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Kona Family Fun Day Celebrated

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) hosted one of its annual events in Kona.  The Kona Family Fun Day, was an event which celebrated community, promoted positive messages, and provided opportunities to enhance family relationships.  Over 15 community organizations participated in providing the community with resources and family-fun activities.  In true style, BISAC had carnival games, bouncers, giveaways, family activities, an arm wrestling exhibition, and lots of good tasting food.  Hundreds of individuals took part in the event.

BISAC through its events and long standing positive reputation in the community continues to inspire positive change and helps individuals and their families reclaim their lives.  The Kona Family Fun Day was made possible by Hawaii County Council members: Karen Eoff, Maile David, and Dru Kanuha.  “This event was very successful and we will continue to provide these types of outreach events in the future” said BISAC’s CEO, Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita.  “Our next annual event, Summer Jam is scheduled for July 28-29th and we hope to see you all there.”

Since 1964, BISAC has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives in the wake of the ravages of substance abuse and mental health.  They offer a continuum of services that are culturally appropriate and aligned with the ever-changing behavioral health field.

For more information about BISAC and all of its programs call 969-9994 or visit www.bisac.org.

Coast Guard Establishes Temporary Safety Zone in Vicinity of Active Kilauea Lava Flow

The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for the navigable waters surrounding the Kilauea Volcano active lava flow entry into the Pacific Ocean on the southeast side of the Big Island, Hawai’i, Tuesday.

The temporary safety zone will encompass all waters extending 300 meters (984 feet) in all directions around the entry of the lava flow into the ocean from noon March 28 to 8 a.m. Sept. 28.  Experts from the U.S. Geological Survey recommend 300 meters as the minimum safe distance to avoid hazards from the lava flow.

The Coast Guard has taken action to ensure public safety because of the danger the unstable sea cliff, volcanic shrapnel, toxic gases and potential bench collapses pose to vessel traffic and the public. As long as lava enters the ocean, further sea cliff degradation, hazardous conditions, delta construction and collapse are likely to occur.  These collapses occur with little to no warning and cannot be predicted.

According to the HVO, large and dense fragments ejected during delta collapses can be thrown in all directions from the point of collapse, including out to sea.  Based on a review of nearly 30 years of delta collapse and ejecta distance observations in HVO records, a radius of 300 meters was determined as a reasonable minimum high hazard zone around a point of ocean entry.

A Broadcast Notice to Mariners has been issued via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the safety zone. Entry of vessels or people into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Honolulu or his designated representative.

To view documents in the Federal Register mentioned in this release, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2017-0172 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.”  Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule. It may take up to five days for documents to publish in the Federal Register, once published public comments may be submitted for a period of 60 days.

The Coast Guard is also issuing a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to establish a permanent Safety Zone for this region. We solicit feedback from the public on this rule making process. You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2017-0234 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

Written Comments: Written public comments will be accepted on or before 11:59 p.m. June 3, 2017, via http://www.regulations.gov. The Coast Guard strongly prefers comments to be submitted electronically; however, written comments may also be submitted (e.g. postmarked) by the deadline, via mail to Commander (spw), U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, 433 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96850.

Oral Comments: The Coast Guard will provide the public an opportunity to make oral comments by holding a public meeting on May 08, 2017, at 5 p.m. at the East Hawaii County Building (Hilo) Aupuni Center Conference Room located at 101 Pauahi St. #7, Hilo, Hawaii 96720.

20-Year-Old Woman Dies Following Two-Vehicle Crash on Highway 270

A 20-year-old Paʻauilo woman died following a two-vehicle crash Monday night (March 27) on Highway 270 just South of the 13 mile marker.

Makaylyn Kalani

She was identified as Makaylyn Kalani.

Responding to a 8:40 p.m. call Monday evening, police determined that a 2008 Honda four-door sedan operated by Kalani had been traveling North on Highway 270 near the 13 mile marker when it crossed left of center of the roadway and collided head on with a 2009 Toyota pickup truck that was traveling south.

The occupants of the Toyota, a 24-year-old man and a 19-year-old women, both of Kohala, were taken to the North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Kalani was taken to the Kona Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m. Tuesday (March 28).

Police believe speed and inattention were factors in the crash.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, ext. 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo.

This is the 7th traffic fatality this year compared to five at this time last year.

Sen. Kahele & Rep. Todd Urge County of Hawaii to Reconsider Terminating East Hawaii Organics Facility Contract

We write to express our sincere concern regarding the County of Hawaii’s recent decision to terminate the East Hawaii Organics Facility Contract.

