Hapuna Beach Parking Area Repairs and Paving Begin Next Week

Starting Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will begin paving repairs to the main parking areas at the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area that services the makai areas of the Hapuna Beach section of the park. Additional work will be completed at the Waialea section of the park. The project is expected to take 90 days to complete, or sooner if conditions allow.

Hapuna Beach

The improvements include the removal of existing asphalt paving, repairing road shoulders, installation of new asphalt paving, new striping, replacement of wheel stops, signage as needed, and related improvements in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Other work will include the grubbing of unused park areas adjacent to existing parking areas for park use including storage and parking, in compliance with County of Hawaii permitting requirements.

The park will remain open during the project. However, certain parking areas will be closed to allow for visitor safety during the construction activities. The contractor may also be closing or narrowing roadway access to accommodate the project activities.

Project will occur during normal day use hours of the park and no work will be done on the weekends unless there is an imminent need. To ensure the safety of park users, traffic control measures will be implemented as wells as appropriate barriers, coverings and implements.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding from visitors and kamaaina using the park during this time of our repair project. Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area is a popular destination for all users.” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

The contractor is Keauhou Kona Construction Corporation and the project cost is $650,000.

Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area is a landscaped beach park on 61.8 acres, with swimming during calm seas, bodysurfing during periods of shore breaks, sunbathing and other beach-related activities, and lifeguard services. There is hiking along the Ala Kahakai coastal trail, picnicking and shelter lodging opportunities. The park has restrooms, picnic pavilions, picnic tables, lodging, trash cans, drinking water, and payphone. It is located on Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Highway 19), 2.3 miles south of Kawaihae. It is open daily during daylight hours.


Latest Monk Seal Death Increases Concern of Fishery Impacts

First Monk Seal Death of 2013 Could Have Been Prevented with Earlier Reporting

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this morning reported that a juvenile monk seal flown by the U.S. Coast Guard from Hawai‘i Island to O‘ahu last Friday for medical treatment has died. A necropsy conducted by NOAA Fisheries revealed that the young male seal, known by his ID tags as RK68, suffered fractured ribs earlier in life, but ingestion of a fishing hook more recently is believed to be the cause of death.

Monk Seal Hook

Results of the necropsy reveal that the seal may have been hooked for several weeks or months. Officials believe had they received a detailed report of the hooking incident when it occurred, the chances of a life-saving response could have been much greater.

“Early reporting of a monk seal hooking can possibly mean the difference between life and death for one of these critically endangered animals,” said DLNR Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr. “We rely on the community to be active and mindful stewards of our oceans. Had someone come forward, even anonymously, to report this hooking when it occurred, we may have been able to save his life.”

NOAA Permit 932-1905 K68 @ WAq 02-01-2013-1

NOAA Permit 932-1905 K68 @ WAq 02-01-2013-1

This was the first monk seal death of 2013 and the first from Hawai‘i Island according to available data. Hawai‘i Island Mayor Billy Kenoi has promised increased support from the County.

“We are sad to learn that Hawai‘i Island has had its first monk seal death resulting from a hooking,” Mayor Kenoi said. “We will be encouraging everyone to report any injured or distressed seals to DLNR, and the County will be adding more informational materials in all our parks to help alert residents and visitors to this situation.”



“Many people today use the term ‘kuleana,’ but we all must remember that kuleana is not just about our rights, it is also about our responsibilities. Our community has a responsibility to help manage and care for Hawaiian monk seals,” Aila added. “Hooking a monk seal is often preventable, but we know sometimes things happen beyond a fisherman’s control. However, reporting is almost always within our control, and when someone observes a hooking and doesn’t call it in, it means an unfortunate incident can go from bad to worse, and become fatal for the seal. We have an opportunity at this time to find solutions that will work for both the seals and the fishermen.”one of which resulted in deaths. There were 15 hookings reported in 2012, resulting in three deaths. This incident marks the first seal death of 2013. Another seal was reported with a hook in its tongue Monday (Feb. 4) afternoon on Kaua‘i. DLNR and NOAA Fisheries considers these numbers concerning.

