Big Island Police Searching for Missing 17-Year-Old Hilo Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing.

Makaala Pea

Makaala Pea

Makaala Pea was last seen in Hilo on February 15.

She is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-6, 130 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hilo Man Charged in Monday Assault

A Hilo man has been charged with three offenses in connection with a reported assault Monday night (March 23).

At about 8 p.m. Monday, a 43-year-old Hilo man reported that he was assaulted, held at knife point and threatened while at the home of an acquaintance at a home on Ohea Street. The victim managed to break free, leave the premises and call the police.

Paul Sasaki

Paul Sasaki

At 8:40 p.m., police arrested 42-year-old Paul Sasaki. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 3:15 p.m. Tuesday (March 24), after conferring with prosecutors, detectives charged Sasaki with assault, unlawful imprisonment and terroristic threatening. His bail was set at $12,000. He remained at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Wednesday (March 25).

Man Charged With 16 Offenses After Stealing Purse From 87-Year-Old Woman

A Hilo man has been charged with 16 offenses stemming from the theft of a purse.

Bronson I. K. Lee

Bronson I. K. Lee

The purse was stolen from an 87-year-old woman at a drug store on Puainako Street in Hilo just before 1:30 p.m. Sunday (March 22). Shortly thereafter, the victim’s credit card was used at two businesses in the vicinity.

At 2:40 p.m., police arrested the suspect, 25-year-old Bronson I. K. Lee, in the parking lot of a home improvement store on Makaʻala Street. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 2:25 p.m. Tuesday (March 24), Lee was charged with five counts of theft, three counts of forgery, four counts of ID theft and four counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. His bail was set at $44,250.

He remains at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Wednesday (March 25).

Big Island Police Searching for Two Wanted on Abuse Charges

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 59-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man wanted for abuse.

Catherine Surtees

Catherine Surtees

Catherine Surtees is described as 5-foot-2, 110 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. Her last know address was in Kailua-Kona.

Damon Soderlund

Damon Soderlund

Damon Soderlund is described as 5-foot-9, 190 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair. He frequents the Kailua-Kona area.

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

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

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Missing Since December

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for 17-year-old Kailua-Kona boy who was reported missing.

Jonah Xavier

Jonah Xavier

Jonah Xavier was last seen in Kailua-Kona on December, 2014.

He is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-2, 105 pounds with blue eyes and medium-length blond hair.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawaii Police Kill 5 Unarmed Hawaii Residents in 8 Months – Group Calls for Justice for Sheldon Haleck

Today we say NO MORE!   World Can’t Wait-Hawai`i calls on the people of Hawai`i to demand the truth about the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheldon Haleck.

JusticeWe challenge the media to vigorously investigate the actions of the HPD and to refuse to parrot police reports and attempts to vilify victims of police brutality and murder.

We challenge the people of Hawaii to stand with the victims of police brutality and create an atmosphere where families can talk openly about their loved ones, and where witnesses of police brutality can step forward to tell the truth.

justice2In the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, people across the U.S. righteously stood up against police murder and brutality, the targeting of Black and Brown people, and the lack of prosecution of the police for their crimes.

People of different races and nationalities, and from all walks of life, joined together to say, “We  Can’t Breathe,” in solidarity with those being victimized. Through many different forms of protest and resistance, the entire society was finally forced to confront this burning injustice.  Meanwhile, murder by police continues unchecked.

justice3In the last 8 months HPD has killed at least 5 unarmed Hawai`i residents.  Hawai`i has one of the highest rates of police murder and brutality in the U.S.

The epidemic of police murder and brutality must end!   NOW!

On April 14 World Can’t Wait-Hawai`i will be joining with people across the U.S. calling for a Shut Down to Stop Murder (#ShutDownA14).  Go to www.stopmassincarceration.net to connect with the growing movement against police murder, brutality and mass incarceration!”

Commentary:

15 people responded to our Call to a Vigil/Signholding in front of Iolani Palace to
Demand Justice for Sheldon Haleck.  A small memorial was set up and our signs lined King Street during rush hour.

Many commuters honked their horns; a few stopped their cars to ask what had happened; several pedestrians stopped to talk, thank us, or tell about their own experiences with police brutality.

We also heard some potentially important new information.  According to someone who was within several hundred yards of the killing but did not personally see Sheldon get tased,, Sheldon was “dragged from the street” rather than “escorted,” as the HPD report claimed, and  several people he had spoken with overheard conversations between the police immediately after Sheldon was tased saying they were “worried that the woman cop who tased Sheldon had tased him too long.”   At this point facts are still sketchy, but while we held signs we couldn’t help but note that there were a number of surveillance cameras in the vicinity that might hold important information.

A Press Release was sent to members of Hawai`i’s media; only Channel 9 came out.  The photographer took a lot of pictures, but we haven’t seen any coverage.

