“Tuskegee Airmen” Hangar Talk Scheduled for Saturday, February 8 During Black History Month

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor will welcome Hawaii’s own Tuskegee Airman Philip Baham, Dr. Dorothy Goldsborough, and a panel of Black History experts, as they discuss the stories and the legacy of the first African-American military aviators who served during WWII. The Hangar Talk, “Tuskegee Airmen Then and Now” is Saturday, February 8, 2014, 2 to 4pm in the Museum Theater.

Members of the Tuskegee Airmen (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Members of the Tuskegee Airmen (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

The panel discussion will begin at 2pm, followed by an audience question and answer session. A Meet and Greet with the panelists will follow at 3pm. The event is free with regular Museum admission and free to Museum Members.

One of the original WWII Tuskegee Airmen, Philip Baham was drafted into the Army Air Corps at 21 years of age and served as crew chief assigned to the 377th Composite Group at Tuskegee Field. Despite facing the racial injustice prevalent throughout his career, Mr. Baham continued to serve his country, achieving the rank of TSgt in the newly formed United States Air Force. Mr. Baham received a number of medals and commendations for his service. He is a founding member of Hawaii’s Artis-Baham-Goldsborough Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen and is a volunteer docent at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

Dr. Dorothy Goldsborough is a Professor Emerita at Chaminade University and a lecturer at University of Hawaii Manoa. She is the wife of the late Romaine Goldsborough, another documented original Tuskegee Airman who served in the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II.

For more information, call (808) 441-1007, email Education@PacificAviationMuseum.org or visit online www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Big Island Police Capture Female Escapee From Hale Nani Correctional Facility

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an escape from a correctional center in Hilo that resulted in the arrest of an inmate.

Mary Lolita Santos

Mary Lolita Santos

At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday (January 14), 40-year-old Mary Lolita Santos of Mountain View was arrested for second-degree escape. She is being held at the police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

At about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, police responded to the Hale Nani Correctional Facility off Route 11 in Hilo after receiving a report from correctional officers that at about 9:40 a.m., a female inmate scaled a fence and fled on foot from the minimum security facility. After running along Route 11 and into the Puna-bound traffic lanes, she stopped a blue van and jumped into the passenger side window. State correctional officers were able to prevent the van from leaving until they took Santos into custody. The van then left the area.

Mary Lolita Santos

Mary Lolita Santos

Detectives want to interview the van’s driver, who was described as an older Filipino man. He was operating a blue Honda Odyssey van that may have been a taxi, as it was described as having the letters “PUC” on its exterior.

Police ask anyone who was traveling on Route 11 and may have witnessed this incident or may know the identity of the driver to call Detective Norbert Serrao of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2383 or email at nserrao@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.

6 Year Photographic Nature Study Released: Sentient Dolphins and Interspecies Communications are a Focus of “The Leaf Game”

Photographer and Freediver, Ted Roe, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to gain the funds needed to self-publish a photography book with stories and exhibit his work. The last day to participate as a Backer to fund the all-or-nothing campaign is January 19, 2014.

Imagine swimming in the warm waters of Hawaii.  You take a deep inhale and dive down.  You swim down like a dolphin.  You pass 30 feet, then 60 feet, then 90 feet and then slowly flatten out like a skydiver as you approach the bottom of the ocean.  You gently turn and stand up on the bottom of the sea, at 120ft.  You look up and see the sun as a tiny bright dot against the surface of the ocean.  Looking at your dive watch, you know this breath will give you another 2 minutes before you must return to the surface because you have a 6 minute static breath-hold.  You are holding your breath, one breath.  You lift your camera…

The Leaf Game, Dolphins Offer Photographer, Ted Roe a Leaf to Play in Pod Games. (PRNewsFoto/Ted Roe)

The Leaf Game, Dolphins Offer Photographer, Ted Roe a Leaf to Play in Pod Games. (NewsFoto/Ted Roe)

For six years freediving teacher Ted Roe has been conducting a photographic study documenting nature and the underwater world on the Big Island, Hawaii.  He is one of a few people able to swim freely with wild dolphin pods at 60 feet without SCUBA tanks.  Roe has documented images of their resting behaviors, hunting behaviors, play behaviors and many engaging interspecies communications.  The striking images in Roe’s portfolio go further to document eye-to-eye contact, invitations and other interactions with wild dolphins.

