HPP’s Loss is Pahoa’s Gain – $22.3 Million Dollar Pahoa Park “In a Nutshell”

Mahalo to Councilman Paleka’s Assistant Nadia Malloe for following up on my question as to why the Pahoa Park has inflated from $5 million dollars to $22.3 million dollars and she got this answer:

Pahoa Park ExpansionAfter inquiring with Hawaii County Parks and Recreation (P&R), the following was shared:

P&R designs 4 types of parks, listed by size/capacity:

  • NEIGHBORHOOD Park – typically designed to meet the needs of neighborhood, such as University Heights
  • COMMUNITY Park – typically designed for small neighborhood communities, such as Isaac Hale and Hawaiian Beaches
  • DISTRICT Park* – typically designed to meet the needs of an entire district population capable for islandwide attractions, such as Pāhoa Park
  • REGIONAL Park* – typically designed to meet the needs of a specific region, usually a larger scale in comparison to a district park, such as Old Ace Park in Kona
    *Swimming pools are only allowed in DISTRICT and REGIONAL Parks.

Approximately 10 years ago, it became very apparent that Puna is a rapidly growing community. Thus, in efforts to meet the recreational needs in this geographic area, the administration of P&R proposed building a 20-acre community park in Hawaiian Paradise Park, with an estimated cost of $5.5 million.

At the time this $5.5 million project was being proposed in 2010-2012, area residents were strongly in opposition of this project due to concerns relating to traffic, safety and privacy of area residents, fee simple ownership, etc. P&R did not want to impose this project where it was not wanted. Thus, P&R began to look at other solutions to our rapidly growing Puna community.

In Pāhoa, the geographical heart of Puna, a district park already existed with 56 acres of land not yet developed. Since County P&R already had an established district park, it would ease the process as no land acquisition nor eminent domain was necessary to move forward.

This district park expansion is the most expensive project in P&R history and its being granted to not just Puna, but the geographical heart and center of Puna. There will be multiple benefits such as reducing criminal activity, promoting healthy living, creating a safer community, potential revenue for Puna, area residents and vendors.

P&R can offer more programs, engaging families, elderly, and persons with disabilities as well. In fact, according to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, in the past 4 years, juvenile crime decreased approximately 52%, thanks to the hard work and dedication from our County Parks and Recreation Dept. The projected completion of this project is as soon as next month or early September.

In a nutshell, basically the proposed project went from a small community park in HPP to a large district park in Pāhoa. For a price comparison, the amount of money the State spent to build the ONE new gym at Pāhoa High School, can build FIVE of our County gyms.

Nan Inc. provided me with the following aerial footage of the park being built:

Tacos, Chips, Salsa…. and Madie Greene for County Council District 4

UPDATE: 

Aloha to All!!! With the incoming Tropical Storm expected to arrive soon, Aunty Madie has decided to reschedule her Fundraiser until the following Saturday. Sal Luquin has already reserved the date for Madie, 6pm, Saturday, July 30th at the Akebono. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Please be safe out there and be prepared.

Mahalo for your understanding…

Folks are invited to a tacos, chips and salsa fundraiser for County Council Candidate Madie Green on Saturday, July 23rd at the Akebono Theater in Pahoa.
Madie Green FundraiserA suggested donation of $15.00 will go to her campaign funds.

Lift Off at Pahoa Park – Drone Footage of Pahoa’s New Regional Park Being Built

This is Nan, Inc.’s video of the Pahoa Park project for Hawaii County.

Pahoa Park Aerial

It’s a 40 acre site in the Puna district.

Once finished, residents will enjoy three covered basketball courts, two baseball fields, and two multi-purpose fields.
Pahoa Park Gym
It will also include a new comfort station and concession center.

According to an email sent out from the mayors office, the park is scheduled to open next month sometime.

Prosecutor, State Senate Candidates to Square Off Saturday in Lower Puna

Candidates for County Prosecutor incumbent Mitch Roth and Deputy Attorney General Michael Kagami will lead off the Public Forums being sponsored by the Dist.4 members of the Hawaii County Democratic Party. The public is invited to these free events aimed at enlightening Puna’s voters on their candidates, the issues and their visions.

