Man Dies in Crash with Hele-On Bus – Five on Bus Taken to Hospital

UPDATE: The 45-year-old Kona man involved in yesterday’s (December 19) two-vehicle crash in Oʻokala was pronounced dead at 4:38 a.m. this morning (Thursday, December 20) at the Hilo Medical Center.

A 45-year-old Kona man died Wednesday (December 19) in a two-vehicle crash on the Hawaiʻi Belt Road (Highway 19) at the 30-mile marker in Oʻokala.

HPDBadge

He was identified as Kris Korban of Kailua-Kona.

Police determined that Korban was operating a 1993 Ford Explorer heading north at 3:58 p.m. when his sports-utility vehicle crossed the centerline and collided with a Hele-On bus traveling south.

Korban was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 4:38 a.m.

Five passengers from the bus were taken to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries. The bus driver, a 58-year-old Hilo man, was treated for minor injuries at Hilo Medical Center.

Police believe that alcohol may have been a factor in this crash.

This is the 38th fatality so far this year compared with 21 at this time last year.

Puna Murder Victim Died of Injury to Brain Caused by Blunt Force Trauma

An autopsy conducted Tuesday (December 18) determined that the victim of a Puna murder, 54-year-old James V. Johns Sr. of Nanawale Estates, died of injury to the brain caused by blunt force trauma.

Johns’ body was found in his home Sunday.

Jason Russell Jump

Jason Russell Jump

The suspect, 36-year-old Jason Russell Jump of Pāhoa, remains in the Hilo police cellblock on suspicion of second-degree murder. Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation.

Police ask that anyone with information on this incident contact Detective Norbert Serrao at 961-2383 or nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona 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.

BJ Penn Taken to Hospital After Fight – Dana White Wants Him to Retire

Last night, Hilo’s own BJ Penn got beaten down at UFC on FOX to Rory McDonald.

BJ walks back to the locker room after last nights UFC on FOX fight. (Esther Lin, MMA Fighting)

BJ walks back to the locker room after last nights UFC on FOX fight. (Esther Lin, MMA Fighting)

According to MMAFighting he was taken to the hospital after the fight:

…The former two-division champion was routed by Rory MacDonald at UFC on FOX 5, a beating so physically taxing that Penn had to be transported to a Seattle area hospital for observation, according to UFC officials…

The article then goes on to say that UFC Promoter Dana White wants him to retire:

…Following the event, White said during a FUEL TV interview that he wanted and expected to see Penn hang up his gloves for good.

“He didn’t say it tonight but I think BJ is probably going to retire,” White said. “I wouldn’t mind seeing that…

I actually expected him to retire after his last fight and it seems like he’s really taken a beating in the last years of his career losing only winning 1 of his last 6 fights!

BJ Penn Record

Here are the results of a poll that I took back in August of 2010 asking whether BJ Penn should retire or not:

BJ Retire

 

 

Classes to Resume Monday w/ Increased Security at Big Island School Following Brawl: Cultural Lifestyles Root of Problem – Racism in Hawaii’s Schools

Classes at Kealaheke High School will resume on Monday, December 10, 2012 with increased security on campus and extended instructional hours. School faculty and staff met today to review the situations and actions that had occurred over this past week and addressed plans for next week’s return of students.

Kealakehe High School

Kealakehe High School

School officials yesterday cancelled on-campus activities and classes for students in light of increased disruptions caused by at least three student fights over the course of two days. To prevent the disorderly conduct from escalating, the school was temporarily on lockdown Wednesday afternoon and students were sent home 45 minutes early, Thursday, in increments.

The Hawaii Police Department (HPD) is assisting school officials with security measures and made eight student arrests yesterday. Those students were released from police custody but face disciplinary actions that for some may include suspension. An investigation into their disorderly conduct is ongoing.

School officials say the root of the arguments between involved students is a misunderstanding between local, Micronesian and Marshallese cultures and lifestyles.

“This misunderstanding of cultural assimilation by Marshallese and Micronesian families is not isolated to Kealakehe High School,” stated Complex Area Superintendent (CAS) Arthur Souza. “This is a community issue that we are addressing.”

