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UH Hilo Receives OHA Grant Funding

Na Pua No`eau- The Center for Gifted and Talented Native Hawaiian Children has announced that the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has received funding from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) `Ahahui Grants program. The funds support UH Hilo’s strategic goal to strengthen its impact on the State of Hawai’i by working in partnership with other UH campuses to deliver joint program events or activities.

On February 23, 2017, Na Pua No`eau will present “E Ho`okama`aina” at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College (UHMC). OHA awarded a total of $5,300 for this event, which will invite high school juniors and seniors to engage and learn about the various degree programs from faculty and program coordinators to inspire them to enter into higher education and further their career aspirations.

“Ma Uka a i Kai Akamai Engineers” will be held on April 3, 2017 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mänoa. OHA awarded $1,950 to invite K-12 students and their `ohana to explore how the different types of engineering (mechanical, electric, civil, etc.) were applied during the days of their kupuna. The Native Hawaiian Science and Engineering Mentorship Program is a partner in the event, which will include games and work on projects that provide hands-on learning about the field of engineering.

`Ahahui Grants support community events that meet at least one primary strategic result. The events will address OHA’s Exceed Education Standards and UH’s Hawai’i Graduation Initiative (HGI). For more information, contact Nä Pua No`eau Director Kinohi Gomes at kinohi@hawaii.edu.

Big Island Officer of the Month: Andrew Springer

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Kona Patrol Officer Andrew Springer as “Officer of the Month” for December in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (December 7) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Andrew Springer

Springer was honored for arresting a man who had broken into one vehicle and appeared to be selecting his next target.

On May 24, police received a report that someone had entered a parked vehicle at a store in Kailua-Kona and removed a backpack. After reviewing surveillance video, Officer Springer made checks in the immediate area and then expanded his search. He located the suspect in the parking lot of a nearby business. The man was sitting in a pickup truck and using the victim’s binoculars to focus on a third parking lot, where he apparently was targeting his next victim.

Springer arrested him and recovered the victim’s property. Police also recovered a small amount of crystal meth and a smoking pipe from the suspect’s truck.

The suspect was charged with unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

As “Officer of the Month,” Springer is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee is an organization that encourages community involvement in aiding and supporting police in West Hawaiʻi.

Mayor Kim Takes Oath of Office – Outlines Past Accomplishments

Mayor Harry Kim took the “Oath of Office” at the Hawaii County Inaugural Ceremonies on Monday, December 5th at the Hilo Civic Center.

Soon after, the Hawaii County website changed to reflect the new mayor’s vision with a statement from him on the side of the website along with a couple announcements talking about what he accomplished the previous time he was in office:

The following are some highlights of my previous administration from 2000-2008. The key at the bottom of the post indicates what level of involvement we had from identifying a site, negotiating, conducting an EA, acquiring a site, preliminary planning, obtaining funding, planned, funded, construction started, to construction completed.

Budgeting Through Hard Times & Good Times

In 2000, the economy was bad, and it soon got worse after 9/11/01. Immediate mid-year budget cuts were required and taken. A tax rate increase was passed in May 2002 just to maintain current services. Property values started increasing around 2004, so relief for homeowners was proposed and passed:

  • 3% cap on increase in value per year
  • Higher exemption based on % of value
  • Improved Homeowner Dedication program

Also proposed were revisions to agriculture tax laws for fairness and relief. As property values continued soaring, we prepared for future hard times:

  • Created and proposed funding reserves
  • Created “Rainy Day” Fund
  • Disaster & Emergency Fund
  • We were also able to address long needed priorities and programs that were neglected during many years of hardship.

In November 2008 – County’s bond rating by Standard & Poor’s was upgraded due to sound financial management.

Environment

HI5 redemption (“bottle bill”) When bill was proposed at legislature and seemed unlikely to pass, Hawai‘i County offered to be a “pilot program” to promote passage.

Recyling

  • Hired first Recycling Coordinator
  • Increased land ll diversion from 13.9% in 2001 to 29.1% in 2008
  • Established at 19 transfer stations

Reuse Center

  • First one developed at Keaau Transfer Station, 2003

Hilo Landfill

  • Increased life by up to 10 years

Scrap metal

  • Established long-term contract for scrap metal recycling to encourage private investment – succeeded in eliminating decades-old scrap metal piles

Programs & Initiatives

2005 General Plan

  • Included “important ag lands” designation
  • Community Development Plans

Free bus rides

An economic stimulus, as free bus rides allowed those who use the bus to spend more money on family and other things

Aging and Disability Resource Center

First in state, bringing together agencies dealing with seniors and caregivers in a single facility

Community Development Plans

Initiated & adopted

  • Kona (2005-2008)
  • Puna (2006-2008)
  • North and South Kohala (2007-2008)

Shoreline public access

  • Ten miles new public access in N. Kohala
  • Three miles new public access in Pepeekeo
  • Kohanaiki compromise, new park
  • Donation of Hakalau Mill site
  • Honl’s (Waiaha) beach park, Kailua-Kona
  • Honuapo, 145 acres purchased
  • Waipio Ranger Program

“Concurrency”

Concept introduced in 2004

Fiber optic

Upgraded County’s telecommunications network with fiber optic

Waste to Energy

Followed the County’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan and pursued a waste to energy project. Issued a nationwide RFP and the final selection of Wheelabrator was made after committee review. Project fell short of implementation because of Council concern over costs.

