District 4 on Hawaii Island to Receive Almost a Half-Billion Dollars in Capital Improvement Project Funding

Residents of the new North Hawai‘i Senate District 4 were assured they will receive a larger share back of the General Excise Taxes (GET) and Transient Accommodation Taxes (TAT) that this community generates as a result of the passage on final reading today of the 2014 Legislature’s supplemental budget bill, according to District 4 Senator Malama Solomon.

Sen. Malama Solomon

Sen. Malama Solomon

With the passage of this biennium budget (HB 1700 CD1), Sen. District 4 will receive close to a half-billion dollars in Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) — $380M in the first year of the biennium and $100M in this, the second year of the biennium budget, said Sen. Solomon.

District 4 includes Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikōloa, Puakō, Kawaihae and North Kona.

“Up until these past three years, our large district has not received back a fair share of the revenue it generates. After more than 15 years of serious neglect, coupled with population growth and shifting economic and community priorities, our District’s public facilities – schools, parks, agricultural infrastructure, roads and hospitals – are aging and some are in alarming disrepair.  I am very grateful that we were able to secure the support of Senate and House colleagues to fund repairs and, in some cases, make dramatic improvements that will both create short term construction employment, and also enhance quality of life, protect the environment, and address serious health, safety and social needs,” said Sen. Solomon.

Highlights of CIP funding to District 4 include:


  • $1.7M Waimea Irrigation System Improvements
  • $1M Lower Hāmākua Ditch Watershed Project
  • $3.5M Waimea Homestead Community Agricultural Park (Waimea Nui)


  • $9.89M Waimea Middle School (construction and equipment for a 9-Classroom Science-Technology Building)
  • $1,7M Kanu O Ka ‘Āina Learning ‘Ohana (construction of a new community recreation center emergency shelter that would double as a school-community cafeteria and recreation center)
  • $2M Honoka‘a Elementary School (construction of student drop off and parking area)
  • $2M Honoka‘a High School (athletic facility improvements)
  • $300,000 Kealakehe High School (construction of an all‐weather and synthetic track)


  • $33M College of Pharmacy (a new instructional facility)
  • $2.5M Astronomy (modernization and repair of 2.2 meter telescope on Mauna Kea)
  • $500,000 College of Agricultural, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (establish the Hilo International Flight Training Center)


  • $60,000 Kailapa Community Association in Kawaihae (plan for a resource center)


  • $250,000 The Food Basket, Inc. (repairs and maintenance)


  • $1M West Hawai‘i Community Health Center


  • $200,000 Hawai‘i Island Humane Society (construction of the Hawaii Island Animal Community Center)


  • $3,000,000 Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Structure Improvements and Dam Compliance
  • $8,000,000 Waimea District/Regional Park Plans (A 1:1 match with the County of Hawai‘i)


  • $1.9M Kona International Airport at Keahole (south ramp taxiway and ramp improvements)
  • $500,000 Hilo Harbor (modifications to improve navigational safety and operational efficiencies)
  • $2M Wai‘aka Stream Bridge replacement and realignment at Kawaihae Road
  • $2M Highway 130 and Homestead Road intersection improvements
  • $1M Saddle Road Extension from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway
  • $1M Sidewalk Improvements to Māmane Street in Honoka‘a
  • $1M Traffic Operational Improvements to existing intersections and highway facilities

Mamalahoa Highway

  • $6.2M Drainage improvements by Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Ranch Road
  • $4.5M Drainage improvements at Kāwā
  • $810,000 Rehabilitation or replacement of Hīlea Stream Bridge

Belt Road

  • $500,000 Rehabilitation or Replacement of Pāhoehoe Stream Bridge
  • $4.9M Drainage improvements by Hakalau Bridge
  • $1.3M Rehabilitation or replacement of Nīnole Bridge


  • $2M Youth Challenge Academy (upgrade and renovation of Keaukaha Military Reservation)





Big Island Police Identify Body Found This Weekend in Hilo

A body found in Hilo over the weekend has been identified as 48-year-old Jodi L. Masutomi of Hilo. She was identified through fingerprints during an autopsy conducted Tuesday (April 29).