“It is certainly discouraging to see the number of hookings continue to increase, but it is alarming when monk seals lives are needlessly put at greater risk because people fail to report hookings as they occur,” noted Charles Littnan, Lead Scientist with NOAA’s Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Program. “We remain strongly committed to studying monk seal behavior so we can find means of mitigating these interactions, but we depend on community members to provide us information on interactions. The more we receive public reportings of hookings and other interactions, the quicker we will be able develop solutions for mitigating these situations.”

The toll-free, 24/7 reporting hotline for all fishery interactions and other marine mammal incidents is

1-888-256-9840. DLNR and NOAA Fisheries 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.

Big Island Police Initiate Coroners Inquest Investigation on Body Found of Man Who Was Swept Out to Sea

Big Island police have initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation in connection with a 31-year-old man whose body was found Wednesday morning after he was swept out to sea Tuesday afternoon.

Maku'u Drive

The victim has been identified as Charles Lyon of Keaʻau.

At 6:32 p.m. Tuesday (February 5) Puna Patrol officers and Fire Department personnel responded to a possible drowning off Makuʻu Drive in Paradise Park. Upon arrival, officers learned that the victim had been washed out to sea while fishing with his brother.

The case was originally classified as a missing persons.

Fire Department and Coast Guard personnel searched for the missing man but were unable to locate him initially and the search was suspended due to nightfall and weather conditions.

The search resumed at first light Wednesday (February 6) morning and the victim’s body was soon located by Hawaiʻi Fire Department personnel.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.


The body of a man missing in the ocean near Paradise Park, on the Big Island, was located by first responders at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

The Coast Guard was notified Wednesday that the Hawaii County Fire Department located the body of Charles Lyon who reportedly fell into the sea Tuesday.

“This is a terrible loss and we offer our deepest sympathies to the Lyon family during this difficult time,” said Cmdr. Steven Wheeler, Sector Honolulu search and rescue mission coordinator.

Coast Guard watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center were notified of a person in the water near Paradise Park, approximately 10 miles south of Hilo, on Tuesday evening. The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, a 110-foot cutter homeported in Hilo, and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point, were launched to search for Lyon at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Kiska crew searched throughout the night, while the Dolphin crew conducted evening and early morning searches.

Lyon was reportedly walking along a bluff approximately 20 feet above the water when he fell into the ocean.

Hawaii’s high surf conditions and rocky coastlines can be treacherous and the Coast Guard recommends individuals use extreme care when hiking, check local weather and sea conditions and heed all warnings from local authorities and posted signs.

For more information on this case contact Lt. Kevin Cooper, the Sector Honolulu public affairs officer, at 808-842-2657. To contact the Hawaii County Fire Department dispatch, dial 808-961-8336.

Renewable Energy Tax Credit Reform Bill Advances in House

The House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP) adopted HB497, which will serve as the vehicle to thoroughly address the issue of using tax credits to maintain economic expansion and further promote renewable energy in a fiscally equitable way.


Under the proposed legislation, solar hot water incentives would remain a priority, with the tax credit cap for a single family dwelling increasing to $2500 per household and $500 per unit for multi-family residential properties. Small wind projects (1 Megawatt or less) would be unaffected.

The tax credit for photovoltaic systems will be incrementally phased down from 30 percent of the actual cost to 15 percent over the next 5 years. At that point, the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) will provide a cost-benefit analysis of the incentive and help determine its future.

“What we’ve done here, is taken input from stakeholders on all sides of the issue to come up with a comprehensive solution that keeps the economy growing and continues to expand access to renewable energy in a fiscally responsible manner,” said EEP Chair Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimanalo).

The measure will now advance to the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Affairs.


Tourist From Beijing Robbed at Rainbow Falls Park

Police are investigating a reported robbery that occurred this afternoon at Rainbow Falls Park in Hilo.

HPDBadgeOn February 6, 2013 at about 3:00 pm, police received a report that a 49 year-old male tourist from Beijing was assaulted by a male suspect and robbed of his belonging while near the bathroom area at Rainbow Falls Park. The male tourist was part of a larger tour group but seperated himself when we went to use the restroom.

The suspect was described as possibly in his 30’s or 40’s, about 6 feet tall, medium build, wearing a dark blue shirt with light colored white stripes, and dark colored pants.

Police ask that anyone with information on the identity of the suspect to contact police.

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 Police Investigating Robbery at Kolekole Beach Park This Morning

Police are investigating a reported robbery that occurred in a Hilo park early this morning.