World Can’t Wait Hawaii

 

Commentary – Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division Desecrates Memorial

Over the last year, Skydive Hawaii has won a formal Part 16 FAA Hearing regarding economic discrimination and exclusivity of use at Hana Airport – violations of FAA AIF Grant Assurances 22 and 23. Earlier this year, in the Supreme Court of Hawaii, we provided oral arguments on the limitations of the ability of the Director of Transportation to make rules at airports owned by the United States of America (Dillingham Airfield).

In 2005, the State of Hawaii DOT-A was found moving sand containing human bones to local North Shore resident Thomas Shirai’s property. At that time the DOT-A blamed the contractor, Stay and Sons for the problem.

Click to enlarge

The present barrier (click to enlarge)

On March 19, 2015, Mr. Curtis Lau and another maintenance worker at Dillingham Airfield, under the direct supervision of Mike Navares, erected a second rope barrier between the skydive memorial at Dillingham Airfield and Skydive Hawaii. Prior to commencing with the project, Frank Hinshaw, President at Skydive Hawaii explained to Mr. Lau and his worker that putting a barrier up would only serve to cause outrage in the skydiver community.

An aircraft crash into Pearl Harbor on December 5, 1981 took the lives of 11 skydivers. In their memory a memorial was established at their home, Dillingham Airfield. The memorial is simple, a large rock with a bronze plaque and 11 milo trees in a circular arrangement symbolizing the “round or star” skydiving formation.

Skydiving Memorial

At the time the State DOT-A said that the area would not be rented or leased under revocable permit. Over the years, the skydiving community has lost more friends, but this memorial has served as a place of all their remembrances. The staff of Skydive Hawaii has maintained the memorial, cutting the grass, raking the leaves, and keeping the trees trimmed for the last 25 years and at no time was access to anyone restricted in any manner.

Friday, January 30, Mike Navares, verbally notified this company that beginning February 1 2015 the State had leased the skydiver memorial to Pacific Skydiving, a commercial company. The State and Pacific skydiving understood that the area was a skydive memorial and that this would be considered as an act of disrespect.

Desecration 2

Barrier in early February

A Pacific Skydiving business sign was moved onto the “memorial property.”A first rope barrier was put up and rocks moved in the front of the memorial to prevent access. Outraged skydivers removed the first rope barrier.

While it appears to us that the State DOT-A is using the desecration of the skydiver memorial as retribution to our FAA hearing win and likely future victory at the Hawaii Supreme Court, the memorial held sacred by skydivers and representing the memories of those who have preceded us on that eternal flight should be held above commercialization and willful desecration by our State government.

Frank Hinshaw,
Skydive Hawaii

Skydivers

2011 group of friends at the memorial – 30th anniversary of the plane crash.

Application Deadline to Serve on State Ethics and Campaign Spending Commissions Extended

The Judicial Council is extending the deadline in its search to find qualified applicants to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Hawaii State Ethics Commission created by a term expiring on June 30, 2015. The council is also extending its deadline in its search to fill two upcoming vacancies on the Campaign Spending Commissions. The new application deadline is March 31, 2015.

JudiciaryMembers of both commissions serve on a voluntary basis. Travel expenses incurred by neighbor island commissioners to attend meetings on Oahu will be reimbursed.

Applicants must be U. S. citizens, residents of the State of Hawaii, and may not hold any other public office.

The Ethics Commission addresses ethical issues involving legislators, registered lobbyists, and state employees (with the exception of judges, who are governed by the Commission on Judicial Conduct). The five commission members are responsible for investigating complaints, providing advisory opinions, and enforcing decisions issued by the Commission. The Hawaii State Constitution prohibits members of the Ethics Commission “from taking an active part in political management or political campaigns.”

The primary duty of the five members of the Campaign Spending Commission is to supervise campaign contributions and expenditures. Commissioners may not participate in political campaigns or contribute to candidates or political committees.

The Governor will select the commissioners from a list of nominees submitted by the Judicial Council.

Interested persons should submit an application along with a resume and three letters of recommendation (attesting to the applicant’s character and integrity) postmarked by March 31, 2015. to: Judicial Council, Hawaii Supreme Court, 417 S. King Street, Second Floor, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-2902.

Applications are available on the Hawaii State Judiciary website or by calling the Judicial Council at 539-4702.

Hawaii County Ordered to Suspend Drug Tests for Employees

Constitution protects government employees from such invasive medical examinations

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai’i and the law firm of Peiffer Rosca Wolf Abdullah Kane & Carr sued Hawai’i County in federal court on Monday, March 9 on behalf of Rebekah Taylor-Failor, a Kailua-Kona woman who is about to begin working for the County.

After giving her a conditional job offer, the County required her, as it requires all its prospective employees, to submit to a urinalysis and an invasive medical examination.
Piss TestShe asked the Court to allow her to start working (as a Legal Clerk II – a typical desk job) without submitting to a urinalysis; on Friday, March 13, the Court granted that request, ruling that “the urinalysis would violate Taylor-Failor’s Fourth Amendment rights[.]”