Public Safety

During the second term, County was able to finally address long-unmet needs for increased police and reprotection, especially
in the fast-growing districts of Kona and Puna. Personnel shortages were caused by the many years of hiring freeze due to the extreme revenue shortages of the 1990s and early 2000s. We were able to support department requests for new positions:

  • Police – Added 143 new positions
  • Fire – Added 141 new positions

Buildings

  • West Hawaii Civic Center (2)
  • Aupuni Center (1)
  • Pahoa Fire Station (2)
  • Pahoa Police Station (4)
  • County Building Renovation (2)
  • East Hawaii Detention Facility (1)
  • Makalei Fire Station Site (6)

Roads

  • Keanalehu-Manawalea Connector Road (2)
  • Ane Keohokalole Highway (prelim planning) (5)
  • Puainako (Saddle Road) Extension (1)
  • Kuakini Highway, Palani to Hualalai (1)
  • Palani Rd Improvements at Kealaka’a St (2)
  • Mamalahoa Hwy Impr, Honalo to Captain Cook (2)
  • Pohoiki Road Realignment (1)
  • Waikoloa Emergency Road (1)
  • Mamalahoa Resurfacing, S. Kohala (1)
  • Mud Lane Resurfacing (1)
  • Puako Escape Route (1)
  • Coastview/Wonderview-Palisades connectors (2)

Parks

  • Pohoiki/Isaac Hale Beach Park Improvement (1)
  • Reeds Bay Beach Park Improvements (2) West
  • Hawaii Veterans Cemetery Expansion (1)
  • Waiaha Beach Park (Honi’s) (1)
  • Pahoa park land – 50 acres purchased (1)
  • Pu’umaile/Lehia Beach Park (King’s Landing) (1)

Other (Managed by DWS)

  • HOVE Water Well (State funded) (2)
  • Island-wide Water Spigots (2)
  • Kona Coastview/Wonderview Water I.D. (1)

Infrastructure Key

  1. Planned, funded, construction complete
  2. Planned, funded, construction started
  3. Site identified and acquired, master plan approved
  4. Site identified and acquired, planning phase
  5. Preliminary planning and EA done so ready to go
  6. Site identified, in negotiations

Civic Projects:

Kona Community Development Plan (CDP)

Initiated the General Plan’s intent of community development plans that provide a forum for community input into managing
growth and coordinating delivery of government services.

  • 2005: Kona selected as the first of seven geographic districts to begin the process of creating a CDP.

    The process involved hundreds of meetings and thousands of individuals.

  • 2008: Kona CDP adopted by ordinance, and the work of the Action Committee continues.

West Hawai‘i Civic Center

Identified the need to bring County services together in one place and prioritized the construction of a new West Hawai‘i civic center. Extensive community input guided the design of the facility as a “gathering place”, resulting in an inviting and energy-efficient civic center that received LEED Silver certification.

  • 2002: Site selected; land acquired from State by E.O. 3952
  • 2005: Contract awarded for design and community input
  • 2008: $50.5M of County funds committed for design/build contract; groundbreaking in October
  • 2011: Construction completed

Road Projects

The following projects were initiated by the Kim Administration and were in various stages of completion by the end of 2008:

Keāhole to Hōnaunau Regional Circulation Plan:

Completed in 2003, this plan comprehensively analyzed options to address the growing commuter traffic from Ka’u and South Kona traveling through North Kona. The recommendations were incorporated into the Kona CDP and is the foundation for
Kona road projects.

Ane Keohokalole Highway:

The Keāhole to Kailua Development Plan introduced the concept of a Mid-Level Road in 1991. In 2007 started engineering and an environmental assessment. In 2008 the Kona CDP officially recognized this road as a priority. These actions positioned
this project to qualify for federal stimulus funding.

Keanalehu-Manawalea Connector Road:

This road connects the Villages of La‘i ‘Ōpua, Kealakehe Elementary School, Kealakehe Intermediate School, Kealakehe High School, and the Kealakehe houselots to reduce the travel times for school children. In 2007 secured funding and started construction.

Kuakini Highway Improvements:

This project widened Kuakini Highway from two to four lanes from Palani Road to Hualālai Street. Weekly meetings were held among the contractor, Public Works staff, and the community. Completed in 2006.

Palani Road Safety Improvements at Kealaka‘a Street:

This project realigns Kealaka‘a Street to intersect with Palani Road and Palihiolo Street with a traffic light. In 2006 funds secured and construction started.

La‘aloa Avenue:

This project improves mauka-makai connectivity between Ali‘i Drive and Kuakini Highway for traffic flow and emergency evacuation purposes. In 2004 secured funds for engineering, environmental assessment, and land acquisition. In 2008 final environmental
assessment culminated months of meetings with the community; funding secured for construction.

Māmalahoa Bypass:

Negotiated with the Hokuli‘a developer to grant an easement to the County for the use of the Māmalahoa Bypass on a limited basis for southbound afternoon traffic. Introduced amendments to the rezoning ordinance and traffic code to allow use of Haleki‘i Street as a connector prior to the opening of entire bypass to Nāpō‘opo‘o, and specify improvements to Ali‘i Drive and Haleki‘i Street to accommodate the increased traffic.

