Coast Guard Opens All Hawaii Ports – Investigation Under Way on Spirit of Kona Tour Boat

Coast Guard Captain of the Port opened all commercial ports in the Hawaiian Islands and cargo operations have resumed, Monday.

Tropical Storm Darby is expected to continue to move west and degrade. Vessel and facility operators are recommended to exercise caution when maneuvering in the ports as there may be fields of debris present.

Representatives from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, Department of Natural Resources, Hawaii Division of Boating and Recreation, commercial salvors and the owner of the vessel continue to address the grounding of the Spirit of Kona on Hawai’i Island.
Spirit of Kona

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watch standers received notification Sunday morning from a good Samaritan reporting the 65-foot Spirit of Kona, a commercial passenger vessel, aground on the rocks near the Kailua-Kona Lighthouse. The vessel reportedly broke free of its mooring in Kailua Bay as Tropical Storm Darby passed over the region early Sunday. No one was aboard the vessel at the time.

Kona Boat

A non-recoverable sheen was seen in the area. The vessel reportedly has a maximum pollution potential of 600 gallons of diesel fuel aboard, commercial batteries and 19.5 gallons of hydraulic and lube oils. As the Spirit of Kona is a commercial vessel, operated by Blue Sea Cruises, the Coast Guard is investigating the cause the of the grounding. A notice of federal interest has been issued.

As a reminder, the public and visitors to Hawaii should heed all warnings from lifeguards and public health and safety officials. Although weather conditions may appear favorable, rip tides and high surf may continue to impact beaches as the storm degrades. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe. Near-shore waters may become contaminated due to runoff up to several days following a storm.

Civil Defense Sirens Malfunctioned… NO EMERGENCY

Regarding Civil Defense sirens, there is no emergency, sirens malfunctioned


Hawaiian Adds New Kona-Tokyo Route – Senator Schatz Responds

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) welcomed the announcement today that Hawaiian Airlines has begun ticket sales for a new non-stop service between Kona International Airport and Haneda International Airport.

“I congratulate Hawaiian Airlines on their new route from Kona to Tokyo’s Haneda airport. This new service is not just great news for Hawaiian, it’s excellent news for our visitor industry and for Hawaii Island’s local economy,” said Senator Schatz. “There are still five additional routes up for competition and I plan to continue strongly advocating for Hawaiian Airlines in their effort to obtain these routes and expand Hawaii’s reach around the world.”

Hawaiian Airlines today announced that new non-stop service between Hawai’i Island’s Kona International Airport (KOA) and Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport (HND) will begin on December 20, 2016, when the inaugural flight departs KOA.

Hawaiian Airlines Plane in Sky

Hawai’i’s flagship carrier has successfully operated daily service between Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and Haneda since November 2010.  In May, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approved Hawaiian’s application to provide three times weekly service between KOA and HND airports, along with a second frequency four-times weekly from HNL to HND beginning December 21.

“Since launching our first daily service to Haneda six years ago, Hawaiian has had the pleasure of carrying nearly 1 million visitors to Honolulu,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and chief executive officer. “As Hawai’i’s largest international market, it is clear Japanese travelers have chosen Hawaiian as their carrier of choice when visiting our beautiful islands. We are excited to offer even more choices for service with a second flight option from Haneda, the option to fly nonstop to Kona, and our new nonstop daily service from Narita launching later this month.”

Starting today, travelers in Japan can book tickets for these flights online at or through their preferred accredited travel agent or by calling Hawaiian Airlines’ sales office in Tokyo at +03-6435-1179. For English-speaking travelers, tickets can be purchased at, through any travel agent or by calling Hawaiian’s Reservations Department toll-free at 800-367-5320.

The new flight schedules for both routes are as follows:







Start Date

HA 851


5:05 p.m.

10:05 p.m.*

Tues., Thurs., Sat.

Dec. 20, 2016

HA 852


11:55 p.m.

12:15 p.m.**

Wed., Fri., Sun.

Dec. 21, 2016







Start Date

HA 855


5:30 p.m.

10:05 p.m.*

Mon., Wed., Fri., Sun.

Dec. 21, 2016

HA 856


11:55 p.m.

11:55 a.m.**

Mon., Tues. Thurs., Sat.

Dec. 22, 2016

Flights cross the international dateline and land:   

*At HND the following day 

**At KOA and HNL the same day

The DOT is still deciding which five of eight remaining applications from four other U.S. air carriers it will approve for daytime slots, and Hawaiian has urged the DOT to confirm its existing daily Honolulu-Haneda service be among them. Dunkerley previously advised that flights between Hawaii and Japan are the most traveled and most beneficial to the U.S. economy, and being able to expand the number that Hawaiian can offer to Tokyo’s Haneda airport is especially important.