My son enjoying himself at Kolekole Park

My son enjoying himself at Kolekole Park

On February 6, 2013 at about 4:54 am, police received a report that a 29 year-old female victim and a 29 year-old male victim were camping at the Kolekole Beach Park when they were awakened by a male suspect who entered their tent. The suspect threatened them with a knife before taking several of their possessions and also demanded the keys to a rental vehicle that was parked nearby.

The suspect left the area in the rental vehicle, which is described as a white 2012 Ford Mustang coupe with license plate #HMX-973. The vehicle was found abandoned in the upper Wainaku area and has since been recovered by police.

Both victims walked to a nearby residence to call police and were uninjured during the incident, which is being investigated as a first degree robbery, second and third degree thefts, first degree terroristic threatening, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, and unlawful imprisonment.

The suspect was described as possibly Caucasian, in his mid 20’w, standing about 5’8” tall, weighing about 150-160 pounds, fair complexion, and clean shaven. He was last seen wearing a dark colored jacket or hoodie, either a beanie or a hood, and possibly a khaki colored pants.

Police ask that anyone with information on the identity of the suspect or may have witnessed this robbery to call Detective Norbert Serrao 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.

Governor Abercrombie Recognizes Keaau Schools’ Progress with Digital Curriculum – Nearly 1,000 students assigned digital devices

From the Keaau Elementary School cafeteria, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today proclaimed Feb. 6 “Digital Learning Day”in Hawaii and commended Keaau students, faculty and staff for leading the state’s progress in the adoption of a common core digital curriculum.

Abercrombie and Keaau Kids

This January, Keaau students in kindergarten through grade 8 began working under a digital curriculum that includes a digital device, such as a laptop or tablet, assigned for their personal use.

“Use of common core digital curricular materials and devices empowers our teachers and students with instructional innovations, engages our students in learning, and helps them to graduate with knowledge and preparation necessary to apply these technological tools in college and the workplace,”Gov. Abercrombie said. “Moving toward a digital curriculum also eliminates practical issues such as obsolete or an insufficient supply of textbooks, while providing opportunity for students to become familiar with technology and tools of college and the workplace so they are college and career ready.”

In his 2012 State of the State address, Gov. Abercrombie called for digital devices for students to access technology for learning. Partners such as Hawaii Electric Light Company stepped forward to jumpstart the initiative with this signature project and build upon progress by early adopters such as Kalani High and Benjamin Parker Elementary Schools on Oahu. More recently, in his 2013 State of the State address, the Governor further promoted the state Department of Education’s initiative to move statewide to common curricular materials on digital devices within three years.

Abercrombie Looking On

“Keaau Elementary is able to pilot digital learning because of the public-private partnership by those who saw the need and understood the investment,”stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Digital learning is critical in preparing our students for their future in this 21st Century.”

“We’re very grateful for the devices but also the training for our teachers,”added Principal Chad Keone Farias. “The training for the teachers was imperative for structuring productive learning assignments as well as empowering students.”

Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (HEI) and subsidiary Hawaii Electric Light Company were lead partners in directing $325,000 of their Aloha United Way corporate contribution to the demonstration project, known as the Makana Connection, which include providing 975 digital devices to Keaau Elementary and Middle Schools. HEI also provided training funds for teachers at Keaau schools, as well as Kalani High School on Oahu.

“More than a donation of digital learning devices, the Makana Connection is a public-private partnership that aims to prepare Hawaii’s diverse student population to thrive and excel in a 21st Century learning environment,”said Jay Ignacio, president of Hawaii Electric Light Company.   “We encourage more companies and businesses to support this innovative education initiative.   It’s an investment in our children, the educators, our community and the future of our state.”

To ensure the program’s success, Ignacio said that the company will also cooperate with the schools to offer opportunities for students, teachers and administrators to observe how 21st Century skills are used in the workplace. “This is all part of our ongoing partnership with our schools,”Ignacio added.

Hawaii 3Rs and Hawaii Electric Light Company coordinated transportation of devices from Honolulu to Hilo and from Hilo to Keaau, respectively. Hawaii Community Foundation provided planning support for Keaau teachers to attend the Schools of the Future Conference.  Aloha United Way served as fiscal agent for the project. And, Punahou School assisted in imaging the devices (ensuring they had the right software) and providing onsite training on use.

