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Coast Guard Seeks Public’s Help Finding Owner of Adrift Stand Up Paddle Board

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help identifying the owner of a stand up paddle board found washed up on the beach in the vicinity of Hauula, Oahu, Friday.

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help identifying the owner of a stand up paddle board found washed up on the beach in the vicinity of Hauula, Oahu, July 7, 2017. Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the stand up paddle board is asked to contact Coast Guard Sector Honolulu at 808-842-2600. (Courtesy photo/Released)

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast alerting mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout for signs of distress. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point was launched to search the area.

There are currently no reported signs of distress or missing persons in the area.

Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the stand up paddle board is asked to contact Sector Honolulu at 808-842-2600.

At 6:08 p.m., watchstanders from the Sector Honolulu Command Center received notification from a good Samaritan stating they located a stand up paddle board at mile marker 22 off of Kamehameha Highway near Hauula.

The paddle board is brown, white and grey with a Jimmy Styks Beaver logo on it.

It is recommended owner’s of watersports equipment write their name and phone number on their gear. The Coast Guard offers free “If Found” decals to be placed in a visible location on small, human-powered watercraft through the Operation Paddle Smart program. The information on the sticker can allow response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.

The stickers can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Explore Kahuku July – September 2017

Everyone is invited to participate in the free guided hikes, “Coffee Talks” and ‘Ike Hana No‘eau Hawaiian cultural programs in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, from July through September 2017. Visitors can also explore Kahuku on their own on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all hikes. Entrance and all programs are free.

Participate in ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) Hawaiian cultural demonstrations at Kahuku on the third Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon, July 21, August 18, and September 15. Programs are free.

Get to know your park and your neighbors and join an informal “Coffee Talk” conversation on a wide variety of topics at Kahuku the last Friday of the month. Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries will be available for purchase. Coffee Talks are offered free on July 28, August 25, and September 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered July 23, August 6 and September 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

‘Ōhi‘a Lehua. Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the new disease of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk. The ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua program is offered July 9, August 13, and September 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Realms and Divisions of Kahuku. Experience the sense of place that evolves at the intersection of nature and culture on this moderately difficult two-mile, two-hour guided hike on the Kahuku Unit’s newest trail, Pu‘u Kahuku. Explore the realms and divisions of the traditional Hawaiian classification system at Kahuku. Bring a snack for the “talk story” segment of this hike. Offered July 15, August 5, and September 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

People and Land of Kahuku is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. The guided hike is offered July 16, August 20 and September 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Birth of Kahuku. Explore the rich geologic history of Kahuku. Traverse the vast 1868 lava flow, see different volcano features and formations, and identify many parts of the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Learn about the Hawaiian hotspot and the creation of Kahuku. This guided easy-to-moderate hike is offered July 22, August 12, and September 9 & 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole). Hike the Palm Trail and be inspired by a place where hulihia (catastrophic change) and kulia (restoration) can be observed as the land transitions from the 1868 lava flow and its pioneer plants, to deeper soil with more diverse and older flora. Learn about native plants and their significance in Hawaiian culture. This moderate hike is about two miles and takes two hours. The Nature & Culture program is offered July 29, August 27, and September 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Hi‘iaka & Pele. Discover two fascinating Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pelehonuamea (Pele) and Hi‘iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent. Visitors will experience the sisters coming alive through the epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on this easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The Hi‘iaka and Pele program is offered July 30, August 26, and September 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Pu‘u o Lokuana is a short 0.4-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone, Pu‘u o Lokuana. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū. This hike is offered August 19 and September 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Keep up with Kahuku events and visit the calendar on the park website, https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/kahuku-hikes.htm, and download the Kahuku Site Bulletin https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/2013_11_05-Kahuku-Site-Bulletin.pdf.

UH Cancer Center Researcher Receives $20,000 Fulbright Award

Gertraud Maskarinec, MD, PhD, a researcher in the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center’s Cancer Epidemiology Program, has received a $20,000 Fulbright Award. It will enable her to research the relation of obesity, type 2 diabetes and breast cancer in Caucasian and Asian women.

Gertraud Maskarinec, MD, PhD

The research will address the global health problems of obesity, diabetes and breast cancer. As a nutritional epidemiologist, Maskarinec will perform comparative research using new statistical methods for six weeks at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, Iceland; one month at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, U.K.; and six weeks at the Research Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan. In addition she will give lectures and seminars in the area of her research, in particular nutritional epidemiology and ethnic differences in disease risk.

