Big Island Police Charge Puna Man With Five Offenses in Connection Armed Robbery in May

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a Puna man with five offenses in connection with an armed robbery in May.

John Krause

John Krause

On May 28, several suspects approached a home in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision brandishing handguns. A 36-year-old man was hit on the arm with the butt of a firearm and was injured. The suspects then entered the house without permission, held four occupants at gunpoint while demanding valuables, and then fled with the valuables in a vehicle.

At 11:15 a.m. Wednesday (July 10) police arrested 44-year-old John Krause of Kurtistown and held him at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives continued the investigation. Krause was charged at 1:45 p.m. Thursday with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, second-degree assault and two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening. His bail was set at $21,000.

He remains at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Friday.

 

Kona Rep. Nichole Lowen Thanks Senator Mazie Hirono for Securing Federal Funds to Fight Coffee Berry Borer

Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau) today praised U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono for successfully securing $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to fight the coffee berry borer beetle that has been a blight on Hawaii Island coffee growers for the past three years.

Senator Nicole Lowen

Rep. Nicole Lowen

This past legislative session, Representative Lowen introduced and guided HB 353 through the State Legislature.  It was signed into law on June 26th, and will provide $800,000 in state money for mitigation of the coffee borer infestation.

“Thanks to Senator Hirono, the additional million dollars from the USDA coupled with the $800,000 in state funding and other resources will enable us to launch an offensive against this destructive insect before it decimates our coffee industry.  The industry brings in about $30 million dollars annually, and is an important part of Hawaii’s cultural heritage. We need to do all that we can to protect its viability.  I will continue to work with the State Legislature and with our congressional delegation to further preserve our coffee industry,” said Rep. Lowen.

Senator Hirono and USDA Announce First Major Federal Initiative to Fight Coffee Berry Borer

After Hirono Urged USDA To Take Action Against The Highly Destructive Beetle Earlier This Year, Department Agrees To Spend $1 Million Immediately To Set-Up Hawaii Operation To Fight Invasive Species

Senator Mazie K. Hirono and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled the first major federal initiative today to fight the coffee berry borer that has been ravaging Hawaii Island coffee farms for almost three years. The project, a new arm of the USDA’s integrated pest management program, will be a scientifically-based approach to fighting the invasive species. In the immediate term, USDA will spend an initial $1 million dollars to set-up the Hawaii operation.

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

“This new initiative to fight the coffee berry borer is great news for Hawaii and our economy, and I am very pleased that the USDA has recognized the threat of this highly destructive invasive species,” said Hirono. “Our state produces some of the world’s best coffee, and coffee is an important export from our state. But the livelihood of Hawaii Island coffee growers is increasingly being threatened by the coffee berry borer, as many farmers are forced to abandon large portions of their yields due to infestation each year. That’s why I originally urged the USDA to set up this initiative and have been working closely with the department to begin its implementation. USDA, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and the University of Hawaii will collectively work to help coffee farmers combat and contain this invasive species.”

The announcement of the new project comes after Hirono urged the department to set up a Hawaii operation to fight the coffee berry borer. After working closely with Hirono and Hawaii coffee farmers to assess the need for the program, USDA agreed to immediately implement a new initiative to fight the devastating invasive species.

“USDA shares your concerns about the agricultural and economic impacts of this noxious pest,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack wrote to Hirono in a letter earlier this month. “As such, I am pleased to announce the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service has funded an Area Wide Integrated Pest Management program to aid in controlling the coffee berry borer in the United States.”

Electronic scan of the coffee berry borer

Electronic scan of the coffee berry borer

Members of the Hawaii delegation have been working to get more funding for a possible program in the Farm Bill currently being considered in Congress. Ahead of USDA’s agreement to fund a program, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced a successful amendment which was included in the Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that authorized funding for a USDA program. Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa cosponsored the measure. Hirono introduced a similar measure in the Senate that was cosponsored by Senator Brian Schatz.

“The coffee berry borer has been a destructive force striking at the heart of Hawai‘i’s multi-million dollar coffee industry,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “In just two years, our treasured Kona coffee industry suffered more than $9 million in market losses, representing a roughly 25 percent revenue decrease. The economic impact has been deeply felt by coffee farms, most of which are small family farms, and coffee processors are being forced to lay off workers or reduce hours. The USDA initiative being established in Hawai‘i will help local coffee growers combat the effects of this invasive and destructive pest.”