Dean Kelley will moderate the forums

Dean Kelley will moderate the forums

Pahoa businessman Dean Kelley will moderate the Saturday, July 9 forum set to begin at 2 PM at Hawaiian Shores Community Center, also known as The Stables, on the corner of Kahakai Blvd. and Punawai St., just opposite Keonepoko School.

The second hour will feature the two Democrats running for State Senate Dist. 2, incumbent Russell Ruderman and challenger Greggor Ilagan, currently Dist. 4 County Councilman.

Dist. 4 Democrats are invited to send questions they would like to have the candidates answer to their precinct presidents ASAP and not later than midnight July 6. The precinct presidents are Prec. 1 (HPP) Joy SanBuenaventura joy4puna@outlook.com; Prec.2 (WaaWaa-Hwn Beaches/Shores) Thom Gagne thomgagne@hotmail.com; Prec. 3 (Ainaloa/Orchidland to Kalapana/Seaview) Greg Ward seaviewgreg@att.net; and RoxAnne Lawson paanipuppets@hotmail.com.

The following Saturday, July 16 the Dist. 4 Democratic Public Forum will move to Pahoa Community Center and will feature the Dist. 4 and Dist. 5 County Council candidates and Democratic Party mayoral candidates Pete Hoffmann, Wendell Ka’ehu’ae’a, Harry Kim, Wally Lau, and Shannon McCandless.. That forum will take place from 1 to 6 PM at the community center on Kauhale Street in Pahoa.

Lava Flow Continues Down Pali Towards Ocean

The active lava flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō was on the slope near the top of the Pūlama pali today, one of the steep escarpments on Kīlauea’s southeast flank, and had transitioned into a channelized ʻaʻā flow.

The view is to the northwest.  (Click to enlarge)

The view is to the northwest. (Click to enlarge)

This photo shows a closer view of the front of the ʻaʻā flow.

hvo 629bAn HVO geologist photographs the front of the channelized ʻaʻā flow.

hvo 629cThis photo is a view from the edge of the ʻaʻā flow, looking up slope at the flow’s channels.

hvo 629d

Lava Flows Over the Pali – Tour Company Begins Taking Reservations

This satellite image was captured on Monday, June 27, by the Advanced Land Imager instrument onboard NASA’s Earth Observing 1 satellite.

The image is provided courtesy of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Although this is a false-color image, the color map has been chosen to mimic what the human eye would expect to see. Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds.

The image is provided courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Although this is a false-color image, the color map has been chosen to mimic what the human eye would expect to see. Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds.

The image shows continued advancement of the flow towards the southeast. The flow front is progressing down the pali, along the western portion of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision and along the eastern boundary of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Over the past few days, the flow has moved at a rate of about 300 meters per day (0.2 miles per day) – an increase over the rate last week and likely due to the steeper slope on the pali.

Back in business baby. Who wants to see Lava. Come check us out at Kalapana Cultural-Tours and we can get you there. Lava is pumping right now.  "Ikaika Marzo"

“Back in business baby. Who wants to see lava. Come check us out at Kalapana Cultural-Tours and we can get you there. Lava is pumping right now.” ~Ikaika Marzo

Kalapana Cultural-Tours is now accepting reservations to take visitors out to see the lava safely with an experienced guide.

Lava Flow Approaches Royal Gardens Subdivision

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field in relation to the southeastern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The area of the active flow field on June 16 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow field as mapped on June 23 is shown in red. The area covered by the inactive June 27th flow is shown in orange. The Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

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/). 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 a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM). (Click to enlarge)

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/). 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 a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM). (Click to enlarge)

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field. The areas covered by the recent breakouts at Puʻu ʻŌʻō as of June 16 are shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on June 23 is shown in red.

The area covered by the inactive June 27th flow is shown in orange. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. (Click to enlarge)

The area covered by the inactive June 27th flow is shown in orange. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. (Click to enlarge)

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Lava Flow “61g” Continues Advancing Downslope

The episode 61g flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō continues advancing downslope.

In this photo, the current flow is the lighter color area along the center of the image. The flow front has advanced about 770 m (0.5 miles) since the June 16 overflight, which equates to an advance rate of about 100 m per day (330 ft per day).

