Big Island Police Searching for Puna Man Wanted in Connection With Stabbing Today

Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in locating a Puna man wanted in connection with a stabbing Friday morning.

Brannon “Listo” Ramirez

The incident began with a domestic dispute at a convenience store on Kahakai Boulevard in Hawaiian Beaches between a 31-year-old Hawaiian Beaches woman and a 27-year-old Hawaiian Beaches man. During the argument, the man allegedly threw a beer bottle—which hit a 19-year-old man in a parked van—and then left the area.

A short time later, the mother of the man hit by the bottle and a relative—a 37-year-old Mountain View man—got into a confrontation with the couple from the original domestic argument on South Puni Mauka Loop near Aweoweo Street.

During the confrontation, the Mountain View man received lacerations to the chest, back, face and upper arms. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he is listed in stable condition.

Police have classified the incident as a first-degree assault and a third-degree assault. They are looking for 27-year-old Brannon Ramirez of Hawaiian Beaches, who also goes by the name “Listo.” He is described as 5-foot-11,190 pounds with blue eyes, a muscular build, a shaved head and a partial goatee. He has several tattoos, including one with the word “Compton” on his abdomen and another with the numbers “155″ on his chest.

Police caution the public not to approach him, but instead, to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 if they see him or know his whereabouts, or contact Detective Norbert Serrao by phone at 961-2383 or by email at nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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.

Congressional Candidate Marx on Honolulu Rail Project – “Impossible Financial Burden on the Entire State”

Bob Marx, Hilo attorney, bookstore owner, and candidate for Hawai‘i’s Second Congressional District, calls the Honolulu Rail Project an impossible financial burden on the entire state.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Speaking to a group of students in Pahoa today, Marx addressed the issue of the Honolulu rail project. “This is Mufi Hannemann’s pet project that he abandoned to run for governor, quite unsuccessfully I might add,” Marx began. “Now it appears another Honolulu politician, Tulsi Gabbard, has decided to take Mufi’s reigns and put the state deeper into financial crisis by supporting a $450,000,000 ‘paper’ loan,” Marx stated.

The original vote for the rail which passed in 2008 was for $3.7 billion and the rail was supposed to run from Kapolei to the University of Hawai‘i. Now, just the first step of the project will cost $5.3 billion, skip Salt Lake and not even get to the University.

“Gabbard continues to show her loyalty to the voters of the FIRST congressional district, which she rightfully should, as she represents many of them on the Honolulu Council. Gabbard and Mufi have no business running for a seat that encompasses the neighbor islands and should rightfully be running for the district in which they live. Both are asking Kaneohe, Kailua, Haleiwa, Wainae, Waimanalo, Makaha and the rest of rural Oahu to float the bill for this incredibly unpopular and untimely elevated train project,” Marx said, bluntly.

The city said they wouldn’t need the funds unless “the moon fell into the ocean.” Now, just a few months later, they are asking for these funds. “If this wasn’t serious business it would be laughable,” Marx quipped. “We still have the second highest per capita debt in the nation: $8000 for every man, woman and child living on the islands, and yet Honolulu wants to put us further in debt? I am happy to see Council Members Ann Kobayashi and Tom Berg opposing this impossible fiscal burden on the rest of the state.” Marx said.

Ka‘eo Malaka, a college student in Hilo, asked him what can be done to relieve the burden of traffic and congestion in Honolulu. “We can start with an improved bus system. We must prioritize support for the workers and those looking for work that don’t have transportation, not simply provide alternatives for those who do. This shouldn’t be about convenience–it should be about jobs–and this rail project does nothing to help traffic congestion in Honolulu or help people who are struggling with high fuel prices.”

Studies in cities with rail programs consistently show the same thing: when people are already using public transportation like buses, ride-shares, or light-rail, they become accustomed to not using their car and will jump on board a train. When they are not accustomed to using public transportation, the transition period is much longer and the costs and projected revenues take much longer than forecasts anticipated. The vote for the funding of the program is set for June 4th.

The Second Congressional District encompasses most of rural Oahu and all the neighbor islands. Mr. Marx, a Hilo attorney and long-time community activist, is running against Oahu residents Mufi Hannemann, Tulsi Gabbard, and Esther Kia‘aina and for the open seat. Marx lives in the district and is the only Candidate in the race from a county other than Honolulu.

DLNR Announces that Five Monk Seals Been Hooked Since March Alone

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and NOAA Fisheries announced this week that since March 2012, NOAA Fisheries, DLNR, and partners have responded to five seal hooking incidents involving four individual Hawaiian monk seals. Three of these responses are still in progress.

