Coast Guard Rescues 2 From Sinking Vessel Off Oahu

Two men are safe after being rescued by the Coast Guard from their sinking vessel 35 miles east of Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Friday.

The men were hoisted from their vessel by a rescue swimmer aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and were transferred safely back to the air station.

“This case is a textbook demonstration of the equipment you should have on board your vessel and how to use it correctly and effectively,” Charles Turner, command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “Our crews remain Semper Paratus 24 hour a day, 365 days a year, ready to answer the call and bring people home safely to their families.”

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received notification at 12:40 a.m., via VHF Channel 16 from the captain of the 82-foot pleasure craft Point Harris, stating his vessel was taking on water in the two forward water-tight compartments.

The men activated their emergency positioning indicating radio beacon and prepared to abandon ship after unsuccessfully energizing their dewatering pumps.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point launched to the scene at 1:50 a.m., along with an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew at 1:58 a.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364), homeported in Honolulu also launched to assist.

The Hercules aircrew arrived on scene at 2:09 a.m. to assess the situation and provide a visual. The Dolphin helicopter aircrew arrived on scene at 2:34 a.m.

The Dolphin aircrew deployed a rescue swimmer to assess the condition of the vessel. He determined quickly that the vessel was no longer safe and made the decision to hoist the two men and bring them back to the air station.

An urgent marine information broadcast notice to mariners and a hazard to navigation was issued and the vessel owner will work with Sector Honolulu response personnel to attempt salvage of the vessel.

Weather on scene was reported to be 20 mph with east winds and seas 5 to 8 feet.

No injuries were reported.

EPA Requires Big Island Hardware Stores to Close Large Cesspools – Fined $134,000

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement with the owner of two Big Island hardware stores and a commercial property to close four large-capacity cesspools (LCCs) at properties in Naalehu, Kamuela and Hilo, Hawaii.  Cesspools can contaminate groundwater, and LCCs have been banned since 2005.“Replacing these harmful cesspools with modern wastewater treatment systems will protect the Big Island’s drinking water and coastal resources,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our goal is to protect Hawaii’s waters by closing all large-capacity cesspools.”

In 2016, EPA found three cesspools during inspections at the Naalehu and Kamuela Housemart Ace Hardware stores, owned by Maui Varieties Investments, Inc. (MVI). MVI also voluntarily disclosed a fourth LCC at a separate commercial property that houses a farm supply store in Hilo.

MVI will be closing the two LCCs serving the Naalehu store and neighboring buildings and replacing the LCCs with wastewater treatment systems approved by the Hawaii Department of Health. The company will be closing the LCC at the Kamuela store and connecting it to a private sewer system. Finally, MVI will close the LCC at the commercial property in Hilo and connect it to the County of Hawaii’s sewer system.  MVI will also pay a civil penalty of $134,000.

An LCC is a cesspool that serves multiple residential dwellings or a commercial facility with the capacity to serve 20 or more people per day. Cesspools collect and discharge waterborne pollutants like untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. LCCs were banned under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in April 2005.

Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state, despite the fact that 95 percent of all drinking water in Hawaii comes from groundwater sources. Since the federal LCC ban took effect in 2005, over 3,400 large-capacity cesspools have been closed state-wide, many through voluntary compliance.

For more information and to submit comments on this specific agreement, visit

For more information on the large-capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool, please visit

Officer of the Month for August: Wyatt Kaili-Leong

Officer Wyatt Kaili-Leong, a (6-year police veteran), has been named as the East Hawaiʻi Aloha Exchange Club’s August Officer of the Month.

Officer Wyatt Kaili-Leong,

On (July 14), at approximately 6:00 p.m., Officer Kaili-Leong was flagged down by a female in Keaʻau who reported the theft of a purse from her parked and unlocked vehicle. She reported that her purse contained identification cards, bank cards, a checkbook, personal items and $2,100.00 in U.S. currency generated primarily from her farmer’s market sales for the day.

Officer Kaili-Leong through his witness interviews discovered that an unidentified male wearing a baseball cap had been at the residence two days prior and sold the witness orchid plants, this same male party was seen reversing from the driveway in an older model white Saturn or Mercury just prior to the discovery of the crime.

Two days after he initiated the investigation, Officer Kaili-Leong was on patrol when observed the suspect vehicle on North Kūlani Road with an expired safety and weight tax emblem and immediately conducted a traffic stop.

