Over 800 Hotel Workers, Community Members to Rally Against Condo Conversion Crisis

Over 800 Local 5 hotel and hospitality workers and community leaders from the AiKea Movement will be rallying at the Ilikai Hotel to bring attention to the growing crisis of condominium conversions and its negative impact on Hawaii’s economy.

WHERE:   Ilikai Hotel, 1777 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96815

WHEN:   Wednesday, July 17, 2013 between 4:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M

The Ilikai Hotel

The Ilikai Hotel

Launched in May 2012, AiKea is a growing movement of individuals and organizations who care about the future of Hawaii. AiKea successfully organized to repeal the Public Lands Development Corporation (Act 55) in April 2013, which would have granted five appointed people the authority to enter into public-private development agreements without adequate public input.

Their latest campaign calls for an end to condominium conversions—hotels converting their rooms into condominiums. These types of developments are lucrative for developers, who can profit quickly from these projects that require no long-term investment once the units are sold. However, the conversions lead to a host of problems for Hawaii residents:

  • Residential condos provide few, if any jobs
  • Condotel owners cannot compel these new condo buyers to enter the rental pool, which results in jobs and hours cut for housekeepers and other hotel workers
  • Those who do choose to enter the rental poo tend to rent out their rooms like vacation rentals and may choose to hire a minimum-wage housekeeper rather than the hotel’s housekeepers

Between 2006 and 2011, 3,250 jobs statewide were lost in the accommodations sector. Because of these lost jobs, over $30 million each year has been lost in tax revenue since 2007, which means less money to fund education, public improvements, and social services that our local working families depend on.

Local 5 and AiKea recognize that tourism is one of Hawaii’s top industries and are calling on elected officials and community leaders to address this alarming trend. Residents of Hawaii are losing out on jobs, tax revenue, and public services, while multinational firms are profiting.

Local 5 represents approximately 10,000 workers throughout Hawaii who work in the hospitality, health care and food service industries and is an affiliate of UNITE HERE, an international union that represents over 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitehere5.org.

AiKea is a growing movement of individuals and organizations who care about the future of Hawai’i and are committed to building a larger social and political movement. For more information, visit www.aikeahawaii.org.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Possible Missing Diver

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu suspended the search for a possible missing diver off of Kahe Point Electric Beach Sunday.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point was launched to the scene to search in coordination with Ocean Safety.

The helicopter completed its planned search and due to lack of evidence of distress or any correlating missing persons reports the Coast Guard suspended the search.

The passenger vessel Kai Oli Oli recovered an orange dive float and flag approximately 100 yards off Electric Beach Sunday.

Coast Guard Buoy Hawaii Blue

The Coast Guard in conjunction with Ocean Safety conducted an investigation into possible ownership of the recovered dive float without success. Although no one appeared to be in distress in the immediate area, the Coast Guard conducted a search as a precaution.

Despite suspending the search, the Coast Guard is asking anyone with information in identifying the owner of the dive float to contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at (808) 842-2600.

The Coast Guard advises the public to label all watercraft and equipment with contact information in order to quickly account for owners and prevent any unnecessary searches.

For more information, contact the 14th Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office at (808) 535-3230.

 

Second Home Invasion Reported this Weekend in Puna

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying two individuals suspected of robbing two victims in a reported home invasion that occurred over the weekend in Puna.

HPDBadge
Friday night (July 12,) at about 10:38 p.m., police received a report from a 62-year-old Mountain View woman that two unknown masked armed men forcibly entered her home. The victim reported that she and her 49-year-old female room mate were bound before both suspects ransacked the house. Both victims were then threatened with the weapons by both suspects, and the 49-year-old was reportedly struck with the weapon.

A 40-year-old Mountain View man who was also at the home reported that he was accosted by the two suspects, who brandished weapons while threatening him before striking him with the weapon.

