Tsunami Siren Testing Today May Not Validate Actual Emergency Situation

I wonder why I get emergency emails from the county hours after I get them via Hawaii Nixle Emergency Alerts.

The most recent Nixle “EMERGENCY ALERT” paid for with our tax dollars.

Of course I find it funny that the Hawaii County Police Department would use an emergency alert service like Nixel to promote it’s self at times by posting thing like “Police Officer of the Month” on an emergency service.  Lord knows if we as the public used a service like 911 to promote ourselves all hell would break out.

Then again… I didn’t get anything via Nixle the night of the Tsunami Evacuations!

If folks are relying on email for emergency notifications… it may be too late when a real emergency does happen!  I’m gonna depend on myself for notices until the county get’s the kinks worked out.

The Sirens will be tested today with county workers stationed at each siren.

I guarantee they will report that the Pahoa Siren closest to my house is functioning properly (as it always does on the drill days)

I know for a fact that Pahoa’s siren didn’t go off until about 9:15 at night more then two hours after I posted the warning on my site.

Having County workers standing by at these sirens tomorrow won’t prove much I expect…. as I expect my siren to go off as usual during a warning.

WILL IT GO OFF DURING A REAL EMERGENCY?

There was a moral to the story of the boy who called wolf!

Hawaii County Elections Update and Information

VOTER REGISTRATION

104,323 Hawaii County residents are registered to vote in the 2012 General Election. This is the official voter registration count for the 2012 General Election and is not subject to change for this election.

ABSENTEE MAIL BALLOTS

As of October 31st, Hawaii County has received 17,305 voted absentee mail ballots.  Voters are reminded that the deadline to submit an absentee mail ballot for the General Election is 6:00 p.m. on November 6, 2012.  Voters are further reminded that absentee mail ballots may be submitted for the General Election by: (1) mailing their ballot to the Hawaii County Elections Division, (2) hand delivering their ballot to the Hawaii County Elections Division office in Hilo, (3) hand delivering their ballot to any absentee/early walk-in voting location in Hilo, Waimea and in Kona, (4) hand delivering their ballot to any precinct on election day, November 6, 2012, no later than 6:00 p.m.

ABSENTEE/EARLY WALK-IN VOTING

On October 23rd, Hawaii County opened absentee/early walk-in voting precincts in Hilo, Waimea and in Kona.  Absentee/early walk-in voting is open to all registered voters at any early walk-in voting precinct on the island, regardless of district or residency assignment.  Absentee/early walk-in voting will continue until November 3, 2012.

As of October 31st, 6,308 Hawaii County voters have voted absentee/early walk-in voting in Hawaii County.

For more information please contact Lehua Iopa, Acting Elections Program Administrator, Hawaii County Elections Division (808) 961-8277 or by electronic mail to eiopa@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Wordless Wednesday – Happy Halloween

Former Honolulu High School PRINCIPAL Accused of Sex Abuse in Legal Claim

At least five other school employees have been accused, Seattle school officials quietly removed cleric in August, Religious order filed bankruptcy after more than 200 victims came forward, Now, more than 400 say they were abused by Christian Brothers, At least 12 came from Damien Memorial School.

A man who says he was sexually abused by the former principal of a Honolulu high school has filed a sex abuse and cover-up claim in the New York courts.  http://www.king5.com/news/ODea-High-school-principal-resigns-sexual-abuse-allegations-176691111.html

Karl Walczak

The suit charges that the victim, known as John Doe, was sexually abused by Damien Memorial School former principal Br. Karl Walczak in 1971 at Brother Rice High School in Chicago. At the time, Walczak was a teacher at the school. http://www.komonews.com/news/local/ODea-High-School-principal-resigns-amid-sex-abuse-allegations-176692501.html

Walczak is a member of the Irish Christian Brothers, a New York State-based religious order that runs Brother Rice High School and more than a dozen other schools across the country. Walczak was principal at Damien Memorial School from 1987 to 1999.

