RIP Braddah Dennis Kamakahi

I’m saddened to learn that Hawaii has lost a legend in musical history here in Hawaii today.

Rest In Peace Rev. Dennis Kamakahi.

I took this picture of him in 2012 with Stephen Inglis after they won a Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Slack Key Album of the Year:

WAIMAKA HELELEI, Dennis Kamakahi and Stephen Inglis (Aumakua)

Stephen Inglis and Dennis Kamakahi in 2012 after winning a Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Slack Key Album of the Year

Hawaii Teacher Wins National Distinguished Principal Award

A 20-year veteran administrator with the Hawaii State Department of Education has been named the state’s top principal for 2014 by the Hawaii Elementary and Middle School Administrators Association (HEMSAA). Duwayne Abe, who has been principal at Salt Lake Elementary School since 2002, was selected as Hawaii’s National Distinguished Principal at a weekend luncheon at the Hale Koa Hotel.


Duwayne Abe

The other nominees were:

•Rochelle Mahoe (Honolulu District, Noelani Elementary),
•Stacie Kunihisa (Leeward District, Kanoelani Elementary),
•Pua McElhaney (Windward District, Enchanted Lake Elementary), and
•Sherry Gonsalves (Kauai District, Kilauea Elementary)

“Principals are vital to every successful educational system,” said Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “Each of these administrators has demonstrated exceptional leadership in their communities and we are sincerely grateful to them for the enormous efforts they put in to ensuring our students and teachers succeed at the highest levels.”

Abe has served in an administrative capacity at Salt Lake Elementary since 1998, when he was appointed vice principal. He was appointed principal in 2002. Prior to Salt Lake Elementary, he served as vice principal at Miliani Mauka. Salt Lake Elementary enrolls 800 students, and Abe attributes his school’s achievements to a focus on student learning and staff success. Currently, Salt Lake Elementary School has five Nationally Board Certified teachers on its staff.

“Every school faces the challenge of how to address the diverse student population,” said Principal Abe. “Making sure that all students are learning and making gains toward reaching their potential is our goal at Salt Lake Elementary.”

Abe and other award-winning principals will travel to Washington, D.C., in October to attend a two-day event honoring their accomplishments. The event will include opportunities to discuss issues current education issues, and a black-tie awards dinner and dance.

The National Distinguished Principals Program is sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and HEMSAA. The National Distinguished Principals Program reflects the key role that a principal plays in shaping the learning environment within a school.

$800k Approved for Puna District Regional Library

The Hawaii State Legislature has appropriated $800,000 in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for the feasibility study, planning, and design components for a new Puna District Regional Library, acknowledging the values of reading, education, and lifelong learning that held in high regard by the residents of Puna. Currently, the Puna District currently has a shared library system that limits the availability of resources to residents of the district.

Senate Ways and Means Committee visits the Pahoa Public Library

Senate Ways and Means Committee visits the Pahoa Public Library

Senator Russell Ruderman identified the Puna Library as one of his top CIP priorities for 2014 stating that, “Libraries are a crucial link to literacy and learning which preserve the diverse cultural heritage here in Hawai‘i. We recognize the vital role that libraries play as cornerstones in our community, and this appropriation of $800,000 for the Puna District Regional Library will establish a welcomed community resource for the Puna District and neighboring areas.

Senate Ways and Means Committee discusses things outside the Pahoa Public Library

Senate Ways and Means Committee discusses things outside the Pahoa Public Library

These services are especially critical for rural and economically challenged areas such as Puna, and will provide pathways to improve educational and economic status. The Puna District Regional Library will be a modern facility that goes way beyond books. It will include digital, A/V, e-book, and computer resources that will directly contribute to the health and wellbeing of children, teens, seniors, while serving the community as a whole.”


$750,000 For Puna Community Medical Center Emergency Room Approved

On Friday April 25, 2014, the Hawaii State Legislature appropriated $750,000 for a new emergency room facility for the Puna Community Medical Center.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee outside the Puna Community Medical Center

The Senate Ways and Means Committee outside the Puna Community Medical Center

This Capital Improvement Project (CIP) will fund the feasibility study, planning, and the design components for a full service emergency room to serve the Puna District. Currently, the closest emergency room facilities are located in Hilo.

