Commentary: Signage Needed Along Bayfront Highway to Help Tourists “Fresh Off The Boat”

Dear Mayor Billy Kenoi,

I don’t know who else to contact as I have tried for the last several years to make this matter known to a few people I thought could help, but so far no one has been able to do anything about it. Hopefully you will know who can help with this matter.

Hike into Hilo
Every ship day in Hilo we see visitors walking into town in pairs or groups all the way from the port to downtown. Most of them follow the coastline after they cross the Wailoa River Bridge and continue hugging the shores of Hilo Bay on Bayfront Park.

When they reach Pauahi Street, there is no sign to direct them to Kamehameha Avenue so that they can approach downtown easily and most of them continue to follow Bayfront Highway, not realizing there is no access to downtown from Bayfront until they reach the intersection of Waianuenue Avenue.

Hike Into Hilo 2

There are several gates on the fence separating the downtown area all the way from Pauahi Street to Waianuenue Avenue, but the gates are locked.

Several times, (including this morning) I’ve picked up visitors, both young and elderly, especially when it is raining, as I drive back home towards Hamakua. After I pick them up, I continue on across the Wailuku Bridge and turn around at Pukihae Street by the Bay Shore Towers, so I can drive back to Hilo and drop them off wherever they wanted to go in downtown. In most cases, it was to drop them off at the Farmers Market.

I cannot believe that it would be such a hardship for the County, the Department of Transportation or the Department of Parks and Recreation (I’m not sure in whose jurisdiction this matter would fall) to have proper signage at the corner of  Bayfront and Pauahi directing them to Kamehameha Avenue and/or at least have the gates open along the fence so we can make it a little bit more welcoming and convenient for our visitors to reach the downtown area without having to walk all the way to the end of the fence.

It doesn’t seem like such a big thing to do and yet, I believe it would make a big difference and maybe visitors would try to stay a bit longer in the downtown area if they weren’t so tired from having to walk the extra few blocks.

Can you think of any other solution?

Cordially,

Sonia R. Martinez

Department of Agriculture Confirms Stinging Little Fire Ant Has Spread to Oahu and Maui From Hawaii Island

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has confirmed that an invasive stinging ant called the Little Fire Ant (LFA) has spread from Hawaii Island to Oahu and Maui.  On Dec. 23, a customer at garden shop on Maui reported a suspicious ant to the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC), which sent the specimens to HDOA entomologists who confirmed the identification of LFA.

Little Fire Ant - Worker Ant

Little Fire Ant – Worker Ant

On Dec. 26, HDOA entomologists surveyed several nurseries and stores and found LFA infestations on hapuu (Hawaiian tree fern) at several garden shops on Oahu and at another Maui store.  All infested hapuu were contained and the areas secured. On Dec. 27, HDOA staff revisited the stores and treated the areas with pesticides.  Through trace-back and trace-forward efforts, HDOA believes the infested hapuu originated on Hawaii Island and products from that nursery have been ordered for treatment prior to shipping. The last shipment was made to Oahu and Maui on Dec. 11.  Surveys and treatment will continue by HDOA and MISC staff.

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

HDOA is advising those who recently purchased hapuu logs or planters to contain the logs by placing them in a plastic or garbage bag and seal it securely.  They should contact their nearest HDOA office as soon as possible.  Due to the holiday, please leave a message and staff will respond as soon as they are able:

Maui – (808) 872-3848

Oahu – PEST HOTLINE – 643-PEST (7378).  This is also a toll-free number for neighbor islands.

“It is important that those who have recently purchased hapuu which may be infested with little fire ants to help contain the infestation and contact us as soon as possible,” said Dr. Neil Reimer, administrator of HDOA’s Plant Industry Division. “Through past experience, we know we can contain an infestation if we find it in its early stages.”

Originally from South America, LFA is considered among the world’s worst invasive species.

LFA are tiny ants, measuring 1/16th inch long, are pale orange in color and move slowly. LFA move slowly, unlike the Tropical Fire Ant which is established in Hawaii, move quickly and are larger with a larger head in proportion to its body. LFA can produce painful stings and large red welts and may cause blindness in pets. They can build up very large colonies on the ground, in trees and other vegetation and completely overrun a property. They will also freely move into homes.

Infestation of LFA

Infestation of LFA

The first detection of LFA in Hawaii was in the Puna area in 1999. Surveys determined that LFA appeared to have been on the east side for several years prior to their initial detection and was widely distributed in Puna. Attention was then focused on controlling ant populations and preventing the spread to non-infested areas on the island and to other islands.