Walczak is currently the principal of O’Dea High School in Seattle http://www.odea.org/academics/faculty-staff-bios/administrative-team. He was quietly put on leave in August when the lawsuit was filed. In a letter to parents, school officials said that Walczak was “fighting a claim” in the Christian Brothers bankruptcy, but refused to state that he had been accused of sexual abuse in the New York courts. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2012/07_08/2012_08_10_ODeaHighSchool_LETTERFrom.htm

Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), were appalled to learn that the Christian Brothers had keep quiet about the allegation.

“Parents and students in Hawaii have been duped yet again,” said Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, California, SNAP Western Regional Director. “A brave victim has come forward to the courts to expose the man who abused him. Yet, the Christian Brothers have—at every turn—kept quiet about allegations, misled parents and put more kids at risk because they refuse to come clean about predators in their employ.”

In light of this latest allegation, the groups wants Damien Memorial and diocese officials officials to immediately alert parents, students and alumni about the allegations. “There may be a victim suffering at the school right now,” Casteix said. “Victims need to know that it is safe to come forward and report abuse, because that is the only way to put predators behind bars.”

More than 12 victims from Damien High School have come forward and filed claims. In addition, at least five other known, admitted or arrested predators who worked at the school have been exposed. http://www.staradvertiser.com/newspremium/20120824_Clergy_child_sex_abuse_allegations_arise.html?id=167294085&id=167294085&c=n

Last year, the Irish Christian Brothers declared bankruptcy in light of more than 50 child sex abuse lawsuits in the United States and more than 200 in Canada. http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Mounting-sexual-abuse-claims-causes-US-Christian-Brothers-to-file-for-bankruptcy–121020724.html. The order has also been rocked by sex abuse scandals in Ireland.

In January, the New York Bankruptcy Court set a “bar date” of August 1, 2012, for all victims of Irish Brother predators to expose their abusers in court. More than 400 victims have come forward and filed claims.

According to O’Dea High School. Walczak is currently living in New York. He has also worked in schools in Illinois and California.

The attorney for John Doe is Mike Reck of New York, (714) 742-6593, mreck@andersonadvocates.com.

Seattle press articles:

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/ODea-High-School-principal-resigns-amid-sex-abuse-allegations-176692501.html

http://www.king5.com/news/ODea-High-school-principal-resigns-sexual-abuse-allegations-176691111.html

http://www.nwcn.com/news/washington?fId=176691111&fPath=/home&fDomain=10212

http://theworthyadversary.com/1554-breaking-seattle-principal-removed-for-abuse-parents-not-informed

http://news.silobreaker.com/odea-high-school-principal-resigns-amid-sexual-abuse-allegations-5_2266086944012238907

http://www.q13fox.com/news/kcpq-odea-high-school-principal-resigns-amid-allegations-of-sexual-abuse-20121031,0,2277878.story

Contact:

Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, SNAP Western Regional Director, (949) 322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com

John Schuster of Seattle, WA, SNAP Seattle Leader, 360-551-9982, js98367@hotmail.com

Barb Dorris of St. Louis MO, SNAP Outreach Director, (314) 503-0003, snapdorris@gmail.com

Outrigger Opens Luxury Property on Phi Phi Island, Thailand

The Outrigger Phi Phi Island Resort and Spa officially opens this weekend in southern Thailand. As of November 3, the stunning 156-key 70-acre property, formerly known as the Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort and Spa, will be run by Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, the 65-year old Hawaii-based company that continues to expand throughout Asia-Pacific from its regional headquarters in Phuket, Thailand.

Outrigger took over the sales and marketing of the property in October of last year. Since then, extensive improvements have been made, including the addition of 44 new Deluxe Garden Bungalows. Food and beverage venues have been enhanced, and the gym has been improved.

“We have started to implement Outrigger international standards across facilities, food and beverage and human resource services,” said Darren Edmonstone, Managing Director Asia-Pacific for Outrigger. “It’s a completely new era for one of the most beautiful beach resorts in Thailand,” he said.

The new 571 sqf (53 sqm) Deluxe Garden Bungalows are the highlight of the changes. They are located in clusters giving the atmosphere of a traditional Thai village. Inside, the interiors are contemporary with Thai touches. Each one features a walk-in wardrobe, a flat screen television, and iPod/iPhone docking station.