“No greater example of the continued importance of international education can be found than in the determination and drive of our 2017-18 grantees. These students, academics and professionals have identified the relevance of intercultural cooperation to their careers,” said Amy Moore, director of the Fulbright Awards Program.

The Fulbright Commission provides awards for study or research in any field, at any accredited U.S. or U.K. university. The commission selects scholars through a rigorous application and interview process, looking for academic excellence alongside a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright program and a plan to give back to the U.S. upon returning.

Big Island Police Looking for Witnesses to Start of Brush Fire that Continues to Burn

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating witnesses to the start of a brush fire (July 7) in Kamuela.

The fire started at approximately 11:58 a.m. in a dry grassy area of a residential property in the 64-700 block of Paeli Alanui Street. The fire spread quickly through the dry brush causing damage to an uninhabited structure and a vehicle and continues to burn.

There have been no reported injuries and the extent of the damages incurred by this fire have yet to be determined as Hawaiʻi Fire Department personnel continue their efforts to contain the fire.

This investigation is being continued by the Area II Criminal Investigation Section and police ask that anyone with any information about this incident to contact D etective Dominic Uyetake at 326-4646, extension 228, or via email at Dominic.Uyetake@hawaiicounty.gov or call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Callers who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide 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.

Landmark Cost of Living Reduction Bill to be Signed Into Law

Gov. David Ige will sign House Bill 209, a landmark cost of living reduction bill, into law on Monday, July 10 in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office.

HB 209 establishes a state earned income tax credit, mirroring the federal earned income tax credit, to help low-income workers retain a larger percentage of their yearly income. The bill also permanently extends the higher rates of the refundable food/excise tax credit, which makes it less costly for those in need to afford necessities like food.

“Creating a state-level earned income tax credit is the most significant anti-poverty measure passed by the Legislature in decades,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki.

HB 209 is a financially responsible measure that is financed through the restoration of the highest income tax brackets that existed until 2015.

“HB 209 is all about helping working people keep more of what they make. At its core, it’s a compassionate, fair, and responsible reform to tax policy that helps to alleviate Hawaii’s oppressive cost of living,” said Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, author and introducer of the bill.

According to the Department of Taxation, HB 209 will give $130 million back to low-income families in the first six years of the credit. More than 107,000 people claim the federal earned income tax credit and would potentially be able to claim the state credit. Additionally, the Refundable Food/Excise Portion amounts to $110 per exemption per claimant.

Ninth Circuit Rules District Court Has the Ability to Interpret and Enforce the U.S. Supreme Court’s Order

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order this afternoon in response to today’s filing by the State of Hawaii asking the Ninth Circuit to review the scope of the travel and refugee bans in Hawaii v. Trump.

The Ninth Circuit’s order explained it lacks jurisdiction to address the State of Hawaii and Dr. Elshikh’s appeal of Judge Watson’s order denying the motion to clarify the scope of the injunction, because Judge Watson’s order denying the motion to clarify was not a final judgment nor immediately appealable. According to the court, “[b]ecause the “practical effect” of Plaintiffs’ requested relief is declaratory in nature—not injunctive—we do not construe their clarification motion before the district court as one for injunctive relief. And this scenario does not present an order of “practical finality” because … Plaintiffs may seek injunctive relief from the district court.”

Of critical importance, the Ninth Circuit said in part:

[W]e note that … the district court … does possess the ability to interpret and enforce the Supreme Court’s order, as well as the authority to enjoin against, for example, a party’s violation of the Supreme Court’s order placing effective limitations on the scope of the district court’s preliminary injunction … Because the district court was not asked to grant injunctive relief or to modify the injunction, we do not fault it for not doing so.

Attorney General Chin said, “Today’s Ninth Circuit ruling makes clear that Judge Watson does possess the ability to interpret and enforce the Supreme Court’s order, as well as the authority to enjoin against a party’s violation of the Supreme Court’s order placing effective limitations on the scope of the district court’s preliminary injunction. We appreciate the Ninth Circuit for ruling so quickly and will comply.”

Three Hawaii State Land Use Commissioners Reappointed

Gov. David Ige has re-appointed three members to the Land Use Commission (LUC). They are Nancy Cabral (Hawai‘i County), Linda Estes (Kaua‘i County) and Gary Okuda (At-Large).

Nancy Cabral has served on the LUC since 2013. She is a property manager and the owner of Day-Lum Rentals Management and of Coldwell Banker Day-Lum Properties in Hilo.

