Senate Recognizes “Publisher of the Year” Dennis Francis of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser

The Hawaii State Senate today recognized Dennis Francis, president and publisher of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, who was recently named “Publisher of the Year” by Editor & Publisher Magazine, the leading journal of the newspaper industry.

Publisher of the Year

Publisher of the Year Dennis Francis

Francis merged Hawaii’s two daily papers, the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 2010 and turned two struggling newspapers into one prosperous one. Over the past three years, the Star-Advertiser has successfully introduced a breaking news app for smart devices, created an innovative digital pricing structure, and promoted open and transparent government by filing lawsuits requiring public agencies to release information on their proceedings. Additionally, Frances is actively involved in the community and serves on a number of organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, American Red Cross, Aloha United Way and Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.

Francis

“Francis is well-deserving of Publisher of the Year,” said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim. “His successes in professional achievements are more than matched by his charitable work. On behalf of the entire Senate body, I commend Dennis for his many contributions to our community, and wish him many more years of success and fulfillment in his professional and personal endeavors.”

Medical Examiner Defers Cause of Death Following Autopsy of Man that Died After Being Arrested

An autopsy was conducted Wednesday (February 5) on the body of 39-year-old Randall Hatori of Kailua-Kona, who died Tuesday in the course of an arrest.

Randall Hatori

Randall Hatori

The medical examiner deferred the cause of death pending toxicology and histology results.

At 12:30 a.m. Tuesday (February 4), a Kona Patrol officer made a traffic stop at a gas station in a shopping center on Palani Road. The driver, 38-year-old Ernest Ricky Alvarez of Kailua-Kona, was arrested on a $10,000 bench warrant for contempt of court.

Hatori, who was a passenger and was wanted for assault and violating temporary restraining orders, fled on foot.

The officer pursued Hatori on foot and a struggle ensued while trying to apprehend him. Initially unable to restrain Hatori, the officer deployed his conducted electric weapon (commonly known as a “Taser”) in an attempt to subdue him. Hatori continued to actively resist arrest and the struggle continued. Other officers responded to the scene and assisted in restraining Hatori. After Hatori was placed in handcuffs, he became unresponsive.

Fire Department EMTs on scene attempted resuscitation and then transported him to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:53 a.m.

Detectives recovered 7.3 grams of methamphetamine at the scene of the struggle.

The Police Department’s Area II Criminal Investigations Section is continuing to investigate this incident as a coroner’s inquest and an assault on a police officer.

In addition, the Office of Professional Standards is conducting an administrative investigation, as is standard practice in any police involved death.

Alvarez remains at the Kona police cellblock while police investigate possible drug charges.

Maps of Old Puna Surface Courtesy of Ho’okuleana

The following maps were posted on my Facebook site by Peter Young of  Ho’okuleana LLC after I raised a question about the Old Government Rd. that follows the coastline from Puna into Hilo.

This is a map of 1902 Puna:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

This is a map of the Puna District of Hawaii from 1875:

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Kona Crime Prevention Committee Recognized Officer Marlin Hopson as “Officer of the Month” for February

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Marlin Hopson as “Officer of the Month” for February in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (February 5) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Marlin Hopson

Officer Marlin Hopson

Hopson was honored for arresting two brothers who were riding in a car shortly after it was reported stolen.

On November 27, the car was reported as having been taken from the area of the Kona pool. The victim was able to obtain information about the location of a cellular phone, which was believed to be inside the car.

While responding to that location, Officer Hopson passed a car matching the description of the stolen car, which was traveling in the opposite direction. After the officer turned around to check the license plate number, the car fled. Hopson saw it turn into a local subdivision, where it crashed.

He was able to apprehend both occupants, including one who had exited the car and was hiding in the bushes.

The victim’s credit card was found in possession of the driver, as was marijuana. A search of the vehicle revealed a meth pipe with residue.

The two men were charged with an assortment of felonies.

As “Officer of the Month,” Hopson is eligible to become “Officer of the Year.”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee is an organization that encourages community involvement in aiding and supporting police in West Hawaiʻi.

Big Island Police Searching for 50-Year-Old Man Who Frequents Hilo

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 50-year-old man who is wanted on a $500 bench warrant. Cedric Pulgados is also wanted for questioning in connection with an unrelated case.

Cedric Pulgados

Cedric Pulgados

He is described as 5-foot-7, 240 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. He has no permanent address but frequents the Hilo area.

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 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.

