21 Search and Rescues Done at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in 2011

Over the holidays, hundreds of hikers in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park braved a 10-mile roundtrip trek over jagged terrain to witness molten lava cascading into the Pacific at the West Ka‘ili‘ili ocean entry. Many were unprepared for the arduous backcountry journey.

While there were no serious injuries or deaths, the attraction of the ocean entry resulted in five search-and-rescue (SAR) operations by park rangers in December, bringing the park’s total of SARs to 21 in 2011 – a number that park officials want to reduce.

Park rangers practice a short-haul search-and-rescue by helicopter

A backcountry rescue may take up to 12 hours. On Christmas night, it took even longer to rescue a woman with a broken wrist from the West Ka‘ili‘ili flow field. Due to darkness and insufficient landing zones, a helicopter rescue was impossible. Instead, a park ranger hiked out nearly five stormy miles in the dark from the end of Chain of Craters Road, and located the injured woman. He set up shelter on the remote lava field and stayed with her through the night. At daybreak they hiked five grueling miles back to the road where an ambulance waited – 16 hours after she called for help.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Search and Rescue Team, left to right: Park Rangers Arnold Nakata, Nainoa Keana'aina, Gail Minami-Judd, John Moraes, John Broward, and Greg Santos.

“Hikers need to be aware that SAR missions take time, and that launching a helicopter in the dark or in inclement weather is extremely dangerous. If it’s not worth the risk of flying, we have to wait for daylight, or for better weather, or try to get the injured person out on foot,” said the park’s Emergency Operations Coordinator John Broward.  “Hikers should be prepared to spend the night as it’s a very real possibility.”

Information on how to prepare for a backcountry adventure is available on the park website at http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/hike_bc.htm, from park rangers, and most hiking clubs. All overnight backcountry hiking and camping requires a permit, obtained from the park’s new Backcountry Permit Office at the Visitor Emergency Operations Center (VEOC).

Searching for a lost hiker at the summit of Mauna Loa

It’s not just lava flows and their associated geologic hazards that present dangers to hikers at Hawai‘i Volcanoes. The park offers more than 150 miles of hiking trails, and many unspoiled and diverse backcountry destinations ranging from sea level to 13,677 feet. On Mauna Loa, altitude sickness and cold-related emergencies such as hypothermia must be considered. Along the coast, high temperatures and lack of shade can cause severe dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Hikers who stray off trails or hike after sunset risk becoming lost. While GPS units are handy, Broward and his team recommend packing a compass and a map, which don’t require batteries. (For a complete list of what to pack, see “Backpacking Essentials at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park” below.)

With Spring Break on the horizon, hikers are reminded to prepare themselves and to remember that Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is an inherently wild place, and not just a walk in the park.

What to Pack: Essentials for Backcountry Treks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park provides more than 150 miles of hiking trails, with unspoiled and diverse backcountry destinations that range from sea level to 13,677 feet. More than half of the park’s 333,086 acres are designated as wilderness, and nearly 4,500 visitors a year apply for free backcountry hiking and camping permits.

Thinking about creating an adventure of your own? Here’s what you’ll need:

Essential Backpacking Gear:

  • First aid kit
  • Trail map and compass
  • Emergency food supply, cook stove, fuel, utensils; open fires are prohibited
  • Flashlight & extra batteries
  • Biodegradable soap, toilet paper
  • Signaling device (mirror, CD, etc.)
  • Minimum three to four quarts/liters of water per person per day
  • Broken in sturdy boots, and moleskin
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, hat
  • Sleeping bag
  • Rain pants and jacket

NOTE: There may be other equipment necessary for your particular destination. Check with rangers for specific campground, cabin, and trail recommendations.

For more information visit  the park’s website, http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/hike_bc.htm. All overnight backcountry hiking and camping requires a permit. Permits are free (park entrance fees apply) and must be obtained in person from the new Backcountry Office at the Visitor Emergency Operations Center (VEOC) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The earliest you may obtain a permit is the day prior to your hike.

Mayor Kenoi Selects Fuata as Civil Defense Administrator

Mayor Kenoi announced yesterday that Hawai’i Army National Guard Col. Benedict Fuata has been selected as the next Civil Defense Administrator for the County of Hawai’i.

Benedict Fuata

Fuata, 50, has been the Commander of the Army Aviation Support Facility in Hilo since 1993. He is also the Guard’s director for logistics. He will transition from his previous position at the National Guard during the coming weeks. Fuata replaces Quince Mento, who retired Dec. 1. John Drummond, an administrative officer at Civil Defense, has been serving as acting administrator since Mento’s retirement.

The Civil Defense administrator directs and coordinates the development and administration of the county’s emergency preparedness and response program to ensure prompt and effective action when natural or man-caused disaster threaten or impact Hawai’i Island.

Fuata was born and raised in Honolulu and is a 1979 graduate of Damien Memorial High School. He graduated from the University of Santa Clara in Santa Clara, California, with a degree in political science, and received his masters degree in organizational management in 2000 from the University of Phoenix.

He serves as a board member for the Hawai`i Island Home for Recovery.

“I’m honored to take this position, and I am looking forward to the challenge,” said Fuata. “Hawai`i County Civil Defense is a first-class operation, and I hope I can do the office justice. But with 29 years of military training, I will be able to adapt.”