In October 2009, LFA was detected on a farm in Waihee, Maui. Eradication efforts at that site appear to have contained the infestation, which is being continually monitored. HDOA staff also trained Maui County employees, MISC and private pest control operators on Maui to assist in recognizing and reporting possible infestations on the island. MISC is also assisting HDOA in conducting surveys at high-risk areas on Maui.

Attached is a HDOA Pest Advisory that contains information on LFA and its history in Hawaii.
(Also available on the department’s website: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2013/01/npa99-02-lfireant.pdf). 

Puna Woman Arrested Following Drug-Related Explosion That Sends Man to Hospital

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a 28-year-old Puna woman in connection with a drug-related explosion that sent a man to the hospital with severe injuries.

Savannah Maloof of Keaʻau was arrested Monday afternoon (December 30) on suspicion of first-degree promotion of marijuana, second-degree promotion of marijuana, first-degree promotion of a harmful drug, promotion of a detrimental drug and four counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. She was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Vice Section continue the investigation.

At 8:16 p.m. Saturday (December 28), police responded to a report of a loud explosion at a home on 17th Street in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision in Puna. When officers arrived, Fire Department personnel were already at the scene, where smoke was present but not flames.

The blast had knocked out windows, melted plumbing fixtures and blown the doors off cabinets.

The sole occupant at the time, a 30-year-old Keaʻau man, was initially taken to the Hawaiian Paradise Park fire station by private vehicle. He was then taken by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center with third-degree burns. He was later transferred to a hospital on Oahu.

Maloof, who also lives at the house, was not home at the time of the explosion.

Butane honey oil. (Wikipedia Photo)

Butane honey oil. (Wikipedia Photo)

Police recovered 102 marijuana plants from an indoor growing operation, more than an ounce of butane honey oil (a marijuana byproduct) in several stages of manufacture, three e-cigarettes and components associated with the manufacture of butane honey oil.

Police ask anyone with information about any butane honey oil lab 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.

 

Drug Lab Explodes in Puna Sending Man to Hospital

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a drug-related explosion that sent a man to the hospital with severe injuries.

At 8:16 p.m. Saturday (December 28), police responded to a report of a loud explosion at a home on 17th Street in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision in Puna. When officers arrived, Fire Department personnel were already at the scene, where smoke was present but not flames.

The blast had knocked out windows, melted plumbing fixtures and blown the doors off cabinets.

The sole occupant, a 30-year-old Keaʻau man, was initially taken to the Hawaiian Paradise Park fire station by private vehicle. He was then taken by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center with third-degree burns. He was later transferred to a hospital on Oahu.

Butane honey oil. (Wikipedia Photo)

Butane honey oil. (Wikipedia Photo)

Police recovered 102 marijuana plants from an indoor growing operation, more than an ounce of butane honey oil (a marijuana byproduct) in several stages of manufacture, three e-cigarettes and components associated with the manufacture of butane honey oil.

Detectives from the Area I Vice Section are continuing the investigation.

Police ask anyone with information about any butane honey oil lab 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.

Big Island Police Charge Captain Cook Woman With Shoplifting Clothes Valued at More than $1,000.00

Hawaiʻi island police have charged a Captain Cook woman with a felony in connection with a shoplifting incident in October.

On October 29, a man and a woman entered a clothing store in Kainaliu and removed items of clothing valued at more than $1,000 without paying for them.

After viewing the store’s surveillance video, police were able to identify the suspect.

Cassandra Lynn Ellis

Cassandra Lynn Ellis

On Sunday (December 29), the woman, 29-year-old Cassandra Lynn Ellis of Captain Cook, was arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

Monday morning (December 30), detectives charged her with second-degree theft. Her bail was set at $10,000. She remains at the cellblock pending her initial court appearance scheduled for Tuesday (December 31).

Parks Department to Issue Kohanaiki Beach Park Camping Permits

Starting Monday, January 6, the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation will begin issuing permits to camp at Kohanaiki Beach Park, also known as “Pine Trees,” located north of Kailua-Kona.

Kohanaiki Beach Park. Photo Courtesy County of Hawaii Parks & Recreation

Kohanaiki Beach Park. Photo Courtesy County of Hawaii Parks & Recreation

People seeking camping permits must apply in person during normal business hours at the Department’s administrative offices located at 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 6 in Hilo and in Building B of the West Hawai‘i Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Highway in Kailua-Kona. A separate announcement will be issued when permits are made available through the Internet.

