Three-Carrier Strike Force Exercise to Commence in Western Pacific

The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Nimitz (CVN 68), and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) strike groups will commence a three-carrier strike force exercise in the Western Pacific, Nov 11-14.

USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) carrier strike groups transit in formation during exercise Valiant Shield in 2007. The aerial formation consists of aircraft from the carrier strike groups as well as Air Force aircraft. photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen W. Rowe (RELEASED)

Units assigned to the strike force will conduct coordinated operations in international waters in order to demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort.

“It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, Adm. Scott Swift. “Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region.”

While at sea, the strike force plans to conduct air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuvers, and other training.

This is the first time that three carrier strike groups have operated together in the Western Pacific since exercises Valiant Shield 2006 and 2007 off the coast of Guam. Both exercises focused on the ability to rapidly bring together forces from three strike groups in response to any regional situation. Ronald Reagan took part in VS 2006 and Nimitz took part in VS 2007.

More recently, U.S. Navy aircraft carriers have conducted dual carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific including in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea. These opportunities typically occur when strike groups deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations from the West Coast of the United States are joined with the forward deployed carrier strike group from Japan.

For more than 70 years, the U.S. Pacific Fleet has been a persistent and stabilizing presence conducting operations throughout the region. The Fleet is just as committed to maintaining those security commitments for the next 70 years.

Repair Work on ‘Akaka State Falls Park Trail Completed

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks has completed repair work to the 0.4-mile loop trail at Akaka Falls State Park necessitated due to accidental damage caused by earlier removal of invasive albizia trees in February this year.

Site Engineering completed the repairs to the Akaka Falls walkway as of October 30 and Division of State Parks opened the entire trail as October 31. Repairs had been expected to take until December, so the park is re-opening earlier than expected.

The work quality appears to be good and the path of the walkway has been adjusted where the stairs are located for improved safety. Project cost is $297,400.

Repairs were completed on the longer trail section that is to the right of the loop trail starting point that was closed after the damage. Workers removed and repaired damaged concrete walkways and steps, and replaced railings
The entire park was closed from October 16 – 20 for work on the shorter, left side of the trail to the Akaka Falls lookout.

The park offers a pleasant family walk through lush tropical vegetation to scenic vista points overlooking the cascading Kahuna Falls and the free-falling ‘Akaka Falls, which plunges 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge. It requires some physical exertion and will take about 1/2 hour for the full loop.

The paved route, which includes multiple steps in places (not wheelchair accessible), makes an easy to follow loop offering stunning viewpoints of the two waterfalls. To view ‘Akaka Falls only, take the path to the left (south) from the first junction. The waterfall view is just a short walk down the path.

Unidentified Man Dies as Result of Route 11 Crash

An unidentified man died in a two-vehicle crash early Wednesday morning, Nov. 8, 2017, in Kaʻū near the 46-mile marker of the Māmalahoa Highway Route 11.

Photo via Gail Heidenfeldt-Gali

His name is being withheld pending positive identification.

Responding to a 3:39 a.m. call, police determined that a 1999 Plymouth sedan operated by the unidentified male party had been traveling south on the Māmalahoa Highway when it crossed over the center line of the roadway and was involved in a head-on collision with a 2013 Isuzu cargo van operated by a 55-year-old Mountain View man.

The collision caused the Plymouth sedan to be fully engulfed by fire, which was extinguished by the Hawaiʻi Fire Department.

The unidentified driver of the Plymouth sedan was taken to the Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 8:40 a.m.

The driver of the Isuzu cargo van was also taken to the Hilo Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries sustained in the collision. He is in stable condition.

Police believe speed was a factor in the crash but is not immediately known if alcohol was a factor.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death and to identify the male party.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at (808) 326-4646, ext. 229.

This is the 29th traffic fatality this year compared to 28 at this time last year.

RELATED LINK
Pahala Accident Results in Fatality

Kohala HS Takes Robotics Competition Sportsmanship Award

Na Paniolo robotics team from Kohala High School in Kapaʻau. PC: Art Kimura.

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High School in Kapaʻau on the Big Island, took home the VEX VRC Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championships for demonstrating courtesy and enthusiasm at the event.

The team also was a runner-up in the VRC competition.

Seventy-nine teams from Hawaiʻi, California and China participated in the weekend tournament sponsored by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Okinawa Enetech with the support of the Engineers’ Council – University of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium.

Robotics teams from Sacred Hearts Academy and Pearl City High School on O‘ahu won their respective competition Excellence Awards, qualifying both to participate in the 2018 VEX World Championships to be held next April in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Championships, and is
presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high quality VEX robotics
program.

In the VEX IQ Championships, comprised of student teams in grades three to eight, the all-girl Sacred
Hearts Academy team 2437A entered the finals with their sister team, 2437B, as the top-seeded
alliance.

Ultimately, team 2437A took home the Robot Skills Champion Award and won the Excellence Award.

According to organizers, team 2437A’s skills score has them ranked fourth in the world after the tournament.

In the VEX VRC Championship, comprised of middle and high school students, Pearl City High
School’s team, 4142A, earned the Design Award for their organized and professional approach
to the design process, project and time management, and team organization, which are all
program elements that helped them win the Excellence Award.