The 49-year-old woman and 40-year-old man refused treatment for their injuries, which were minor. The 62-year-old woman was uninjured.

The first suspect was described as a Caucasian male, unknown age, about 6-feet tall with a thin build, a tan complexion and hazel eyes. He was wearing dark jeans, a dark long-sleeved shirt or sweatshirt, a ski mask or tactical type of mask, and a bandana covering his lower facial area.

The second suspect was described as a Caucasian male, unknown age, about 5-foot-6 with a thin build and a fair complexion. He was wearing dark jeans, a dark long-sleeved shirt or sweatshirt, a ski cap with a bandana covering the lower portion of his face.

Both suspects fled the area on foot.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing this investigation, which is classified as a first-degree burglary, second-degree assault, third-degree assault, first-degree robbery, and first-degree terroristic threatening.

Police ask that anyone with information on this case to 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.

Home Invasion Robbery in Puna Foiled by Woman With Meat Cleaver and Pork & Beans

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a home invasion robbery Friday night (July 12) in Puna.

In response to a 9:37 p.m. call, Puna Patrol officers learned that three masked men had encountered a male resident outside a home on 30th Avenue in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision. One man reportedly assaulted the resident and another man reportedly entered the house and assaulted a woman trying to protect a child. As the woman fought back, the masked men grabbed a purse and a backpack and fled in a pickup truck.

Dustin J. Jose

Dustin J. Jose

Responding officers located a truck matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle and arrested 31-year-old Dustin J. Jose of Kailua-Kona and 31-year-old Jack A. Vaughn of Kailua-Kona.

Jack A. Vaughn

Jack A. Vaughn

They were taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 9:05 p.m. Saturday (July 13), after conferring with prosecutors, detectives charged Jose with first-degree burglary, second-degree robbery and second-degree assault. They charged Vaughn with first-degree burglary, second-degree robbery and two counts of third-degree assault.

The men remained at the cellblock until their initial court appearance on Monday.

According to Hawaii News Now:

Three masked men stormed into a Big Island home on Friday night and attacked a family in a Keaau home. Two of the suspects are now in custody, and a can of pork and beans helped lead to the home invasion arrests.

“All of a sudden I see these three guys climbing out of the truck and they all had ski masks on,” recalled victim Claudine Prados.

Prados had been watching TV at her home on 30th Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park. She said she protected her son from one suspect by grabbing a meat cleaver from the kitchen, but two other men attacked his father.

“They injured him pretty badly. They slammed his face into the ground and they were trying to choke him and doing whatever they could to try to get him to pass our I guess,” said Prados.

Prados said she grabbed a can of pork and beans after the cleaver was knocked out of her hand. After a struggle, the men drove off.

“I still had the can of food in my hand and I was actually trying to bust their window but it ended up bouncing off and landing in the back of their truck. That’s one of the main things that actually police was able to identify the truck when they actually pulled it over,” Prados said.

Within 30 minutes, police found a truck matching the description she gave them on Kuauli Road in Kurtistown. Officers found the can in the back and arrested two men, Jack Vaughn of Kailua-Kona and Dustin Jose of Kealakekua. Jose was indicted in May for allegedly sexually assaulting two minors, according to the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Officers arrested both men for assault, burglary and robbery.

“It was like a total waste of time for them, honestly, because all they left with was a purse with no money and a kid’s backpack with clothes,” said Prados…

More Here: Can of Pork and Beans Leads to Arrest

 

Most Recent Hawai’i Islands Most Wanted Crime Stoppers Television Program

The most recent edition of the Crime Stoppers television program “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted” highlights a 22-year-old man wanted in a murder investigation, a 51-year-old man wanted on a bench warrant related to drug charges, and an 18-year-old man wanted for a robbery at a beach park.

The new episode began airing Friday.

In it, police ask for help in locating 22-year-old Boaz David Johnson.

