Former Professional Baseball Players to Hold Free Clinic on the Big Island

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will be putting on a free youth baseball clinic for boys and girls ages 5-16 years old on Wednesday, June 12, at Hualani Park in Keaukaha.

MLPARegistration will start at 9:30 a.m. The former MLB players will offer baseball instructions from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

All clinic participants will need a registration/waiver form signed by a parent or legal guardian, along with a hat, baseball glove, shoes and a water bottle. Forms are available at the Department’s main office in the Aupuni Center, the Recreation office at 799 Pi‘ilani St. in Hilo, and County gymnasiums around the island.

For more information, please call Darrell Yamamoto at 961-8735 or 938-2012.

 

Australia TODAY Show to Broadcast From Hawaii

Australia TODAY Show’s globe trotting weather presenter Steve Jacobs, will head over  to the beautiful Hawaiian summer for an outside broadcast of the weather on the Nine Network,  commencing Monday 3rd of June.

Steve Jacobs

Steve Jacobs

TODAY will be broadcasting live from three of Hawaii’s most stunning islands, highlighting the diversity of experiences and landscapes, particularly lesser known hidden treasures on the neighbour islands of Kauai and Hawai’i Island, otherwise known as the Big Island.  
 
On Monday the 3rd of June and Tuesday 4th of June, TODAY will discover the Big Island.  Segments will show off one of the highlights of a trip to Hawai’i Island with a visit to Volcanoes National Park and a spectacular boat tour to see lava from Hawaii’s only active volcano spill into the ocean.

When I went out on the LavaKai

When I went out on the LavaKai

Next he will tick something else off the bucket list with an opportunity to snorkel and swim with the majestic manta rays in Keauhou Bay.
 
Kaua’i will be the island on everyone’s lips on Wednesday and Thursday when viewers will be in awe of the natural beauty and diversity of the island.  From the depths of Waimea Canyon, to the magnificent cliffs of the Napali Coast and picturesque location of Hanalei Bay, it is no wonder this island has been chosen as a film location for many of Hollywood’s blockbuster movies.
 
Finally on Friday, Steve will be saying ‘Aloha’ to the familiar face of Waikiki Beach on Oahu, the gateway to the Hawaiian Islands.  Steve will be based at the iconic Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa and partaking in all things Hawaiian, from sampling local food and cultural activities and perhaps even hanging loose on the waves of Waikiki if the surf is up.
 
Helen Williams from Hawai’i Tourism Oceania said “With the growing number of Australians visiting Hawai’i, we wanted to take this amazing opportunity to showcase not only the better known Island of Oahu but two of our very unique Neighbour Islands, Kauai and Hawaii Island.  We hope that this exposure will provide more Australians with a compelling reason to visit Oahu plus at least one Neighbour Island when next they travel to Hawaii.” Said Williams  
 
“Awareness of and travel to all six of our Hawaiian islands has been continually growing and with an increase in capacity due to new flights from Brisbane and Melbourne, we want to encourage first time and repeat visitors to see all our Islands.  The partnership with Network Nines’ Today Show  will showcase a sample of the fun things to see and do when visiting the Islands of Hawaii as well as provide viewers with a taste of Aloha and we would like to say ‘Mahalo’ ( thankyou)  to our partners, Hawaiian Airlines and Starwood hotels for helping make this happen.”  continued Williams.
 
The TODAY Show Hawai’i segments will be on air nationally each day from 5.30am – 9am from Monday 3rd – Friday 7th of June.  

 
Live Broadcasts will be from following locations;
Monday June 3- Kahua Ranch- North Kohala, Hawai’i Island
Tuesday June 4- Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, Hawai’i Island
Wednesday June 5- Smith’s Tropical Paradise Garden Luau at Wailua, Kauai Island
Thursday June 6 – St Regis Princeville Resort
Friday June 7- Moana Surfrider, a Westin Spa and Resort

Missing Man is Suspect in Kalapana Murder of Brittany-Jane Royal

Hawaiʻi Island police are renewing their request for information about a 22-year-old Alaska man who was reported missing.

Boaz D. Johnson

Boaz D. Johnson

Boaz D. Johnson of Petersburg, Alaska, last spoke to his family at noon Monday (May 27).

Johnson is also wanted for questioning in connection with the death of 25-year-old Brittany-Jane Royal, whose body was found Tuesday (May 28) in waters off Kalapana. Royal and Johnson had reportedly been camping together before her death, which is being investigated as a murder.

