180,000 Square Feet of Pearlridge Center Acquired

Washington Prime Group Inc., in partnership with O’Connor Mall Partners, an affiliate of O’Connor Capital Partners, announced the acquisition of an additional section of Pearlridge Center, located at 98-1005 Moanalua Road in Aiea, Hawaii, for $70 million.

Pearlridge Center comprises two enclosed venues, referred to as Uptown and Downtown. The two companies have acquired 180,000 square feet of space in the Uptown section, which is anchored by Ross Dress for Less and TJ Maxx, with a 91 percent occupancy.

O’Connor is the partner in another joint venture that owns the property. The company’s pro rata share of the purchase price is $35.7 million and the joint venture plans to place $40 million of secured debt on the property during the second quarter of 2017. Washington Price is initially funding its share with funds from the company’s credit facility until the debt is placed.

In January 2017, O’Connor announced a $33 million redevelopment project which includes a remodel of Downtown, including new tenants, a dining space, new interior and exterior finishes, updated entranceways and the addition of a specialty grocery store, a Bank of Hawaii financial services center, Pieology, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Lindbergh store.

“The consolidation of Pearlridge Center under one management and leasing team will streamline operations and further enhance the customer experience,” said Fred Paine, general manager of Pearlridge Center, in prepared remarks. “We welcome the new Uptown tenants and look forward to providing our customers an enhanced mix of retail and dining options.”

Suspicious Death of Endangered Monk Seal Under Investigation

An oft-spotted, fifteen-year-old endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal, known as R4DP was found dead on a beach near ʻEleʻele on February 23, 2017. Officers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) and from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) are investigating the female seal’s death as suspicious, as it had injuries “inconsistent with any natural cause of death associated with wild monk seals.”

Jeff Walters with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Pacific Islands Regional Office explained, “Although we’re waiting for final laboratory analysis, the preliminary necropsy (animal autopsy) on R4DP indicates this seal was in good health with no apparent disease or natural cause of death.”

This is the 11th monk seal since 2009 found dead under suspicious circumstances. That means law enforcement authorities have good reason to suspect one or more people were directly involved and their activities were unauthorized or illegal.  Monk seal deaths due to interactions with fishing activities are considered in a different category, and the death of R4DP does not appear to be for this reason.  NMFS maintains records of all known Hawaiian monk seals.

Hawai‘i’s native seals, numbering around 1400 left in the wild, are protected under both the federal Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act and by state law. Violations under any of these laws can be charged either in criminal or civil court, with criminal convictions under the ESA carrying fines as high as $50,000, or imprisonment for up to a year, or both.  DOCARE Enforcement Chief, Robert Farrell said, “We can’t comment further on the specifics of this or previous open cases that are still under investigation, but we can assure people that both state and federal law enforcement officers continue to aggressively and thoroughly investigate these deaths in hopes of bringing the person or persons responsible to justice.”

This is the first reported suspicious death of a monk seal since 2014, when there was one death on O‘ahu and one on Kaua‘i, with both seals showing signs of significant trauma. A man was convicted of killing a seal on Kaua‘i in 2009.

“Hawaiian monk seals are precious to our state both naturally and culturally,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.  “It’s beyond comprehension that anyone could even consider beating or killing one of these rare mammals, as they’re resting or sleeping on a beach,” Case added.

Like with many monk seals around the state, R4DP was familiar to researchers and scientists.  She was tagged as a young adult seal on Kaua‘i in the summer of 2008. Ten days later she was flown to O‘ahu for a health examination after it was believed she may have ingested a hook.

X-rays didn’t reveal anything, so she was returned to Kaua‘i and released.

Anyone with information related to the death of R4DP or any other monk seal is encouraged to call the NOAA OLE hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or the DLNR/DOCARE hotline at 643-DLNR (808-873-3990).

St. Patrick’s Day Irish Fest at The Shops

The Shops at Mauna Lani invites the community to its first St. Patrick’s Day Irish Fest, Saturday, March 18, 5-7 p.m.


The Hawaii Irish Dance School will perform with Celtic folk rock band, The Kilt Lifters and bagpiper, Mark Knox. Kozy of Kozy’s Tiki Palace will MC the event and open with a magic show.

Evening festivities include Celtic face fainting and a balloon artist at the Kid’s Shamrock Activity Corner. Under the Bodhi Tree vegetarian restaurant will have an Irish themed menu offering while Tropics Ale House will provide a Beer & Whiskey Garden with their own Irish themed dish.

The St. Patrick’s Day Irish Fest at The Shops at Mauna Lani is free, and all are welcome. For more information, visit www.shopsatmaunalani.com, or call (808) 885-9501.

Deadline to Apply for State Ethics and Campaign Spending Commissions Extended

The Judicial Council has extended the deadline to apply for vacancies on the Hawai`i State Ethics Commission and the Campaign Spending Commission.  The new application deadline is Friday, March 31, 2017. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, residents of the State of Hawai`i, and may not hold any other public office.

Applicants from all islands may apply.  Travel expenses incurred by neighbor island members to attend meetings on O`ahu will be reimbursed.

The Ethics Commission addresses ethical issues involving legislators, registered lobbyists, and state employees (with the exception of judges, who are governed by the Commission on Judicial Conduct).  The five commission members are responsible for investigating complaints, providing advisory opinions, and enforcing decisions issued by the Commission.  The Hawai`i State Constitution prohibits members of the Ethics Commission from taking an active part in political management or political campaigns.

The primary duty of the five members of the Campaign Spending Commission is to supervise campaign contributions and expenditures.  Campaign Spending Commissioners are prohibited from participating in political campaigns or contributing to candidates or political committees.

Interested persons should submit an application, a resume, and three letters of recommendation (attesting to the applicant’s character and integrity) postmarked by March 31, 2017 to:  Judicial Council, Hawai`i Supreme Court, 417 S. King Street, Second Floor, Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813-2902.

An application form is available on the Judiciary website or can be obtained from the Communications and Community Relations Office, Room 212, Ali`iolani Hale, 417 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813 or by calling the Judicial Council at 539-4702.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement Against Trump’s Refugee Ban

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement in response to President Trump’s announcement of a newly revised travel ban:

“True to our history and values as a nation, we have served as a place of refuge to the most vulnerable in the world. We should not be putting in place a blanket ban of refugees, especially when we have actively been fueling the counterproductive regime change wars that have caused them to flee their homes. These people would much rather stay in their homes and live in peace. That’s why we must address the cause of this refugee crisis and end the destructive U.S. policy of counterproductive regime-change wars, as we’ve seen most recently in Iraq, Libya, and now in Syria.”