Roe decided to self-publish a book including stories of these encounters to accompany these breathtaking photographs.  He chose Kickstarter.com to host his crowdfunding campaign, The Leaf Game.  Pledging begins at $1.  Rewards begin at $5.  For more information go to the project here: http://kck.st/1fvDO84

Roe’s collection also includes beautiful photographs of turtles, fish, geckos, other wildlife, landscapes, flowers, sunsets, and some images of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

TED ROE LEAF GAME DOLPHINS

Complex Photography

Freediving photography is complex. The ocean is constantly moving and changing. There is no way to plan or stage images that involve wild, fast-moving creatures. Roe consciously monitors remaining breath, dive duration, pressure equalization, the camera, sea conditions, all aspects of personal safety, and the shot itselfThese photographs are the result of six years of diving quietly and deeply, every day, swimming naturally and unobtrusively for hours alone in the sea.

A Reverent Approach

Roe works with wildlife in a unique and respectful way.  He uses almost no equipment; a small Canon G10 camera with an underwater housing and natural light.  All underwater images are taken freediving with one breath. He does not pursue, disturb, confuse or upset wildlife.  He does not use large cameras, flash, or underwater strobe lights.  He does not use SCUBA equipment.

Roe teaches freediving as a form of yoga that enhances awareness and allows a swimmer to integrate fully with the environment.  Roe uses body language he has learned from his wild subjects to encourage communication and dynamic interactions.  This approach is reflected in his pictures showing a connection between photographer, subject and the surrounding environment.

“We are trained from birth to think that we know what reality is because we know the names of the things we see. But that isn’t really knowledge. If you really want to know how things are connected and where you fit in you have to learn to see through appearances, concepts and words. Connect with reality directly.  Spend hours in contemplation, alone, in wild places.”  Ted Roe

As the controversy mounts over corporations profiting from captive dolphins and whales as exposed by movies like “The Cove” (Taiji, Japan) and “Blackfish” (SeaWorld); Roe’s images show us that dolphins in the wild are the only show to see.  He reminds us that dolphins are real beings that are open, welcoming, and sentient yet they are living challenging and difficult lives.  He gives us a window into who they really are; their community, their true natures, their scars, and their natural beauty.

The Kickstarter Project: A Photographic Book and Exhibit

The title of Roe’s Kickstarter project, his book and the signature photograph; “The Leaf Game”, is a reference to a game that dolphins play.  It’s a combination of soccer and tag, whereby they pass a leaf between them.  Roe has captured images of them offering a leaf to him; a photograph that is an icon of the project.

“The idea that any free, wild, non-human being would invite a human being to play with them is a revealing comment about the concept of sentience and the true nature of our fellow beings.  The truth is that we are all more alike than we are different.  It’s been a humbling and gratifying experience and I want to share it with you.”  Ted Roe

Funding Deadline is January 19, 2014

The Leaf Game is an all-or-nothing Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for Roe to self-publish his photography book and exhibit his work.  The funding deadline to participate as a “Backer” and pledge for a chosen “Reward” is January 19, 2014.  The funding goal to achieve the book publication and the print exhibit is $30,000.00.  Pledging is no-risk; Amazon Payments manages pledges and a Backer is not charged if the project does not meet the funding goal.

Rewards for Pledging

Roe is offering exclusive rewards for pledging that include photographs, a first edition hardback book, an e-book, a collector’s book, fine art pigment prints (numbered, signed, limited edition), framed fine art prints, and a few one-of-a-kind artist’s proofs are available.  There is also a reward of freediving lessons with Roe.

