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Commentary – Ane Keohokālole Highway Phase III Should Be Top Transportation Project

Ane Keohokālole Highway Phase III should be top transportation project for Hawaii County in North Kona. This segment will connect Hina-Lani Street to Kaminani Drive, so we’ll be able to drive from Henry Street to Kona Palisades without having to use Mamalahoa or Queen Kaahumanu highways.

Much attention was paid to honoring the culture and the place in building the Ane Keohokālole Highway. Markers indicate the boundaries of the ahupua‘a that the road runs through, like this one where Keahuolū meets Kealakehe.

This will help address chronic traffic circulation issues prevalent in this area. Its frustrating to see  the horrible traffic congestion on Highway 190, especially in the mornings and afternoon at Hina-Lani Street intersection. The intersection at Kaiminani Drive and Queen Kaahumanu Highway is  another traffic congestion hot spot. Both of  these issues will be addressed if the county proceeds with Phase III of Ane Keohokālole Highway.

There has been some discussion about resurrecting the Alii Parkway
project in light of the completionof the Alii Drive Extension (Mamalahoa Highway bypass) instead of proceeding with Ane Keohokālole Highway. I strongly believe this would be a huge mistake. Hawaii County has spent decades and untold millions of dollars to construct this road with nothing to show for it. I highly doubt the lingering archaeological issues will ever be resolved, especially with the renewed focus on preserving sensitive Native Hawaiian archaeological sites.

The Hawaii DOT has started preliminary planing to widen  Queen Kaahumanu Highway Extension (from Henry Street) and  Kuakini Highway past Kamehameha III Road, which should adequately address the ongoing congestion issues in this area.

I hope Mayor Kim’s administration decides to proceed with Ane Keohokālole Highway Phase III instead of Alii Parkway. The latter project divided the community  when the county tried to proceed around 13 years ago.  Ane Keohokālole Highway Phase III is a better choice for the community.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Update Map of Lava Flow Field

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of December 14 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of January 12 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. Surface flows are focused on a branch of the flow east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō that has been active since late last year. The front of that flow branch has stalled, but there are weak scattered breakouts upslope along its length.

Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Disregard the area around the Kamokuna ocean entry, where the Kamokuna lava delta collapsed on New Year’s Eve. The lava flow polygons in these maps are layered to show additions to flow. As such, they do not show where material has been removed, such as by lava delta collapse.

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/).

Washington Man Found in Waters Off Kua Bay

A coroner’s inquest investigation has been initiated in connection with a possible drowning in Kona on Thursday (January 12).

At 11:15 a.m. Thursday, Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of an unresponsive man in waters off Kua Bay.

When officers arrived, beach goers were attempting cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Fire/rescue personnel took the man, identified as 57-year-old Brad O’Gara of Amboy, Washington, to Kona Community Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 12:17 p.m.

Police do not suspect foul play. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Big Island Police Still Searching for Man Missing Since 2015

Hawaiʻi Island police are renewing their request for information about a 51-year-old Volcano man who was reported missing in 2015.

Eddie Seenarine

Eddie Seenarine was last seen in the Volcano area on September 30, 2015.

He is described as 5-foot-9, 176 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Police ask anyone with any 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. 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.

November Lava Breakout Remains Active and Kamokuna Ocean Entry Continues

The November 21 breakout from the episode 61g lava flow remains active.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible in the upper left of the photo.

The tip is 2.4 km (1.5 mi) straight-line from the vent, and the furthest active lava is roughly 600 m (660 yd) back from the tip. The breakout, extending to the lower right of the image, can be identified by its light silver color.

The Kamokuna ocean entry remains active. On December 31, approximately 21 acres of delta collapsed into the ocean. The remaining ~2.5 acres can be seen at the base of the sea cliff in long narrow sections. On the lower right of the photo, a scarp is visible where a portion of the old sea cliff collapsed.

Degassing from the 61g lava tube is visible from the ocean entry to the upper right of the photo, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible in the top middle of the photo.