CAS Souza noted that he has been in discussions with lawmakers and local agencies about the topic of cultural assimilation and the misunderstandings that exists in the Kona community.

The Department of Education has temporarily assigned four additional security personnel to Kealakehe H.S. campus.

“We want to thank the Hawaii Police Department and the Kealakehe High School faculty for their actions in ensuring a safe environment for students,” stated Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “What could have been explosive situation was contained, and community issues that have played a role in the recent disruptions are being addressed. We also thank the parents for their understanding.”

Monday’s class schedule at Kealakehe H.S. will be modified to accommodate Friday’s loss of instruction time. Aside from additional security, the school will also have counselors on hand to address harassment and bullying.

 

Matt Levi Investigates: “The Colt Brennan Story”

A couple of weeks ago the following aired on TV.  It’s now available online:

Matt Levi in an exclusive interview with Colt Brennan.

Colt talks openly about his rise to iconic football hero and his fall in the wake of injuries, arrests and substance abuse.

Official Statement – Hostess Brands Closes Down

Hostess Brands Inc. today announced that it is winding down operations and has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities. Bakery operations have been suspended at all plants. Delivery of products will continue and Hostess Brands retail stores will remain open for several days in order to sell already-baked products.

The Board of Directors authorized the wind down of Hostess Brands to preserve and maximize the value of the estate after one of the Company’s largest unions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), initiated a nationwide strike that crippled the Company’s ability to produce and deliver products at multiple facilities.

On Nov. 12, Hostess Brands permanently closed three plants as a result of the work stoppage. On Nov. 14, the Company announced it would be forced to liquidate if sufficient employees did not return to work to restore normal operations by 5 p.m., EST p.m., Nov. 15. The Company determined on the night of Nov. 15 that an insufficient number of employees had returned to work to enable the restoration of normal operations.

The BCTGM in September rejected a last, best and final offer from Hostess Brands designed to lower costs so that the Company could attract new financing and emerge from Chapter 11. Hostess Brands then received Court authority on Oct. 3 to unilaterally impose changes to the BCTGM’s collective bargaining agreements.

Hostess Brands is unprofitable under its current cost structure, much of which is determined by union wages and pension costs. The offer to the BCTGM included wage, benefit and work rule concessions but also gave Hostess Brands’ 12 unions a 25 percent ownership stake in the company, representation on its Board of Directors and $100 million in reorganized Hostess Brands’ debt.

“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”

In addition to dozens of baking and distribution facilities around the country, Hostess Brands will sell its popular brands, including Hostess®, Drakes® and Dolly Madison®, which make iconic cake products such as Twinkies®, CupCakes, Ding Dongs®, Ho Ho’s®, Sno Balls® and Donettes®. Bread brands to be sold include Wonder®, Nature’s Pride ®, Merita®, Home Pride®, Butternut®, and Beefsteak®, among others.

The wind down means the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.

The Company said its debtor-in-possession lenders have agreed to allow the Company to continue to have access to the $75 million financing facility put in place at the start of the bankruptcy cases to fund the sale and wind down process, subject to U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval.

The Company’s motion asks the Court for authority to continue to pay employees whose services are required during the wind-down period.

For employees whose jobs will be eliminated, additional information can be found at hostessbrands.info . The website also contains information for customers and vendors. Most employees who lose their jobs should be eligible for government-provided unemployment benefits.

Trippy Thursday – Bird vs. Lizard

So this is what birds in Hawaii snack on at times?

This video was uploaded today by YouTube user Solomine:

Solomine states – “This video was taken in Maui, Hawaii. These birds would stalk lizards hiding in bushes, and swallow them whole.”

Paradise Roller Girls Triple Header Coming Up

The upcoming Nov. 24 Paradise Roller Girls home teams triple header at the Afook Chinook Civic Auditorium in Hilo is more than just a mêlée of derby madness. There is order. And strategy, technique, talent, and a lot of hard work that takes place before the frenzied bouts can begin.