Roe asks you to consider a pledge of a 10 license e-book copy as your gift to a school, library or children’s hospital.

Roe will ship any reward you purchase as a gift in your name and provide you with delivery confirmation.

Contribute, see the photographs, and learn more about The Leaf Game project HERE:

http://kck.st/1fvDO84

The Names That WERE Submitted to Governor Abercrombie to Replace Rep. Denny Coffman

The three nominees that were submitted to Governor Abercrombie to replace Rep. Denny Coffman were Richard Creagan, Steve Sakala, and Michael Matsukawa.

Richard P. Creagan

Richard P. Creagan

As we know now… Richard Creagan was selected by the Governor.

Big Island Police Searching for 28-Year-Old Hilo Man

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 28-year-old Hilo man wanted on two outstanding $50,000 bench warrants.

Bryce D. Feary

Bryce D. Feary

Bryce D. Feary is described as 5-foot-11, 170 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.

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.

Big Island Police Searching for 22-Year-Old Woman… AGAIN

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 22-year-old woman wanted on five outstanding $50,000 bench warrants.

Shaylyn Araw

Shaylyn Araw

Shaylyn Momi Araw is described as 5-foot-3, 110 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.

She may be in Hilo or Pepeʻekeo.

Police ask anyone with information on her 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.

Count Humpback Whales from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park encourages volunteers to register to help count humpback whales during the 2014 Sanctuary Ocean Count held the last Saturday of January, February and March (Jan. 25, Feb. 22, and Mar. 29), from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

umpback whale seen offshore near the end of Chain of Craters Road, January 2014. Image courtesy of Thomas C. Stein

Humpback whale seen offshore near the end of Chain of Craters Road, January 2014. Image courtesy of Thomas C. Stein

Ka‘ena Point, located at the end of Chain of Craters Road in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, is one of Hawai‘i Island’s 21 Sanctuary Ocean Count sites. Volunteers on shore monitor humpbacks in nearshore waters for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Residents and visitors look forward to this yearly event which provides important population and distribution information about humpback whales around the Hawaiian Islands.

The Sanctuary Ocean Count is an ideal opportunity for the community and the park to work together as stewards of the ocean. These splendid creatures swim more than 2,000 miles to Hawai‘i from Arctic waters every winter, and the annual count is one way to observe and record their behavior and ensure their future.

For more information, visit www.hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov. To register online, visit www.sanctuaryoceancount.org. For any additional questions please call the Ocean Count Hotline 808-268-3087.

Registered volunteers meet Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park volunteer and Sanctuary Ocean Count site leader Jennifer Watson at the end of Chain of Craters Road on the scheduled count days.

Meet and Greet With KISS at the Fairmont Kea Lani

KISS and relax at the Farimont Kea Lani at Wailea, Maui, offers KISS fans a chance to grab a room and meet Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley at two VIP events in January with a room-and-party package starting at $349 a night.

KISS

Experience the ultimate Rock & Roll VIP weekend with KISS band members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.

Package Includes:

  • Accommodation in any luxurious one-bedroom suite or spacious villa (January 24 – 26, 2014, minimum of three nights) for the opening of Willow Stream Spa and Rock & Brews restaurant.
  • Two tickets to the Rock & Brews® restaurant VIP grand opening luncheon event in Paia, Maui on January 26, 2014 starting at 1:30pm:
    • Red carpet photo opportunities
    • Casual American comfort food and popular Hawaiian dishes
    • Tropical cocktails and Paia’s largest selection of craft beers
  • Admission for two to The Fairmont Kea Lani’s Willow Stream Spa VIP opening event on January 26, 2014 starting at 6:00pm:
    • Meet and take photos with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS
    • Experience the brand new, 9,000 square-foot Willow Stream Spa, complete with a KISS black & white manicure station, rock & roll red lipstick station and hot rock neck massages
    • Enjoy “Rock & ‘Roll” sushi rolls from the award-winning Kō restaurant
  •  Two Rock & Brews® Paia T-Shirt

Availability:

Between Friday, January 24, 2014 and Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rates:

The KISS Rock & Roll VIP Package rates start from $349 USD per night in a Fairmont Suite category, plus applicable taxes. This exclusive VIP package is valued at $609/night.