As you are well aware, the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill has a remaining usable life of one to three years and the County has worked hard to find a solution to this problem.  The proposed composting facility is the perfect antidote to this issue and will provide multiple benefits to our community, such as diverting 54% of our County’s organic waste, providing nutrient rich compost to our vital agricultural industry, eliminating invasive species through enhanced mulching aw well as promoting a renewed sense of self sustainability and recycling education on our Island.

The project would work with all Department of Education schools on our island by directing all food waste, paper, compostable dishes, and plastics to the landfill at $21.25 per ton, $63.75 less than what it currently cost.  It would also enable us to educate and instill in our State’s next generation the value of composting, sustainability, and what it truly means to reduce, reuse, and recycle.  This project can be a model for the rest of the State and we have no doubt would be implemented statewide in a few years.  We envision every Island; one day will have its own organic composting facility.

In addition there are potentially several new initiatives to stimulate the agriculture industry on our Island and part of these initiatives require the availability of nutrient rich compost to encourage farming and growing our own food among local farmers and private residents.  The proposed composting facility will produce 40 tons of organic, naturally rich compost once fully operational and this can have a major impact on the agriculture and horticulture industry on Hawai’i Island as well as future farming sustainability initiatives.

The proposed composting facility will also directly address our Islands invasive species epidemic by converting green waste and untreated wood pallets to enhanced mulch and heating it to a specific temperature that will eliminate all known invasive species to include: rapid ohia death, little red fire ants, coqui frogs, coconut rhinoceros beetle, coffee berry borer and the banana bunchy top virus.  Although this process is already occurring at the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill, the enhanced mulch from the composting facility would be of better quality and a product that would be safe for our farmers and community.  This enhanced mulch, in high demand in East Hawai’i, would continue to be distributed at no cost and would substantially decrease the mulch currently imported from the U.S. Mainland.

We also understand the concerns of our neighbors in Pana’ewa and Keaukaha and the proposed sites proximity to the Department of Hawaiian Homes Land agricultural farm lots.  These concerns must be addressed and there are alternate sites in East Hawai’i that the proposed project could be relocated to.  We are willing to work with the County to locate an alternative site on State land should the project be allowed to proceed.

Finally, we are concerned that the termination of this project, which was approved unanimously by the previous County Council that provided for the issuance of a $10.6 million bond, will send the negative message to private industry and investors that the County of Hawai’i does not honor its contractual obligations and decisions. Pending litigation to recover costs associated with the contract termination could amount to millions of dollars in legal fees that County taxpayers will have to shoulder.  This is clearly not in the County’s best interests.

In conclusion, we strongly urge the County of Hawai’i to reconsider terminating this critically important project.

Sincerely,

Hawai’i State Senator Kaiali’i Kahele and Hawai’i State Representative Chris Todd

Hawaii Island Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight – Image Via @IgnazioMagnani

Big Island of Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

Image sent to me from International Space Station Astronaut Ignazio Magnani

It will be visible beginning tonight, Saturday, March 25 at 7:05 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 62 degrees. It will appear 10 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 10 degrees above the Northeast part of the sky.

Applications Sought for Hawaii Island Forestry Advisory Council Positions

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, is now accepting applications for vacant seats on the Laupāhoehoe Advisory Council (LAC) and the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council (PAC) on Hawai‘i island. Both forest areas are part of the Hawaii Experimental Tropical Forest.  DOFAW works with the Forest Service to do research in these areas.

The councils meet quarterly.  Each consists of 14 members who serve a 2 to 3 year term, staggered within different categories of expertise, such as natural resources, recreation use, cultural knowledge, neighboring landowner, business/ecotourism, and grant writing expertise/coastal zone management.  All applicants should have an appropriate background in the vacant category area as well as an interest in representing community stakeholders related to their respective categories.

Individuals who are interested in serving on either the Laupāhoehoe or Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Councils may submit an application.

Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council (PAC)

Interested applicants are being sought to fill one position in the following category: Hui ‘Ohana mai Pu‘u Anahulu a me Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a representative.

PAC members provide guidance to DLNR on management of 40,711 acres of state land in the North Kona ‘ahupua‘a of Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a. It includes grasslands and coastal ecosystems, including anchialine ponds, tropical dry and wet forests, a forest bird sanctuary and Kīholo State Park Reserve

Laupāhoehoe Advisory Council (LAC) 

Interested applicants are now being sought to represent these categories:  cultural resources, natural resource management, recreation, education, Laupāhoehoe community, Hawai‘i community at large, and scientific research. Laupāhoehoe Forest Reserve is on the windward side of Hawai‘i island and includes 12,300 acres of wet tropical forest in both forest reserve land as well as a natural area reserve.