But don’t miss out, because this upcoming event will be the last chance fans have to see some hard hitting, fast-paced skating action before the 2012 PRG derby season ends. It will also be an opportunity to see the skills of PRG’s most recent draft picks, as well as the commitment and talent of some of the league’s more experienced players.

“This is the beginning of a new day in Hilo,” Mauna Kea Killahz ‘Big Daddy’s Addiction’ said on Thursday. “The themed bouts were more for showcase. This is focused on athleticism. This is a door for derby getting taken as a serious sport.”

The Volcano Vixens perform an advanced pack drill during a practice session at Malama Park.

The Volcano Vixens face off with the Mauna Kea Killahz in the first bout of the triple header at 6:45 p.m. The next bout will be between one of those two teams and the Hilo Bay Bruisers before the next teams take the rink during the final face off of the night.

The Hilo Bay Bruisers test the skills of one of their new recruits.

The Bruisers, who were seen as the underdog by their own ‘Smash Yo Face Stace’, picked up three new draft picks during the league’s most recent recruiting camp. According to the Bruiser’s ‘Ann Illusion’, those new players could add just enough punch to help raise their standing from underdog to top dog.

“One of our new recruits may possibly be the fastest girl in the league,” ‘Ann Illusion’ said. “Over time our players will perfect their skills to the point where we will be raising the bar for the rest of the league.”

Volcano Vixen’s ‘Von Slappenbitch’ had a different perspective on where the league’s talent rests though. “Ha! We are some of the hardest working girls in the league,” she said.

The Mauna Kea Killahz execute their set plays in preparation for the upcoming derby triple header.

But the Vixens might need more than just hard work to win this triple header. ‘Big Daddy’s Addiction’ explained the Killahz plan to win not just through hard work, but also through “team work” and “staying together” as a pack. It’s not clear as to what tricks the Killahz have up their sleeve, but ‘Big Daddy’s Addiction’ wasn’t shy about the fact “coach Bash has been working on some plays,” and that the Killahz are ready to use them.

According to ‘Big Daddy’s Addiction’, what sets the Killahz apart from the rest of the teams is their accommodation for players with families. “We are really family based,” she said. “We arrange the practices around our families. Our team is really accommodating.”

But for some, derby is family, and accommodation extends beyond the personal lives of players. “Derby is a new family of women who help each other,” ‘Von Slappenbitch’ explained. “It builds camaraderie through community service, and then you can knock them down also.”

Those who want to watch PRG’s three teams build camaraderie by knocking each other down can purchase tickets to the event for $8 in advance at CD Wizard, the Hilo Town Tavern, Jungle Love Pahoa, Jeff Hunt Surfboards in Pahoa, through your nearest derby girl, or via the web at www.paradiserollergirls.com.

Tickets are $10 at the door and kids 5 and under are free. Come early and watch the Junior Derby girls spark the night off with a pre-event bout at 5:15 p.m.

Fans not only help to support PRG’s mission of promoting a healthy, athletic lifestyle in their community, but they will also help to raise money for the creation of Hilo’s very own skate park, as a portion of ticket sales from the triple header will be donated to the Hilo SkatePlaza Coalition.

Paradise Roller Girls Annual Jell-O Wrestling Tournament

It’s slippery. It’s sticky. It’s silly. It’s the Paradise Roller Girls Jell-O wrestling tournament and calendar signing day at the Hilo Town Tavern! Come join the fun November 10 in downtown Hilo to watch your favorite derby girls battle it out in a pool of slimy goo before the presentation and signing of the Paradise Roller Girls newly released 2013 photo calendar.

Paradise Roller Girl’s 2011 Jell-O wrestling tournament champion Atomic Ace holds her hands up in victory.

This year’s Jell-O wrestling tournament is the third such event to be hosted by PRG. During last year’s tournament Atomic Ace defeated Firefly Fatal and Sasha Buzzkill before beating Derbutante Diva to become the 2011 Jell-O wrestling champion. Ace, who was just a rookie last year, explained that like derby, Jell-O wrestling is not a staged event – it’s the real deal!