The new Kona-Haneda and Honolulu-Haneda services will be operated by Hawaiian Airlines’ wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft, seating 294 passengers. From the moment guests arrive, they will enjoy Hawaiian’s signature Mea Ho’okipa (translation:I am host) onboard service, long-celebrated for its warm and friendly celebration of the culture, people, and Aloha Spirit of the Hawaiian Islands.

The comfort, roominess and amenities of Hawaiian Airlines’ A330 aircraft will add to the enjoyment of customers’ travel experience throughout the flight. With high-resolution LCD touch-screen monitors in each seatback, the A330’s state-of-the-art entertainment system lets customers choose from a wide-range of movies, TV programs, music, and video games, while also offering a USB port for the use of their own personal media players.

Amenities for guests traveling between Hawai’i and Japan also include an expanded selection of entertainment, including Hawaiian music starring award-winning performers, classic artists and emerging new talent as well as original Japanese-language programming showcasing the best of Hawai’i on Hawai’i Local News.

On inbound flights from Japan, travelers in all cabins are treated to the best of modern Hawai’i cuisine before even reaching the Island shores with regional and global fusion dishes provided by renowned local Chef Lee Anne Wong, owner of island favorite Koko Head Cafe. When booking flights, families with children ages 12 and under can also pre-order keiki (kids) meals, which include a Hawaiian-print drawstring snack bag.

Hawaiian’s Honolulu to Haneda service served as a springboard for an expanding Japan network that today includes: Osaka (July 2011) and Sapporo (October 2012). On July 22, 2016, the airline will start service to its fourth destination in Japan, with daily nonstop service between Tokyo’s Narita Airport (NRT) and Honolulu.

About Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian® has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past 12 years (2004-2015) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Zagat have all ranked Hawaiian the highest of all domestic airlines serving Hawai’i.

Now in its 87th year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawai’i’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service from its primary visitor markets on the U.S. Mainland. Hawaiian offers non-stop service to Hawai’i from more U.S. gateway cities (11) than any other airline, along with service from Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides approximately 160 jet flights daily between the Hawaiian Islands, with a total of more than 200 daily flights system-wide.

Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (HA). Additional information is available at Follow updates on Twitter about Hawaiian (@HawaiianAir) and become a fan on its Facebook page.

Hawaii Senator Calls for Ban on Sunscreen with Oxybenzone

Compound found in sunscreen and personal care products blamed for damaging coral reefs

Some sunscreens known to have Oxybenzone

Some sunscreens known to have Oxybenzone

As the 13th annual Coral Reef Symposium comes to end in Waikīkī, State Senator Will Espero (Dist. 19 – ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages) has announced he will introduce legislation for Hawai‘i to ban sunscreen with oxybenzone beginning in 2018.

“A ban is the right thing to do in order to protect our fragile marine eco-system,” said Sen. Espero. “Since our ocean environment is key to our tourism industry and our economic lifeline, banning a chemical substance that harms our coral and other marine animals should be a top priority next year in the state legislature.”

Speakers and scientists at the Symposium shared the dangers of oxybenzone on our coral reef and other marine life. Scientists said testing has revealed high levels of oxybenzone in Hawai‘i waters. Oxybenzone is found in personal care products and is a component of many sunscreen lotions.  It has been found to kill coral and negatively affect other Marine organisms.

“At the very least, a serious discussion should be had on the value and need of oxybenzone in sunscreen and other products,” Sen. Espero noted.

Enter for Chance to Win Stay at Big Island Luxury House

Exotic Estates, a leading boutique vacation rental agency specializing in luxury villa rentals, is inviting travelers to enter for a chance to win a stay at Rainbow Falls Villa on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Waterfalling Estate

The lucky winner will also receive four (4) round-trip economy class tickets on Alaska Airlines from any city in Alaska’s US Mainland network to Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Once guests arrive on the Big Island, they will check into their Exotic Estates villa – epic Rainbow Falls Villa.

To top it all off, Paradise Helicopters will pick up guests directly from the villa’s rooftop helipad for a tour of Kilauea Volcano, the Kona Coffee district, and the dramatic beauty of the Big Island!

All legal US residents over 21 can enter to win this incredible trip by July 5th 2016. For complete details, Official Rules and to enter, visit the Exotic Estates’ website: Exotic Estates – Hawaii Villa Escape Sweepstakes!

