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Big Island Police Asking Public’s Assistance in Identifying Pahoa Theft Suspect

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect from a theft that occurred in Pāhoa on (October 2).

Have you seen this man?

The male suspect is shown in the photo wearing a black ball cap, black T-shirt, and jeans.

Police ask anyone with information on this individual to call Officer Terrance Scanlan at the Pāhoa Police Department number (808) 965-2716 or the departments non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 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 does not record phone calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Puna Kai Shopping Center Breaks Ground

Today, ground was broken for the new Puna Kai Shopping Center that will be located in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii.

About 100 community members along with dignitaries from the county and the mayor’s office were in attendance.
Pi’ilani Ka’awaloa gave the opening pule (prayer) and blessing of the land while elected officials and company representatives did the actual groundbreaking.

Situated on 9.93 acres, and featuring more than 83,110 SF of retail, office, dining, and entertainment space, Puna Kai will become the community’s premiere shopping center.

Conveniently located at the intersection of Pahoa Village Road & Kahakai Boulevard in the town of Pahoa, on the Big Island of Hawaii.Puna Kai will be grocery anchored by 35,000 SF Malama Market (Malama Market name will be changed). Leasing opportunities are now  being offered from 1,000 SF to 5,540 SF.

Puna Kai, will provide a distinctive blend of daily services, specialty shops, entertainment, and eateries.
The building architecture will reflect the old Hawaii ambiance and charm, inspiring Puna Kai to be the gathering place in Pahoa that has something for everyone.

Puna Community Town Hall Meetings Hosted By Senator Ruderman

Senator Russell Ruderman will be hosting Puna Community Town Hall Meetings on Tuesday, October 24th in Pahoa and Wednesday, October 25th in Volcano:
I will be presenting some of my proposed legislation for the 2018 Legislative Session, and I invite you join me and take advantage of this opportunity for me to hear from you and give your input on these proposed measures, as well as hear your ideas for additional legislation to be introduced this next year.

My staff and I will also be discussing how you can be directly involved in the legislative process – by submitting language for legislation, contacting legislators and submitting testimony, and how to track legislation as it is referred to various committees and moves through the legislature.
Light refreshments will be served.

Senator Russell E. Ruderman
Senatorial District 2 – Puna-Ka’u

Commentary – Were Pahoa High and Intermediate Lunch Times Shortened Because of a Fight?

Yesterday, KHON2 News ran a news story about Pahoa’s lunches being shortened.

…Changes to the lunch program at a Hawaii island school prompted parents to reach out to us, saying their kids are being rushed to eat.

Their kids go to Pahoa High and Intermediate School, which recently started a pilot lunch program.
High school students eat during the normal 30-minute lunch break, but intermediate school students eat during recess, which is just 15 minutes long…

I received the following message on Wednesday indicating that this change in policy may have stemmed from a fight on campus… but didn’t discuss it further with the person sending me the information until tonight:

Aloha Damon, I wanted to bring something to your attention that maybe you could do some investigative reporting. Apparently Pahoa High and Intermediate administration has decided to have Intermediate student only eat lunch during first recess which is 15 minutes while the high school eats during regular lunch which is 30 minutes. When I complained to the principal she stated it was due to decreasing tardys to class during lunch time. An insider told me they did it because of a fight that occurred between a Intermediate kid and a high schooler.

When discussing this with friends on Facebook, one person posted a picture from the Pahoa Cafeteria:

My kids say they don’t even bother eating when this is what they are serving at Pahoa. ~VW

“This was what they call Baja fish taco SMH. This was on Wednesday when we went to school for student of the month luncheon I was In Shock when he came to the table with this…Home lunches from now on!!!” said Valerie Walsh.

Got Baja Fish Taco? I don’t know if I could swallow this in 15 minutes… less yet an hour!!!

Pahoa Scholars Feast Fundraiser Update – Scholarships Available

This past Saturday, on September 30th, hundreds gathered to support the Pahoa Schools Booster Club and Scholarship Fund on the grounds of Sacred Heart Church. Following this past weekend’s successful event, the organization has announced that $5,000 will be available for the Class of
2018 scholarship awards.

The Pahoa High School Girls’ Volleyball Team joined the Boys of Youth Challenge and dozens of community volunteers in creating and delivering an awesome Vegan Lasagna and Ribeye Steak meal to over 350 hungry supporters.