A close up view of where approximately 4 acres of old sea cliff fell into the ocean during the delta collapse on December 31.

The far eastern end of this collapse (right), is where the old public viewing area was located prior to the collapse.

On the left is a normal photograph of the ocean entry, which produces a robust steam plume and an area of discolored water extending out from the entry point.

The thermal image on the right shows how this area of discolored water corresponds to scalding water temperatures.

Another view of the ocean entry, with the plume of hot water extending out from the ocean entry point.

National Weather Service Has Issued a High Surf Warning

This is a Civil Defense message.

This is a High Surf Warning information update for Friday, January 13th at 11:30 AM.

The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Warning for the shores of Kohala, Kona and Ka‘ū to go into effect from mid-day today and will remain in effect through tomorrow morning.

A High Surf Warning means there is a significant threat to life and property from the surf.

Surf over 12 feet is predicted along these shores with highest surf heights to coincide with the high tides early this evening and again around sunrise tomorrow.

Oceanfront residents, all ocean activities and beachgoers along the affected shores are advised to be on the alert for possible high and dangerous surf.

You are advised to exercise caution due to the unpredictability of huge swells and dangerous surf.

As a precaution, boat owners and oceanfront residents should take actions to secure their property.

Thank you. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Banyan Drive Art Stroll Schedule of Artists, Demonstrations and Entertainment Announced

The Banyan Drive Art Stroll on Saturday, January 14, runs from noon until 6 p.m. Art exhibits are open at the Grand Naniloa Hotel, Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, and Banyan Gallery. People’s Choice ballots may be cast at the Grand Naniloa until 6 p.m.

From noon until 3 p.m. painters will be in Lili`uokalani Gardens. In addition to en plein air, the following schedule of demonstrations will happen in the square roof pavilion near the red bridge: 12 noon Valentina Montoya, 12:45 p.m. William Wingert, 1:30 p.m.  Peter Heineman, and at  2:15 p.m.  F Scott Cahill

  • Noon to 1 p.m. Christy Lassiter Trio (Christy Lassiter, J.J. Ahuna, and Kyle Kaaa) plus hula will perform at Grand Naniloa. Copies of the CD “Le`ale`a” will be available for purchase.
  • 2 p.m. Paradise Helicopters will award grand prize in the calendar contest at Banyan Gallery
  • 2 to 3 p.m. Puna Taiko will play at the old sumo area near the tea house.
  • 3-4 p.m. Brandon Tengan will demonstrate gyotaku (fish printing) at Suisan Fish Market.
  • 3-4 p.m. Puna Taiko will play outside Banyan Gallery, pupu will be served.
  • 4:00 p.m.  Ken Charon drawing demo at Grand Naniloa.
  • 4-5 p.m. Desmon Haumea and Bambu will play at Hilo Hawaiian, pupu will be served. Copies of the CD “Des and BAMBU – Maui Style will be available for purchase.”
  • 5-6 p.m. Desmon Haumea and Bambu will play at Grand Naniloa, pupu will be served. Copies of the CD “Des and BAMBU – Maui  Style will be available for purchase.”

The Banyan Drive Art Stroll is the first in a series of events to celebrate the centennial of Lili`uokalani Gardens. For further information, see the Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens page on Facebook or contact K.T. Cannon-Eger by email kteger@hawaii.rr.com or cell phone (808) 895-8130.

First Annual Global Tea Innovation Symposium

The launch of a Hawaii tea co-op, the first not for profit consumer cooperative tea business in the world will happen on February 1st, 2017 at 10am – 4pm at the Akatsuka Orchid Gardens, in Volcano, Hawaii.