The building of an emergency room facility in Puna is a top priority for Senator Russell Ruderman, whose district is the fastest growing in the state of Hawai‘i.

“I greatly appreciate that the development of this much needed facility in Puna can now move forward with this CIP funding. As the population of Puna continues to climb, the demand for emergency services has also increased significantly.” said Senator Russell Ruderman. “The funding for a new emergency room and related services will provide the Puna District and surrounding areas with a facility that can effectively address the needs of our residents and will save more lives by significantly reducing travel time to a ER.”


UH Hilo Students File Ethics Complaint Against UHSA Election Committee

A group of seven University of Hawaii Hilo students have filed a group ethics complaint against the University of Hawaii Student Association Election Committee alleging the university has an institutional environment that fosters unfair practices.

These students have filed an ethics complaint against the UH Hilo Election Committee.

These students have filed an ethics complaint against the UH Hilo Election Committee.


We, students of UH Hilo have been wrongfully discriminated against by the University of Hawaii Student Association Election Committee consisting of Yuri Zhuraw and Joyce Pulega Auau under the advice of Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano. We were informed on Thursday, April 24, 2014 that the 7 of us running for student government have been ‘disqualified’ for violating the Election Code. No specifics were given, no warnings, no appeal process, no response. This is an example of an institutional environment that fosters unfair practices.

Numerous complaints were made against the election committee and the unfair advice of Ellen Kusano (see individual complaints below). One student had a piece of paper grabbed from his hands by an election official. Another student with a disability was told he could not use a piece of paper with endorsed candidates, became discouraged, and did not vote. Another student was disqualified to run for office the day after the election, after she had been confirmed as a candidate weeks prior. UH Hilo students deserve better. We are the shareholders of the university and we call for UH Hilo to be fair, open, and transparent.


We call for the UH Hilo Student Association Election Committee to rescind their decision of ‘disqualification.’ We call for an open, fair, and transparent vote count. We call for a censure of Ellen Kusano, and ask that she be removed from any position where she has influence over students. We call for UHHSA to select and pay for a professional student government adviser and clerk and allow student government autonomy.


UH Hilo student candidates:

Glenn Aanstoos          Ryu Kakazu
Josh Boranian             Chantelle Mashregry
Jarod Campbell           Ardena Saarinen

Election Complaints:

UHHSA Election Complaint

April 25, 2014

At 9:49pm on April 24, 2014 I received a notification from UHHSA stating that I was disqualified from the campaign.

I filled out all of the paperwork that I was given in the election packet.

In the packet it states ‘candidates would be notified of eligibility by April 11.’

I received an eligibility confirmation on April 10.

In the packet it states, ‘Failure to attend mandatory meeting would be disqualified if not provided a alternate.’ Ryu Kakazu attended the meeting for me as my alternate and as my paperwork reflected, recorded the meeting for me, and I then listened to that recording.

I feel that my disqualification is outrageous and deceptive practice of the organization where they tell us their philosophy is fair open and honest is certainly questionable and I do not feel this is fair treatment. I feel like the UHHSA Election Committee changed the rules as they wanted.

Ardena Saarinen

UH Student


Election Complaint

April 25, 2014

On 11am Wednesday, April 24, 2014 I went to vote in the student government elections. I had a paper with me with the names of the people I wanted to vote for. I was told at the table that I could not use the paper. I have a disability that limits my short term memory. I left the table discouraged. My caretaker, Stephen Paulmier approached the table and told them that I had a disability and should be allowed to use my paper to vote. The election official agreed that I could use the paper. By that time I was discouraged and left without voting. I hope the election process can be improved in the future for disabled people.