Our most heart-felt thanks to everyone, including the generous contributions from Island Natural Foods, Malama Market, Tin Shack Bakery, Kalani Honua, Ning’s Thai Cuisine, Stratos Pizzeria, Black Rock Café, Pahoa Auto Parts, Paul’s Repair, Boogie Woogie Pizza, Sustainable Island Products and Bananarama Bakery.

Under the leadership of organizers Mark Hinshaw, Nancy J Kramer CPA, Aaron Ferreira and Aunty Madie Greene, a good time was had by all!

The original Scholarship Endowment was established by the family of former Hawai’i County Council Member Richard G Edwards after his passing. As a former Puna Lion’s Club member, his family chose the Lion’s Club to administer the scholarship over the years.

This past year, responsibility was passed on to Mainstreet-Pahoa Associations’s Pahoa Schools Booster Club, under the financial guidance of Nancy J Kramer CPA. The initial endowment that was transferred to the Booster Club was $21,000 and thanks to the generous contributions this year by Kaleos Bar and Grill of $5,000 and the new Puna Kai Shopping Center of $5000, the current Endowment sits at $31,000. The current 2020 goal is $50,000.

Class of 2018 Scholarships also received significant contributions. Puna Geothermal Ventures provided of $1,000, local businessman Vernon Lindsey and Lava Shack $500. Former Pahoa High School Guidance Counselor Nancy Seifers has stepped up to create the “Aunty Nancy” Scholarship of $1,000.

This year’s work on the selection process, amounts to be awarded, and application tools will begin in November. The intention of the Pahoa Booster Club is to distribute the awards among all three area schools, HAAS, Kua O Ka La and Pahoa High School, to graduating Seniors with B average or better grades, who are choosing to continue their education at a university or community college.

The Class of 2018 specific award amounts and criteria for each award will be announced when the application materials are made available at the end of the year. All three schools are encouraged to participate in the application process.

Anyone wishing to obtain further information on contributing to the Scholarship Fund should contact us at PahoaBoosterClub@gmail.com or call 965-7110.

We are most encouraged at the success of this year’s event and we are already in the planning stages for next year’s Scholars Feast, the last Saturday of September in 2018.

I mua Pahoa!

Tomorrow – Mainstreet Pahoa Associations Scholars Feast

Hele-On (The Bus) Community Meetings in Puna

In 2010 Fourth District County Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi received a grant check for $7.2 million on behalf of the County of Hawai‘i from U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye to fund mass transit improvements

I received the following from Councilwoman Jen Ruggles:

Aloha Kakou,

We are putting out the call to all the people in Puna that have ideas to improve our Hele-on Bus System. Now is the time to bring your needs and ideas forth.

This is the first of two rounds of meetings meant to guide the county in making its first ever 20 year Master Transit Plan. MARK YOUR CALENDAR to make one of the following meetings:

  • October 11th at 6pm at Kea’au Community Center 16-186 Pili Mua St. Kea’au HI 96749.
  • October 12th at 6pm at Pahoa Community Facility 15-2910 Kuahala St. Pahoa HI 96778.

Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Now is the time to show our need for:

  1. More bus routes.
  2. Expanded routes into subdivisions
  3. Your ideas for improvements

Need a ride? Call Jo-Anna at 808-356-1260 to arrange a ride at least 5 days prior to the event. If you cannot attend, please submit your suggestions to heleonsuggestions@ssfm.com.

Pahoa High Alumna Awarded Audrey S. Furukawa (ASF) Study Abroad Scholarship

Chrisovolandou Gronowski, a senior psychology major and chemistry minor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, has been awarded the Audrey S. Furukawa (ASF) Study Abroad Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 for the fall 2017 semester.
Gronowski, a Pahoa High and Intermediate School alumna who carries a cumulative 3.96 grade point average, is currently attending Anglo-American University in the Czech Republic.

The ASF Study Abroad Scholarship was created to provide a UH Hilo student with the opportunity to study abroad and begin their global education journey. The recipient must have at least a 3.2 GPA with preference given to Hawaiʻi high school graduates.

To help support future students from Hawaiʻi to study abroad, or to learn more about the study abroad program, call UH Hilo’s Center for Global Education and Exchange at 932-7489 or visit www.hilo.hawaii.edu/studyabroad/.

Big Island Police Searcing for Missing 15-Year-Old Puna Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Puna girl reported as missing.