Man Dies in Traffic Collision on Kona Highway

Hawaiʻi Island police closed a portion of Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway Wednesday (February 5) between Puakō Beach Drive and the entrance to the Mauna Lani Resort while officers investigated a fatal traffic collision near the 71-mile marker just South of Puakō Beach Drive.

HPDBadge

At approximately 11:25 a.m., officers responded to the collision and learned that a 52-year-old man was traveling south in a 1997 Ford F-250 pickup truck when he reportedly crossed the centerline and struck a 2013 Dodge Dart traveling in the opposite direction being driven by a 62-year-old man visiting from Canada.

The driver, who was the sole occupant of the truck, was taken to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Neither the driver of the other vehicle nor his three passengers were injured.

At approximately 1:15 p.m., one lane of traffic was reopened on the highway. The other lane remained close.

Police have initiated a standard negligent homicide investigation, which is being continued by the Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit.

House Health Committee Passes Measures to Convert Health Connector From Private to State Agency

Moves to improve transparency, accountability and sustainability include changes to board membership of the Connector and creation of a state innovation waiver task force under the Affordable Care Act

The House Committee on Health today passed a number of measures addressing transparency, accountability and sustainability issues nagging the Hawaii Health Connector since its start up.The Health Connector is the state’s enrollment portal for coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Connector was created to match low income residents and small businesses with subsidized or affordable health plans under the ACA.

“I want to be clear that these measures are a work in progress and allows us to continue to establish a better framework and foundation so that the Health Connector can successfully move forward in fulfilling the goals of the Affordable Care Act,” said Representative Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa), who chairs the House Committee on Health.

“Even as the healthcare landscape changes around us,we need to be able to respond to the developing rules and regulations to allow the Health Connector to move forward in achieving its mission.”

HB2529

The centerpiece for the package of amended and approved bills is H.B. 2529, H.D. 1, which converts the Health Connector from a private non-profit entity to a State agency and initially places it under the Office of the Governor.

“It says something about the importance we place on this agency and the work it does on behalf of the people of Hawaii when we place it under the direct auspices of the Governor,” Belatti says.

The bill also creates a task force whose primary goal will be to develop a health reform plan to obtain a state innovation waiver from certain requirements of the ACA. This will allow the State

to be more innovative in its approach to fulfilling the goals and objectives of the Affordable Care Act while taking into consideration Hawaii’s unique health care environment and Hawaii’s Pre-paid Health Care Act.

“Given the low uninsured rate that Hawaii has enjoyed because of Hawaii’s groundbreaking Pre-paid Health Care Act, we believe that we have a good case to put before health officials in Washington D.C.,” Belatti said.

One of the more serious concerns of the committee was the current board’s inability to come up with a workable sustainability strategy for the long term. The creation of a sustainability fee would address some of those concerns over the next two years after federal funding ends in December 2014 and as the task force works on a more long-term solution.

The bill also creates greater accountability and transparency by requiring the Connector to comply with chapter 103F of the state procurement code, imposing public hearing and notice requirements pursuant to state statutes, changes the makeup of the Health Connector’s board of directors, broadens the appointing authority of Board members from the Governor to include the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, and creates greater opportunities for public participation in the Health Connector through a consumer, patient, business and health care advisory group.

H.B 2529, H.D. 1, along with other companion bills, move on to hearings in the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce.

10th Annual Grow Hawaiian Festival at Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden

Hawai‘i Forest and Trail Presents A Grow Hawaiian Weekend

The 10th Annual Grow Hawaiian Weekend on Friday and Saturday,  February 21 and 22, is a celebration of Hawaiian cultural and natural history at Amy Greenwell Garden in Captain Cook.  Admission to the Garden will be free on those two days, and all of the activities are free.

Kai'uhane Morton

Ka’uhane Morton demonstrates how to make nose flutes

On Friday, February 21, between 1 p.m. and 4 pm., the public is invited to the Garden Visitor Center to join Greenwell Garden staff, taro experts Jerry Konanui and Keahi Tomas, and local school children in ku‘i kalo—poi pounding.  Boards and stones and cooked taro will be available for everyone from beginners to experts to try their hand at this traditional culinary art.  Also on Friday at 1 p.m., the Guided Hawaiian Plant Walk is a docent led tour of the Garden landscape of the plants of Hawai‘i in the 1600s.

The Grow Hawaiian festival takes place at the Garden on Saturday, February 22 from 9:00-2:30 pm.  Speakers will make presentations on taro cultivation, conservation, horticulture, and lauhala weaving, and artisans will demonstrate ipu gourd decorating, kapa making, weaving, woodworking, lei making, taro cultivation, and Hawaiian dyes.  There will be hands-on activities for the keiki and adults, plant and insect identification booths, displays, live entertainment, Hawaiian food, and much more!

