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Governor Abercrombie Appoints Two to State Ethics Commission

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the appointments of David O’Neal of Waipahu and Ruth D. Tschumy of Honolulu to the State Ethics Commission, effective immediately.

David O'Neal

David O’Neal

“David is a respected and dedicated leader in the community, and Ruth has likewise contributed to our state as an educator, writer, and active member of many nonprofit boards and state task forces,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “They possess the keen intellect and integrity required of ethics commissioners as they guide our state’s officials, employees and citizenry on ethics policies.

David O’Neal, a member of the Waipahu Neighborhood Board since 2010, is the general manager of the Mililani Town Association, which serves 16,000 households. Previously, he started, owned and operated Shop and Ship Hawaii LLC, served as president of Healthcare Director Partners LLC from 2001 to 2008, and was the owner/partner of Hawaii Dental Partners / Akamai Dental from 2001 to 2011. As a volunteer, he has served as vice president of the Waipahu Community Foundation since 2009 and a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee of the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization and the School Community Council of the Kaleiopuu Elementary School.

O’Neal earned a bachelor’s degree in health administration with a minor in accounting from the University of Hawaii at West Oahu.

Ruth Tschumy

Ruth Tschumy

Ruth D. Tschumy has served as chair of the State of Hawaii Charter School Review Panel and president of the Mediation Center of the Pacific. A former educator, administrator, mediator and consultant, she is well known for the education columns she wrote for the former Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser. Tschumy has provided consultation services to schools and nonprofit organizations, including the Hawaii Educational Policy Center, the Honolulu Academy (now Museum) of Arts, the Hawaii Theatre Center, and numerous schools and educational associations such as the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools.

Tschumy earned a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was the recipient of the Klingenstein Fellowship at Teachers College, Columbia University.

The State Ethics Commission administers and enforces State of Hawaii governmental ethics and lobbying laws. The commission’s duties include issuing advisory opinions, investigating and considering charges of alleged violations of the ethics and lobbying laws, and educating state government officials and employees and the public on matters relating to ethics in government.

Big Island Police Searching for 38-Year-Old Man Wanted on Extradtion Warrant

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 38-year-old man wanted on an extradition warrant.

Jaycen Robert Munoz

Jaycen Robert Munoz

Jaycen Robert Munoz is wanted by the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake in Utah for unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old.

He is described as Caucasian, 6-feet tall, 150 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last known to live on Olu Street in Hilo.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to 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.

Kohala Swimming Pool Temporarily Closed

A malfunctioning pump has forced the temporary closure of Hawai‘i County’s Kohala Swimming Pool.

Hawaii County Logo

The Department of Parks and Recreation is analyzing the problem so it may identify the cause and the fastest way of correcting it. It’s expected that the pool can be reopened next week.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the unexpected closure may cause and thanks pool users and the general public for their patience while the problem is fixed.

Swimmers may use the Kona Community Aquatic Center or the Honoka‘a Swimming Pool. Operating times, contact numbers and other pool information are listed under the Aquatics section of the Department’s website, http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/parks-and-recreation/.

For more information, please contact Mason Souza, Recreation Director, at 961-8740.


Pahoa Community Pool Finally Reopens

An improved Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center was reopened this morning following completion of a $1.5 million renovation project that has enhanced the operation and usability of the popular swimming pool.
 Pahoa Pool
Pastor Alan Tamashiro delivered the blessing as anxious swimmers waited to enter the pool for the first time since the Department of Parks and Recreation closed it temporarily in January so construction work could begin.
Roof-mounted solar heating panels have been installed to warm the pool water, while new circulation pumps and a variable-frequency drive motor will reduce energy use and start-up time following an electrical outage.
Pahoa Pool Solar Panels
Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd. also enlarged the equipment building to accommodate the new pumps, and repaired leaks to the pool basin, surge gutter and drain lines.  County employees performed various maintenance tasks that included roof repairs, painting and refinishing the keiki pool’s play fountain and tiling.
Pahoa Pool County Worker
Mayor Billy Kenoi thanked the public for its patience while the renovation work was occurring at a recreational facility he said serves as a pu‘uhonua or safe haven for families.
He was joined by Puna Councilman Zendo Kern, a fellow Puna native who revealed the first time he jumped from a diving board was a the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center.
“This is such a needed thing in Puna,” Kern said. “It’s so used.”
New lockers have been installed as well

New lockers have been installed as well

 To accommodate that demand, the Department is implementing new operating hours starting Tuesday, August 27. The pool will be open weekends from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except for a lunchtime closure from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Weekday hours will be 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
For additional pool information, please call Cassandra at 965-2700 or check the Aquatics section of the Department’s website, http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/parks-and-recreation/.