“Yeah, we were really wrestling in there. It was a really rough match,” she said about last year’s final matchup with Derbutante Diva. “I had never Jell-O wrestled before, but it was kind of cool because it is a bar that I go to often and there are a lot of people there that I know.”

2010 Jell-O wrestling tournament champion Holly Von Slappenbitsch Zimmerman basks in the glory of her triumph.

Holly ‘Von Slappenbitsch’ Zimmerman, the 2010 Jell-O wrestling champion, explained that the event is not just for entertainment either. “It helps to raise funds for the Paradise Roller Girls and it is fun,” she said.

Money raised from the event helps to pay for some of PRG’s administrative and operating costs. Entrance to Saturday’s Jell-O wrestling tournament is $5, with the wrestling action beginning at 4 p.m. Hotdogs and hamburgers will be sold at a discounted price for all PRG fans and Tavern regulars who make it through the door. For more information contact Ann Illusion at 315-0494 or the Hilo Town Tavern at 935-2171.

Paradise Roller Girls is a women’s flat-track roller derby league located on the Big Island of Hawaii. PRG’s mission is to promote a healthy, athletic lifestyle in their community through the alternative sport of roller derby.

Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun

Ghouls, ghosts, zombies, creatures, and humans of all types will be haunting and howling at the Afook Chinook Civic Auditorium Saturday, October 13, where the Paradise Roller Girls will host the spookiest derby bout in the state – ‘Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun.’ So get your fangs on, call your zombie mommas, and head down to the Civic for a night of clean, family, derby fun and spooks. It’s the only place on the Big Island where you’ll find skeletons and witches zipping around on roller skates, smashing into each other just to provide the type of morbid entertainment everyone craves.

These ghouls may just want to have fun, but it’s always serious inside the rink where the Big Island’s toughest girls ‘derby down’ in what some have called the fastest growing sport in the world. Learn why as the Big Island Babes Junior Derby kick the night off with a pre-bout scrimmage at 5:45 p.m. Skeletons and witches take the rink at 7:30 p.m. and will skate for two 30 minute periods.

Eight dollar pre-sale tickets are available on the PRGWebsite, via one of your favorite derby girls, at Mountain View Village Video, CD Wizard, Hilo Town Tavern, Jungle Love Pahoa, or Jeff Hunt Surfboards in Pahoa. Tickets can also be purchased at the Civic the day of the event for $10. Admission for kids age 5 and under is free.

By attending this event witch fans, skeletons, zombies, ghouls, and ghosts will not only help to support the Paradise Roller Girls, but they’ll also be helping the environment. A portion of the proceeds from the ‘Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun’ bout will go to the HawaiiWildlifeFund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Hawaii’s native wildlife through research, education, and conservation.

Much of what Paradise Roller Girls does couldn’t be made possible without the help of their sponsors. The league’s 2012 season sponsors are Ace Hardware Pahoa, WillKill Termites & Pests, Kona Marine Supply, Curly Pinky Designs, Britten Traughber Photography, Aloha Coast Realty, Surrounded By Blue, and Coldwell Banker Day-Lum. PRG gives special thanks to them, the Big Island community, and derby fans around the world!

Paradise Roller Girls is a women’s flat-track roller derby league located on the Big Island of Hawaii. PRG’s mission is to promote a healthy, athletic lifestyle in their community through the alternative sport of roller derby.

KFC Pahoa CLOSED – Franchise Shuts Down Operation

The KFC in Pahoa has been shut down by the company.

An empty parking lot was often the scene and now it’s a regular scene

No official word has come out from the folks at KFC however a note on the door stated the following:

“Bussiness” or Business?

A quick look at the KFC Hawaii website and it still lists Pahoa as being a store that is open for business.  No releases have been made about it closing.

From the KFC Hawaii website

With Malama Market selling Huli Huli chicken for less then half what KFC sold the chicken for… it’s no wonder the place closed down.  I always thought the place was overpriced and it seemed like the only specials they had on buckets of chicken were strictly on legs and thighs!

So what do you think should fill location of this closed down business?

Wordless Wednesday – Do You Know What These Are?

Well the 17th Annual Mealani Taste of the Hawaiian Range is coming up in a few weeks and this past weekend my wife and son took part in a “Round Up”.

