Ground Broken for $27.9 Million Mamalahoa Highway Bypass

Mayor Billy Kenoi joined County officials and members of the Kona community today in a blessing and groundbreaking ceremony for the $27.9 million southern segment of the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass, which will provide relief to motorists traveling in South Kona when it opens in 2016.

Ground was broken today for the $27.9 million southern segment of the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass in South Kona.

Ground was broken today for the $27.9 million southern segment of the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass in South Kona.

The bypass is located midway between the shoreline and Māmalahoa Highway. The bypass starts at the southern edge of Keauhou and runs approximately 3.5 miles to the bottom of Haleki‘i Street below Kealakekua’s Kona Scenic subdivision. The southern segment will extend the roadway another 2.2 miles from Kealakekua to a new signalized intersection with Māmalahoa Highway in Nāpo‘opo‘o.

Isemoto Contracting Co. will construct both the $14.8 million southern segment of the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass and the $13.1 million Nāpo‘opo‘o Road/Māmalahoa Highway intersection. Both projects are scheduled for completion in 2016.

A large portion of the South Kona community works in either North Kona or South Kohala and commutes daily along Māmalahoa Highway. The two-lane bypass gives motorists an alternate route between North and South Kona. Opening this bypass was one of Mayor Kenoi’s priorities upon taking office in December 2008. The Mayor was personally involved in talks with Mauka Kona residents to ensure that this bypass helps meet the critical need for the transportation infrastructure in West Hawai‘i.

“The main thing is that people spend more time with their families at home and less time frustrated in traffic,” Mayor Kenoi said. “Our job is to alleviate and mitigate that congestion. It’s not about asphalt. It’s about connecting family and friends.”

The first segment of the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass opened in 2009 under a temporary agreement with 1250 Oceanside Partners, the developer of Hōkūli‘a. Initially, the bypass was only open in one direction for limited hours. Even under those conditions, the alternate route alleviated traffic congestion and driver frustration. The bypass was later opened to allow for two-way traffic for longer hours.

Māmalahoa Highway Bypass Timeline

1960 – A Māmalahoa Relief Highway was first envisioned in “A Plan For Kona,” a document prepared with community input for the State Planning Office. The plan was transmitted to the Hawai‘i County Board of Supervisors, the predecessor of today’s Hawai‘i County Council.

1996 ­– In rezoning the area that would become Hōkūli‘a, County ordinances formalized the developer’s agreement with the community to complete the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass from Keauhou to Captain Cook.

1999 – The Environmental Impact Statement for the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass was completed. Developer 1250 Oceanside Partners broke ground on the Hōkūli‘a development, the first phase of which included the northern segment of the road.

2008 – The County proposed a number of improvements prior to the opening of the northern segment of the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass. Improvements included work along Ali‘i Drive, along Haleki‘i Street, and on Māmalahoa Highway. These improvements allowed residents to benefit immediately from the northern segment of the bypass before the southern segment was completed.

March 2009 – Under a grant of easement in anticipation of dedicating the road to the County, the northern segment of the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass opened to limited traffic – one lane southbound from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. on weekdays only. On March 10, the first day it was open, 650 vehicles took the drive from Keauhou to Kealakekua.

June 2010 – The Māmalahoa Highway Bypass between Keauhou and Haleki‘i Street opened to northbound and southbound traffic from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 7 days a week.

2012 – The northern segment of the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass and the .8-mile portion of Haleki‘i Street makai of Muli Street was dedicated to the County.

January 2013 – The Māmalahoa Highway Bypass opened daily, 24 hours a day. Restrictions on vehicle types and sizes were removed.

November 2013 – The Hawai‘i County Council passed a resolution regarding the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass, renaming it Ali‘i Drive.

July 2014 – Ground was broken for the southern segment of Māmalahoa Highway Bypass, which will extend 2.2 miles from the Haleki‘i Street intersection to Māmalahoa Highway at Nāpo‘opo‘o. Roadway work will commence immediately. Work on the Māmalahoa Highway junction at Nāpo‘opo‘o is scheduled to begin in the fall.

2016 – The southern segment of Māmalahoa Highway Bypass is scheduled to open, completing Ali‘i Drive from Kailua to Nāpo‘opo‘o.

Big Island Police Reclassify Suspicious Death of Infant to Murder

Hawaiʻi Island police have reclassified a suspicious death of an infant to murder following an eight-month investigation and recent results of an autopsy.
HPDBadgeOn November 25, Kona patrol officers responded to a report of possible child abuse. Responding officers learned that Fire Department rescue personnel had taken an unresponsive 18-month-old boy to the hospital with multiple bruises reportedly from a fall several days earlier.

The infant was later transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu in critical condition. He was pronounced dead on November 27.

The infant has been identified as Rylee Sele-Pang of Kailua-Kona.

Juvenile Aid Section detectives had initially investigated the incident as a possible abuse case. Police deferred reclassifying it pending autopsy results.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s office conducted extensive testing and analysis, which required the use of a mainland laboratory.

