Hawaii – Kids Want Role Models Not Bottles!

Kids Want Role Models Not Bottles is an awareness campaign with a mission to provide adults/youth with knowledge about Hawaiʻi Island as it relates to underage drinking prevention. We encourage grandparents, parents, and guardians to keep communication lines open with youth. Many times adults feel like kids don’t listen to what they have to say, but research tells us otherwise.

In June, youth and adults from the Hawaiʻi Island community gathered and “talked story” about this campaign. It was refreshing for adults to hear from the youth – hopefully, they learned from us too! Our youth tells us that they don’t want to be offered alcohol at parties by family/friends. They feel awkward having to decline offers from elders – whether its an older brother, an uncle, grandparent, parent, etc.

Our tagline: Kids Want Role Models Not Bottles came from a real life experience of a teen being offered alcohol by a relative. Many of us grew up in these types of situations – learning from “small kid time” that this was okay or fun. Well, it’s not. The statistics for our beautiful island are staggering and we encourage adults and youth to help turn the trend around. Let’s be known for something great … and get our youth off to a great start!

Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu – Celebrating Breadfruit in Hawai‘i Youth Art Contest

The Hawaii Homegrown Food Network, Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden are presenting the Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu – Celebrating Breadfruit in Hawai‘i Youth Art Contest.

“Ever Greens” by Prince Pecote of Kohala High School was a 1st place winner in the 2011 Youth Art Contest

The Youth Art Contest is part of the educational outreach associated with the Breadfruit Festival Goes Bananas, which will be held at the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in South Kona on Saturday, September 29, 2012. The artwork of contest winners (1st, 2nd and 3rd in each age group) will be displayed at the Breadfruit Festival and the winners will win great prizes.

The contest is open to all youth artists in Grades 1–12. To qualify, entrants must be full-time residents of Hawai‘i County and must be affiliated with a school, home school group or organization. The school/organization needs to pre-judge the entries for submission. Each school may submit up to four works of art (one for each division). The divisions are: Grades 1–3, 4–6, 7–9, and 10–12.

The deadline for submissions is September 14, 2012.  Interested schools should indicate their intent to submit by August 9, 2012 to Fia Mattice at 896-5122 or matticef@gmail.com.

Contest guidelines, and links to content standards and the submittal form are available at www.breadfruit.info.

Big Island Police Searching for 14-Year-Old Kona Boy Missing Since May

*7/9/12 UPDATE* Big Island police have located 14-year-old Chito Asuncion of Kailua-Kona, who was reported missing.

He was found on June 29 in Kailua-Kona.

Big Island police are searching for a 14-year-old Kailua-Kona boy reported as missing since May 18.

Chito Asuncion

Chito Asuncion is described as Filipino, 5-foot-9, 90 pounds with black short hair and brown eyes. He was last seen in the Kealakehe area.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call Officer Stephen Kishimoto at 326-4646, extension 253, 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.

Big Island Police Investigating Separate Hilo Gun Incidents

Big Island police are investigating two separate incidents that occurred over the weekend in Hilo reportedly involving a firearm.


On Saturday morning (June 23) shortly after 4:30 am, police responded to a fast food restaurant on Puainakō Street to a reported attempted robbery. During the incident, a lone male reportedly approached a 33-year-old Pāhoa woman in her vehicle at the drive-through window, brandished a firearm and threatened her.

The same suspect allegedly approached the employee, a 20-year-old Hilo woman, at the drive-through window, brandished a firearm, threatened her and demanded money. He fled the area without receiving any money.

The suspect was described as possibly a local male with a fair complexion in dark clothing who was concealing his face with what appeared to be a mask.

Neither victim sustained any injuries as a result of the incidents, which are classified as an attempted first-degree robbery and two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section are continuing the investigation and are reviewing video surveillance footage at the scene and surrounding businesses.

On Sunday morning (June 24) at about 3 a.m., police responded to a burglary report at a home on upper Kukuau Street. A 55-year-old Hilo man who was parking in his carport was reportedly accosted by a lone male who brandished a firearm and threatened him. When the victim’s 54-year-old wife entered the carport after hearing the commotion, she was also threatened with the firearm.

The suspect fled the area on foot toward Kukuau Street. He was described as possibly a young local male with a slim build and a fair complexion. He also was wearing dark clothing and what appeared to be a mask to conceal his identity.

Neither victim sustained any injuries during this incident.

Detectives are continuing the investigation, which is classified as a first-degree burglary, first degree attempted robbery, and two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed either incident or who may have information about the identity of the responsible vehicle or person call Detective Norbert Serrao Jr. at 961-2383 or email him 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.

New Lawsuit Filed to Protect Hawaii’s False Killer Whales From Death in Longline Fishery

Environmental groups filed suit in federal court in Honolulu today against the National Marine Fisheries Service, challenging the agency’s failure to finalize and implement a plan to protect false killer whales from the Hawai‘i-based longline fisheries. The move is aimed at ending the continuing slaughter of false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens, a large dolphin species) in the waters of Hawaii. Earthjustice is representing the Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network.