“The new Deluxe Garden Bungalows now give our guests superlative comfort and amenities on a par with the idyllic standards set by Mother Nature all around,” said the property’s General Manager, Marc Landgraf, who was appointed in July.

A new executive chef with extensive luxury hotel experience has also been hired to implement a completely refreshed food and beverage offering. He will bring acclaimed culinary expertise in Thai, French, Italian and Japanese cuisine to the Outrigger Phi Phi Island Resort and Spa. His new creations will be available in the resort very soon.

The property already wins consistent accolades on TripAdvisor. The unique location in a quiet peninsula of northeast Phi Phi allows guests to step from the resort right on to a nearly half-mile (800-metre) white sand beach with translucent sea water. Outrigger guests can enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, private boat excursions, fishing and a full spa facility.

“Guests seeking a wonderfully unique beach setting in Thailand with high quality international standards of service and comfort, should take a new look at what we offer on Phi Phi Island with Outrigger,” said Landgraf.

A 360-degree virtual tour of the new Outrigger Phi Phi Island Resort and Spa is available here.

 

 

Big Island Police Searching for 22-Year-Old Wanted on Five Warrants

Big Island police are searching for a 22-year-old Puna man wanted on five $5,000 warrants.

Justin Gryde

Justin Gryde of Pāhoa is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-10, 190 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. He has a tattoo with the name “Gryde” on his neck.

Detectives also want to speak with him in connection with a burglary.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call 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.

Local Artist Commissioned to Create Posters Commemorating Sainthood of Mother Marianne Cope

Standing in front of Bishop Home where she ministered to girls and women suffering from Hansen’s disease, Saint Marianne Cope has been honored in a new work of art commissioned by Pacific Historic Parks (PHP).

The just-released 12” x 18” poster commemorates Saint Marianne’s canonization, which took place on October 21. It was designed by O‘ahu artist Nick Kuchar and uses a combination of rich hues, shapes and text to create a unique retro look.

“Saint Marianne’s canonization is an incredible event that holds so much meaning to our local community,” said Brad Wallis, President and CEO of Pacific Historic Parks. “We felt it was important to commission a local artist who would understand the historical significance of this event and be able to tell the story of Saint Marianne through the use of art.”

The poster is available exclusively at PHP’s Kalaupapa National Historical Park Bookstore and online at www.pacifichistoricparksbookstore.org. PHP, a cooperating association that assists the National Park Service (NPS), supports the education, preservation, development and interpretation of four historic sites throughout the Pacific. Proceeds from the sale of the Saint Marianne poster will support education and research at Kalaupapa NHP.

“The support we receive from Pacific Historic Parks plays an integral role in our ability to maintain the historical integrity of our national parks, including Kalaupapa National Historical Park,” said Steve Prokop, NPS Superintendent at Kalaupapa NHP. “Our partnership with PHP helps us to meet our mission of preserving the natural and cultural resources of our parks and to educate visitors on the historical significance of each site. Saint Marianne’s interpretive poster is a perfect example of how this partnership allows us to share her story with the world.”

In 1888, Saint Marianne established Bishop Home for women and girls in Kalaupapa, a small community located on Moloka‘i’s northern peninsula where Hansen’s disease patients were sent to live in isolation from 1866-1969. Saint Marianne spent 35 years helping these patients and lived on Moloka‘i until her death in 1918. The National Park Service and Hawai’i State Department of Health now manage the area.

Pacific Historic Parks also commissioned Kuchar to create a poster honoring Saint Damien, who was canonized in 2009. According to Kuchar, “I feel extremely honored and blessed to be able to create one-of-a kind tributes to these two great humanitarians in Hawai’i.”

For more information on the Saint Marianne poster, contact Sarah Safranski, Communications and Publications Manager, Pacific Historic Parks at ssafranski@pacifichistoricparks.org or visit www.pacifichistoricparksbookstore.org.

Hawaii Island’s Most Wanted for November

The most recent edition of the Crime Stoppers television program “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted” highlights a 42-year-old man suspected of three thefts from elderly victims and two men wanted on bench warrants.

The new episode begins airing Friday (November 2).