On Wednesday (July 23), after receiving the results of the testing and analysis, the medical examiner determined that the cause of death was complications of blunt force injuries of the head. As a result, detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section have reclassified the case as murder.

No arrests have been made. Detectives continue to actively investigate this case.

Big Island Police Searching for Four Wanted for Fraudulent Use of Credit Card

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for three men and a woman who are wanted for fraudulent use of a credit card.

The card was stolen Wednesday (July 23) from a car on Kuakini Highway and then used at a Kailua-Kona business three times.

Colvin Gaspar

Colvin Gaspar

Colvin Gaspar, 22, of Kailua-Kona is described as 5-foot-6, 155 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He is also wanted on eight bench warrants with bail totaling $300,000.

Theodore "Kahui" Casuga

Theodore “Kahui” Casuga

Theodore “Kahui” Casuga, 39, of Kailua-Kona is described as 5-foot-8, 245 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He is also wanted for reckless endangering, reckless driving and resisting an order to stop.

Luke Kaniaupia

Luke Kaniaupia

Luke Kaniaupia 21, of Kailua-Kona is described as 5-foot-6, 165 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Leilani Parent

Leilani Parent

Leilani Parent, 26, of Kailua-Kona is described as 5-foot-5, 140 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on the whereabouts of any of these individuals 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Participates in “Hawaii on the Hill” Initiative

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce participated in the first-ever Hawaii on the Hill initiative July 22 and 23 at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Co-chaired by Senator Mazie Hirono and the rest of the Hawaii delegation, this event highlighted the State’s businesses, food and culture on Capitol Hill. The two-day affair included a Hawaii Policy Summit, tours of the White House and Capitol, and concluded with a “Taste of Hawaii” reception with over 700 invited guests experiencing the sights, sounds and tastes of Hawaii.

Colette Masunaga prepares to greet attendees at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce and County of Hawaii product table at “Taste of Hawaii.”

Colette Masunaga prepares to greet attendees at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce and County of Hawaii product table at “Taste of Hawaii.”

Over 30 Hawaii businesses and organizations were welcomed on the “Hill.” Hawaii Policy Summit discussions included Senator Charles Schumer of New York, Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, Director Patricia Loui with the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel, U.S. Trade and Development Agency Director for Export Promotion Leila Aridi Afas, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Margaret Cummisky. Hawaii attendees were able to share issues and concerns, as well as promote Hawaii as a place to do business.

Senator Hirono asked the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii to spearhead this event, with neighbor island chambers and statewide industry associations invited to participate. The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, the County of Hawaii and Tiki Shark Art represented the Island of Hawaii in Washington, D.C. Products offered at the KKCC/County table for the “Taste of Hawaii” reception included ohia lehua honey from The Big Island Bee Company, Spirolina and BioAstin samples from Cyanotech, over 600 anthuriums from Green Point Nursery, chocolate samples from Kona Mountain Coffee Company, and macadamia nuts from Mauna Loa. Tiki Shark Art shared their unique, local Hawaiian style art designs and beach apparel by Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker.

Brad holding his original art piece "Forbidden Island".

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker holding his original art piece “Forbidden Island”.

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce provides leadership and advocacy for a successful business environment in West Hawai‘i. The result of KKCC’s work is a community of choice as reflected in our quality of life, business and individual opportunity and manifest respect for our culture and our natural resources. For info, 329-1758 or visit kona-kohala.com.

HCA Taps Statewide Cupping Winners at 19th Annual Confab

The Hawaii Coffee Association (HCA) celebrated its 19th Annual Conference and 6th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition July 18-20 at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay located in the world-famous Kona Coffee Belt.

Cupping

The HCA divided more than 82 entries assembled from across the state into two categories: Creative and Commercial. Qualifying for the Commercial division means that at least 1,000 lbs of the entered coffee is available for sale as of April 15.

In the Creative Division, four of the top 10 coffees hailed from Ka’u, including the top two: Ali’i Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee earned a score of 88.7 out of a possible 100; followed by FL Farm of Wood Valley with a score of 88.5

In the Commercial Division, five of the top 10 coffees were proudly grown in Kona with Aloha Hills Kona Coffee and Maui Grown Coffee tying for the top spot with a score of 87.3. The second spot went Kona’s Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation earning a score of 87.0.

The HCA also presented awards to the highest scoring coffees entered from each of the eight growing districts from across the state. These include Hamakua, Hawai‘i, Ka’u, Kaua‘i, Kona, Maui, O‘ahu and Moloka‘i.

One Heart Farm of Hamakua was the finest coffee sampled from that verdant district, while Hilo Coffee Mill received top honors in the Hawai‘i district tallying a score of 87.2. Kauai Coffee Company captured the top spot for that origin and Kona Mountain Coffee was judged as the premier entry from Kona with a score of 87.4. The award for the highest scoring coffee from Maui was Keokea Farms with their organic entry of Typica, Kent and Caturra varietals with a score of 88.4.

