North Hawaii Community Hospital Celebrates National Nurses’ Week

North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) celebrates National Nurses’ Week May 6 -12 honoring its more than 140 nurses whose hard work and commitment go above and beyond the call of duty.

North Hawaii Community Hospital Nurses

“From the Emergency Room to long-term care, our exceptional nursing staff puts the needs of our patients first by providing the best care possible,” says Lorrie Mortensen, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at NHCH. “On behalf of the entire hospital, I wish to thank our more than 140 nurses for their time, talents and dedication.”

NHCH kicked off National Nurses’ Week with a candle lighting ceremony on Sunday, May 6th, and has appreciation activities scheduled each day this week to celebrate and honor their nursing staff. “Our nurses serve on the front lines of patient care and are always ready to address concerns, educate about the availability of treatment options and provide comfort to patients and family members. Nurses touch our patients’ lives each and every day and ensure that North Hawaii Community Hospital remains a vital part of our community,” says Mortensen.

Every year, National Nurses’ Week focuses attention on the diverse ways America’s 3.1 million registered nurses work to save lives and improve the health of millions of individuals. Annually, National Nurses’ Week begins on May 6, marked as Registered Nurses Recognition Day, and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of nursing as a modern profession.

The American Nurses Association, through its 54 constituent member associations, advances the profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting economic and general welfare, advocating for a positive and realistic view of nursing, and lobbying Congress and the regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.

NHCH Background: North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) is a rural 33-bed acute care hospital located in Kamuela, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Non-profit, community owned and locally governed, the hospital opened in May 1996 and cares for Big Island residents and visitors. NHCH offers an extensive set of hospital services that are centered on patient needs, creating a healing experience for the whole person – mind, body and spirit.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Earns National Award for Monitoring Air Quality

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has earned the national Safety and Health Group Award from the National Park Service for its work in monitoring air quality within the park, and communicating the
information to the public and employees.

NPS photo of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Ecologist David Benitez checking the SO2 monitor at Steam Vents

In 2011, the park’s air quality (AQ) team installed seven stations that measure at 15-minute intervals sulfur dioxide (SO2) and volcanic particulates downwind of Kīlauea’s two active locations at Halema‘uma‘u and Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. The findings are monitored and shared in real time at

The site offers a multitude of data, including AQ findings, weather conditions and wind direction, links to other AQ sites for the state and Hawai‘i Island, and the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams and updates.

The team also established an AQ Policy to guide corrective actions within the park, including temporary area closures as necessary to protect visitors and staff from dangerous fumes. In addition, mobile hand-held monitors, or gas badges, are used by field crews.

“Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has the highest average SO2 levels in the National Park Service due to ongoing volcanic activity, a natural event,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Our air quality program is a model for naturally occurring SO2 emission management nationally. With a solid
communications system in place, visitors can safely visit our fascinating World Heritage Site on Hawai‘i Island,” she said.

Park visitors, staff and the public are also alerted by mobile electronic road signs that are programmed to convey real time AQ conditions. Monitors displaying the AQ website are also available for the public and staff inside the Kīlauea Visitor Center, on the visitor center lānai (accessible 24 hours a day), and at Jaggar Museum.

The AQ team is comprised of staff from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, the Air Resources Division of the National Park Service, the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association and the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Man Who Died Picking Opihi Identified

A 43-year-old Papaikou man died Saturday (May 5) while reportedly picking opihi alone in Onomea.

The victim has been identified as Paul Kaaukai.

At 1:52 p.m. Saturday, Hilo patrol officers responded to a report of a body floating in Onomea Bay. When officers arrived, they found Fire Department personnel on shore with the lifeless body.

Kaaukai was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he was officially pronounced dead at 4:30 p.m.

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to determine the exact cause of death.

Got Mental Health…? Public Invited to Conferences Planned Statewide

May is Mental Health Month, and the Consumer, Family & Youth (CFY) Alliance is inviting the public to attend one of six conferences statewide. The theme for these events is “Got Mental Health? The Transformation Continues…” Conference dates and locations are:

  • May 23 Moloka‘i – Kulana ‘Oiwi, Kaunakakai
  • May 24 Kaua‘i – Kaua‘i Community College
  • May 25 Maui – Maui Community College
  • May 29 Honolulu – McKinley High School
  • May 30 Hilo – Chiefess Kapi‘olani Elementary School
  • May 31 Kona – West Hawai‘i Civic Center

Registration for all conferences begins at 8:30 a.m. The opening plenary is at 9:30 a.m., and all conferences end at 2 p.m. A nominal fee of $5 covers lunch and materials.