This is the second consecutive year that Pearl City High School qualified for the VEX Worlds through their win at the Pan Pacific VEX.

Other top awards were handed to the Kailua-based Huakailani School for Girls and an independent team (Phoenixbots) from Mililani, which together earned the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX IQ Teamwork Champion Award for their two-team alliance.

A three-team alliance of Molokaʻi High School, Waialua High & Intermediate School and the
Rolling Robots from Rolling Hills Estates, California, was named the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX VRC
Tournament Champions.

Full results of the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship can be found online.

Kamehameha Fall Musical: ‘Once On This Island’

The Kamehameha High School Hawaiʻi Island campus will hold it’s annual fall musical Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 16 through 18, 2017.

This year’s musical is Once On This Island, based on the novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy.

The musical portrays how a peasant girl from Haiti falls in love with a wealthy French boy from the other side of the island, but comes to the realization that love, just like life, can be complicated.

The shows will be held in William Charles Lunalilo Center and will begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $5 and will be available for purchase starting on Monday, Nov. 13, at the high school office from 3 to 4 p.m. or at the door right before each show.

The William Charles Lunalilo Center is located on the campus grounds located at 16-714 Volcano Road in Keaʻau.

For more information, call Eric Stack at (808) 982-0713.

County of Hawaiʻi Employee Recognition Awards

The 52nd annual County of Hawaiʻi employee recognition awards ceremony was held on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 and 19 exemplary employees were nominated for the categories of manager, supervisor and employee of the year.

  • The nominees for manager of the year were:
    Administrative Services Officer Joaquin B.K. Gamiao-Kunkel,  Planning Department
  • Battalion Chief Michael D. Hayashida, Fire Department

The nominees for supervisor of the year were:

  • Police Lieutenant John L. Briski, Police Department
  • Solid Waste Supervisor Denis A. Gibo, Department of Environmental Management
  • Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kevin S. Hashizaki, Office of the Prosecuting Attorney
  • Planner Bethany J. Morrison, Planning Department
  • Accountant Marianne T. Panoff, Department of Water Supply

Nominees for employee of the year were:

  • Human Resources Assistant Sandra A. Aguiar, Department of Human Resources, Health & Safety
  • Clerk Marilou B. Carvalho, Police Department
  • Planning Commission Support Technician Melissa A. Dacayanan, Planning Department
  • Senior Account Clerk Glenneen R. Erece, Department of Finance
  • Legal Technician Mary E. Fujio, Office of the Corporation Counsel
  • GIS Analyst Douglas B. Goehring, Department of Environmental Management
  • Information Systems Analyst Matthew L. Iaukea, Police Department
  • Water Plant Electrical/Electronic Equipment Repairer Alvin K. Inouye, Department of Water Supply
  • Clerical Services Assistant Dennis K. Kauka Jr., Office of the Mayor
  • Senior Account Clerk,Renee K. Kusano, Department of Water Supply
  • Police Officer Paul Mangus, Police Department
  • Legal Assistant Maurice C. Messina, Office of the Prosecuting Attorney

Joaquin B.K. Gamiao-Kunkel of the Planning Department was named Manager of the Year, Kevin S. Hashizaki of the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney took the Supervisor of the Year award and Employee of the Year was accorded to Glenneen R. Erece of the Finance Department.

Big Island Robotics Team Wins Sportsmanship Award at 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Championships

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High, took home the Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship.

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High, took home the Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship, photo credit: Art Kimura

Robotics teams from Sacred Hearts Academy and Pearl City High School won their respective competition “Excellence Awards” at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championships, qualifying both to participate in the 2018 VEX World Championships to be held next April in Louisville, Kentucky. Seventy-nine teams from Hawaii, California and China participated in the weekend tournament sponsored by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Okinawa Enetech with the support of the Engineers’ Council – University of Hawaii and Hawaii Space Grant Consortium.

The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Championships, and is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high quality VEX robotics program.

In the VEX IQ Championships comprised of student teams in grades 3-8, the all-girl Sacred Hearts Academy team 2437A entered the finals with their sister team 2437B as the top seeded alliance. Ultimately, team 2437A took home the “Robot Skills Champion Award” and won the “Excellence Award.” According to organizers, team 2437A’s skills score has them ranked fourth in the world after the tournament.

In the VEX VRC Championship comprised of middle and high school students, Pearl City High School’s team 4142A earned the “Design Award” for their organized and professional approach to the design process, project and time management, and team organization, which are all program elements that helped them win the “Excellence Award.” This is the second consecutive year that Pearl City High School qualified for the VEX Worlds through their win at the Pan Pacific VEX.

Other top awards were handed to the Kailua-based Huakailani School for Girls and an independent team (Phoenixbots) from Mililani, which together earned the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX IQ Teamwork Champion Award for their two-team alliance.

A three-team alliance of Molokai High School, Waialua High & Intermediate School and the Rolling Robots from Rolling Hills Estates, California was named the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX VRC Tournament Champions.

Full results of the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship can be found at www.robotevents.com.