LAC members help provide guidance to DLNR and the USDA Forest Service on issues related to management, research, education and public access in the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest and state lands in the Hamakua District (Laupāhoehoe Natural Area Reserve and Forest Reserve).

Continuous recruitment is also being sought year-round for each category of expertise (recommended submittal dates are by April 30, June 30, September 30 and December 30), and applications will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Applications including submittal instructions can be found at http://www.hetf.us/page/home/.

Hard copy application forms are also available at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife office in Hilo at 19 E. Kawili St. in Hilo, and in Waimea at 66-1220A Lalamilo Road. Applications will be reviewed by the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest working group, and current members of the selected Advisory Council. Final selections are made by the DLNR chairperson.

For more information on either the Laupāhoehoe or Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Councils and the application process, contact the DOFAW Hawai‘i branch manager, Steve Bergfeld at (808) 974-4221.

Second Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds Announced

Program dates for the Second Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds have been announced as September 15 – 17, 2017 and will once again be headquartered at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The Festival program will feature expert guest speakers Jeff Gordon, President of the American Birding Association, and Kenn Kaufman, renowned author, artist and conservationist along with a trade show for outdoor and birding equipment, children’s corner, bird-themed arts and crafts fair, photography and painting workshops, a birding film festival, and time to interact with Hawaii Island naturalists and bird experts. Guided field trips on land and sea will be included in the program offering.

Birdwatching! Photo by Lance Tanino

Festival participants will be able to take part in guided birdwatching field trips along the newly created Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail, and in guided boat trips departing from Honokohau Harbor to observe seabirds.  The 90-mile Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail is a cross-island link from Kona (on the west coast) to Hilo (on the east coast) that connects diverse habitats from ocean to mountain top, rainforest to lava plains.  The self-guided Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail, modeled after similar North American trails, follows a network of sites so users can take in all or any part of the route along the way. Locating and observing birds is, of course, the main event on the Trail, but discovering Hawaii Island’s unique plants and trees, geology, history and scenic view points are also emphasized.

Palila photo by Jack Jeffrey

New this year will be a birding-focused film festival on Friday (September 15) with documentaries about Hawaiian birds showing on Friday afternoon plus a feature film playing outdoors on Friday night.  Saturday’s workshops will include an expert talk from Brian Sullivan, project leader for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for eBird.org, and a panel discussion by naturalists and biologists of their last sightings of now extinct Hawaiian birds.

Photo by Jack Jeffrey

Saturday’s program options include a hands-on Photography Workshop and an Art Workshop with materials provided.  Saturday night’s Gala Dinner will be headlined by Kenn Kaufman speaking on the significance of Hawaii’s unique bird life. Detailed schedule of events is available at birdfesthawaii.org

New American Birding Association Recognition

Following last year’s inaugural Hawaii Island Festival of Birds, members of the American Birding Association voted overwhelming to add Hawaii to the ABA Area. For birders, this is huge as it has the potential to add substantially to the official ABA Area Checklist. There are at least 320 bird species documented in the Hawaiian Islands, of which 30 endemics remain. “There’s so much to learn about Hawaii’s native birds,” said Rob Pacheco, founder of Hawaii Forest & Trail and a member of the Festival’s organizing committee. “And we’re thrilled that Hawaii is now recognized as part of the ABA Area by the American Birding Association. We look forward to welcoming ABA’s members, and birding fans in general, to Hawaii and the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds.”

Sponsors of the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii, Hawaii Forest & Trail, Destination Marketing, Hawaii Wildlife Center and Alaska Airlines.

Hawaii Island Rotarians and Weinberg Work Day at YWCA

The YWCA of Hawaii Island was again the recipient of the labor of the Rotary Club of Hilo Bay as part of its Weinberg Friends Project. The labor earned a $10,000 grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to aid survivors of sex assault.

David Herd and Paula Uusitalo painting lot lines.

More than twenty-five Rotarians perked up the YWCA of Hawaii Island Ululani campus February 26, 2017.  They cleaned, gardened, painted inside and out, scrubbed toys, power-washed exterior areas, and removed debris at 145 Ululani Street, which houses the YWCA preschool. “They put in a hundred people hours of work and everything looks great,” said Kathleen McGilvray, CEO of YWCA Hawaii Island.

Rotary Day president Kevin Hopkins

The Weinberg grant was awarded to the Big Island Coalition Against Physical and Sexual Assault (BICAPSA). BICAPSA will use the money to provide nursing assessments to children reported to be victims of child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, regardless of their ability to pay. “We are so pleased to partner with BICAPSA as we serve survivors of sex assault.  We expect over 300 abused children could need these services this year,” McGilvray said.

