Big Island Tsunami Commemoration

What:        Tsunami Commemoration

Where:      Seawall, Historic Kailua Village, Kona, Hawaii

When:        Sunday, March 11, 2012    7:00 – 7:30 a.m.

Who:          Groups working together to organize the Tsunami Commemoration include Ahuena Heiau Inc., Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel, County of Hawaii, Hulihee Palace, Island Breeze, Kailua Village Business Improvement District, Kai Ehitu Canoe Club, Kai Opua Canoe Club, Keauhou Canoe Club, Kona Hongwanji Mission, Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, Mokuaikaua Church and Tui Tonga Canoe Club.

Why:          Sunday, March 11 marks the one-year anniversary of the tsunami that came ashore in several locations along the West Hawaii coastline. A ceremonial exchange of Aloha between the citizens of Japan and the communities of West Hawaii will be commemorated with blessings, Hawaiian chant, taiko drumming, floral offerings from canoes in Kailua Bay and a hula finale.

Everyone is invited to mark this occasion and to honor the memory and resiliency of all those affected by this natural disaster.

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For those interested in donating flowers for the canoes, loose blooms/petals only (no strung lei) will be accepted seaside at Kamakahonu between 6 and 6:30 that morning.

Big Island Police Searching for Man Missing From Puna Since Last Year

Big Island police are searching for a 25-year-old Puna man who was reported missing last year.

Robert Manuel De Castro

Robert Manuel De Castro was last seen on Ainaloa Drive in Pāhoa on December 20. He has a medical condition that requires medication.

He is also wanted for questioning in an unrelated incident.

De Castro is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-11, 260 pounds with brown hair, blue eyes and tattoos on his right arm.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts contact Detective Grant Todd at 961-2385 or by email at gtodd@co.hawaii.hi.us 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.

Volunteers Witness First Green Turtle Nesting on Hawai’i Island

Hawai‘i Island Hawksbill Turtle Recovery Project recorded one of its most historic sea turtle nesting seasons in 22 years, including the first recorded green turtle nesting on the island of Hawai‘i, a rare daytime nesting by a hawksbill turtle, and an increase in the number of newly tagged female hawksbills.

Courtesy of the Hawai'i Island Hawksbill Turtle Recovery Project

In the 2011 report released today, a female green turtle, or honu, was first observed attempting to nest on the beach in front of the park’s remote Halapē campsite.  She then traveled 52 coastal miles southwest and nested at Pōhue Bay. Her historic nest was a success, with 40 baby honu reaching the ocean. Green turtles are federally listed as threatened, are indigenous to Hawai‘i, and are seen throughout the islands. They typically nest in the French Frigate Shoals, but there have been occasional documented nestings by honu on the other main Hawaiian Islands.

Courtesy of the Hawai'i Island Hawksbill Turtle Recovery Project

Also within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a female honu ‘ea, or hawksbill turtle, was observed nesting at ‘Āpua Point at noon, the earliest daytime crawl in project history.  Hawksbill turtles are endangered, and nest primarily at beaches along the southern coast of Hawai‘i Island at night.

Volunteers helped an estimated 3,000 hatchlings reach the ocean from a total of 30 nests (one green, 29 hawksbill) along five of the beaches they monitor: ‘Āpua Point, Halapē, Kamehame, Kōloa, and Pōhue Bay.

“Without the help from over 20 dedicated volunteers this season, many of these hatchlings would not have made it to the ocean.  Thanks to them, there is hope for the survival of honu‘ea” said Will Seitz, project coordinator.

Other season highlights included a nest excavation with third grade students from Volcano School, and a continued increase in the number of newly tagged honu ‘ea females. Out of the nine female adult hawksbill turtle observed, five were newly tagged while the rest were returnees from previous seasons.

During nesting season, from May through December, females come ashore to lay clutches of eggs.  The eggs are vulnerable during the two-month incubation, and are preyed upon by mongoose, rats, feral cats, and dogs. After the hatchlings emerge they can become caught behind rocks or vegetation, disoriented by artificial lights, run over by vehicles, or eaten by mammals and birds. Volunteer efforts are critical to their survival.

The 2011 report can be downloaded from the park’s website, http://www.nps.gov/havo/naturescience/turtles.htm.

For information on how to help, visit www.volunteer.gov/gov, or contact the Hawksbill Project at 808-985-6090.