Traffic Flow Improvements:

Completed a number of smaller projects to improve traffic flow on existing streets — Hina Lani/Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway, right turn lane; Hina Lani/Māmalahoa Highway, traffic signal; Kaiminani/ Queen Ka‘ahumanu and Kaiminani/Māmalahoa Highway, right turn lanes; various improvements to Māmalahoa Highway, Honalo to Captain Cook.

Housing, Water, & Public Safety Projects

“A Friendly Place” for Homeless:

When previous attempts to locate a homeless service center and shelter faced community resistance, the Administration relocated a County baseyard in the Kailua Industrial area to build a homeless intake and service center. The structure was donated by developer Stanford Carr.

Emergency Housing for Homeless:

The Administration initiated a homeless shelter on the Friendly Place site. In 2008 a partnership between the County, State and HUD allowed construction to go forward.

Kaloko Housing Program:

This project provided decent, safe and sanitary housing and support services to qualified homeless families with children. This was an urgent need due to the pending closure of the Kawaihae transitional housing. In 2006 secured the site by working with the private developer of the Kaloko Industrial Park, TSA Corporation, to acquire eight acres of land along Hina Lani Street.

Kona Coastview/Wonderview Water System Improvement District:

Responded to a community’s outcry for assistance through an innovative partnering of County and federal resources. This project constructed a County dedicable water system serving 437 Kona households to replace aging private water systems and leakage-prone
“spaghetti lines”.

Mākālei Fire Station:

Upon determining a previous site as too costly and not suitable, in 2007 secured a site donated by a landowner with assistance of Mr. Yamamoto and Mr. Lynch. In 2008 Final EA published.

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Kona Girl Missing Since August

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Kona girl who was reported missing.

Summer Steenolsen

Summer Steenolsen was last seen in Waimea on August 10.

She is described as 5-foot-7, 135 pounds with blond hair and green eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide 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.

Hula to be Featured at UH Hilo Fall Commencement

Fall commencement at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo takes on a different look this year, reflecting the view of higher education through an indigenous lens promoted by the UH System’s Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao initiative. The program will feature a student speaker, a hula presentation about learning and growth, and the awarding of degrees on Saturday, December 17 at 9 a.m. in Vulcan Gym.
uh-hilo-moniker
A total of 242 students have petitioned for 318 degrees and/or certificates from the colleges of Arts and Sciences (233), Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (21), Business and Economics (30), Pharmacy (6) and Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language (7), while 21 others are candidates for various post-graduate honors.

Kyle James Davis, an agriculture major, will represent the graduating class as student speaker. Davis, who will receive a BS in tropical horticulture, has maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.48. His academic achievements include being named to the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management Dean’s List in 2013 and 2015. Davis also earned a Semester at Sea Scholarship and spent spring 2014 studying aboard the MV Explorer in nearly a dozen countries.

Davis is an ordained minister, who served five years in the US Army, including over two and a half years in Iraq as a combat medic. His commencement address will draw from his numerous life experiences and will include a call for his fellow graduates to broaden their horizons.

The chant- hula will be performed by UNUKUPUKUPU, Indigenous Leadership through Hula Program under the directorship of Pele Ka`io, Hawaiian Protocols Committee chairperson, and Dr. Taupōuri Tangarō, director of Hawaiian Culture and Protocols Engagement, at UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College.

Organizers anticipate a dynamic performance, with at least 50 individuals representing UH Hilo, HawCC, and Waiākea High School. Gail Makuakāne-Lundin, interim executive assistant to Chancellor Donald Straney, director of Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, and a member of UNUKUPUKUPU, will introduce the chant-hula, entitled ʻUlei Pahu I Ta Motu, which was composed more than 200 years ago and documents the evolution of world view.

The chant-hula will be preceded and followed by the sounding of 20 pahu (drums) and 20 pū (conch-shell trumpets). The 20 pū will also sound honoring Moana-nui-ākea (large and broad oceans) that connect Hawaiʻi to the world. The performance concludes with the presentation of Paʻakai (sea-salt) to honor the profound intersection where the learner transitions to graduate.

Straney said fall commencement provides a unique opportunity to showcase the UH Hilo – Hawaiʻi Community College Papa O Ke Ao collaboration, which seeks to make the UH campuses leaders in indigenous education.

$3,000 Raised for the Food Basket at Taste of Mauna Lani

The 7th Annual “Taste of Mauna Lani” fundraising event to benefit Hawai‘i Island Food Basket raised 50 percent more than the 2015 event.

shops-at-mauna-lani
The Taste of Mauna Lani is held during three weeks in September, with participating restaurants offering specially discounted three-course prix-fixe dinners.  A portion of each sale is donated to Hawai‘i Island Food Basket. Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar at The Shops at Mauna Lani contributed over $1,000 from sales during the event.

Other participating restaurants at The Shops at Mauna Lani included Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Blue Room Brasserie & Bar and Monstera Noodles & Sushi.  CanoeHouse at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalow was the second highest contributor with over $500 donated to the charity.  A new participant this year was Brown’s Beach House at The Fairmont Orchid.  In addition, The Shops at Mauna Lani made a 20% matching contribution to all funds raised by the restaurants.