Coffee cupping is a combination of art and science where coffees are evaluated and scored based on subtle characteristics including, flavor, aroma, ‘mouth-feel’, acidity, sweetness and aftertaste.

Complete results can be found at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org

“I am very impressed with the quality of the coffees coming out of all of the districts. It just keeps getting better”, said David Gridley of Maui, HCA’s Cupping Committee chair. “I applaud all the coffee farmers of Hawai‘i for their remarkable efforts”

Veteran cupper Warren Muller said “The competition was very close” noting an overall increase in scores among a broad spectrum of coffees. “But some just jumped off the table” referring to the outstanding quality of this year’s crop. He remarked that the upward trend signifies continuous improvement and that experimentation was evident in new varietals and processing methods.

The HCA also hosted a Reverse Trade Mission designed to expand markets in Canada. Inbound missionaries included buyers, brokers, industry media and professionals.

HCA members elected a new Board of Directors to include two new representatives in Big Island Coffee Roasters of Mountain View and Isla Custom Coffees of Pahala.

Outgoing two-term President Greg Stille of Maui was replaced by incoming President Jim Wayman of Hawaii Coffee Company in Honolulu.

The HCA Annual Conference was followed on Saturday by the inaugural Roast & Roots event hosting nearly 1,000 attendees. This new event featured notable local chefs participating in culinary demonstrations and competitions and included a People’s Choice coffee tasting won by Rusty’s Hawaiian 100% Ka’u Coffee of Pahala. Roast & Roots represents a partnership between the Hawaii Coffee Association, Kamehameha Schools and Hawai‘i’s Department of Agriculture through its ‘Buy Local it Matters’ campaign.

Sunday’s activities included a bus tour of area farms and processing facilities.

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers.  The HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees.  A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. This annual conference has continued to grow each year and has gained increased international attention.

For more information visit Hawaii Coffee Association’s website at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org.

19th Annual Huggo’s Wahine Tournament Coming Up

The 19th Annual Huggo’s Wahine Tournament is coming up Saturday, July 26, 2014.

Click for more information

Click for more information

This year’s theme, The Great Gatsby, celebrates the Roaring Twenties, when jazz, gin and fun loving flapper women captured America’s heart. This entertaining and competitive fishing tournament is a summer tradition in Kona and is limited to 75 lady angler teams, so women are encouraged to sign up early. Festivities kick off with a party on Friday, July 25, at Huggo’s On the Rocks, and fishing starts in Kailua Bay, Saturday, July 26 starting at 8:00 am.  4:00 PM is the end of the fishing day, and weigh-ins of the days catch can be seen at Honokohau Harbor, Charter Desk.

Proceeds from the tournament are donated to Family Support Hawaii (FSH), a Hawaii Island United Way agency.

“We always look forward to July when we host our annual Wahine Tournament,” said Huggo’s owner Eric von Platen Luder. “For almost 20 years, this fun, charity-focused tournament has donated nearly $150,000 to Family Support Hawaii. We’re thankful that through the community’s support of the event, Family Support Hawaii can make a difference in people’s lives.”

All-women anglers are competing for cash prizes that will be awarded to the teams with the biggest marlin/billfish weighing more than 300 pounds. Separate categories for most released marlin, ahi, ono, and mahi mahi will receive trophies for the largest catch.

The Huggo’s Wahine Tournament also rewards style and panache with prizes and cash awarded to the best decorated boat and team costumes. Awards will be announced at a special presentation Sunday evening, July 27 at On the Rocks. For tournament information including registration, visit Huggos.com

Free Orchid Show July 27 in Kona

“Celebrate with Orchids” at the 32nd annual Kona Orchid Club (KDOC) show and sale Sunday, July 27 at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall.

This year’s celebratory theme is in conjunction with the mission’s 100th anniversary year. The free event offers attendees complimentary refreshments, plus an orchid boutonniere corsage—while they last.  Time is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. with the Daifukuji Taiko Drummers performing at 10 a.m.

Photos by Fern Gavalek

Photos by Fern Gavalek

Enjoy an elaborate and colorful display of live blooming cattleya, cymbidium, dendrobium, phalaenopsis, miltonia, vanda and more. Cameras are welcome. In addition this year’s show will have a display of orchid-themed vases and a sampling of ways to integrate the plants into lanai décor. Amid orchids, relax on benches while browsing through orchid-themed magazines and books.

Got growing questions? Veteran members will staff a Question and Answer Booth where attendees can get expert advice on caring for orchids. The club boasts eight charter members who each have been growing orchids at least 30 years at different Kona elevations.

orchid

In addition to the other displays, the annual event offers an outdoor sale of high-quality orchid species and hybrids.

The Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club is West Hawai‘i’s oldest orchidaceae organization with a mission to learn and foster orchid culture and promote fellowship among orchid collectors. The club meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall on Hwy. 11 at mile marker 114, just north of Kainaliu. For information, visit www.kdoc.us, get club updates at www.facebook.com/orchidsinparadise or phone 808-354-8847.

Big Island Police Need Help Identifying Composite Drawings of Robbery Suspects

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying robbery suspects shown in composite drawings.

Composite Sketch

Composite Sketch

Sketch2
At 2:20 a.m. on June 27, Kona Patrol officers responded to a reported robbery near the intersection of Highway 190 and Loloa Drive in Kalaoa.

The victim, a 27-year-old Kailua-Kona man, had been hitchhiking at the intersection of Palani Road and Henry Street in Kailua-Kona when two men in a dark Jeep Cherokee picked him up. Near the intersection of Highway 190 and Loloa Drive, the Jeep pulled off the road onto an access road to the Department of Water Supply’s pump station. The driver then reportedly exited the vehicle, went to the rear passenger door armed with a knife and robbed the victim of an undisclosed amount of cash. While the victim was walking away from the Jeep, the driver attacked him, causing a stab wound to his right arm and a laceration to his chest.

The victim was able to flee the area and call 911. He was taken to Kona Community Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Following the victim’s lengthy recovery, detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section were able to work with a Police Department forensic artist to produce composite sketches of the suspects. The driver was described as a local male, 6-feet tall, 200 pounds in his early 30s. The passenger, who was only seen from the rear, was described as a heavy-set local male with long hair in a pony tail that had several dark bands.

Police ask anyone with information about this case or the suspects’ identities to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Levon Stevens at 326-4646, extension 275, or lstevens@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Announces 2014 Pualu Awards

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce (KKCC) recently recognized 11 individuals, businesses or organizations with Pualu Awards at its annual Installation and Membership Banquet at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

“Meaning to “work together,” Pualu Awards were established in 1979 to honor those in West Hawai‘i for their dedication and hard work in the community,” explains Vivan Landrum, Chamber president/CEO. Winners are tapped in seven categories and chosen by an awards committee from nominations received by Chamber members and the general public.

The Community Education Award honors an individual or organization that promotes and supports education and enrichment programs that develop personal skills and lifelong learning. There are three recipients of this award: Kei-Lin Cerf of Kealakehe High School’s Life Plan Youth Mentoring Program, West Hawaii Community Health Center and Jack’s Diving Locker.

Kei Lin

Kei Lin pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

Lifeplan pairs community volunteers with high school classrooms to learn about student’s individual values, dreams and goals. These mentors assist in turning these aspirations for students into action steps for success. Currently the program supports almost 650 students with the help of 32 volunteer mentors, 32 homeroom teachers and 42 youth leaders.  At the helm of this program is Kei-Lin Cerf, who, for the past four years, has taken this program to a new level through her innovation, dedication and hard work.

pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

West Hawaii Community Health Center Representative pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

West Hawaii Community Health Center was honored for its Patient Centered Health Care Home program that builds personal relationships through medical providers. These professionals bring education and coaching to high-risk patients with chronic diseases and significant health challenges. This program establishes an ongoing and long-lasting relationship that educates patients on how to self-manage their health care and improve outcomes.

Jack's Diving Reps pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

Jack’s Diving Reps pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

Jack’s Diving Locker has been offering educational programs in ocean ecology, marine life conservation and environmental stewardship for kids and teens since 1987. Jack’s educational Junior Programs include a six-week Sea Camp for ages 8 – 14 and a Keiki Sea Camp for ages 6 – 8. These camps focus on marine life education and positively impact the lives of many children in the community as well as our ocean resources.

The Environmental Awareness Award taps an individual or organization that exhibits sensitivity and concern for the environment through innovative environmental practices. There are two recipients in this category: David Chai and the Hawaii Wildlife Center.

David Chair pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

David Chair pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

Chai has been active in pond and wetland environmental assessment and management plans since the late 1980s. His many projects include restoring water resources and monitoring marine life and water quality at Hawai‘i Volcanoes, Kaloko-Honokohau and Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Parks, plus the shorelines of Makalawaena, Awake’e, Kohanaiki and Kiholo. In addition, one of his projects, a water feature at Ke`olu Golf Course, received one of only two EPA environmental awards in Hawai‘i, and was cited as an example of natural filtration technology and its potential application to keep all Hawai‘i streams, lakes and oceans free of harmful pollutants.

Hawaii Wildlife Center Rep pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

Hawaii Wildlife Center Rep pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

The Hawaii Wildlife Center is a non-profit organization that specializes in the conservation of native birds and the Hawaiian hoary bat. It is the first organization of its kind exclusively for native Hawaiian wildlife and is the state’s only organization providing professional wildlife response services exceeding the national standards, including state-of-the-art care and rehabilitation to all species of native birds and bats throughout the Hawaiian Islands. In addition to wildlife treatment, it also provides rescue and response training and research assistance for wildlife response to seabird fallout and contaminant spills and avian diseases.