The new program will be tasked with distributing effective treatments to local farmers and educating them on the most effective treatment practices, researching the genetic makeup of the coffee berry borer to find its weakness and disposing of infected plants. In his letter, Vilsack explained that the new USDA initiative will coordinate with local coffee farmers, the University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to use the following techniques to fight the borer:

  • Distribute the most effective repellents to farmers and training them on how to best use these treatments
  • Research new types of pest controls that could be more effective in killing the beetles
  • Create a plant sanitation program that decreases the opportunities for borer to reproduce and spread
  • Study the borer to find how the species is similar or different that other agricultural pest in order to develop better methods for controlling the pest

Hawaii Island is home to more than 700 small coffee farms. In 2011, coffee farmers in Hawaii produced more than 8 million pounds of coffee, valued at more than $30 million.

The borer is an insect native to Central Africa that lives, feeds and reproduces in both immature and mature coffee berries. This damage can have a significant negative impact on the quality and quantity of coffee crop yields. As a direct result of the coffee berry borer, many farmers in 2012 have expressed concerns that their yields were in jeopardy. Recent reports have found infestation rates of up to 80% for some Hawaii farms.

Vilsack’s letter to Hirono agreeing to start the program, as well as her initial call for the USDA to create the initiative, read below:

USDA to Mazie

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Hawaiian Electric Companies Offer New Rates for Public EV Charging

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have gained approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for two new electric vehicle (EV) pilot charging rates. The rates are designed to encourage ownership of plug-in electric vehicles in Hawaii by easing “range anxiety.”

Hawaii Electric Vehicle Charge Station

Electric Vehicle Charge Station

The new Commercial Public Electric Vehicle Charging Facility Service rate (Schedule EV-F) will make it financially attractive for business customers to open new public EV charging facilities metered separately from other uses.

Businesses can now take advantage of EV time-of-use rates without a “demand charge” typically assessed to commercial customers. This new rate will encourage businesses to provide direct current (DC) fast charging, which delivers a quicker charge but at a higher demand. A DC fast charging station can bring an “empty” EV battery to an 80 percent charge in about 30 minutes. (Demand charge represents the electric utility’s cost to maintain the capacity to meet a commercial customer’s highest demand for a fixed period.)

The second new rate, Commercial Public Electric Vehicle Charging Service (Schedule EV-U), allows the Hawaiian Electric Companies to operate up to 25 publicly accessible DC fast charging facilities across Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island where drivers could quickly recharge their vehicles for a per-session fee. It also allows the Hawaiian Electric utilities to work with the EV industry to manage electric vehicle EV charging more effectively and do research on load control and demand response.

“Plug-in electric vehicles continue to increase and we want to make it easier for our customers to own and use them,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service. “While most electric vehicle owners will continue to charge overnight at home, more charge spots across the islands will provide assurance to EV drivers that they won’t ‘run out of juice’ while away from home.”

Increased use of EVs can reduce Hawaii’s dependency on imported oil and encourage use of electricity from indigenous renewable resources, such as wind and solar.  Fueling a vehicle with electricity, even from conventional generation, is cleaner and costs the customer less per mile than using gasoline in an internal combustion engine.

“The Hawaii State Energy Office supports widespread deployment of EV DC fast charging infrastructure, which will help promote EV adoption and ease range anxiety,” said State Energy Administrator Mark Glick.  “These new EV rates are a novel approach in dealing with demand charges and a positive step in meeting the state’s clean energy objectives and in proving Hawaii as a leader of EV deployment in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Hawaiian Electric Companies worked with the Hawaii State Energy Office, Hawaii Consumer Advocate, and OpConnect LLC to develop the new tariffs.

According to the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, as of May 2013, there were a total of 1,437 plug-in electric vehicles registered in the state (Oahu – 1,093; Maui – 210; Hawaii Island – 90).

More information on electric vehicle ownership is available from Hawaiian Electric at hawaiianelectric.com/goev or by calling 808-543-GOEV (4638). For information on the State Energy Office’s EV program, visit electricvehicle.hawaii.gov.

 

Big Island Police Arrest 18-Year-Old Puna Man in Connection with Knife Incident in Pahoa

Hawaiʻi Island police arrested an 18-year-old Puna man Wednesday (July 10) in connection with a knife incident in Pāhoa.

Cordell Studley

Cordell Studley

Responding to a 5:12 p.m. call at a business establishment at 15-2875 Pāhoa Village Road in Pāhoa town, police located and arrested Cordell Studley of Pāhoa, who had allegedly threatened staff with several knives.

The victims reported that the suspect walked into their business and used a telephone without permission. When the staff members refused to allow him to use the phone a second time, he reportedly brandished two knives and threatened them.

No one was injured during this incident.

Studley was later charged with two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening and held at the Hilo police cellblock in lieu of $4,000 bail.

 

Senator Glenn Wakai Appointed as Palau’s Honorary Consul

A local lawmaker is now a diplomat. State Senator Glenn Wakai was recently appointed as Palau’s honorary consul to Hawaii by Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr.