Sandy and Selina Custodio

As the YWCA Hawaii Island has been a recipient of Rotary Club of Hilo Bay’s Weinberg projects before, it was quickly able to respond to the Club’s request for a proposal.  “The end result proved the value of a bunch of strong business and community leaders working together on a service project,” said Kevin Hopkins, president of the Rotary Club of Hilo Bay. He invited non-profit agencies to go to www.hilobayrotary.com and learn more about previous projects and how to apply.

Grammy-Winning Honoka’a High Jazz Band Goes to Maui County

Meet them at the bridge of music on Maui and Lāna‘i  as they celebrate Aloha, Peace and National Jazz Appreciation Month

The Grammy-winning Honoka’a High School Jazz Band is performing on Maui and Lāna‘i  from March 30th to April 2nd in order to celebrate National Jazz Appreciation Month which culminates in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Jazz Day on April 30th.

The Honoka’a Jazz Band is a group of advanced music students who uphold a long tradition of excellence at Honoka’a High and Intermediate School. Under the direction of Gary Washburn, a dedicated teacher and accomplished jazz artist, the band is considered one of the state’s top High School Bands.  Honoka’a High School was one of 36 schools out of 22,000 eligible programs in the U.S. to receive the GRAMMY Signature Schools Award. Their Director, Gary Washburn has been recognized as a Living Treasure of Hawaii for his work as a music educator and has received a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award.

This year, the theme of the Honoka’a Jazz Band’s Big City Tour Band is all about bridges as they become an ambassador of aloha bridging the Big Island of Hawaii to Maui and Lāna‘i  through music.

Besides the term “bridge” being a musical term referring to a section in music that provides a contrast to the verses in a song and the chorus, the music itself becomes a bridge that can be significant for the sharing of aloha and peace.

Gary Washburn notes that, “Music is a universal language and as such, opens doors between cultures and communities. Music does not involve words, only sound. Sound expresses emotion, particularly in Jazz where the freedom and spontaneity are the corner stones of the art. Jazz musicians have a “special connection” through a common “secret language” that celebrates peace and friendship. Their purpose is to create connections between the listeners by expressing common emotions” stated the band’s director.

The concept of the bridge is not only seen as music shared which will be connecting three islands on this tour, it connects the past and future in the life of the Honoka’a Band.  Nearly four decades ago, the then little known jazz band from the Hawaii Island went to Maui.

State of Hawaii House District 1 Representative Mark M. Nakashima recalls, “As a member of the Honoka’a High School Band, our first neighbor island trip was to Maui to march in the Maui County Fair Parade.  Mr. Washburn was in his second year as a band teacher at Honoka’a and this did a lot to revitalize and energize the music program.  This return to Maui seems like a bridge between the past and the future as Honoka’a marks a return to the Valley Isle once again after 38 years” said Nakashima.

Returning to Maui to extend a heart of friendship from Honoka’a, the band will be performing at the Maui Adult Day Care Nisei Ocean View Center on March 30th at 1p.m. and the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center on March 30th at 6p.m.

On Friday, March 30th, the band is excited to bridge over to Lāna‘i where they will do three appearances connected to the eleventh Fifth Friday Lāna‘i Town Party.  This is seen as a significant exchange according to Bradley Bunn, Chair of the Lāna‘i Chamber of Commerce, who wrote the following.  “We look forward to welcoming the Honoka‘a Jazz Band to Lāna‘i. More importantly we hope that lasting connections will be formed through their performances with our students and community.”   For more information on Fifth Friday see https://fifthfridayLāna‘i .com.

A highlight of their Maui Tour is the music bridge to agriculture.  On Saturday, April 1st, they perform twice at the 10th Annual Maui County Agricultural Festival held at the Maui Tropical Plantation.  They will be on the Main Stage at 11a.m. and the Keiki Stage at 2:15 p.m.  Warren K. Watanabe, Executive Director of the Maui County Farm Bureau welcomes the connection.

Our goal has always been to educate residents about the importance of a vibrant ag industry on Maui….In addition to providing beautiful landscapes, managed and productive ag lands are at the core of agritourism, festivals and entertainment, and Maui as a culinary destination. In short, a thriving agricultural community supports our culture, our community, our economy, and our health. We’re excited to bring people together at AgFest and honored to welcome the Honoka’a Jazz Band to perform on Maui” said, Watanabe.

