Tulsi Gabbard Visits Hawaii Island Kūpuna and Native Hawaiian Veterans

This morning at the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program recognition luncheon in Kona, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) visited with some of the 1,129 kūpuna who serve Hawaiʻi Island communities through the county’s Elderly Activities Division. She spent time visiting with seniors, delivered remarks thanking them for their service, and answered questions about her work in Congress. Last year, kūpuna volunteers on Hawaiʻi Island gave 97,815 hours in service at more than 140 different public and private non-profit agencies.

Photos via: Ilihia Gionson.

In Waimea today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard met with Native Hawaiian leaders who are focusing on farming, food security, and sustainability for the homestead land they live on. The Waimea Nui Community Development Initiative is a sustainability project on 61 acres of Hawaiian Homestead land that includes a community ag park with farm lots for small farmers and a post-harvest facility. Soon, small farmers will be able to participate in a community equipment program and training through the College of Tropical Agriculture and the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

The congresswoman also met with several constituents, including a group organized by Father John Schroedel that has been actively supporting the Orthodox Diocese of Aleppo.

Oahu Man Indicted for Electronic Enticement of a Child

Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that an Oahu grand jury has indicted Jacob Landon Powers for electronic enticement of a child in the first degree.

Jacob Landon Powers

According to the allegations, Powers, via online messaging on his mobile phone, communicated with someone he believed was a fourteen year old girl and arranged to meet her for the purpose of sex. He then arrived at the time and place they had agreed. He was arrested when he arrived for the meeting.

The investigation was conducted by the Hawaii Internet Crimes Against Children task force in the Attorney General’s office. The prosecution is also being handled by that office.

Attorney General Chin said of the charges: “Luring a minor to have sex is a horrible crime. Not only is the act itself criminal, it can damage the child for the rest of that child’s life. We will vigorously prosecute anyone who does this.”

Powers is 34 years old and a Honolulu resident. He was indicted for one count of electronic enticement of a child in the first degree, a class B felony. The charge is punishable by 10 years in prison without the possibility of probation. Bail is set at $11,000.00 and a bench warrant has been issued for Powers’ arrest. Powers is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Hawaiian-Born Daughter Becomes Commander, Navy Region Southeast

Rear Adm. Babette “Bette” Bolivar assumed the duties and responsibilities as Commander, Navy Region Southeast during a change of command ceremony aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida Feb. 23.

Rear Adm. Babette “Bette” Bolivar

Bolivar was born in Hawaii and raised in various locations in the Western Pacific by traditional Filipino parents Ted Cereno Bolivar, from Nabua in the Philippine province of Camarines Sur and who retired as a Chief Petty Officer from the United States Navy, and Virginia Dolor Bolivar of the Philippine province of Pangasinan.

Bolivar graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in oceanography. She also holds a Master of Science in management from Troy University.

In 1988, following her second tour, Bolivar was accepted to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal / Diving and Salvage Community as a special operations officer.

Bolivar has served in various leadership positions aboard five Navy ships, as well as commanding officer of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1. She has served in numerous positions in the Commander, Navy Installations Command enterprise, including a tour as the CNIC chief of staff and commander, Navy Region Northwest.

Most recently, she served as commander of Joint Region Marianas from August 2014 to January 2017, where she held multiple positions including U.S. Pacific Command/Defense Representative Guam-Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands-Federated States of Micronesia-Republic of Palau; Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas; and Commander, Task Force West.

As commander of Navy Region Southeast, Bolivar will be charged with providing support and guidance for 18 installations within the Southeastern United States as well as the Caribbean. The regional command is responsible for shore activities, including each installation’s standards of performance, anti-terrorism and force protection, disaster preparedness, safety, joint services, financial management, public affairs, state and local government liaison, environmental protection and legal affairs.

Puna Patrol Officer Named East Hawaii Officer of the Month Following Actions at Luquin’s Fire

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Puna Patrol Officer Conrad Bidal on Thursday (February 23) as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for February.

Hilo Exchange Club board member Joey Estrella presents an ‘Officer of the Month’ award to Officer Conrad Bidal.

Bidal, who has less than a year of service with the Police Department, was honored for what Sergeant William Derr described as his “extreme courage” while evacuating occupants of apartments above Luquin’s restaurant during a midnight fire that destroyed the structure.

Noticing lights on the second floor of the building after the fire was in progress, Bidal went inside and conducted a search for occupants. He found four people and evacuated them. When he went back to make sure no one else was inside, the occupants returned to retrieve personal belongings. As Bidal completed the task of evacuating them a second time, the building became fully engulfed in flames.

“Officer Bidal’s heroic efforts and personal disregard of his own welfare insured the safety of these four people,” Derr wrote in nomination papers. “The loss of Pāhoa landmarks Akebono Theater and Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant could have been much more tragic had it not been for Officer Bidal’s intervention.”

Bidal was also recognized for his work in solving a burglary while he was a recruit working with a field training officer. In that investigation, Bidal obtained fingerprints from the burglary scene that matched a suspect later discovered in surveillance video footage.

“Officer Bidal’s courage, work ethic, and exemplary application of forensic skill so early in his career are to be applauded,” Derr wrote. “He is a prime example of how we hope all our police officers start their careers, hitting the ground running.”

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

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Message From UH Hilo Chancellor: Reorganization Proposal for College of Arts and Sciences, Town Halls Scheduled

Dear Colleagues,

Chancellor Donald Straney

Attached is the updated proposal and related files for the reorganization of the College of Arts and Sciences. I appreciate your patience with the process.

Vice Chancellor Platz and I have scheduled three Town Hall meetings where we invite you to come to discuss this proposal. Schedule of meetings:

  • Friday, Feb. 24, 3:00 p.m., University Classroom Building, room 127.
  • Wednesday, March 1, 9:00 a.m., University Classroom Building, room 127.
  • Thursday, March 2, 11:30 a.m.,  University Classroom Building, room 111.

We welcome your feedback.

We look forward to further conversation.

Sincerely,

Don Straney

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