Brittany-Jane Royal (aka Kaliewe Kulele  on her facebook page)

Brittany-Jane Royal (aka Kaliewe Kulele on her facebook page)

Johnson is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-6 or 5-foot-7, 145 pounds with short brown hair and blue eyes.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts contact Detective Fetuutuunai Amuimuia at 961-2278 or famuimuia@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.

HAWAI’IGAS Recalling All Lite Cylinder Brand Cylinders as Mandated

HAWAI’IGAS is recalling all Lite Cylinder brand cylinders as mandated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Administration. All Lite Cylinders are branded on the top handle near the nozzle.

Hawaii Gas

The recall affects all customers who purchased a PropaneXchange cylinder on or before May 28.

Customers affected by the recall should immediately exchange their tank for a new, full tank at any PropaneXchange location.

Only HAWAIʽIGAS PropaneXchange customers on Oahu are affected by this recall. For questions please call HAWAIʽIGAS at (808) 535-5933.

Oahu PropaneXchange Locations

Enchanted Lakes
76 1010 Keolu Dr.
Kailua, HI 96734

Flagship Fastlube, Aiea
99-236 Moanalua Rd
Aiea, HI 96701

Wahiawa 76
966 California Ave
Wahiawa, HI 96786

 

Governor Abercrombie Releases $21.8 Million for Airports, Highways Statewide

Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday announced the release of more than $21.8 million for capital improvement projects (CIP) for state airports and highways that will further stimulate Hawaii’s improving economy and job environment.

“Our state’s economy is growing stronger, and it is important that we maintain this positive momentum by continuing to invest in priority capital improvement projects – particularly those maintaining and upgrading our transportation infrastructure, which is essential to island commerce, business, the visitor industry, and our way of life,” Gov. Abercrombie said, adding, “As I directed upon taking office, the state Department of Transportation is restructuring its procurement process and will ensure proper training and implementation of strong, centralized controls to meet standards required by law.”

Allotment of funds for the following priority projects, identified by members of the state Legislature, has been approved by the Governor:

Airports

  • $6,340,000 – Honolulu International Airport, Oahu – Pavement reconstruction for Runway 4R to comply with applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements
Honolulu Airport

Honolulu Airport

  • $4,750,000 – Kahului Airport, Maui – Construction for repaving a portion of Runway 2-20 to comply with applicable FAA requirements
Kahalui Airport

Kahalui Airport

  • $2,700,000 – Honolulu International Airport, Oahu – Construction to replace 12 passenger loading bridges at the Ewa Concourse
  • $1,250,000 – Kahului Airport, Maui – Planning funds to prepare technical studies and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) related to proposed Runway 2-20 improvements
  • $1,075,400 – Honolulu International Airport, Oahu – Airfield lighting improvements for Runway 4L to comply with applicable FAA requirements
  • $100,000 – Kapalua Airport Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Station Expansion, Maui – Additional construction to complete the station expansion with the addition of a two-bay garage and storage structure

Highways

  • $1,380,000 – Kuhio Highway Intersection Improvements, Kauai – Design and construction to improve traffic flow and safety in the area by widening the intersection and creating left-turn storage lanes at the intersection of Kuhio Highway and Kapaka Street
Kuhio Highway

Kuhio Highway

  •  $1,150,000 – Statewide Planning and Research Program, Fiscal Year 2013 – Planning and research activities related to the development, management and operation of transportation systems and facilities in the state (Highway planning and research is a prerequisite to continued receipt of federal highway funds)
  • $1,019,000 – Kekaulike Avenue Drainage Improvements, Maui – Construction to improve the drainage capacity by installing an underground drainage system along the mauka shoulder, as well as acquisition of land for a drainage easement parcel and the rental of two construction easements
  • $944,000 – Castle Hills Access Road (Phase 2), Oahu – Improvements to stabilize the streambanks and construct erosion control facilities along Kapunahala Stream in the vicinity of Pookela Street
  • $400,000 – Freeway Management System (Phase 2), Oahu – Design activities, including the preparation of plans, specifications and estimates for the purpose of deploying equipment and hardware such as closed-caption television cameras, variable message signs, vehicle detectors (sensors), and license plate readers to provide data on speeds and travel time
CCTV's