Mayor Kenoi said Fuata was chosen from a pool of outstanding finalists. “Col. Fuata brings to the county impressive credentials, both professionally and as a public servant,” said Mayor Kenoi. “He is a proven leader who will only enhance an outstanding agency and public safety team.”

Fuata, a resident of Mountain View , is married to his wife, Teresa. They have two daughters, Alaina and Teresa.

Big Island Wins Big at 2012 SmallBiz Success Awards

Hawaii Island was well represented at the recent 2012 Hawaii Business magazine SmallBiz Success Awards. The Big Isle was the sole neighbor island boasting award finalists.

The Kohala Center was tapped for Best Small Non-Profit and the statewide Martin & MacArthur earned a Lifetime Achievement award.

Ke Ola magazine was chosen as one of three finalists for Best New Business while Kona Red was one of three finalists for Best New Innovation.

From Left: Award recipients Matt Hamabata and Roberta Chu of the Kohala Center; Lt. Governor Brian Schatz; Barbara Garcia of Ke Ola magazine and Rep. Cindy Evans

There were over 100 statewide nominations in six categories: new business, community service, family owned, innovation, export-oriented and lifetime achievement. Winners were chosen by a panel of 10 judges representing a variety of business sectors.

West Hawaii Representative Cindy Evans was present for the festivities along with Lt. Governor Brian Schatz.

Hawaiʻi Film Selected Among 11 Finalists for the White House’s Initiative on Asian American & Pacific Islanders What’s Your Story Video Challenge

A Hawaiʻi film has been selected among 11 finalists for the White House’s Initiative on Asian American & Pacific Islanders What’s Your Story Video Challenge.

Kamakaniokaʻāina Paikai produced a short documentary called “E Ala (Arise)”.

The short synopsis of E Ala (Arise):

Kamu Kapoi is a Native Hawaiian, born and raised on the rough streets of Waiʻanae on the island of Oʻahu. E Ala is a traditional voyaging canoe that gave him a chance to learn outside of four walls. Now, he is doing his best to build a home for E Ala, so that kids from his community have that same opportunity.

A high-resolution copy of the film may be downloaded at: http://vimeo.com/31456718

The “What’s Your Story” Video Challenge aims to explore the personal stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) across the country who have impacted their community through their dreams, experiences, and dedication to a cause. Over 200 entries were submitted that featured inspiring stories from around the country in the AAPI community. The 11 finalists are featured on the White House website and voting is open to choose the group to attend a White House Champions of Change event in March.


Kamu Kapoi is a Native Hawaiian, born and raised on the rough streets of Waiʻanae on the island of Oʻahu. E Ala is a traditional voyaging canoe that gave him a chance to learn outside of four walls. Now, he is doing his best to make sure that kids from his community have that same opportunity.

About the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders:

On October 14, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Executive Order reestablishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (Initiative). The Initiative, co-chaired by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, is housed within the U.S. Department of Education, and led by Executive Director Kiran Ahuja. The Initiative works to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by facilitating increased access to and participation in federal programs where they remain underserved.

Hello, Hawaii, How Are You? 1916 Vintage Hawaii Photos

“Hello, Hawaii, How Are You?” is a song written in 1915, by Jean Schwartz, Bert Kalmar and Edgar Leslie.


The song refers to one of Marconi’s then-new radio-oriented inventions, the Wireless Telephone, which became publicly available that year. It was initially very expensive to use, and this song underscores the caller’s desperation to talk to his or her sweetheart in Hawaii, from his or her home in New York City.
The song was recorded in 1915-1916 by Billy Murray, backed with an instrumental version by Pietro Deiro on Side B; and later that year by Broadway star Nora Bayes.
This was Murray’s version of the chorus. It was easily adaptable for a woman to sing with just a couple of word changes:
Hello, Hawaii, how are you?
Let me talk to Honolulu Lou
To ask her this
Give me a kiss
Give me a kiss
By wireless
Please state
I can’t wait
To hear her reply
For I had to pawn
Ev’ry little thing I own
To talk from New York
Through the wireless telephone
Oh, Hello, Hawaii, how are you?

Big Island Police Charge Kona Man With Attempted Murder and Six Other Offenses

A South Kona man who set himself on fire and attempted to do the same to his ex-girlfriend has been charged with attempted murder and six other offenses.

Robert York

Robert York, 27, of Hōnaunau was charged at 7 p.m. Thursday with second-degree attempted murder, kidnapping, first-degree terroristic threatening, first-degree arson, criminal trespassing and two counts of abuse of a family/household member.

He was held at the Kona police cellblock in lieu of $66,250 bail until his initial court appearance Friday morning (February 17).

Police initially arrested York on suspicion of abuse, terroristic threatening and arson. Detectives revised the charges after consultation with county prosecutors.

The charges stemmed from an incident early Tuesday morning (February 14) at a home on Tobacco Road in Hōnaunau. York reportedly set fire to the front porch of his ex-girlfriend’s house and then doused her and himself with a flammable liquid and attempted to set them both on fire. After the woman’s relatives pulled York away from her, York set himself on fire.

Police arrested him Wednesday (February 15) when he was released from Kona Community Hospital, where he had been treated for his injuries.

The victim did not require medical attention for the injuries she received during the struggle with York.