New picture released

Boaz David Johnson

His girlfriend’s body was found in the ocean off the Kalapana coast on May 28. The medical examiner ruled that the 25-year-old woman, Brittany Jane Royal, died from strangulation. Johnson is described as Caucasian, about 5-foot-7, about 150 pounds with a slim build and a fair complexion. He was last seen unshaven and with medium-length brown hair. He has a tattoo of the upper body of a horse near the right side of his abdomen. He is considered dangerous.

The television program also asks for help in locating a 51-year-old Arthur Clayton of Keaʻau, who is wanted on a $40,000 bench warrant related to drug charges.

Arthur Clayton

Arthur Clayton

He is also wanted for questioning in a theft investigation. He is described as 5-foot-5, 180 pounds with brown eyes and a bald or shaved head. He has a tattoo of a lion on his right shoulder.

In this latest edition of “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted,” Officer Patrick Menino also asks for help in locating an 18-year-old man wanted on a Grand Jury indictment related to a robbery at Kolekole Beach Park on February 6.

Tyler Kamanao Taylor

Tyler Kamanao Taylor

Tyler Taylor is described as 5-foot-6, 150 pounds with short black hair. He has no permanent address but frequents the Puna District.

Police ask that anyone with information about any of these men call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential. Crime Stoppers does not tape record phone calls or subscribe to caller ID.

“Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted” is a project of Crime Stoppers Hilo, Inc., which is a partnership of the business community, the media and the police. It was inspired by the national TV show, “America’s Most Wanted.” The program airs on Na Leo O Hawaiʻi Community Television Channel 54 on Sundays at 5 p.m. and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. It also airs intermittently on Channel 53.

 

UH Hilo Alumni & Friends Announces 2013-14 Scholarship Recipients

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Alumni and Friends Association recently awarded a $2,500 scholarship to each of its 2013-14 scholarship recipients: Norine Fitzgerald, Micah Glasgow, Victoria Vrooman and Christopher Yoakum.

Norine Fitzgerald

Norine Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald graduated from Aiea High School and is seeking a B.B.A. in business administration. As a parent of a child whose learning capabilities were inhibited by anti-seizure medication, Fitzgerald is especially sensitive to the challenges of students with special needs. She intends to further her education at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and become a special education teacher.

Micah Glasgow

Micah Glasgow

Glasgow is a graduate of Waiakea High School and is currently the only Native Hawaiian student in the Pharmaceutical Science doctoral program. His current research includes nanotechnology for the treatment of neuroblastoma and lung cancer. He hopes to use variations of this drug delivery method to potentially treat other diseases found within the State of Hawai‘i.

Victoria Vrooman

Victoria Vrooman

Vrooman graduated from Waiakea High School and is pursuing her graduate degree in counseling psychology. Her thesis compares the effects of domestic violence between individuals in local Hawaiian and European American cultures. Her future plans include interning at the local prison and attending a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology. She would like to work in a prison as a full-time psychologist where she can “work with the people that need the most help.”

Christopher Yoakum

Christopher Yoakum

Yoakum is a graduate of Hilo High School and is enrolled in the communication program with a minor in history. Following graduation, he intends to serve overseas as a teacher in the Peace Corps then pursue a graduate degree in journalism. His goal is to become a writer and foreign correspondent for a media agency.

For nearly a decade, the UH Hilo Alumni and Friends Association has supported deserving UH Hilo students through its scholarship program. To date, 29 students have received the award.

To support the scholarship program at UH Hilo, call (808) 974-7501 or visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/alumni/scholarship.

Hilo Pistachio Nuts Being Recalled

Torn and Glasser, Inc of Los Angeles, CA  90021 is voluntarily recalling some packaged Pistachios because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Due to a Class I recall by ARO Pistachio, Torn and Glasser, Inc Announces Voluntary Recall of Pistachios Due to Possible Health Risk (Photo US FDA)

Due to a Class I recall by ARO Pistachio, Torn and Glasser, Inc Announces Voluntary Recall of Pistachios Due to Possible Health Risk (Photo US FDA)

This decision to recall was made due to the expanded recall of pistachio products by ARO pistachio (Upgraded from a Class II to a Class I) due to the potential of contamination with Salmonella.  The Torn and Glasser recalled products contain pistachios supplied by the ARO processing plant located in Terra Bella Ca 93270.