This Hawaiian monk seal is alive but its life is surely made more difficult by the rusted fish hook stuck in its mouth. The reddish smear on the side of its face is rust from the hook. The state wildlife agency and seal conservation groups are aware of this individual and its injury. It has an identification tag on its rear flipper.

NOAA and DLNR would like to take this opportunity to remind fishermen that monk seal deaths and injuries from fishing interactions can often be prevented, and adverse impacts to fishermen and seals can be reduced through early reporting of incidents.

“Monk seals are a vital part of Hawai‘i’s marine and cultural environment,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson. “While DLNR and NOAA seek to address all adverse impacts on Hawaiian monk seals, we want to acknowledge the cooperation of Hawai‘i fishermen and emphasize that we do not consider fishing interactions in the main Hawaiian Islands to currently pose a major threat to monk seal recovery.”

NOAA Fisheries Service data indicate that a total of 77 hooking incidents have been reported over the past 10 years, with at total of nine incidents in 2011 and eight incidents reported thus far in 2012 (including the five incidents discussed here).

“However, in only two cases, including one of the recent cases, have hookings been deemed the likely cause of a seal’s death,” Aila added. “We want to partner with the fishermen to further reduce impacts. Following the guidelines and reporting hookings can help make a relatively small impact become even smaller.”

The agencies offer guidelines, titled “Hawaiian Monk Seals and Fishing Interactions: Guidelines for Prevention, Safety and Reporting,” that describe actions fishermen can take to avoid seal hookings and entanglement, and to reduce fishing gear and bait loss. The guidelines also stress the importance of reporting all fishing interactions.

The guidelines are available at the following link: http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/Library/PRD/Hawaiian%20monk%20seal/HMS-fishing_guidelines-FINAL-PUBLIC.pdf

The toll-free, 24/7 reporting hotline for all fishing interactions and other marine mammal incidents is: 1-888-256-9840. NOAA and DLNR urge all fishermen and other ocean users to write down this hotline and/or save it in their mobile phones for timely use whenever a seal is hooked or entangled.

“We want to encourage reporting as early as possible. We feel we can develop win-win solutions with the fishermen, and their reporting is essential to achieving this,” said Jeff Walters, Marine Mammal Branch Chief, NOAA NMFS PIRO.

Timely reporting of monk seal fishing interactions is beneficial in at least two ways:

  1. First, reporting an interaction as soon as possible can help save a seal’s life or minimize seal injury. In at least three previous cases, real-time reporting of seals that had ingested hooks resulted in successful treatment and release of the seal back to the wild. These seals probably would have died without this intervention. On numerous other occasions, fishermen have provided timely reporting of less severe hooking and entanglements that were not immediately life-threatening, but could have become life-threatening if not responded to. These timely reports have allowed response network members to get out to the location in time to locate the seal and safely remove the gear.
  2. The second benefit to timely reporting is that it helps federal and state managers and researchers better understand how fishery interactions occur and thereby helps guide the development and testing of improved methods to prevent and mitigate interactions. By reporting and documenting interactions, fishermen can partner with NOAA and DLNR to find better non-regulatory methods to effectively keep seals away from fishing gear and fishing areas, while also allowing for monk seal conservation and recovery.

Of the three active hooking cases, two seals required procedures to remove the hooks on May 10, 2012, at the Honolulu Zoo. One of these seals was airlifted from Kaua‘i to O‘ahu on May 9, 2012, by the US Coast Guard. The two seals are currently in guarded but stable condition at the Waikiki Aquarium. A special team has been assembled to de-hook and care for these seals, including a veterinarian flown in from the Vancouver Aquarium who specializes in marine mammal anesthesia.

The third hooked seal, last seen on May 9, 2012, around O‘ahu, has yet to be treated, but NOAA and DLNR marine mammal response staff are tracking her and plan to capture and treat her as soon as possible. This is the second hooking incident in the past two weeks for this seal, a 9-month-old female, known to response volunteers as “Kaiwi.” With her previous hooking on May 5, 2012, she was captured on Rabbit Island, de-hooked at Waikiki Aquarium, and released back into the wild the same day.

In March 2012, an adult male seal was found dead on Kaua‘i. A hook was found in the seal’s esophagus and necropsy results indicated that the seal likely died from trauma caused by the hook. The other three hookings reported thus far in 2012 were relatively minor and de-hooked on their own or removed in the field by marine mammal response staff.

North Hawaii Community Hospital Halts Delivering Babies From Anyone Not Within a Particular Zip Code

North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) was designed to support a maximum of 550 births each year.