Tanika Nihipali-Franchey

Tanika Nihipali-Franchey was last seen at her residence (July 18). She is described as 4-feet-9-inches, 115 pounds, with brown eyes and shoulder-length brown hair.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call Officer Kenneth Ishii at the Puna Police Station (808) 965-2716 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. 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.

Community Forum to Discuss Puna Roads

Representative Joy San Buenaventura will host a Community Forum on Saturday, September 9, at the Hawaiian Paradise Park Activity Center. The panel will include representatives from the Department of Transportation, Hawaii County Council, and the Hawaii County Department of Public Works.

  • WHEN: Saturday, September 9, 1:30 – 4:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: Hawaiian Paradise Park Activity Center, 15-1570 Makuu Dr, Keaau, HI 96749

Panelists will speak about the condition of roads in Puna and provide progress updates for highway 130 and other roads. The event is free and open to the public with seating space assigned on a first come basis.

Pahoa Community Meeting About the Skate Park

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation invites community members to the Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 5:30 pm. This meeting is to discuss a community partnership with the Department to keep the Skate Park a safe drug- and alcohol-free park.

If you are unable to attend this meeting, but would like to contribute information and ideas, or if you have questions, please contact Recreation District Supervisor Glenn Kokubun at 965-2710.

About Pahoa’s New Library

Well it looks like Pahoa will be getting a new library!

In a Mayor Kim response letter to State Librarian Stacey A. Aldrich dated July 26th 2017,  Kim stated that the county fully supports a new public library for Pahoa and would allow it at the existing location where the Pahoa Police and Fire Station currently exists on Highway 130 as long as there is a separate access that wouldn’t interfere with emergency response vehicles.

Puna’s Democratic Delegate Loses Long Fight With Brain Cancer

Yesterday, Puna resident Timothy (Tim) Law passed away from his long fight with brain cancer.

Tim Law

Tim ran for District 5 County Council back in 2014 and was active in the Democratic Party here on this island.  In 2016 he served as Puna’s Delegate at the State Democratic Party Convention.

Tim was a father, a husband, an activist and a surfer who loved the ocean.  He was active in the Pahoa Community and his wife Susan will probably remain active in the community.

Prayers go out to his Ohana as they carry on the torch.

 

Pāhoa HI-5 Certified Redemption Center Closing

Effective July 1, 2017, the Pāhoa HI-5 Certified Redemption Center located at the Pāhoa Recycling & Transfer Station will be closed until further notice.

The transfer station will remain open.

The close proximity of another certified redemption center, about a half-mile away,  resulted in an unexpected increase in cost to continue services when the Pāhoa site’s operations contract was re-bid.

Due to this increase in cost and the close proximity of the alternate center, the site will be closed for the time being; the Department plans to re-bid the site, and possibly reopen it at a later date.

Please see the schedule below for the alternate sites and operating hours:

  • Kea‘au, Atlas Recycling Wednesday, Friday, 8:00am – 3:30pm
  • Kea`au Recycling & Transfer Station Saturday, Sunday, 16-921 Kea‘au-Pahoa Road
  • Pāhoa, Business Services Hawai`i Daily 8:00am – 3:30pm, Pahoa Village Road (Across from the Post Office)

The Department of Environmental Management would like to thank the public for their cooperation and understanding as we work with our contractors to make the HI-5 program as convenient as possible.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the closure of the Pāhoa HI-5 Certified Redemption Center.

For more information and a complete list of Certified Redemption Centers in Hawai`i County please visit www.hawaiizerowaste.org, or contact Craig Kawaguchi at ckawaguchi@hawaiicounty.gov

Sidewalk Repair on Pahoa Village Road Begins Next Week

The County of Hawai‘i  Department of Public Works Highways Division will be repairing the sidewalk on the Pāhoa Village Rd. fronting the former Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant and the Pāhoa, Puna Buy and Sell buildings that were destroyed by a fire on January 16, 2017.

Work will begin on Monday, June 19th and is estimated to be completed by Tuesday, June 27th, weather and construction conditions permitting.  Work hours are between 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles and machinery will be in the work zone. Alternating lane closures will be in effect.  At a minimum, one lane of travel (for two-way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

14-Year-Old Boy Dies in One-Vehicle Crash

A 14-year-old Pahoa boy died from injuries sustained in a one-vehicle crash occurring in Pahoa.

