Search Continues for Missing Navy SEAL

The Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and local agencies, continue to search for a missing sailor off of Kaena Point, Friday.

Friday’s search is scheduled to include the Coast Guard Cutters Walnut and Kiska as well as a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Station Honolulu, a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Station Kauai, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Barbers Point. Crews aboard the Military Sealift Command’s Submarine and Special Warfare Support Vessel C-Commando are also involved as well as Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and a Navy P-3C Orion airplane are also joining the search efforts. Thursday’s search also included a Navy SH-60B Seahawk helicopter.

Crews are searching an area from Kaena Point stretching 30 miles north and 74 miles west. The total search area for Friday is approximately 690 square miles. The total area searched, since Tuesday, is 9,896 square miles, more than twice the square mileage of the Big Island.

Coast Guard watchstanders in the Sector Honolulu command center were initially notified of the missing man on Tuesday afternoon.

The Pathfinder for Maritime Search & Rescue

The Pathfinder for Maritime Search & Rescue

Coast Guard crews searched throughout the night on Tuesday, all of Wednesday and into Thursday. Search crews extended their search area Thursday based on data received by self locating datum marker buoys, which help track ocean current directions, assisting search planners in directing the different air and surface assets.

For more information regarding the search, contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

For more information regarding the Navy sailor, contact Lt. Cmdr. David McKinney at (619) 522-2816.


New Auwahi Wind Project Dedicated To Maui’s Energy Independence

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, Hawaii Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui and Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa today joined officials from Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, BP Wind Energy and community leaders for the dedication of the new Auwahi Wind facility on Ulupalakua Ranch.

Sen. Brian Schatz Tweeted this picture earlier today.

Sen. Brian Schatz Tweeted this picture earlier today.

The eight wind turbines are situated along the slopes of the Haleakala volcano and generate enough electricity to power 10,000 local homes.

More than 200 guests attended Friday’s dedication ceremony, which included traditional Hawaiian chants and prayers.

Sen. Schatz said the Auwahi wind farm contributes significantly to Hawaii’s clean energy goals.  He said the project is consistent with the State of Hawaii’s values of cooperation, contributing to a solution nationally on climate change and maintaining the ranching lifestyle on Ulupalakua Ranch.

“Auwahi Wind Farm is critically important,” he said.  “This is about keeping Maui Maui and setting an example not just for the state, but the rest of the nation.”

Tsutsui, who was born and raised on Maui, said the state and the island welcomed the Auwahi Wind farm as it brought much-needed jobs. More than 180 jobs were created during the project construction. Four full-time employees operate the wind farm today.

“We’re always talking about sustainability and being independent,” Tsutsui said. “This goes hand in hand with a lot of our initiatives. It’s definitely a step in the right direction and we look much forward to other projects.”

“We are very pleased that Auwahi Wind was completed on time, on budget and, most importantly, with an impeccable safety record,” said Kevin C. Sagara, vice president of renewables and corporate development for Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. “This project will provide clean, sustainable power to Maui residents for generations and will bring Hawaii another step closer to meeting its goal to derive 40 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030.”

The 21-megawatt (MW) Auwahi Wind facility represents BP and Sempra’s first alternative energy venture in Hawaii.

“Today is a celebration for the community of Maui in harnessing wind power as part of a diverse and adequate energy supply,” said John Graham, president & CEO of BP Wind Energy.  “On behalf of the owners of Auwahi Wind, I would like to thank the local community, the Ulupalakua Ranch, and neighbors without whom this project would not be the success it is.”

Maui Electric Co. President Sharon Suzuki said the project provides a valuable energy alternative for the island.

“The addition of the Auwahi Wind project brings Maui’s total installed capacity of wind generation to 72 MW, a great accomplishment for such a small island and one that will help further our efforts to break our dependence on foreign oil,” she said.

An important component of the project is an 11-MW/4.4-megawatt-hour grid battery system.  At its peak, this system is capable of 11 MW sustained for approximately 25 minutes.  The battery system’s energy helps regulate and sustain power to Maui Electric Co.’s grid during light wind conditions.

“We are especially pleased with the work Sempra and BP have accomplished in using a state-of-the-art battery system to help compensate for the fluctuations of variable wind,” Suzuki said.  “This high level of wind penetration on Maui would not be possible without such innovative measures.”

Sumner Erdman, president of the Ulupalakua Ranch, said the ranch has benefited from its partnership with Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and BP.

“Now, we can preserve much of our ranch land and its grazing areas in open space and continue to raise cattle,” he said. “Auwahi Wind will go a long way toward preserving the ranching lifestyle at Ulupalakua and on Maui.”

Ulupalakua Ranch is one of the largest cattle ranches on Maui. The Erdmans are environmentalists and have been its owners since 1963.