Until now, the County of Hawai’i required its prospective employees to submit a urine sample, which the County would subject to analysis that could reveal sensitive private medical information – such as whether an individual is diabetic or has a urinary tract infection – regardless of the physical duties the applicant would perform on the job.  The ACLU of Hawai’i and co-counsel Adam Wolf asked the Court for a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent the County from obtaining this private information from Ms. Taylor-Failor’s bodily fluids, citing constitutional protections from suspicionless searches.

In an attempt to avoid litigation, the ACLU of Hawaii reached out to the Hawaii County Department of Corporation Counsel in 2013, explaining that the County’s policies and procedures were unconstitutional; the County responded – incorrectly – that its policies were valid.  But siding against the County, the Court ruled in its order that “the County has proffered no explanation as to why it is entitled to search Taylor-Failor’s urine before she may begin employment in her light duty, clerical, non-safety-sensitive position….  Employment requirements cannot stand where they violate rights of a constitutional dimension.”

Mr. Wolf said, “The Constitution protects government employees from such invasive medical examinations.  The County of Hawai’i has no need to demand that its clerks reveal whether they have a urinary tract infection or diabetes.  Today’s ruling is a historic step toward reforming pre-employment medical tests so that they comply with the constitution.”

Rebekah Taylor-Failor said, “I’m eager to start working for the County, and I’m glad that the Court is allowing me to do so without having to sacrifice my constitutional rights.”

ACLU of Hawai’i Legal Director Daniel Gluck said, “We are glad the Court has recognized that the government does not need to perform invasive searches of bodily fluids to determine whether an office worker can perform her job.  Medical data is some of our most privately held information, and it is critical that we protect it from government overreach.”

The mission of the Hawai’i affiliate of the ACLU is to protect the civil liberties contained in the state and federal constitutions through litigation, legislative and public education programs statewide. The ACLU is funded primarily through private donations and offers its services at no cost to the public. The ACLU does not accept any government funds.

Two Men Arrested on Burglary, Police Still Looking for Bike Used in Ironman

Two men have been charged with an assortment of offenses related to a burglary investigation.

The burglary was reported Monday (March 9) after a 35-year-old Keaʻau man returned to his Hawaiian Paradise Park home and discovered evidence of a break-in. He reported that a racing bicycle, electronics, checks and jewelry, including a wedding ring, had been removed from the home on Paradise Drive between 20th Avenue and 21st Avenue.

On Tuesday (March 10) 19-year-old Bruce Rogee of Hilo reportedly attempted to cash one of the victim’s checks at a bank in Hilo. Rogee and 23-year-old Taylor Kalawe of Keaʻau were arrested and taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

Search warrants were executed at Kalawe’s home on 19th Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park and on a vehicle. Police recovered the wedding ring and several other items stolen in Monday’s burglary.

After conferring with prosecutors, Kalawe was charged Thursday (March 12) with second-degree theft, attempted second-degree theft and forgery. He was also charged with contempt of court for an unrelated case. His bail was set at $30,150. Rogee was charged with second-degree forgery, second-degree theft and two counts of unauthorized possession of confidential personal information. His bail was set at $8,000.

Police ask anyone with information about the burglary or the location of the bicycle to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. The bicycle is described as a 2012 Orbea Triathlon bike with a 2014 Ironman race sticker, number 1565.

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

Finance Committee Passes Budget Bill to Fund Kona Courthouse

The House Committee on Finance passed today its drafts of several budget bills, including the budgets for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), the Judiciary and the Executive operating and Capital Improvement Projects (CIP).

Kona Judiciary

Kona Judiciary

 

Included in the CIP allocations is $55 million to fully fund the Kona Judiciary Project, which received partial funding in the last biennium. With this final allocation, the project would be able to finally move forward and begin construction.

“As a member of the House Finance Committee, I helped to ensure that the House position is to fully fund the courthouse this year. Hopefully, the Senate will leave the funding in there. West Hawaii has been waiting a long time for this and if we continue to wait, costs will increase and conditions in the current facilities will continue to deteriorate. It’s crucial to get this project funded this year,” said Representative Nicole Lowen (District 6 – Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa).

The budget bills will now move to the House floor for a full vote, and then to the Senate for their consideration.

Rep. San Buenaventura Bills Pass House, Advances to Senate

As the 2015 Legislature reached its midway point this week, a number of bills introduced by Puna Representative Joy San Buenaventura are now up for consideration by the Senate after being passed by the full House of Representatives.

Reps. Joy San Buenaventura and Richard Creagan on the House floor.

Reps. Joy San Buenaventura and Richard Creagan on the House floor.

“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to keep these bills alive halfway through the very rigorous process of creating legislation,” Rep. Buenaventura said.  “They represent real solutions to everyday issues and problems faced by the people of Puna in the aftermath of life changing natural disasters, and I will continue to push for them even as they move to the Senate chambers.”