Please Note:

For new reservations made after January 1, 2014, The Fairmont Kea Lani has introduced a $30 resort charge per room, per night (plus applicable tax) that includes the following; access to self- parking, basic internet access, local and domestic long distance calls, 1-hour snorkel equipment rental and more.

Hawaii State Department of Education Presents Its Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Supplement Budget Request

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) this morning presented its Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Supplemental Budget Request before the Senate Ways and Means and House Finance Committees in the State Capitol Auditorium.

capital

The budget focuses on the DOE’s strategic goals. The request totals $31.7 million in operating funds, which puts the DOE at its current funding levels, and $164 million in Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) funds.

“Our budget aligns with our Strategic Plan and targeted goals for the success of our students, staff and department,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We have identified the most critical components to execute our strategic initiatives. The progress that we’ve made over the past two years is extraordinary. This budget provides the necessary supports that educators deserve to stay on course and build on our progress.”

The Superintendent noted recent achievements by students and educators that have brought acclaim to Hawaii, including:

  • Hawaii students making the highest gains in the nation in reading and math performance across all tested grades in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
  • An increase of students enrolled in college and fewer students needing remediation.
  • National recognition of program efforts to ensure teacher preparation and development are aligned with college-and career-ready standards.

“The core budget is aligned to support ongoing reform efforts,” said Amy Kunz, assistant superintendent & chief financial officer, Office of Fiscal Services. “These are targeted requests based on measurable results.”

The DOE plans on tackling numerous projects under the CIP supplemental request, including:

  • Air condition/heat abatement acceleration program ($25 million)
  • Science classroom upgrades at 12 high schools ($10 million)

“The department’s supplemental CIP request reflects the minimum level of funding necessary to maintain recent improvements and to remain diligent on the upkeep of our schools,” noted Raymond L’Heureux, assistant superintendent, Office of School Facilities and Support Services.

View the full budget presentation at http://bit.ly/DOEbudget. Read more about the 2013 DOE Accomplishments at http://bit.ly/1cjLiXa.

The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 288 schools and serves more than 185,000 students. Hawaii’s public school system was established in 1840 by King Kamehameha III. To learn more, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

USDA Presents National Honor to DLNR Specialist for Forestry Conservation

The US Department of Agriculture’s prestigious Two Chiefs’ Award was presented today to M. Irene Sprecher of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Left to right is William Aila; Christine Clarke, Acting Director for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the Pacific Islands Area; M. Irene Sprecher, award recipient; Diane Ley, Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency; and Randy Moore, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester from the US Forest Service.  Photo by Jolene Lau, NRCS.

Left to right is William Aila; Christine Clarke, Acting Director for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the Pacific Islands Area; M. Irene Sprecher, award recipient; Diane Ley, Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency; and Randy Moore, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester from the US Forest Service. Photo by Jolene Lau, NRCS.

The Two Chiefs’ Award is a national award that is presented annually to recognize people and teams that work collaboratively to support conservation and forest stewardship.  Award winners are selected by the Chiefs of the USDA Forest Service (USFS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Ms. Sprecher played a lead role in the development of the “Collaboration on Forestry Related Program Delivery in Hawaii” Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the USDA NRCS, the US Forest Service, the Hawaii Association of Conservation Districts and the State’s Department of Land and Natural Resources – signed May 19, 2011.  This MOU was derived from the National MOU that is used for the same purpose and was signed September 29, 2008.