You know what these are?

This may give you a hint:

(Video) V-J Day August 14, 1945 – Kalakaua Street, Waikiki

Victory over Japan Day (also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, V-J Day, or V-P Day) is a name chosen for the day on which the Surrender of Japan occurred, effectively ending World War II, and subsequent anniversaries of that event.

The term has been applied to both of the days on which the initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made – to the afternoon of August 15, 1945, in Japan, and, because of time zone differences, to August 14, 1945 (when it was announced in the United States and the rest of the Americas and Eastern Pacific Islands) – as well as to September 2, 1945, when the signing of the surrender document occurred, officially ending World War II.

Wordless Wednesday (II) – “FORE!!!!!!”

Screw the car… think about yourself!

Just a CRAZY Saturday Video

Check out this video of this Australian tourist videotaping glaciers.

All of a sudden the glacier has a huge landslide creating a tsunami type of wave that almost took these folks out!

NAVY Releases Information on Sailor That Fell Off the USS Essex During RIMPAC Training

On Wednesday I got to go out to the Military Transport Ship the USS Essex during some of the 2012 RIMPAC exercises and I mentioned that a sailor had fallen off the ship and was injured.

A flare marks where the sailor fell in

Well I’ve been watching the news reports and statements from the US Navy and it’s been like they have been completely mum on the incident.

Today I sent the following email off to the folks at RIMPAC:

On Wednesday, July 18th, I was invited aboard the USS Essex while it was based off of the Big Island of Hawaii.  I happened to witness part of the rescue and was literally about 200 feet away from where the Sailor fell over board, although I myself didn’t see him fall over… I immediately saw the sailors react to the situation and I’m glad they eventually were able to find the guy out in the ocean.

When he was brought back to the ship… he was tied down to a gurney and obviously was injured.  I have written briefly about the incident on my website here:

http://damontucker.com/2012/07/18/man-overboard-sailor-falls-off-navy-ship-uss-essex-during-rimpac-exercises/

I was wondering what the official statement from the NAVY is on this incident and if possible… the name and rank of the sailor that did fall overboard and what his current medical condition is.

Sincerely,
Damon Tucker

I got the following response from the NAVY today:

Damon,
On July 18 a US service member was successfully rescued within minutes after falling overboard from USS ESSEX. Crew witnessed the service member fall overboard and responded immediately according to established procedures. The servicemember was recovered aboard a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) by a rescue swimmer, returned to ESSEX and was treated for a minor injury by ship’s medical personnel.

Due to privacy considerations, we are not disclosing identifying information of the service member.

-CDR Charlie Brown, US Navy
RIMPAC spokesperson

Two Dogs on Kauai Kill 8 Albatrosses

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is reminding the public on Kaua‘i to keep their pet dogs under control due to the recent killing of 8 Laysan albatrosses on the north shore by two dogs.

Five other birds survived that initial attack and were taken to the Kaua‘i Humane Society for treatment and rehabilitation. One of the injured birds eventually succumbed to its injuries. Two rehabilitated birds were recently taken to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge where they are receiving daily care and feeding.

Seabird volunteers and DLNR are diligently working to capture the loose dogs and locate their owner. Information fliers are being disseminated through the community to inform them of the incident and to remind people to properly restrain the pets and to call the DLNR conservation hotline at 634-DLNR.

“Kaua‘i’s north shore is an outstanding area for the recovery of native seabirds such as the Laysan albatross. Pet owners are as responsible as their pets for these senseless killings,” said William J. Aila, Jr. DLNR chairperson.

“Each year, seabirds are killed by dogs and cats because they retain their natural instincts to kill. This is why it is important for everyone to play their part to protect wildlife. “We ask the public to please keep your pets leashed while on walks, and kenneled or fenced at home. Please prevent your pets from roaming freely, especially near coastal areas where seabirds are known to nest on the ground,” Aila said.

In the late afternoon on Friday, June 22, seabird volunteer Kim Rogers, a wildlife monitor, discovered the dead and injured albatross and contacted DLNR – Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement to rescue the injured birds and search for the loose dogs.

