19th Annual Keiki Surf For The Earth Competition

BodyGlove Hawaii is a proud sponsor of the 19th Annual Keiki Surf for Earth competition coming up on Saturday May 17th at Kohanaiki:
Keiki Surf for the Earth

Statement From Piiholo Zipline Company Regarding Today’s Death

Statement from Piiholo Zipline company regarding the death that happened at the zipline company today:
Piiholo Ranch Zipline

The Piiholo Zipline Ohana expresses its condolences and sympathy to those involved in today’s tragic event. We especially offer our deepest aloha and prayers to the family and friends of our co-worker Patricia “Trish” Rabellizsa at this difficult time. We are working in full cooperation with the Maui Police Department’s ongoing investigation.

14 Graduates Honored at the 55th Drug Court Graduation

The Hawaii State Supreme Courtroom was packed with friends, family and supporters as 14 individuals were recognized today by First Circuit Drug Court Judge Steven Alm for successfully completing the Hawaii Drug Court program.

 Pictured above are 14 Drug Court graduates along with First Circuit Drug Court Judge Steven Alm, Drug Court Administrator Janice Bennett and Drug Court Counselor Elvira Ajanovic.

Pictured above are 14 Drug Court graduates along with First Circuit Drug Court Judge Steven Alm, Drug Court Administrator Janice Bennett and Drug Court Counselor Elvira Ajanovic.

Judge Alm congratulated the graduates and said, “Right now, we have 210 people in the Hawaii Drug Court. Many of you may have been headed to prison, but you chose to take the road to recovery and turn your life around. You have a lot to be proud of.”

Before each graduate was called up to receive his or her certificate, Drug Court Administrator Janice Bennett offered some perspective on each individual’s journey. Here is the story she read about graduate Vernon Schmidt: “Vernon entered the program on November 13, 2012. At the time of his admission, he was 50 years old and had been using drugs and alcohol since he was 15 years old. He said he was homeless, separated from his family and just felt broken.”

“Vernon’s commitment to his recovery is evident because he is graduating without a single program violation. That means never late for an appointment or group session and never missing or failing a drug test. Vernon now has a closer relationship with his family, works full-time in the Laborer’s Union, and is a responsible member of the community,” Bennett continued.

Vernon Schmidt is pictured above receiving a lei from Drug Court Counselor Elvira Ajanovic at this afternoon’s graduation ceremony.

Vernon Schmidt is pictured above receiving a lei from Drug Court Counselor Elvira Ajanovic at this afternoon’s graduation ceremony.

“Thank you to Judge Alm for giving me the privilege to not only be responsible, but to be held accountable,” said Drug Court graduate Vernon Schmidt. “We are all modern day miracles,” Schmidt said to his fellow graduates. “The miracle happened in our very lives,” he added.

Offenders in the drug court program have immediate access to a court-based intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment program which also provides intensive case management and probation supervision. Program services include frequent and random drug and alcohol testing, employment and housing assistance, random home visits, strict curfew monitoring, mental health evaluation and treatment, and most importantly, frequent review hearings before the drug court judge.

“Thank you to Judge Alm for giving me the privilege to not only be responsible, but to be held accountable,” said Drug Court graduate Vernon Schmidt. “We are all modern day miracles,” Schmidt said to his fellow graduates. “The miracle happened in our very lives,” he added.

Offenders in the drug court program have immediate access to a court-based intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment program which also provides intensive case management and probation supervision. Program services include frequent and random drug and alcohol testing, employment and housing assistance, random home visits, strict curfew monitoring, mental health evaluation and treatment, and most importantly, frequent review hearings before the drug court judge.

Since it was established in 1995, the program has admitted 1,272 offenders. 210 offenders are currently participating and 785 have successfully graduated, with an overall completion rate of 79%.

Buy Local – Enter Contest at Ka’u Coffee Fest

Focusing on the local products, resources and people of the majestic district of Ka‘u, the sixth annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival is May 2-11. Taste, see and enjoy Ka‘u crops—and meet the hard-working people who grow them—during numerous activities at several venues over the 10-day festival.

coffee fest

Enter the “Buy Local, It Matters” contest for a chance to win! Simply bring a receipt, product label or business card from one of the event’s local sponsors. Details at www.kaucoffeefestival.com.