In it, police ask for the public’s help in locating 42-year-old Nicholas Stevens, who is suspected of contacting elderly women at their homes in Hilo and Kona, persuading them to hire him to repair their driveways, collecting money in advance and then failing to complete the jobs.

Nicholas Stevens

He is described as 5-foot-9, 166 pounds and balding, with a thin build and a tan complexion. He may be in Hilo or Kona.

The television program also asks for help in locating a 27-year-old man wanted on three bench warrants. Albert Aukai Manners is wanted on a $15,000 contempt of court warrant for failing to appear in court for a hearing on eight criminal charges, including driving under the influence and assaulting a police officer.

Albert Aukai Manners

He is also wanted on no-bail warrants for violating terms of release on bail in an assault case and a domestic abuse case. He is described as 5-foot-8, 155 pounds with brown eyes and short black hair. He has numerous tattoos on his neck and chest. His address is unknown.

In this latest edition of “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted,” Officer Patrick Menino also asks for help locating a Kaʻū man wanted on four bench warrants with bail totaling $200,000. Mario A. Espino is wanted for contempt of court and violating terms of probation relating to convictions for theft and auto theft.

Mario A. Espino

He is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-2, 130 pounds with brown hair, brown eyes and tattoos on his arms and back. He is most likely in the Ocean View area.

Police ask that anyone with information about any of these cases call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential. Crime Stoppers does not tape record phone calls or subscribe to caller ID.

“Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted” is a project of Crime Stoppers Hilo, Inc., which is a partnership of the business community, the media and the police. It was inspired by the national TV show, “America’s Most Wanted.” The program airs on Na Leo O Hawaiʻi Community Television Channel 54 on Sundays at 5 p.m. and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. It also airs intermittently on Channel 53.

Public Hearing on Bill No. 292 – Restricting Geothermal Hours

The Hawaii County Council is having a public hearing on Bill No. 292 which would restrict geothermal exploratory and production drilling to the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  The public will be allowed up to 3-minutes to provide testimony.

Pahoa Neighborhood Facility

The public hearing is on Friday, November 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm in the Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility.  For more information, please call Chairman Yagong at 961-8538.

 

30-Year-Old Woman Dies in South Kona Vehicle/Pedestrian Collision

A 30-year-old woman from Honaunau died Tuesday (October 30) after being involved in a motor vehicle/pedestrian collision on Highway 11 in the area of the 107-mile marker in South Kona.

Jasmin Robertson

The woman was identified as Jasmin K. Robertson of a Honaunau address.

Responding to a 6:38 p.m. call, traffic investigators determined that the woman, who appeared to be intoxicated, had been sitting on the northbound lane of the highway when she was struck by a 2003 BMW two-door sedan that was traveling north and being operated by a 50-year-old Captain Cook man.

Fire Department rescue personnel took the woman to Kona Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:15 p.m.

The driver of the vehicle was wearing seatbelt and was not injured.

It is unknown at this time if speed, alcohol or drugs were involved on part of the driver but the woman had been drinking.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to call Officer Larry Flowers at 326-4646, extension 229.

This is the 36th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared to 18 at the same time last year.

Lance Armstrong Kicking It in Hawaii

Well TMZ is reporting that Lance Armstrong is in Hawaii and I just checked his twitter account and it does appear that he is here now:

Despite all the recent controversy, Lance Armstrong got back on his bike and pedaled around Hawaii while on vacation. His life just seems to keep getting worse and worse, right?

[youtube=http://youtu.be/ZkXJYGwJNWk]

I wonder if he’s staying on the Big Island like he normally does?

Raw, Fermented Foods Workshop Nov. 10

Probiotic, Lacto-fermented. What’s it all mean?

Find out how tasty fermented and raw foods can contribute to wellness at a three-hour, cutting-edge workshop Saturday, Nov. 10 at Island Naturals Market and Deli-Kailua.

Benjamin Cohn, fermented and raw food specialist at Honaunau’s Dragonfly Ranch, discusses “Raw and Ferment Foods: Their Role in Healing, Health and Well-being” 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The informative program includes a raw food lunch and admission is by donation. Registration is at 9:45 a.m.; coffee and tea will be served.

