Senate Honors Hawaiian Language Leaders

The Hawai‘i Senate Majority announces that the Hawai‘i State Senate honored five Hawaiian language kumu for their leadership in reviving and teaching ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i in our schools statewide.  These ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i kumu are Dr. Larry Lindsey Kimura, Dr. Ku‘uipolani “Ipo” Kanahele Wong, Dr. Papaikanī‘au Kai‘anui, Kananinohea Kawai‘ae‘a Māka‘imoku and Lolena Nicholas.

Courtesy of Hawai‘i Senate Majority office.

Dr. Larry Lindsey Kimura is a pioneer of the ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i movement and he has worked tirelessly for its revitalization for almost 50 years. Dr. Kimura is an Associate Professor of Hawaiian language and Hawaiian Studies at Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College at UH Hilo.

Courtesy of Hawai‘i Senate Majority office.

Dr. Kimura founded the Ka Leo Hawai‘i Hawaiian language radio talk show in the 1970s and 80s, during which time he also co-founded ‘Aha Pūnana Leo and wrote curriculum for Papahana Kaiapuni Hawai‘i (the Hawaiian Immersion Program) in the public schools.  Here he developed the course material and trained teachers to teach their subjects in Hawaiian language statewide.  Dr. Kimura is also a well-known songwriter and ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i activist.

Dr. Ku‘uipolani “Ipo” Kanahele Wong is born and raised on Ni‘ihau and she was the mānaleo (native Hawaiian language speaker) resource kumu at the Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language at UH Mānoa.  She is the first person from Ni‘ihau to receive her doctorate degree in education and she currently serves as an Associate Professor at UH Mānoa and as the Director of Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language.

Lolena Nicholas is also a native speaker from Ni‘ihau.  She was a co-host for the radio talk show Ka Leo Hawai‘i, and she has also served as the mānaleo at Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language.  Known fondly as “Auty Lolena” to thousands of ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i students statewide, Kumu Nicholas is an icon in the Hawaiian language revitalization movement.  A film was produced in 2014 about her life’s work.

Courtesy of Hawai‘i Senate Majority office.

Dr. Papaikanī‘au Kai‘anui graduated with the first Hawaiian immersion class on Maui in 2001, and she is the first immersion student to complete a doctoral degree.  Today she is an instructor of Hawaiian at Maui College.

Kananinohea Kawai‘ae‘a Māka‘imoku is the first immersion graduate to return as a Hawaiian immersion teacher and she is now helping to prepare new immersion teachers across the state.  She also sits on the faculty of Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language.

DOH Cites Water Company for HI-5 Violations

Screen shot of website

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has cited Hawaiian Isles Water Company for delinquent reports and payments to the Deposit Beverage Container (DBC) program from August through November 2017. The company has complied with the department’s enforcement order and paid a $14,400 administrative penalty fee and the monthly amounts owed to the state.

Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §342G-105 requires beverage distributors to submit monthly distributor reports and payments to the DOH no later than the 15th calendar day of the month following the end of the payment period. Hawaiian Isles Water Company received multiple written notices reminding them of reporting and payment requirements prior to being assessed a penalty.

“Distributors can avoid serious penalties by responding to reminders from the state and submitting their payments and reports on time,” said DBC Program Manager Darren Park. “Late distributor payments and reports affect program funds and our ability to reimburse recycling companies for containers redeemed and recycled each year.”

Hawai‘i’s DBC program funds are used to recycle more than 600 million containers redeemed in the state each year. Through recycling, consumers are helping to remove beverage containers from the waste stream and reduce litter in the community. The program certifies independent recycling companies to operate Certified Redemption Centers (CRCs) statewide. CRCs provide Hawai‘i consumers with refunds of the five-cent deposit fee that is paid for eligible containers. Beverage distributors submit payments and reports to the program for all HI-5 containers sold within the state.

Woman Dies After ‘Jumping Into Traffic’ on Hawai‘i Island Hwy

UPDATE 11:47 a.m.: An adult female pedestrian died following a vehicle/pedestrian crash Tuesday night, Feb. 20, in Pāhoa.

Her name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of her family.

Responding to a 9:40 p.m. call, police determined that a 2006 Ford sedan was traveling southbound on Highway 130 near Launahele Road when it struck the female pedestrian who was in the roadway.

The woman was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 10:31 p.m.

The driver of the Ford sedan, a 40-year-old Pāhoa woman, was not injured.

Police do not believe that speed or alcohol were factors in this crash. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Clarence Acob at (808) 961-2329.

This is the fourth traffic fatality this year compared with four at this time last year.

ORIGINAL POST: Feb. 21, 2018

The Hawai‘i Fire Department reports that a female in her late 30s died after being hit by a car on Highway 130 (Pāhoa/Kalapana Road) around the 12 mile marker around on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 around 9:42 p.m.