The following day, another Laysan albatross chick and three wedge-tailed shearwaters were found dead on adjacent private property. Based on decomposition of these birds, the killing may also have happened the same day as the first incident.

One of the property managers has patched a gap in a fence between his and the adjacent property to keep the dogs from entering the nesting area. Live capture traps from DLNR, USFWS and the Kaua‘i Humane Society are being deployed around the nesting areas and monitored by volunteers.

A photo of one of the two dogs seen on the property near a chick has been distributed to neighbors to aid in identification. It is hoped that these steps will help to make this nesting area as safe as possible for future nests and chicks.

Seabirds are protected by both federal and state laws and violators may be subject to criminal petty misdemeanor fines under HRS Ch. 183D-62 for a first conviction of not less than $200 and/or imprisonment of not more than one year. In addition, violators could face civil administrative penalties for first violation of a fine up to $10,000 and an administrative fine of up to $5,000 for each specimen of wildlife taken, killed, injured or damaged.

Battle of the Islands State Roller Derby Tournament in Hilo

Paradise Roller Girls are hosting the first ever Battle of the Islands Roller Derby Tournament featuring women’s roller derby teams from all islands in an all-day tournament at the Hilo Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium. The first bout starts at 11am with the final bout starting at 7pm.

Featuring: Paradise Roller Girls Honey Badgers (Hawaii), Echo City Knockouts (Kona, Hawaii), Pacific Roller Derby Hulagans (Oahu), Maui Roller Girls, Maui Owies, Garden Island Renegade Rollers (Kauai), and Bee Team – a mixed team from all islands featuring skaters from Aloha City Rollers, Paradise Roller Girls, Pacific Roller Derby and Maui Roller Girls.

BOI is structured to allow the veteran A-teams and fresher B-teams to compete within their group level for championship. The A-teams (PRG Honey Badgers, Pacific Hulagans and the Maui Roller Girls) will compete in a double elimination, starting at 11am with the PRG Honey Badgers vs. the Pacific Hulagans. Depending on the outcome of the A-team eliminations, the championship bout will start at 5pm or 7pm. The B-teams (Maui Owies, Echo City Knockouts, Garden Island Renegade Rollers and the Bee Team) will have the next bout starting at 12pm with GIRR vs Echo City Knockouts.

The Battle of the Islands is a twice-annual tournament that will rotate amongst the islands. The idea of Battle of the Islands started in an email discussion between Paradise Roller Girls, Maui Roller Girls, the Garden Island Renegade Rollers and Pacific Roller Derby. The expense for teams to purchase airfare and lodging makes it difficult to travel to each of the other islands to compete. Battle of the Islands allows all the leagues to come together in one city and bout against all the islands. The next Battle of the Islands will be hosted by Pacific Roller Derby on Oahu at the end of September.

Tickets are just $5 for all-day admission, children 10 yrs and under are FREE. Tickets may be purchased online at http://paradiserollergirls.com or from CD Wizard, Hilo Town Tavern, Mt. View Village Video, Jungle Love Pahoa, or ask a roller girl.

Venue: Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium, 350 Kalanikoa Street, Hilo, HI 96720. Concessions and merchandise will be available for purchase inside.

More info at: http://www.paradiserollergirls.com/

 

Hawaii Tribune Herald to Shut Down Printing Press – Workers to Be Laid Off

I’ve been away on a small staycation to the Hilton Waikoloa the last few days and haven’t had a chance to comment about the recent announcement that the Hawaii Tribune Herald will be shutting down it’s printing press operations here on the Hilo side of the island.

From the Pacific Media Workers Guild

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald announced on Wednesday (June 27) that, starting in August, the Hilo newspaper will be printed by West Hawaii Today, a sister paper in Kailua-Kona, which will cause several layoffs.

The Aug. 18 edition of the newspaper will be the last printed in Hilo, according to the company. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today are owned by Stephens Media, a Las Vegas, Nev., based chain that operates newspapers in 10 states.

The Hawaii Printing and Graphic Communications Union No. 413N was informed on Wednesday that members will be laid off.