HPDBadgeThe autopsy revealed that her injuries were consistent with a fall from a height. The cause of death is being deferred, however, pending a toxicology report.

A fisherman discovered the body along the shoreline off Hawaiʻi Belt Road in the Wainaku area shortly before midnight Saturday (April 26).

Police have not been able to locate Masutomi’s car, a tan 1997 Toyota Camry four-door sedan, license plate HXP 413.

Police ask anyone with information about the car or anything else about this case to contact Detective Norbert Serrao at 961-2383 or nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number 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.

Hawaii Residents Can See the International Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds). It will be visible beginning tonight, Tue Apr 29 at 7:21 PM.

International Space Station
It will be visible for approximately 4 minutes.  Max Height: 61 degrees, and it will appear in the West Northwest part of the sky and disappear to the South Southeast.

Hawaii Volcano Update – Lava Continues to Advance Through Remote Forest

Lava overflows Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active

Lava flows from two different vents in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater have spilled out of the crater and down the flanks of the cone over the past week. This photo shows the new flow, easy to identify with its light gray color, originating from the south spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater (the spatter cone is visible as a bump on the crater floor). This flow was still active this morning and had traveled a short distance southeast. Another flow, originating from the north spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, is not visible in this photograph.
The north spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater fed a new flow, starting Tuesday evening, that covered much of the northern part of the crater floor and spilled over the crater rim towards the north. The right side of the north spatter cone has been present for many months, but the left side, which was spattering this morning, is new as of this week.
The lava flow from the north spatter cone ran over old cinder deposits from the early fountaining phases of Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the 1980s. Cinders sticking to the front of the pāhoehoe lava were lifted up as the front of the pāhoehoe toes inflated.
The northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater remained active, but the lava pond (featured in many recent photographs posted here) has crusted over, leaving only a small circular opening venting gas.
A closer look at the small opening at the top of the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. Although the lava pond is crusted over, fluid lava is likely present just a short distance below the opening. Delicate lava stalactites have formed just inside the rim.
The lava flow from the north spatter cone, in Puʻu ʻŌʻō, began on Tuesday night and came close to the north rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, where our webcams are situated. Because of this proximity, several of the webcams and other pieces of equipment were moved to higher ground on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.
Despite the recent changes in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater over the past week, the Kahaualeʻa 2 lava flow remains active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and continues to advance slowly through remote forest. The active flow front today was 8.3 km (5.2 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible near the top of the photograph.

Skydive Hawaii #Instagram Photo Contest

Aloha! We are excited to announce our first Instagram photo contest.

skydive hawaii instagram contestBest photo will win a complementary tandem skydive credited to their skydivehawaii.com account.

Here’s how to enter:
1. Follow @skydivehawaii on Instagram.
2. Post a photo of your skydiving experience with Skydive Hawaii.
3. Tag your photo with ‪#‎skydivehawaiicontest‬

Since this is our first contest, the “best” photo will be the one with the most likes by the end of the contest period. We will only accept new photo postings. Contest ends on June 22nd. Winner will be publicly announced July 1st. You may ask questions on this thread.

Good luck!

Paniolo Avenue Extension Opens in Waikoloa

Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi today joined the Waikoloa Village community to celebrate the Paniolo Avenue extension with a blessing that celebrated another new road in West Hawai’i, and fulfillment of a long-standing promise to the Waikoloa community.

Paniolo Ave Extension

The nearly three-quarter mile long road was built by landowner Waikoloa Heights Land Investors, whose principals are Bruce Bell and Jim Zurbuchen. Waikoloa Heights Land Investors agreed to complete the project at the county’s request.

“Two promises were made nearly 26 years ago,” Mayor Kenoi said. “Those promises were that the county would build affordable housing for Waikoloa Beach Resort workers, and that Paniolo Avenue would be extended. Today those promises have been fulfilled.”

The road extends from the Ho’oko Street traffic light near Waikoloa School to the Kamakoa Nui subdivision and Kamakoa Nui Park.