“With everyone’s participation in this event, a total of $3,000 was raised by ‘Taste of Mauna Lani,’ which is a significant increase over last year’s amount.” said General Manager Michael Oh. “We are always looking for ways to give back, especially to the Food Basket, who works so hard all year round to help the people who need it most in our community.”

To make a donation as an individual or business, visit www.hawaiifoodbasket.org.

Seventy-Two Youths Participate in HI-PAL Youth Volleyball Clinic

Seventy-two youths participated in the HI-PAL Youth Volleyball Clinic held December 1 at the new Kaʻū District Gym in Pāhala. The free clinic was held in partnership with the UH-Hilo Vulcan Women’s Volleyball Team, County of Hawaiʻi Department of Parks and Recreation and the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s Community Policing Section-Hawaiʻi Isle Police Activities League (HI-PAL).

UH-Hilo Vulcan Coach Tino Reyes demonstrates ‘bump’ form.

UH-Hilo Vulcan Coach Tino Reyes demonstrates ‘bump’ form.

“We wanted to bring the Vulcan athletes out to Kaʻū to share their knowledge and skills with our keiki and are very fortunate to have this brand new, three-court facility that could hold such an event,” said Kaʻū Community Police Officer Blaine Morishita.

Participants learned skills and were able to talk story with the college athletes. Afterward, participants were treated to dinner, which was served by community volunteers, P&R staff and police officers.

For information on HI-PAL activities in West Hawaiʻi, you may contact the Kona Community Policing Section at 326-4646, extension 259, or your nearest police station.

Most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Features Open as Winter Weather Continues in Hawaii

Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) and the Kahuku Unit reopened Saturday, although heavy rainfall persists at times. The snow-cloaked summit of Mauna Loa will remain closed to all day use and overnight camping until it is safe to reopen.

NPS Photo by Janice Wei

NPS Photo by Janice Wei

Nāhuku is open, but the lights are still out. Visitors must bring a flashlight to explore the 300-foot lava tube, which becomes pitch black just a few yards in without light, has uneven flooring, and a low ceiling in some sections. Rangers are stationed at the lava tube to assist visitors during peak hours, and signs are posted.

The park’s Kahuku Unit in Ka‘ū reopened Saturday morning and remained open through Sunday. The 116,000-acre Kahuku Unit is open to the public for hiking and exploring Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The Mauna Loa summit closure is in effect above the Red Hill (Pu‘u‘ula‘ula) Cabin. Hikers can still obtain a backcountry permit to hike to and stay at Red Hill Cabin, but backcountry permits to areas above 10,000 feet are suspended and day hiking is prohibited. Hikers going to Red Hill will be advised during the permit process to proceed with caution and carry appropriate gear.

“The park is open, and we remind visitors to drive with caution and aloha,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Roads are flooded in places, and visitors might encounter fog, additional rain and other inclement weather today and as the week progresses,” she said.

Hawaii County Entrepreneurship Program Accepting Applications

entreThe County of Hawai‘i Business Resource Center, a program of the Department of Research and Development, is accepting applications to the second cohort of its Hawai‘i County Entrepreneurship Program which begins on January 6, 2017. This free program is part of the County’s ongoing efforts to promote and support local economic development.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come-first served basis for up to 25 people. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, December 28, 2016. Anyone interested in applying can download complete application materials at the Department’s website http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/research-and-development/ or by picking up a copy in either of the Department’s Hilo and Kailua-Kona offices.

Accepted applicants are expected to: participate in three four- to six-hour workshops which will be held on three Saturdays in Hilo and Kailua-Kona; participate in weekly online learning sessions; and to develop a business plan concept during the course of the three-month program. Additional requirements can be found in the program materials posted on the R&D website.

The Hawai‘i County Entrepreneurship Program will link participants to leaders from Hawaii County’s business community, financial institutions, government agencies, and business development organizations to provide guidance and valuable connections to resources that will help them build their business plan. This program will help participants strengthen their entrepreneurial skills and create opportunities for their future.

If you have any questions, please contact Beth Dykstra at (808) 961-8035 or Elizabeth.Dykstra@hawaiicounty.gov

Coast Guard Searching for Possibly Two People Off the Big Island – One Wanted By Police

The Coast Guard is searching for two possible persons in the water off of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala district, Sunday.

The Coast Guard received a report of an unmanned, adrift dinghy found offshore of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala district, Dec. 4, 2016. The dinghy has evidence of recent use with two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard. (Courtesy photo/Released)

The Coast Guard received a report of an unmanned, adrift dinghy found offshore of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala district, Dec. 4, 2016. The dinghy has evidence of recent use with two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard. (Courtesy photo/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and the crew of the USCGC Ahi (WPB 87364) have been launched to search the surrounding areas.

Watchstanders from the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received notification from the Hawaii County Fire Department Sunday morning regarding a 12-foot Zodiac dinghy found adrift offshore by a mariner. Reports were also received of a man and a woman seen by fellow campers using a dinghy matching the description of the one found.

The dinghy has evidence of recent use with two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard. Owner of the Zodiac is thought to be Derek Liu (SEE BELOW). He is believed to own a green Nissan truck with a trailer that has been left at the campsite.

dinghy-truckAnyone with information that may help locate the owners of the dinghy is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.

Weather conditions on scene are reportedly 8 mph winds with waves at 2 feet and approximately 8 miles of visibility.