Camping fees for Hawai‘i County’s 10 other campgrounds will apply to Kohanaiki Beach Park. Nightly camping fees for Hawai‘i residents are $5 for adults, $2 for junior campers 13 to 17 years old, and $1 for children 12 and younger. The nonresident rate is $20 per night, regardless of age. A valid Hawai‘i driver’s license or state-issued identification is required to verify Hawai‘i residency. First and last names of all campers are required for a camping permit to be issued.

Ehawaii.gov also imposes a nonrefundable $1 per-night processing fee for each adult and junior camper. Ehawaii.gov provides the software program for issuing camping permits and collects the processing fee.

Kohanaiki Beach Park features accommodations for up to 80 campers nightly, ocean access, and both permanent and portable restroom facilities. Operating hours are 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Kohanaiki Beach Park is closed to campers each Tuesday and Wednesday.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

 

HI-PAL Winter Basketball Classic Skills Challenge Winners Announced

Hawai‘i’s premier youth basketball players displayed their talents during the Kevin Kai‘ea Pavel Skills Challenge held Friday night in Hilo as part of the 33rd Annual HI-PAL Winter Basketball Classic.

Kevin Kai‘ea Pavel Skills Challenge Winners: Front row L-R: Tanniya Uchida, Jay Young, Kai Nafarrete and Colby Casinas. Back row L-R: Jamila Collins-Ebanez, Mandi Kawaha, Jaelina Wells, Koby Tabuyo-Kahele and Elijah Dobson. Not pictured: Liko Soares. Photo credit: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Kevin Kai‘ea Pavel Skills Challenge Winners: Front row L-R: Tanniya Uchida, Jay Young, Kai Nafarrete and Colby Casinas. Back row L-R: Jamila Collins-Ebanez, Mandi Kawaha, Jaelina Wells, Koby Tabuyo-Kahele and Elijah Dobson. Not pictured: Liko Soares. Photo credit: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Named in honor of the former Hilo basketball player who lost a battle with cancer on Christmas morning 2007, the Skills Challenge offered players the chance to compete in either the Hot-Shot or 3-Point Shooting events held at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.

Tournament sponsors the Hawai‘i Police Department’s Hawai‘i Isle Police Activities League, or HI-PAL, and the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation wish to congratulate the following Skills Challenge age-group winners:

3-Point Shooting Competition:

  • 9/10-year-old boys: Koby Tabuyo-Kahele; Team Ballistic
  • 9/10-year-old girls: no contestants
  • 11/12-year-old boys: Kai Nafarrete; Team Honolulu Sharks Green
  • 11/12-year-old girls: Tanniya Uchida; Team Stingrays
  • 13/14-year-old boys: Jay Young; Team Honolulu Sharks Green
  • 13/14-year-old girls: Mandi Kawaha; Team Wahine Ryders

Hot-Shot Competition:

  • 9/10-year-old boys: Colby Casinas: Team Honolulu Sharks Gold
  • 9/10-year-old girls: no contestants
  • 11/12-year-old boys: Liko Soares; Team Honolulu Sharks Green
  • 11/12-year-old girls: Jamila Collins-Ebanez; Team Wahine Ryders
  • 13/14-year-old boys: Elijah Dobson; Honolulu Sharks Green
  • 13/14-year-old girls: Jaelina Wells; Team Wahine Ryders

The four-day Winter Basketball Classic attracted 49 teams from Oahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island.

For additional information, please call Officer Randy Morris at 326-4646, ext. 258, or Darrell Yamamoto of the Department of Parks and Recreation at 961-8735.

 

A Private Tour Aboard US Navy Ship the USS Lake Erie

On Monday, December 23rd, I was given the opportunity to get a private tour aboard the US Navy Ship the USS Lake Erie with James and Phyllis Tucker (my uncle and aunt) that were celebrating their 50th anniversary and renewing their wedding vows the following day.

My Uncle and Aunt on the back end of the USS Lake Erie.

My Uncle and Aunt on the back end of the USS Lake Erie. (Click to enlarge)

I began the day with giving them a tour of Pearl Harbor.  One thing I learned is that if you want to catch that first boat out to the USS Arizona Memorial… you need to be at Pearl Harbor very early.

At Pearl Harbor.  USS Arizona Memorial in background. (Click to enlarge)

At Pearl Harbor. USS Arizona Memorial in background. (Click to enlarge)

Unfortunately, we arrived at Pearl Harbor around 8:00 and when we got our tickets to go out to the USS Arizona the time of our departure was 12:45 in the afternoon so instead of visiting the Arizona Memorial we just cruised around Pearl Harbor.

Checking out WWII displays.