The new Pa‘ina Open House kicks off the fun May 2, followed by Taste Success: the 4th Ka‘u Farmers Table at Kalaekilohana Inn and Retreat May 3. Ka’u Coffee Mill is the location of activities May 4 with The Triple C Recipe Contest—starring Ka‘u coffee in cookies, crackers and cakes—and the Miss Ka’u Coffee Pageant.

Explore the agricultural district’s plans for hydroelectric power on the Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike May 7. Coffee & Cattle Day offers a tour through a working ranch with a buffet lunch and Ka‘u Star Gazing are May 9.

Festival fun culminates 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May 10 at the free Pahala Community Center. On Saturday, enjoy the Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of Hawaiian performing arts, broke ‘da mouth local food, crafts, product and informational booths and guided coffee tastings. Coffee farm tours, with van transport, are $20.

Ho‘olaule‘a performers include Bolo, Keoki & the ‘Ukulele Kids, Demetrius Olivera and Keaiwa, Hands of Time, Moses & Eunice, Halau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu of Volcano with Kumu Hula Ab Kawainohoikala‘i Valencia, plus Halau Hula O Leionalani with Kumu Debbie Ryder.

coffee fest

On Sunday, May 11, the Ka‘u Coffee College offers seminars by leaders in the specialty coffee industry: Mark Inman, a seed-to-cup sustainability pioneer and Blake Hanacek, a proponent of sustainable rural development and agribusiness management.  Also appearing is Robert Curtiss, plant pest control manager with the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. Admission is free, donations appreciated.

All activities are open to the public; for details on ticketed events and full festival info, visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Hulihe’e Event Rembembers King Kamehameha IV

The Daughters of Hawai‘i and Calabsh Cousins present Afternoon at Hulihe‘e 4 p.m. Sunday, May 18 at Hulihe‘e Palace to remember the late King Kamehameha IV. Enjoy the voices of the Merrie Monarchs and performing arts by Kumu Hula Etua Lopes and his Halau Na Pua U‘i O Hawai‘i.

Kamehameha IV, King of Hawaii, 1834-1863. Hawaii State Archives

Kamehameha IV, King of Hawaii, 1834-1863. Hawaii State Archives

Afternoon at Hulihe‘e is part of the palace’s series of free monthly concerts that honor Hawai‘i’s past monarchs and historical figures; donations are appreciated. Kindly bring a beach mat or chair as seating won’t be provided.

King Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho) was 21 when he inherited the throne in 1855. He agonized over the dwindling native population that was reduced from 300,000 in 1778 to 70,000 in 1855. “Hawaiians had no resistance to the diseases of foreigners and over 6,000 caught smallpox brought to the islands in 1853,” says Casey Ballao, docent coordinator. “The king and his Queen Emma pushed for the building of a hospital so Hawaiians could get adequate medical care.”

Brought up by a physician, Emma shared her husband’s values on health. Liholiho married Emma Naea Rooke in 1856. She was the granddaughter of John Young, Kamehameha’s British advisor. As was the custom for children in Hawai‘i to be given to relatives for upbringing, Emma was the hanai (adopted) daughter of Dr. T. C. Rooke, an English physician practicing in Honolulu, and Emma’s aunt.

“Besides providing funds, the royal couple earnestly solicited donations from others,” explains Ballao. “In 1860, Kamehameha IV laid the cornerstone for the Queen’s Hospital, which he named to honor his wife.” Today, it is the prestigious Queen’s Medical Center in downtown Honolulu.

The king died when he was 29, a short time after his four-year-old Prince Albert became fatally ill.  A crib used by the prince, during a visit to Kona, is on display at Hulihe‘e.

“Queen Emma became a candidate to the throne but lost a heavily contested election to Prince David Kalakaua,” says Ballao “Queen Emma died at the age of 49.”

Hulihe‘e Palace is open for docent-guided and self-guided tours. Museum hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday—with the exception of the palace open 1-4 p.m. the Monday following the monthly Kokua Kailua Village stroll.  Palace admission for a self-guided tour is $8 for adults, $6 for kama‘aina, military and seniors, and $1 for keiki 18 years and under. Docent-guided tours are available upon request. For details, contact the palace at 329-1877, the palace office at 329-9555 or visit www.daughtersofhawaii.org. The gift shop, open 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays- Saturdays, can be reached by phoning 329-6558.

Caretakers of Hulihe‘e Palace are the Daughters of Hawai‘i and the Calabash Cousins. The Daughters was founded in 1903 and opens membership to any woman who is directly descended from a person who lived in Hawai‘i prior to 1880. Helping the Daughters in its efforts since 1986 are the Calabash Cousins; membership is available to all.