Presenters scheduled:

  • Nigel Melican, Chairman,TeaCraft Ltd. (U.K): A global business development consultant to the leading world tea businesses.
  • Chairman, Kawasaki Kiko Ltd. (Japan): leading manufacturer of automated tea farming and tea processing equipment.
  • Jason McDonald, Founder of The Great Mississippi Tea Company and Co-Founder/Vice President of The Hawaii Medicinal Tea and Herb Cooperative (HawaiiTea.Coop).
  • Grif Frost: Co-Founder/President of The Hawaii Medicinal Tea and Herb Cooperative (HawaiiTea.Coop).  Expert in not for profit consumer cooperative development.
  • Takeshi Akatsuka, Vice President, Akatsuka Orchid Gardens, the site of the Hawaii Tea Co-op.

Purpose: Provide A-Z, tea business development services, for Hawaii Tea enthusiasts.

Mission: Develop a model, which can be replicated, to help other tea enthusiasts worldwide, work together, to sustainably grow their tea businesses.

Services to be offered:

  • Propagation services: contract growing of the ideal tea plants, for specific geographical locales in Hawaii.
  • Farm Design services: contract selection and design of tea farm sites, suitable for automated equipment use.
  • Minimum tea farm acreage: 1 acre. There must a minimum of 10 acres of Co-op contracted tea farms, within a 5-minute driving radius.
  • Farm Site Preparation services: contract preparation of sites for automated tea planting services.
  • Planting Services: contracted automated tea planting services.
  • Growing Services: contracted automated pruning, pest control and fertilization services.
  • Harvesting Services: contracted automated tea plant harvesting services.
  • Processing Services: contracted processing services to prepare harvested tea for consumption
  • Sales Services: contracted sales of packaged tea
  • Research and Development Services: contracted research and development related to Hawaii tea community development.

50 seats available to people interested in participating in the development of the Hawaii Tea Co-op.  Price $250 ($200 may be applied to the purchase of Hawaii Tea Co-op shares). A tea and food pairing lunch will be served.

How to order: visit www.HawaiiTea.Coop to reserve your seat.

Hawaiian Airlines to Begin Nonstop Service Between Kauai and Hawaii Island

Tickets as low as $89* one way now available for flights starting March 12

Hawaiian Airlines, Hawai‘i’s flagship carrier, today announced it will launch once daily non-stop service between Kaua‘i’s Līhu’e Airport (LIH) and Kona International Airport (KOA) on Hawai‘i Island beginning Sunday, March 12. This is the first time in the airline’s history that it will connect Līhu‘e and Kona with a direct flight.

“Demand from our kama‘āina and visitors for travel between Hawai‘i Island and Kaua‘i has been growing steadily over the past few years,” said Peter Ingram, chief commercial officer for Hawaiian Airlines. “We are proud to now offer our guests direct access between these islands, in addition to our connecting flights through Honolulu or Maui. This gives travelers greater flexibility and convenience when traveling through the Hawaiian Islands.”

The 263-mile flight becomes Hawaiian’s longest Neighbor Island route, besting its flights between Hilo, Hawai‘i Island (ITO) and Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on O‘ahu by nearly 60 miles.

LĪHU’E (LIH)/KONA (KOA) SCHEDULE
*beginning March 12, 2017

Flight Route Departs Arrives  Frequency
HA 599 KOA – LIH 9:38 a.m. 10:36 a.m. Daily
HA 500 LIH – KOA 3:44 p.m. 4:44 p.m. Daily

Hawaiian first launched flights to Kona from Honolulu on July 10, 1949 and started service from Honolulu to Līhu‘e six months later on Jan. 8, 1950. Today, the state’s largest and longest serving carrier operates an average of 21 daily departures from each airport with its Boeing 717 fleet, including:

  • LIH – HNL: 17 flights
  • LIH – Kahului Airport (OGG): four flights
  • KOA – HNL: 16 flights
  • KOA – OGG: five flights*
    *two flights operated by ‘Ohana by Hawaiian’s ATR42 aircraft

During the busy summer months, Hawaiian also offers direct flights from both Kona and Līhu‘e to Los Angeles and from Līhu‘e to Oakland, California.  In December 2016, Hawaiian started its first-ever international service from Kona with thrice-weekly flights to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

*Tickets between Līhu‘e and Kona, starting as low as $89 one way including taxes and fees, are now available for purchase online at HawaiianAirlines.com.  Fare is available for non-stop, one-way flights between Līhu‘e, HI and Kona, HI. Tickets must be booked by 1/19/17 for travel between 3/12/17 – 5/24/17 and are only valid in the Economy (coach) cabin.  Fares are subject to seat availability during the travel period shown. Other restrictions apply. Additional baggage charges may apply. See HawaiianAirlines.com for terms and conditions.