“This is the villa vacation of a lifetime,” said John Di Rienzo, the Marketing Director for Exotic Estates. “Rainbow Falls is a unique and luxurious villa located along a beautiful and less-traveled coast on the Big Island. We are also pleased to be working with Alaska Airlines and Paradise Helicopters to offer this incredible prize. The vacation embodies what Exotic Estates is all about – making lifelong memories at an exceptional vacation home with people you love.”

Exotic Estates’ Rainbow Falls Villa is a cliff-side mansion overlooking a double-waterfall that cascades down to the Pacific Ocean. Designed as a dream home, this estate boasts 10,000 square feet, an Olympic-size swimming pool with a two-story waterslide and 21 ft. diving platform, a tennis and basketball court, private golf course, elevator and a rooftop helipad!

Its three levels are easily navigated via an in-house elevator. The home truly is an exotic estate designed for VIP guests looking for the ultimate luxury vacation home.

The winner will receive four (4) round-trip economy class tickets on Alaska Airlines from any city in Alaska’s US Mainland networked to Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Alaska Airlines offers convenient non-stops from eight cities along the West Coast to Hawaii including the Big Island. Learn more at

Paradise Helicopters will pick up the winner and guests directly from the rooftop helipad of Rainbow Falls Villa! They will be treated to a custom tour of the Big Island, including Hilo town, Kilauea volcano, and the world famous Kona coffee district.

Paradise Helicopters is Hawaii’s premiere helicopter tour company and specializes in creating the most unique, fun and flexible air tours across the Hawaiian Islands. Learn more at

29-Year-Old Man Survives Two-Months at Sea – Three Others Perish at Sea

A 29-year-old man arrived in good condition to Honolulu Wednesday aboard a Coast Guard small boat after being rescued by merchant mariners in the Southeastern Pacific Ocean and surviving a two- month ordeal at sea.

coast guard rescue man

A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Honolulu safely transported the man from the motor vessel Nikkei Verde offshore of Honolulu to the Coast Guard Base Wednesday morning to meet awaiting EMS in stable condition.

“This mariner had great fortitude and is very fortunate the crew of the Nikkei Verde happened upon him as the area he was in is not heavily trafficked,” said Lt. Cmdr. John MacKinnon, Joint Rescue Coordination Center chief with the Coast Guard 14th District. “The Pacific is vast and inherently dangerous and all mariners respect that. These merchant mariners did the right thing in rendering assistance and most mariners heed the obligation to render assistance at sea, found in the Safety Of Life At Sea Convention, out of a sense of duty and understanding rather than required compliance.”

JRCC watchstanders in Honolulu received notification April 26, from the master of the motor vessel, reporting while on their voyage to China his crew had located a man stranded at sea aboard a 23-foot skiff. They brought him aboard and requested medical advice and assistance to return the man to his home country. They were located about 2,150 miles southeast of Hilo, but still within the Coast Guard’s area of responsibility for search and rescue at the time of the report.

A Coast Guard flight surgeon provided medical advice to the crew. Coast Guard officials worked with the Nikkei Verde crew to arrange a transfer near Honolulu and coordinated with the Colombian consul in San Francisco who arranged for transportation, Customs clearance, lodging, any hospital care, and an escort ahead of his arrival to Honolulu.

According to the survivor he and three companions set out from Columbia more than two months earlier. Once the skiff’s engine became disabled they were adrift. He said he caught and ate fish and seagulls to stay alive. The three other men reportedly perished at sea. Their bodies were not aboard the skiff when located by Nikkei Verde’s crew; however, the survivor did surrender their passports to officials.

The Coast Guard assisted in the man’s rescue but is not investigating the case as the circumstances fall outside Coast Guard purview.

The Nikkei Verde is a Panamanian-flagged 618-foot bulk carrier. JRCC Honolulu is located at the Coast Guard 14th District in Honolulu and has responsibility for search and rescue across 12.2 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean to include the Main Hawaiian Islands, Guam and Saipan extending out in all directions. The Coast Guard maintains several search and rescue agreements with sovereign Pacific Island nations and regional partner countries.

Investigative Reporter Jim Dooley Slated for Hilo Talk

The Big Island Press Club is delighted to have Jim Dooley, author of Sunny Skies, Shady Characters: Cops, Killers and Corruption in the Aloha State, as our featured lunch speaker April 22. He’ll be signing books available for sale, and we’ll have a couple as door prizes as well.