Senator Glenn Wakai

Senator Glenn Wakai

In appointing the State Senator, Remengesau expressed his appreciation for Wakai’s contribution and support to Palau and its citizens in Hawaii. As Palau’s honorary consul, Wakai will be working with the Republic of Palau to seek ways to strengthen Palau’s emergency relief capacity and bolster the nation’s relationship with the U.S.

“This appointment is truly an honor, which I accept with happiness and determination. I don’t plan to simply attend events and smile at cameras. I recognize our neighbors in the Pacific sometimes have difficulty adjusting to life in Hawaii. I aim to empower the Palauan community in Hawaii,” says Senator Glenn Wakai (Kalihi, Salt Lake, Aliamanu, Foster Village). “I have already organized meetings with their local leaders to map out a game plan for more community involvement and creation of individual success stories. This new relationship between Palau and Hawaii will lead to Better Days in the Pacific.”

Wakai is serving his second term as a Hawaii State Senator, following eight years in the State House of Representatives. He is the current chair of the Senate’s Committee on Technology and the Arts. He has created a non-profit, Reach out Pacific (www.reachoutpacific.org), which takes containers of medical and educational supplies to impoverished islands throughout the Pacific.

Prior to his political career, Wakai spent more than a decade as a television newscaster, first in Guam and Saipan, before returning to Hawaii to work at KHON2 and KHNL.

Wakai is a graduate of Mid-Pacific Institute and the University of Southern California.

 

 

Hilo Orchid Society Preview Party Benefits Scholarship Fund and Ku’ikahi Mediation Center

The Hilo Orchid Society presents a benefit Preview Party to kick off its 61st anniversary Orchid Show and Sale at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium. Held from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 1, the gala event features drinks, food, music, and orchid pre-sales.

The Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium is the site for the Hilo Orchid Society’s 61st Annual Orchid Show and Sale. The Preview Party on Thursday evening, August 1, gives ticket holders the first opportunity to see the lush displays and buy orchids, plants, and related products.

The Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium is the site for the Hilo Orchid Society’s 61st Annual Orchid Show and Sale. The Preview Party on Thursday evening, August 1, gives ticket holders the first opportunity to see the lush displays and buy orchids, plants, and related products.

“Preview Party guests will be surrounded by lush displays at their freshest expressing this year’s theme of ‘Orchids Around the World,’” said party chair Sandra Song. “Party-goers will have the first chance to purchase exciting new hybrids and exotic orchid species that growers will have for sale, as well as other unusual plants and orchid-related products.”

Libations include fine wine tasting, plus beer sampling from Kona Brewing Co. Ticket holders receive a souvenir wine or beer glass upon entry. Coffee will be provided by Hilo Coffee Mill.

Guests will enjoy fine wine tasting at the 61st Annual Hilo Orchid Show and Sale Preview Party.  Held at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium on August 1, the gala event also features beer sampling from Kona Brewing Co. and coffee tasting from Hilo Coffee Mill.

Guests will enjoy fine wine tasting at the 61st Annual Hilo Orchid Show and Sale Preview Party. Held at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium on August 1, the gala event also features beer sampling from Kona Brewing Co. and coffee tasting from Hilo Coffee Mill.

Delectable food will be available at various serving stations compliments of Island Naturals and AJ & Sons Catering, featuring the food stylings of Audrey Wilson. A cookbook author, Wilson writes the weekly “Let’s Talk Food” column in the Hawaii Tribune Herald.

Throughout the evening, music by local artists will fill the stadium. The gala event will be “green,” with eco-friendly eating utensils, plus recycling and composting stations.

Proceeds of the Preview Party benefit both the Hilo Orchid Society scholarship fund and the non-profit Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center. The Hilo Orchid Society scholarship fund offers financial assistance to students of tropical agriculture at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center provides affordable dispute prevention and resolution services to the East Hawai‘i community.

August 1 marks the Preview Party for the 61st Annual Hilo Orchid Show and Sale.  Held at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., the gala event features drinks, food, music, and orchid pre-sales.  Proceeds benefit both the Hilo Orchid Society scholarship fund and Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center.

August 1 marks the Preview Party for the 61st Annual Hilo Orchid Show and Sale. Held at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., the gala event features drinks, food, music, and orchid pre-sales. Proceeds benefit both the Hilo Orchid Society scholarship fund and Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center.

Song recommends buying tickets early because they expect to sell out. “We want to ensure a fabulous, satisfying experience for all our guests.”

Tickets for the Preview Party are $65 ($25 of which is tax deductible) and may be purchased in advance from The Most Irresistible Shop on bayfront at 256 Kamehameha Avenue and Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center in The Hilo Lagoon Centre at 101 Aupuni Street, Suite PH 1014 B-2. Or call Julie Mitchell at (808) 935-7844 x 116. For more information, visit www.hiloorchidsociety.org or www.hawaiimediation.org.