Construction of Auwahi Wind began in March 2012. More information on Auwahi Wind is available at


Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of Helene Eleanor Hale

In remembrance of former state Rep. Helene Eleanor Hale, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has ordered that all national and Hawaii flags at state offices and agencies as well as the Hawaii National Guard are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, the day of her memorial services on Hawaii Island.

Click to read the Governor's Proclamation

Click to read the Governor’s Proclamation

Hale was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2000, serving for three terms. As chairwoman of the House Committee on International Affairs, she championed a more proactive global role for Hawaii. Hale was a key advocate of House resolutions in 2003 that expressed reservations about going to war in Iraq without United Nations backing and invoked the aloha spirit in urging negotiations.

Born in Minnesota, Hale worked as a teacher before moving to Hawaii Island in 1947, continuing as an educator for a time at Konawaena Intermediate School. She went on to become the first African-American elected to office in Hawaii and first woman to hold an executive position in local government since Queen Liliuokalani. Hale was elected to Hawaii County’s Board of Supervisors in 1954 and chairman and chief executive officer (the equivalent of mayor) in 1962, helped to establish the Merrie Monarch Festival, and served on the Hawaii County Council from 1980 to 1984 and 1988 to 1994. Her business interests included a real estate agency, bookstore and coffee farm.

Hale died on Feb. 1, 2013, in Hilo at the age of 94.

“Helene Hale was a trailblazer who clearly cherished her adopted home of Hawaii,”Gov. Abercrombie said. “She will be remembered as a central figure in Hawaii’s transition from territory to statehood, as well as a strong advocate for Hawaii’s senior citizens, improved mental healthcare and a global role for our state. She was a remarkable role model for women and all citizens of Hawaii.”


2013 Big Island Film Festival Coming in May

Acclaimed as one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “20 Can’t-Miss Festivals,” the Big Island Film Festival (BIFF) 2013 will take place May 23-27 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani.  A celebration of narrative filmmaking, BIFF 2013 includes film screenings, social events, screenwriting workshop and a closing night “Best of the Fest” with a top Hawaiian music concert and movies chosen by the audience from Festival entries.

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Photo by Kirk Aeder

“There are hundreds of film festivals around the country,” said Executive Director Leo Sears, “but how many offer the audience a resort setting like The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i?  Their Plantation Estate is this incredibly beautiful lū‘au area by the tennis garden.  They set up a 20-foot screen and superb sound system, gourmet food stations, a beer and wine bar—all out there under the stars, surrounded by palm trees.  It’s just a magnificent way to spend Memorial Day Weekend.”

The majority of BIFF events take place at various locations within The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, including daytime film screenings in the air-conditioned amphitheatre, filmmaker workshops, celebrity receptions and salutes, as well as “festival films” (up to R) and Best of the Fest, at Plantation Estate.  Family films (up to PG-13) are shown at The Shops at Mauna Lani Center Stage, where admission is free.

“We’re not quite ready to announce the celebrities for this year yet,” said Sears.  Generally, one filmmaker and one actor are invited to attend BIFF, where attendees can meet and interact with them at receptions and salutes in their honor, and other social occasions.  “But I can tell you that we’re getting a lot of interest from stars who’ve heard about the Festival and want to experience the Big Island.”

Kristina Anapau in front of the Fairmont Orchid at Mauna Lani

True Blood’s “Maurella” Kristina Anapau was awarded a Golden Honu in 2011

Past years celebrity honorees have included Hawai‘i actresses Eloise Mumford (The River), Kristina Anapau (“Black Swan”, “True Blood”) and Sarah Wayne Callies (“The Walking Dead”), Tom Berenger, Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa, D.B. Sweeney, John Saxon and filmmakers Ron Osborn, Rick Stevenson, David Winning and Scott Stewart.  And, such noted Hawaiian musicians as Makana, Brother Noland, John Cruz, Henry Kapono and Kohala have graced the stage.

Eloise Mumford was honored in 2012

Eloise Mumford was honored in 2012

BIFF 2013’s “Golden Honu” Awards will be presented to the Best Feature and Best Short in Family, Student, Animated, Foreign, Hawaii and Audience Choice categories at a special Awards Brunch to honor the filmmakers and their works on Monday, May 27.  Numerous alumni films have won awards at prestigious film festivals around the world, and achieved commercial success in the industry.  One of BIFF’s alumni short films, “The Buzkashi Boys” is a current Oscar nominee, and another, “The Sea is All I Know” starring Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo, was a nominee last year.

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of narrative filmmaking.  Sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani, County of Hawai‘i, Dept. of R&D: CPEP Grant/Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Redeeming Light International, Inc. and others. For detailed information visit, find them on Facebook, or 808-883-0394.

Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser – “It’s Not About Eating The Corn” (Thoughts on GMO)

Sen. Gary Hooser

It’s not about eating the corn.

Not for me anyway.  The decision to eat or not eat the corn is only a small reason I support the labeling of genetically modified foods and hold deep reservations about the industry as a whole.

People on my island are getting sick. Many believe their sickness is being caused by the secondary and cumulative impacts connected to the growing of genetically modified organisms.

Yet when I’ve asked these companies directly and officially in writing to disclose what chemicals and in what quantities they are spraying, the industrial agrochemical GMO companies on Kauai have refused to do so.

For me, that alone is enough to keep me from buying their products or supporting their industry,  and to support full labeling requirements.
63 countries around the world including all of Europe, Russia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand require mandatory labeling of GMO products. Some countries have banned these products completely.

Many questions exist and many doubts persist. There are valid health concerns ranging from allergen sensitivities to hormonal disruption to cancer, related to the GMO’s and to the pesticide spraying that accompanies them.

There are concerns about the globalization and corporate ownership of the worlds food supply.  There are ethical and moral questions pertaining to the concept of corporations owning patents on living organisms both plant and animal, and to the increased diminishment of bio-diversity.  All valid reasons consumers may not want to buy these products and thus the need to require labeling.

For me, it’s personal.

Kauai is ground zero in the GMO industry.  These industrial agrochemical operations dominate the landscape of Kauai’s west side and are now moving into the southern and eastern land as well.  The fields of mostly genetically modified corn not intended for human consumption grow on approximately 12,000 acres of prime farmland stretching from the base of the mountains down to within just feet of the pristine ocean waters.

These crops are subject to spraying with toxic pesticides up to 6 days a week.

Over 200 residents of WaimeaValley have filed suit claiming negative impacts from pesticide laden dust blowing into their homes and onto their bodies.  Biologists estimate over 50,000 sea urchins died last year in near shore west-side waters.

People in all parts of Kauai County are growing increasingly concerned about the impacts that result from these companies spraying their fields with toxic and experimental chemicals that then flow into streams and near shore waters and cling to the dust which blows daily into neighborhoods and schools.

Yet these agrochemical companies, who are required by law to keep records of their pesticide use, tell me blithely to go elsewhere for the data.

About half the land used for GMO production on Kauai are public lands upon which zero property tax is paid.  But they refuse to disclose to the public what they are growing or what they are spraying on these public lands.  These large transnational corporations transfer their end products to related subsidiaries, benefit from Enterprise Zone and other GET exemptions and consequently pay zero GET tax on the products they produce.

State law and terms of the public lands lease/license require compliance with Hawaii’s environmental review law Chapter 343HRS, yet no documentation demonstrating compliance exists; no exemption declaration, no environmental assessment and no environmental impact statement.

Growing genetically modified organisms, using experimental pesticides and spraying a wide array of restricted and non restricted pesticides on a mass scale have impacts on our island, our health and our environment.  There are direct impacts, secondary impacts and cumulative impacts but we don’t know what those impacts are because they have never been properly evaluated – and the companies in question won’t even give us the information needed to make a proper evaluation.

So yes, I support labeling. Absolutely.

Labeling, mandatory disclosure and a permitting process that requires a comprehensive review of the significant environmental and health impacts to our island and our community caused by this industry – I support them all, because as you can see this is about much more than just eating the corn.

Gary Hooser
Member Kauai County Council – Former Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control for State of Hawaii – Former Hawaii State Senator and Majority Leader


Kristina Anapau, Maurella on “True Blood”, Participates in the 4G4HOPE Competition

Former Big Island resident and actress Kristina Anapau, known for her role as faerie Maurella on True Blood, is competing against three fellow Hawaiian celebrities to snare $10,000 in a competition run by Verizon Wireless and Modern Luxury Hawaii.

Modern Hawaii

Also participating are Hawaiian natives surfer Jamie O’Brien, artist Heather Brown, and musician Jake Shimabukuro.

Anapau, whose mother was diagnosed with Cancer in 2012, says she will donate the money to the Stand Up to Cancer Foundation should she win.

Islanders Away

“Now more than ever, as funding for cancer research is disappearing, every single one of us must stand up and be heard. My mother was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer just four months ago”, says the actress. “I am proud to support SU2C and its efforts to raise funds for groundbreaking cancer research that can get therapies to patients quickly and save lives.”

Stand Up To Cancer, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), was created to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now.

Anapau, who hails from Hawaii, stars on TVs True Blood. In 2013, she will also star in the films BlackJacks and Sighting.

To vote for Kristina go to