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Hawaii Governor to Consider Nominees for Intermediate Court of Appeals

Gov. David Ige has received a list of nominees from the Judicial Selection Commission for the vacancy created by the retirement of former Associate Judge Daniel R. Foley. Foley retired on Dec. 30, 2016.

The commission submitted the list of nominees to the governor on Jan. 4 after careful evaluation and investigation into the background and qualifications of each applicant.

The nominees are:

  • Derrick H.M. Chan — Chief Judge of the First Circuit, State of Hawai‘i
  • David M. Forman — Director, Environmental Law Program, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
  • Keith K. Hiraoka — Attorney, partner, Roeca Luria Hiraoka LLC
  • Geoffrey K.S. Komeya — Attorney/shareholder, Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina & Fairbanks, Attorneys at Law, a Law Corporation
  • Karen T. Nakasone — Circuit Judge, First Circuit, State of Hawai‘i
  • John M. Tonaki — Public Defender, State of Hawai‘i

“I thank the Judicial Selection Commission for its hard work in screening and selecting qualified nominees for the Intermediate Court of Appeals. I have received the names and will be interviewing each nominee in addition to seeking public comment before making my decision,” said Gov. Ige.

The public is welcome to submit comments on any of the nominees on the governor’s website at governor.hawaii.gov – Contact the Governor.

Gov. Ige has until Feb. 3 to make his appointment, which is subject to senate confirmation.

Hawaii Officer of the Month: Erich Jackson

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Kona Patrol Officer Erich Jackson as “Officer of the Month” for January in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (January 4) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Erich Jackson

Jackson, who was promoted to sergeant in November, was honored for interrupting a felony attack in progress before the promotion. Shortly after 2 a.m. on July 27, a man flagged Jackson down in Kailua-Kona and told him a woman was being assaulted. Jackson followed the concerned citizen and witnessed a man holding a woman above his head while choking her. When Jackson identified himself as a police officer and ordered the assailant to stop, the man slammed the woman onto a cement walkway, grabbed her cellular telephone and smashed it into a rock wall.

As Jackson was checking on the welfare of the victim, the assailant jumped into the ocean and swam out. When the man returned to shore, Jackson confronted him and persuaded him to surrender peacefully. Jackson charged the man with several offenses, including felony abuse of a family/household member.

Sergeant David Araki, who nominated Jackson for the award, said Jackson has “an uncompromising determination” to make the community safer.

“Because of Officer Jackson’s immediate and fearless intervention, I believe he prevented a much more serious and irreparable tragic act,” Araki said in nomination papers. “His unwavering dedication towards helping those in need couldn’t have been highlighted better than when he came to the aid of the woman who was experiencing her darkest hour.”

Jackson was named “Officer of the Month” four times from 2008 through 2011. He was also named “Officer of the Year” in 2008.

As “Officer of the Month,” he is again eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

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

Gabbard-Cook Reintroduce Bill Encouraging Employers to Hire More Veterans

Today, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Paul Cook (CA-08) introduced the HIRE Vets Act of 2017. This bipartisan bill, which was previously introduced last Congress, passed the House with unanimous support in November 2016, but did not pass the Senate before the end of the year.

The legislation would promote private sector recruiting, hiring, and retaining of men and women who served honorably in the U.S. military through a voluntary and effective program. Specifically, it would create an award program recognizing the meaningful, verifiable efforts undertaken by employers – both large and small – to hire and retain veterans. Cook and Gabbard designed the program to be self-funded.

Through the U.S. Department of Labor, the HIRE Vets Act would allow businesses to display “HIRE Vets Medallions” on products and marketing materials. These medallions would be awarded as part of a four-tiered system – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum – associated with specific hiring and retention goals each year.

The program also establishes similar tiered awards for small and mid-sized businesses with less than 500 employees. To ensure proper oversight, the Secretary of Labor would be required to provide Congress with annual reports on the success of the program with regard to veteran employment and retention results.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Roughly 500 veterans return to civilian life every single day, joining the more than 2.9 million veterans that have returned home since 9/11. While we’ve taken some important steps to encourage employers to hire more veterans, more than 400,000 veterans across the country are still unemployed today. Through their service, veterans develop unique skills, experiences, and leadership training that make them especially valuable to employers. The HIRE Vets Act incentivizes employers to hire veterans, and recognizes employers that provide a supportive work environment to retain veteran employees. I encourage our colleagues to join us in passing this bill unanimously again to move this support for our veterans and employers forward.”

Rep. Paul Cook said, “The HIRE Vets Act is an opportunity for Americans to see which companies truly live up to the employment promises they make to veterans. Veterans who serve this country honorably shouldn’t struggle to find employment, and this bill creates an innovative system to encourage and recognize employers who make veterans a priority in their hiring practices.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a twice-deployed combat veteran and member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. She continues to serve as a Major in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Big Island Police Looking for Witnesses to Reported Gun Incident

Hawaiʻi Island police are looking for witnesses to a reported gun incident midday Tuesday (January 3) in Hilo.

Officers stand off with the suspect

At 11:55 a.m., police received a report that a man in a White 2011 GMC pickup truck pointed what appeared to be a handgun at a 66-year-old man and a 57-year-old woman in a gray Isuzu Trooper sports-utility vehicle while both vehicles were traveling south on Kanoelehua Avenue at the intersection of Kekūanāoʻa Street.

Police investigation led to the arrest of the suspect, 35-year-old John Lewis Kahana IV of Hilo, at his Noelani Loop home at 12:20 p.m. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock, where he is being held on suspicion of terroristic threatening while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the encounter to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Kayne Kelii at 961-2378 or kayne.kelii@hawaiicounty.gov.

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. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.