The flow front was roughly 100 m (330 ft) from the northern boundary of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and its plume, are visible near the top of the image.  (Click to enlarge)

The flow front was roughly 100 m (330 ft) from the northern boundary of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and its plume, are visible near the top of the image. (Click to enlarge)

The lava pond in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater remains active, and has enlarged since our last observation.

The pond today was about 50 m (160 ft) in diameter, with spattering along the western margin.  (Click to enlarge)

The pond today was about 50 m (160 ft) in diameter, with spattering along the western margin. (Click to enlarge)

An HVO geologist collects a fresh lava sample for chemical analysis.

The lobe being sampled was typical of the many scattered pāhoehoe breakouts along the flow margin today.  (Click to enlarge)

The lobe being sampled was typical of the many scattered pāhoehoe breakouts along the flow margin today. (Click to enlarge)

HVO geologists conduct a VLF (very low frequency) survey across the episode 61g lava tube to measure the depth and cross-sectional area of lava flowing within the tube.  (Click to enlarge)

HVO geologists conduct a VLF (very low frequency) survey across the episode 61g lava tube to measure the depth and cross-sectional area of lava flowing within the tube. (Click to enlarge)

Incandescent vents are still open on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

From the ground, no views of the lava were possible because the area around the vent was too unstable and dangerous to approach. (Click to enlarge)

From the ground, no views of the lava were possible because the area around the vent was too unstable and dangerous to approach. (Click to enlarge)

An aerial view of the same vent shown at left provided a look of the lava stream within the deep cavity.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Questions Answered About New Pahoa Park Plans

The new park that is being built in Pahoa is going up rather quickly and some folks in the community had some questions about the park so I emailed Department of Parks and Recreation Public Information Officer Jason Armstrong some questions and got a reply from him today on these questions.
Pahoa Regional ParkPBR Hawaii is the firm that appears to be handling most of the construction design at the park.  You can learn more about the project on their website here:  Pahoa Park Expansion Master Plan

I took this picture yesterday from the backside of the skate park:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Here are the questions and answers that I received from Armstrong:

How many people will P&R hire to maintain and operate Pahoa District Park?

Three; two park  caretakers (who mostly likely will be existing employees transferred from other sites) and one recreation technician. P&R is now in the recruiting phase for the rec. tech. position. We anticipate filling this position by August 1, 2016.

What will be the park hours?

Operating hours will be set by the Director. Typically, park hours are 6 am – 11 pm daily. The pool, senior center, skate park,  community center and new covered play courts (gym) likely will have different hours, however, based on patron demand and the need to have personnel onsite to operate those facilities.

Will the park have a security gate?

Yes

How many new parking stalls are being added?

373 new stalls, including 21 ADA-compliant stalls

What is the expected opening date?

No specific date has been set; we estimate opening in late August or early September of this year

Is the skate park part of the park?

Yes

If anyone is really interested in looking at all the documents related to this new park you can click here to read the 641 page Environmental Assessment that was put together in 2013 before the June 27th Lava Flow almost took out the whole project all together.

Click to read

Click to read

Highway 11 Wreck Claims 32-Year-Old Pahoa Woman

A 32-year-old Pāhoa woman died Friday (June 17) from injuries she received after being involved in a two-vehicle crash on Route 11 at the 21-mile marker in Glenwood.

The victim was identified as Crystal M. Mercado-Lopez of a Pāhoa address.

A crowdfunding site has been set up to offset her funeral costs.  Click on picture to read more.

A crowdfunding site has been set up to help offset the “Celebration of Life” costs. Click on picture to read more.

Responding to a 5 p.m. call, Puna Patrol officers determined that Mercado-Lopez was operating a 2001 Plymouth four-door sedan and traveling south on Route 11 when she crossed the centerline and sideswiped a 1997 Ford pickup truck traveling north and being operated by a 48-year-old Mountain View man, who was not injured in the crash.

Fire Rescue personnel took Mercado-Lopez and her passenger, an 8-month-old girl, to Hilo Medical Center.

Mercado-Lopez was pronounced dead at 5:56 p.m.

The child was not injured.

Police do not believe that speed, alcohol or drugs were factors in this crash.