The workshop is presented by the Women’s Federation for World Peace-Hawaii. WFWP is a global organization that empowers women with knowledge, skills and supportive community to learn their unique value and bring lasting peace. It is co-sponsored by The Pacific Rim Education Foundation (PREF) and Hawaiian Queen Coffee Company.

The workshop will explain the benefits of raw, “living” food and share why fermented foods can improve digestion through a balancing of bacteria and enzymes. Cole will detail the important connection between fermented foods and vitamin B12 and delve into sprouting food and the proper use of kitchen tools during food preparation. He will also demonstrate how to prepare raw and fermented foods in a tasty and appealing way so they can be easily integrated into your lifestyle.

Reservations are appreciated to Betsy, 808-987-6510 or wfwp.kona@gmail.com. Island Naturals is located at 74-5487 Kaiwi Street in the Old Industrial Area.

PREF: The Pacific Rim Education Foundation sponsors educational programs, funds charitable activities and supports practices that nurture love, wisdom and peace within individuals and families, which promote understanding and connectedness among communities, and which foster wise care for the Earth. PREF is funded by the Hawaiian Queen Coffee Company (HQC); the Unification Church, founded by the late Reverend Sun Myung Moon; and by individual donors. For information, visit www.prefpeace.org or email PrefPeace@gmail.com.

 

County of Hawai‘i Non-Profit Grants Informational Meetings

Councilmember Brittany Smart will host informational meetings for all non-profits (must be 501c3) interested in applying for a grant from the County of Hawai‘i to discuss recent Hawai‘i County Code changes and how it will affect the application process.

A representative from the Department of Finance will be available to assist in explaining the code changes from Bill 287, Draft 3 (passed October 2012). All completed applications must be submitted and received by the Department of Finance by 4:30pm on Thursday January 31, 2013.

The meetings will be November 15th at 10:00AM in Hilo at the County of Hawai‘i Council Chambers (25 Aupuni Street) and November 16th at 10:00AM in Kona at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center, Building G (74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy).

Any questions, please call Jenny at (808) 961-8536 or email district6@co.hawaii.hi.us.

 

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 47-Year-Old Puna Man

Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in locating a 47-year-old Puna man who was reported missing.

Robert Allen Park

Robert Allen Park is described as Hawaiian, about 5-foot-7, about 230 pounds with a stocky build, a bald head, brown eyes and a tan complexion. He may be in need of medical attention.

He was last seen around 2:30 p.m. on October 22 at a home on Pikake Street in Mountain View.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts contact Detective Norbert Serrao at 961-2383 or 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.

Commentary on Tsunami Sirens by Councilman Pete Hoffmann – “The Sounds of Silence”

Councilman Pete Hoffman

Councilman Pete Hoffmann

Last Saturday evening, we were visited once again by a frequent, if not welcomed, visitor, i.e. the threat of a tsunami. This was the third such event in the past 32 months and permitted island residents and agencies to participate in what is fast becoming an island staple, “the annual evacuation drill”. Fortunately, the threat remained exactly that. Some Saturday night festivities and events were cancelled or curtailed, many took to the roads seeking higher ground, others raced to the gas stations and local markets to ‘top off’ or stock-up (on what I’m not certain??), evacuation centers were opened, and in general residents displayed a growing non-chalance that is becoming part of the fabric of life on an island in the Pacific Ocean.

For the most part, our County first responders, Civil Defense, CERT volunteers and others performed with a degree of professionalism that comes from repeated ‘drills’. There will always be problems of some kind, and glitches will occur no matter how often the system is exercised. However, I agree with Mayor Kenoi when he notes that County personnel accomplished tasks in an outstanding fashion.

So am I the only one who remains concerned about our preparedness? In the rush to ‘pat ourselves on the back for a job well done’ I continue to question why considerable portions of our coastline with sizeable developments do not have any tsunami sirens. Why is it that after two previous tsunamis, some resort areas do not have a single siren in place? Didn’t we stress this danger last year and the year before?? Didn’t it take some legislative arm-wrestling to convince County officials that some zoning regulations need to be introduced to insure residents in those areas, most vulnerable to a tsunami have sufficient warning? Wasn’t the County supposed to follow-up with State officials to insure this situation doesn’t happen? Doesn’t this fall within the public health and safety mandates of our County government?? Despite the obvious dangers, Tsunami #3 came and there remain too many built up areas that lack a siren capability.