Digital Learning Day is a national effort coordinated by Alliance for Excellent Education involving more than 35 states to promote digital learning opportunities for students. Hawaii is participating with other states in the second annual national Digital Learning Day (also Feb. 6).

Decision Making on GMO and Local Agriculture Bills

Decision Making on GMO and Local Agriculture Bills


WHAT:  The Committee on Agriculture will be deciding on four bills relating to GMOs and growing our local agriculture industry, which were previously heard on February 4, 2013.

  • HB174– GMO Labeling
  • HB97– Requires a permit to introduce or develop a new GMO
  • HB747– Exempts the slaughter and processing of poultry and livestock from GET
  • HB96– Exempts the first $50,000 of income for family farms and cooperatives

WHEN:  Thursday, February 7, 2013,     8:30 A.M.

WHERE:  Hawaii State Capitol Conference Room 312

WHY:  The Constitution of Hawaii mandates that the State “shall conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands.” These goals are also highlighted as a major priority in the Governor’s “New Day” plan. The Legislature aims to do its part to move Hawaii forward this Session.

WHO: Chair Jessica Wooley, Vice Chair Richard H.K. Onishi, Reps. Tom Brower, Romy Cachola, Isaac Choy, Takashi Ohno, Gregg Takayama, James Kunane Tokioka, Clift Tsuji, Lauren Kealohilani Cheape, and Gene Ward comprise the Committee.


Keauhou Bay Cleanup Coming Up

The community is invited to join in the Keauhou Bay Cleanup 7-11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. Meet at the Keauhou Canoe Club (KCC) hale.

Keauhou Bay Boat Moorings

Plastic gloves, garbage bags, trash containers, t-shirts and lunch will be provided. Participants will collect paper, plastic, fish hooks, debris and other opala in and around Keauhou Bay. In addition, volunteers are needed to cut down tall brush near the KCC hale and clean and paint the bay’s restrooms.

The second annual cleanup is organized by Kamehameha Investment Corporation in partnership with Kamehameha Schools. Community sponsors include KTA, Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, Fair Wind-Big Island Ocean Guides, Keauhou Shopping Center, Kona Country Club. Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai and KAPA Radio.



Auto Body Hawaii – Second Annual Senior Essay Contest

Auto Body Hawaii is announcing their 2nd annual Senior Essay Contest. This year an additional contest has been added for West Hawaii High School teachers.

2012 Essay Contest Winner Brandt Mabuni from Makua Lani Christian School.

2012 Essay Contest Winner Brandt Mabuni from Makua Lani Christian School.

Auto Body Hawaii will provide West Hawaii’s graduating High School Seniors the opportunity to showcase their writing skills for the chance to win $500.  Auto Body Hawaii will also award $500, as well as a gift certificate for a Super Wash Detailing Service; to the winning High School teacher. Teachers often choose to spend their own money to buy additional supplies for classes need;  Auto Body Hawaii would like to help.

Here is 2013’s essay theme: “Among many is a growing sentiment that post-secondary education may not be an option for a number of graduating high school students. A worrying report indicates that approximately 62% of West Hawaii’s graduates did not pursue further education; some may have had prior obligations, some may have not been able to bear the cost, while others simply had no interest.

What opportunities do you think can be created for graduating students who are not pursuing further education and decide to remain here in West Hawaii?”

Contest deadline is April 19th 2013. For a list of invited participating schools & contest rules please visit: www.autobodyhawaii.com Call Tiffiny Taylor, 329-2544; essay@autobodyhawaii.com for more information.

2013 Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Around the Corner

Calling all poke lovers to the second annual Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday, March 17 at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay.

Sam Choy 2013

There will be poke galore with eating and fun for every one: a competition in six categories for both pros and amateurs, a zany celebrity cookoff, yummy poke contest tasting and a poke-making demonstration by Sam Choy with more tasting. Radio and TV personality Kimo Kahoano of Honolulu and KAPA Radio’s Ke‘ea Alapa‘i will emcee the day’s activities that also include a Hawaii Island Marketplace and Hawaiian cultural demonstrations.

Poke contest competition this year expands to six categories, adding non-seafood and sushi style pokes to existing categories for traditional, spicy, cooked and poke with soy sauce. The deadline for entry is March 8 and forms are posted at SamChoysKeauhouPokeContest.org.