The recalled product was distributed from February 21, 2012 to April 29, 2013 in CA, AZ, and HI.

Pistachios

To date, Torn and Glasser, Inc. has not received any complaints concerning illness on any of these lot numbers. Consumers who have purchased any of the recalled products are urged not to eat them and to return products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers can contact the Company at 1-310-605-4900/1-800-282-6887 for information regarding this recall. The phone will be manned from 7am to 3:30pm (Pacific Standard Time) Monday – Friday.

Possible Missing Diver Off Kahe Point/Electric Beach

The Coast Guard is searching for a possible missing diver off of Kahe Point/Electric Beach Sunday.  The passenger vessel Kai Oli Oli recovered an orange dive float and flag approximately 100 yards off of Electric Beach.  The dive float is marked in black lettering with its brand name, Hawaii Blue.  The float was not anchored. The Kai Oli Oli monitored the area and no one appeared to be in distress in the immediate area.

Coast Guard Buoy Hawaii Blue

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point was launched to the scene and continues to search in coordination with Ocean Safety.

Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the dive float is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at (808) 842-2600.  The Coast Guard is asking mariners in the area of Kahe Point Electric Beach to keep a sharp eye out for anyone possibly in distress.

The Coast Guard advises the public to label all watercraft and equipment with contact information in order to quickly account for owners and prevent any unnecessary searches.

For more information contact the 14th Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office at (808) 535-3230.

The Coolest Big Island Video You Will See in a Long Time – It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s a What?

DJI Phantom w/ Mounted GoPro

DJI Phantom w/ Mounted GoPro

The coolest Big Island video I have seen in the longest time!  (Sent in by Jeremy Kalima)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k849mCGYpMQ&feature=share&list=UUwLseNXr8cW7DXL3UjXQM-Q]

DJI Phantom Video Contest:

EXPLORE YOUR IMAGINATION CONTEST

LOCATED ON THE BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII

PRIMEFOOTAGE:  THE RISK, THE SACRIFICE, THE GLORY.

SONG USED: ENDING SATELLITES – A FLOATING POINT

NO POST STABILIZATION WAS USED….ONLY SURFING CLIPS WERE COLOR GRADED OTHER THAN THAT ITS ALL JUST A STOCK PHANTOM AND A GO PRO!!!

Saving Lives Worldwide by Training International Volcano Scientists

Scientists and technicians who work at volcano observatories in nine countries are visiting Mount St. Helens and the U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Science Center’s Cascades Volcano Observatory this week to learn techniques for monitoring active volcanoes. Organized by the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes at the University of Hawaiʻi, Hilo, with support from the VSC-managed joint USGS-USAID Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, the annual program has been training foreign scientists for 22 years. This year’s class includes volcano scientists from Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Canada, Indonesia, Italy, and Papua New Guinea.

International members of the 2013 CSAV volcano monitoring summer training class pose at the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory sign.

International members of the 2013 CSAV volcano monitoring summer training class pose at the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory sign.

The International Training Program in Volcano Hazards Monitoring is designed to assist other nations in attaining self-sufficiency in monitoring volcanoes and reducing the risks from eruptions. Through in-class instruction at two USGS volcano observatories, and field exercises in Hawaiʻi and at Mount St. Helens, U.S. scientists are providing training on monitoring methods, data analysis and interpretation, and volcanic hazard assessment, and participants are taught about the use and maintenance of volcano monitoring instruments. Additionally, participants learn about focusing on forecasting and rapid response during volcanic crises, and how to work with governing officials and the news media to save lives and property.