The band’s final appearance on Maui will be at the Lahaina Arts Society Banyan Tree Fine Art Fair on April 2nd from noon to 2p.m. where they bridge music to the fine arts.

While the tour will be exciting, the most challenging bridge to cross for the band will be between the past 40 years of the Honoka’a music program with the beloved Linaka Washburn by her husband Gary’s side, and the first music tour without her.  Linaka loved bridges and made sure the 2017 Honoka’a Big City Tour would go on despite her fight with throat cancer.  Linaka passed this past January and in honor of her constant aloha and support, the Honoka’a Jazz Band’s 2017 tour is all about bridges.

Meet them at the bridge of music on Maui and Lāna‘i . The bridge has been built with such incredible aloha from the Office of Representative Mark Nakashima, Maui County Office of Economic Development, the Maui County Farm Bureau, Maui County Ag Festival, Lahaina Arts Society, Lāna‘i  Chamber of Commerce, Lāna‘i  Fifth Friday Committee, the Lāna‘i  Schools, Maui’s Adult Care Center, the University of Hawaii Maui Community College and even Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall.

For more information on National Jazz Appreciation Month which is celebrated every April see: http://americanhistory.si.edu/smithsonian-jazz/jazz-appreciation-month

For more information on the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Jazz Day 2017 see http://jazzday.com/about/

88-Year-Old Texas Woman Dies in 3-Vehicle Crash in Hilo

An 88-year-old San Antonio, Texas woman died following a 3-vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon (March 15) in Hilo.

She was identified as Thelma J. McLamore.

Responding to a 5:04 p.m. call, police determined that a 2003 Toyota truck was traveling southbound on Kanoelehua Avenue, near the Kekūanāoʻa Street intersection when it rear-ended a 2017 Ford sedan and then the Toyota sideswiped a 2017 Nissan SUV vehicle.

The woman, the back seat passenger of the Ford Sedan, was taken to the Hilo Medical Center for her injuries and medevaced to the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu where she later died. She was pronounced dead on March 21 at 11:30 a.m.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The driver of the Ford sedan, a 58-year old woman from Pearland, Texas was transported to the Hilo Medical Center for treatment for her injuries and later released.

The driver of the Nissan SUV, a 49-year old Hilo resident was not injured.

The driver of the Toyota truck, 30-year old Pāhoa man was arrested and charged for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant, Driving with a Revoked License and No Motor Vehicle Insurance.

The Area I Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a Negligent Homicide investigation.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Keith Nacis at 961-8119 Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the 6 traffic fatality this year compared with 5 at this time last year.

Lyft Launches Rideshare Company on Hawaii Island

Today Lyft, the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S., is launching on Hawaii Island bringing its affordable, reliable rides to communities across the state’s largest island. The Hawaii Island launch is part of the company’s nationwide expansion to 25 new markets, which include Maui and Kauai. Lyft has been operating on Oahu since 2014.

In the last three months, Lyft has launched in more than 100 new cities. The ridesharing platform is now available in over 300 markets nationwide and continues to distinguish itself through its positive in-car experience, for both passengers and drivers.

To celebrate the arrival of Lyft, new passengers can use a special code LYFTLOVE17 to receive $5 off their first ride.

More than 700,000 drivers make their own flexible schedules and earn either a primary or supplemental income with Lyft. As the only rideshare platform to allow tips, Lyft drivers across the country have received more than $200 million in tips. Interested drivers can view the “Drive with Lyft” page to learn more about becoming part of the Lyft community.

How Lyft Works:

  1. Request: Whether you’re riding solo or with friends, you’ve got options. Just tap request and a driver’s there.
  2. Ride: After just a few taps in the Lyft app, a carefully-screened driver will be on the way to you — just set your pickup point.
  3. Pay: When the ride ends, just pay and rate your driver through your phone.

Commentary – Concerns Over New County Police and Fire Radio Systems

I am a member of the (CERT) Community Emergency Response Team here in Ocean view, and a ham radio operator. Being part of CERT we work closely with other agencies such as Volunteer Fire Department,  Red Cross, Hawaii County Civil Defense, and the National Weather Service.

I have concerns about the county switching over to the new narrow band VHF P25 phase 2 trunked radio system. They spent 31 million on this radio upgrade, and it doesn’t even cover the entire Island. There are a number of “dead spots” in the Ka’u area, especially here in HOVE.

As far as I know the county is in the process of trying to set up another radio site at the HOVE Fire Station, but currently they don’t have sufficient coverage in this subdivision. This poses a public safety issue. This also means that the county will probably end up spending more money on radio sites, and upgrades to enhance radio coverage on the island. Not to mention until the upgrades happens, they are putting police, firefighters, and the public at risk if their radios don’t work on the new digital radio system because of “dead spots.”