Media Release:

12-02-16 Wanted: Derek Liu

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 52-year-old Honokaʻa man who is wanted for violating terms of bail.

Derek Liu is described as 5-foot-10, 165 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

derek-liu

Derek Liu

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide 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.

Hilo Attorneys Recognized for Volunteer Service to the East Hawaii Community

Forty-three attorneys were recognized during the Self-Help Center Recognition Awards on December 2nd for providing free legal information to more than 700 Hawaii Island residents who sought assistance at the Hilo Courthouse Self-Help Center in 2016.  Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald attended the recognition ceremony at the Hilo Yacht Club.

judiciaryThe Hilo Self-Help Center was established in July 2012 as part of the Hawaii State Judiciary’s commitment to increasing access to justice in the courts. Since opening, the Hilo Self-Help Center has assisted more than 3,700 people, with volunteer attorneys providing over 900 hours of legal information on civil matters, such as temporary restraining orders and divorce.  For over four years, these services have been provided at almost no cost to the state.

“I am grateful to the attorneys who volunteer their time at our Self-Help Centers, assisting individuals representing themselves in civil legal cases.  The generosity of these attorneys has been essential to increasing access to justice in our civil courts,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.

The volunteers were recognized by Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Third Circuit Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra, Chief Court Administrator of the Third Circuit Lester Oshiro, and Third Circuit Deputy Chief Court Administrators Dawn West and Cheryl Salmo.

The individual attorneys who were honored are as follows:  Al Konishi, Robert Crudele, Paul Hamano, Melody Parker, William Heflin, Jeff Ng, Chris Schlueter, Damir Kouliev, Francis Alcain, Jennifer Ng, Laureen Martin, Chris Rothfus, J. Yoshimoto, Raymond Hasegawa, Joy San Buenaventura, Al Thompson, Austin Hsu, Doug Halsted, Dwayne Lerma, Joanne Goya, Kenneth Goodenow, Michelle Oishi, Nelson Kinoshita, Amy Self, Charlene Iboshi, Dakota Frenz, Darien Nagata, Edith Kawai, Harry Eliason, Jennifer Wharton, Jo Kim, Kanani Laubach, Lincoln Ashida, Lionel Riley, Lynne Kushi, Michael Kagami, Peter Kubota, Ryan Caday, Steven Strauss, Sylvia Wan, Ted Hong, Zachary Wingert, and Mitch Roth.

Chief Justice Recktenwald acknowledged the strong support of the late State Representative Clift Tsuji, who had attended the ceremony in previous years to recognize the volunteer attorneys.  “Representative Tsuji’s commitment to access to justice for all was truly inspiring, and is part of the legacy that he leaves for this community.”

Also acknowledged were AmeriCorps Advocates Samantha Puluole-Mitchell and Alexandria Agdeppa, as well as Legal Aid of Hawaii Staff Attorney Mark Haines, who, through the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, organize the Self-Help Center at the Hilo Courthouse each week.

Valerie Grab, Managing Attorney of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii’s Hilo Office said, “I am so pleased by the support the Hawaii County Bar Association and our local attorneys have given to this effort.  Every week, Hawaii Island residents use the Hilo Self-Help Center to gain information that helps them meet their legal needs.  The Hilo Self-Help Center is the product of a statewide collaboration of the Hawaii State Judiciary, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission, and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.  With the donation of their time and talents, today’s honorees are helping to make access to justice a reality for the Big Island community.”

The Chief Justice also thanked the Hawaii County Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, and the Access to Justice Commission for their support of the Self-Help Center.

Attorneys who would like to become involved with the Hilo Self-Help Center are invited to attend the next volunteer attorney training on Friday, January 20, 2017.  To register, please visit: http://www.legalaidhawaii.org/pro-bono-attorney.html.

For more information on the Hilo Self-Help Center as well as the Self-Help Desk at the Kona Courthouse, visit the Hawaii State Judiciary website, click on the “Self-Help” tab at the top of the page, and look for “Self-Help Centers” (see: http://bit.ly/23bEaXX).

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Announces Closures – Thurston Lava Tube Floods

Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) and the Kahuku Unit are closed due to impacts from heavy rainfall and flash flooding. The summit of Mauna Loa remains closed to all day use and overnight camping. Closures remain in effect until it is safe to reopen.

A closure sign at the entrance to Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube)/NPS Photo

A closure sign at the entrance to Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube)/NPS Photo

On Friday, the floor of the lava tube was flooded with rain, and water covered the electrical conduit system. The power was shut off, but visitor access is prohibited until further notice.

The floor of a dark Nāhuku flooded with rainwater Friday afternoon, with the power off./NPS Photo

The floor of a dark Nāhuku flooded with rainwater Friday afternoon, with the power off./NPS Photo

The Kahuku Unit, which is usually open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, was closed for the day on Friday morning due to flooding and a road closure on Highway 11. Staff will reassess conditions Saturday morning, and determine if Kahuku will open for the weekend.

The National Weather Service extended the flash flood warning for Hawai‘i Island Friday afternoon through 5:15 p.m. HST.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the summit of Mauna Loa that remains in effect. Heavy rain and high winds pummeled the 13,677-foot summit, and abundant snow was visible on webcams and at sunset Thursday.