Among the bills are several measures that seek to address concerns raised by residents affected by the recent natural disasters that have impacted the Puna region.

  • HB737, HD2 helps current and future homeowners who reside in lava zone areas that has been declared to be in a state of emergency to obtain and renew property insurance policies.  This Act also enables a homeowner, in such a lava zone, who had no prior property insurance coverage to purchase insurance coverage to be effective within six months from the date of policy acceptance. (Co-introducer)
  • HB1314 HD1 establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster by providing for infrastructure development, grants, and loans. (Primary Introducer)
  • HB376 HD2 makes specific changes to the Chief Election Officer including designating the position as an at-will employee; and requires the State Elections Commission to conduct a performance evaluation and to hold a public hearing on the performance of the Chief Elections Officer. (Primary introducer)

Others bills introduced by Rep. San Buenaventura and passed by the House include:

  • HB847, HD1 appropriates funds for an Interdisciplinary Hawaii Health Systems Corp. (HHSC) Primary Care Training Program at Hilo Medical Center to address the shortage of primary care physicians—particularly on the neighbor islands and in rural communities. (Co-introducer)
  • HB851, HD1 appropriates funds to establish an advanced life support ambulance based in Puna. (Co-introducer)
  • HB1107 appropriates funds for the establishment and maintenance of a bookmobile that will serve the rural areas of the island of Hawaii. (Primary introducer)
  • HB1370, HD1 provides statutory authority for the Employees’ Retirement System Administrator to make direct payment to a former spouse of a member of benefits or portion thereof pursuant to valid court judgment, order or decree. (Primary introducer)
  • HB87 shields process servers from prosecution under criminal trespass statutes when performing their duties. (Primary introducer)

A full list of measures proposed by Rep. San Buenaventura is available at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=intro&year=2015&leg=San%20Buenaventura&rpt_type=first_pri.

Rail Surcharge, Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Among Key Bills Approved by Hawaii House

As the Thursday crossover deadline approaches, the House passed bills: modifying the state’s excise tax surcharge for rail, authorizing the creation of medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii, requiring health insurers with greater than 20 percent of the state’s small group insurance market to offer qualified health plans under the Hawaii Health Connector, and facilitating the creation of a private-public partnership for Maui’s public hospitals.

capital

The House also passed on to the Senate today another 200 bills including measures addressing the state’s infrastructure, local businesses and the economy, and participation and transparency in government.  The three areas reflect the focus of the House majority on improving and modernizing government that was identified at the start of the legislative session.

The House now stands in recess and will reconvene to take action on any remaining final measures for third reading on Thursday, March 12 at 12 p.m. To date, the House has approved more than 300 bills this session, which will now move to the Senate for its consideration.

Following Thursday’s crossover deadline, the House will focus its attention on HB500, relating to the state budget, which must be passed out of the committee on Finance by March 16 and voted on by the full body by March 18.

Key and topical measures passed by the House today include:

  • HB134, HD1, which removes the authority of the City and County of Honolulu to collect a tax surcharge beginning on January 1, 2016, but would allow all counties, including the City and County of Honolulu, to adopt a new tax surcharge at a rate of 0.25 per cent, beginning on January 1, 2017, and restricts the tax surcharge adopted by the City and County of Honolulu, if any, to be used for Honolulu’s rail project
  • HB321, HD1, which establishes and provides funding for medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers, mandates at least one dispensary in each county, and allows for the manufacturing of capsules, lozenges, oils and pills containing medical marijuana
  • HB1467, HD2, which enables Hawaii’s Health Connector to offer large group coverage to insurers and requires health insurers with a greater than 20 percent share of the state’s small group health insurance market to offer at least one silver and at least one gold qualified health plan as a condition for participating in the Health Connector’s individual market
  • HB1075, HD2, which authorizes the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Maui Regional System to enter into an agreement with a private entity to transition one or more of its facilities into a new private Hawaii nonprofit corporation
  • HB1112, HD2, which reconsolidates Hawaii Health Systems Corporation’s (HHSC) operational administration and oversight by eliminating regional system boards, repealing certain limits on operational authority within HHSC and amending requirements for HHSC supplemental bargaining agreements for its employees
  • HB295, HD1, which limits compelled disclosure of sources or unpublished information by journalists, newscasters and persons participating in collection or dissemination of news or information of substantial public interest (Shield Law), and establishes exceptions
  • HB940, HD1, which prohibits the use of electronic smoking devices in places where smoking is prohibited
  • HB1089, HD2, which requires motor vehicle safety inspections to be conducted every two years rather than annually for vehicles registered in a county with a population of 300,000 or less
  • HB1090, HD2, which prohibits non-compete agreements and restrictive covenants that forbid post-employment competition for employees of a technology business to stimulate economic development in Hawaii’s technology business sector
  • HB1011, HD1, which defines dangerous wheels on motor vehicles and prohibits their use
  • HB631, HD2, which establishes the documentation required when a birth registrant requests the state Department of Health to issue a new birth certificate with a sex designation change;