The extension of Paniolo Avenue was first promised in March 1988, when former landowner Transcontinental Development deeded to the county 300 acres to meet an affordable housing requirement for Waikoloa Beach Resort. That deed agreement included a requirement that the Paniolo Avenue extension be built within five years. The obligation to construct the road passed to present landowner Waikoloa Heights Land Investors in July 1990.

As the county completed its first affordable housing units in Kamakoa Nui, the County expressed to WHLI the need for the Paniolo Avenue extension. WHLI agreed late last year to complete an interim road in conjunction with its overall plans for the Waikoloa Heights residential subdivision.

In the years ahead, the two-lane road constructed by Goodfellow Brothers Inc. will be widened to a four-lane road with connections to Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway and Kawaihae Road.

Commentary – Young and Sober Club First Meeting Pushed Back… Hit By Drunk Driver on Way to Meeting

I would like to announce the first meeting of the Young and Sober Club will be Saturday, May 3, at 3PM at Panaewa Zoo. This group is a social gathering of people ages 16-30 who are drug, alcohol and tobacco free. With all the focus on legalizing marijuana, people forget that you don’t need to be stoned to have fun. The Young and Sober Club is designed to give young people a choice.

This is the second time we are having a first meeting of the club. The last time we were going to meet, a couple of weeks ago, I was hit by a drunk driver at the Pahoa traffic light intersection. How’s that for ironies! Hit by a drunk driver on the way to a Young and Sober Club meeting!

Fortunately, nobody in my car was hurt, although there is more than $10,000 damage to my car. The drunk driver was arrested for DUI and his drunk passenger was sent to the hospital.

At first, our social club was to be for people 18-30 who want to meet other sober friends and have social gatherings where you aren’t having to say no to offers of alcohol, weed, or worse. Growing up in Hawaii is a challenge for someone who is drug and alcohol free. You can smell weed as you pass cars or go to the beach. It’s everywhere, and the pressure to use it is high. Young people need to have healthy ways of having fun, too, and meet other young people who are sober.

But we decided to lower the age to 16 since that’s the age when people start driving. Auto accidents are the number one killer of young people. And the recent accident I just had is a reminder that being sober is not only a personal decision. It affects everyone you come in contact with, especially on the road. (By the way, the guy who hit me was over 30.) Parents are welcome to attend our meetings.

We plan on meeting at different interesting places each week and do all sorts of activities, depending on the interests of the members. This is a FREE event. So come and check us out at the zoo this Saturday at 3. For more information and to find out about future meetings, call me at 443-4750.

Solomon Singer

Nobel Prize Winners in Medicine to Speak at UH Cancer Center Monday

Co-recipients of the 2011 Nobel Prize in medicine will headline a roster of experts focusing on bridging the U.S. and Asia in the fight against cancer during this year’s Weinman Symposium at the University of Hawai’i Cancer Center.

The Symposium takes place on May 5 in the Sullivan Conference Center at the Cancer Center in Kaka’ako, and is free and open to the public. The speaker roster includes Ann Chao, PhD, who grew up on the Big Island and today serves as Director of Cancer Research Programs, East Asia, with the Center for Global Health of the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Ann Chao

Dr. Ann Chao

“This year’s theme highlights cancer as a global health issue, and shows the pivotal role Hawaii plays in the international efforts to prevent, detect, and treat cancer,” said Dr. Michele Carbone, director of the Cancer Center. “Researchers in Hawai’i collaborate with scientists across the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region, and that benefits everyone.”

Dr. Jules A. Hoffmann

Dr. Jules A. Hoffmann

The Nobel laureates speaking at the symposium are Jules A. Hoffmann, PhD, professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Studies and an Exceptional Class Research Director (emeritus) at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in Strasbourg, France, and Dr. Bruce A. Beutler, Regental Professor and director for the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense, and holder of the Raymond and Ellen Willie Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research, in Honor of Laverne and Raymond Willie, Sr., at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Dr. Bruce A. Beutler

Dr. Bruce A. Beutler

Drs. Hoffmann, Beutler and Ralph M. Steinman won the 2011 Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology for their work on discovering underlying mechanisms that trigger activation of innate immunity. The Nobel committee cited their work for opening up new fields of research that could improve vaccination and treatment against infection, cancer and inflammatory diseases.