Nancy Cabral

She has been an active member of the Rotary Club, is currently involved with Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center, the Hawai‘i Island Leadership Council for Hawai‘i Community Foundation and the H.C. Shipman Foundation. In addition, Cabral is a member of the Zonta Club of Hilo, Rotary Club of Hilo, the National Association of Property Managers, the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association and the Hawai‘i Horse Owners Association. She recently received the Athena Award for her success in helping women in the community and work place.

Linda Estes (Photo not available) has served on the LUC since 2015. She retired from the University of New Mexico in 2000 before moving to Koloa on the island of Kaua‘i. Estes previously served as vice president of the Koloa Community Association Executive Board, as a member of the YWCA Executive Board, founding member of the Patsy Mink PAC and she served as Kaua‘i democratic party chair from 2008-2010. While in New Mexico, Estes served as associate athletics director, instructor with the Peace Corp Training Program, director of women’s athletics and assistant professor of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at the University of New Mexico.

Gary Okuda is an attorney who was appointed to the LUC in 2016. He is a partner and attorney at Leu Okuda and Doi, Attorneys at Law.

Gary Okuda

Born and raised in Hawai‘i, Okuda graduated from Kailua High School before attending Windward Community College and graduating from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He received his law degree from the University of California at Davis and has practiced law in Hawai‘i since 1981, specializing in diverse real estate matters.

The three nominees are considered holdover commissioners. Their re-appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

Creative Lab Hawaii Music Immersive Program Now Accepting Applications

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division (CID)’s Creative Lab Hawaii (CLH) Music Immersive Program is now accepting applications.

The program will be held from Sept. 11 – 15, 2017, immediately following the Hawaii Songwriting Festival at the Hapuna Prince Hotel on Hawaii Island. Professional and aspiring local songwriters interested in applying for CLH’s second annual Music Immersive Program must submit applications by Friday, July 28.

“We’re thrilled to once again support the Music Immersive Program, connecting our tremendous local talent to prestigious mentors and new markets,” said DBEDT Director, Luis P. Salaveria. “This program is part of our overall growth strategy to grow our local talent and create new jobs.”

“This program allows participants to empower and expand their creative horizons,” said Georja Skinner, division chief, DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division and founder of CLH.  “We look forward to seeing our talent elevate their craft through an intensive collaboration process, as well as access industry insights into additional avenues for monetizing and protecting their work.”

Under the direction of Grammy and Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winner, Charles M. Brotman, the CLH Music Immersive Program will provide attendee songwriters with the opportunity to co-write and produce songs for a specific TV or film project each day of the immersive, working alongside world-class music supervisors, producers, songwriters and executives.

In addition to composing, participants will gain a deeper understanding of music licensing, publishing, intellectual property protection, and other aspects of the business. Following the completion of the 5-day Immersive program, attendees will receive year-round mentoring support.

“We’re offering Hawaii’s songwriters the tools to build and strengthen their business and mentorship networks,” explains Charles Brotman. “The CLH Music Immersive is truly a one-of-a-kind, hands-on learning process. It pushes our participants’ creativity to new heights while providing perspective into the business behind the creation process.”

Admittance to the program is competitive and for serious songwriters only, with the inaugural year of CLH’s music immersive including talented local artists such as 2016 Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning musician, Kimie Miner, and 2017 Na Hoku Hanohano nominee, Izik Moreno. A majority of the participants at last year’s Immersive have since had work licensed by major entertainment studios after making connections through the Program.

Eleven applicants will be selected to participate in the free immersive program. Selected participants will need to cover personal expenses, including transportation, lodging and meals. To be considered for the CLH Music Immersive Program, an applicant must be a member of a Performing Rights Organization (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc.), have some co-writing experience and have attended an industry conference. For a full list of requirements and to apply, go to: http://creativelab.hawaii.gov/accelerator-program/immersive-program/music-immersive/ or email cb@lavatracks.com.

About DBEDT (Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism)

DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

About CID (Creative Industries Division)

CID, a division within DBEDT, is the state’s lead agency dedicated to advocating for and accelerating the growth of Hawaii’s Creative Economy.  Through initiatives, program development, and strategic partnerships, the division and its branches implements activities to expand the business development, global export and investment capacity of Hawaii’s arts, culture, music, film, literary, publishing, digital and new media industries.

About the Creative Lab Hawaii Program

The Creative Lab Hawaii (CLH) Program was founded in 2012 by the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic, Development and Tourism (DBEDT)’s Creative Industries Division to accelerate the growth of Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs through immersive, hands-on training in broadband/new media, producing, screenwriting, interactive media, music and design/fashion.  The CLH Program, a key facet of DBEDT’s HI Growth Initiative, is developing an ecosystem to increase export, attract investment and build the State’s creative entrepreneurial capacity. The CLH Program features three program components: 1) Immersive Programs; 2) Ideation Workshops; and 3) Public Keynotes.