In addition, bills relating to the focus of the House majority on improving and modernizing government include:

INFRASTRUCTURE

Education

  • HB820, HD2, which establishes the Executive Office on Early Learning Prekindergarten Program to be administered by the Executive Office on Early Learning and provided through Department of Education public schools and public charter schools
  • HB819, HD2, which requires state and county agencies and grantees that serve youth to adopt bullying prevention policies, and establishes a task force to assist the Governor with bullying prevention policies in the state

Energy

  • HB1504, HD2, which requires the Legislative Reference Bureau to study electric utilities, including organizational models and the conversion process, and establishes a cap on the Hawaii electricity reliability surcharge for interconnection to the Hawaii electric system
  • HB623, HD2, which increases the state’s renewable portfolio standards to 70 percent by December 31, 2035, and 100 percent by December 31, 2045, and adds the impact on renewable energy developer energy prices to PUC study and reporting requirements
  • HB264, HD1, which requires the PUC to establish a process for the creation of integrated energy districts or micro-grids
  • HB1286, HD2, which amends the state’s objectives and policies relating to energy facility systems, including a policy of ensuring that fossil fuels such as liquefied natural gas be used only as a transitional, limited-term replacement of petroleum for electricity generation and not impede the development and use of renewable energy sources
  • HB1509, HD3, which requires the University of Hawaii to establish a collective goal of becoming a net-zero energy user by January 1, 2035, establishes the University of Hawaii Net-zero Special Fund, and appropriates funds for capital improvement projects and for staff
  • HB240, HD1, which expands the types of businesses qualified to receive benefits under the state enterprise zone law to include service businesses that provide air conditioning project services from seawater air conditioning district cooling systems

The Environment

  • HB1087, HD1, which establishes a task force on field-constructed underground storage tanks in Hawaii, and changes the amount of the tax deposited into the Environmental Response Revolving Fund from five cents per barrel to an unspecified amount to support environmental activities and programs
  • HB440, HD1, which appropriates funds to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources for projects related to watershed management plans, equipment for fire, natural disaster and emergency response, and forest and outdoor recreation improvement
  • HB438, HD1, which appropriates funds to the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission for restoration and preservation projects
  • HB444, HD3, which expands the scope of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Beach Restoration Plans and Beach Restoration Special Fund to include beach conservation and allocates funds from the Transient Accommodations Tax for beach restoration and conservation
  • HB620, HD2, which prohibits labeling of a plastic product as compostable unless it meets ASTM D6400 standards (American Society for Testing Materials)
  • HB722, HD2, which establishes a Lipoa Point Management Council within the state Department of Land and Natural Resources for the development of Lipoa Point, and appropriates moneys for land surveyor services, maintenance services and development of a master plan
  • HB1141, HD2, which prohibits new installation of a cesspool and new construction served by a cesspool after December 31, 2016, and authorizes the state Department of Health to develop rules for exceptions
  • HB749, which imposes on wholesalers and dealers a beach clean-up cigarette fee per cigarette sold, used or possessed, and establishes and allocates monies generated to the Beach Clean-Up Special Fund for litter removal from beach land

University of Hawaii

  • HB540, HD1, which seeks to improve the accounting and fiscal management system of the University of Hawaii by requiring the Board of Regents to submit to the Legislature before the end of each fiscal quarter a fiscal program performance report

Financial Stability

  • HB171, HD1, which appropriates funds for fiscal year 2015-2016 to be deposited into the Hurricane Reserve Trust Fund
  • HB172, HD1, which appropriates funds for fiscal year 2015-2016 to be deposited into the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund
  • HB1102, HD1, which requires the state Department of Taxation to conduct a study on modernizing the state tax collection system and submit a report to the legislature
  • HB1356, which establishes the Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund to stabilize the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund when there is insufficient money to cover the costs of providing benefits to employee-beneficiaries and dependent-beneficiaries, and caps employer contributions to the separate trust fund when the separate accounts for each public employer within the separate trust fund have a combined balance of at least $2 billion

Women

  • HB456, HD1, which provides a safe mechanism for reporting complaints regarding domestic violence when a police officer is involved
  • HB457, HD1, which appropriates funds for positions and materials to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013
  • HB452, HD1, which appropriates funds to the Department of the Attorney General for statewide sexual assault counseling and support services for fiscal biennium 2015-2017 and, beginning with the 2017-2018 fiscal year, sets a minimum base budget of the state Department of the Attorney General for statewide sexual assault counseling and support services
  • HB459, HD2, which specifies additional elements in Hawaii’s existing sexuality health education law, including additional criteria regarding implementation of sexuality health education instruction, and requires the state Department of Education to provide certain types of sexuality health education information to the public and parents