Checking out WWII displays.  (Click to enlarge)

At 10:30 I had an appointment set up with a Public Affairs Officer to meet with them at the Navy’s Pass and ID Gate.  We arrived their shortly after 10:00 and let them know that we were waiting for them at the location agreed upon.  My Uncle, Aunt and I then climbed into a Navy van where we were lead into the confines of Pearl Harbor.  I had not told my Uncle or Aunt what we were about to do previously, however, I did tell them to be prepared and wear some walking shoes.

Life on board a Navy ship requires a lot of walking and going up and down ladders and stairs.

Life on board a Navy ship requires a lot of walking and going up and down ladders and stairs

As we arrived at the USS Lake Erie my uncle said “That’s a big ship!”.  At this point I broke the news to them that we were getting a private invitation aboard the ship and I don’t know what they were thinking but I know my uncle was pretty excited about it.

Signing in to the ship and showing ID.

Signing in to the ship and showing ID

We signed in with Navy personnel fronting the ship and showed them are identification so that we could get boarding passes and then quickly made our way aboard the ship.

Learning first hand about the capabilities of the ship.

Learning first hand about the capabilities of the ship

We met Lt. Hillenbrand on board the ship and he told us that he would act as our escort around the boat.  We started at the front of the ship where Lt. Hillenbrand talked to us about the fighting capabilities of the ship and a little history about the ship.

"That's a big gun" said James Tucker.

“That’s a big gun” said James Tucker

USS Lake Erie (CG-70) is a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser of the United States Navy, named after the U.S. Navy’s decisive victory in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. She is the first U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned in Hawaii.  Lake Erie’s motto, “Courage, Determination, Peace,” honors the memory of the men who fought the Battle of Lake Erie and Mrs. Margaret Meyer. Courage to fight, Determination to win, with Peace as the ultimate goal.”

We had the first hand opportunity to see the upkeep of the ship that is done by the sailors as folks were grinding away rust and painting the ship… some folks literally using small brushes to get in the tiniest of spots.

The Commander of the Ship told us “If we take care of the ship… the ship will take care of us”.

The Commander of the Ship told us “If we take care of the ship… the ship will take care of us”

At ll:00 we made our way to the entrance of the ship as Lieutenant Commander Troy Noonen was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his time served aboard the ship as this would be his last day on the ship after serving on her for since May of 2011.

The Commander gives Lt. Noonen a certificate for his time aboard the ship.

The Commander gives Lt. Noonen a certificate for his time aboard the ship

Seeing Lt. Noonen off of the ship:

Lt. Noonens last moment on USS Lake Erie.

Lt. Noonen’s last moment on USS Lake Erie

We then continued on with our tour of the ship where we got to see the helicopter pad and where they store the helicopter and they explained how the helicopter was brought inside of the ship when not in use.

The helicopter pad.

The helicopter pad

We then moved to the bridge of the ship where we got to see where the ship is steered from… of course my uncle wanted to sit in the “Captain’s Chair”!  They talked to us about the general characteristics of the ship and how it was steered and what each seat was for within the bridge.

"You think the Captain would mine if I sat in his chair?"

“You think the Captain would mind if I sat in his chair?”

My uncle, aunt and I all learned a lot about the ship on our brief time above her.  I of course couldn’t get off the ship w/out landing another coin for my collection!

At the helm of the USS Lake Erie

At the helm of the USS Lake Erie

Here is a video of what they did back in September:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/pLnQ4SxTOQU]

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) successfully conducted a flight test today of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, resulting in the intercept of a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile.
At approximately 2:30 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (8:30 p.m. EDT), a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew northwest towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean. Following target launch, the USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles to engage the target. The first SM-3 that was launched successfully intercepted the target warhead. This was the first salvo mission of two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles launched against a single separating target. Official U.S. Navy Video courtesy Missile Defense Agency www.mda.mil

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Navy Issues Record of Decision for Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Environmental Impact Statement

The U.S. Navy has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS).

A Navy ship at Pearl Harbor last week.

A Navy ship at Pearl Harbor last week.

Following several years of research, environmental analysis, and public involvement, the Navy has chosen Alternative 2, the Preferred Alternative described in the HSTT Final EIS/OEIS, to accomplish the Proposed Action. This alternative includes establishment of new range capabilities, adjustments to the types and levels of training and testing and modifications to existing capabilities.

The Navy’s Proposed Action is to conduct training and testing activities – which will include the use of active sonar and explosives – throughout the in-water areas around the Hawaiian Islands, off the coast of Southern California, in the transit corridor between Hawaii and Southern California, and at Navy pierside locations. The Proposed Action also includes sonar maintenance and gunnery exercises conducted concurrently with ship transits as well as pierside testing conducted as part of overhaul, modernization, maintenance and repair activities at Navy piers located in Hawaii and Southern California.