The Honolulu Police Department had similar problems with “dead spots” back in 1998 when they switched to Pro-voice 800 megahertz digital radio system which initially they thought would only cost $20 million dollars, but after numerous upgrades and adding more towers they ended up spending $40 million.

After reading information posted on the Hawaii Volunteer Fire Captains Association website, Volunteers complain that their new handheld radios battery does not last more than four to six hours. Sometimes volunteer firefighters are at a fire scene for longer than that. This may cause problems in a disaster when batteries cannot be charged at the scene of a event. The county needs to address these issues before we have serious problems.

Blake Stene
Hawaiian Ocean View Estates

Ka‘u Coffee Festival Perking May 19th – May 28th

The ninth annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival celebrates its award-winning brew with a host of events starting May 19 and continuing through the weekend of May 27-28 with a java-jumpin’ ho‘olaulea‘a on Saturday and the Ka‘u Coffee College educational series on Sunday.

Supported by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and a bevy of sponsors and volunteers, the Ka‘u Coffee Festival is designed to celebrate Ka‘u as a premium coffee growing origin and a unique visitor destination. Many events are free, while others require a nominal fee and reservations. All activities feature the exceptional flavor and aroma of Ka‘u coffee and the remarkable people and special place that produces it. Kindly note the 2017 festival schedule is subject to change; check www.kaucoffeefest.com for the latest information.

On Saturday, May 13, the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant showcases the crowning of 2017 Miss Ka‘u Coffee and her court. 6 p.m. at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill. $10 admission. Contact 808-928-0606 or trinimarques@yahoo.com.

Friday, May 19 – Pa‘ina & Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House featuring music, hula, food and house tours 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. Free, donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund.  www.kaucoffeefest.com, www.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

Sunday May 21 – Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest offers a free, 2 p.m. cooking competition with cash prizes at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Entries are accepted in pupu, entree and dessert categories and all recipes are made with Ka‘u coffee. Free coffee tasting and meet Miss Ka‘u Coffee. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call Lisa at 808-928-0550.

Monday, May 22 – Observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. $35 with refreshments and shuttle transportation departing from Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Sign up at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae—the southernmost place in the U.S.—and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

Wednesday, May 24 and Thursday, May 25 – Explore historic flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Limited to 30, $40 includes lunch.  Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

Saturday, May 27 – Festival fun bubbles over with the free Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a—a full day of live music, hula, food booths, local crafts, keiki activities, educational displays, guided coffee tastings and farm/mill tours headquartered inside and out of the Pahala Community Center, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. It’s a great place to “talk story” with Ka‘u coffee growers.  The Ka‘u Coffee Experience offers Ka‘u coffees prepared using a variety of methods by professionals from 9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Farm tours with shuttle transport are 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m., $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.kaucoffeefest.com.

On Sunday, May 28 learn about the specialty coffee industry with presentations given by notable coffee experts at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. The Ka‘u Coffee College has become known for hosting some of the most renowned industry professionals from around the globe. Free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Founded in coffee traditions dating to the 1800s—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit www.kaucoffeefest.com, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.

Construction Begins on Terminal Modernization Project at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Division marked the start of construction on the Terminal Modernization Project Phase 1 at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off construction of an improved facility that will enhance the customer experience for those traveling to and from Kona.

From left to right: Ross Higashi, HDOT Deputy Director Airports Division; Chauncey Wong Yuen, Manager Kona Airport; Governor David Ige; Senator Lorraine Inouye; Frank Okimoto, Nan Inc.

The $75 million investment will focus on reorganizing the existing layout of the airport in an effort to streamline operations. Improvements will be made to the security screening area, holding rooms, concession area, and restrooms.

More than three million passengers use KOA annually. Currently, the North and South Terminals are operating as two independent terminals, requiring passengers to go through security again when exiting one terminal and entering the other. The renovation will allow passengers to freely move between terminals to promote shopping and dining in the additional retail space that will be created.

Governor David Ige speaks about the upgrades that will be made at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole.

Instead of two separate security screening stations, there will be one centralized security area. The new 6-lane passenger screening checkpoint building will expedite the processing of outbound passengers and reduce the time spent in line. Baggage screening will also undergo improvements as the new inline baggage handling system will employ an Explosive Detection System for baggage screening which will improve work efficiency for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport operations.

Additional features include new restrooms in both the public area before screening and in the terminal areas. The project also includes two covered bag drop areas for added convenience.