Kupuna

  • HB1195, HD1, which increases the capacity of Type 1 Expanded Adult Residential Care Homes from two to three nursing facility level residents
  • HB600, HD1, which authorizes the state Department of Health to allow two private-pay individuals to be cared for in the same Community Care Foster Family home if certain requirements are met
  • HB493, HD1, which appropriates funds for a permanent full-time director and permanent full-time faculty specialist position within the University of Hawaii Center on Aging
  • HB492, which appropriates funds for the Judiciary to enter into contracts with community mediation centers for mediation services which can resolve disputes in a shorter timeframe and more economically than litigation and trial (Mediation serves two critical community needs: It increases access to justice for low income and vulnerable elderly residents to address legal disputes, and it provides the means to resolve family disputes, particularly those involving the care and needs of the elderly family member)

Consumer Protection

  • HB619, HD3, which clarifies standards and criteria for the Public Utilities Commission and Division of Consumer Advocacy to apply when determining whether to approve a sale, lease, assignment, mortgage, disposition, encumbrance, merger, or consolidation of an electric utility
  • HB737, HD2, which limits the total number of property insurance policies that an insurer may annually non-renew in a lava zone in Hawaii County during a state of emergency to 5 percent of the insurer’s policies in force, except for nonpayment of premiums or impairment of the insurer’s financial soundness and bars moratoria on residential property insurance in a lava zone in Hawaii County during a state of emergency if property insurance would be otherwise unavailable
  • HB268, HD2, which grants the director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs the power to issue cease and desist orders for the unlicensed practice of dentistry and for any other act or practice in violation of the dental licensing laws upon a specific determination that the failure to take such action may result in an immediate and unreasonable threat to personal safety or of fraud that jeopardizes or endangers the health or safety of patients or the public
  • HB1384, HD2, which requires additional Land Use Commission review for permit plan applications for wind turbines with over 100 kilowatt capacity and located within three-quarters of a mile of residential, school, hospital or business property lines

Social Safety Net

  • HB1377, HD1, which makes an appropriation to develop the specifications and pricing, as well as an implementation plan, for a web-based data system in the Early Intervention Section of the state Department of Health, and makes an appropriation for operating expenses and to establish one permanent coordinator position in the Children with Special Health Needs Branch of the Department of Health to improve social-emotional and behavioral outcomes for children birth to age five
  • HB253, HD2, which authorizes pharmacists to administer vaccines to persons between 14 and 17 years of age who have a valid prescription from the patient’s medical home
  • HB886, HD1, which extends the high-earner income tax brackets by an additional five years, raises the income tax credits provided to low-income households by the refundable food/excise tax credit and low-income household renter’s credit, and amends gross income thresholds for households qualifying for the low-income household renter’s credit
  • HB1091, HD1, which increases the standard deduction and allowable personal exemption amounts for all filing statuses, and increases the number of exemptions that may be claimed by taxpayers who are 65 years of age or older and meet certain income requirements
  • HB1295, HD1, which increases the low-income housing tax credit to 100 percent of the qualified basis for each building located in Hawaii

BUSINESS AND THE ECONOMY

Agriculture

  • HB1042, which appropriates funds for grants-in-aid to the counties for assistance with identifying and mapping Important Agricultural Lands
  • HB205, HD1, which includes traditional Hawaiian farming and small-scale farming to the objectives and policies for the economy to the Hawaii State Planning Act

Invasive Species

  • HB482, HD 2, which establishes a full-time temporary program manager position in state Department of Agriculture for the Pesticide Subsidy Program

Tourism

  • HB197, HD2, which amends amount of Transient Accommodations Tax revenues allocated to the counties from a specified sum to a percentage of the revenues collected for the counties to address visitor industry impacts on county services and tourism-related infrastructure
  • HB825, HD1, which establishes licensing requirements and enforcement provisions for transient vacation rentals to be administered by the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
  • HB792, HD2, which amends the Hawaii Rules of Evidence to authorize nonresident property crime victims to testify in misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor property criminal proceedings by a live two-way video connection

Economic Development

  • HB1454, HD2, which establishes a nonrefundable income tax credit for taxpayers who incur certain expenses for manufacturing products in Hawaii, starting with the taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015 (Sunsets January 1, 2023)
  • HB867, HD1, which authorizes the director of finance to issue general obligation bonds to support the Pacific International Space Center for exploration systems’ basalt rebar initiative, including construction of a basalt rebar plant and engineering assessments of the manufactured basalt rebar
  • HB1482, HD2, which establishes a crowdfunding exemption for limited intrastate investments between Hawaii residents and Hawaii businesses, limited to no more than $1,000,000 raised over a twelve month period, and no more than $5,000 per investor
  • HB1282, HD1, which appropriates monies for an engineering assessment and study for establishing a laser optical communications ground station in Hawaii to be conducted jointly by the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