Ninth Circuit Dockets Hawaii Appeal Regarding Scope of Travel Ban

Today the State of Hawaii asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the scope of the travel and refugee bans in Hawaii v. Trump after federal district court Judge Derrick K. Watson declined to grant Hawaii’s motion for clarification.

Click to view Ninth Circuit Filing

On June 26, 2017, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in October regarding this case. In a 6-3 decision, the Court ordered that while arguments were pending, people from the six Muslim-majority countries with no connection to the United States may not enter the country, but those with a good faith connection to a U.S. individual or entity may enter. The same standard applies with respect to refugee admissions. Hawaii alleges that the Trump Administration’s guidelines issued on June 29 are overly restrictive and do not comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling. That same day, Hawaii asked the federal district court to clarify the Supreme Court’s order.

Yesterday’s order from Judge Watson declined to address the merits of the request and suggested that Hawaii instead seek clarification from the Supreme Court. Judge Watson also stated that he would rule on the merits if instructed to do so by the higher court.

Today’s motion is directed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for first review. This tracks the ordinary process for appeals within the federal courts and is done to indicate to the Supreme Court that Hawaii followed proper procedures in the courts below. Both district courts and courts of appeal routinely interpret Supreme Court decisions.

Attorney General Chin said, “We are now in the middle of a 90-day partial travel ban. The Trump Administration has reserved the option to extend or even expand the travel ban at the end of it. Many felt the balance struck by the Supreme Court was nuanced and fairly reasonable, but the Trump Administration has flouted the Supreme Court’s order from the start. What happens in the next several weeks matters a lot if the administration is not subject to the checks and balances of the courts.”

Today’s motion states in part:

Parties seeking to clarify or enforce an injunction—even an injunction that has been partially stayed by the Supreme Court—must seek relief in the first instance from the district court that issued it. That is precisely what the State of Hawaii and Dr. Elshikh did when they became aware that the Government intended to flagrantly violate the injunction against the President’s thinly veiled Muslim bans. They had obtained the injunction from the District Court of the District of Hawaii to protect their own constitutional and statutory rights, as well as the rights of the citizens of the State of Hawaii and the United States as a whole. They therefore returned to that District Court to ensure that injunction was followed and their rights were vindicated. But the District Court refused to grant this relief, making the assertion—endorsed by no party—that Plaintiffs must seek relief directly from the Supreme Court.

That is wrong. For over a week, the Government has been unlawfully excluding foreign nationals and thereby inflicting irreparable harm on the American individuals and entities with whom they have relationships. For over a week, the Government has been ignoring the dictates of the Judicial Branch, fashioning and imposing a new Muslim ban wholly divorced from any national security rationale. Every day that passes is a day when our Government is turning away human beings—from newborn children to elderly grandparents—whom the injunction requires to be admitted. It is therefore incumbent on this Court to fulfill its traditional role by reversing the District Court’s erroneous holding and issuing the injunctive relief necessary to ensure that Plaintiffs’ statutory and constitutional rights are protected in the manner intended by the District Court, this Court, and the Supreme Court itself.

New Service for Cancer Patients at North Hawaii Community Hospital

North Hawai’i Community Hospital will host a support group for cancer patients from throughout Hawai’i Island, as well as their families and caregivers, starting on Thursday, July 20, 2017. The meeting will be held at the hospital from 2 to 4 pm; there is no charge and no RVSP is required.

The support group will offer educational presentations on a variety of topics of interest to cancer patients and their families, as well as informal discussion in a relaxed and supportive environment. The group will be facilitated by

Corey McCullough, licensed social worker at North Hawai’i Community Hospital, and Crissy Kuehn, RN, Cancer Center patient navigator, North Hawai’i Community Hospital.

“Being able to provide support to cancer patients and their families is extremely important,” said Dr. Gary Goldberg, Chief Medical Officer at North Hawai’i Community Hospital. “A support group provides a unique opportunity to discuss and share with others in similar circumstances. People often have complex questions – a support group offers time and resources to address those concerns and help reduce anxiety.”

Corey McCullough, LSW, is a licensed social worker at North Hawai’i Community Hospital and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has worked in the hospital, rehab, hospice and home health environments.

Crissy Kuehn, RN, ONN-CG, OCN, is the oncology nurse navigator at North Hawai’i Community Hospital’s Cancer Center. As a patient navigator, Crissy provides education and works as a liaison between the patient and various resources and members of the health care team.