CCTV’s

  • $395,000 – Statewide Bridge Inspection and Appraisal, Fiscal Year 2013 – Planning for the bridge inspection and appraisal program to determine bridge needs and the prioritization of those needs
  • $310,000 – Kalanianaole Highway Drainage Improvements, Oahu – Design for a new drainage system to address flooding in the vicinity of Wailupe Place

 

Mayor Kenoi Announces New Cabinet Appointments

Hawaii County Logo

Mayor Billy Kenoi today announced the appointment of former state Land Use Commission Chairman Duane Kanuha as the county’s new planning director. Bobby Jean Leithead Todd, who has served as county planning director for the past four years, will assume control of the county Department of Environmental Management.

Mayor Kenoi also announced the appointment of Laverne Omori as director of the Department of Research and Development, and Hilo bank manager Donn Mende as deputy director of Research and Development.

Mayor Kenoi also named Kona-based Executive Assistant Bobby Command as the new deputy planning director. Command will assume the position now held by attorney Margaret Masunaga, who is moving from the Planning Department to practice law in the county Office of the Corporation Counsel.

Mayor Kenoi also named former Hawai‘i Community Foundation program officer Clarysse Kami Nunokawa to the position of executive assistant to the mayor.

“We are excited to be making these changes to better serve our community,” Mayor Kenoi said. “These appointments add new energy and expertise to our departments and staff, and I want to thank each of our appointees for their commitment to our community.”

Kanuha served as the county’s deputy planning director from 1976 to 1984, and was planning director from 1988 to 1990 during the administration of the late Mayor Bernard Akana. He was Hawai‘i Island commissioner on the state Land Use Commission from 2005 to 2011, and was chair of the commission from 2008 to 2009.

In 2007, Kanuha was appointed executive vice president of Kohala Investment Works LLC, a subsidiary of Surety Kohala Corporation.

The appointment of Leithead Todd as director of Department of Environmental Management (DEM) marks the second time she has led that department. Leithead Todd   previously served as DEM director in 2007 and 2008.

A graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law, Leithead Todd served as Hawai‘i County deputy corporation counsel for nine years, from 1987-1993 and from 2003-2007. She also served as the Legislative Auditor for the County, and as a member of the Hawai‘i County Council from 1996 to 2003.

Omori, the new head of Research and Development, has served as deputy director of the Department of Research and Development since 2010. Previously she worked as an economic development specialist in Research & Development; as a planner in the county Office of Aging; and as program director in the Department of Parks & Recreation.

Mende, who will serve as the new deputy director of Research and Development, is currently Hilo branch manager of Hawai‘i National Bank. A graduate of Waiakea High School, Mende previously worked in trust and investment banking in Honolulu before returning to Hilo to take a position with American Savings Bank in 2006.

Command, who is being appointed deputy planning director, has served as executive assistant to Mayor Billy Kenoi since 2008, and worked on projects such as the Ane Keohokalole Highway and the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass. Command graduated from University of Hawai‘i at Manoa with a degree in journalism, and was a longtime reporter at West Hawaii Today specializing in land use.

Nunokawa is currently a planner in the county Office of Aging, and previously served as grant manager and compliance coordinator for the $2 million Strategic Prevention Framework-State Incentive Grant to prevent underage drinking. She also served as a program officer for Hawai‘i Community Foundation, and as a planner and program specialist for the state Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Big Island Police Investigating Kona Sexual Assault

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a sexual assault late Wednesday night (May 29) in Kona.

An adult female was walking west on Loloku Street in the old industrial area of Kailua-Kona at about 9:30 p.m. when an unknown man grabbed her from behind, punched her, dragged her off the north shoulder of the road and sexually assaulted her. He then ran in the mauka direction on Loloku Street.

Sex AssaultPolice are looking for anyone who passed the area and saw a struggle on the shoulder of the road near a car dealership or saw a man running in that area. The suspect is described as a local male in his 30s, possibly homeless, about 5-foot-7, about 200 pounds with medium-length wavy dark hair.

In addition to the sexual assault, the victim sustained scratches, bruises and facial swelling.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case or anyone who recognizes the person depicted in the composite drawing above call the Police department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Tyson Matsumura at 326-4646, extension 265, or tmatsumura@co.hawaii.hi.us or Detective Renee Morinaka at 301 or rmorinaka@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.