The Business Innovation Award recognizes a business or organization that is committed to improving or enhancing employee’s lives, or exhibits creative product development, marketing or customer service. The recipient is Interim Dean Farrah-Marie Gomes of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo’s College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS).

UH Hilo Reps pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

UH Hilo Rep and Dean Farrah-Marie Gomes pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

In an effort to ensure the island has a viable workforce, Gomes was proactive in forming creative and innovative credit and non-credit classes and professional development programs to meet new workforce needs. The CCECS program worked with community partners to ascertain the training needs, identify curriculum and forge delivery partnerships to address those needs.

The Lifetime Service Award taps an individual who has made a lifelong commitment to the community exemplified by their personal and/or business achievements. This year’s recipients are Gretchen Lawson and the late Guy Toyama.

Gretchen Lawson pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

Gretchen Lawson pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

Lawson has dedicated the last 18-plus years of her life to empowering persons with disabilities to live life to the fullest. Under her leadership, the Arc of Kona moved from near bankruptcy to a thriving, financially secure, effective and well-respected organization that employs over 100 individuals, who are offered opportunities for self-improvement and training. Outside of the office, the Holualoa resident has been an avid advocate for the disabled by participating in government and community organizations, including the Hawaii State Rehabilitation Council, the UH College of Education Advisory Board, the State Medicaid Infrastructure Grant Advisory Board and the County of Hawai‘i Community Alliance Partners.

pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

The late Guy Toyama was honored by Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

The late Guy Toyama was dedicated to improving the quality of life in West Hawai‘i. During his short, 42 years of life, his leadership in entrepreneurship, business development, education and policy illustrated his unmatched passion for inspiring our community to be more self-reliant and sustainable. Mr. Toyama organized dozens of conferences and workshops at the NELHA Gateway Center, hosted environmental films for the Kona Earth Festival and helped organize community events. He also helped build relationships between the County of Hawai‘i and Japan and was instrumental in the establishment of a sister-city relationship between KKCC and the Hatsukaichi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Hiroshima.

The Visitor Industry Marketing Award is presented each year to that person or group who diligently works to promote the visitor industry in West Hawai‘i. Congratulations to Gerry Rott of the Lavaman Waikoloa Triathlon.

Gerry Rott pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

Gerry Rott pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

Since its inception in 1997, the number of participants for the Waikoloa Lavaman has grown from 83 to over 1500. Rott’s ingenious job of branding the Lavaman Triathlon series—including the signature petroglyph logo, website, merchandising, vendor exhibits, celebrity participants, creative sponsorship opportunities and ever changing event additions, such as the Friday Night Fun Run and Lavakids—keeps the event fresh and appealing not only to repeat participants, but consistently draws in new athletes, volunteers and sponsors each year.

The Culture & Heritage Award is given to an individual or organization that has exhibited, through its actions, practices that promote island traditions and preserves our multi-cultural heritage. This year’s recipient is Rick Gaffney.

Rick Gaffney pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

Rick Gaffney pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

Gaffney has undertaken leadership responsibility to promote island traditions and help preserve our cultural heritage by contributing both time and money to the preservation of Hawaii’s unique marine traditions and multi-cultural heritage. While the voyaging canoe Hokulea was in dry dock during preparation for its current worldwide voyage, Gaffney arranged for the donation of a $250,000 sailing catamaran to the Polynesian Voyaging Society to be used as a navigation and training platform. Upon the launch of Hokulea this year, he arranged for the transfer of that sailing catamaran to a local business here and supported the work of the Nakoa Foundation, to continue the training of Kona’s youth in the traditional use of Hawaiian sailing and fishing canoes.

Chamber Member of the Year recognizes the individual who advocates, promotes and supports the mission of KKCC through active participation on committees, events, membership and/or community service. This year KKCC honors Sharon Sakai.

Sharon Sakai pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

Sharon Sakai pictured between Chamber CEO/President Vivian Landrum at left with KKCC Board Chair Tracey

The Hawai’i Island native has been very active in KKCC for 15 years, serving as a member of the Board of Directors for several terms and South Kohala Vice President, and participating on the Marketing & Communications Committee, the Education Resource Group and the Economic Development Committee. She has worked tirelessly as a behind-the-scenes volunteer by staffing KKCC events and offering support and guidance. As KKCC President/CEO Landrum stated, “I couldn’t imagine the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce being where it is today without the support and guidance of Sharon Sakai. She exemplifies service above self and is truly deserving of this award.”

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 16-Year-Old Girl Who Is Here on Vacation

7/13/14 UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have located a 16-year-old California girl who was reported missing in Kona.  Jasmine Keilani of San Diego was found unharmed in Kona on Saturday night (July 12).

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old California girl who was reported missing.

Jasmine Keilani

Jasmine Keilani

Jasmine Keilani of San Diego was vacationing with family in Kona. She was last seen Tuesday morning (July 8) on Aliʻi Drive in Kailua-Kona.