Since the implementation of the Hawaii MOU, the partners have significantly improved their communication and interaction with each other, and cooperated to coordinate the delivery of several Landowner Assistance Programs in Hawai’i (see http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/lap/  for more information).

Through this MOU, a landowner who obtains an approved Forest Stewardship Program management plan may access multiple programs for forestry conservation assistance – Forest Stewardship Program, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and/or the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).  This has significantly streamlined the process for landowners to access assistance funding, while simultaneously improved the collaboration among agencies and efficiency of their programs.

While this MOU is in place at the national level, not all states have implemented a state-level process, and most of those that have received some financial support to make it happen. Hawai’i has accomplished all of this with no extra funding provided by or given to any of its MOU partners.  The MOU partners are involving existing staff only and are motivated simply to improve all aspects of private landowner assistance in Hawaii through increased cooperation.

Also, through a grant written by Ms. Sprecher, the Hawaii MOU partners were awarded $250,000 in January 2013 from a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant.  These funds will provide needed resources for statewide planning and outreach to private forest landowners.  Two full time staff were hired in August, 2013, to increase the number of CREP projects, complete more NRCS Conservation Plans, strengthen interactions with partner agencies, and generally support sustainable management of Hawaii’s forest resources.

Finally, Ms. Sprecher was instrumental in the Fiscal Year 2007 and 2008 Kealakekua Heritage Ranch Forest Legacy applications for the acquisition of two conservation easements.   She was also the primary author for the Fiscal Year 2010 Kainalu Ranch and the Fiscal Year 2012 Kukaiau Koa Forest applications to the Forest Legacy Program. She was recently promoted, as well, and now runs the FSP and FLP programs in Hawaii.

Ms. Sprecher was a major contributor towards the establishment of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (see factsheet, attached) in Hawaii.  That process required extensive collaboration and negotiation with national and local partners in order to customize the program to best serve Hawaii, and to obtain all the required approvals. In addition, she has been very cooperative in modifying the Hawaii Forest Stewardship Program (supported via State and USFS funding) to come into alignment with the conservation practices, technical specifications and cost share rates associated with NRCS’s EQIP.  Similarly to the Forest Stewardship Program’s management plans, this has made various Federal and State forestry conservation assistance programs work in parallel, with a consistent look and process for our prospective cooperators.

“We are very pleased to jointly present this award,” said Randy Moore, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester.  “This really illustrates our all-lands approach in working across boundaries to optimize our efforts.  This hard work which continues today is vital to the health of our island’s forests in Hawaii and beyond.”

“I am so happy to recognize her and this multi-agency public-private approach to solving a critical resource problem on our forest lands,” said NRCS Acting Director Christine Clarke. “This work exemplifies good stewardship.”

“Ms. Sprecher has proven to be an extremely valuable partner for the USDA as part of our Hawaii Joint Forestry MOU. She worked very closely with NRCS to get forestry conservation projects on the ground and information out to potential clients. She’s collaborated with Ms. Katie Friday, of USFS, to get funding out for Forest Stewardship Plans. She is very worthy of this award for her contributions to USFS and NRCS here in Hawaii,” Clarke said.

Director of Keck Observatory to Assume New Position at McDonald Observatory in West Texas

The University of Texas’ McDonald Observatory in West Texas is getting a new director, the Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday.

Taft Armandroff

Taft Armandroff

The paper says Taft Armandroff will be introduced Tuesday as the new director and professor of astronomy.

The appointment will be effective June 1.

Armandroff is currently director of the W.M. Keck Observatory, a nonprofit organization with two telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

He will succeed David Lambert, 74, who directed the observatory about 450 miles west of Austin for 10 years.

The observatory is gearing up for a study of the mysterious force known as dark energy that’s causing the cosmos to expand at an accelerating rate.

The $39 million dark energy project, which is in collaboration with other institutions, is expected to begin later this year.