 

Big Island Credit Union Robber Turns Himself In

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a suspect in connection with a robbery Thursday afternoon (May 30) at a credit union in Pepeʻekeo.

HPDBadge
Investigation of the 1 p.m. robbery at the Hāmākua Coast Community Federal Credit Union led to the identity of a suspect, 37-year-old Kris R. Villasista of Honomū.

While police were conducting an islandwide search for Villasista, he turned himself in at the Kona police station at 6:05 p.m. Thursday. He was arrested on suspicion of robbery, theft and terroristic threatening. He was then moved to the Hilo police cellblock, where he remains in custody while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

Police ask that anyone with any information about this case call Detective Joel Field at 961-2381 or email him at jfield@co.hawaii.hi.us. Callers may also 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.

Kona International Airport Dedicates New Air Traffic Control Tower, Breaks Ground For Aircraft Rescue & Fire-Fighting Station

The state Department of Transportation celebrated the dedication of a new Air Traffic Control Tower and a groundbreaking for a new Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting (ARFF) facility at the Kona International Airport on Wednesday.

Kona Airport Tower

The new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control Tower will provide improved visibility over all movement areas and air traffic patterns.  It replaces the previous tower which had served Kona International since July 1970.  Construction on the new tower began in December 2009 at an approximate cost of $34.86 million.

Ground was also broken for a new 24,000 square-foot ARFF facility which will include two truck bays, a trailer bay and a fueling area, along with improved work and living areas for firefighters, office space, dorm rooms and a workout area.  The new station will replace the existing ARFF station, originally built in 1980.  FAA funding will cover $14.6 million, or nearly 86-percent, of the total project cost of $17 million and state funds will provide the remainder.

“Kona International Airport is the gateway for visitors and residents alike and the new fire-fighting station and FAA tower will enable us to continue to provide a safe environment,” said Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui.  ”This is also an important investment to support our economic driver – tourism.”

“This investment in operational upgrades represents a strong commitment by the state and federal government to ensure safety and operational efficiency,” said DOT Director Glenn Okimoto.  ”These projects also pave the way for further improvements at Kona International Airport, including a terminal modernization that is part of Governor Neil Abercrombie’s New Day Work Projects.”

“Watching these projects come to fruition is a testament to the hard work and cooperation of so many people in state and federal government, airport stakeholders, and the construction industry,” said DOT Deputy Director of Airports, Ford Fuchigami.  ”Our improvements are the direct result of this collaboration and we are very thankful for these continuing efforts.”

The new Air Traffic Control Tower went into operation in December of last year and the ARFF station is anticipated to be completed in spring of 2013.

 

Public Invited To Participate In Online Survey On Hawaiian Sandalwood Trees

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) is seeking public input regarding the status of, and recommendations on management priorities for the Hawaiian sandalwood species, ‘iliahi.

Hawaiian sandalwood species, ‘iliahi 1

In order to capture this information, DOFAW has created an anonymous online survey focused on sandalwood and invites the public to participate. Comments are requested by June 10, 2013. It is important to collect the opinions of a wide range of stakeholders in this survey in order to ensure that the public is being accurately represented on this issue.

“Historically, ‘iliahi was used by native Hawaiians for medicinal purposes, to scent tapa cloth, lei-making, as well as other important cultural resources,” said William J. Aila, Jr. DLNR chairperson. “Today, ‘iliahi is highly valuable and demonstrates potential as a commercial forest resource as well as continuing to serve an important cultural and ecological role in Hawai‘i,” Aila said.

“However, there is currently limited information about the general health and status of ‘iliahi in Hawai‘i. As a first step in understanding this important resource, DOFAW would like to gather as much information about ‘iliahi as possible in order to understand what the public and stakeholders want for this resource,” he added.

The survey may be especially relevant for landowners and interest groups who are either growing sandalwood actively or are aware of sandalwood on their property, cultural practitioners that have an interest in this forest resource, and users of the timber.

Participants are not required to share any private information during the course of the survey and information will remain anonymous. The results of this survey will be used to inform DOFAW staff on what future actions, if any, should be taken to assess the current status of sandalwood and how to best manage this important resource. The results will also be presented at the Hawaii Conservation Conference (July 16-18 2013) in a poster format. The survey will close on June 10, 2013.

The survey may be found at the following link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M977YNM.