Thank you,

Keola Benjamin

UH Student



Re: Election Complaint

April 24, 2014

Hello, my name is Joshua Boranian and I am running for the senator seat of the CAFNRM. Over the past two days I was actively campaigning. Spending meager amounts of money to print my ideals I was willing to work for and my name on a small piece of paper to hand out to students. Not just passing out paper but asking for a minute to explain my platform and if they agreed I expressed the importance of voting for me. I was shocked to learn that they were turning students away from the voting table for holding this piece of paper, or straight snatching the paper out of students hands under the claim that this was unethical campaigning. How is that unethical campaigning? In fact, on the last page of the election packet I received from UHHSA says to “consider making handouts or stickers for campaigning on the voting days.” I feel that not only I was being discouraged from participating in a democratic process but the student body was too.  Many students complained to me about their voting experience ranging from no privacy, no signage, being told to throw away the paper before voting, having the paper taken away from them forcefully, etc. What I want to know is why the workers of the voting table were following these rules and who handed them these guidelines? I feel student rights were being violated on multiple levels and now distrust me and the organization I am trying to be elected into. Whoever is in charge needs to express why they felt this was the right thing to do and apologize. I hope that this distrust that has developed doesn’t continue as it will only hinder student and student government relations.

Thank you for your time to review my concerns.


Joshua Boranian

UH Hilo Student College of Agriculture


Formal Election Complaint UHHSA

April 24, 2014

I, Ryu Kakazu, hereby make a formal complaint to the UH Hilo Student Association Election Committee, The UH Hilo Student Association, Campus Center, and the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs office.I called the UHHSA office today, Thursday, April 24th, at 9:21am, the day after the UHHSA elections, and was told by Johan that the ballot box location was confidential. Johan went on to say that only the two members of the UHHSA Election Committee has access to the ballot box. Johan told me that he got his information from Yuri, who is on the Election Committee. I asked to speak to Yuri and Yuri refused to speak with me. I told Johan that I would like to make a formal complaint about the lack of transparency with the election process. From actions demonstrated throughout the UHHSA election process over the past two days I do not have confidence that the ballots will remain untampered. I request that the location of ballot box be made public, that its security is verified, and that observers be allowed to participate in the counting process.


Ryu Kakazu
UH Hilo student CAS


Election Complaint
April 24, 2014

At around 2:30pm on Tuesday, April 22 at the election area I was told by the people working at the election table that I would have to put my endorsement ticket away. They told me that I wasn’t able to look at it. I was shocked that I was told this like I don’t have the right to access my own private property. I have friends who were told they were not able to access their endorsement list while voting and they became discouraged and never ended up voting. The next day I witnessed Ellen Kusano telling the people working at the election table that, ‘If a student comes with one of these [endorsement tickets] please ask them if they will throw it away because it is improper in the voting area, if they don’t want to they don’t have to.’ I was surprised to hear her advising UHHSA members to knowingly discourage students to do something that is within their rights.

Thank you,
Jarod Campbell

Student- University of Hawaii at Hilo


UH Hilo Election Complaint
April 24, 2014

Aloha UHHSA,

I am running for Senator at Large for UHHSA. I was told by Ellen Kusano on Wednesday, April 23, the second day of the UHHSA elections that it was unethical for me to hand out endorsement papers. I was outside of the voting area, employing my democratic rights. I was insulted that Mrs. Kusano, an authority figure on campus, called my legitimate actions unethical.

The same day I witnessed a student with a learning disability being told that he wasn’t able to have his endorsement ticket with him while voting, and that he would have to remember the names on the ticket away from the table, and then return to vote. The student suffers from a learning disability affecting his short term memory. He was embarrassed from having this highlighted and ultimately discouraged from voting.

Many people were discouraged from voting because of the aggressive attitude demonstrated by UHHSA senators working at the election table. It was clear that they were being instructed by Ellen Kusano.

Thank you for hearing my complaint,

Chantelle ​Mashreghy

UH Hilo student


Election Complaint

April 25, 2014

I went to vote in the UHHSA elections around 12:30pm on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. I had my endorsement list in my hand that was given to me by a trusted friend. I wanted to

vote for the people on the list. Yuri Zhuraw physically grabbed the paper from out of my hand and told me that there is no campaign material in the election area. I was not campaigning nor do I consider the endorsement ticket ‘campaign material.’ I felt assaulted. I told Yuri that I thought it was disrespectful that he had done that. He could

have simply told me something without taking my property. I hope in the future the UHHSA election process could be run with more respect for students.