Big Island Police Searching for 15-Year-Old Boy Missing Since December

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

Jacob Mead

Jacob Mead was last seen December 9 in Waimea. He is described as 5-foot-8, 160 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair.

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.

2017 Living & Design Show Accepting Vendor Applications

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce presents its 12th annual home show February 25 – 26 at the Sheraton Kona Resort Convention Center.

Formerly known as the Building and Design Expo, the renamed Living + Design Show has been attended by more than 2,000. A strong turnout is anticipated this year as homeowners continue making improvements to their properties. The newly revamped exhibition will showcase latest goods and services, door-buster deals and endless options for a better home.

Past experience has shown qualified customers come to the show with specific home improvement projects in mind and they are ready to buy. As a result, exhibitors receive a strong return on their investment with as much as a year’s worth of leads generated from the expo alone.

Two booth sizes are offered as well as sponsorship opportunities. Qualifying businesses must have a product or service that relates to building, remodeling, improvements, sales, landscaping or financing a home or business.

Participation benefits include inclusion in the show’s special advertising insert in West Hawaii Today, radio ads and mentions in Chamber social media platforms.

Businesses interested in participating and who qualify with a product or service can download a vendor application online at www.kona-kohala.com. For more info, contact the Chamber office at info@kona-kohala.com or call 808.329.1758. Vendor booths are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

$65,000 Settlement in Hilo Pregnancy Discrimination Case

Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) Executive Director William Hoshijo today announced the settlement of a complaint brought by an employee against a Hilo business, alleging that her employer failed to reinstate her after a pregnancy-related disability leave, denied her a reasonable accommodation for her pregnancy-related disability, and terminated her because of her pregnancy.

The employee claimed that after she informed her immediate supervisor that she was pregnant, her manager made negative and derogatory comments about the inconvenience caused by her pregnancy.  She was told by her manager that the company could not hire temporary employees to accommodate her need to take pregnancy-related leave.  Approximately 1½ weeks after beginning unpaid pregnancy-related disability leave, she was told to remove her things from the workplace to “make room” for two newly hired employees.  After giving birth and after being released to return to work by her physician, the company refused to reinstate the employee and terminated her employment.

Click to learn more

Hawaii’s fair employment law protects pregnant employees by requiring employers to provide leave for an employee who has a pregnancy-related disability, with or without pay, for a reasonable time to be determined by the employee’s physician.  State law also requires reinstatement to the pregnant employee’s original job or to a position of comparable status and pay when the employee is released to return to work after pregnancy-related disability leave.  Finally, state law prohibits termination because of pregnancy.

Employers are allowed to require a pregnant employee to obtain medical verification of her inability to work due to pregnancy-related disability.

Under the terms of settlement, the employer agreed to pay $65,000 to the employee, adopt a non-discrimination policy, and provide non-discrimination training for its supervisors and managers.  The case was settled in conciliation, after a determination that there was reasonable cause to believe that illegal discrimination occurred, but before litigation and before a final decision was issued by the Commission.

“Although the identity of the parties is confidential at this stage,” explained HCRC Executive Director Hoshijo, “the settlement serves as an important reminder that pregnancy discrimination is unlawful.” Hoshijo added, “We used to see more pregnancy discrimination complaints, but now see fewer as employees and employers learn more about their rights and responsibilities under our civil rights laws.”

The Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission is responsible for enforcing state civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-funded services.

