Ground Broken Today for Ka‘ū District Gym & Shelter

An estimated 150 people (including a few dozen Ka‘ū High students) participated in the ground blessing for the Ka‘ū District Gym & Shelter this morning on the school campus.

The 43,000 square foot gymnasium and multi-purpose facility will be situated upon approximately five acres of the Ka‘ū High and Pāhala Elementary School campus. It is a State of Hawai‘i and County of Hawai‘i joint-funded effort managed by the County of Hawai‘i and is the result of collaborative planning design effort among the community, the Department of Education, Ka‘ū High and Pāhala Elementary Administration and staff, Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Department of Public Works.


Artists rendition

Representative Herkes remarked, the seven-year effort was made possible due to Mayor Billy Kenoi’s willingness for County of Hawai‘i to take over the project.

“This project is a result of a community coming together and encouraging the government to make it happen,” commented Mayor Kenoi.  He added, “There is no higher priority than creating a pu‘uhonua, a safe haven for our children. Congratulations to this beautiful community.”

We had a beautiful groundbreaking this morning for the Kaʻū District Gym and Shelter with Governor Neil Abercrombie, members of our Legislature, and the Department of Education, as well as the County Council and the Departments of Public Works and Parks & Recreation. They all came together to bring this project closer to reality for the people of Kaʻū. I look forward to the blessing and opening about a year and a half from now! Mahalo for everyone’s hard work! (via Mayor Kenoi’s Facebook page)

The gymnasium provides for three NCAA regulation basketball courts (or, NCAA regulation volleyball courts) with retractable athletic curtains between each court to allow for simultaneous multisport use with minimal disruptions.

Accessory spaces include a certified kitchen with concession counters; ticket windows; meeting room; a community recreation room; interior and exterior public restrooms; two sets of locker/shower rooms; DOE Athletic Trainer’s office, conference room and training room; Parks and Recreation staff office; an American Red Cross emergency supplies room; and miscellaneous storage and support rooms.

Governor Abercrombie said to the audience, “This is going to be the symbol of the new Ka‘ū.”

Construction for the $17 million Ka‘ū District Gym & Shelter is scheduled to begin in 30 days.

The gymnasium and multipurpose facility are both designed to meet the Enhanced Hurricane Protection Area classification for hurricane shelters; its performance objective is to remain operational during and after a 500 to 100-year hurricane event, or a Category 3 Hurricane with 155 mph peak gusts.  The two structures will be capable of serving 1,928 individuals as a shelter though it is anticipated that more could be accommodated when necessary.

When the vog condition in the area reaches a level of concern, the facilities will serve as a designated vog shelter featuring a specialized air filtration system that can accommodate 325 persons for extended periods.  More people may be accommodated if necessary for shorter duration stays.

Uncle Bobby Gomes, a well-respected member of the community was called upon by Sharon Beck, Ka‘ū High and Pāhala Elementary School principal to bless the area.  With tears in his eyes, he said, “For the people of this community, we can be proud of ourselves because when we unite… look at what we accomplish.”


Elections Clerk Requests Meeting With State Officials Regarding Rescission of Election Duties

By letter, dated October 2, 2012, the Hawaii County Clerk received notification of the State Office of Elections rescission of their delegation of authority regarding State elections.

Jamae Kawauchi stated, “On October 2, 2012, and immediately following the notification of the State Office of Elections rescission of their delegation of authority regarding State elections, I requested a meeting be held on October 4, 2012, in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the offices of the State Attorney General, to further discuss the State Office of Elections rescission. This meeting will be attended by the Chief Elections Officer of the State of Hawaii, attorneys from the State Attorney General’s office, the Hawaii County Clerk, and Hawaii County Deputy Corporation Counsel. More information will be made available, as appropriate, following this meeting.”

Ms. Kawauchi also stated, “The next State Office of Elections workshop is scheduled for October 4, 2012 – Oahu. The Hawaii County elections division will be attending the workshop tomorrow.”

Navy in Hawaii Wins Top Prize for Energy

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam was the big winner today in a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. recognizing commands that are leading the way in energy security.

CAPT Jeff James, Joint Base Commander, and teams from Hawaii were on hand to receive the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Energy and Water Management Award.

U.S. Navy courtesy photo

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus recognized select commands for leading the Department of the Navy in reducing energy and water consumption, increasing use of renewable energy sources and constructing sustainable facilities, all while maintaining mission readiness.

“These awards demonstrate the progress that we have made in the last three and a half years to change the way we think about and the way we produce and use energy,” said Mabus. “We are working towards these energy goals to help us become a more effective military force to help us accomplish the mission that the nation gives us.”

Navy leaders have shown how renewable energy saves lives on the battlefield and provides independence from foreign sources of energy.

Hawaii Leads

As SECNAV Platinum Command Award winner, the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is authorized to fly the SECNAV Energy Flag for one year. There is also a cash award of $45,000.

The USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) was honored with Platinum level status for afloat commands and will receive a $5,000 award.
Also earning recognition were the Pacific Missile Range Facility, receiving Gold level of achievement, and the USS Hopper (DDG 70), awarded Blue level of achievement.