Nathan Clark

UH Hilo Student

You can view their group complaint here: group ethics complaint

Hawaii Voters May Be Able to Register to Vote on Election Day

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is delighted that HB 2590  passed out of conference committee thus paving the way for final reading this Tuesday, April 29th. HB2590

HB 2590 will permit voter registration at absentee walk-in voting centers in 2016, and voter registration on Election Day at local precinct polling sites in 2018. These changes will make it more convenient to register to vote in Hawaii.

“The League congratulates the conferees on taking this important step to help Hawaii vote and urges the Legislature to pass this important measure in final reading,” said Piilani Kaopuiki, President.  “We fully expect our County Clerks will successfully implement these changes for the benefit of voters.  Hawaii is now poised for a turnaround in its poor election turnout of recent years.”


Hawaii Senate and House to Meet in Special Procedures

The Senate and the House have agreed to meet in special procedures for certain 2014 Regular Session Committees on Conference.


WHO: Joint Senate-House Conference Committees

They include:

WHEN: MONDAY, APRIL 28, 2014, 4 P.M.,

WHERE: Conference Room 329, State Capitol, 415 South Beretania Street

Governor Abercrombie to Sign Industrial Hemp Bill

On Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 3 pm, in the Office of the Governor, Governor Abercrombie will officially sign SB2175 into law. SB2175 authorizes the University of Hawaii at Manoa to establish a two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel research program.

Click to view bill

Click to view bill

This year, the United States Senate approved the Agriculture Act of 2014, also known as the “Farm Bill,” and industrial hemp is now allowed to be grown for research purposes. According to the National Farm Bill, any university can now grow industrial hemp without obtaining a Drug Enforcement Agency permit. Twenty-two other states, including Colorado and Oregon, have passed legislation relating to industrial hemp similar to Hawaii’s SB2175.

State Representative Cynthia Thielen has long been a proponent of industrial hemp because the economic capabilities of the crop will be a great asset for the State and will promote self-sustainability. In addition to hemp being used to decontaminate soil, hemp can also be processed into building materials.
“Hempcrete, a hemp and lime composite, is termite proof, making it an excellent choice for the construction industry,” declared Representative Cynthia Thielen.

Representative Thielen notes, “There is a huge global market for hemp and the U.S. is the largest consumer at nearly $500 million per year. The passage of SB2175 is the first step for Hawaii to become a national and global player in the hemp market. We could profit hugely off this environmentally friendly crop.”

Big Island Police Initiate Coroner’s Inquest in Connection with Body Found in Hilo

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a coroner’s inquest case in connection with a body found in Hilo over the weekend.

HPDBadgeSouth Hilo patrol officers responded to an 11:42 p.m. call Saturday (April 26) and received information that a fisherman had discovered a body along the shoreline off Hawaiʻi Belt Road in the Wainaku area.

The body, believed to be that of a female Caucasian, has not been identified.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section, who are reviewing missing person cases, have not ruled out foul play. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday (April 29), to determine the cause of death and to attempt identification of the victim.

Hawaii Ranked 7th in Solar Electric Power Association Analysis

The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) this morning named the Top 10 American electric utilities that in 2013 added the most new solar power to their systems and the most solar on a watts-per-customer basis.


This annual ranking, which identifies the companies that are integrating solar into the nation’s power grid, is part of the seventh annual Utility Solar Rankings report.

The full report, which will be released in June 2014, identifies leading solar industry trends such as total installed capacity, market share and industry growth rates.

Utilities ranking in this year’s SEPA Top 10 by Solar Megawatt accounted for 82 percent of all capacity integrated in 2013, up from 73 percent in 2012.

The top three leading implementers of utility solar in the Megawatt rankings hail from the western half of the United States:

  1. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)
  2.  San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E)
  3. Arizona Public Service (APS).