Officer Kaili-Leong arrested the 38-year old male suspect and recovered numerous items taken during the theft.

He is to be commended for his work ethic and determination, keeping with the highest standards of the Hawaiʻi Police Department. Officer Kaili-Leong’s actions demonstrate his commitment to the Hawaii Police Department Core Values of Integrity, Professionalism, Compassion, Teamwork, and Community Satisfaction.

Information for 2017 Hawaii Legislature Special Session – How to Submit Testimony

The Legislature’s webmasters have set up a webpage for information on the 2017 Special Session called for Monday, August 28th. It can be found here:

This is where you’ll find links to the rail transit funding bill, “SB1 Relating to Transportation Financing”, and the notice for Monday’s 11:30 a.m. 3:00 p.m. WAM hearing (link to hearing notice). The hearing notice lists special email addresses for submitting your testimony.

Note: The hearing will be broadcast on Olelo on channel 49, will go out live to neighbor island PEG access TV channels, and can be viewed live online on the Senate webcasts page (

It appears that a number of nominations subject to Senate confirmation will also be considered during the Special Session, as numerous Governor’s Messages appear on the Special Session page.

Any subsequent hearing notices will also appear on the 2017 Special Session webpage.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Public Access Room (PAR) with any questions.

‘KULEANA’ Wins Audience Choice Narrative Feature in its North American Premier

‘KULEANA’ added another top prize to its growing list of successes with an “Audience Choice Narrative Feature” award in its second film festival screening; this time in Texas at the 23rd annual San Antonio Film Festival.

In ‘KULEANA’, set on Maui in 1971, a disabled Vietnam vet rediscovers the Hawaiian warrior within to protect his family, defend their land, and clear his father’s name. ‘KULEANA’ held its World Premiere screening for an attendance-record 3,100 enthusiastic viewers outdoors at the 2017 Maui Film Festival in June, where it also received an ‘Audience Choice’ Award.

Critics report of ‘KULEANA’: “An original blend of Hawaii’s history, spirituality and culture. Kuleana introduces a unique new film genre: Hawaiian Noir. While the setting may be tropical paradise, it’s set against a shocking and densely plotted mystery that twists and turns like a Raymond Chandler thriller. With its easy-going pace, lived-in characterizations, emphasis on domestic cruelties and layered, twisty storytelling, the movie this most reminded me of was Chinatown” MauiTime (6/17). And: “Kuleana is certainly a unique experience, merging unlikely genres and providing a cast of characters whom audiences can identify with no matter where they live” Arts Beat LA (8/17).

A rising star in the ’KULEANA’ all-Hawaii cast, Sonya Balmores, appears this fall in a no-nonsense role as Auran in Marvel’s INHUMANS co-produced by ABC and IMAX. A first in television, the series debuts in IMAX theaters worldwide followed by a premiere on ABC. The model/actor from Kauai will also be seen in a guest-starring role in the upcoming season of Dwayne Johnson’s HBO television series BALLERS, and in Gerard Butler’s action feature DEN OF THIEVES alongside Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson.

Balmores, writer/director Brian Kohne, and other key cast and crew will appear in support of the movie at select Film Festivals. Among them, ’KULEANA’ is slated to screen in the Tribal Film Festival in Oklahoma, the Louisville International Film Festival in Kentucky, the Guam International Film Festival, the Santa Cruz Film Festival in California, and in a November preview screening in the Hawaii International Film Festival on Oahu on its steady march toward a statewide theatrical run in Hawaii.

‘KULEANA’ is the Hawaiian word for Spiritual Responsibility. The provocative new mystery/drama was written and directed by Brian Kohne, produced by Stefan Schaefer, and stars native Hawaiian Moronai Kanekoa, Sonya Balmores (Marvel’s INHUMANS), Kristina Anapau (TRUE BLOOD), Augie T, Marlene Sai, Branscombe Richmond, and Mel Cabang. Hawaii’s legendary Willie K provides the original score with Johnny Wilson; and the hypnotic soundtrack boasts hits by Joni Mitchell, Procol Harum, Tony Orlando and Dawn and others, with classic Hawaiian recordings of the sixties by Genoa Keawe, Lena Machado, Sunday Manoa, Sons of Hawaii, Marlene Sai, and Myra English.

‘KULEANA’ Trailer (2017) from Hawai’i Cinema on Vimeo.