IMPROVING GOVERNMENT

Elections

  • HB124, HD2, which requires the Office of Elections to implement elections by mail in a county with a population less than 100,000 beginning with the primary election in 2016 (In 2018, elections by mail will be held in one or more counties with a population of more than 100,000) and, thereafter, requires all federal, state, and county primary, special primary, general, special general and special elections to be conducted by mail
  • HB15, HD1, which creates a statewide standard for the distribution of absentee ballots
  • HB376, HD2, which specifies that the Chief Election Officer is an at-will employee, requires Elections Commission to provide notice and reason for removal of a Chief Election Officer, requires a performance evaluation of the Chief Election Officer after a general election, and requires a public hearing on the Chief Election Officer’s performance for purposes of considering reappointment
  • HB401, HD2, which provides that all applicants for a new or renewed driver’s license, provisional license, instructional permit or civil identification card must either clearly decline to register to vote or fill out the voter affidavit on their application before their application can be processed
  • HB612, HD2, which prohibits disclosure of votes cast in a postponed election, authorizes discretionary withholding of election results unrelated to postponement, clarifies Governor’s emergency postponement authority, and limits postponement period to seven days after an election

Transparency in government

  • HB1491, HD2, which requires non-candidate committees making only independent expenditures to report whether their contributors of $10,000 or more are subject to disclosure reporting requirements and provide information about the contributor’s funding sources
  • HB180, HD1, which clarifies the requirements relating to the statement of expenditures of lobbyists to be filed for a special session.

A complete list of bills passed by the House to date is available on the Capitol website at:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2015&report=deadline&active=true&rpt_type=firstCross&measuretype=HB&title=House%20Bills%20Crossed%20Over%20to%20the%20Senate

Hilo Couple Arrested for Multiple Crimes at Different Locations

Hawaiʻi Island police arrested a Hilo couple Thursday (March 5) after receiving a report of a man breaking into a vehicle.

Shortly after 7 a.m. Thursday, a concerned citizen saw a man breaking into a vehicle at the Hilo Bayfront area. The man, after being confronted by the citizen, left in a vehicle being driven by a woman. This vehicle was later located by South Hilo patrol officers in the area of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

Aubrey Harper

Aubrey Harper

At 7:50 a.m., police arrested 33-year-old Aubrey A. Harper and 37-year-old Gregory P. Harper, both of Hilo.

Gregory Harper

Gregory Harper

The two were taken to the Hilo police cellblock while officers continued the investigation. Through their investigations, it was determined that the couple may have been involved in two separate burglaries which occurred earlier in the week in Puna.

On Sunday (March 1), the caretaker of a Kalapana Seaview Estates home reported confronting a man and a woman leaving a home on Moaniala Street. The pair left in a vehicle with items that had been removed from the home.

On Monday (March 2), a Leilani Estates woman reported finding that her home on Malama Street had been broken into and that a television and other items had been removed from within.

Officers were able to locate and recover some of the items removed in these burglaries and link them to the couple.

On Friday (March 5), after conferring with the Prosecutor’s Office, Aubrey A. Harper was charged with two counts of first-degree burglary, second degree theft, fourth-degree theft, reckless endangering in the second-degree, and a variety of traffic offenses. Her total bail was set at $14,275.

Gregory P. Harper was charged with two counts of first-degree burglary, second degree theft, unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, theft in the fourth-degree and resisting arrest. His total bail was set at $14,750. The couple appeared in court on Monday (March 9).

How Does a Blind Person Sail From New Mexico to Hawaii?

Editors Note… I don’t know how ANYONE  sails from New Mexico to Hawaii… but I guess our Police Department has figured that one out… New Mexico is landlocked!

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Marlin Hopson as “Officer of the Month” for March in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (March 4) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Marlin Hopson

Officer Marlin Hopson

Hopson was honored for providing assistance beyond the call of duty to two shipwrecked persons.

On May 18, 2014, Officer Hopson responded to a report that a 45-foot sailboat had run aground at the Old Airport Beach Park. The couple on the boat had sailed from New Mexico to Hawaiʻi. The owner, who is blind, lost his navigation aids on the way to Honokohau Harbor, causing the boat to run ashore at night. The pair managed to swim to shore but their belongings were left behind and couldn’t be retrieved because of darkness and rough surf.

Hopson invited the couple to spend that night in his home and they accepted.

“Officer Hopson exemplified the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s core values of compassion and community satisfaction, going above and beyond to help these victims, said Sergeant Akira Edmoundson, who nominated Hopson for the honor.

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

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

Big Island Police Arrest Four on Drug Offenses

Three men and a woman were charged with an assortment of drug offenses after Vice officers served a search warrant Tuesday (March 3) in Hōlualoa.

During the search at a home on the 75-5200 block of Māmalahoa Highway, officers recovered 13.7 grams of a crystalline substance, 0.3 grams of a brown tar-like substance, 1.2 grams of a dried, green leafy material, one suspected MDMA pill (commonly known as “ecstasy”), one unprescribed prescription pill, paraphernalia associated with meth use and distribution, a loaded, unregistered .22-caliber revolver and $344 in cash for forfeiture.