Rainwater ponding along the rainforest trail at Nāhuku. NPS Photo

Rainwater ponding along the rainforest trail at Nāhuku. NPS Photo

The summit closure is in effect above the Red Hill (Pu‘u‘ula‘ula) Cabin. Hikers can still obtain a backcountry permit to hike to and stay at Red Hill Cabin, but backcountry permits to areas above 10,000 feet are suspended and day hiking is prohibited. Hikers going to Red Hill will be advised during the permit process to proceed with caution and carry appropriate gear.

“Park rangers will constantly monitor the roads and destinations within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park during this storm, and additional closures may be warranted,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura Chosen for 2016 Western Legislative Academy

The Council of State Governments West (CSG West), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization serving Western state legislators of both parties in 13 Western states, has selected Hawaii Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura as a participant in its prestigious training institute for lawmakers in their first four years of service.  The purpose of the Western Legislative Academy is to build excellence and effectiveness in state legislators in the Western region.

rep-joy-fb-pictureAdmission to the Western Legislative Academy is very competitive and is based on commitment to public service, desire to improve personal legislative effectiveness and interest in improving the legislative process.  Out of 88 applicants from throughout the Western United States, 44 state legislators were selected as members of the Western Legislative Academy Class of 2016.

The Western Legislative Academy convenes from November 30 – December 3, 2016 in Colorado Springs, Colorado for three and a half days of intensive training in subjects such as legislative institutions, ethics, communications, negotiations, time management and leadership.  Faculty is drawn from academia, former military and the private sector.  A highlight of the training is an afternoon at the US Air Force Academy working on personal assessments and team building.

San Buenaventura is a 2nd term Hawaii State Representative for the District of Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii. She is vice-chair of the Judiciary Committee and is a member of Transportation and Housing committees.  She is one of only two state representatives in the medical marijuana working group.

Prior to being a legislator, she has been a country attorney for more than 30 years specializing in appeals, litigation and family law.  She has volunteered as a mediator with Kuikahi mediation, as an arbitrator with the Judiciary and as a lawyer with Volunteer Legal Services and with the Judiciary’s self-help clinic.  Joy has had several jury trials and multiple bench trials, and 25 years ago, she was the first attorney in the state to pursue breast implant litigation. She has won all of her appeals to the Hawaii Supreme Court; is a former per diem District Court Judge from 1991-1995, the youngest judge then; and a former University of Hawaii lecturer.

The Council of State Governments West is the Western region of the national Council of State Governments, which is based in Lexington, Kentucky.  Regional offices of CSG are located in Sacramento, Chicago, Atlanta and New York.

Funding for the Academy comes from the Colorado Springs-based El Pomar Foundation, which is dedicated to excellence in nonprofit organizations, and from Western state legislatures and corporate sponsors. The El Pomar Foundation also donates the campus for the Western Legislative Academy.

Victims Identified in Kona Crash

A woman and a man died in a two-vehicle traffic crash Thursday afternoon (December 1) in Kona near the 31.5-mile marker of Highway 190.hpd-badge
They have been identified as 45-year-old Jeongah Hyun of Kailua-Kona and 46-year-old Iljung Nam of South Korea.

Responding to a 12:35 p.m. call Thursday, police determined that Hyun had been operating a silver 2006 Mazda multi-purpose vehicle on Highway 190 just north of the 31.5-mile marker, when she crossed left of center and was broadsided by a white 2013 Peterbilt dump truck that was heading south on Highway 190. The operator of the dump truck, a 46-year-old Honokaʻa man, was taken to Kona Community Hospital with minor injuries. Hyun and Nam, her passenger, were pronounced dead at the hospital at 6:10 p.m. and 6:11 p.m., respectively.

Autopsies have been ordered to determine the exact causes of their deaths.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a negligent homicide investigation. Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, extension 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the 30th traffic fatality this year compared with 17 at this time last year.

Hilo Passport Acceptance Fairs

Thinking about applying for a U.S. Passport? Don’t put it off any longer!
hilo-passport-fairApply for your U.S. Passport at a special Saturday Passport Acceptance Fair at Hawai’i Community College on December 3, 2016; April 1, 2017; and May 20, 2017.

To request an appointment, email your name, phone number, and preferred appointment date and time to PassportFair@state.gov. Walk-in customers will be accommodated as time permits.

Improvements to Mauna Kea Recreation Area Unveiled

Located near the 34-mile marker of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway at the center of Hawaiʻi Island, Mauna Kea Recreation Area is the only rest stop for many miles in either direction. On July 1, 2014, County assumed management of the former Mauna Kea State Recreation Area from the State of Hawai‘i and immediately commenced with extensive renovations.

mauna-kea-park-entranceUse of the park has continued to increase since the Kenoi administration began improving the facilities. Since assuming management of Mauna Kea Recreation Area, the County has invested over $11 million in improvements.

“When you ask for something, local style, there’s kuleana that comes with that,” Mayor Kenoi said in reference to the expectation that the County would greatly improve the area once management was transferred from the State. “How dare us let our kupuna travel 60, 70 miles with no place to wash hands or use bathroom? No place for our children to stop, laugh and play?”

mauna-kea-park-bathroomsSpeakers at today’s ceremony included Mayor Billy Kenoi and State Senator Kaialiʻi Kahele, the son and successor of the late Senator Gil Kahele, who along with Senator Mālama Solomon led the charge at the State Capitol to turn the park over to the County. Governor Neil Abercrombie signed an executive order to do so in 2014.

