78% of respondents were supportive of increased funding for watershed protection from $1 million to $11 million per year. A majority supported increased general funding (mean support was 7.4 out of 10), the use of environment-related taxes (7.4 out of 10), or a visitor-related tax (8.0 out of 10). Further, 59% of respondents indicated the urgent need to increase the protection of the sources (upland forests) of our fresh water supply, and rated the urgency to protect these sources at 8.4 out of 10, with 10 representing “Extremely Urgent.”
  • The Rain Follows the Forest identifies priority watersheds and outlines on-the-ground actions and projects required to protect and sustain Hawaii’s critical water sources. To be successful, these actions must occur on a large scale across ownership boundaries, through agreements and leveraged funds provided by the statewide watershed partnerships.


  • A century-long trendi of declining rainfall has accelerated, with a 12% decline in the last 20 years alone.
  • Groundwater head levels in Pearl Harbor, which supplies over 60% of Oahu’s municipal water, declined by half since 1910.
  • Hawaii’s native forests absorb moisture from rainfall and passing clouds that condense on the thick vegetation. Intercepting cloud drip increases water capture by as much as 30% of rainfall, and increases groundwater re-supply by On Lāna`i, fog water supplies even more water than direct rainfall.  There, loss of the forest’s fog capture would reduce by half the island’s only water supply.
  • Water users already pay for the loss of native forests – and those costs are high. Invasive and widespread strawberry guava evapotranspires 27%-53%ix more water than native forests, causing extensive water loss across landscapes. For example, in East Hawai`i invasive plants have already reduced estimated groundwater recharge by 85 million gallons a day.
  • Even a small percentage reduction in groundwater recharge can be costly. One study indicates that a 1% loss of recharge in the Ko`olau Mountains could cost O`ahu $42 million net present value. Another study indicates that a 10% loss of recharge in the Ko`olau Mountains could cost $1.7 million per year – over $173 million net present value.  The gradual invasion of alien plants into native forests may have already reduced the estimated groundwater recharge by up to 10% in certain aquifers.
  • A University of Hawai`i study examined the various services provided by Oahu’s Ko‘olau forests—including water recharge, water quality, climate control, biodiversity, and cultural, aesthetic, recreational, and commercial values. These services were calculated to have a net present value of between $7.4 and $14 billion.


  • The importance of forests for water has long been recognized – expressed in the ancient Hawaiian proverb “Hahai no ka ua i ka ululā`au” (the rain follows the forest). Protecting these forests has been codified into Hawaii’s customs and laws. In 1876, King David Kalākaua signed an Act for the Protection and Preservation of Woods and Forests. The Act included the construction of fences and barriers to prevent hooved animal trespass into forests important for water resources. In 1893, Queen Lili‘uokalani established the Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry for the “preservation of forests,” among other purposes. Following this, Article XI of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii includes the protection of all natural resources, held in the public trust.
  • This plan perpetuates ancient traditions of protecting and respecting the sacred wao akua -misty upland forests. The plants and wildlife within them are individually revered in Hawaiian traditions as manifestations of gods, or used for medicines, offerings, or other material needs.
  • Actions in this plan enhance these cultural practices by protecting these native natural and cultural resources from damage and extinction. Caring for these resources has been a way of life in Hawaiian traditions. Access to priority protected areas for traditional Hawaiian cultural practices is not restricted by this plan. In DOFAW areas, step-overs and gates will allow continued public access into fenced areas.
  • Although ungulate hunting is a contemporary recreational activity and a source of food for some, hunting (pig hunting in particular) is not a traditional Hawaiian practice. Reviews of firsthand testimonies in more than 60,000 native Hawaiian land documents dating from 1846 to 1910 revealed many references to pigs, but nearly every reference was in the context of them being near-home and being cared for (raised), not hunted.
  • On Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) lands, public hunting will be a priority action in the first stage of ungulate removal in fenced areas wherever safe, feasible, and effective, and DOFAW will encourage and facilitate hunting access in other areas.
  • Fencing core areas within the priority I and II watersheds will be incremental, and will gradually reduce public ungulate hunting areas over this century. Once all of the priority watersheds are fenced, public ungulate hunting areas will be reduced by approximately 30%.  Approximately four percent of DOFAW lands are currently fenced.
  • This plan seeks to increase public access to enjoy and learn about the forests that help to sustain Hawaii. This will help to build an informed citizenry of life-long learners who value Hawaii’s uniqueness and live sustainably. Maintaining and creating access and trails will teach communities about the benefits of forests during volunteer trips and hikes.
  • As part of the local jobs that this initiative seeks to fund, DLNR will support continued and expanded programs that provide local youth jobs and career opportunities during in-the-field internships. This will instill current and future generations with a sense of kuleana to respect and give back to the life-giving forests.