The conferences will provide consumers and their ‘ohana with educational opportunities that focus on mental health and wellness. Workshops may include: the Copeland Center Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP); Suicide Prevention; Behavioral Health Services in Medicaid; Trauma Informed Care; Social Security Insurance Updates, and more. An update of the CFY Alliance and news of a newly formed 501(c)(3) will be shared at lunchtime plenaries.

Deadline to register is May 15, 2012. For a registration form, call (808) 453-6618 or email To learn more about these conferences, contact Carol Medina by phone at (808) 453-6618 or e-mail:

Funding for the conferences is provided by the Olmstead Grant, the State Council on Mental Health Block Grant, and the Mental Health Transformation State Incentive Grant number 6 U79 SMS57457-05 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The views expressed during the  conferences do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The CFY Alliance is an organization of adult and youth consumers, their families, communities, and programs that share information and come together with a sense of commonality on mental health issues, concerns, and policies to create a unified voice.

The Mental Health Transformation State Incentive Grant administered by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health supports the development and implementation of CFY meetings, conferences, and trainings to assure collaboration, share opportunities, and improve communication and coordination of activities for individuals living with mental illness.

Molokai Bakery Fined $90,000 for Unsanitary Conditions, Sold Products Statewide

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against Kanemitsu Inc. and George Kanemitsu dba Kanemitsu Bakery for selling, offering for sale, and distributing food products manufactured and prepared at its facility under unsanitary conditions.

Kanemitsu’s Bakery on Molokai

A penalty of $90,000 has been issued for violations of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes sections 328-6 that occurred from March 7 to March 8, 2012. Kanemitsu Bakery owns and operates the facility on the island of Moloka‘i, where baked goods and other food products are manufactured and distributed statewide under the Kanemitsu Bakery brand.

On March 7, an inspection by the DOH uncovered serious deficiencies in the maintenance and manufacturing practices conducted at the facility, including: improper cleaning and sanitizing of cooking implements and surfaces, inadequate control of rodents, lack of hot water, and general unsanitary conditions.

The bakery was instructed not to manufacture, sell, or distribute any products until the deficiencies had been corrected. The violations leading to the $90,000 fine occurred when the bakery continued to offer products for sale prior to DOH lifting its order to suspend operations.

On March 9, DOH determined that the bakery had successfully corrected its major violationsand has since been allowed to continue its business. The bakery is being required to address remaining deficiencies and develop a maintenance plan to ensure unsanitary conditions do not reoccur. No illnesses related to the consumption of food from the facility have been reported.

Kanemitsu Bakery Inc. was subjected to an enforcement action by DOH in August 2000 for similar unsanitary conditions.

The DOH protects public health by ensuring food products are safe. DOH programs conduct inspections of establishments statewide where food products are prepared, manufactured, distributed, or sold. Programs also investigate complaints and collect samples for laboratory testing to determine compliance with product standards.

Big Island Film Festival Bringing in Hollywood Stars

Big Island Film Festival invites fans and friends to come and meet celebrity guests during BIFF 2012, May 24-28 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani.  The 7th annual Festival honorees are Eloise Mumford (“The River”) and David James Elliott (“JAG”) who will appear in person at a special “Meet the Stars” gala for everyone on Friday, and receptions in their honor on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.  (Ticket prices vary. See below)

Eloise Mumford

Eloise Mumford, an NYU graduate, appeared on Broadway and played opposite Dennis Hopper in STARZ acclaimed series “Crash,” before going on to guest star in “Law and Order SVU” and “Mercy.”  She stars in the new Dreamworks/ABC series “The River” and has leading roles in feature films, coming soon.  Mumford’s Reception & Salute is Saturday at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

David James Elliott

Canadian-born actor David James Elliott is best known for his starring role in “JAG” and is currently featured on “GCB (Good Christian Belles).” An Ironman triathlete and long distance stand up paddle boarder, Elliott is always in demand for television roles and feature films.  He has appeared in “Scoundrels,” “Close to Home” (Jerry Bruckheimer), and in a recurring role in “CSI: NY.”  Elliott’s Reception & Salute is Sunday at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

On Monday, Memorial Day, BIFF’s “Best of the Fest” grand finale will star the Big Island’s own “Kohala” in concert, with GRAMMY® award-winning producer Charles Michael Brotman, whose song “Hapuna Sunset” which was featured on “The Descendants” sound track.  Best of the Fest includes the Kohala Concert and Audience-voted Best Feature and Best Short Films of BIFF 2012, plus a Silent Auction to benefit the Tripler Army Medical Center’s Fisher House for military families. It is also a fundraiser for Hawai‘i Island Food Basket.

