Mayor Kenoi’s Office Responds to Bayfront Tourism Signage Problem

The other day I posted a commentary from Sonia Martinez about the Bayfront area and when tourist get off the ships.  Sonia received the following reply from the mayor’s office:

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Hi, Sonia,
Mahalo for the op/ed piece on Damon Tucker’s site, and thanks for all of those rides you have been giving to the wandering visitors.

We’re working on it. The county recently received a preliminary notice of award of a $345,743 federal grant from the National Park Service to complete another portion of the ongoing Hilo Bayfront Trails project that should take care of the problem. This section of the trail will link the canoe halau area at bayfront with the Mooheau Bandstand area, with a side loop through the mauka side soccer fields.

This will be a 12-foot wide, divided concrete trail (to allow for bikes as well as pedestrians) with signage and landscaping, and should be mighty hard to miss. The trail will cross the existing Kamehameha Avenue/Pauahi Street intersection, so it should pick up all of the traffic from the ships regardless of whether folks are walking along the shoreline or the highway.

It won’t happen tomorrow, though. We’re using a combination of contractors and volunteer labor to save money, and construction is expected to take 15 months, There have apparently also been some delays in obtaining final grant approval from the federal government. I’ll ask the parks team if it makes sense to post temporary signs at some strategic spots in the meantime.

Thanks again for your interest.

Kevin Dayton
Executive Assistant to Mayor Billy Kenoi

County Acquires Open Space At ‘O’oma – 217-Acre Shoreline Parcel to be Protected in Perpetuity

The County of Hawai‘i’s latest acquisition in the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resource Preservation program will protect 217 acres in Kona, between Kohanaiki Shores and the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i.

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‘O‘oma was the last privately-held open coastline area between Kailua town and the Kūki‘o resort, and was the top-ranked property on the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Commission’s latest report. The Māmalahoa Trail and Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail run through the property, and the preservation of ‘O‘oma also will help preserve ocean quality and contribute to a healthy reef.

“This open space purchase is the culmination of over 25 years of efforts on the part of the Kona community, which held onto a vision of an open coastline at Kohanaiki and ‘O‘oma,” said Councilwoman Karen Eoff, who has been involved with the community movement to protect Kohanaiki and ‘O‘oma in various capacities over the years. “This is an awesome gift to our community and validates the power in a shared vision.”

The purchase of the ‘O‘oma property closed on December 31, 2013 for $6.2 million, slightly more than half the $12 million asking price. Kohanaiki Shores, the neighboring development that has shown a commitment to preserving the beauty of Kona, assisted the County in the purchase with a $2 million donation.

This acquisition also enhances the public benefit of the 1.5 mile Kohanaiki Beach Park just to the south of ‘O‘oma, which opened to the public in June 2013. The County anticipates preserving ‘O‘oma in its current natural condition as a buffer between the mauka urban area and the ocean, while allowing access for passive recreation and subsistence fishing.

“This open space purchase adds another important, publicly owned shoreline recreational area that will serve many thousands of our residents, and will provide a place for our children and families to enjoy for generations to come,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “This purchase required a cooperative effort by many community members, and we thank them for their efforts.”

Since taking office, Mayor Kenoi’s administration has purchased more than 1,247 acres to preserve shorelines and open space for children, families, and the community. Since 2008, the County has acquired open space at Kāwā (785 acres) in Ka‘ū; Kaiholena (228 acres) and Pāo‘o (10 acres) in Kohala; and La‘aloa (6 acres) and ‘O‘oma (217 acres) in Kona under the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation program.

Glenn Hashimoto Named President of Suisan

Rex Matsuno, chairman of the board of Suisan Group, Inc., Suisan Company, Ltd and Suisan Properties, Ltd., announced that the board has named Glenn Hashimoto as president of Suisan, effective January 1.

Glenn Hashimoto

Glenn Hashimoto

Hashimoto will be Suisan’s 7th president and take over the day-to-day leadership of Suisan, the 106-year-old food distribution company from Matsuno, who will retain his chairmanship.  The board, which is comprised of members of the extended Matsuno family, has carefully considered the succession plan for a number of years.

Hashimoto, who is also Suisan’s chief executive officer, has been executive vice-president and general manager.  He has been with the company for 41 years.

“Glenn understands Suisan’s values of pride, efficiency and professionalism,” said Matsuno.  “He has shown himself to be a leader throughout his career and has a proven track record.  I am confident that under Glenn’s leadership, Suisan will expand and be of tremendous value to the community.”

Hashimoto is a Hilo native and graduate of the University of Hawaii—Manoa in business management.  He is a past president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawaii and of the Kanoelehua Industrial Area Association.  He is a member of Board of Governors Hawaii Employers Council.

Rex Matsuno

Rex Matsuno

“I am deeply honored to be succeeding as Suisan’s president and CEO,” said Hashimoto.  “Through hands-on experience, I learned a lot about our business and business in general because of Rex Matsuno’s style of teaching.  Leadership development is a long-term process that requires building skill sets through training and mentoring.  I was fortunate to have been provided that by Mr. Matsuno.”

Matsuno became president in 1967 and has been with the company since 1947; he is credited with the company’s 1950’s expansion into frozen foods, produce and other products as well as the post-tsunami re-building of the fish market on Hilo Bay.  He has worked tirelessly to position Suisan as the Pacific Rim’s premier food distributor.

Big Island Police Investigating New Year’s Eve Robbery

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a robbery in Kona during the early morning hours of New Year’s Eve.