Last year, 663 babies were delivered, and that number is on pace to exceed 700 births in 2012. At present, 51% of the births at North Hawaii Community Hospital are from women who live outside of the hospital’s service area. To ease overcrowding and preserve patient safety, NHCH’s Waimea Women’s Center will only accept new maternal care patients who live within the hospital’s defined service area starting today May 11, 2012.

“Unfortunately, overcrowding has become a very real and growing problem. NHCH cannot continue to serve the entire island with over half of the babies delivered coming from women who live outside our North Hawaii service area. Our commitment is to reduce overcrowding, preserve safety, improve patient satisfaction and maintain our NHCH program where midwives are an integral part of our maternal care program,” said Ken Wood, NHCH’s President and CEO.

Six weeks ago NHCH formed an internal Maternal Care Work Group comprised of three doctors, one midwife, six nurses and three staff members to evaluate NHCH issues of overcrowding, safety, patient satisfaction, and financial and  resource implications. The NHCH executive team deliberated the Maternal Care Work Group recommendations and weighed additional input from the hospital’s Board of Directors, NHCH’s Community Advisory Board, and public input facilitated by the Waimea Community Association. By the end of this review process, overriding safety concerns prompted the executive team to take immediate action. “Before arriving at this tough decision to reduce NHCH volume to a safe and sustainable level by defining maternal care access by service area, we wanted to be sure that women from around the island would have access to maternal care services,” stated Wood. “We believe there is adequate maternal care capacity with OBs and Family Practice physicians who practice in the Hilo and Kona service areas,” stated Wood.

Defining the NHCH Maternal Care Service Area

NHCH’s overall hospital service area is defined by the Hawaii County Emergency Medical Response zone, which is the area north of a line roughly running from Laupahoehoe on the Hamakua coast across the Saddle to Kukio in North Kona.

Effective today, May 11, 2012, NHCH will only offer maternal care services to women whose primary address is within this EMT area. Residence zip code will determine eligibility for maternal health care services at the NHCH Waimea Women’s Center.

The following towns and zip codes are included in NHCH’s maternal care service area:

  • 96719 Hawi
  • 96764 Laupahoehoe
  • 96727 Honokaa
  • 96774 Ookala
  • 96738 Waikoloa
  • 96776 Paauilo
  • 96743 Kamuela
  • 96780 Papaaloa
  • 96755 Kapaau Kukio/Hualalai Only

This change impacts all new maternal care appointments, and exceptions will not be made. Women who are already active and registered in a course of maternal care treatment with Waimea Women’s Center can complete their care with NHCH.

Freaky Friday – A Mayor Kenoi Sighting in Pahoa

I just saw Mayor Kenoi in Pahoa talking to Maddie Green.

Who ever says the Mayor doesn’t care about Pahoa and Puna is crazy!

Ala Moana Hotel Offering Opportunities Surrounding the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards – Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

As the official hotel of the 35th annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, Ala Moana Hotel announced today that it is offering three opportunities for kama‘aina to win valuable prizes surrounding the Festival – including the chance to be on stage and present a Hoku award to a winner.

The three contests are as follows:

“And the Winner is…”

Correctly guess the winner in five categories of the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards and be entered to receive a free two-night stay in a one-bedroom, ocean-view suite at Ala Moana Hotel. Entrants who correctly guess the five winners will qualify for the random drawing that will determine the three prize recipients.

Qualified entrants must be age 21 and over at the time of entry and legal residents of the State of Hawaii.

Entry forms may be requested at the front desk of Ala Moana Hotel and must be submitted by May 26, 2012.

“Once in a Lifetime”
Hawaiian-music lovers can submit a written statement of 50-words or less on why they want to win this grand prize, consisting of all-day passes for the two-day Na Hoku Hanohano Workshops, two-night accommodations in a one-bedroom suite at Ala Moana Hotel, attend the Awards dinner – and be a presenter – at the televised 35th Annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards on May 27, 2012. Select entries will be considered qualified, and eligible for this “Once in a Lifetime” random drawing. In addition to the grand prize, four winners will be awarded two all-day passes for both days of the Na Hoku Hanohano Music Festival Workshops. Qualified entrants are limited to legal residents of the State of Hawaii age 18 and over. Enter by sending an email to sales@alamoanahotel.com between the dates of May 9 to May 17, 2012.

Hawaiian 105 KINE Contest
Hawaiian-music radio station 105 KINE will be conducting a Na Hoku Hanohano Awards-themed contest in partnership with Ala Moana Hotel from May 14 to May 25, 2012. KINE’s listeners can tune in weekdays during this period and answer a question about Ala Moana Hotel for the chance to be a winner.