Do not misunderstand. A functioning siren system may not be the only or even the best warning capability. It takes, I believe, a combination of several components to provide our residents an effective early warning structure. My fear is that for some on our island, particularly along our coastlines, a siren is a critical ingredient that must be operational to provide the broad coverage so necessary for public safety. The silence along some portions of our coast is truly deafening.

Consider for a moment the timeframe involved: the February 2010 event allowed us 13+ hours lead time. The March 2011 event permitted us a seven hour warning. Last Saturday’s exercise cut that time to three hours. Does anyone see a pattern here?? My concern is that the next event may allow the County perhaps one hour or less to evacuate large numbers of people from our coastline. And knowing that our luck may finally run out, it will be in the dead of night when the visitor count is high and our snow-birds are here.

Before we “pat ourselves on the back” too much, we must return to basics. We are not as prepared as we think we are if sirens remain absent from many vulnerable areas. We are fooling ourselves if we think we are ready. We must make this deficiency a persistent and vocal objective of our County government now, not in the short-term, but immediately. Enough talk and promises. Solutions are required now and if sirens are lacking, some effective alternative must be put in place. This public health and safety shortfall cannot be permitted to exist when our next “annual tsunami drill” occurs. The sounds of silence must not continue.

Pete Hoffmann

22-Year-Old Man Arrested for Stealing Gas

A 22-year-old man has been arrested for stealing gasoline from a business.

Norton Castro

Gasoline was stolen from a warehouse in Pāpaʻikou at 5:30 p.m. Sunday (October 28). A video surveillance camera on the property caught the suspect returning at 11:37 p.m. and attempting to steal gasoline again.

Norton Castro of Pepeʻekeo was arrested Monday morning (October 29) and later charged with two counts of second-degree burglary and one count of third-degree theft. His bail was set at $4,500.

He was held at the Hilo police cellblock until his initial court appearance on Tuesday (October 30).

Police Investigating Break-Ins During Tsunami Evacuations

Big Island police are investigating several break-ins that took place in the Keaukaha area of Hilo during the tsunami evacuation Saturday night (October 27).

Eight residential burglaries were reported on Kalanianaʻole Avenue. Police are investigating each one as a “burglary of a dwelling during a civil defense emergency,” which is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Police ask that anyone with information about these burglaries (or anyone who didn’t evacuate and saw suspicious persons in the area) call Sergeant James Correa at 961-2289 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.

Big Island Arbor Day Events Feature Native, Non-Native Plants for Sale

Celebrate Arbor Day in Hawaii and “go green” by purchasing and planting a native plant from the Arbor Day plant sale on Friday, November 2 at Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) nurseries on the Big Island.

Planting a native plant celebrates the forests that are fundamental to our way of life. Hawaii’s native forests provide the islands’ water supply by absorbing large quantities of moisture from passing clouds and rainfall. These watershed forests reduce greenhouse gases and flooding, erosion, and siltation of reefs and fisheries. Native plants also have cultural significance, regarded as elders and ancestors, or used for medicines, offerings, or other material needs.

Learn more about these incredible and unique plants at the Big Island sale, held in two locations, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. In Hilo the plant sale is at the DOFAW baseyard at 19 E. Kawili St. (corner of Kawili St. and Kilauea Ave.). Phone 974-4221. In Kamuela, the sale is at the DOFAW Kamuela office at 66-1220A Lalamilo Road. Call 887-6061.

A few of the native species that will be available are: koa, koai‘a, ohia, hame, kokio (hibiscus), alahe‘e, pohinahina, sandalwood, and loulu. A few of the non-native species that will be available are: puakenikeni, Sugi pines, ylang ylang, gardenia, shower tree, and Podocarpus.

The cost of plant species will range from $1 each for dibble tube seedlings to $15 each for 3-gallon pots. There are no limits on quantities purchased and all sales are on a cash only basis. Plant sales will feature both native and non-native plants raised at DOFAW nurseries that are popular with gardeners and landscapers. Proceeds will be used to support nursery operations and forest management.