Sunny Skies

Dooley is a take-no-prisoners kind of journalist. A longtime investigative reporter whose work led to the indictment of former Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi on bribery charges, Dooley has focused his career on digging deep into Hawaii organized crime and yakuza, government contracting fraud, Teamsters Union movie driver violence, Bishop Estate/Kamehameha Schools, police corruption and secret land ownership huis in Hawaii whose members included political, judicial and criminal syndicate figures.

There are major Big Island connections to his latest saga, so you won’t want to miss it!

Event is scheduled for Friday, April 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at restaurant Kenichi, 684 Kilauea Ave. in Hilo, across from the Circuit Courthouse. Tickets are $20 for BIPC members, $25 for nonmembers. Buffet lunch includes chicken katsu, furikake panko salmon, yakisoba, salad, vegetable, beverage.

Register and pay online at

Pay with a credit card or PayPal (small surcharge applies) or send a check to reach BIPC by Wednesday, April 20, to Big Island Press Club, P.O. Box 1920, Hilo, HI 96721.

Hawaii County Democrats Select Nominees to Replace Late Sen. Gilbert Kahele

This morning at Keaukaha Elementary School cafe, Hawaii County Democrats met to select three nominees for the late Sen. Gilbert Kahele’s seat on the Hawaii Senate.

Democratic Meeting

Last night, House Rep. Richard Onishi was disqualified for running which lead to Margarita “Day Day” Hopkins, Donald Ikeda, Kaialii “Kai” Kahele, Shannon Matson, Kaloa Robinson, and Dolly Strazar being the remaining contenders for office.

Each candidate had their chance to address the folks that would be selecting the nominees and the public and media that was in attendance.  The candidates then went into a “Speed Dating” type of format where questions were asked of them.

When all was said and done, the Democratic Party nominated the late senators son Kaiali’i “Kai” Kahele along with Dolly Strazar and Kaloa Robinson as the three that would be passed on to Hawaii Governor David Ige to then nominate one of them to the position.

Washington Man Dies After Jumping Off End of the World on Hawaii Island

A 36-year-old man died Monday (February 8) after jumping off a cliff into waters off Kailua-Kona.

He has been identified as William H. Holman of Auburn, Washington.
End of the World
In response to an 11:38 a.m. call, police learned that Holman jumped into the ocean at Lekeleke Bay, also known as “End of the World,” and then cried out for help before disappearing into the water.

Fire/Rescue personnel and the U.S. Coast Guard searched the area for the missing man. His submerged body was located at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

A coroner’s inquest has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death. The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest.

Hawaii DLNR Closes Muliwai Trail and Waimanu Valley Campground After Waipio Valley Is Closed as Dengue Precaution

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has closed the Muliwai hiking trail on the far cliff side of Waipio Valley and its Waimanu Valley campground,  following the closure of Waipio valley access road on Wednesday to residents only by Hawaii County officials following confirmation of two cases of dengue in Waipio residents. Muliwai trail and Waimanu Valley can only be accessed via Waipio valley. Campers with existing permits will be contacted by DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife. No new permits will be issued until further notice.

Waimanu Valley

As a precaution to prevent the spread of dengue fever, the Waipio Valley Access Road and valley area was been closed to all traffic yesterday afternoon.  Access will be limited to valley residents only.  This restricted access will remain closed for 8-12 weeks after no new cases are diagnosed in the area by health officials.

Dengue is a virus that is transmitted from an infected person to a mosquito, which can then infect another person. Dengue fever cannot be spread directly from person to person. Of the 215 confirmed cases, 2 are recent and could be in the stage of their illness in which they can infect mosquitoes.

Symptoms of dengue include a high fever, intense headache and joint pain, and rash on the arms. If you suspect you may have dengue, contact your health care provider and remain indoors to prevent the possibility of being bitten and infecting mosquitoes.

For further information about the January 13, 2016 Waipio closure go to the Hawaii County Civil Defense website

For additional information on dengue and preventing the spread, go to or call the Department of Health at 974-6001. Everyone’s help and assistance with this outbreak is much needed and appreciated.

Hawaii Judges Lead Grassroots Effort to Help Landlords and Tenants Curb Evictions

First Circuit District Court Judges Hilary B. Gangnes and Michael K. Tanigawa are leading a grassroots effort called STAE (Steps to Avoid Eviction).  STAE’s mission is to find ways to ensure that landlords get paid the rent they are owed and tenants are not evicted, by encouraging tenants and landlords to use available resources in a more timely and effective manner.

