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Sluss Named as Big Island Police Department “Officer of the Month”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Dwayne Sluss as “Officer of the Month” for June in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (June 5) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Dwayne Sluss

Officer Dwayne Sluss

Sluss was honored for his investigation of a theft case that resulted in charges for 23 criminal offenses.

In February, Officer Sluss was assigned to a report of a theft of a wallet from a purse that had been left momentarily unattended at a Laundromat in Kona. He determined that one of the victim’s credit cards had been used to make unauthorized purchases at businesses in the Kailua-Kona area. Officer Sluss immediately responded to every business at which the unauthorized purchases were made, spoke to witnesses, recovered video surveillance and identified two suspects who were responsible for all the unauthorized transactions.

A few days after initiating this investigation, Sluss was off duty and shopping at a store when he observed one of the suspects stealing merchandise. He notified the store manager and confronted the suspect. Further investigation connected the suspect to the unauthorized credit card transactions. As a result, two suspects were positively identified and are awaiting criminal prosecution for 23 offenses, including felony charges related to credit card theft, identity theft and forgery offenses.

Sergeant Akira Edmoundson, who nominated Sluss for the honor, noted that Sluss has been assigned to Kona Patrol for about two years. During the year that ran from March 2012 through February 2013, Edmoundson said, Sluss investigated 189 incidents, 28 traffic accidents and 273 miscellaneous public complaints. He further made 40 adult arrests and led the district of Kona by issuing 665 traffic citations. “He has proven to be an asset to the Hawai’i Police Department and the community he serves,” Edmoundson said.

As “Officer of the Month,” Sluss is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee is an organization that encourages community involvement in aiding and supporting police in West Hawaiʻi.

Movies and Music for CareFREE Summer Fun Under the Stars at Queens’ MarketPlace

Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort invites the community to come to the Coronation Pavilion, kick off your shoes and relax with free summer entertainment under the stars.  The resort shopping center with a reputation for engaging events for visitors and kama‘āina alike presents monthly movies and live “mini-concerts” by some of the island’s favorite musicians.

Queens MarketPlace Pavilion

“Music is a big part of our Big Island culture,” said Scott Head, Waikoloa Beach Resort Vice President of Resort Operations.  “If you go to a backyard cookout or a graduation party in the park, there’s always entertainment, music and hula—along with lots of good food.  And that’s the spirit we love to share with our neighbors and guests.  On two Saturdays each month, you can come to Queens’ MarketPlace, have dinner, coffee or snacks, do some shopping, and just sit back and relax with a free movie or one of our mini-concerts.”

Summer Entertainment Schedule:

(Third and fourth Saturdays each month, all shows are presented complimentary, at the Coronation Pavilion)

  • June 15, 6-8 p.m.  “DamStr8” in concert.Enjoy the variety of music by this father and son trio with famed drummer Ronnie Atwater, from contemporary Hawaiian to pop, classic rock and original songs with the smoothest harmonies and smoking guitars.
  • June 22, 7:15 p.m.  A Disney movie for all audiences, about a childless couple who wish for a baby, and the son who magically comes into their lives to teach them unexpected lessons in parenting.
  • July  20, 6-8 p.m.  “Friends of Bluegrass” in concert.  Hawaii loves Bluegrass—and there’s nothing like that down-home fiddling and guitar picking to get toes tapping and hands clapping country style.
  • July 27, 7:15 p.m.  A Disney/Pixar movie for all audiences, set in Scotland, about the brave princess Merida, an aspiring archer who makes a reckless choice that unleashes unintended peril and forces her to spring into action to set things right.
  • August 17, 6-8 p.m.  “E Kolu Mea Nui” in concert.  Three great Big Island entertainers, Sonny Lim, Kevin Kealoha and Kunia Galdeira, team up as trio for sensational Hawaiian music, slack key and more.
  • August 24, 7 p.m.  A Disney movie for all audiences, set in the land of Oz, where three witches are locked in a power struggle.

For more information, call Queens’ MarketPlace management office at 886-8822 or visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net.

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens.  For more information, visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call 886-8822.

3.6 Magnitude Earthquake Reported Today Off the Kona Side of the Big Island

*UPDATE* It’s now been upgraded to a 3.6:

36 kona

With yesterdays, 5.3 magnitude earthquake that shook the entire island, I don’t think anyone even noticed today’s 3.5 3.6 magnitude earthquake off the Kailua-Kona side of the Big Island:

You can see the blue dot on the left hand side of the island.

You can see the blue dot on the left hand side of the island.

There was no civil defense report and obviously no tsunami generated from it.

Millerbirds Return to Laysan Island After 100-Year Absence

By Ken Foote

The sun beats down on a small rocky island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. A lively brown song bird that weighs less than an ounce forages for insects among the low shrubs and bunch-grass. This nondescript bird is known as the Nihoa Millerbird (Acrocephalus familiaris kingi), and it is barely noticeable among the seabirds, insects, and other animal and plant species that inhabit the island.

The first fledgling Millerbird produced on Laysan in March 2012. Photo Credit: R. Kohley / American Bird Conservancy

The first fledgling Millerbird produced on Laysan in March 2012.
Photo Credit: R. Kohley / American Bird Conservancy

This extremely rare bird was one of the first bird species to be listed as endangered in 1967—preceding the present-day Endangered Species Act by six years. Until recently, the bird was found only on Nihoa Island. Nihoa Island is a rugged 155-acre (63-hectare) volcanic island, one of the many islands and atolls that make up the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands – part of the Papahānaumokuakea Marine National Monument – stretching 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) northwest from the island of Kaua’i.