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On Tuesday (December 31), Kona Patrol officers responded to a 2:18 a.m. report of a robbery in the parking lot of a home improvement store at 73-5598 Olowalu Streen in Kailua-Kona.

An 18-year-old Ocean View man and a 30-year-old Ocean View man were reportedly in a parked white Ford F150 pickup truck with Alaska license plates when a black Toyota Tacoma pulled up. The Tacoma’s passenger reportedly approached the victims with a handgun and something covering his face and ordered them out of the truck. The gunman and a second man searched the victims’ pockets and removed personal items, including a cellular phone and an undisclosed amount of cash. The gunman drove away in the victims’ Ford and the other suspect followed in the Tacoma.

Officers located the trucks in an empty lot north of Hoʻokena School in Captain Cook. Both trucks were unoccupied. Police determined that the Tacoma had been reported as stolen from a home in the Kona Palisades subdivision sometime between December 23 and December 24.

Police ask anyone who has any information about this case 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

Big Island Police Investigating New Years Day Robbery in Kona

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a robbery in Kona during the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.

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On Wednesday (January 1), Kona Patrol officers responded to a 2:22 a.m. report of a robbery in the parking lot of a store on the 74-5000 block of Kamakaeha Avenue in Kailua-Kona.

The victims, a 19-year-old Hilo man and two 18-year-old Hilo men, reported that they were in the parking lot when a dark gray Toyota Tundra pickup truck pulled up. The truck’s passenger got out of the Toyota with something concealing his face, approached them with a handgun and robbed them of a red backpack, personal identification, credit cards, cellular phones and an undisclosed amount of cash. He then fled on Makala Boulevard in the truck with the stolen items.

The victims recovered their cell phones, which thrown out of the truck as it left the area.

The gunman was described as a skinny local male, about 5-foot-8 who spoke pidgin.

Police ask anyone who has any information about this case 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 Investigating Body Found in Kalapana

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a coroner’s inquest case in connection with a body found in Kalapana.

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At approximately 2:55 p.m. Thursday (January 2), police received a report from a 34-year-old man, who indicated that he discovered a decomposing body while hiking in a forested area of a lava field at the end of Highway 130 in Kalapana.

Puna Patrol officers responded to the area and confirmed the discovery of a body.

The Area I Criminal Investigations Section recovered the remains, which were taken to the morgue at Hilo Medical Center. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The identity of the victim is unknown at this time.

Police ask anyone with information about this case to contact Detective Todd Pataray at 961-2382 or tpataray@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.

Hundreds Build Gingerbread Houses and Spread Holiday Cheer for Charitable Cause

Over 400 people gathered at Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin on Sunday, Dec. 8 to build gingerbread houses at Easter Seals Hawaii’s 12th Annual Gingerbread Family Festival in Hilo, raising money for the nonprofit’s programs and services for those with developmental disabilities and special needs.

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A total of 195 gingerbread house kits were sold. In addition to building gingerbread houses, this year’s event in Hilo included a community competition where attendees could watch local businesses compete to create the best gingerbread house.

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Overall sales and number of attendees on Oahu, Maui and Kauai’s Gingerbread Family Festivals were equally high.

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Statewide, Easter Seals Hawaii sold over 1,100 kits and the events attracted over 4,300 attendees including families, staff, volunteers and corporate competition teams.

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The 2013 Easter Seals Hawaii Gingerbread Family Festival was presented by The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation with title sponsorship from Safeway and CVS/Longs Drugs.

Gingerbread5For more information, visit eastersealshawaii.org.

Puako Boat Launch Ramp To Close Jan. 7-8 For Removal Of Damaged Loading Dock

The Department of Land and Natural Resources  will close the Puako boat launch ramp from Tuesday January 7 through Wednesday January 8, for removal of a loading dock which collapsed due to high surf on Dec. 20, 2013.

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Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) engineers and Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr. inspected the damage on December 30.

Isemoto Contracting Co., Ltd. will use heavy machinery to  remove the broken concrete loading dock that cracked in half.

The ramp will reopen for use as of Jan. 9,  but there will be no loading dock available for boaters to use.

DOBOR is seeking bids for a temporary wooden dock replacement,. The pilings and pile cap appear to be usable for a temporary wooden loading dock.

Big Island Police Searching for Three Men Wanted in Unrelated Cases – Considered Armed and Dangerous

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in locating three men wanted on outstanding warrants.

Jack Toribio Casuga

Jack Toribio Casuga

Jack Toribio Casuga, 31, of Kailua-Kona is wanted on a no-bail warrant of arrest for violating parole. He is described as Filipino, 5-foot-6, 150 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

William P. Holbron-Kealoha

William P. Holbron-Kealoha

William P. Holbron-Kealoha, 29, of Kailua-Kona is wanted on a bench warrant for failure to appear in court. He is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-10, 190 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Martin Frank Booth

Martin Frank Booth

Martin Frank Booth, 55, of Kawaihae is wanted on a warrant of arrest in connection with a Grand Jury indictment for second-degree assault. He is described as Caucasian, 6-foot-1, 230 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair.

All three men are also wanted for questioning in unrelated cases. They are considered armed and dangerous.

Police ask anyone with information on the whereabouts of any of these men to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Levon Stevens at 326-4646, extension 275, or lstevens@co.hawaii.hi.us, or Detective Walter Ah Mow at 326-4646, extension 238, or wahmow@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.