Judiciary“There are a lot of organizations and people out there who want to help,” said Judge Michael Tanigawa.  “The first step was getting everyone together in one room to discuss current landlord and tenant challenges and to see how we could more effectively partner together and use the resources we have.  The next step was getting essentially a one-stop-shop of information, listing the collective resources and services currently offered to landlords and tenants.”

The grassroots effort includes representatives from the State Department of Human Services, Homeless Programs Office; City & County of Honolulu, Department of Community Services; University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law, Students for Public Outreach and Civics Education; Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Hawaii; Legal Aid Society of Hawaii; Helping Hands Hawaii; Catholic Charities Hawaii; Mediation Center of the Pacific; and landlord attorneys David Chee, Kenneth Lau, and Richard Yanagi. The group put together an informational flyer (please see attached), which will be distributed throughout the community.  The Honolulu Board of Realtors has also offered to make copies of the flyers for distribution to community groups.

“By the time the landlord-tenant cases come to us, it is frequently too late,” said Civil Lead Judge Hilary B. Gangnes.  “We see many mom and pop landlords struggling to make ends meet after their tenants have skipped months of rent.  We also see tenants who are drowning in mounting bills, often after unexpected circumstances.  The key is early intervention.  We hope by providing more collaborative information, we can help save landlords and tenants time and money, as well as curb evictions.”

“I’d like to thank Judges Gangnes and Tanigawa for their initiative and desire to help the community, as well as District Court Chief Judge Barbara Richardson for her leadership,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.  “I also want to extend my appreciation and thanks to the city and state agencies, non-profit organizations, community partners and those in the private sector, whose collaborative efforts and generous support have made this initiative possible.

UH Hilo Student Association President and Volunteer Filing Temporary Restraining Orders on Reporters

On Thursday, 12/2/15, in the District Court of the Third District Judge Harry heard from 2 UH Hilo students who filed temporary restraining orders (TROs) against 2 UHSUnews reporters. UH Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) President Lazareth Sye and UHHSA volunteer Brian Lebeda filed the TRO against reporters Ryu Kakazu and Donovan Shouse. UHSUnews applied for and was granted ‘extended coverage’ to film the Lebeda v Shouse court case and can be seen at the link here.


While student union reporters were charged with harassment due to participating in the student government’s public meetings, we maintained the right of the free press and referenced what UH Hilo UH Hilo Dean of Students told UHHSA in their public senate meeting that the meetings were public and may be recorded ( see 10/5/15 YouTube here ).

After the judge told Lebeda that filming in public is legal and appropriate, Lebeda said in the courtroom, “she [Dean Oaks] told me that these public [UHHSA] meetings were not public. That is why I am proceeding with this.” Judge Freitas responded, “I have a difficult time finding meetings that are private because if meetings were private no one could go.” When questioned later Oaks said, “I am more than a little surprised a judge would allow hearsay in a legal proceeding. As it relates to recording, we did consult with our legal counsel on this matter as there appeared to be some confusion.  UHHSA meetings, according to their documents as they currently read, are open meetings.”


The complaints stem from Sye and Lebeda enforcing rules that were in violation of the constitutional right for reporters to film public UHHSA meetings. Disregarding what Dean Oaks said, they continued to put restrictions on participation while objecting to the reporters’ ability to film the public UHHSA meetings. UHHSA members posted signs (see link here and here)on the entrance to the public UHHSA meetings on these dates: 10/8, 10/15, 10/23, 10/30, and 11/5/15. One of the signs stated recording devices were prohibited in the meeting, which is a violation of state law, UH policies, UHHSA constitution, and the US constitution. UHSUnews reporters attended meetings on 10/8, 10/15, 10/23, 10/30, and 11/5/15. UHSUnews reporter Donovan Shouse was denied access to the 10/15 UHHSA meeting by an UHHSA member.

UHHSA Senator Briki Cajandig, one of three UHHSA senators who voted to allow the recording, stated at the 10/23 UHHSA meeting, “I feel that you should be able to.” Cajandig later said, “The power to record shouldn’t solely lie in the hands of an entity that is running an open and public meeting. There needs to be transparency, accountability, and trust between our students and their representatives. This is vital. The Senate is responsible for representing our students; we need to account for their voice in any decision we make. By creating any rules that hinder this kind of student participation, we are going against the voice of our students.”

At the 10/30/15 UHHSA meeting UH Hilo Campus Security threatened UHSUnews reporters. Campus Security threatened the reporters telling them that if they did not leave the meeting, security would call the police to physically eject them from the meeting ( see 11/4/15 press release link here). One of the press members filed a complaint with UH Hilo Director of Security Darrell Mayfield on 11/3/15 ( link to complaint here). Mayfield has not responded.


Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano was the acting UHHSA adviser at the 10/30/15 UHHSA meeting, is the official liaison to UHHSA and UH Hilo (see link job description). Kusano is also named on the recent lawsuit against UH regarding free speech where UH paid $50K and updated their ‘Free Expression’ policy as a result (see free speech overview link here).

In the 10/5/15 UHHSA meeting, UH employee Leomi Bergknut was acting UHHSA adviser. In that meeting, UH Hilo Dean of Students Kelly Oaks told UHHSA that recording devices are legal in public meetings. In response to recording a meeting for personal purposes Bergknut said, “as a Native Hawaiian I do not like to be filmed or recorded.” Bergknut is also named on the above referenced free speech lawsuit.

UHHSA Adviser Shara Mahoe in the 10/8/15 UHHSA meeting requested funding from UHHSA, the organization she was voluntarily supervising, to contribute additional monies on top of the salary she already receives. This is possibly a violation of Hawai’i Revised Statutes §84-13(4) which states,  “You may not engage in a substantial financial transaction with a subordinate or person or business you inspect or supervise in your official capacity.” Just after the student union published the meeting for public view, Mahoe resigned from UHHSA on 11/5/15, but is still employed at UH Hilo.

Anonymous student conduct codes filed against union reporters; Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs investigated and dismissed the allegations.

An anonymous student conduct code complaint was filed with UH Hilo directed at UHSUnews reporters, the news branch of the student union.The Student Union, a registered independent student organization (RISO) at UH Hilo. Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Gail Makuakane-Lundin dismissed the complaint saying, “UHHSA’s constitution states, ‘All meetings shall be open and publicized.’ You [reporter] as a member of UHSU did attend scheduled UHHSA Senate meetings on October 8, 2015 and October 23, 2015,” and, “Your participation in the UHHSA Senate meetings did not rise to the level of intimidation or harassment or that it disrupted UH activities. You did not engage in disorderly behavior,” and, “The evidence does not support the finding of a violation of UH Hilo Student Conduct Code.” The VCSA went on to recommend mediation between UHHSA and UHSU, “to talk about and resolve differences.”

Jennifer Ruggles, former UHHSA Senator for College of Business and Economics and current student union reporter, “Basically UHHSA is violating state law, their own constitution, UH policies, and the US constitution,” …“It is shocking how students are being misled in ways that can forever tarnish their record. The unfortunate reality is UHHSA is not receiving the ethical and adequate guidance they need from UH Hilo,” Ruggles said.

UHSU will be filing complaints this week.

Commentary – You All Need to Know, Dengue and West Nile Virus Tested Positive on Big Island


You all need to know that one of the women who came down with dengue fever in my late October retreat at Hale Kai ( Ho’okena) has just received word/paperwork from her doctor that she tested positive for both dengue fever and west nile virus.

She came down with symptoms within days of leaving the Big Island and was in the hospital in California for over a week. The hospital has reported the results of the test to the DOH and the CDC is investigating.

The other woman who came down with dengue fever at the retreat was not to my knowledge tested for west nile virus (she tested positive for dengue fever). The woman who tested positive for west nile virus wants to know if any one else on the Big Island has been tested for west nile virus.

Alexandra Kennedy (Facebook Post)

Alexandra Kennedy

Zonta Service Project Presents $10K to Neighborhood Place of Puna

The Zonta Club of Hilo organized a Halloween party—“Halloween Madness”—for more than 125 individuals at the Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP) on October 24.

Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presents $10,000 Weinbeg Foundation grant award to Paul Norman of Neighborhood Place of Puna.  Photo by Jenna Roussy

Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presents $10,000 Weinbeg Foundation grant award to Paul Norman of Neighborhood Place of Puna. Photo by Jenna Roussy

“Halloween Madness” was done as part of The Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Foundation’s Weinberg Friends Program, which gave the Zonta Club’s chosen non-profit $10,000 upon completion of a sweat equity project. The Halloween-themed event was the Zonta Club of Hilo’s 2015 project.

Hilo Zontians kicked off the event with direct work activities including installing curtain rods and curtains to help cut glare in NPP’s multipurpose room, and creating 20 holiday readiness cleaning buckets as well as 200+ personal hygiene kits for families in need.