She is described as 5-foot-5, 125 pounds with brown eyes and brown shoulder-length hair with blond tips. She was last seen wearing a tie-dyed top with faded denim shorts.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Cosplayers Invited to Enter Epic Bowling Battle and Costume Contest at KBXtreme for Glory and Big Prizes

HawaiiCon is partnering with KBXtreme for the Big Island’s first cosplay event, ever.

HawaiiConCosplayers from around the Big Island are invited to the KBXtreme Kona Bowl on July 19th, 2014, from 5pm until closing for a family-friendly event full of bowling, tabletop gaming, and costume contests. Those looking to participate in the cosplay events can register that night. The cosplay event is free for all ages. The bowling contest is available for $6.25 or less depending on age.

For the costume contest, outfits will be judged based on originality, craftsmanship, and accuracy. The top cosplayers will win passes to HawaiiCon and other prizes. The cosplayer with the most points in bowling will also win a day pass.

All passes will allow winners to participate in the main cosplay contest at HawaiiCon in front of stars Holly Conrad and Jessica Merizan from Syfy’s Heroes of Cosplay to compete for even bigger prizes.

“Our desire is to strengthen the local cosplay community on the Big Island,” says HawaiiCon CEO, GB Hajim. “This is something the Big Island has wanted for a long time, and we want HawaiiCon to be a catalyst that keeps the cosplay community connected and involved.”

The Royal Kona Resort is supporting the event by offering rooms for $105 with single and double occupancy for those traveling. Game demos provided by Lava Top.

No weapons, including cosplay weapons, are allowed at this event.

About HawaiiCon:
HawaiiCon is a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase public awareness of science, the science fiction genre, and mythologies, past and present, which guide humanity. HawaiiCon will emphasize education and uniquely Hawaiian contributions to science, including navigation, and ensure that Native Hawaiian culture is accorded an honored place in the conversation of science and science fiction.

HawaiiCon will take place at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on September 12-14th, 2014. Kama’aina rates are available starting at $50 a day. For a full list of Guests, Events, and other information please visit the website at http://www.hawaiicon.com.

Big Island Police Charge Man in Connection With South Kona Shooting

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged the man arrested in connection with a shooting Thursday evening in South Kona.

Monte Moreau

Monte Moreau

Monte Moreau, 44, of Hōnaunau was charged Saturday (July 5) with attempted second-degree murder. His bail was set at $100,000. He remains at the Kona police cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday (July 7).

At 6:35 p.m. Thursday (July 3), Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of a shooting on the 83-5300 block of Highway 11 in Hōnaunau.

At a house being rented to several tenants, police found a 52-year-old resident with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. Fire/rescue personnel took him to Kona Community Hospital. He remains at the hospital in critical condition.

Police arrested Moreau at the scene. On Friday (July 4) detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section executed a search warrant at the home and recovered a handgun.

Big Island Police Investigating Attempted Murder in South Kona

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated an attempted murder investigation in connection with a shooting Thursday evening in South Kona.

HPDBadgeAt 6:35 p.m. Thursday (July 3), Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of a shooting on the 83-5300 block of Highway 11 in Hōnaunau.

At a house being rented to several tenants, police found a 52-year-old resident with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. Fire/rescue personnel took him to Kona Community Hospital, where he remains in critical but stable condition.

Police arrested another tenant at the scene, 44-year-old Monte Moreau of Hōnaunau, on suspicion of attempted murder. He is being held at the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

Kona Man Dies Following Assault

A 52-year-old man found badly injured in Kailua-Kona on Tuesday morning has died of his injuries.

HPDBadgeWalter Kamana of Kailua-Kona was pronounced dead at The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu at 9:16 a.m. Wednesday (July 2). The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s office is scheduled to conduct an autopsy Thursday (July 3) to determine the exact cause of death.

The case was initially classified as an assault. Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section are awaiting results of the autopsy before reclassifying it. They continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death.

At 5:55 a.m. Tuesday (July 1), patrol officers conducting routine checks near the Kailua pier observed an unconscious local male, later identified as Kamana, lying face down on the makai sidewalk of Aliʻi Drive by the sea wall.

He was taken to Kona Community Hospital with a head injury and later moved to Queen’s in critical condition.

Police are looking for witnesses, including canoe paddlers observed in the area, who may have seen the incident. They ask anyone with any information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Shawn Tingle at 326-4646, extension 277, or stingle@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Officer Nahale Recognized as “Officer of the Month”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Wyattlane Nahale as “Officer of the Month” for July in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (July 2) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Wyattlane Nahale

Officer Wyattlane Nahale

Nahale was honored for his diligence and hard work in organizing the 2014 Dare Day event on May 1 in Kailua-Kona.

Nahale, who is the School Resource Officer for Konawaena Middle school, reached out to other schools in the area to assist and teach the DARE curriculum. Approximately 1,000 students from schools in the Kona, Ka‘ū, South Kohala, North Kohala and Hāmākua Districts competed the program and attended the DARE Day celebration.