“This EIS was developed with the best available science and will enable the Navy to continue training and testing in Hawaii and Southern California while minimizing potential injury to the environment, as we have safely done for more than 60 years,” said Alex Stone, senior environmental planner for the U.S. Pacific Fleet and HSTT EIS project manager. “This training and testing is essential for the fleet to fulfill its mission of defending the nation and the global commons and leading America’s rebalance to the Indo-Asia-Pacific.”

The Navy prepared the EIS/OEIS to assess potential environmental impacts from its training and testing activities and to support authorizations, permits and consultations required under the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and other relevant statutes.

The ROD is now available to the public. The document and the HSTT Final EIS/OEIS can be found online at www.HSTTEIS.com.

 

Kona Man Charged with Six Offenses Following Condominium Burglary

A suspect is in police custody in connection with a burglary Monday (December 23) at a Kona condominium.

At 7:16 a.m. Monday, police received a report of a burglary at a condo on the 75-6000 block of Kuakini Highway in Kailua-Kona. Sometime overnight, an unknown person had entered a unit in the condo through an unlocked door and stolen several items—including a jewelry box, a ukulele and cellular telephones—while the residents were asleep.

At 9:25 a.m. Monday, investigating officers were called back to the same condo complex in response to a report of a man sleeping behind a garage.

An officer made contact with the man and noticed items in his possession matching the description of stolen items from the burglary. While the officer attempted to place the suspect under arrest, the suspect resisted and struck the officer in the head, causing a laceration and swelling.

Ian Medeiros

Ian Medeiros

A second officer arrived at the scene and assisted the first officer in subduing the suspect and placing him under arrest. The suspect was identified as 22-year-old Ian Medeiros, who has no permanent address but frequents the Kailua-Kona area.

Fire Department personnel treated the injured officer at the scene for his minor injuries.

Medeiros was taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section investigate possible charges of first-degree burglary, second-degree theft, resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer and terroristic threatening.

Police urge the public to keep their doors locked when they are asleep or away from home.

UPDATE:

A suspect arrested Monday (December 23) after a burglary at a Kona condominium has been charged with six offenses.

Tuesday afternoon (December 24), detectives charged 22-year-old Ian Medeiros with second-degree theft, resisting arrest, first-degree assault of a police officer, first-degree terroristic threatening, promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia. His bail was set at $10,500.

He remained at the Kona police cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday (December 26).

 

Big Island Police Charge 55-Year-Old Man in Connection with a Harassment By Stalking Incident

A 55-year-old Kamuela man has been charged with eight offenses in connection with a harassment by stalking incident last week.

John Amina

John Amina

Tuesday afternoon (December 24), John Amina was charged with first-degree criminal property damage, first-degree terroristic threatening, harassment by stalking, second-degree reckless endangering, reckless driving, promoting a dangerous drug, possessing drug paraphernalia and driving without a license.

He was released from the Kona police cellblock after posting $14,750 bail on Wednesday (December 25).

 

Big Island Police Investigating Fatal Fire Christmas Eve in Mountain View

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a fatal fire Christmas Eve in Mountain View.

Palainui Fire
At 7:10 p.m. Tuesday (December 24), Police Department and Fire Department personnel responded to a report of a structure fire on Palainui Street in the Eden Roc subdivision.

After extinguishing the flames, firefighters discovered a badly burned body inside the structure.

Detectives from the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section and Fire Department investigators are investigating the cause of the fire.

Police have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death and to assist with identifying the remains.

 

Big Island Police Charge Hilo Man with Theft and Six Other Offenses

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 33-year-old Hilo man with theft and six other offenses in connection with the theft of a check.

In July, South Hilo patrol officers responded to a financial institution in Hilo for a report that the suspect had cashed two stolen checks on two separate days. The checks were from an invalid account that had been closed for five years.

Cheavis Kataoka

Cheavis Kataoka

Cheavis Kataoka, who lives in the Hilo area, was arrested Monday (December 23) and held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 9:26 a.m. Tuesday (December 24), detectives charged Kataoka with fourth-degree theft, two counts of third-degree forgery, two counts of second-degree identity theft, and two counts of second-degree theft. His bail was set at $75,000.

He remained at the police cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday (December 26).

District 5 Democrats Complete Review of Candidates for Vacated State House Seat

The District  V Council of the Hawaii Democratic Party met on Friday, December 27, to consider nine candidates who applied for the State House District 5 seat recently vacated by Representative Denny Coffman.