Answers can be found on www.AlaMoanaHotel.com. Each daily winner will receive one all-day pass for both days of the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards Workshops and one complimentary night in a Waikiki Tower ocean-view room at Ala Moana Hotel. From the daily winners, one grand-prize winner will be selected to also receive two tickets to the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards Dinner and the chance to spend time with the KINE staff and Na Hoku Hanohano Award winners. Qualified entrants are limited to legal residents of the State of Hawaii and active duty military and dependents age 18 and over.

Official contest rules for“And the Winner is….” and “Once in a Lifetime” contests are available upon request at the Ala Moana Hotel front desk.

For the latest news and updates, follow Ala Moana Hotel on Twitter at: @AlaMoanaHotel and
Facebook at: www.facebook.com/AlaMoanaHotel.

ABOUT ALA MOANA HOTEL
Ala Moana Hotel, Honolulu’s landmark hotel, offers contemporary hotel accommodations for business and leisure travelers. This upscale Honolulu hotel features Plantation Café, Royal Garden and YuZu restaurants, meeting and banquet facilities, energetic Rumours nightclub, and expansive pool deck, sauna and fitness center. Ala Moana Hotel adjoins Ala Moana Center, America’s largest open-air shopping mall, and is just steps to the Hawaii Convention Center and Ala Moana Beach Park. For more information about Ala Moana Hotel, or to make reservations, please visit www.AlaMoanaHotel.com.

New Eye Doctor to Serve Big Island Three Days a Week

George Papastergiou, MD, PhD has joined the team at Retina Institute of Hawaii as an ophthalmologist and surgeon specializing in treatment of retinal, macular and vitreous diseases.

George Papastergiou

Dr. Papastergiou will be seeing patients at Retina’s Honolulu office as well as the new offices on Hawaii’s Big Island in Hilo, Waimea and Kona. He joins specialists Michael D. Bennett, MD, FACS; Clifton S. Otto, MD; Karl E. Waite, MD; and Kellen Kashiwa, OD, all experts in evaluating and treating retinal diseases. A highly specialized tissue located at the back of the eye, the retina translates light to nerve impulses that are then transmitted to the brain to produce sight. 20/20 vision can only be achieved if the retina is working properly.

Dr. Papastergiou completed his internship at the University of Pennsylvania, residency at the Medical College of Georgia, a vitreoretinal surgical fellowship at Piedmont Hospital of Atlanta, an Ophthalmology Research Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, Scheie Eye Institute, and earned his PhD from the Medical School of DUTH, Greece. He is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and an active member of many international retina societies.

A prolific researcher, Dr. Papastergiou has done extensive clinical research on retinal diseases, published multiple clinical articles and regularly reviews for Ophthalmology: Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Archives of Ophthalmology, and the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

“There are currently 100 different ways to treat retina-related problems, but every year there are about 10 new ways available. Our goal is to select the best treatment for each patient and identify and enroll patients in clinical studies, so they are first to gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available,” says Dr. Papastergiou. “We want to change the way we treat retinal diseases in the future.”

Services on Maui and Hawaii’s Big Island are increasing thanks to the team expansion. Dr. Waite, Dr. Otto and Dr. Papastergiou will serve patients on the Big Island three days each week and will be available on Maui Fridays bi-weekly. Patients will be able to see the doctors and receive treatment on the outer islands but all surgeries will be done on Oahu only.

In Hawaii Its Illegal to Have a Dog on Your Lap While You Drive

Hawaii News Now ran a story last night entitled “Police Warn Dog Owners to Buckle Up Fido” that basically told the story of a little known law here in Hawaii that is certainly not enforced very often from I can tell.

In Hawaii there is a law that state you can be fined $97 for driving with a dog in your lap and $57 if the animal’s loose in a moving vehicle.

According to Hawaii Revised Statutes 291C-124b:

§291C-124  Obstruction to driver’s view or driving mechanism.  (a)  No person shall drive a vehicle when it is so loaded, or when there are in the front seat such a number of persons, exceeding three, as to obstruct the view of the driver to the front or sides of the vehicle, or as to interfere with the driver’s control over the driving mechanism of the vehicle.

(b)  While operating a motor vehicle, no person shall hold in the person’s lap, or allow to be in the driver’s immediate area, any person, animal, or object which interferes with the driver’s control over the driving mechanism of the vehicle.

(c)  No passenger in a vehicle shall ride in such position as to interfere with the driver’s view ahead or to the sides, or to interfere with the driver’s control over the driving mechanism of the vehicle. [L 1971, c 150, pt of §1; am L 1981, c 11, §1; gen ch 1985]

Some folks are saying this is ridiculous and others are strongly in support of it.

So I ask, is this a ridiculous law or not?

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