During the time Nahale organized and directed DARE Day, he continued to perform his assigned duties and effectively handled both, said Sergeant Floyd Richards.

Sergeant Richards described the DARE Day event as “a huge success,” noting that local celebrities, such as Augie “T” and Brittany Pawai participated. The event generated a front-page story in a local newspaper.

As “Officer of the Month,” Nahale is eligible to become “Officer of the Year.”

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

Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament Seeking Volunteers

The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is looking for volunteers to help with the running of the 55th Annual tournament. A variety of tournament support is needed, including Kailua pier operations, HIBT retail boutique, headquarter administration, security and a whole lot more. Positions will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Each volunteer will receive a HIBT t-shirt and discounted parking for shift volunteers in return for their time.

Miss Billfish 2013

Miss Billfish 2013

“We are excited to meet new volunteers and welcome back those who help us each summer. Volunteers play an important role in the HIBT and help us provide great service to the anglers, crews and visitors that come from around the world to this prestigious fishing tournament,” said HIBT Founder Peter Fithian. “Each year we all work hard, have a good time, at the end of the five days of tournament fishing, bid a fond aloha to all those who travel here to Kona to fish these famous waters.”

Fishing Club of Australia at last years HIBT.

Fishing Club of Australia at last years HIBT.

HIBT event headquarters, retail and tournament control will once again be anchored at Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, located adjacent to Kailua Pier. Tournament volunteers are needed starting Monday, July 21 and through Sunday, August 3, 2014.

To volunteer please email hibt@hawaii.rr.com

The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is underwritten by the generosity of the County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development.  For more tournament information, log onto  www.hibtfishing.com

Kailua Village 4th of July – Natural Vibrations, Parade and Fireworks

Kona Concert

“ROAST & ROOTS” – Mark Yamanaka and Raiatea Helm to Perform at Festival of Hawai‘i Flavors

Capping off a festive celebration of Hawaii’s most ‘ono foods and coffees, Grammy nominee and twice Female Vocalist of the Year, Raiatea Helm is the icing on the cake. The first-ever “Roast & Roots” food event on Saturday, July 19, 2014, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay’s Convention Center, serves up a family-friendly festival with arts and food booths, cooking demos, competitions and all-day entertainment, wrapped up with an intimate concert in the afternoon.

Roast & Roots

Hosted by Hawai‘i Coffee Association (HCA) in alignment with their 19th annual conference, Roast & Roots is a collaborative project between HCA, Kamehameha Schools and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. Events of the day include a “Buy Local” MarketPlace, Coffee Corridor, exciting People’s Choice Cupping Contest, a “mystery box” demo by Chef Sam Choy, and an exciting Chef-Student Culinary Competition. Abundant entertainment throughout the day includes music by Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award-winner Mark Yamanaka, Kaleo Perry and Dennis Garcia, leading up to Raiatea Helm in concert at 2 p.m.

Mark Yamanaka

Mark Yamanaka at the 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards

Known for her soaring lyrics and intricate musicianship, Raiatea Mokihana Maile Helm is winner of eight Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards and a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation fellowship in music. Beginning her musical career in high school, Helm has captured hearts in Hawai‘i and across the continent and the Pacific, playing to packed houses in Tahiti, Japan and China. Adding her Hawaiian musical flavor to the event seasons it with everything Hawai‘i Island loves: great food, music and family fun.

In the hours leading up to Helm’s performance, families and friends will have numerous opportunities to taste and purchase local food products and peruse the works of Island artisans, including those in the Kona Coffee community in the Coffee Corridor. Additionally, food booths presented by the host hotel and participating chefs and restaurants offer a delicious sampling of dishes from regional ingredients on land and sea.

Raiatea Mokihana Maile Helm

Raiatea Mokihana Maile Helm

Highlighting the Culinary Competition, Roast & Roots pairs up six local chefs with six culinary students from Hawaiʻi Community College at the University of Hawai‘i Center, West Hawaiʻi and Konawaena, Kealakehe and Waiakea High Schools. Teams will use local Hawai‘i Island proteins such as grassfed beef from Hawaii Beef Producers, local pork from Kulana Foods and farm-raised lamb from Waiakea Uka Ranch and a fresh bounty of local Hawai‘i Island produce, to put their best plates forward.

Emcee for the culinary portion, Chef Sam Choy will share his mana‘o with the audience, and has offered to do a “live mystery box” demo, where he will prepare a dish on the spot, using ingredients that are secret to him until the box is opened onstage. Chef Scott Hiraishi will serve as the Lead Judge and Co-chair for the event. Student and chef pairings will be announced early in July.

Mayor Kenoi talks with Sam Choy outside the Sam Choy Poke Contest.

Mayor Kenoi talks with Sam Choy outside the Sam Choy Poke Contest.