Interested persons with questions regarding the survey, may contact:

Hannah Bergemann
DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife,
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325,
Honolulu, HI 96813.
Or email Hannah.A.Bergemann@hawaii.gov

 

Credit Union on the Big Island Robbed by Masked Man

Hawai‘i Island police are investigating a robbery at a credit union in Pepe‘ekeo on Thursday afternoon (May 30).

HPDBadge
Shortly after 1 p.m., a masked man pointed what appeared to be a handgun at two tellers at the Hāmākua Coast Community Federal Credit Union and demanded cash. He fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of money. No one was injured during the robbery.

The suspect is described as possibly in his 30s, about 5-foot-8 to 6-feet tall with a husky build. He was wearing dark glasses, a baseball cap, a sweatshirt, camouflage pants. He had a fluorescent green cloth covering his facial area and was carrying a black backpack.

Police ask that anyone with any information about this case call Detective Joel Field at 961-2381 or email him at jfield@co.hawaii.hi.us. Callers may also 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.

 

Legislators are Inviting Big Island Residents to a Town Meeting

Hawai‘i Island legislators are inviting residents to a town meeting from 6-7 p.m., Thurs., June 6, 2013 at UH-Hilo, UCB 127.

capital

Senators Malama Solomon and Gilbert Kahele, along with Representatives Mark Nakashima and Clift Tsuji, will share a post 2013 Legislative session update, including a discussion on district Capital Improvement Projects (CIP).

“The 2013 Legislative Session was very productive. Through working together, the Hawai‘i Island delegation was able to secure project funds that will help improve the quality of life in our districts,” said Sen. Gilbert Kahele (District 1, Hilo). “This meeting provides the public with an opportunity to hear from and talk story with their elected representatives.”

“Through legislative teamwork and community input, many of our Districts goals were met because of our collective lobbying efforts and because so many residents on Hawai‘i Island called, emailed or sent testimony to help their elected representatives secure the support of legislators from other islands,” said Sen. Malama Solomon (District 4, Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa and Kona).

“In fact, collectively, we brought home $380+ million.  This represents new jobs and job training, education and healthcare, roads, airports and harbor improvements, and vital “safety net” services for our keiki, kupuna and less fortunate,” said Sen. Solomon.

Rep. Mark Nakashima (District 1, Hamakua, Hilo) and Rep. Clift Tsuji (District 2, Keaukaha, Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea) noted that the legislature passed several bills and CIP addressing issues and concerns of Hawai‘i Island.

Rep. Nakashima said, “We are very pleased that the legislature focused on measures to support food sustainability and agriculture as these issues are particularly important to our island.  For example, we have incentives for our younger generation to take up farming by offering farm innovation loans. We have also expanded our livestock subsidies to allow our local industry to stabilize operations and compete with mainland suppliers.”

Rep. Tsuji added, “We focused on promoting investment, workforce development and financial stability by working with our colleagues to secure millions of dollars in CIP and federal funding for our airports, harbors and highways.  I am also pleased that working with the community we were able to secure a million dollars in Grant in Aid CIP funding for the Hawai‘i Adult Care Center.”

The general public will have the chance to ask questions about legislative issues and topics being discussed.

 

State Closely Monitoring Continued Koa Moth Outbreak on the Big Island

Signs of Natural Recovery Seen in Areas Impacted Earlier

First detected in January, an outbreak of the native koa moth and the resulting defoliation of koa forests on Hawai‘i Island are continuing to be observed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), which is closely monitoring the outbreak with aerial and ground surveys performed in collaboration with the University of Hawai‘i and U.S. Geological Survey.

 Koa Moth (Scotorythra paludicola) The koa moth (or koa looper ) is an endemic (native to a particular place and found nowhere else on earth) insect on the islands of Hawai‘i, Maui, and O‘ahu. The caterpillars feed only on koa leaves and are capable of defoliating mature koa trees. Population explosions have been documented historically on Maui and Hawai‘i islands, where large areas of koa forest have been defoliated. An outbreak was recently detected in the Hilo and Hāmākua regions of the Hawai‘i Island. D escription : The wingspan of the koa moth is roughly 1.5 – 2 inches and wing color varies from pale to dark brown. Some may feature bands across the wings with small dark dots or crescents on each wing. The larvae are referred to as “looper” caterpillars, referring to their typical “inchworm” movement. The caterpillars start out tiny and black, but grow to about 1 inch long, and can vary in color and pattern, from grey, to brown, to green.