The guest speaker on July 20 will be Angela Wolfenberger, RDN, LDN, Clinical Dietician at North Hawai’i Community Hospital, who will talk about healthy eating habits and will be available to answer any questions cancer patients or their caregivers may have.

For more information, please call 881-4417.

Agencies Renew Monk Seal Safety Warnings – Mother Seal at Kaimana Beach May Become More Aggressive

Since an endangered Hawaiian monk seal gave birth to a pup on O‘ahu’s Kaimana beach late last month, there haven’t been any reports of people going beyond the established safety corridor. As RH58, known as Rocky, continues to nurse her offspring, marine resource experts predict she may become more aggressive. Today they renewed their encouragement for people to keep a safe distance and abide by signs and ropes that keep both humans and the seals safe.

David Schofield, the Regional Marine Mammal Response Program Coordinator, for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service, said, ”Hawaiian monk seals are for the most part docile, but as with any other wild animals, females protecting their young can be highly aggressive.”

Volunteers from Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) establish safety perimeters whenever seals beach in populated areas in the main Hawaiian Islands. The group’s president Jon Gelman explained, “We are privileged to have the opportunity to see one of the world’s rarest marine mammals, one that only lives in Hawaiian waters, right here in Waikiki. But that privilege comes with the responsibility to view the animals from a safe distance, and to give this seal mom and pup the opportunity to peacefully coexist with us on our beach and in our waters.” He reports that occasionally people walk by who are listening to music and accidentally walk by the signs, but once volunteers get their attention they avoid the closure area. However there has been some drone activity in the area and flying an aircraft within 1000 feet of a marine mammal is prohibited under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

This is the second mom and pup pair to show up on an O‘ahu beach in the last month and a half. Just prior to Memorial Day a mother and her pup beached on Moku Nui (Mokulua North) islet, a popular kayaking destination on the windward coast. DLNR working in partnership with NOAA produced a monk seal safety video that is required viewing for people renting kayaks from Kailua-area shops. Shop owners say the video has been very helpful and informative in providing visitors with a frame of reference, calling it an awesome tool. DLNR is now producing a location-generic monk seal information video that will be available free of charge to lodging properties, tour companies, and any others who work directly with visitors. It’s believed the video has helped prevent any human-seal encounters at Moku Nui.

All of the agencies charged with protecting the seals and people are determined to keep animals and humans safe. Kristen Kelly, Program Assistant with the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) Marine Wildlife Program said, “Kama’aina and visitors are fortunate to have this opportunity to view a Hawaiian monk seal mom and pup. But these are wild and potentially dangerous animals, especially protective moms like Rocky. Please put the safety of yourself and your family first. If you want to swim, we encourage you to take this opportunity to explore many of Oahu’s other beautiful beaches.”

In 2009 a woman on Kaua‘i was badly injured by a protective mother seal after she went into the water despite being warned. She required reconstructive surgery to her face and forearm. Kurt Lager the Acting Chief of the City & County of Honolulu Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services said, “Public safety is the lifeguard’s number one priority. Ocean Safety will continue to warn beachgoers of the hazards of entering the ocean in close proximity to a wild animal.”

Experts predict Rocky and her pup will be at Kaimana for the next eight weeks or so until the pup weans. This also gives the pup time to acclimate once its mother leaves.

Moku Nui Monk Seals from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Big Island Man

The Coast Guard suspended the active search Friday for a man in the water in the vicinity of Ka’alu’alu Bay on the Big Island.

Shane Romena, 48, remains missing.

Shane Romena

“Our sincerest condolences go out to Romena’s family and friends during this difficult time,” said Senior Chief Brian Wear, a command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “Suspending a case is never an easy thing to do and it’s something that is handled with the utmost care and consideration. We want to thank our partners at the Hawai’i Fire Department for all their assistance during this search.”

On-scene assets searched a total area of more than 1,615 square miles (1,404 square nautical miles) over a 4-day period.

Involved in the search were:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349), homeported in Honolulu
  • Hawai’i Fire Department helicopter aircrews and shore parties

Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a relayed 911 emergency call from dispatchers shortly after 6 p.m., Monday, stating Romena’s 10-year-old son had witnessed him fall into the water while trying to clean a cooler and he lost sight of him shortly after. The two were reportedly out fishing.

Two helicopter crews from the Hawai’i Fire Department conducted initial searches of the area but did not locate Romena. His son was airlifted from the rocky shoreline by HFD and brought to a designated landing zone where he was picked up by his grandmother.

Weather conditions on scene during the time of the incident were reported as 40 mph winds, seas to 8 feet with a 3-foot swell.