“The upgrades to the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport are a key component in the statewide Modernization Program,” said Gov. David Y. Ige. “Joining the two terminals will boost the airport’s operational efficiency and will offer permanent solutions that will have lasting benefits for the State of Hawaii for years to come.”

“In December 2016 we were thrilled to welcome international flights from Tokyo back to Kona and we expect passenger volumes to continue to soar,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director. “Our goal is to provide each and every passenger with an enjoyable experience which will leave a positive impression with our visitors and residents.”

From left to right: Kahu Brian Boshard, Frank Okimoto, Nan Inc., Chauncey Wong Yuen, Manager Kona Airport; Senator Lorraine Inouye; Governor David Ige; Representative Nicole Lowen; Representative Cindy Evans; Ross Higashi, HDOT Deputy Director Airports Division.

The project is scheduled to be completed within two years. The lead contractor is Nan, Inc. and the design team is led by KYA.

The Terminal Modernization Project at Kona International Airport at Keahole is part of the $2.7 billion statewide Modernization Program that is improving facilities at airports statewide.

Big Island Police Searching for 15-Year-Old Captain Cook Girl Missing Since Last Year

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Captain Cook girl who was reported missing.

Irene Hernandez

Irene Hernandez was last seen in Hilo on December 8, 2016.

She is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-1, 150 pounds with brown hair and hazel 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 island wide 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 15-Year-Old Waimea Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Waimea girl who was reported missing.

Shyanne Muranaka-Walton

Shyanne Muranaka-Walton was last seen in Waimea on March 7, 2017.

She is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-3, 140 pounds with long, brown, wavy hair and brown eyes. She also has a long birthmark on her left bicep.

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 island wide 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

March “Tiki” Madness Event to Help The Food Basket, Hawaii Islands Food Bank

Renowned local artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker along with Kona Oceanfront Gallery is holding a “March Tiki Madness” event this Friday March 24 from 6PM to 9 PM.

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker

Part of sales proceeds generated from this high profile event will be donated to The Food Basket, Hawai’i Island’s Food Bank, one of Parker’s favorite charities.  “The Food Basket is very excited to be working with Brad ‘Tiki Shark’ Parker for another gallery event,” said Jamilia Epping, Director of Public Relations and Events at The Food Basket. “We are appreciative of his efforts to aid in the elevation of hunger as an issue in our community. The Food Basket is unable to survive without the generous support of the community, including businesses and individuals such as Brad. Mahalo!”

Parker and Kona Oceanfront Gallery Owner Mark Hanna

“If you ever wanted to own a Brad Parker piece of art, this would be the time to get one” quoted the artist.  Mark Hanna the owner of Kona Oceanfront Gallery has agreed to consider “all and any offers on Brad artwork as long as a generous donation of canned food items are brought along that evening to be donated”.

All in the community are encouraged to come out and participate in a night filled with Art, Entertainment and Charity.  Brad will be in attendance to autograph, personalize and talk story with his patrons.  Kona Oceanfront Gallery is the premier gallery on the Big Island that carry’s all of Brad’s latest art.  The Gallery is centrally located on Ali’i Drive next to Bubba Gumps; free validated underground event parking will be available.  SEE YOU THERE!

Big Island Police Looking for Missing Man with Medical Condition

Big Island police have located the 1999 Toyota Camry that was believed to have been operated by missing person Glenn S. Oyama. The car was found unattended along Highway 19 in the area of the Kolekole Bridge on Tuesday morning (March 21).

Glenn S. Oyama

Oyama was not found to be in the immediate area and police still ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Glenn S. Oyama, 59-years-old, of Honomū, was last seen in Hilo on Sunday (March 19) at about 11:30 p.m. He has a medical condition and requires medication.

He is described as Japanese, 5-foot-7, 190 pounds with black/gray hair, and brown eyes.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Kohala Officer of the Quarter: Sidra Naki-Brown

The Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association recognized Officer Sidra Naki-Brown as “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” during a ceremony held on Friday (March 10).

Pictured from left to right: Robert Hickox of Kohanaiki, Randy Crowe of R. Crowe Consulting, Officer Sidra Naki-Brown, and Captain Randal Ishii

Officer Naki-Brown was honored for her diligence, persistence and determination while dealing with an unruly and violent suspect.

On December 5, 2016, Officer Naki-Brown responded to a report of a disorderly male at the Waikoloa Village shopping center. Despite the male suspect being very vulgar towards her and challenging her and others to fight, Officer Naki-Brown remained calm and professional. The suspect then attempted to flee, although fell to the ground and was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct.