Following the work session, 25 client families with four to six children ranging in age from months to 12-years-old, were invited to make healthy snacks including a vegetable witch’s broom and Oreo cookie spider; visit the craft station and create monster magnets, decorate trick-or-treat bags or fold origami; and select an outfit from the costume closet. Target Hilo donated $400 worth of Halloween costumes to help fill the closet.

“It was the Zonta Club of Hilo’s absolute pleasure to support the good work Neighborhood Place of Puna does to empower area families with knowledge and resources,” said Julie Tulang, organizer for event. “Hilo Zontians and volunteers found it very rewarding to be able to interact with the families in the spook-tacular spirit of Halloween.”

After the morning’s work and Halloween activity sessions, Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presented a $10,000 grant award to NPP Executive Director, Paul Norman, to support Neighborhood Place of Puna’s “Kamalama Parenting Project,” a parenting curriculum to help area families raise healthy children in a safe, stable home environment.

Queens and princesses from Lehua Hawaii Productions (LHP) were on-hand to volunteer at “Halloween Madness.” Prior to the event, LHP in partnership with Zonta Hilo, hosted a costume and personal care items drive to secure donations.

For the last 17 years, the Zonta Club of Hilo has taken part in The Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Foundation’s Weinberg Friends Program.

EPA Fines Hawaii Businesses for Cesspool Violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has completed enforcement actions with the Travaasa Hotel Hana Resort in Hana, Maui, Vacation Inns International on the North Shore, Oahu, and Shaka’s in Pahoa on the Big Island, for failure to close their large capacity cesspools. Travaasa will pay a penalty of $187,500, Vacation Inns International will pay $40,000, and Shaka’s will pay $82,425.

In addition, EPA has also filed a civil complaint against landowner Keith Ward of Waimanalo for operating two illegal cesspools that serves Serg’s Mexican Kitchen restaurant.

“Cesspools serving resorts and restaurants can pollute the groundwater and nearshore waters where people swim,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA is committed to protecting Hawaii’s precious water resources by closing down all large capacity cesspools.”

Cesspools, which are used more widely in Hawaii than any other state, discharge raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean.

Travaasa Hotel Hana Resort in Hana, Maui

Travaasa Hotel Hana Resort in Hana, Maui

The Travaasa Hotel Hana Resort (formerly known as the Hotel Hana Maui) has voluntarily closed a number of its cesspools over the last three years, and has committed to closing its remaining 14 large capacity cesspools within the next two years, replacing them with state-approved septic systems.

The same is true for Vacation Inns International (also known as Backpackers Hawaii Vacation Inn) and its six cesspools, located on the North Shore of Oahu, a popular destination for surfers from around the world.

Shaka’s Pahoa LLC that operates the Pahoa Café nightclub has closed one cesspool and has another remaining cesspool to close.

The civil complaint against landowner Keith Ward of Waimanalo where two illegal cesspools for Serg’s Mexican Kitchen operates, stems from an EPA inspection in 2011. Mr. Ward allegedly refused to submit a proof of closing for the cesspools that provides service to the restaurant. Serg’s is located in the Waimanalo watershed, targeted by EPA and the State because it is burdened by multiple sources of water pollution.

Throughout the state of Hawaii, over 3,000 large capacity cesspools have been closed, many through voluntary compliance, since the ban was instituted in 2005. Large capacity cesspools include those discharging untreated sewage from multiple residential dwellings, and from non-residential locations that have the capacity to serve 20 or more people per day. The regulations do not apply to single-family homes connected to their own individual cesspools or to non-residential cesspools that do not have the capacity to serve 20 or more people.

For more information on the completed cases visit:

For more information on the large capacity cesspool ban, please visit:

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy Picks Big Island Charity – Public Invited to Debut Party

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy announced today that partial proceeds from his two-day Hawaiian Kitchen Line event coming up Nov 6th and Nov 7th will be donated to Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation.

Sam Choy and Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker with members of the

Sam Choy and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker with members of the Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation

“Local Big Island organization such as Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation who do so much for our local underprivileged population to keep them healthy are very dear to me” quoted Chef Choy. “It’s always a pleasure to support them” he added.

In a personal meeting with Chef Sam Choy, Executive Director Bruce Merrell expressed his deepest gratitude and thanks for naming his organization the beneficiary. “I am excited to see Chef Choy support our cause and include us in this iconic event” said Merrell.

Sam Choys Hawaiian Kitchen Line National debut party is being held at Kona Oceanfront Gallery November 6th and at The Royal Kona Resort on November 7th.