The federal fisheries agency’s own studies show that longline fishing is killing Hawai‘i’s false killer whales at rates far higher than the animals can sustain; yet the agency is now six months past its statutory deadline to finalize a plan to reduce the killing.

Photo courtesy National Marine Fisheries Service

“It’s wrong for the government to delay action when its own studies show that these extraordinary animals can’t sustain the number of deaths being visited on them by Hawaii-based longliners,” said Brendan Cummings of the Center for Biological Diversity.

According to the Fisheries Service’s latest official report, longline fishing is killing false killer whales found within 87 miles (140 kilometers ) of the main Hawaiian Islands — the “Hawaii insular stock” — at three times the rate this population can sustain, while false killer whales in Hawaiian waters farther from shore — the “Hawaii pelagic stock” — are dying at four times sustainable levels. The agency has proposed listing the insular stock, which numbers only about 170 animals and has been declining by 9 percent per year since 1989, as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act.

“These magnificent false killer whales don’t deserve a cruel death at the end of a longline hook, especially since common-sense solutions already exist to prevent serious injuries and drowning,” said Todd Steiner, biologist and executive director of the Turtle Island Restoration Network. “The ecological cost of longlining is mounting. In addition to imperiled false killer whales, the fishery kills critically endangered sea turtles, albatrosses and other seabirds.”

Congress amended the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1994, with the goal of achieving zero marine mammal morality in commercial fisheries by the year 2001. The law establishes clear deadlines for the Fisheries Service to take action to protect marine mammals, which the agency routinely ignores.

“Congress understood that that time is of the essence if we are going to save marine mammals,” said Earthjustice attorney David Henkin. “But here we are, almost 20 years and a trail of litigation later, and false killer whales are still being needlessly hooked and killed in longline gear. One group of false killer whales is down to the last 170 animals, the tuna longline fishery is killing them at three times the rate they can sustain, and yet nothing is being done to protect them. Another group of false killer whales is being depleted by the fishery at four times the rate they can sustain. We’re taking action to protect these false killer whales before they’re gone.”

Earthjustice went to court on behalf of the conservation groups in 2003 to force the Fisheries Service to classify the Hawaii longline fisheries as “Category I” due to their unsustainable “take,” i.e. harming or killing false killer whales. The agency made the classification in 2004, but failed to follow up on the listing by convening a team to develop a take-reduction plan.

Another round of litigation followed, and, in January 2010, the Service finally established a take-reduction team for the false killer whales, which included scientists, conservationists, state and federal agencies and fishing industry representatives. Within six months, the team achieved consensus on a draft take-reduction plan.

More than 90 percent of longline fishery interactions lead to death for false killer whales. The animals typically drown when they are hooked by the deep-set fishing lines, which target ahi. If the false killer whales do escape, they often trail fishing gear that hinders their ability to feed, causing them to die of starvation or infections stemming from their wounds.

“The best science tells us that, to reduce the fishery’s killing of false killer whales, we need to figure out how to help animals that get hooked free themselves,” said Cummings, who served on the take-reduction team. “The team proposed requiring the use of ‘weak hooks’ that would be strong enough to hold an ahi, the fishery’s target species, but weak enough to allow a larger, stronger false killer whale to straighten the hook and pull it out. Of course, this proposal, which the longliners agreed to, won’t do the false killer whales any good unless and until the Fisheries Service finalizes the plan.”

The agency is now more than six months past the Dec. 16, 2011 statutory deadline to finalize the plan.

In an April 26 letter to Earthjustice, agency regional administrator Michael Tosatto agreed that “conservation needs of false killer whales are of paramount concern.” However, the agency claimed it needed more time to revise its take reduction plan.

“Congress understood that no take reduction plan will be perfect when it’s issued, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act allows the federal fisheries agency to revise its plans, if warranted,” said Henkin. “The agency cannot, however, completely deprive Hawai‘i’s false killer whales of vital protections while it tinkers. The law imposes deadlines for a reason.”

A December 2008 study by the Government Accountability Office recognized this, saying delays in finalizing take reduction plans “could result in continued harm to already dwindling marine mammal populations.”

“NMFS has known about the false killer whales’ dire plight for years, but has repeatedly refused to take action until forced by litigation,” Steiner said. “That’s why we are headed back to court.”

See more photos of the devastating toll that Hawaii-based longline fishing inflicts on Hawaii’s false killer whales here: http://earthjustice.org/fkw

Big Island Police Arrest Kona Man on Auto Theft and Other Offenses

A Kona man is in police custody for auto theft and other offenses.