The Weinman Symposium is supported by the generosity of the Weinman Foundation. In 2010, Barry and Virginia Weinman of Honolulu created the Weinman Foundation Fund for Innovation at the UH Cancer Center with a $1.7 million gift. This fund makes it possible for the Center to invite prominent leaders in cancer research to Hawaiʻi every year. These globally-recognized experts are selected for their work in cancer research and its successful translation into therapy and care. While here, they work with the Cancer Center and establish research collaborations with the faculty.

The Cancer Center faculty winner of the $50,000 Weinman Innovator Award, which recognizes researchers developing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to treating cancer, will be announced at the event.

The UH Cancer Center is one of 68 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, the center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care. Learn more at www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

Hawaii Public Charter School Network Announces Complete List of Awardees

Hawaii Public Charter School Network (HPCSN) proudly announced the complete list of awardees who will be honored at the 2013-2014 Hawaii Charter Schools Awards on Thursday, May 15, 2014.

Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network“We are excited to host our third annual Hawaii Charter School Awards dinner and to be able to recognize the direct and meaningful impact that public charter schools and those involved with public charter schools have in their community,” said Lynn Finnegan, executive director, Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network.

The final list includes three peer-nominated categories, Governing Board Member of the Year, Leader of the Year and Circle of Teaching Excellence.  Winners are as follows:

  • HPCSN Legislators of the Year – Senator Jill Tokuda and Representative Ken Ito
  • HCPSN Community Partner of the Year – Karen Street, First Insurance Company of Hawaii
  • Charter School of the Year – Na Wai Ola Waters of Life Public Charter School, Mountain View, Hawaii
  • Most Improved Charter School – Kamaile Academy Public Charter School, Waianae, Oahu
  • Creating New Best Practices – Kona Pacific Public Charter School, Kealakekua, Hawaii and Ke Kula o Nawahiokalaniopuu Iki Lab Public Charter School, Keaau, Hawaii
  • Governing Board Member of the Year – K. Kehau Glassco, Ke Kula o Samuel Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School, Kaneohe, Hawaii
  • Leader of the Year – Mahina Paishon-Duarte, Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Circle of Teaching Excellence – Jonathan Kissida, Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science, Pahoa, Hawaii and Leesa Foreman, West Hawaii Explorations Academy Public Charter School, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

The dinner is open to the public and tickets can be purchased by phone at 808-380-6403 or online at 2014hawaiicharterschoolawards.eventbrite.com.


Hawaii Supreme Court Takes Oral Argument to Big Island

Today, the Hawaii Supreme Court heard oral arguments at the Kealakehe High School Gymnasium before an audience of approximately 600 students from Kealakehe High School, Kohala High School, Konawaena High School, Kau High School, Kua O Ka La New Century Public Charter School, Makua Lani Christian Academy and West Hawaii Explorations Academy, as well as members of the public.

Approximately 600 students watched a Hawaii Supreme Court oral argument in Kailua-Kona. After the proceeding, the students had the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with the justices.

Approximately 600 students watched a Hawaii Supreme Court oral argument in Kailua-Kona. After the proceeding, the students had the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with the justices.

It was part of the Judiciary’s Courts in the Community outreach program, which educates students and informs the general public about the Judiciary’s role in government and its function in resolving disputes in a democratic society.

The court heard oral arguments in Molfino v. Yuen. The oral argument was followed by two separate question-and-answer sessions for the students; one with the attorneys and another with the five justices.

“We wanted to take an oral argument, which would have otherwise been held in Honolulu, and bring it to the West Hawaii community. This gives students the opportunity to go beyond the textbooks and experience a Supreme Court oral argument in person,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. “We thank the teachers and the West Hawaii Bar Association for their time, commitment, and partnership in making today possible.”

To prepare for the oral argument, the participating juniors and seniors from each high school studied a curriculum developed by the Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center and the Students for Public Outreach and Civic Education of the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law. The students’ study was followed by a moot court activity facilitated by members of the West Hawaii Bar Association. The Hawaii State Bar Association and the Hawaii State Bar Foundation generously provided the students with lunches and transportation to and from Kealakehe High School.