Part of the Hawai‘i Coffee Association’s three-day annual conference, Roast & Roots invites the general public to experience some of HCA’s exciting and educational activities, as well as the expertise of Hawaii’s statewide coffee industry growers, processors, roasters, wholesalers and retailers. The annual conference includes workshops and seminars covering coffee cupping packaging, certification, legislative and industry updates, including reports from UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC).

Admission at the door is $5 per person, free for anyone under 17—includes Culinary Demonstration, Marketplace and Raiatea Helm Concert. No advance ticket sales. For more information, please contact Event Coordinator Tracey Apoliona, mkc01@hawaii.rr.com, (808) 960-3094 or visit www.Facebook.com/RoastandRoots.

Big Island Police Arrest and Charge Two With Numerous Offenses Following Break-In at Kona Resort

Two men have been arrested and charged with numerous offenses following a break-in at a Kailua-Kona resort.

At 2 a.m. Saturday (June 21) Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of a burglary at a resort off Aliʻi Drive near Walua Road. A 33-year-old California man reported that he returned to the resort and discovered that items, including his rental car key, had been removed from his hotel room. The car was gone from the parking lot.

Police investigation led to the identity of two suspects, both who have no permanent address but frequent the Kailua-Kona area.

Sloan Deleon

Sloan Deleon

At 5:45 p.m. Saturday, police arrested the first suspect, 20-year-old Sloan Kalau Deleon, for contempt of court and on a no-bail warrant for violating probation. They took him to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation into the burglary.

Leo Corpuz

Leo Corpuz

At 2 a.m. Sunday, police arrested the second suspect, 27-year-old Leo Isamu Corpuz, who was in possession of the stolen rental car and numerous pieces of mail belonging to other persons. The car’s license plate had been removed and replaced with a stolen license plate. Corpuz was taken to the cellblock while detectives continued the investigation.

At 3 p.m. Monday, Corpuz was charged with burglary, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, six counts of theft, two counts of theft/forgery of a credit card, eight counts of unauthorized possession of personal information, fraudulent use of a motor vehicle license plate and driving without a license. His bail was set at $143,000.

Around the same time, Deleon was charged with burglary, second-degree theft, promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia. His bail for those offenses was set at $11,000.

Both men are scheduled to make their initial court appearance Tuesday (June 24).

Police urge the public to take the following steps to protect against theft of mail:

  • Use mailboxes with locks.
  • Be familiar with mail pickup and delivery times.
  • Retrieve mail as soon as possible after it is delivered.
  • Place outgoing mail in the box as close as possible to pickup time.
  • Consider renting a Post Office Box.

Police stress that stolen mail can be used for stealing a person’s identity and using it to commit financial crimes that can be devastating for the victims.

Cutting Edge Local Art Company Attending Hawaii’s First Ever “Hawaii on the Hill” in Washington D.C.

Tiki Shark Art Incorporated, a Kailua-Kona based business and its principals will be among more than 25 Hawaiian based businesses to participate in “Hawaii on the Hill” a first ever, two day event promoting Hawaii and highlighting our State’s unique qualities and attributes on Capitol Hill. “Taste of Hawaii,” a reception showcasing our 50th State’s culture, food and arts is part of the activities. Senator Mazie Hirono, along with all of Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation, will be the guests of honor.

Tiki Shark Executives with Vivian Landrum – President / CEO Kona – Kohala Chamber of Commerce.

Tiki Shark Executives with Vivian Landrum – President / CEO Kona – Kohala Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m so glad to see Tiki Shark Art Inc. participating in this landmark event,” said Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Vivian Landrum. “This is a wonderful opportunity for one of our members to showcase their creative and exceptional art designs and products while also discussing the challenges and impact small business has on the overall economy. I know they will enjoy meeting with our own congressional leaders as well as other lawmakers who impact decisions for our State.”

“We are so honored to be asked to participate in this event” said Abbas Hassan, Senior Vice President of Tiki Shark Art Inc. “and we are looking forward to exposing folks on the Mainland to the very special talents possessed by the residence of our Islands.”

“Hawai’i on the Hill is an opportunity to showcase our State’s key industries and spirit of Aloha on Capitol Hill, connecting leaders from Hawaii and Washington, D.C.” said Senator Mazie Hirono. “Mahalo to the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii for working with me to turn this idea into reality.” she added.

About Tiki Shark-

Headquartered in Kailua Kona, Tiki Shark Art Inc, has been quoted as of the “fastest growing Island Lifestyle companies in the State” by Honolulu Magazine. The company designs, imports and exports unique custom design Art and souvenir items including beach towels and other beach and Tiki themed accessories. It has recently co-branded with surf industry giant Body Glove International to include exports to the Gulf Corporation Counsel (GCC)Countries under exclusive license. The company take pride in designing and creating all its items locally on the Big Island of Hawaii.

To get more information on this topic or to schedule an interview with Tiki Shark, please call 808 989 7310 or e mail at info@tikishark.com attention PR Department.