WASHINGTON (Oct. 3, 2012) Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speaks at the Secretary of the Navy Energy and Water Management Awards ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial. The awards recognize Navy and Marine Corps installations, ships and squadrons for their notable progress toward the Department of the Navy’s goals of reducing energy and water consumption, increasing the use of renewable energy, and constructing sustainable facilities. (U.S. navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brett Cote/ Released)

“Congratulations to everyone – past and present, ashore and afloat – who earned this tremendous recognition,” said Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. Pearl Harbor-Hickam, USS Paul Hamilton, PMRF and USS Hopper are commended for strong leadership, commitment and advocacy for energy and water management. I am extremely proud that the honors we received recognize our ‘one team’ – both the installations and the waterfront.”

Among the accomplishments leading to JBPHH winning the 2012 SECNAV Energy and Water Management Award include reducing energy consumption by 18 percent in the first year of FOC [full operational capability], constructing photovoltaic systems at five JBPHH facilities and at the Pacific Missile Range, and conducting more than $6.5M in energy and water efficiency projects in fiscal year 2011.

The JBPHH energy team is comprised of Katie Ramirez and Amy Nishijima, installation energy managers, who are also part of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii, as well as building energy monitors who conduct weekly audits of energy usage.
“This is a truly a team award, and represents the collective efforts of every command and individual across the entire joint base,” said Capt. Jeffrey James, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“The sheer size and diversity of this base – ranging from SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One on the Pearl City Peninsula to the Hawaii Air National Guard on Hickam to the Naval Communications/Telecommunications Area Master Station at Wahiawa Annex, and everything in-between-make this recognition all the more meaningful,” he said.

“I couldn’t be prouder to be associated with the outstanding military service members, DoD civilians and families residing onboard JBPHH. It is their commitment and willingness to go the extra mile that make achievements like this possible. As you drive by the flagpole at the JBPHH HQ building and see the SECNAV Energy Award flag proudly waving in the warm trade winds, you can rightly feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that you helped put it there,” James said.

Achievements Recognized

The DoN is cultivating a culture of energy efficiency on shore and at sea resulting in enhanced energy readiness and innovation. DoN is a widely recognized leader in renewable energy production. Equivalent of 19 percent of DoN shore electricity consumption comes from alternative sources.

Eight Navy and Marine Corps commands were recognized for exemplary energy and water savings which resulted in combined energy savings in 2011 of more than 418,500 million British thermal units (MBtu), enough energy for more than 4,144 homes for an entire year. The commands brought new renewable energy systems on line that produce 48,700 MBtu per year, equal to the energy requirements of 482 homes per year. Water savings were more than 37.5 million gallons, equivalent to 57 Olympic-size swimming pools. Cost avoidance in 2011 topped more than $16.7 million.

Navy commands undergo a rigorous evaluation of their overall energy and water management performance and are ranked according to a system of SECNAV award winners, then platinum, gold or blue level of achievement. Ten platinum, 51 gold and 36 blue commands were also recognized during the ceremony.

Mabus emphasized DoN’s aggressive energy and water consumption goals laid out three years ago. These five goals strengthen the strategic, tactical and operational capabilities of the Navy and Marine Corps while enhancing environmental stewardship:

The DoN’s five energy goals are:

.    Increase Alternative Energy Use DoN-Wide: By 2020, 50 percent of total DoN energy consumption will come from alternative sources;
.    Sail the “Great Green Fleet”: DoN demonstrated a Green Strike Group in local operations in 2012 and will sail it by 2016;
.    Reduce Non-Tactical Petroleum Use: By 2015; DoN will reduce petroleum use in the commercial vehicle fleet by 50 percent;
.    Energy Ashore: By 2020, DoN will produce at least 50 percent of shore-based energy requirements from alternative sources; 50 percent of DoN installations will be net-zero; and
.    Energy Efficient Acquisition: Evaluation of energy factors will be mandatory when awarding contracts for systems and buildings.

“We have energy goals that we want to achieve and because of the courage, bold actions and innovations of our winners today, we will achieve these goals,” said Mabus. “We are on the path to create a new energy future that will increase the security of this country because that is what the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps have always done.”

For more news on U.S. Department of the Navy Energy, visit

Wordless Wednesday – Alpha Centauri Station

Missing Hilo Man Might Be On Oahu

10/3/12 UPDATE: He has been located safe on Oahu.

Big Island police are looking for a 61-year-old Hilo man who was reported missing.

John W. Stephens Jr.

John W. Stephens Jr. has a medical condition that may require medication. He may be on Oahu.

He was last seen at a home on Pakalana Street in Hilo on Friday evening (September 28). He was wearing blue denim jeans and gray T-shirt.

He is described as Caucasian, about 5-foot-8, about 136 pounds, with thinning white hair, light eyes and a fair complexion. He has a scar across the top middle of his head and usually wears a baseball cap. He also uses reading glasses.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call Detective Wendell Carter at 961-2378 or email him at Callers may also dial 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.