Koa Moth
(Scotorythra paludicola)
The koa moth (or koa looper) is an endemic (native to a particular place and found nowhere else on earth) insect on the islands of Hawai‘i, Maui, and O‘ahu. The caterpillars feed only on koa leaves and are capable of defoliating mature koa trees. Population explosions have been documented historically on Maui and Hawai‘i islands, where large areas of koa forest have been defoliated. An outbreak was recently detected in the Hilo and Hāmākua regions of the Hawai‘i Island.

“The department is closely monitoring the moth outbreak and the recovery of koa forests and will use the information gathered to determine whether future management actions are needed,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “Although recovery of most koa forests is expected, the opening of the forest canopy could hasten the spread of introduced plants in our native forests.”

The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) has mapped the defoliated area on East Hawai‘i, which spans from Laupahoehoe to Upper Waiakea and covers over 50,000 acres.

Moths and caterpillars, and initial signs of defoliation, have also been reported in the Kilauea, Keauhou and Ka‘u regions, and the Pu‘u Wa‘a Wa‘a area of West Hawai‘i.

Fortunately, trees defoliated earlier in the outbreak have already been observed sprouting new leaves, indicating that the forest is recovering.

Outbreaks of this native insect are a natural phenomenon, as indicated by oral accounts by Hawaiians describing similar outbreaks before the first documented outbreak in 1892. Researchers believe these disturbances likely play an important ecological role by eliminating unhealthy trees, thinning dense young koa stands, and providing an influx of nutrients into the forest ecosystem.

However, little is known about the causes and full natural cycle of this phenomenon. Additionally, an invasive psyllid insect that was first detected in Hawai‘i in 1966 – and was not present during previous outbreaks – could damage new shoots of recovering trees.

There are currently no tools for slowing or stopping the infestation. Aerial spraying of insecticides would harm other forest organisms and is not feasible on a large scale. Biological control is not possible with a native species because its natural enemies are already present in Hawai‘i, and there is no outside source for predators or parasites that would be specific to the moth.

In addition to monitoring the spread of the outbreak, DLNR is seeking funds to investigate natural controls of the moths using traps or baits, and monitor recovery of the forests and the response of invasive plant populations. This information will be useful for managing future outbreaks if they are determined to harm the forest.

2013 Big Island Film Festival Day 2 – “Meet the Stars: Aloha Hollywood”

Last week at the Fairmont Orchid over on the Kohala Coast, the 2013 Big Island Film Festival took place.

The South Tower at the Fairmont Orchid

The South Tower at the Fairmont Orchid

On the second day of the festival the morning began with a “Filmmaker Orientation and Talk Story” held with Big Island Film Commissioner John Mason and Big Island Film Festival Director and Founder Leo Sears.

Filmmakers talk to to John Mason and Leo Sears

Filmmakers talk to to John Mason and Leo Sears

Sears and Mason talked about how the Big Island was an ideal place to make movies and how the festival was run amongst other things.  After the orientation and talk story, the daytime films that were scheduled were shown.

2013 Big Island Film Festival 169

Films shown were “Coffee, God & Gasoline” “Caterpillar’s Kimono” “Hangdog” “Last Call” “Shoot the Moon” “Stigma” and “If I Were a Bell”.

One of the many waterfalls at the Fairmont

One of the many waterfalls at the Fairmont

I went back to my room and relaxed for a bit before the evening events began.  They added a day to the festival this year and with that came a new event.

A chocolate film reel

A chocolate film reel

At 5:00 in one of the Fairmont’s Ballrooms, the public was invited to meet and take pictures with celebrities and filmmakers on hand at an event dubbed “Meet the Stars:  Aloha Hollywood”.

The Paparazzi!

The Paparazzi!

Some of the celebrities that were on hand were Brad Turell from Paradigm Agency, Kate McKinnon from Saturday Night Live and Hollywood Story Consultant Jennifer Grisanti among others.

Brad Turell, Kate McKinnon and Jennifer Grisanti

Brad Turell, Kate McKinnon and Jennifer Grisanti

Screenwriter Ron Osborn (Night Court, The West Wing, Duckman, Meet Joe Black, etc.) and Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men, Little Big League, Iron Will, Indian in the Cupboard, etc) were also was on hand to take pictures and talk to the general  public.