Both drivers were wearing their seat belts and the child was in a child restraint seat.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police are looking for a female witness who talked to a fire fighter at the scene.

Anyone with information about this crash is asked to call Officer Erhard Autrata at 961-8118.

This is the 11th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared with 12 at this time last year.

Another Victim Comes Forward Against Lava Shack Manager

Recently a lot of negative attention has been bestowed upon the Lava Shack in Pahoa following an incident where the owner, Christopher Mohrlang (CJ), assaulted a one-legged homeless man.

Chris Mohrlang

On March 24th of this year I received the following personal message from 50-year-old Dan Vargas:

Hi Damon, I came across your article covering Lava Lounge in Pahoa. I had an altercation at the First Hawaiian Bank ATM with the manager and his buddy. Do you have any idea how to contact the owner who I believe is on another Island. Your help will be appreciated (Pahoa PD Chavez pending charges) Mahalo Dan Vargas (925) ***-****

Well this recent incident with the homeless man getting assaulted had Vargas sending me the following private message yesterday:

I’m sorry I didn’t press charges against CJ and the other guy who assaulted me at the First Hawaiian Bank ATM in March after leaving Lava Shack. I went to the police station that night with my cab driver who helped me fend off CJ and his buddy. My eye was scratched, shirt ripped and pushed over railing onto the sidewalk, defended myself until my cabbie arrived. CJ is a punk and the police have the video of him assaulting me. I am new to town and didn’t want to pursue charges but I wish I did. Apparently CJ has a history of violence.

I asked Vargas if I could publish this on my site and he replied:

Sure, I’m 50 years old and fended off two 30 year-old drunk-high-on-meth guys that night. CJ was on meth in a rage and kept coming at me. Pahoa PD have First Hawaiian Bank video so if it helps establish John’s case I’ll show up and testify.

Pahoa Man Charged With Two Offenses in Connection to Assault of Homeless One-Legged Man

A Pāhoa man has been charged with two offenses in connection with an assault on a man in a wheelchair.

Chris Mohrlang

Chris Mohrlang

In response to a 10:46 a.m. call on June 7, police determined that a 57-year-old man had been assaulted in Pāhoa Town at 1:16 a.m. The victim, who uses a wheelchair, has no permanent address but frequents the Pāhoa Town area.

Investigation led to the identity of the suspect as 35-year-old Christopher Mohrlang of Pāhoa.

Friday morning (June 17), Mohrlang turned himself in to police at the Pāhoa police station. He was charged with two counts of third-degree assault and then released from police custody after posting $1,000 bail.

Temporary Closure of Pahoa Village Road

Hawaii Electric Light announces a temporary closure of Pahoa Village Road between Apaa Street and Post Office Road in Pahoa.Pahoa Road ClosureThe road will be partially closed on June 20-21, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and completely closed on June 22-24, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to relocate utility infrastructure and remove five utility pole protection measures that were installed in response to the June 27, 2014 lava flow.

Motorists are asked to slow down and drive with caution in the construction area. During complete closures, access will be provided to local traffic only. Motorists are advised to use the Pahoa Bypass Road as an alternate route during this period.

To ensure the safety of the crews, temporary power interruptions may be necessary while the work is being performed.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding. For questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Family Donates Prosthetic Leg to Homeless Man Assaulted in Pahoa

A Pahoa family that wishes to remain anonymous, has stepped up to the plate and donated a prosthetic leg to assist John Hartley, the one-legged homeless man that was attacked by Lava Shack manager Chris Mohr.

John Hartley. (Photo via Hawaii News Now)

John Hartley. (Photo via Hawaii News Now)

In a video that has gone viral on social media, John Hartley and his dog are seen getting splashed with water, then sprayed with something that may be mace or pepper spray and then punched in the head a few times.

Pahoa community member Mark Hinshaw posted the following on the Big Island Thieves Facebook page where folks were obviously very upset about the video:

Hate crime in the 808!!! This just reported to us.

Allegedly, the manager of the Lava Shack in Pahoa has used mace and violence against many people, in this case a well liked homeless man in Pahoa for over 30 years, named John. Now bear in mind, John only has one leg and is wheelchair bound. This must stop. If this manager of Lava Shack has assaulted you please let the prosecutors office know.