Rep. Denny Coffman

Rep. Denny Coffman

The nine candidates who applied to be among the three nominees submitted to Governor Neil Abercrombie for selection were: Abigail Au, Kaliko Chun, Richard Creagan, Barbara Dalton, Una Greenaway, Lei Kihoi, Gene “Bucky” Leslie, Michael Matsukawa, and Steve Sakala.

Thirteen members of the District Council participated in the  ranking and selection process to determine the three nominees to the House Seat.  Four members of the District Council – Creagan, Dalton, Greenaway, and Matsukawa – applied for the position and were recused from the meeting and the selection process.

According to District 5 spokesperson, John Buckstead, “the ranking and selection process maximized the preferences of the Council members, and folks were pleased that we are able to submit three well qualified nominees to the Governor and that the process of making the selection was very fair and transparent to the voters.”

The names of the three nominees will be released by the Governor or the Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.  With the opening of the Legislative session being less than three weeks away, a selection by the Governor is expected soon.

 

Waimea Ocean Film Festival Launches 50th Anniversary Tour of ‘The Endless Summer’

The 2014 Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Ocean Film) offers an exciting lineup of films, special guests, intimate coffee talks, Q&As, exhibits, receptions and morning activities, running non-stop January 2-10. The festival brings over 50 films to the big screen this year, most of which are world, U.S., Hawai‘i or Big Island premieres.

Courtesy Photo: Copyright 1964 Bruce Brown Films, LLC

Courtesy Photo: Copyright 1964 Bruce Brown Films, LLC

As part of its lineup of exceptional films and activities, Ocean Film launches the 50th anniversary tour of The Endless Summer, one of the most popular surf films of all time. In partnership with Bruce Brown Films (BBF), fun launch festivities include a high-octane, surf-themed opening night reception at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i on January 2—1960s attire optional. Following the Surfing the Sixties fun, the film will be screened on The Fairmont Orchid’s recently renovated Lehua Theater.

“The Endless Summer is one of the most popular surf films of all time and we are honored to have been asked to launch the 50th anniversary tour,” says Tania Howard, Ocean Film founder and director.

Produced in 1964, The Endless Summer introduced the notion of surf adventure travel, leading surfers to travel the world in search of their own perfect wave. The novelty, footage and high-energy musical score mesmerized audiences everywhere. Despite studio distributor’s initial reluctance to carry the film, The Endless Summer went on to become a worldwide box office hit, grossing over $30 million.

Renown 60’s surf photographer and former Reyn’s Spooner CEO Tim McCullough hosts Q&As following the screening of The Endless Summer at 6:30 p.m. January 2 at The Fairmont Orchid and 3:15 p.m. January 10 at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. McCullough is one of the festival’s many guest speakers, including M Sanjayan, Eddie and Myrna Kamae, Alan Cohen, Auntie Queenie Dowsett, Dawn Lippert, Josh Fox, Zach Weisberg and Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy alum Alison Teal.

In addition to offering films themed to ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling), Ocean Film features films that examine ocean environment—including things we do on land that impact the sea; and island culture. Inspirational films are also screened.

Ocean Film opens on January 2, with films playing simultaneously from January 2-5 at multiple venues in Waimea (Kahilu Theatre, HPA Gates, Parker Theatre), and showings at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i January 2-4. On January 6, the festival moves to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

The full lineup of films and the complete festival program are available to download at www.waimeaoceanfilm.org. Festival passes can be purchased via the website or at 808-854-6095. The pass system enables attendees to enjoy blocks of the festival’s dynamic selection of films, speakers, Breakfast Talks and more—which are richly woven together. Passes and programs are available at the festival hospitality desk January 1-5 at Kahilu Theatre and January 6-10 at Four Seasons Ballroom foyer; hours vary, phone 808-854-6095.

For the latest updates on films, speakers and activities, follow the festival on Facebook, www.facebook.com/waimeaoceanfilmfestival, visit www.waimeaoceanfilm.org or email info@waimeaoceanfilm.org.

Governor Abercrombie Releases $14.3 Million for Big Island Harbors, State Highways

Continuing to invest in capital improvement projects (CIP) that further strengthen Hawaii’s economy, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $14.3 million to advance harbor improvements to two Hawaii Island harbors and various highways across the state.

“These priority investments in state infrastructure add further stimulus and jobs to the economy in order to build upon our state’s $1.1 billion turnaround,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “These CIPs will realize significant and in some cases long-awaited improvements, such as those in Hilo and Kawaihae Harbors on the Big Island. Others heighten safety, mitigate erosion, and address other needed structural enhancements along our state’s highways.”

