HPD Identifies Man Found in Burnt Vehicle

The Hawaiʻi Island Police Department has identified the charred remains found within a burnt vehicle this past Christmas Day as that of 67-year-old Douglas Vernon Don of Kalapana. This identification was made via DNA.

At approximately 10 a.m. Monday morning, Dec. 25, 2017, police and fire units responded to a side road off 39th Avenue near Pōhaku Drive in the Orchidland subdivision to a reported vehicle engulfed in flames. After dousing the flames, firefighters observed burnt human remains in the vehicle. Investigators were unable to immediately identify if the remains are that of male or female.

Police have reason to suspect that this incident is related to evidence located at another property, also on 39th Avenue, but near Auliʻi Drive.

Detectives with the Criminal Investigation Section are continuing this investigation classified as a murder.

Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to call the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Kayne Keli‘i at (808) 961-2378 or [email protected].

Hilton Waikoloa Village Replaces Plastic Straws with Sustainable Alternatives

Hilton Waikoloa Village last straw initiative. Courtesy photo.

Hilton Waikoloa Village has initiated “the last straw”—a new commitment to discontinue the use of plastic drinking straws resort-wide in its restaurants, bars, venues and vendors.

The Hilton Waikoloa Village Last Straw Campaign comes as an effort to care for Hawai‘i’s ocean environment by eliminating the impact of plastic straws, one of the top 10 marine debris most commonly found in Hawai‘i.

The resort is the first on the Island of Hawai‘i to implement an initiative of this kind which has substantial environmental benefits. In 2017, the Hilton Waikoloa Village used more than 800,000 plastic straws while serving more than 1 million guests. Plastic straws cannot be recycled and can have devastating effects on marine and coastal life like fish, turtles and seabirds if ingested. The resort will now offer FDA-approved, GMO and BPA-free compostable paper straws upon request.

Hilton Waikoloa Village last straw initiative. Courtesy photo.

“Over the years, concerned guests have notified us of the impact that plastic straws have on our environment,” said Simon Amos, hotel manager. “We are thrilled to be able to respond and officially say that Jan. 31, 2018, was ‘the last straw.’ Hilton Waikoloa Village is uniquely gifted with a location that affords guests a front row seat to Hawai‘i’s spectacular marine life. We’re glad to take this step to be better stewards of this beautiful place.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, the resort held an informal celebration to mark this move toward greater sustainability with its partner, Dolphin Quest. The Hilton Waikoloa Village Last Straw Campaign is a proactive step to contribute to larger movements like Strawless Ocean Initiative by Lonely Whale Foundation, One Less Straw by One More Generation and The Last Plastic Straw, all of which challenge individuals and companies to commit to a sustainable alternative to single use plastic straws.

Hilton Waikoloa Village last straw initiative. Courtesy photo.

Furthermore, a Senate bill is currently being considered by Hawai‘i lawmakers that would prohibit the distribution, sale and provision of plastic straws in the state. The team behind the resort’s last straw campaign hopes its efforts will encourage support for the bill and continue the movement toward greater sustainability.


$500,000 for Master Plan for Pāhoa Elementary School

Pahoa Elementary School.

Rep. Joy San Buenaventura received a letter from Hawai‘i Gov. David Ige announcing that the state has released $500,000 in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding to finance a master plan for Pāhoa Elementary School.

Gov. Ige said:

Aloha Representative San Buenaventura:

I am pleased to let you know that my administration has released funding for the following Capital Improvement Project(s) (CIP):

Name: Pāhoa Elementary School, Master Plan, Hawai‘i

Description: To finance a master plan for Pāhoa Elementary School.

Amount Released: $500,000

Mahalo for your work on behalf of the residents of your district to secure these funds.
Projects such as these are critical components of the public infrastructure and
contribute to building a better home for our kupuna, keiki, and all the residents of

A list of released CIP and CIP Grants-In-Aid (GIA) will be emailed once a month.

By working collaboratively, we can climb the mountains of challenges that face Hawai‘i.

With warmest regards,

David Y. Ige
Governor, State of Hawai‘i

Rep. Sanbuenventura said:

“Pāhoa Elementary School is the oldest elementary school in Puna. Despite its continued growth, Pāhoa Elementary School has had only one building and had been operating mostly from portable classrooms, a sub-standard administration building and no cafeteria. In fact, part of its playground has been coopted by the county for a baseball field.

Little children walk a careful line with escorts to cross the street to Pāhoa Intermediate/High school to eat. Thus, it is a long time coming that a master plan to design the school is finally coming to fruition instead of the hodgepodge portables connected by sometimes-covered walkways that the teachers and children have had to endure.”