If you feel you have been subjected to discrimination or harassment because of your sex, based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related disability, contact the HCRC at:  telephone (808) 586-8636, or email DLIR.HCRC.INFOR@hawaii.gov.

For more information on pregnancy discrimination, go to the HCRC webpage at:  http://labor.hawaii.gov/hcrc/files/2013/01/INFOpreg1.pdf.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
TDD/TTY Dial 711 then ask for (808) 586-8866

Waimea Independent Schools Announce 2017-18 Application Deadline

Three independent, private schools in Waimea have announced February 6, 2017 as their common priority deadline for applications for the 2017-18 school year. In an effort to simplify the process for families applying to multiple schools, Waimea Country School (WCS), Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA) and Parker School have aligned due dates. Families will also receive notification of admission decisions from the three schools at the same time—February 27 for kindergarten and March 6 for all other grades.

Parker School students Lyle Coffee and Malia Dills (both grade 10)work in a kalo field while participating in the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress on O’ahu in September.

“Many families are unaware that the deadline to apply for the next school year occurs in February,” Emily Pagliaro, Admissions Director at Parker School, said. “We want to get the word out so that those who are interested in an independent school education have as much information as possible about how and when to apply.”

All three schools have a similar admissions process. Generally, they each require an application and fee, school records, teacher references and a student test or assessment. “This can create a big to-do list for parents, especially when applying to multiple schools. Having ample time to prepare is helpful,” Pagliaro said.

Getting to know the educational options on the Big Island is useful in determining the best path for each student. Private schools often offer school tours or open houses so that students and parents can see first-hand what each school’s “personality” is and what their unique offerings are. “In education, one size does not fit all. It is important for each family to find the right environment and program that will best meet the needs of their child, so we encourage families to visit,” said Amy Salling, WCS Head of School.

HPA and Parker School both offer kindergarten through high school programs, and HPA infuses their day student program with boarding students at the high school level. Waimea Country School offers kindergarten through fifth grade, and the multi-age classroom is the cornerstone of their program.

Visiting schools and meeting with representatives of each can also be helpful in understanding what financial assistance may be available. “Sometimes families don’t think they can afford a private school education. There is actually quite a bit of need-based financial aid available, and there are flexible payment plan options. If a family has an interest in our schools, it is definitely worth having the conversation,” said Joshua Clark, director of admission at Hawaii Preparatory Academy.

Visit each school’s website for more information: Waimeacountryschool.org, Hpa.edu and Parkerschoolhawaii.org.

Hawaii Wood Guild 31st Annual Exhibition

Hawaii Wood Guild will have the opening and reception for its 31st annual show on January 14th at Isaacs Art Center from 5pm to 7pm.  The show will run through February 24th.  Isaacs Art Center is open Tuesday thru Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Every Saturday several artists will sit at the show to give you an opportunity to ask questions about all the different aspects of woodworking or to meet some of your favorite woodworkers.
This year they have invited 20 Master woodworkers to exhibit in Joinery, Turning, Sculpture and any combination of skills working in the medium of wood. The show will consist of 58 works that will please all that enjoy the many different ways of creativity expressed through wood. 

Everyone will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite piece in selecting the winner of the people’s choice award. The winner of this award will be announced on the Hawaii Wood Guild Facebook page at the end of the show.

 

For more information, contact the gallery at 885 5884 or email  marcuscastaing@aol.com.

Casting Call for National Park Service Films on the Big Island

The National Park Service is producing new Visitor Center films for the following sites on the Island of Hawaiʻi: 1) Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park; 2) Kaloko-­‐Honokōhau National Historical Park; 3) Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site; and 4) Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

Told from the native Hawaiian perspective, the inspirational films will tell rich stories of Hawaiiʻs past, from 300 A.D to the age of Kamehameha (1790). To bring the stories of these sacred places to life, the Park Service will recreate key historical events and lifestyle scenes.