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

Harbors

$6,000,000 – Hilo Harbor, Pier 1 Shed Modifications, Phase II, Hawaii Island – Pier improvements and modifications, including construction of a new end wall, repaving and associated utility adjustments; 40 percent of the footprint will subsequently be used for container cargo operations, which require open yard space, while the remaining 60 percent of Pier 1 will continue to serve as covered shelter for storage, administrative and passenger operations

Hilo Harbor

Hilo Harbor

$80,500 (in addition to $241,500 of federal funds) – Kawaihae Commercial Harbor, Hawaii Island – Construction for enhanced physical security measures and critical infrastructure, including security fencing; this will delineate the secured area of Kawaihae Commercial Harbor and allow recreational users greater access to the small boat harbor.

Highways

$3,055,000 (in addition to $10,200,000 in federal funds) – Farrington Highway Intersection Improvements at Nanakuli Avenue and Haleakala Avenue, Oahu – Additional design and construction for left-turn lanes in the Honolulu-bound direction at the intersections of Farrington Highway and Nanakuli Avenue as well as Farrington Highway and Haleakala Avenue; additional funds are needed due to additional design requirements resulting from environmental impact and historical preservation permitting activities

$2,200,000 – Interstate Route H-1, Pearl City Viaduct and Waimalu Viaduct Improvements, Phase I, Oahu – Additional construction to replace the deteriorated surface of the eastbound concrete deck of the Pearl City and Waimalu Viaducts; future phase(s) will include deck repair in the westbound direction (Additional funds are needed to fund major remediation work in two separate areas caused by a collapsed drainage culvert at the Waimalu Viaduct, and to install geosynthetic reinforced soil fill and concrete under the pavement in the vicinity of Radford High School to prevent erosion and reduce settlement)

$1,500,000 – Honoapiilani Highway, Shoreline Improvements for Tsunami Damage in Ukumehame, Maui – Additional construction to restore roadway shoulders along Honoapiilani Highway damaged by the March 11, 2011, tsunami including boulder revetments and the construction of retaining structures; additional funds are necessary to complete the project due to high level erosion control measures required by the EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Hawaii Department of Health Clean Water Branch

$1,500,000 – Honoapiilani Highway, Shoreline Improvements, Maui – Additional construction to restore roadway and shoulders along Honoapiilani Highway in the vicinity of Launiupoko, which have been damaged by repeated high surf and wave action; additional funds are required for a retaining structure that was redesigned to meet water quality and Army Corps of Engineers concerns

$11,000 – Farrington Highway Drainage Improvements, Oahu – Land and design for drainage improvements along Farrington Highway in the vicinity of Olohio Street to reduce flooding fronting the makai side of the highway

Farrington Hwy Nanakuli Ave Intersection

Farrington Hwy Nanakuli Ave Intersection

$4,000 (in addition to $16,000 in federal funds) – Guardrail and Shoulder Improvements at Various Locations, Kauai – Design to construct guardrail and shoulder improvements on Kuhio Highway, Route 560, at Milepost 6.25 and at Route 56 near Milepost 3.70, as part of the DOT Highways Division Guardrail and Shoulder Improvement Program; both areas have steep drop-offs that would benefit from guardrails to keep vehicles from leaving the roadway and going down the steep slopes.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Update – Kilauea Slowly Moving/Lava Lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Remains Active

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow slowly moving through forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow continues to slowly move through the forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Yesterday, the active flow front was 6.3 km (3.9 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

HVO45

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is just left of the center of the photograph in the distance, partially obscured by the smoke.

A closer view of the active flows at the forest boundary, and the numerous plumes of smoke resulting from active lava igniting ʻōhiʻa trees and other vegetation.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

This thermal image, taken from the helicopter on today’s overflight, shows the area of active pāhoehoe near the flow front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Blue and purple areas show warm but inactive areas of the flow, while the white and yellow areas are actively flowing lava. The flow surface consists of numerous scattered pāhoehoe lobes, and the advancement of the flow as a whole results from the combined, incremental movement of these individual lobes.

The black (cold) area at the top of the image is forest.  Click to Enlarge

The black (cold) area at the top of the image is forest. Click to Enlarge

Lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains active

The summit lava lake is contained within the Overlook crater, which is about 160 m (520 ft) by 210 m (690 ft) in size, and set within the larger Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

 The lava lake this week has been about 50 m (160 ft) below the rim of the Overlook crater. Click to Enlarge

The lava lake this week has been about 50 m (160 ft) below the rim of the Overlook crater. Click to Enlarge

A closer look at the summit lava lake.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Partially Clothed Man Found Assaulted and Needing Medical Assistance on Christmas Day at UH Hilo

The following assault was reported on Christmas day at UH Hilo:

UH Hilo Moniker

Report Status: Pending.