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 24-28, 2012. Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawaii Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP.

For complete schedule information and to print-your-own-tickets from Ticket Derby, visit or call (808) 883-0394.

Daytime movies, free family films, special documentaries, evening screenings, filmmaking workshops and other events are not shown—for complete schedule, ticket purchase and information, please visit

Friday, May 25

5:00-6:30 p.m.

“Meet the Stars”

The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i Kilohana Room ($60 advance ticket required)

Saturday, May 26

4:30-6:30 p.m.

Reception & Salute to Eloise Mumford

The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i – Wailana Gardens and Amphitheatre ($35 advance ticket required)

Sunday, May 27

4:30-6:30 p.m.

Reception & Salute to David James Elliott

The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i – Wailana Gardens and Amphitheatre ($35 advance ticket required)

Monday, May 28

5:30 p.m. (doors open 4:40)

“Best of the Fest” featuring KOHALA in Concert

The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i Plantation Estate

(Adults $35, kama‘āina $25, Keiki 7-12 $10.  $5 more at the door)

Hawaii’s Candonino Agusen of Kailua-Kona Named One of America’s Top Ten Youth Volunteers

Candonino Agusen, 17, of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, was named one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers of 2012 yesterday in a ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, winning a national Prudential Spirit of Community Award for his outstanding volunteer service. Selected from a field of more than 26,000 youth volunteers across the country, Candonino received a personal award of $5,000, an engraved gold medallion, a crystal trophy for her school, and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for a nonprofit charitable organization of his choice.

New York Giants quarterback and 2012 Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning congratulates Candonino Agusen, 17, of Kailua-Kona (center) and Jackson Button, 13, of Waialua (right) on being named Hawaii’s top two youth volunteers for 2012 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Candonino and Jackson were honored at a ceremony on Sunday, May 6 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where they each received a $1,000 award.

Also honored this week in Washington, D.C., was Jackson Button, 13, of Waialua. He and Candonino were named Hawaii’s top youth volunteers, and were officially recognized last night at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History along with the top two youth volunteers in each state and the District of Columbia. At that event, each of the 102 State Honorees for 2012 received $1,000 awards as well as personal congratulations from New York Giants quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning. The honorees also received engraved silver medallions and an all-expense-paid trip with their parents to Washington, D.C., for this week’s recognition events.

Candonino, a junior at Kealakehe High School, helped raise more than $64,000 to buy temporary housing kits for people displaced by the earthquake in Japan last year. As president of the Interact service club at his high school, Candonino was no stranger to community service, having participated in several projects over the years, including sending care packages to soldiers in Afghanistan. However, when a massive earthquake hit Japan, triggering a powerful tsunami that wreaked havoc on the Hawaiian shoreline, he felt a new urgency to volunteer. “As bad as it was, I saw that our disaster was not nearly as devastating as the widespread damage and destruction in Japan,” Candonino said. “People were dying and desperately in need of life-saving shelter and equipment. They were suffering through cold, rain and snow.”

Candonino recruited others to help him buy “Shelterboxes” that include a tent, equipment and 30-day supplies for up to 10 people. They set up a table with collection jars in front of a local store and displayed boards showing a Shelterbox and its contents. In addition, Candonino campaigned vigorously for donations on Facebook. Within a few weeks, his team raised more than $64,000, enough to take care of 640 earthquake victims for a month. Candonino contributed another $2,000 by making a thousand paper origami cranes and sending them to Japan as a symbol of support. Candonino said, “I learned that overnight everything can change instantly, but disaster can bring people together for the good of all.”

Jackson, an eighth-grader at Hawaii Technology Academy in Waipahu, co-founded a nonprofit organization with his sisters that has raised nearly $100,000 to support a wide variety of projects aiding children in Africa, Mexico and the United States. When Jackson’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, “my family and I learned what it was like to really need help,” he said. They were so grateful for all of the assistance they received, even from people they did not know, that Jackson and his sisters wanted to do something in return. They wrote, published, and sold a cookbook to raise money to fight breast cancer. “But we soon realized there are too many kids around the world who needed basic things like food, water and medicine,” said Jackson. “We decided to help the most needy, especially kids, going through hard times.”