CASTING ROLES

  • King Kamehameha I , age 30-­35
  • Keōua Kū’ahu‘ula, age 30-­35
  • 8-­12 Hawaiian Warriors, ages 18-­30
  • 3-­6 Kūpuna (men, women –ages 50+) to portray Aliʻi and High Priests
  • 2-­3 Children (ages 10-­13)
  • 2 English Sailors (approximately 30 years old)

Must be physically fit. Acting experience not required. Knowledge of Hawaiian language is a plus. Accepted applicants will receive compensation, meals, and possible dormitory accommodations.

The film shoot will occur over 6 consecutive days on location at the west side Parks and Trail in May 2017

TO APPLY –DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 15, 2017 Submit email to: gdpcasting@gmail.com.  Subject Line: NATIONAL PARKS FILMS.  Please attach 2 photos (wide body shot, face close up),  height/weight, and a short paragraph that conveys your passion for Hawaiian history and culture. If unable to email, send via USPS to: Rae Godden, Kaloko-­‐Honokōhau National Historical Park, 73-­‐4786 Kanalani St, 14, Kailua-­‐Kona, HI 96740.

You will be contacted if you are selected for further review.

QUESTIONS? Call Jackie Pualani Johnson: (808) 937-­‐6600.

Gyotaku Demonstration at Suisan

Brandon Tengan has a love affair with the ocean as a surfer, fisherman, and fish print artist.

He will demonstrate gyotaku, the art of fish printing, at Suisan Fish Market on Lihiwai Street, Saturday January 14, from 3 to 4 p.m. as part of the Banyan Drive Art Stroll.

An exhibit of Brandon Tengan gyotaku

As stated on his web site, Prior 2 Pupu Productions, “The Japanese Art of Gyotaku…most simply translated as “gyo”—fish, and “taku”—rubbing or impression; a technique developed to accurately record a fisherman’s prized catch, prior to eating it.  Fish are caught, painted with a non-toxic ink, and imprinted on shoji (rice) paper.  When peeled back, the paper is left with an impression yielding the exact size, shape and ultimately – the fisherman’s story.  The prints are then painted, remembered and shared.  Most importantly, the fish is then washed clean and prepared as a meal.”

Tengan was raised in Kaneohe, Hawaii. He said his, “love and passion for the ocean first began with surfing.  However, when the surf got flat, he slowly took up diving and fishing and once he started…he got hooked.  Brandon considers himself blessed and fortunate to have been taught by many skilled fisherman and dive partners, continuing to learn each time he heads out.  Initially taught gyotaku by a family friend, what started as a small backyard hobby is now a fun business endeavor.”

Brandon Tengan and a tako catch

Locally Tengan’s work is carried by Banyan Gallery, located near the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. Banyan Gallery will feature an exhibit of photographers’ images selected for a calendar of Lili`uokalani GArdens during the Banyan Drive Art Stroll.

The event is free and open to the public, children welcome.

This is the first of a series of events to celebrate the centennial of Lili`uokalani Gardens, which is bounded by Lihiwai Street and Banyan Drive on the Waiakea peninsula in Hilo.

Blessing HCFCU’s Revitalized Kealakehe High School Student Credit Union

The celebration and blessing of the newly renovated Kealakehe High School Student Credit Union continues the legacy of Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union’s founding father’s, which was to provide financial collaboration, education, stability, and a secure path towards financial independence for West Hawaii families.

From left: HCFCU’s president and Chief Executive Officer Tricia Buskirk, KHS School Advisor John Mitchell, Principal Will Murakami and Kahu Brian Boshard officially open the new Student Credit Union on December 8, 2016.

As hundreds of Kealakehe High School students gathered in the school lunchroom, where the student credit union (SCU) was moved to provide greater access to its services, they were treated to a beautiful blessing by Kahu Brian Boshard, performances by the Poly Club Chorus and Band, supportive thoughts from Principal Wil Murakami, and encouragement from school advisor John Mitchell and former student credit union advisor JoAnna Kekuaokalani. Sixteen-year old Rheanne Godot, a Kealakehe junior, and the SCU’s board president, shared her positive experiences behind the SCU teller window.