Location: Science and Tech 2nd floor stairwell.

Time Reported: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:00 PM.

Incident Occured Between: 4:02 AM and 7:30 AM on Wednesday, December 25, 2013.

Crime Details:
A partially clothed male was found unconscious and needing medical assistance on the Science and Technology 2nd floor main stairwell.

Department of Health Restricts the Use of Electronic Smoking Devices on DOH Properties

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a directive containing a policy to restrict the use of unregulated electronic smoking devices on DOH properties.  The directive is the first of its kind among Hawaii state departments.

eCigarette

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the use of electronic smoking devices on all DOH properties, as well as premises occupied by DOH, is prohibited any place where smoking of tobacco products is not allowed by law. The policy applies to all DOH employees, visitors, volunteer, students, contract workers, delivery personnel, Department of Accounting and General Services workers, and all others who enter the work setting or environment which includes DOH and those premises occupied by DOH.

The unrestricted use of electronic smoking devices (such as electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes”) is potentially hazardous to health. “Using electronic smoking devices threatens our smoke-free laws designed to protect the public from the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine,” said Lola Irvin, DOH Tobacco Settlement programs manager. “While electronic smoking devices are touted for being smoke-free, they have not been proven to be safe. These devices release nicotine and other chemicals and carcinogens into the environment, leaving those around them exposed to the potentially harmful vapor just like second-hand smoke.  Electronic smoking devices also confuse the public who expect a smoke-free environment and erode the strong belief in our Hawaii Smoke-Free Workplace and Public Places Law.”

Electronic smoking devices are used by inhaling vaporized liquid nicotine created by heat through an electronic ignition system. This simulates cigarette smoking, thereby reversing the progress that has been made in establishing a social norm that smoking is not permitted in public places and places of employment.

The electronic smoking device policy was one of the last policies signed by the late Director of Health Loretta J. Fuddy, who passed away last Wednesday after the plane she was on was forced to make a water landing after taking off from Kalaupapa, Molokai. “Director Fuddy believed that as the Department of Health, it is our responsibility to set the standard for health for the people of Hawaii,” said Irvin. “Today, we are taking a stand to protect our workers and our public.  We hope to inspire others to take a similar position and join us in carrying out her legacy.”

 

Hawaii Attorney Issues Formal Opinion Confirming the Practice that Hawaii’s Presidential General Election Ballots include the Names of Candidates’ Affiliated Groups or Parties Regardless of whether those Groups or Parties are Recognized as Political Parties Under Hawaii Law

Attorney General David M. Louie issues Formal Opinion Confirming the Practice that Hawaii’s Presidential General Election Ballots include the Names of Candidates’ Affiliated Groups or Parties Regardless of whether those Groups or Parties are Recognized as Political Parties Under Hawaii Law

Attorney General David M. Louie has issued Formal Opinion No. 13-2 (Op. No. 13-2), in which he has confirmed that, pursuant to section 11-113, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), Hawaii’s presidential general election ballots should include the name of candidates’ affiliated groups or parties irrespective of whether those groups or parties have been qualified as political parties under Hawaii law.

On July 18, 2012, the Justice Party and Kristine Kubat filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii against State of Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott T. Nago, claiming that Hawaii law unconstitutionally burdened the Justice Party’s access to the presidential ballot.  See The Justice Party, et al. v. Nago, Civil No. 12-00403 JMS-BMK. An issue at the trial was whether the name of an unqualified group or party with whom the candidate is affiliated can be on the general election ballot.

Chief Election Officer Nago testified at trial that the presidential candidates and their affiliated parties and groups are named on the general election ballot regardless of whether those parties and groups are qualified as political parties under Hawaii law.  Based on the evidence presented at trial, the parties agreed to postpone the trial pending the issuance of a formal legal opinion from the Attorney General determining whether the Office of Elections’ long-standing practice of including the name of an unqualified group or party with the candidate’s name was in compliance with the law. The Attorney General determined that it was.

Attorney General Louie stated, “unlike candidates running for state and congressional offices who are determined through the primary election system, the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates are determined by their respective political parties through the caucus system. Through its election laws, Hawaii has long-recognized that presidential elections must be treated differently than all other Hawaii state elections.”