Historically, there were two populations of Millerbirds, one on Laysan Island and one on Nihoa Island. The Laysan Millerbird (Acrocephalus familiaris familiaris), along with the Laysan Rail (Porzana palmeri) and Laysan Honeycreeper (Himatione sanguinea freethi), went extinct in the early 20th Century when the island was denuded by non-native rabbits and livestock. Thus, the Millerbirds on Nihoa were the only Millerbirds remaining anywhere on Earth.

Millerbird numbers on Nihoa fluctuate between 30 and 800 birds. This single, small population faces a high risk of extinction from catastrophes such as severe storms, droughts, fires, or accidental introduction of alien species such as rats, mosquitoes, and diseases such as avian pox and malaria. Establishing a second population on the 1,023-acre (415-ha) Laysan Island will reduce this risk by increasing the total population size and the distribution of the species.

Treacherous transfer of Millerbirds from Nihoa to zodiac during the 2012 translocation. Photo Credit: Ryan Hagerty / USFWS

Treacherous transfer of Millerbirds from Nihoa to zodiac during the 2012 translocation.
Photo Credit: Ryan Hagerty / USFWS

In 2011 and 2012, a team of dedicated scientists and volunteers undertook a monumental task of capturing and translocating, or moving, 50 Millerbirds. The birds were moved an incredible 650 miles (1,046 km), by sea, from Nihoa to Laysan Island. Two separate translocations were conducted; 24 birds were moved in 2011, and 26 in 2012 with scientists trying to maintain an equal sex ratio of males to females.

The release was the result of many years of research and detailed planning by biologists and resource managers, led by a partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and American Bird Conservancy. The successful translocations mark the first time in nearly a century that Millerbirds have occupied Laysan Island. Today, we estimate over 38 fledglings have been produced on Laysan. The total island population is estimated to be over 63, and biologists are working to get a more exact count over the next few months.

As a co-manager of the Papahānaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to lead this project in collaboration with the American Bird Conservancy. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the University of New Brunswick, University of Hawai’i, Pacific Rim Conservation, Pacific Bird Conservation, the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Research Center, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs have also supported this effort.

Ken Foote, an information and education specialist in the Service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, can be reached at ken_foote@fws.gov

Learn more about the translocation effort.

Senator Brian Schatz on Layoffs at the Tesoro Hawaii Refinery

Tesoro HawaiiMonday, Senator Brian Schatz released the following statement regarding the layoffs at the Tesoro refinery:

“My office has been in constant communication with the Tesoro companies and is working with the relevant state agencies to ensure that unemployment assistance, job placement and other help be provided to the workers that may be laid off. In addition, we are coordinating our efforts with the refinery task force to ensure that there is no disruption in fuel supply in the state of Hawaii, and we are confident for the purposes of Hawaii’s economy and the needs of the Department of Defense that fuel will continue to be available.  Our main concern is with the workers and their families, and we will do whatever we can to help them to land on their feet.”

 

New Picture Released of Alaska Man Missing and Wanted in Questioning of Death of Woman in Kalapana

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

New picture released

New picture released of Boaz

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

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

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

Boaz D. Johnson

Boaz D. Johnson

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.

 

Rainbow Wahine Coaches Join Jimmy Yagi Summer Hoops Camp

University of Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine women’s basketball coaches will be among the special guest clinicians offering their expertise at the inaugural Jimmy Yagi Summer Hoops Camp.

Panaewa Gym

Sponsored by the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Hawai‘i Police Department’s HI-PAL Program, and the nonprofit Big Island All-Stars, the skill-development camp is open to boys and girls 9-17 years old. It will be held July 31 through August 3 in Hilo.

The camp will give local youth athletes and coaches the chance to work with NCAA Division 1 coaches, who in turn will be able to witness the island’s top basketball players perform live.

Joining the Wahine Rainbow coaches will be David Kaneshiro, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo head women’s basketball coach. More than a dozen other coaches have volunteered to help with the camp named in honor of former UH-Hilo basketball coach Jimmy Yagi.

Coaching spots are filling up fast. Those interested in volunteering at the camp are encouraged to call Darrell Yamamoto, a recreational specialist for the Department of Parks and Recreation, at 961-8735 or 938-2012.

Panaewa Park

Children 9-12 years old will attend daily skills clinics from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the new Pana’ewa Covered Play Courts and then scrimmage starting at 3:30 p.m. Teens will go to the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, where they will attend skills training from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. before taking to the courts at 3:30 p.m. to practice what they’ve learned. The camp will be run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on the final day, Saturday, August 3.

The enrollment fee is $60 per child if registering before July 15. Late registrations will be $70 each. All participants will receive a camp T-shirt and group photograph.

Registration forms are available at the Department’s main office in Aupuni Center, West Hawai‘i Civic Center Parks & Recreation Office, and the Recreation office at 799 Pi‘ilani St. in Hilo, and online at: http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/parks-and-recreation/. Checks should be made payable to the Big Island All-Stars and include the note “Jimmy Yagi Summer Hoops Camp.”