Upon firefighters arrival, they found the female unconscious and laying in the Hilo-bound lane and her boyfriend stated that they were both walking on the side of the road when the female launched herself into oncoming traffic.

The driver of the vehicle, who was uninjured, states she was driving at approximately 55 mph at time of impact. The sedan had moderate front end damage and a shattered windshield.

Traffic was detoured to Leilani Avenue while the investigation was ongoing.

Humpback Whale Placenta Found

The Pacific Whale Foundation’s reports that their raft the Ocean Journey, on its first whale watch of the day, came across the rarest of finds, a placenta in the water, presumed to be from a humpback whale.

A presumed humpback whale placenta. Photo courtesy of the Pacific Whale Foundation.

Further details of the time, location and circumstances surrounding the discovery are still being determined.

It is generally accepted that humpback whales migrate to Hawai‘i’s waters to breed and calve their young, however an actual birth has not yet been documented. A humpback whale placenta would perhaps be the next best evidence of the birthing process taking place.

Scientists infer that the placenta is easily dislodged after the calf is born, and then simply floats away.

UPDATE 4: Social Media Comments ‘Spiraled Out of Control’

UPDATE 4: 11:05 a.m.

Social media comments inferring the threat of gun violence at Big Island schools at the end of January “spiraled out of control, causing concern for parents,” Hawaiʻi Police Department Puna Patrol Area I Capt. Samuel Jelsma told Big Island Now this morning.

In response, additional officers were sent to the Pāhoa and Kea‘au schools indicated in the social media posts on Jan. 29.

The posts were brought to school official’s attention yesterday, Tuesday, Feb. 20, and the HPD responded “immediately and appropriately,” Capt. Jelsma said.

Capt. Jelsma said three officers were sent to Pāhoa High School, joining the schools resource officer. Four officers were sent to Kea‘au High School this morning as well, although no specific or direct threats were made.

“There were no recent threats made for either school,” said Capt. Jelsma, “only chatter on social media.”

Capt. Jelsma assured that any and all threats are taken seriously and will be handles appropriately.

In the case of the  threat made to a Pāhoa High School student, HPD initiated a harassment complaint case the 17-year-old girl. The girl is not a student at the school, said Capt. Jelsma. She was released and the case is being routed to Family Court.

UPDATE 3, 9:57 a.m.

Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi Head of School M. Kāhealani Nae‘ole-Wong sent an email to parents, telling them that the school is actively monitoring the situation in Pāhoa “and possibly other schools in the region (threats of violence.”

The Kea‘au campus will remain open at this time.

“We take all threats very seriously, and have asked our security team which protects our campus 24/7 to be on high alert,” said Nae‘ole-Wong. “Should there be any changes to this I will let you know, but please know that nothing is more important than the protection of your keiki.”

UPDATE 2, 9:10 a.m.

The Hawai‘i Police Department reports that there is no active shooter situation at either Pāhoa High School or Kea‘au High School.

Big Island Now found two HPD officers at Kea‘au High School, but the officers did not share any information about their investigation.

UPDATE 1: Feb. 21, 2018, 8:46 a.m.

Big Island police are on high alert after threats were made at three schools on the island.

In response, police have temporarily increased presence at the two public high schools in the Puna District—Pāhoa and Kea‘au High School—along with Konawainea High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018.

Police have been meeting with school officials.

In response to social media posts on, Jan. 29, which were brought to school official’s attention yesterday, Tuesday, Feb. 20, police were summoned to the Pāhoa High School campus.

It was reported that during a back and forth Instagram text between two female teenagers in which insults were exchanged, a 16-year-old female made a comment referencing bringing a firearm to school.

Police generated a harassment case and located and interviewed the 16-year-old suspect on Tuesday. She was later released and the case is being routed to Family Court.

Although the posting didn’t specify a school, investigation revealed that one of the suspects was connected with Konawaena High School.

A 17-year-old male was subsequently arrested and charged with second-degree terroristic threatening. He was later released to his parents.

Later social media posts began discussing that a shooting would take place at a Keaʻau school as well.

It is a felony to threaten to shoot a gun at school and is punishable by up to five years in prison.

In the back of everyone’s mind is the spate of deadly shootings at schools, including one last week at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead.

Konawaena High School. File photo.

The shooting has prompted several “copycat threats” at other schools across the country, putting authorities on extra high alert.

ORIGINAL POST: Feb. 20, 2018, 11:36 p.m.

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, at about 11:30 a.m., police received a report of a social media posting from a male party that referenced to “shooting up local schools.”

Investigation into this posting reveals it was posted by a 17-year-old-male juvenile.

At about 7 p.m., the suspect was taken into custody and charged with Terroristic Threatening in the Second Degree.

The juvenile was subsequently released to his parent due to not qualifying for further detention.

Although the posting did not contain a specific school, the juvenile was found to be connected with Konawaena High School.

As a result police will have a greater presence at Konawaena School tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018.