On (April 14). at 10:07 p.m. a Puna patrol officer responded to a reported theft of a 2001 Jeep sport-utility vehicle which just occurred at a residence on Palani Street in Pahoa.

The officer, while conducting checks for the stolen vehicle, heard the screeching of tires and the sound of a collision.

At 11:28 p.m., the officer located the stolen Jeep which had collided with a utility pole on South Puni Makai Loop, near Ono Street.

The boy, the driver of the Jeep, was taken to the Hilo Medical Center for his injuries and then medevaced to Queen’s Medical Center where he was pronounced dead on (April 16), at 10:55 a.m.

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

The Area I Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a Coroner’s Inquest investigation.

Police ask anyone who witnessed or has information regarding the crash to call Officer Clarence Acob at 961-2293. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the 18th traffic fatality this year compared with 10 at this time last year.

Single-Vehicle Accident Leaves One Dead, Two Injured in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

One man is dead and two others are seriously injured following a single-vehicle roll-over accident that occurred Sun., May 28 at 8:58 p.m. near the 33-mile marker on Hwy. 11 in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

The vehicle, a white Toyota Tacoma truck, was traveling in the Ka‘ū-bound lane when it rolled over and ejected all three occupants. A 48-year-old male passenger was found pinned beneath the truck and pronounced dead on the scene by Hawai‘i County Fire Department medics.

The 43-year-old male driver, a Pāhoa resident, was placed under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. He was transported by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center for further evaluation, and escorted by National Park law enforcement personnel. The third occupant, a 53-year-old male, was also transported to Hilo Medical Center for treatment.

One lane of Highway 11 remained open during the accident scene investigation, and both lanes were open and flowing freely early Monday morning. Names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin, and further investigation.

This is the second fatal traffic accident in the park this year.

Anyone with information regarding this accident can call Park Dispatch at (808) 985-6170.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 55-Year-Old Pahoa Man

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 55-year-old Pāhoa male who was reported missing.

Andrew Brown

Andre Brown was last seen at Hilo District Court on 07-28-2014 .

He is described as an African-American 5-foot-6, 160 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes, and with tattoos of “DRE” on his upper left shoulder and swords on his right breast area.

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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Arrest Suspect in Pahoa Bank Robbery

Hawaiʻi Island police arrested a 57-year-old man for a robbery incident that occurred Wednesday afternoon (May 17).

Photo via William-Jon Ah Yo

Responding to a 1:47 p.m. call, officers responded to the 15-2000 block of Pāhoa Village Road in Pāhoa after a man reportedly demanded money from bank tellers before brandishing a knife. The suspect fled on foot after receiving an undisclosed amount of cash. Neither the bank employees nor were any customers injured.

Photo via William-Jon Ah Yo

At 2:25 p.m. and following a search of the area by police, Anthony Gover was located approximately 800 feet away from the bank in the parking lot of the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center where he was taken into custody without incident. A knife, along with an undisclosed amount of cash suspected to have been taken from the bank have been recovered.

Anthony Gover

Gover is currently being held in the Hilo cellblock on suspicion of robbery in the first degree and theft in the second degree while Detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the incident or have any other information about it to contact Detective Grant Todd of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2381 or Grant.Todd@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion Update

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) provides the following update on the Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion, Phase 2, Shower Drive Intersection Improvements project. Work has temporarily been stopped and is anticipated to resume in early June.

Keaau to Pahoa Highway Map Plans from a few years ago.

Construction has been temporarily stopped as HDOT is in the process of obtaining a new permit for this project which is designed to improve traffic flow in Puna through the installation of a permanent north bound shoulder lane and a temporary south bound shoulder lane between mile posts 4.15 and 4.25 of Keaau-Pahoa Road (Highway 130) and installation of a traffic signal at the Keaau-Pahoa Road/Shower Drive intersection. The Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion, Phase 2, Shower Drive Intersection Improvements project also involves relocation of water system facilities and utility poles as well as installation of pavement markings, striping, and signage.

The contractor for Phase 2 began work in January 2017 using a permit that was obtained for Phase 1 of the shoulder lane conversion project. This permit expired during the Phase 2 construction. HDOT anticipates receiving the new permit within 40 days and is revising the estimated completion date for this project to mid-November.

Further updates will be available on the HDOT Highways Division website (http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/) under the Major Projects tab.