2013 Big Island Film Festival 185

Veteran Screenwriter Ron Osborn, Vincent Kartheiser and Jennifer Grisanti.

And of course there was food and wine provided by Kenwood Vineyards.

2013 Big Island Film Festival 194

Fried Ahi Panko Rolls

Lobster Rolls

Lobster Rolls

Dessert Bar

Dessert Bar

After the event, folks headed to either the Shops at Mauna Lani for free family films that included “The Invention” and “Upside Down, or folks headed to the Plantation Estate for the Festival films where folks watched “Home”, “A Perfect Day” and “The Land of Eb”.

The "hidden" hot tub

The “hidden” hot tub

I myself ended up taking a late night soak in the Fairmont’s “Hidden” hot tub.

Big Island Police Searching for Alaska Man Last Seen in Puna

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 22-year-old Alaska man who was reported missing.

Boaz D. Johnson

Boaz D. Johnson

Boaz D. Johnson of Petersburg, Alaska, last spoke to his family at noon Monday (May 27). He was reportedly in Puna.

He is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-6 or 5-foot-7, 145 pounds with short brown hair and blue eyes.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts contact Detective Fetuutuunai Amuimuia at 961-2278 or famuimuia@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.

 

Pālamanui the Planned Kona Campus of Hawaiʻi Community College Has Groundbreaking Ceremony

Pālamanui, the planned Kona campus of Hawaiʻi Community College, has taken a giant step towards becoming a reality. A kīpaepae ʻeli honua, or groundbreaking ceremony for the new campus, was held in May 2013. Welcome news considering Pālamanui was first conceived of more than two decades ago, and had been in the planning stages since 2004.

Palamanui Ground Breaking

“We are graduating from planning to doing,” said University of Hawaiʻi System President M.R.C. Greenwood. “And that is a very important beginning.”

West Hawaiʻi is the only major geographic region and population center in Hawaiʻi without a permanent higher education facility. That will change in 2015 when the first phase of Pālamanui is scheduled for completion.

“The community colleges open the doors for our kamaliʻi, our children, for haumana, our students to dream,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Palamanui Blessing

The state-of-the-art, energy-independent campus is expected to serve as a model for other state projects.

The $25 million first phase includes a structure with 24,000 square feet of classrooms, science labs, learning kitchens, library, learning commons area and a large photovoltaic system.

It fits in perfectly with Hawaiʻi Community College’s mission of E ʻImi Pono, or seeking excellence.

“It is the same spirit that will guide us into the future and the endless possibilities this new campus will provide,” said Noreen Yamane, chancellor of Hawaiʻi Community College.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/MrwgwKMec18]

The groundbreaking ceremony prepared the land in a traditional Hawaiian way, and included Hānai ʻAwa, feeding ʻawa to the land; Kanu Iʻa, burying fish; Kanu Lāʻau, planting Lāʻau; and hula, with a mele or song for the spirit of the land, ocean and sky.

Then with ōʻō, or digging sticks, in hand; state, county and UH dignitaries dug into the earth, marking the start of the creation of a new home.

Palamanui Digging Stick

“We pledge all that we have, all that we are, to Hawaiʻi’s and its future,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “Pālamanui, is the future of Hawaiʻi.”

Classes Begin at Hawaii Youth Business Center in Pahoa

A class designed to help you feel secure and comfortable working on a computer, accessing the Internet, and creating a video project for posterity is being offered in Pahoa. Community members of any age are welcome to register.

Natec Penn

Natec Penn

The 8-session class will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from June 11 to July 4, 9am to 10:30am, at the Hawaii Youth Business Center in Woodland Center off Highway 130 (Pahoa Bypass). Natec Penn, HYBCʻs staff instructor and a professional videographer who specializes in short documentaries, will lead the class.

Each session will offer student information and practice opportunities with topics starting from computer and internet basics, social media, to understanding camera, sound and lighting techniques so you can create your own video projects. A class show to view the projects is planned for the last session with a potluck celebrating the Independence Day.

Computers are available on site, or you can bring your own laptop. Video equipment will be available for use.

Cost for each session is $15, or enjoy a 20% discount with pre-payment of $96 for the full 8-sessions. Pre-registration is required.

For inquiries or registration, please call Natec @ 937-8252.