The first wave of work included lighting enhancements, removal of dead trees that posed a fire hazard, fumigation, and installation of new picnic areas. Those improvements were completed in-house by County plumbers, electricians, tree trimmers, grounds crews, and equipment operators from the Departments of Public Works and Parks & Recreation.

In Summer 2015, a new playground was dedicated and a new comfort station was opened for the many cross-island travelers that use the park’s facilities.

mauna-kea-park-playgroundThis latest completed phase of work included repairs and improvements to the cabins, dining hall, and other facilities as well as new roadways, walkways, walking paths, fitness equipment, lighting, and other amenities. GW Construction and a number of sub-contractors completed the work.

The Department of Parks & Recreation expects to open Mauna Kea Recreation Area’s cabins for overnight stays in January 2017. For more information, call the department at 961-8311.

High Winds and Heavy Snow in Hawaii – Mauna Loa Summit Closed

Due to high winds and heavy snow, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park closed the summit of Mauna Loa on Thursday to all day use and overnight camping until it is safe to reopen.

NPS Photo

NPS Photo

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the summit of Mauna Loa in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park early Thursday morning. Heavy rain, high winds, and a foot of snow were expected, and by afternoon, a thick blanket of snow was visible as low as 10,000 feet. Visitors at the park’s Jaggar Museum were treated periodically with views of snow-capped Mauna Loa, a novelty for many who don’t expect snow in Hawai‘i.

The summit closure is in effect above the Red Hill (Pu‘u‘ula‘ula) Cabin. Hikers can still obtain a backcountry permit to hike to and stay at Red Hill Cabin, but backcountry permits to areas above 10,000 feet are suspended and day hiking is prohibited. Hikers going to Red Hill will be advised to proceed with caution and carry appropriate gear.

In January 2014, park rangers and a helicopter pilot rescued a backcountry hiker stranded on Mauna Loa in an unexpected blizzard.

Pepper to Perform at Kona Brewing Company

In honor of Kona Brewing Company’s Makana Series, the company is celebrating two successful years of fundraising with a party at the original brewery in Kona on December 17, 2016.  Pepper, a three piece band originally from Hawaii, will be headlining this special concert event.

Pepper

Pepper

WHAT:  Celebration of Kona Brewing Company’s Makana Series, featuring Pepper.  Makana Series are four limited edition, island-brewed beers, inspired by Hawaii’s landscape and made with island ingredients that tell Kona Brewing Company’s story. In the spirit of makana, a portion of proceeds of all beers sold benefit local non-profit organizations.

The event will celebrate the two years Kona Brewing Company has run the program, which has raised more than $100,000 for four non-profit organizations on the island.

Pepper will headline the special event, with opening acts including Divercité and Kimié.

WHEN: Saturday, December 17, 2016, Gates open at 6.00pm, Pepper on stage at 8.40pm

LOCATION: Kona Brewing Brewpub and adjacent Brewery Block, 74-5612 Pawai Pl, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

COST: General Admission – $39

Tickets are on sale now from https://kiosk.eztix.co/kiosk-optimised/297242.

Kona Brewing Company has been on the island for 22 years, and created the Makana Series as a way to give back and say mahalo to the island. The series is inspired by Earth [Aina], Fire [Wela], Water [Kai] and Wind [Makani]. Proceeds from the sale of these brews benefit local nonprofits committed to the islands’ natural wonder: Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Malama Maunalua, Surfrider Foundation Hawaii and Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative.

Eric Chang, Hawaii Market Manager, Kona Brewing Company, said: “Kona Brewing Company has always made it a priority to help support those who help pave the way for a sustainable future for our planet. For the last two years, we have taken that further by supporting and highlighting four other local charities that share our passion for sustainability and the environment through the Makana Series.

“We’re thrilled to be celebrating two years of giving with this special event, and are honored that the local friends from Pepper are able to join us.  “We hope to see many of our ohana here to celebrate with us.”

Hulihe’e Palace Remembers Kamehameha Schools Founder

Enjoy a free Afternoon at Hulihe’e Palace 4-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11 to remember the late Princess Bernice Pauahi. Presenting hula and serenade by the Merrie Monarchs, the event is part of a year-long series that honors Hawai‘i’s past monarchs and historical figures; donations are appreciated. Kindly bring a beach mat or chair as seating won’t be provided.

huliheePrincess Bernice Pauahi is most well known as the benefactress of Kamehameha Schools. A great-granddaughter of Kamehameha I, she came of age during the Victorian Era. She was well liked and very private. When her cousin, Kamehameha V, chose her as his successor in 1872, she declined. Her refusal ended the Kamehameha Dynasty.

During her lifetime, the princess witnessed the physical and social decline of Hawaiians. Some foreigners brought disease—the native population dwindled from 400,000 in 1778 to fewer than 45,000 a century later—and controlled most commerce. Missionaries introduced a new value system.

“Distressed by the plight of her people, Princess Pauahi created a will in 1883 as an instrument of change,” says Jolee Chip, Hulihe‘e Palace docent coordinator. “She believed education could be the answer to help her people.”

The document established a charitable land trust overseen by trustees to improve the well being of Hawaiians. It operates as Kamehameha Schools today, one of the largest, private trusts in the nation.