As is clearly shown, John’s dog was hit by the mace as well…

No hate in the 808!!!

Police and Prosecutors are aware of the situation and are in possession of the full length video.

If you have any information and/or further details about this situation, please contact the Pahoa Police Station at 965-2716.

We must NOT allow this kind of behavior to continue in Pahoa Town!!!

According to Hawaii News Now:

“Victim John Hartley, who has been homeless for eight years, said the attack was unprovoked.

“I was blinded that night for five hours,” Hartley said. “The next day, I didn’t realize, I had the oils in my hands and I rubbed my face and I was blinded for three more hours.”

Hartley, who lost his right leg in 2015, is something of a fixture in Pahoa. He’s always got his dog right beside him.”

The donors family reached out to me last night and wanted to know how I could get them in touch with Hartley and I was able to make the connections and today the family was able to meet with Hartley in person.

“Our meeting (with Hartley) went well.  I saw Aunty Madie Greene outside of Luquins just as I got there. We fitted John with the prosthetic leg. Some minor adjustments need to be made but he was able to stand on it and is hopeful that in time he will be mobile again.  He’s an amazing man. It was nice to talk story and find out more about him.”

John Hartley gets fitted with his new leg.  Photo by Sara Williams of the Pahoa Village Museum.

John Hartley gets fitted with his new leg. Photo by Sara Williams of the Pahoa Village Museum.

Hartley has filed a police report and does plan to pursue charges.

New Lava Flow Map Shows Widening, Advancement and Relativity to June 27 Flow

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area covered by the June 27th flow as of June 2 is shown in orange. The areas covered by the new breakouts at Puʻu ʻŌʻō as of May 26 are shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the new breakouts as mapped on June 2 is shown in red.

The yellow lines show the mapped portion of the lava tube system for the June 27th flow, which is still active in scattered areas within about 5.4 km (3.4 mi) to the northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō (not shown). Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at lower left. (Click to enlarge)

The yellow lines show the mapped portion of the lava tube system for the June 27th flow, which is still active in scattered areas within about 5.4 km (3.4 mi) to the northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō (not shown). Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at lower left. (Click to enlarge)

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). 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 a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM)

Puna Lawmakers to Hold Town Hall Meeting

Rep. Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Sen. Russell Ruderman (Puna, Ka‘u) will host a community Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at the Pahoa Community Center on Hawaii Island to talk about and provide a wrap up of the 2016 legislative session.

Medical MarijuanaAt the Town Hall Meeting they will also discuss the future of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in the islands.

Residents are encouraged to attend to ask questions, voice their opinions and present suggestions to address community concerns.

WHO:  Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Ka‘u)

WHAT:  Town Hall Meeting to discuss the 2016 legislative session and the future of medical marijuana dispensaries

WHEN: Thursday, June 9, 2016,  5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

WHERE:  Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road

Puna Film Green Lake Selected for Big Island Film Festival

The Big Island Film Festival at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, which celebrates independent narrative filmmakers and their movies, has selected Green Lake as part of its slate of films. Only 58 short and feature films from around the world were chosen for its tenth year of the Festival.

Green Lake

Green Lake draws inspiration not only from the beauty and mysticism of Hawai’i, but also from B-Horror/Monster movies, The Twilight Zone and The X-Files. It’s a micro-budget Creature from the Black Lagoon meets Picnic at Hanging Rock, shot entirely in remote areas on the Big Island of Hawai’i.  The film was directed and produced by Derek Frey from a screenplay by Leah Gallo.  It features a multitude of Big Island talent, including cast members RaVani Flood, Thom Durkin, Valery Nuttall and Carmen Richardson.  The score was composed and performed by Matthew Reid with original songs from Big Island bands Technical Difficulties and Delight Talkies.

GREEN LAKE – Teaser Trailer from Derek Frey on Vimeo.

Filmed over a grueling nine day and night shoot, the core group of six cast and crew played multiple roles in front of and behind the camera.  They weathered the elements, without sleep to the point of exhaustion and mental breakdown – all for the sake of creating. Frey says the Green Lake shoot was his mini-Apocalypse Now. “It was the most challenging shoot I’ve ever been part of but also the most rewarding and I’m so proud of the result.” Green Lake is more than your typical horror film, it’s a warning to everyone that we must maintain our balance with and respect nature, or face the terrifying consequences.