Interestingly, HCFCU’s president and Chief Executive Officer Tricia Buskirk was a SCU board member herself when she attended Konawaena High School.  “I had so much fun and I believe my financial career was launched when I was a student credit union board member,” she said. “I’m so inspired by these teens who are taking their first steps towards planning for their future.”

The state’s first credit union was HCFCU’s Konawaena branch, established in 1972. In 2005 the Kealakehe High School branch opened, followed by Kohala High School shortly after.

The student credit union offers such services as deposits, withdrawals, and cashing checks. Students that are 15 ½ years or older may also add a debit card to their account.

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit credit union owned by its over 40,000 member/owners with branches in Honokaa, Kailua-Kona, Kaloko, Kealakekua and Kohala.  In addition to complete checking and savings services, the credit union offers credit cards, auto, mortgage, construction, small business, educational and personal loans; online and mobile banking; investment services; youth programs and supports numerous Hawaii Island programs and events.  Membership in Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is open to all Hawaii Island residents. For more information visit www.hicommfcu.com.

Big Island Police Identify Victim in Thursday’s Crash in Pahoa

Hawaiʻi Island police have identified the man who died from injuries sustained in a two- vehicle crash Thursday night (January 5) on Highway 130, between Leilani Avenue and Malama Street in Pāhoa.
He was identified through fingerprints as 37-year-old Michael Simmons of O’Brien, Oregon.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Erhard Autrata at 961-8118. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

34-Year-Old Ocean View Victim Identified in Friday’s Two-Vehicle Crash

A 34-year-old Ocean View woman died following a two-vehicle crash Friday night (January 6) on Highway 11 just north of the 96-mile marker.
She was identified as Mona Yoshitaro.

Responding to a 7:18 p.m. call Friday, police determined that a 2003 Kia four-door sedan operated by Yoshitaro had been traveling north on Highway 11 near the 96-mile marker when it crossed left of center on the roadway and collided head-on with a 2003 Nissan pickup truck that was traveling south. The occupants of the Nissan, a 66-year-old man and a 63-year-old woman, both of Oceanview, were taken to Kona Community Hospital for treatment of their injuries. Yoshitaro was also taken to Kona Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 11:55 p.m. Friday.

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 call Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, extension 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo.

This is the second traffic fatality this year compared with none at this time last year.

Apple Mapping Car Being Spotted Around the Big Island

This afternoon as I was driving in Hilo, I noticed a weird car drive by me with all these cameras on top of it.  At first I thought it was the Google Car that I had seen a few years ago on Bayfront but learned it wasn’t.
I was driving down the Mohouli extension road and the car turned on to Loko Place.  Knowing that Loko Place was a dead end street that was just recently built… I flipped a U-Turn and pulled over on the side of Loko Place and positioned myself to take a picture of the car.
It turned out it was an “Apple” car that was doing mapping for it’s “Maps” application http://maps.apple.com.

Apple Maps states:

Offering an all-new design and a host of innovative features, Maps makes finding and getting to your destination faster and easier than ever. With turn-by-turn spoken directions, interactive 3D views, proactive suggestions, and the ability to use third-party apps right inside Maps, there’s so much to explore.

Maps now predicts the places you’re most likely to go and suggests the fastest way to get there based on traffic, your current location, the time of day, and events on your schedule. So in the morning, Maps can provide a proactive suggestion for the best route to work that avoids traffic. And any upcoming meetings on your calendar are presented with suggested routes. Simply tap the suggestion to display the directions and start navigation.

It looks as though they are trying to compete with Google for customers.  The last time that I can recall the Google car being on the Island was in 2011 but I could be wrong.

The Google car in Wailoa Park

The Google Car works in connection with the Google Bike as the bike can take folks on even narrower roads and trails where the car can’t go.