Visitors can learn about the movement to provision Hawaiian voyaging canoes by using food grown in Hawai‘i so that the crews of the long distant canoes can eat healthy, sustainable, traditional foods as they travel across the Pacific and around the world.  There will also be a presentation on olonā cordage.  The bark of olonā has strong, durable fiber that was made into fishing line, nets, and other items for traditional life.

Some of the foremost experts in native plants and Hawaiian ethnobotany will lead tours of the Garden, and authors will be on hand to sign their books.  A silent auction will be held where visitors will have a chance to bid on poi boards, poi stones, and other traditional objects.

For more information call 323-3318, visit www.bishopmuseum.org/greenwell,  or email agg@bishopmuseum.org.  Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden is Bishop Museum’s native plant arboretum, located 12 miles south of Kailua-Kona on Highway 11, just south of mile marker 110.

The 10th Annual Grow Hawaiian Festival is, presented by Hawai‘i Forest and Trail.   Support for this event  is also provided by Kūki‘o,  and Kealakekua Ranch, Ltd.  An award from the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority funds the Guided Native Plant Walks.  Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in the Hawaiian Plant Walks should contact Peter Van Dyke at 808-323-3318 at least two weeks before their planned visit.

New Flood Insurance Rate Maps for South Kona

On February 7, 2014, a FEMA Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) for the areas of Hōnaunau, Keōkea, and a small section of Ki’ilae in South Kona, will become effective and create new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).

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The LOMR, submitted to FEMA in early July of 2013, identifies new flood hazards as the area underwent an increase in residential and agricultural development since the orginal FIRMs was revised in 1988.

Structures located within a Zone AE Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) may be required to have flood insurance, if the structure is mortgaged by a U.S. government backed loan. Structures located outside the SFHA, are encouraged but not required to have flood insurance.

Property owners may check the new Flood Insurance Rate Maps at the Department of Public Works, Engineering division in Hilo weekdays, from 7:45 AM to 4:30 PM.

Wordless Wednesday: Invasion – Little Fire Ants in Hawaii (The Movie)

Invasive species introductions to Hawaii often end in regret and a list of should-haves.

little fire antThis film, produced by the Maui Invasive Species Committee, aims to change the result of the arrival of little fire ants in Hawaii.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/eIUre6lz2GI]

Featuring videography from award-winning film makers Masako Cordray and Chris Reickert, this half-hour film examines the biology, impacts, and potential solutions to the spread of little fire ants through interviews with scientists, farmers, and community on the Big Island reeling from the impacts of this minuscule, but devastating, ant.

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Viewers will learn how to identify and report new infestations, helping to protect Hawaii from this small stinging ant.

More info here: http://www.lfa-hawaii.org/

The East Rift Art Show Starts Friday

Hawaii Museum Of Contemporary Art’s presents The East Rift Art Show – celebrating alternative contemporary art from tattoos to motorcycles, skateboards to metal-work, The East Rift Art Show rocks Hawaii’s wild side.

Tatoo

Named after the Big Island’s volcanic East Rift Zone – famous for its explosive creation – the East Rift Art Show is the Hawaii Museum of Contemporary Art’s first tag-art exhibition. From the classic hot-rod, rockabilly spray-paint to Hawaii’s dynamic tribal fusion, alternative contemporary art has a vibrant history, but like Hawaii’s volcanoes it’s always changing.

motorcycle

According to Rose Adare, the artist who organized the exhibition, “Graffiti, tagging, body-paint, piercings, tattoos and the art of personal expression not only reflect a unique, and above all valid cultural identity, but are often the first generational introduction of a new emergent style.”

Miscelaneous

Opening night is First Friday, February 7th, 5:30 – 9:30 pm, and features Smack Dab Acoustic, the StarFire Flame Sisters and a provocative body-art fashion show. The East Rift Art show runs from February 8th through February 26th, and features art by Sigmund Alberin, Robert Bennett, John and Rae Butler, Robert Lapkoff, Kristin Lowery, Jacob Arthur Medina, Mydock, Selina Paiva, Roy Ruiz, Leilani Yates and many more. Admission is free, donations appreciated.

The show runs from February 8th through February 26th at the Museum of Contemporary Art at 141 Kalakaua Street in downtown Hilo.  Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 9am-4pm, and Saturday, 9am-5pm. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.