“Put your braggin’ in the bowl!” challenges celebrity Chef Sam Choy.

Big Island Video News interviewing Sam Choy at last years event.

Big Island Video News interviewing Sam Choy at last years event.

Most of the event will be outside on the Bay View Lawn with the poke contest judging, awards and tasting inside the Ainakai restaurant that overlooks the lawn. The $5 admission for attendees provides entry to both locations and benefits the $1 million Equip the Kitchens Campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui.

Poke contest judging begins 10 a.m., with public contest awards and tasting at 12:30 p.m. in Ainakai. The rest of the event will be staged on the Bay View Lawn, don’t miss the Celebrity Cookoff at 11:30 a.m. when OC 16’s Tony Silva of Da Braddahs, Kumu Keala Ching, Brickwood Galuteria, Marlene Sai and Chris Kam vie for bragging rights. Oahu’s Kapala will liven the crowd with their unique style of traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music.

Poke Soy Sauce

Enjoy Hawaiian cultural demonstrations of poi pounding and net making. The all-day Island Marketplace, which will offer produce and value-added products by local food purveyors and farmers, includes Love Family Farm, Kona Hawk Farms, Joe’s Nuts, D. Medicine Woman, Earth Matters and The Captain’s.

Don’t miss when celebrity chef Sam Choy shows “how it’s done” during the 1:30 p.m. demonstration, “How to Make Poke by Sam Choy.” A TV host, cookbook author and founder of Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine, Choy put poke on the culinary map with his delicious recipes using cubed fish. Pronounced poh-KAY, poke is typically raw or cooked fish seasoned with Hawaiian sea salt, spices and sesame oil, and then accented with seaweed, nuts and other ingredients.

Sam Choy Poke Contest

A free shuttle will operate from Keauhou Shopping Center (pickup near Longs Drugs) to the contest from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Keauhou Resort’s annual Kamehameha III celebration March 15-17 that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli. The contest is sponsored by Kamehameha Investment Corporation, Kamehameha Schools Land Assets Division, the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Aloha Shoyu, Hawaiian Springs Water, Suisan Company, Ltd. and BMW of Hawaii.

Crafts, Entertainment at Day at Hulihe’e – Annual Fundraiser Benefits Palace

The picturesque, seaside grounds of Hulihe‘e Palace will be the location of the annual spring fundraiser, Day at Hulihe‘e, on Saturday, Mar. 30. An 8:30 a.m. traditional Hawaiian blessing kicks off the 9 a.m.-4 p.m. event, which is hosted by palace caretakers the Daughters of Hawai‘i and the Calabash Cousins.

Huli Hula

Browse among tented arts and crafts booths, a tempting bake sale featuring Aunty Nona’s scrumptious peach cake and the ever-popular Classy Tutu’s Attic. Choose a fresh flower lei made on site by palace volunteers. The Kuakini Hawaiian Civic Club will offer ono food and local hula halau will provide cultural entertainment. Prize drawings throughout the day will be featured.

Palace admission will be complimentary all day, although donations will be accepted.

Day at Hulihe‘e remembers Hawai‘i’s Citizen Prince who was born in March: Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole (1871-1922.) Hawai‘i observes an annual statewide holiday to commemorate Prince Kuhio’s dedication toward serving his people; it’s Tuesday, Mar. 26 in 2013.

Beginning in 1902, Kuhio served as a delegate to the U.S. Congress for 10 terms, was the driving force behind the development of Pearl Harbor and instituted the Hawaiian Homestead Commission. A monument at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park credits Prince Kuhio for founding the park in 1916.

Hulihe‘e Palace is open for self-guided tours. Museum and gift shop hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Hulihe‘e Palace admission, which at this time includes a self-guided tour brochure, remains $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and $1 for keiki under 18. Volunteer docents are sometimes available to give guided tours. For details, contact the palace at 329-1877, the palace office at 329-9555 or visit www.daughtersofhawaii.org. The gift shop can be reached by phoning 329-6558.

Caretakers of Hulihe‘e Palace are the Daughters of Hawai‘i. The organization was founded in 1903 and opens membership to any woman who is directly descended from a person who lived in Hawai‘i prior to 1880. Helping the Daughters in its efforts since 1986 are the Calabash Cousins; membership is available to all.