Film Director Frey wrote:

The Big Island of Hawai’i has been a great source of inspiration for me. I’ve had the unique opportunity to become friends with many artists and musicians on the island. These friendships have led to a number of music video and short film collaborations. Many of these projects showcase the beauty of the land and the mystical power that surrounds it.

I’m fascinated with the supernatural aspect to Hawai’i and the tales found in Glen Grant’s Obake Files. I also love horror films and in 2010 created a short on the Big Island titled The Curse of the Sacred Stone. It was a horror/comedy that lightly depicts the implications of disturbing sacred land when an unsuspecting tourist removes a lava rock from a sacred site.

I still felt the impulse to create more of a straightforward horror film on the Big Island. Since my first visit to Hawai’i in 2001, I had heard about Green Lake, an unspoiled fresh body of water located in a crater within a mountainous rain forest in Kapoho. Green Lake is the largest of only two lakes in Hawai’i. Apparently Jacques Cousteau conducted a diving expedition in the 1970’s and couldn’t find the bottom. We don’t know if this is true, but one thing is certain, the towering walls of the crater make the lake seem bottomless. Discussion of Green Lake was almost one of urban legend. The fact is many people that live in Hawai’i have never visited the lake, though it’s beauty and power is incomparable.

My first visit to Green Lake, a few years ago, was incredibly inspiring. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Accompanying that beauty is a deep and powerful mystical vibe. This place demands that you respect it and it feels like there are protective energies present. During that initial visit a group of us ventured onto the lake via a small paddleboat and our first jump into the water was met with excitement, exhilaration and downright fear. It’s dark water and though we know there are no snakes or other predators to fear in Hawai’i it certainly feels as though something lurks below.  Looking into the history of the lake I came across a legend directly associated with it.  The ancient Hawaiian legend says that Green Lake was guarded by a female Mo’o that had never been conquered and anytime a chief got close to doing so she transformed herself into a beautiful woman and distracted him. Upon reading the legend something clicked and a story started to form in my head.

From that visit the seed for a film was firmly established and I returned the next year with the Green Lake script in hand. Thus began a grueling 9 day shoot, pulling upon friends from the Big Island I’ve made over the years to play the roles and double up as crew. Our core group of 6 played multiple roles in front of and behind the camera, weathering the elements, without sleep to the point of exhaustion and mental breakdown – all for the sake of creating. Green Lake was my mini-Apocalypse Now. It was the most challenging shoot I’ve ever been part of but also the most rewarding and I’m so proud of the result. Green Lake is more than your typical horror film, it’s a warning to everyone that we must maintain our balance with and respect nature, or face the consequences.

A special mention must be expressed to the wonderful music that accompanies the film. Big Island band’s Technical Difficulties as well as the Delight Talkies provide the songs written specifically for the film. Matthew Reid’s terrific original score is more than I could have ever hoped for.

Enjoy the swim and remember “Horror Dwells Deep!”

The Big Island Film Festival runs May 26–30 at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i and The Shops at Mauna Lani on the beautiful Kohala coast. The festival also includes food and beverage events, celebrity guests, an awards brunch, filmmaker/audience interaction, screenwriting workshops, Hawaiian music and culture. Green Lake will screen Saturday, May 28th at 7.30pm outside The Shops at Mauna Lani in Waikoloa.

Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset’s 2016 Awards Banquet

About 100 folks filled the Akebono Theater in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii last night as the Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset had its 2016 Awards Banquet.

Mark and Alan

Mark Hinshaw and Alan “Santa” Lakritz

This year’s honorees for their outstanding service to the community were Mark Hinshaw for the Individual Award and the Corporate Award Recipient went to Bay Clinic Pahoa and the CEO Harold Wallace.

Bay Clinic Pahoa Staff

Bay Clinic Pahoa Staff

Bay Clinic Pahoa CEO Harold Wallace and Rotary Member Bob Johnson.

Bay Clinic Pahoa CEO Harold Wallace and Rotary Member Bob Johnson.