Update on the Hawaii County Elections

VOTER REGISTRATION

104,323 Hawaii County residents are registered to vote in the 2012 General Election. This is the official voter registration count for the 2012 General Election and is not subject to change for this election.

ABSENTEE MAIL BALLOTS

On October 15th 22,200 absentee mail ballots were sent to Hawaii County voters.  As of October 29th, Hawaii County has received 14,584 voted absentee mail ballots.  New requests are processed and absentee mail ballots are sent to Hawaii County voters on a daily basis.

Hawaii County voters are advised that the deadline to submit an application for an absentee mail ballot is October 30, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. Applications for an absentee mail ballot that are received after this date will not be processed for the 2012 General Election.

ABSENTEE/EARLY WALK-IN VOTING

On October 23rd, Hawaii County opened absentee/early walk-in voting precincts in Hilo , Waimea and in Kona.  Absentee/early walk-in voting is open to all registered voters at any early walk-in voting precinct on the island, regardless of district or residency assignment.  Absentee/early walk-in voting will continue until November 3, 2012.

As of October 29th, 4,688 Hawaii County voters have voted absentee/early walk-in voting in Hawaii County .

According to Lehua Iopa, Hawaii County Acting Elections Program Administrator, “Let’s vote Hawaii County !  Hawaii County voters may walk-in and vote early before the November 6th, 2012 General Election in Hawaii County .  Early walk-in voting is happening every day until Saturday, November 3, 2012.  Each location will be open every day from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.  All Hawaii County registered voters can walk-in and vote in any location in Hilo , Kona and Waimea, regardless of district or residency assignment. For more information regarding early walk-in voting, please contact the Hawaii County Elections Division (808) 961-8277.”

For more information please contact Lehua Iopa, Acting Elections Program Administrator, Hawaii County Elections Division (808) 961-8277 or by electronic mail to eiopa@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Makalei Fire Station in North Kona Blessed

For the people of Kona, it means faster emergency responses and lower insurance premiums. For future firefighters, it’s a modern classroom to learn the art of fire science. And for the fire fighters who keep our community safe, it’s home.

“Welcome to your home,” Hawai‘i County Fire Chief Darren Rosario told about 80 people in attendance as the County of Hawai‘i opened the doors to its newest and largest facility, the $7 million Makalei Fire Station.

Located on Māmalahoa Highway less than a mile north of its intersection with Ka‘iminani Drive, the 11,000 square foot Makalei station sits on more than two acres just south of the 32-mile marker on the mauka side of the highway.

The fire station, designed by KYA Design Group, includes three apparatus bays, hose tower, pump house, office, kitchen and training room, dormitory, exercise/work rooms, a dedicated classroom, laundry room, fuel tank and parking areas for staff and guests.  Parked outside one of the bays was a bright yellow pumper with “North Kona” emblazoned on the doors. The station will also feature a hazardous materials unit and a ladder truck.

About $4 million of the funding for the project came from a federal grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through its Fire Station Construction Grant Program. Ground was broken in March 2011.

“This is a special day here in Kalaoa, in North Kona. This 11,000 square foot home will house those who run in when a lot of us are running out. Those who protect our community, protect our parents, our kūpuna, protect our children,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Joining Mayor Kenoi and Chief Rosario in speaking at today’s blessing were former Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira, Kahu Kaniala Akaka, who performed the blessing, and Hannah Kihalani Springer, who gave a history of the area and the Makalei name.

The station will positively impact the Kalaoa area of North Kona with quicker emergency response times and lower homeowner insurance rates. Before Makalei Fire Station was built, the next closest unit was seven miles to the south at the intersection of Palani Road and Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway. Response time from the Kailua Kona Station to Makalei is about 15 minutes.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the station is the hose tower, which doubles as a training facility for building fires and cliff rescues. Materials used to manufacture modern hoses make hose towers optional features on fire stations, but the one at Makalei has a catwalk on the inside that will be used to train a firefighter how to pick up a victim and get him out of a building. The tower will also be used to train recruits how to rappel down the side of a building or a cliff during an emergency. Also included in the facility is a dedicated classroom.