​Disenfranchised UH Hilo Students Respond ​to Nullifying Elections

Aloha UH Hilo,

We have just received notice from the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs office and the UH Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) Election Committee that the recent UH Hilo student election was nullified. We have also learned that a new electronic election has been implemented for May 6 and 7th.

It is unfortunate that it has to come to this. Many students put in a lot of work legitimately campaigning and running for office only to have the election nullified by an elections committee acting unethically being advised to discriminate by Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano. The, at least, 7 disqualified student candidates have had their name dragged in the mud by the elections committee, and have yet to receive a response to their alleged offense. This is unacceptable behavior at UH Hilo and any institution of higher learning and we would like to file an ethics complaint against UHHSA adviser Ellen Kusano. We would also like our ‘Open questions for UH Hilo’ answered (see www.uhhilowithaloha.com).

We ask the office of Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs to assist in making the new election fair and transparent. From our previous complaints (see website) we maintain that we have no confidence in the UHHSA election committee or in UHHSA faculty adviser Ellen Kusano who appear to be, once again, governing the UH Hilo student election.

We make the following requests to the UH Hilo office of Student Affairs and UH Hilo as a whole:

  1. we call for the new electronic election process to be 100% transparent and untamperable,
  2. we call for the current UHHSA election committee to not be involved with the new election process,
  3. we call for the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs office to take over the duty of the election with ample oversight,
  4. we request that Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano not be involved with the election process,
  5. we call for a date to be set for when the new UHHSA is to take office,
  6. we call for equal access of all elected UHHSA members to the UHHSA office once in office,
  7. we call for autonomy from campus center once in office,
  8. we call for the opportunity to select a new adviser upon taking office,
  9. we call for the option to move the UHHSA office away from Campus Center,
  10. we call for an UHHSA executive senator to be established upon taking office,
  11. we call for fair and equal access for all UHHSA members to the rights and privileges of UHHSA,
  12. we call for a summer schedule to be established upon taking office (who’s present for the summer, who’s not),
  13. we call for the new UHHSA to establish quorum,
  14. we call for a fair and transparent process regarding campus room reservations,
  15. we call for authority, oversight and handling of the UHHSA budget to be governed solely by UHHSA,
  16. we call for a fair and reasonable timetables and deadlines to submit UHHSA related paperwork,
  17. we call for the opportunity to hire a professional student government adviser,
  18. we call for the opportunity to hire a professional financial clerk,
  19. we call for a definitive date an UHHSA member can expect to have his/her stipend checks for the summer, fall, and spring semester,
  20. we call for a non-hostile institutional environment for the new incoming UHHSA,
  21. we call for more administrative oversight of campus center,
  22. we call for more administrative attention to complaints made by UHHSA

Respectfully submitted,

Disqualified UH Hilo Student Candidates:

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.

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

 

Finalists for UH President Announced

The Board of Regents announced two finalists for the UH System president position—UH Interim President David Lassner and Retired Lt. General Francis Wiercinski.

From left, David Lassner and Francis Wiercinski

From left, David Lassner and Francis Wiercinski

Board of Regents Chair John C. Holzman says students and faculty will get to hear from the candidates and provide feedback before the end of the academic year.

Video of announcement and news conference to come.

Big Island Police Investigating Armed Robbery at Convenience Store in Kona

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an armed robbery at a convenience store in Kailua-Kona this past weekend.
HPDBadgeAt 3 a.m. Sunday (April 27) Kona Patrol officers responded to a report that a “hold-up alarm” had been activated at a convenience store on Kuakini Highway near the intersection with Kalani Street.

They determined that two men had entered the store. One pointed a handgun at the female clerk and demanded money. The other went behind the counter and removed numerous boxes of cigarettes and lighters. They left with the boxes and an undisclosed amount of cash and fled on foot in an unknown direction.

Both men were described as being between 18 and 20 years old with their faces covered.

The first was described as between 5-foot-6 and 6-feet tall and 160 to 180 pounds. He was wearing black shoes with red laces, shorts that were black, red, yellow and green, and a red hooded jacket with gold embroidery on the lower rear portion, the right side of the hood and the right breast.

The second man was described as between 5-feet tall and 5-foot-6 and 150 to 180 pounds. He was wearing a black skull cap beanie, a black long-sleeved shirt, light shorts, dark shoes and was carrying a black backpack.

Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation. Police ask anyone with information about the identity of the suspects or anyone with any other information about this case to contact Detective Sandor Finkey at 326-4646, extension 281, or sfinkey@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.

Senator Josh Green Announces Over $60 Million for West Hawai’i

Sen. Josh Green

Sen. Josh Green

Aloha Friends,

I am pleased to report that this year the State Legislature has approved over $60 million for West Hawai’i to improve our region’s transportation, education, healthcare, and justice systems.

These important new investments in our community’s roads, schools, and hospitals will continue to create jobs, stimulate our economy, and build our community for years to come.

I am particularly pleased to report that the Legislature has designated $35 million for the Kona Judiciary Complex, a facility which represents a major state investment in the development of West Hawai’i and will house 230 full-time employees when it is completed. In 2011, the Legislature appropriated $12 million for land acquisition and design of the complex, and this year the Legislature approved $35 million with the intention of approving an additional $55 million to complete construction in the coming years.

This year the Legislature has also approved an additional $2.4 million to complete the construction of phase I of the new West Hawai’i Community College Campus at Palamanui, bringing the state investment in the new campus to $14.9 million in addition to private investment of close to $20 million. This new campus will give our young people the option of pursuing higher education in West Hawai’i, and will serve as an educational resource for our entire community.

In addition, the Legislature has renewed the Hospital Sustainability Act, which will this year bring than $62 million in federal money to help strengthen and support hospitals in Hawai’i, including millions of dollars for Kona Community Hospital and North Hawai’i Community Hospital on the Big Island.

Projects approved for West Hawai’i during the 2014 legislative session include:

  • Kona Judiciary Complex –$35 million for design and construction of the new Kona Judiciary Complex, a planned 142,00 square-foot facility on a 10-acre parcel across from the West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona
  • Kona Community Hospital – $5 million for renovations and upgrades to Kona Community Hospital, including $2 million for elevator replacement, $2 million for electrical upgrades, and $1 million for asbestos abatement
  • Kona International Airport – $3.4 million for airport improvements including $1.9 million for design for improvements to the south ramp taxiway and ramp and other related improvements, and $1.5 million for design and construction of an international arrivals building
  • Ka`u Irrigation System – $2.5 million for design and construction of improvements to the irrigation system including ground and site improvements, equipment and appurtenances
  • NELHA – $2.5 million for plans, design, and construction to complete the exploration phase for potable water, to include well siting studies, field investigations, environmental assessment, permitting, plans and specifications for the exploratory well
  • West Hawai’i Community College at Palamanui – $2.4 million for design and construction of the completion of Phase I of the new West Hawai’i Community College Campus at Palamanui
  • Saddle Road Extension – $2 million for design of a new roadway and/or realignment and extending the Saddle Road from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • West Hawai’i Veterans Cemetery – $1.6 million for plans, design, and construction of a non-potable water well including pumps, piping and appurtenances, water tank, and power generation system for West Hawai`i Veterans Cemetery
  • Public High School Improvements – $1.1 million for improvements to Public High Schools including $550,000 for Ka`u High School for construction to provide improvements for the current locker room and gym restoration, $300,000 for Kealakehe High School for design of upgrades to an all-weather and synthetic track, and $250,000 for Konawaena High School for design and equipment for the installation of a new lighting system for the gymnasium, ground and site improvements, equipment, and appurtenances
  • West Hawai’i Community Health Center – $1 million for construction of the West Hawai`i Community Health Center in Kona
  • Lai Opua 2020 – $950,000 for construction and improvements for the parking lot and road
  • Hawai’i Ocean View Estates Water Resources  – $725,000 for plans and design for the expansion of water resources
  • Kona Historical Society – $200,000 to provide project funding to develop educational programs, increase staffing and volunteer recruitment and training, improve cultural and historic sites, and maintain grounds and facilities
  • Hawai’i Island Humane Society – $200,000 for plans, design, construction and equipment for the Hawai`i Island Animal Community Center, Phase I
  • Project Vision Hawai’i – $79,214 to expand Big Island health screening services for the poor and disabled

As your State Senator, I will continue to work hard every day to improve our transportation, education, healthcare, and justice systems and make our roads, schools, and hospitals in West Hawai’i the best that they can be.

Let’s keep working together to achieve even greater results in the coming years, and to make West Hawai’i and our entire state an even better place to live.

Aloha,

Josh Green
State Senator
District 3, West Hawai’i