“The will was the princess’s way to malama ka ‘aina—practice the ethical, prudent and culturally appropriate stewardship of land and resources,” adds Chip.

Pauahi married Charles Reed Bishop in 1850. She and Bishop shared a love for traveling, teaching and entertaining and the couple became astute property managers. When her favorite cousin, Princess Ruth Ke‘elikolani died, Pauahi received her entire estate (including Hulihe‘e Palace) and this inheritance comprised the major portion of Pauahi’s landholdings. The princess died a year later in 1884. To honor his wife, Charles founded the Bishop Museum in 1889 to house the royal family heirlooms and her extensive collection of Hawaiian artifacts.

Hulihe‘e Palace is open for docent-guided and self-guided tours. Museum hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday—with the exception of the palace open 1-4 p.m. the Monday following the monthly Kokua Kailua Village stroll.

Palace admission for a self-guided tour is $8 for adults, $6 for kama‘aina, military and seniors, and $1 for keiki 18 years and under. Docent-guided tours are available upon request. For details, contact the palace at 329-1877, the palace office at 329-9555 or visit www.daughtersofhawaii.org. The gift shop, open 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday- Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, can be reached by phoning 329-6558.

Caretakers of Hulihe‘e Palace are the Daughters of Hawai‘i and the Calabash Cousins. The Daughters was founded in 1903 and opens membership to any woman who is directly descended from a person who lived in Hawai‘i prior to 1880. Helping the Daughters in its efforts since 1986 are the Calabash Cousins; membership is available to all.

Kona International Airport to Resume International Flights

Gov. David Y. Ige and the United States Customs and Border Protection announced the re-establishment of a Federal Inspection Service (FIS) facility at the Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA). The inaugural international flight from Kona to Tokyo, Japan is scheduled to depart on Dec. 20, 2016. The flight from Tokyo to Kona is scheduled to arrive at the Kona International Airport on Dec. 21, 2016.

ige-announcement“The resumption of international flights to Kona will have a wide-ranging positive impact on Hawai‘i Island and the state as a whole by boosting tourism spending, creating jobs and generating millions of dollars for our economy,” said Gov. David Y. Ige. “I especially thank our partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection for working with us to achieve this goal. This was a top priority for my administration and I am pleased that we were able to make the Federal Inspection Service facility in Kona a reality.”

“In fulfilling our important role protecting the border and fostering lawful travel, CBP relies on strong partnerships with stakeholders. This is why we are especially grateful for the commitment of Governor Ige and the people of Hawai‘i to providing adequate airport inspection facilities,” said Brian Humphrey, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, director, field operations. “In equal good faith, CBP is committed to providing a welcoming experience to passengers in Kona while we simultaneously protect America.”

The new FIS will benefit Hawai‘i in several ways. The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation estimates new international flights to Kona will result in more than $7 million in annual projected tax benefits. International visitors will also spend tens of millions of dollars at local businesses and attractions, further boosting the economy and generating jobs. Hawai‘i has seen the numbers of international travelers increase by more than one million passengers, or nearly 60 percent, since the economic downturn in 2009. The trend in international passenger arrivals in Hawai‘i is expected to continue to grow, enhancing the need for a second airport to accept flights from international destinations.

The secondary international point of entry in Kona will ease congestion at the Honolulu International Airport, especially during daily peak hours and busy travel seasons. The FIS will improve health and safety by increasing resiliency in an emergency. Should an unforeseen incident occur in Honolulu, international flights would still be able to land safely in Kona. Currently, Honolulu is the only landing option in the state for international flights.

The United States Department of Transportation approved Hawaiian Airlines’ request to fly non-stop international flights between Kona and Haneda International Airport in Tokyo beginning in December.

“We look forward to welcoming our Tokyo guests with our authentic Hawaiian hospitality as they enjoy the convenience of our direct flights to the spectacular Kona coast,” said Peter Ingram, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Hawaiian Airlines. “We are pleased to return international flights to the Big Island and thankful to all of our government, business and community partners for their support of our newest route.”

Several improvements are being made to the international arrivals section at KOA, including the installation of security cameras and motion sensors, an upgraded access control system, 10 Automated Passport Control kiosks to process incoming international passengers quickly and efficiently, and refurbished restrooms.

“After multiple meetings and on-site visits, we finally made it across the finish line,” said Sen. Brian Schatz. “I thank CBP and the Obama Administration for recognizing the potential of our visitor industry and for working with the State of Hawaii, the people of Kona, and many others in state government and the hospitality industry to finally get this done.”

“After six years of working closely with federal and state officials, and community partners to reestablish direct international flights to Kona International Airport, today’s announcement is good news for Hawai‘i’s tourism industry and the Hawai‘i Island economy. In particular, I want to acknowledge the efforts of Customs and Border Protection to work with the state on the Federal Inspection Service facility that made this a reality,” said Sen. Mazie K. Hirono.

“Today’s announcement not only positively impacts our tourism-based economy, it addresses a critical safety and security need for our state by providing a secondary international port in case of emergency,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “This project has been a priority of mine, and became a reality through many years of hard work by community leaders, local businesses, and county, state, and Federal government.  I especially want to thank HDOT and CBP for their leadership and upholding their commitment to reopening international travel to Kona.”

Regularly scheduled international flights to Kona began in 1996 and were discontinued in October 2010.