Mikhail Herry from Papua New Guinea, (wearing a CSAV shirt) watches as McChesney demonstrates how to test a battery in the field

Mikhail Herry from Papua New Guinea, (wearing a CSAV shirt) watches as McChesney demonstrates how to test a battery in the field

“Science diplomacy, building friendships, and collaboration between the U.S. and other nations through joint scientific work and training can ultimately save many thousands of lives in nations with active volcanoes,” said USGS geologist and VDAP chief, John Pallister.  “Avoiding a major volcano disaster through mitigation and advance training is not only better for humanitarian reasons, but it can also be more cost effective than providing foreign aid after a disaster.”

The annual summer course usually takes place only on the Island of Hawaiʻi at the University in Hilo, the USGS VSC Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, and in the field on the slopes of Kīlauea Volcano. This year, in an added component to the course, students are visiting the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash. and doing field work at Mount St. Helens to give them the experience of working with a geologically different (more explosive) type of volcano.

“Bringing the class to CVO and including field sessions at Mount St. Helens to complement the Hawaiʻi experience takes advantage of two superb natural laboratories for the study of active volcanism,” said Don Thomas, director of CSAV. “Mount St. Helens has a strong legacy and reputation worldwide as a teaching volcano.” One of this year’s participants noted that he is among the second generation from his country to visit and study modern monitoring techniques at Mount St. Helens.

USGS volcano scientist, Andy Lockhart discusses telemetry options with Syegi Kunrat of Indonesia

USGS volcano scientist, Andy Lockhart discusses telemetry options with Syegi Kunrat of Indonesia

Providing critical training to international scientists began at HVO, leading to the creation of CSAV to continue the legacy. Since 1990 roughly 200 scientists and civil workers from 25 countries have received training in volcano monitoring methods through CSAV. HVO continues to provide instructors and field experiences for the courses, and VDAP has a long-term partnership with CSAV, providing instructors and co-sponsoring participants from developing countries. VDAP scientists are based at CVO in Washington, so with CSAV course instructors visiting CVO for the first time, there is an opportunity for professional scientific exchanges among researchers who don’t often have a chance to collaborate face to face. For many of the students, attending this training is a rare chance to share their experiences and challenges with other participants from around the world.

VDAP is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. Since 1985, VDAP has worked to reduce fatalities and economic losses in countries experiencing volcano emergencies. At the request of host countries, and working through USAID, an experienced team of USGS scientists can rapidly respond to developing volcanic crises worldwide, and provide consultation, assistance with forecasting, remote sensing data, and monitoring equipment. VDAP teams work in the background, providing support to their hosts who are the responsible parties for hazard communication. Between crises, VDAP scientists work with international partners to build and improve volcano-monitoring systems and to conduct joint activities, including workshops and on-the-job training, to reduce volcanic risk and improve understanding of volcanic hazards.

 

Pahoa Pool Re-Opening Pushed Back

The re-opening of the Pahoa Pool and Aquatics Center has been pushed back.  The original completion date was set to be tomorrow, July 16th.

Pahoa Pool OpeningI went by the site on Friday to see if I could sign my son up for the swim lessons that were supposed to start this week.  It obviously didn’t look like it was going to be completed soon.

I emailed County of Hawaii Department of Parks and Recreation Public Officer Jason Armstrong and his reply was that it was going to be hopefully opened towards the end of July:

Hi Damon,

We anticipate reopening the Pahoa Pool by the end of July 2013. There likely will be a ceremony, which I’ll inform you of if one is held, but that has not yet been scheduled.

We’re also waiting for the construction to be finished before signing kids up for swim lessons.

Thanks for your continued patience while we work to improve this important recreational facility!

Jason Armstrong,

Public Information Officer, Department of Parks & Recreation, County of Hawai’i

 

Friday – Meet the Governor’s Cabinet at UH Hilo

Governor's Cabinet