Come meet Celebrity Chef Sam Choy and Renowned Artist Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker Kona Oceanfront Gallery November 6th and at The Royal Kona Resort on November 7th.

Come meet Celebrity Chef Sam Choy and renowned Artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker on November 6th and 7th at the Royal Kona Resort.

Starting off with a Art auction of original designs created exclusively for this event by Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker. There will also be free pupus and free entertainment provided by legendary John Cruz and teenage musical sensation Aidan James. This free event is open to the public and is expected to draw record crowds.

For more information and details about the event, please contact: Jill Weiss – Kona Oceanfront Gallery808 334 0037

Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory Update – High Aerial View of Pu’u O’o

High aerial view of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, looking south-southwest.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The current crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō is about 280 m (~920 ft) long and 230 m (~755 ft) wide, with a depth of about 25 m (~82 ft). To the west of the crater is another pit 49 m (~161 ft) across that contains a small lava pond.

The pit west of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, shown here, is overhung on most sides and may continue to widen with time.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The lava pond inside is relatively placid, appearing as a black surface, usually with a few tiny spattering areas along the edge.

Lava flows are scattered across a broad area extending from about 3 to 8 km (2–5 mi) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The active flows start just above the horizontal mid-line of the photo, but cannot be picked out easily within the broader inactive flow field due to their distance away in this photo. The most distant active lava is burning forest, and the bluish smoke from this can be seen in a few areas in the distance, partly shrouded by clouds.

Hawaii Senators Stand with Planned Parenthood

Extreme Bill Fails to Advance Thanks to Leadership of Hirono and Schatz

Planned Parenthood

Today, an extreme bill in front of the United States Senate to federally defund Planned Parenthood failed to advance after a 53-46 vote. The victory for advocates of women’s health, family planning, and comprehensive sexual health education was helped by the leadership of Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz. Both Hirono and Schatz are steadfast champions of women and families in Hawaii, and each issued a statement affirming their support for Planned Parenthood.

Statement from U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono:

“Planned Parenthood provides critical health care services to millions of women across our country, including thousands in Hawaii. For many women, especially low income women, survivors of domestic and sexual assault, young women, and others, Planned Parenthood is their primary health care provider—who they go to for cancer screenings, birth control, and other essential health care services. The Republican fearmongering and desperate efforts to defund Planned Parenthood are an attack on women’s health. I will stand vigilant against these attempts to set women’s health care back decades.”

Statement from U.S. Senator Brian Schatz:

“From family planning to cancer screenings, Planned Parenthood’s full range of health care services have been vital for millions of women across the country.  Yet again, we are seeing extreme attacks on Planned Parenthood and women’s health.  While these kinds of attacks on women’s health are not new, they’re a reminder of how we must constantly work to defend a woman’s right to choose. In the Senate, I will continue to fight against any effort to defund Planned Parenthood and deny women access to critical health care services.”

Pahoa Woman Arrested in Connection of Truck Theft

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a Puna woman in connection with the theft of a pickup truck with a handgun inside.

On July 9, a 51-year-old Kailua-Kona man reported that his truck had been stolen from the parking lot of a supermarket on Palani Road in Kailua-Kona. A registered, unloaded handgun in a case was reportedly in the stolen truck.

Ashley Faustina

Ashley Faustina

During the investigation, police recovered the truck and handgun and identified a suspect, 31-year-old Ashley Faustina of Pāhoa.

Faustina was arrested Thursday (July 23) in Hilo and charged with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, first-degree theft and violating terms of release on bail. Her bail was set at $60,000 for the property crimes. She is being held at Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center.

Gupton and Parker Top Best of the West Art Show

Kona Oceanfront Gallery hosted its 6th Annual Best of the West Art Show tonight. With 35 + local Big Island artists showing off their talent to over 400 guests in attendance, the gallery broke all its past records!

Alex Gupton, Ernest Young, Penny Gupton, Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Mark Hanna, Clint Sloan & Josh Lambus

Alex Gupton, Ernest Young, Penny Gupton, Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Mark Hanna, Clint Sloan & Josh Lambus

“This event is our way of supporting the local art community” commented Owner and CEO of Kona Oceanfront Gallery, Mark Hanna “and judging by tonight’s record breaking attendance, our local Big Island community is loving every minute of it” he added.

The top 6 winners were announced by tonight’s guest of honor – the publisher of West Hawaii Today News – Ms. Tracey Fosso. The results are as follows:

  1. Alex Gupton
  2. Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker
  3. Penny Gupton
  4. Josh Lambus
  5. Clint Sloan
  6. Ernest Young