Throughout the arrest process, Officer Naki-Brown remained calm and professional, never letting her emotions take over. She treated the male suspect with dignity and respect, regardless of how he was treating her.

Sergeant Floyd Richards commented in his nomination papers that “her level of determination, professionalism, and perseverance is a testament of her professional work ethic and moral character. Our department’s core values of professionalism and compassion come to mind when reflecting on the actions of Officer Naki-Brown.”

The Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association is an organization of hotel and airport security managers and visitor industry professionals. Its “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” program is an opportunity to recognize outstanding officers from the North Kohala and South Kohala Districts.

Hawaii House Budget Includes $360.8 Million for Big Island Capital Improvement Projects

Big Island legislators secured more than $360.8 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island in the recently passed House proposed budget.

The two largest single amounts were in transportation: $89 million for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension and $64.8 million for projects at the Kona International Airport.

The budget includes a total of nearly $1.9 billion for FY2018 and $926 million for FY2019 for capital improvement projects throughout the state.

The budget bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

These numbers do not reflect numerous statewide projects, which includes work in all counties.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

GENERAL

  • $4.3 million for a new maintenance shop for the Hawaii Army National Guard at Keaukaha Mililtary Reservation
  • $5.5 million for Hawaiian Home Lands to build a Kau water system
  • $4.5 million to renovate the Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center
  • $2 million to create a telehealth unit at Hilo Medical Center
  • $850,000 to build a West Hawaii Vet’s Center
  • $500,000 for Hawaiian Home Land for development of Kaumana subdivision
  • $300,000 for repairs to state-owned roads to benefit agricultural producers
  • $300,000 to build a throw away ditch and drainage area at Puupulehu Reservoir
  • $250,000 to build a swimming are at Pohoiki

SCHOOLS

  • $7.2 million for Hilo High School to upgrade the track and field and renovate building B
  • $6 million for Waikeawaena Elementary School to renovate and expand the cafeteria
  • $3.6 million for Kealakehe High School to build a synthetic track and plan a performing arts center
  • $3.4 million for Kohala Middle School to build a play court/assembly area
  • $1.2 million for Naalehu Elementary School for covered walkways $950,000 for Hilo Intermediate School to renovate the locker rooms
  • $700,000 for Hawaii Community College, Palamanui campus for improvements for the trade and apprenticeship program and to convert a classroom to a physics lab
  • $500,000 for Pahoa Elementary School to plan a new cafeteria and administration building
  • $450,000 for Hawaii Community College, Hilo campus to reroof the automotive building
  • $400,000 for Paauilo Elementary School to renovate a the home economics classroom to meet state health standards for a certified kitchen
  • $186,000 for Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino for campus-wide repair work

TRANSPORTATION

  • $89 million for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • $64.8 million for the Kona International Airport for a new agriculture inspection station, an aircraft rescue and fire fighting center, install an emergency generator, build a federal inspection station, replace the perimeter fence, renovate the restrooms
  • $55.3 million for the Hawaii Belt Road for improvements to drainage, rockfall protection, repairs to the Umauma Stream Bridge, replace an arch-deck bridge near Papaikou, and replace Wailuku Bridge
  • $40 million for Keaau-Pahoa Road improvements and widening
  • $16.6 million for Hilo International Airport to reconstruct the aircraft aprons, improve the Arcade building, build noise attenuation dwelling at the Keaukaha subdivision, improve the ticket lobby, holdrooms, and restrooms
  • $14.3 million for Mamalahoa Highway drainage improvements, replacing Hilea Stream Bridge, replacing Ninole Bridge and guardrail and shoulder work
  • $13 million to replace the one-lane 4 mile Creek Bridge for commuters between Hilo and Puna
  • $8 million for Kawaihae Road to replace Waiaka Stream Bridge and realign the approaches
  • $3 million for Akoni Pule Highway for widening and guardrails on the Pololu Valley side of Aamakao Gulch
  • $2 million to build acceleration lanes on Highway 11
  • $2 million for guardrail and shoulder improvements on state highways
  • $1.1 million for Kawaihae North and South Small Boat Harbor for paving and drainage improvements
  • $1 million for Upolu Airport to install a security system and replace a storage shed
  • $600,000 for traffic operational improvements to existing intersections and highway facilities

Contact Information:

Representative Richard Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona) (808) 586-9605 repcreagan@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala) (808) 586-8510 repevans@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) (808) 586-6530 repsanbuenaventura@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau) (808) 586-8400 replowen@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo) (808) 586-6680 repnakashima@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Richard Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano) (808) 586-6120 reponishi@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Chris Todd (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea) (808) 586-8480 reptodd@capitol.hawaii.gov