Matthew Guba

A patrol officer on routine patrol last Wednesday (June 20) noticed a sedan being driven by a man known to the officer as someone without a valid driver’s license. After confirming with police dispatchers that the motorist was unlicensed, the officer attempted to make a traffic stop using his lights and siren.

The driver sped away, recklessly passing other motorists. The officer discontinued the pursuit for the safety of the public but continued to search for the vehicle and was able to locate it within a few minutes at the intersection of Kiloa Road and Kinue Road. It was stopped and unoccupied with the driver door ajar and the engine idling. The car had been reported stolen earlier that afternoon.

An all-points bulletin was issued for the driver, 28-year-old Matthew Guba of Kailua-Kona.

On Saturday (June 23) at 11:45 p.m., an officer located Guba in Kailua-Kona and arrested him on suspicion of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and resisting an order to stop. He was taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 11:30 a.m. Monday (June 25), Guba was charged with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, resisting an order to stop, driving without a license and reckless driving. His bail was set at $13,000. He remains at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Tuesday (June 26).

Police are taking this opportunity to advise the public that the West Hawaiʻi area has experienced a rash of unrelated vehicle thefts with six reported in the last two weeks. The vehicles being targeted are early model Honda sedans and Toyota Tacomas. The area has also experienced an increase in unauthorized entries into motor vehicles.

Police urge the public to safeguard their vehicles by locking them and not leaving valuables inside.

Hawaii Coffee Association Celebrates Hawaiian Coffee at 17th Annual Industry Conference

The Hawaii Coffee Association (HCA) celebrates Hawaiian Coffee and offers educational, awareness and networking events at its 17th Annual Conference and 4th Annual Cupping Competition July 19-21 at the Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu, on Maui Island.

In addition to hosting HCA’s annual meeting and elections, the event plays host to the 4th annual statewide cupping competition. This year cupping features more than 117 entries assembled from Hawaii’s diverse origins vying for the coveted ‘Grand Champion of Hawaiian Coffee’ title in two categories: ‘commercial’ and ‘creative’. Top coffees from each growing origin will also be recognized.

This signature event has become increasingly popular and has been responsible, in part, for a boost in overall quality in recent years. Cupping panel leader Paul Thornton, of Coffee Bean International in Portland, observes, “Your industry has once again, captured the gist of what improved quality is all about. There are more, better coffees, than ever. Bravo to the HCA.”

Entries will be available for blind tasting and comments will be tendered from attendees. A new feature of the event will be a coffee store operated by the Maui Coffee Association, offering competitor entries for sale. Knowledge about how to properly sample and score coffee has become increasingly important to farmers, processors, roasters, wholesalers and retailers in an increasingly competitive international marketplace.

Consistent with the HCA’s educational mission, this year’s conference features a series of hands-on roasting, cupping and grower workshops; farm tours; updates on HCA’s legislative initiatives; grower’s reports from across the state and industry news from researchers and regulators. University of Hawaii, Hawaii Department of Agriculture and USDA are teaming up to host a free and critically important workshop focusing on preventing and controlling Coffee Berry Borer. Howard Dicus will serve as keynote speaker and share his wit and wisdom.

Join HCA for gourmet meals, scenic farm tours, a silent auction and plenty of Hawaii’s premium coffees. This event is a must-do for networking, education and fun for stakeholders and those looking to learn more about Hawaii’s coffee and agricultural industries.

For more information and a schedule of events, visit www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii coffee industry, including growers, processors, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of all Hawaiian coffees. A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. Visit www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org.

72-Year-Old Texas Woman Dies Snorkeling Off the Kohala Coast

Big Island police have initiated a coroner’s inquest case in connection with a Texas woman who died after snorkeling along the Kohala Coast on Sunday.

South Kohala patrol officers responded to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital Sunday evening in response to an 8 p.m. call reporting the death of 71-year-old Sokoon Yu of Flour Mound, Texas.

Yu had been snorkeling with a tour group in waters fronting a resort on the 74-5000 block of Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway when she became unresponsive at approximately 10 a.m. Sunday. Workers from the tour group pulled her from the water, performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and took her to shore. Fire Department personnel continued CPR and transported her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:55 p.m.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death.

Operation Hukilau Nets 56 Arrests and 74 State Felony Warrants Cleared

U.S. Marshals Adam Walsh Task Force Officers, Hawaii Fugitive Task Force Officers, and the State Sheriffs teamed up with the City and County of Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney Investigators and conducted Operation Hukilau Elua.

Operation Hukilau Elua began Tuesday, June 19, 2012 and concluded yesterday. The five day Operation was an investigative and arrest effort designed to assist the City and County of Honolulu Prosecutors Office in executing sex offender and domestic violence warrants. Law enforcement officials extended the scope of their work by executing felony arrest warrants for crimes such as assault, robbery, burglary, theft, weapons violations, drug offenses, and probation and parole violations. A collaborative effort amongst twenty investigators resulted in the arrest of 56 individuals and 74 State felony warrants cleared.