Big Island Police Arrest Three with Drug Offenses Following Traffic Stop in North Kohala

Two men and a woman have been charged with drug offenses following a traffic stop in North Kohala.

Patrol officers stopped the car in Kapaʻau on Thursday because of a seat belt violation. During the stop, it was determined that the vehicle had been reported stolen. Police also determined that the driver and one of his two passengers were wanted on bench warrants.

All three occupants were arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock for further investigation. During the course of the investigation, police located 6.4 grams of a crystalline substance and paraphernalia associated with methamphetamine use in the car.

Nakalohe Gersaba

Nakalohe Gersaba

Rico Echiverri

Rico Echiverri

Friday afternoon, Vice Section detectives charged the driver, 22-year-old Nakalohe Gersaba, who has no permanent address, his male passenger, 36-year-old Rico Echiverri, who also has no permanent address, and his female passenger, 24-year-old Zerica Bell-Ching of Kapaʻau, with promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Zerica Bell-Ching

Zerica Bell-Ching

Gersaba was also charged with driving without a license, driving without insurance and failure to appear. His bail was set at $37,300. Police continue to investigate a possible charge against him for unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.

Echiverri was additionally charged with contempt of court and violating probation. His bail was set at $135,000.

Bell-Ching’s bail was set at $7,000.

All three were held at the cellblock over the weekend pending their initial court appearance on Monday (August 26).

Talk Story with Danny & Anna Akaka and Friends

A talk story event with Danny & Anna Akaka and friends will be held as a fundraiser for the Kahilu Theater on Sunday, September 8th at the theater:Kahilu Theater Fundraiser

Hawaii to Receive $1.7 Million to Turn Around Persistently Low Achieving Schools

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that New Hampshire, Hawaii, and Idaho will receive approximately $5.2 million to continue efforts to turn around their persistently lowest achieving schools through the Department’s School Improvement Grants (SIG) program.

New Hampshire, Hawaii, and Idaho are among the newest states to receive continuation awards for the third year of implementing a SIG model. New Hampshire will receive $1.4 million, Hawaii will receive $1.7 million, and Idaho will receive $2.1 million.

Click to learn more

Click to learn more

“When schools fail, our children and our neighborhoods suffer,” Secretary Duncan said. “Turning around our lowest-performing schools is hard work but it’s our responsibility. We owe it to our children, their families and the broader community. These School Improvement Grants are helping some of the lowest-achieving schools provide a better education for students who need it the most.”

These states join the following states that have already received continuation awards: Alabama—$8.1 million; Alaska—$1.5 million; Arkansas—$5.3 million; Arizona—$10.4 million; California—$61.8 million; Connecticut—$3.6 million; Delaware—$1.4 million; Florida—$26.8 million; Iowa—$3 million; Kentucky—$7.7 million; Maryland—$6.8 million; Michigan—$17.8; Minnesota—$5.5 million; Mississippi—$6.1 million; Montana—$1.5 million; New Jersey—$10.4 million; New Mexico—$4.1 million; North Dakota—$1.2 million; Ohio—$20.2 million; Oklahoma—$5.5 million; Oregon—$5.4 million; Pennsylvania—$20.2 million; South Carolina—$7.4 million; Rhode Island—$1.6 million; South Dakota—$1.5 million; Tennessee—$9.8 million; Texas—$49.7 million; Utah—$3.4 million; Virginia—$7.7 million; Washington—$7.8 million; West Virginia—$3.3 million; and Wyoming—$1.1 million.

In addition to the continuation awards, the Department also awards SIG grants to states to run new competitions for previously unfunded schools. The following 15 states have received grants to run new competitions: the District of Columbia—$1.5 million; Colorado—$5.2 million; Georgia—$17.2 million; Illinois—$22.2 million; Indiana—$9.2 million; Kansas—$4 million; Louisiana—$9.6 million; Maine—$1.7 million; Massachusetts—$7.2 million; Missouri—$7.7 million; Nebraska¬—$2.6 million; Nevada—$3.8 million; New York—$37.6 million; North Carolina—$14.3 million; and Wisconsin—$8.1 million.

Grants are awarded to State Educational Agencies (SEAs) that then make competitive subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to use them to provide adequate resources, in order to substantially raise student achievement in their lowest-performing schools. Under the Obama Administration, the SIG program has invested up to $2 million per school at more than 1,500 of the country’s lowest-performing schools. Early findings show positive momentum and progress in many SIG schools. Findings also show that many schools receiving SIG grants are improving, and some of the greatest gains have been in small towns and rural communities.