The company explained that the decision to subcontract printing to West Hawaii Today was based on an assessment that the Hilo printing press is old and in need of repair. The company also cited the consolidation of printing operations as an industry trend nationally.

Workers at West Hawaii Today are not represented by labor unions. In a staff memo on Wednesday, West Hawaii Today said the Hawaii Tribune-Herald would be printed at its plant and then transported back to Hilo for packaging and delivery. West Hawaii Today said it did not expect to hire additional press employees.

At this time, the pressmens’ union said it is working out the details with Stephens Media and had no public comment.

The Pacific Media Workers Guild, which represents truck drivers and support staff at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald who could be impacted by the company’s decision to subcontract printing, is closely monitoring negotiations between the company and the pressmens’ union.

“We understand that our industry is facing financial pressure, but we believe the company owes its workers and the Hilo community a full explanation for this decision,” the guild said in a statement.

I feel sorry for the folks that will be losing their jobs, however I question the following statement:

“The company explained that the decision to subcontract printing to West Hawaii Today was based on an assessment that the Hilo printing press is old and in need of repair. The company also cited the consolidation of printing operations as an industry trend nationally….”

The timing of this closure is almost exactly two years to the date of when the employees most recently bargained for contract comes up.  On August 10th, 2010 I received the following media release:

The Hawaii Newspaper Guild and the Hawaii Tribune-Herald have signed a contract after nearly six years of negotiations.

The two-year agreement covers all employees at the Hilo newspaper except pressmen, who are covered by a separate contract, and managers. The pressmen’s negotiations lasted as long as the Guild’s. The contracts are similar.

Both unions have bargained with the newspaper jointly for years, but the negotiations were prolonged this time partly because the company refused joint negotiations.

The contract provides the first wage increases for employees at the newspaper since Jan. 1, 2002.

During the negotiations, the Tribune-Herald was found guilty of 12 unfair labor practice charges by an administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board. The charges included the illegal firing of veteran reporters Hunter Bishop and Dave Smith, both of whom were union leaders… 

More here: Hawaii Newspaper Guild and the Hawaii Tribune Sign Contract After Nearly Six Years of Negotiation

I have stated for years that I think the printed version of the paper was a thing of the past.  Even when the two Honolulu papers merged I just thought it would only be a matter of time before the Big Island went the same way.

On June 6, 2010 I wrote:

“Some folks are saying that the dynamics of the the whole digital era is what really killed off the Honolulu Advertiser… I’ve been saying that for the last 6-7 years now.

Big Island papers will probably consolidate soon.  I’ve already started thinking of names.  “Hawaii Tribune Today” was the newspaper name that I think would be most feasible combining Hawaii Tribune Herald with West Hawaii Today.

The funny thing… I don’t think there would be that many lay-offs as both papers seem to use articles at will from the pool of Stephens Media writers here on the island at their expense… Silent Sunday and the Death of the Advertiser… Big Island Newspapers Don’t Have Blogs!

There are some real issues that Hilo folks may have to think about when they decide whether or not they want to continue getting a Newspaper that is driven from nearly 120 miles away from where they live.

Is it local news if its being trucked over in vans every day?  I wonder how long they will be able to afford to send a fleet of vans over to this side of the island and back each day.  Would it even be profitable?   Will the cost of the paper rise as the price of gas fluctuates?

And the biggest question… Why hasn’t the Hawaii Tribune Herald themselves tell their readers what is going on?  It’s been nearly three days since the announcement has been made.  Yep…. I understand no one wants to write their own obituary… but at least tell your readers what is going to be happening and where there favorite local journalist(s) can be found.

I will offer any laid off person from the Hawaii Tribune an opportunity to start up and learn how to make a website/blog similar to something like my site is.  I am always discouraged when good journalists just quit writing simply because they don’t have a platform or audience.

Battle of the Islands – Roller Derby Tournament

The Battle of the Islands, a Roller Derby Tournament featuring the best roller derby teams in the entire State of Hawaii will happen on July 14th, 2012 at the Hilo Civic Auditorium and is scheduled to begin at 11:00 am.