To do that, Jackson and his siblings have sold baked goods and organic vegetables from their garden, set up lemonade stands, hosted garage sales and sought donations. The money raised so far has been used to provide scholarships to children who have lost a parent to cancer or other diseases, and to purchase hygiene supplies for a family shelter, a solar heater for a Mexican orphanage, school supplies and backpacks for underprivileged kids in Hawaii and a therapeutic riding horse for disabled children. Jackson and his sisters also purchased a van to take HIV/AIDS orphans in Uganda to medical appointments, and bought four acres of land in that country to grow food and build a new orphanage. “We want to help children all over the world have a better life,” said Jackson.

“Through their extraordinary acts of volunteerism, these students are powerful examples of the way one young person can make a big impact,” said John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. “We are proud to honor them for their achievements, and hope their stories inspire others to consider how they, too, can make a difference.”

More than 26,000 young people participated in the 2012 awards program last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of the HandsOn Network. The top middle level and high school applicants in each state were selected in February, and flown to Washington this week with their parents for four days of special recognition events.

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Hawaii County Department Heads Meet With Civil Defense to Review Roles in Times of Emergency

A few days ago I posted about the State Launching a Disaster Preparedness Training Pilot program.

This morning Mayor Kenoi posted the following on his Facebook account:

Our department heads and key personnel spent today’s cabinet meeting in Civil Defense’s Emergency Operations Center to review everyone’s role in an emergency. County government’s job, above all else, is to preserve the health and safety of everyone in our community. Preparedness is key. 

Back in 2009, the County asked residents to complete this survey on Mitigating Hazards, however, I have yet to see the response from this survey… nor have I asked for the results.

Two Teenagers Die in Two-Vehicle Crash in South Kohala

A 19-year-old Kamuela man and an 18-year-old Honokaʻa man died Sunday (May 6) from injuries they received in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway and Kawaihae Road in South Kohala.

The men were identified as Kauaheaheokaua Lactaoen, 19 of a Kamuela address and Rocky P. Pactol, 18, of a Honokaʻa address.

A memorial photo set up on Kauaheaheokaua Lactaoen’s Facebook page

Responding to a 12:16 a.m. call, South Kohala patrol officers determined that a 40-year-old Kamuela man was operating a 2006 Ford F350 pickup truck and traveling south on Kawaihae Road when it struck a 2000 Honda two-door sedan at the intersection being operated by a 19-year-old Paʻauilo man.

Officers are still trying to determine the direction of travel for the Honda but it appears it may have turned in front of the Ford truck.

The two dead men were passengers in the Honda and were ejected after impact. They were not wearing their seat belts.

Fire Department rescue personnel took the driver of the Honda, one of his passengers, and the driver of the Ford truck to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, where Lactaoen was pronounced dead at 1:02 a.m. and Pactol at 4:23 a.m.

Police believe that speed and alcohol were factors in the crash.

The driver of the Honda was arrested on suspicion of two counts of negligent homicide, operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and consuming/possessing intoxicating liquor while operating a motor vehicle. Because he was confined at North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital (in stable condition), he was released pending further investigation.

The driver of the Ford truck was also arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. He was also released pending investigation and was treated and released with minor injuries.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask that anyone with information about this crash call Officer Larry Flowers at 326-4646, extension 229.

These are the 13th and 14th fatalities on the Big Island this year compared with eight at this time last year.

KHON Television Station Sold

Hat tip to Jared Kuroiwa on this one:

LIN TV Corp. today announced it is purchasing eight full-power and two low-power network affiliates in eight markets from New Vision for $330.4 million and the assumption of $12 million of debt.

LIN also said that it will be assuming agreements under which it will operate three other network-affiliated stations owned by third parties in three markets.

The company expects to close on the acquisition in late 2012, pending regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

The stations (those in italics are owned by others, but operated by New Vision under contract. Listing does not include full-power satellite stations. The group airs additional network programming on in some markets on subchannels):

  • KOIN (CBS) Portland, Ore. (DMA 22)
  • KSNW (NBC) Wichita-Hutchinson, Kan. (DMA 67)
  • KHON (Fox) Honolulu (DMA 71)
  • KSNT (NBC)/KTMJ-CA (Fox)/KTKA (ABC) Topeka, Kan. (DMA 136)
  • WIAT (CBS) Birmingham, Ala. (DMA 39)
  • WJCL (ABC)/WTGS (Fox) Savannah, Ga. (DMA 92)
  • KIMT (CBS) Mason City, Iowa (DMA 153)
  • WKBN (CBS)/WYFX-LP (Fox)/WYTV (ABC) Youngstown, Ohio (DMA 110)

More Here: Lin Buying New Vision Stations for $342M