Elected dignitaries in attendance were State Senator Joy SanBuenaventura, Councilman Greggor Ilagan and Councilman Danny Paleka.  Also in attendance were County Council Candidates Madie Greene and Eileen O’hara.

Folks were able to bid on items donated by various community members and businesses.

Folks were able to bid on items donated by various community members and businesses.

A silent auction was held with items donated from Pahoa Ace Hardware, Photographer Alan Lakritz, Aloha All Natural Cleaning Service, Bank of Hawaii, Photographer Charlene Meyers, Christian Robinson’s Bamboo Zoo, Craig Watkins, Deborah Nichols, Geo Pacific LLC, Glen & Fran Calvert, Hilo Coffee Mill, Holly & Bob Johnson, Island Naturals, J Attig Anthuriums, Jungle Love, Kalani Retreat Center, Kua O Ka La Charter School, Lex Brodies and Pahoa Auto Parts.

Luquin’s Restaurant set up a taco bar for attendees and “The Gone Country Band” provided entertainment throughout the evening and the theme for the evening was “Cinco De Mayo x 2” (May 10th).

Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset Mission Statement:

“In the spirit of Rotary’s 4-Way Test, our mission is to serve the local and global community and our club members by implementing dynamic programs that address current and emerging needs.  Our goal is to achieve meaningful results in an atmosphere of fun, fellowship, and aloha.”

Rotary Club of Pahoa

The Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset Meets each Tuesday at the Akebono Theater.  Social “half” hour begins at 6:00 pm and the fun starts at 6:30 and all are welcome.  You can visit their website and “like” them on Facebook:  http://www.pahoasunsetrotary.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/Rotary-Club-of-Pahoa-Sunset-109607602431709/

Pahoa Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo Festival

Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pahoa will celebrate Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo Festival on May 14, with a procession through the village.

Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo

Santacruzan is a religious holiday traditionally celebrated throughout the month of May, honoring the mother of King Constantinople’s mother, Queen Helena, and her role in bringing Christianity to the Philippines.

Since May is also the month that Christians dedicate to honoring the Virgin Mary, this year’s Pahoa event will commemorate Flores de Mayo, or Flowers of Mary.

The procession through the village will take place after a 4:30 p.m. mass at Sacred Heart Church. The 5:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m. procession will start at Sacred Heart Church, then onto Pahoa Village Road, and end on Kauhale Street, at the Pahoa Community Center.

Spectators can expect to see a colorful pageant procession, with women dressed in their finest attire, carrying symbols of the Santacruzan, escorted by men under hand-carried bamboo arches adorned with native flowers.  The women and men will represent various historical-religious figures detailing the search of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena and her son, the newly converted emperor Constantine the Great, and the return of the Holy Cross from Jerusalem to Rome.  An emcee will narrate the procession and the re-enactment of this pilgrimage.

Those involved in the procession were not only selected for their looks, but also their virtues.  The procession will feature statues of the Virgin Mary and Our Lady of Grace and also include ethnic dances of the different cultures in the Hawaiian Islands.

Nine days of prayer, or a novena, in honor of the Holy Cross precedes the Santacruzan and the Flores de Mayo.  Introduced by Spaniards, the festival has since become part of the Filipino traditions identified with youth, love and romance.  The Sacred Heart Church community hopes to make the Santacruzan and the Flores de Mayo Festival a tradition for Pahoa Village.

For more information, contact the Sacred Heart Church at (808)965-8202 or email shpahoa@hotmail.com.

Pahoa Round-A-Bout – “Phase B” Begins, “Phase C” Still to Come

Today, “Phase B” of the Pahoa round-a-bout opened and people have already been complaining about the “wait” to get into Pahoa.  Someone on my Facebook page commented “Today it was only about a 13-15 minute “back up” getting to the roundabout…at 4 pm. It will be interesting.”

“Phase A” (April 11th – April 24th) consisted of a half a round-a-bout:

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Click to enlarge

Now “Phase B” (May 2nd – May 15th) is in action, where you can go in a full circle:

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Click to enlarge

“Phase C” is expected to be worked on between May 16th and May 27th:

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Click to enlarge

The entire project is scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2016:

phase date