Rounding out the Megawatt list are:

  • Southern California Edison (SCE)
  • Duke Energy Progress
  • National Grid
  • Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G)
  • Hawaiian Electric Company
  • Georgia Power
  • Duke Energy Carolinas.

Six of the ten utilities were previously ranked in 2012. Newcomers to the list include Duke Energy Progress, National Grid, and Georgia Power. This is the sixth year that Pacific Gas and Electric Company has topped the list.

“We are firmly committed to renewable energy and solar is a vital part of California’s energy mix,” said Steve Malnight, PG&E’s Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions. “Given both PG&E’s large-scale solar procurement and our customers’ ongoing support of solar and other clean technologies, we are confident we will continue to be a renewable energy leader.”

The SEPA Top 10 Solar Watts-Per-Customer rankings take into account the number of customers each utility serves relative to its solar megawatts installed, giving small utilities a   means to measure the relative intensity of their solar energy capacity on an equal footing with any other utility, regardless of size.

Leading the Solar Watts-Per-Customer rankings is Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD), a public power utility in Massachusetts that serves 3,700 customers. Following Sterling is San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E), and a second public power utility, Silicon Valley Power. The remaining Top 10 providers include Arizona Public Service(APS), Hawaiian Electric Company, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Hawaii Electric Light, Maui Electric Company, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), and Imperial Irrigation District (IID). In the Solar Watts-Per-Customer rankings the Hawaiian utilities and Imperial Irrigation District from California were in the top ten in 2012 as well.

“We are very excited to be receiving recognition for our solar program,” said Sean Hamilton, general manager, Sterling Municipal Light Department. “We owe the success of the program to our entire community of staff, supporters and partners.  The Sterling Light Commission, employees, Sterling Selectmen and Planning Board, our business partners, E.H. Perkins, CES Sterling LLC, INDU Solar Holdings, groSolar, as well as many others, all played a role in creating a public-private partnership that included an educational piece for our local schools. This achievement is something the whole town can be proud of for many years to come.”

“We are thrilled to see milestones surpassed and barriers broken from coast to coast,” said Julia Hamm, president and CEO of SEPA. “It’s truly inspiring to see utility partners and their consumer communities rally around implementing solar programs that are changing the nature of our national energy portfolio.”

For additional information:

The complete rankings can be found here

$2.2 Million in Safe Routes to School Grants Awarded

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is pleased to announce the following Safe Routes To School (SRTS) grant awards. Applications were received and grants awarded in each county statewide.

Safe Routes

Applications for these projects were submitted during HDOT’s third round call for applications for SRTS federal funds provided by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). SRTS grants are awarded in two categories: Non-Infrastructure and Infrastructure Projects.

Non-Infrastructure Projects:

  • Fern Elementary School, Oahu, was awarded $46,933 for the Fern Elementary School SRTS Project. The project will consist of pedestrian and bicycle safety education, a walking school bus program, and school meetings and flyers to educate parents and neighbors of Fern Elementary School. In addition, the project will include a media campaign of 30-second radio spots written and recorded by students.
  • PATH – Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii, a non-profit organization, was awarded $20,094 for the Putting Our Plans to Work Project. The project will provide bicycle education at West Hawaii Explorations Academy and pedestrian education, bicycle education and sign waving at Keonepoko Elementary School. Also, the project will establish new walking school bus routes at Waimea Elementary School and Waikoloa Elementary School on Hawaii Island.
  • The University of Hawaii at Manoa Office of Public Health Studies was awarded $24,630 for the Get Fit Kauai SRTS Project. The project will consist of bicycle education at Kapaa Elementary School and King Kaumualii Elementary School, as well as a comprehensive media plan that will include print and radio.