Idaho Couple Who Was Found Safe… Mother Received Disturbing Mysterious Call in Middle of Night

According to AP Reports:

…Kevin Butler, 21, and Kimberly Linder, 18, contacted their parents Wednesday evening, hours after police asked for help locating them, Linder’s mother, Christine Cearley, told The Associated Press Thursday. 

Hawaii County police previously said both from McCall, Idaho, but Linder’s mother said she is from Oakdale, Calif.The couple had checked out of their Kona hotel on Friday and told their families they planned to a camp in a tent in a valley, part of a backpacking adventure exploring Hawaii’s Big Island.”Everything was great,” Cearley said. “Except that a couple of days ago, Kevin’s mom received a call in the middle of the night basically saying someone had her kid.  “Their families weren’t able to reach them and saw that Butler’s bank account was overdrawn, Cearley said, so they contacted police. When police began investigating, they told Cearley there was an unidentified body matching her daughter’s description.

Meanwhile, Linder’s relatives were making plans to travel to Hawaii to search for them. That’s when Cearley got a text message from Linder saying they were OK, followed by a phone call, saying they didn’t have any cellphone reception while camping in Waipio Valley and had no idea anyone was looking for them until they later retrieved frantic phone messages.”‘We came down from the mountain and our cellphones were blowing up,'” Cearley recalled her daughter saying.

People in the Honokaa area spotted the couple and notified police, who met with them and checked their identification.The couple doesn’t know anything about the disturbing call from a man’s voice using a blocked number, claiming to have Butler, Cearley said…

Full article here:  Big Island Campers Found Safe, Unaware of Search

Body Found in Water Off Kalapana Reclassified to Murder

Hawaiʻi Island police have reclassified a coroner’s inquest case to a murder in connection with the discovery of a body Tuesday (May 28) in waters off Kalapana in the Puna District.

HPDBadge

An autopsy conducted Wednesday (May 29) determined that the female victim died of strangulation and that the manner of death was homicide.

Police have not yet identified the body, described as that of a Caucasian woman possibly in her late 20s or early 30s, about 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-8 with a slim build, short brown hair and a tattoo of “Veritas” on her lower back.

Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation.

Police ask that anyone who may know the victim or have information on this case contact Detective Robert Almeida at 961-2386or ralmeida@co.hawaii.hi.us or Detective Fetuutuunai Amuimuia at 961-2278 or famuimuia@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.

Coast Guard Seeks Comment for New Regulated Navigation Area in Oahu

The Coast Guard is seeking public comment on a proposal of a permanent regulated navigation area, enforcement of which would take place only during times when a tsunami warning is issued for the Hawaiian Islands by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Coast Guard Navigation Area

Tsunami warnings require the evacuation of a large number of vessels from their respective harbors. Following the evacuation, these vessels must remain offshore until the emergency situation has passed and the harbors have been deemed safe for re-entry. Past tsunami warnings have created potentially dangerous offshore traffic congestion between commercial and recreational vessel traffic. Because of this, designated vessel traffic staging areas are necessary for a safe and orderly evacuation of southern Oahu ports.

Coast Guard Cutters Kittiwake and Ahi, both 87-foot Patrol boats homeported in Honolulu, maintain security and safety outside of Honolulu Harbor March 11, 2011. All vessels were urged to evacuate Thursday evening in prompt to the tsunami that was headed to the Hawaiian Islands following the devastating earthquake in Japan, March 10, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Kurt Fredrickson.

Coast Guard Cutters Kittiwake and Ahi, both 87-foot Patrol boats homeported in Honolulu, maintain security and safety outside of Honolulu Harbor March 11, 2011. All vessels were urged to evacuate Thursday evening in prompt to the tsunami that was headed to the Hawaiian Islands following the devastating earthquake in Japan, March 10, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Kurt Fredrickson.

“These staging areas are an example of Coast Guard efforts to improve our tsunami preparedness in the Hawaiian Islands,” said Captain Shannon Gilreath, captain of the port for Honolulu. “Second only to saving lives, the safe resumption of maritime commerce is a top priority following a disaster and these areas will help accomplish that”.

Public comment and related material on the proposed regulated navigation area must be received by the Coast Guard on or before June 13, 2013.

The full proposed rule can be found and commented on here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=USCG-2012-0080-0001

For additional information or questions, contact Lt. Cmdr. Scott Whaley, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu at (808) 522–8264 ext.352 or Scott.O.Whaley@uscg.mil.