Infrastructure Projects:

  • The County of Kauai Public Works Department was awarded $251,500 for the Island-Wide Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) Crosswalks and Sidewalk Improvements Project. The Project will install RRFB systems near Kalaheo Elementary School, Kekaha Elementary School and Kapaa Middle School. In addition, a new sidewalk will be constructed along the east side of Alae Road from Kaumualii Highway to Iwipolena Street near Kekaha Elementary School.
  • The County of Kauai Public Works Department was awarded $416,540 for the King Kaumualii SRTS Phase 1 Project. The project will install RRFB systems at two existing school crosswalks on Hanamaulu Road. The project will also construct new sidewalks along Hoohana Street from Laukona Street to Akuili Street, Akuili Street from Hoohana Street to Hanamaulu Road, and the north-side of Hanamaulu Road from King Kaumualii Elementary to Hanamaulu Place. In addition, a new median on Hanamaulu Road at the school entrance and a striped crosswalk at the school exit will be provided.
  • The County of Kauai Public Works Department was awarded $490,875 for the Koloa Safe Routes Phase 2 Project. The project will replace the existing sidewalk on Poipu Road fronting Koloa Elementary School, construct new sidewalk on the east-side of Poipu Road from Waikomo Road to Blakes Lane, and extend the existing sidewalk on Paanau Road west to Hikina Road. The project will also extend existing bike lanes on Poipu Road from Koloa Road to Waikomo Road and from Blakes Lane approximately 1,000 feet south.
  • The County of Maui Public Works Department was awarded $502,443 for the Paia School Frontage Improvements Project. The project will construct new sidewalk along the south-side of Baldwin Avenue from Anohou Street to Paia Gym, and the frontage of Paia School. The project will also provide a new sidewalk from the alleyway off the Haawina Street and Palekana Street intersection within Skill Village to the existing Paia Gym parking lot.
  • The County of Maui Public Works Department was awarded $455,495 for the Paia School Sidewalk Improvements Project. The project will replace and widen the existing sidewalk from Paia Gym to Paia School.

SRTS is an international effort to increase safety and promote walking and bicycling to and from school. The federally-funded SRTS program was established by Section 1404 of SAFETEA-LU and signed into law in 2005. For more information on the SRTS federal program in Hawaii, please visit

Paradise Roller Girls Presents “SuperHeroes vs. SuperVillains”

ATTENTION ordinary citizens of mankind!  Get ready for an epic battle of good vs. evil, the fate of our universe depends on it!  Paradise Roller Girls presents their roller derby themed bout of the season “SuperHeroes vs. SuperVillains” on Friday May 9 at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.  Doors open at 6 pm, battle kicks off at 7 pm.


Come out and support the rivals by dressing up as your favorite comic book Superhero or SuperVillain and join our costume contest at halftime!  It guarantees to be enjoyable and action-packed fun for the whole family!!!

Tickets are just $5, keiki 5 years old and under are free, get it now at one of our outlets on the East side of the Big Island: Lucy’s Taqueria, Mt. View Village Video, Hilo Town Tavern, CD Wizard (add $1 surcharge,) and Jungle Love in Pahoa.  Also online at, hit up your favorite derby girl, or at the door the night of the event.  Concession will be available inside, please no strollers, coolers, or beverage containers.  Don’t forget to stop by our merch booths for your favorite derby swaaaaag!!!  Other vendors will be available as well.

We will be giving away tickets to some of the Superheroes in our community, Hilo’s Firefighters.  Also we will be encouraging the future Superheroes of the next generation, our keiki, by distributing 1,200 tickets to local kids through schools, sports teams, and other organizations.  If you would like to get some for your youth team or group please go to our Facebook page and send us a message with requested number of tickets and the name of your team or group.

Paradise Roller Girls is a WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) league based out of Hilo Hawai`i and adheres to the association’s rules and regulations; an association of diverse skaters of all ages and backgrounds whose mission is to promote a healthy and athletic lifestyle who serves in our community through the alternative sport of roller derby!

Big ups to our sponsors, House Mart Ace Hardware, Hawai`i Life Real Estate Brokers, Team Nakanishi, and ProVision Solar Inc.

For more information on upcoming events, referees/officiating, recruitment, volunteer opportunities, Junior roller derby, bout vendor booths and more go to  Don’t forget to LIKE US on Facebook and follow us on Instagram @paradiserollergirls to keep up with the latest happenings of roller derby in our community!!!