Edward Schoeppner

Edward Schoeppner

Arrested at the scene were the resident, 63-year-old Edward Schoeppner Jr. of Hōlualoa, along with 38-year-old Jose Garcia, who has no permanent address, 40-year-old David Mahi, who has no permanent address, and 43-year-old Teri Pedro of Kailua-Kona. They were taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Vice Section continued the investigation.

Wednesday afternoon, Schoeppner was charged with meth trafficking, promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia in connection with Tuesday’s search warrant. He was also charged with meth trafficking, promoting a dangerous drug, promoting a harmful drug and two counts of possessing drug paraphernalia for a December search warrant at the same house, during which he fled the scene. His bail was set at $96,500.

Jose Garcia

Jose Garcia

Garcia was charged with meth trafficking, promoting a detrimental drug, two counts of promoting a dangerous drug, two counts of possessing drug paraphernalia and five firearms offenses. His bail was set at $193,000.

David Mahi

David Mahi

Mahi was charged with two counts each of promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia. His bail was set at $8,000.

Teri Pedro

Teri Pedro

Pedro was charged with promoting a dangerous drug, promoting a harmful drug and possessing drug paraphernalia. Her bail was set at $5,000.

They remained at the cellblock until their initial court appearance on Thursday.

Mentoring Program Assists in Community Reintegration

HOPE Services Hawaii Inc. has launched “Mentoring,” a program designed to help recently released Hawaii Island prisoners transition back into the community.

Hope Services Hawaii

In partnership with the Department of Public Safety (DPS), HOPE will provide support, mentorship and skills training to help participants successfully reintegrate.

The program offers support by teaching positive values, providing training opportunities that develop job skills, and assists with securing stable work and living arrangements.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 95 percent of all individuals incarcerated will eventually be released and return to the community; of that, 77 percent will be arrested again within five years. In 2013, 1,615 inmates were released in Hawaii, many in need of housing and jobs.

HOPE Services, a non-profit specializing in homeless services and transitioning people off the streets, has committed to addressing the cycle of recidivism in 2015 through Mentoring. The two-year pilot program will provide support and mentorship for 50 adult male and female inmates island wide. The program already has secured 10 qualified volunteer mentors in East Hawaii, but more are needed to make Mentoring successful.

“Often, individuals released from incarceration feel helpless in their transition,” said Brandee Menino, Chief Executive Officer for HOPE Services. “The Mentoring program works with inmates before they are released, which allows them the opportunity to build on the skills and values needed to make reentry successful. It makes all the difference to have someone in your corner that believes in you and gives you hope.”

Through Mentoring, each participant is matched with a volunteer mentor who offers advice, provides positive support, helps hone skills development and assists with securing housing and employment. Mentors are trained to build and foster the relationship, providing non-judgmental support and guidance.

By the end of the Mentoring program, the goal is that participants have increased self-confidence and achieve a level of self-sufficiency through employment and housing and are contributing, productive members of society.

Community members interested in volunteering as a mentor must be 21 years or older and participate in a mentor training workshop. A Mentor Support Group meets monthly and is open to all volunteer mentors.

For more information, or if you would like to become a Mentor, contact Steven “Happy” Stachurski, HOPE Services Hawaii’s Mentoring Coordinator, at (808) 935-3050 or send an inquiry to volunteer@hopeserviceshawaii.org.

Michigan Man Dies After Police Car Hits Bicycle – Cop Arrested

A Michigan man died early Sunday (March 1) from a vehicle-bicycle crash in South Kohala.

HPDBadgeHe has been identified as 63-year-old Jeffrey C. Surnow of West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Police have determined that Surnow was riding a bicycle east on Waikoloa Road near the 11-mile marker when he was hit by a vehicle driven in the same direction by an on-duty police officer assigned to the South Kohala District. The officer who struck Surnow reported the crash around 6:25 a.m. Sunday.

Surnow was taken to North Kohala Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:25 a.m.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers initiated a negligent homicide investigation and arrested the officer, 30-year-old Jody Buddemeyer, on suspicion of negligent homicide. He was later released pending further investigation.

The Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation as is standard practice in any officer-involved fatality. The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, extension 229.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential

Puna Man in Custody on $1 Million Bail for Meth Trafficking & Other Offenses

A 31-year-old Puna man is in police custody on $1 million bail for meth trafficking and other drug and weapons charges.

Richard Theodore Frias

Richard Theodore Frias

Richard Theodore Frias of Mountain View was one of three men arrested Friday afternoon (February 20) during the execution of a search warrant at a home on the 200 block of Alaloa Road in the Waiākea Ūka area of Hilo.

Police recovered 7.75 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, paraphernalia associated with the distribution of “ice,” an unregistered handgun, two unregistered rifles and $5,700 in cash.

Two other men, 32-year-old Christopher Manukai Mae of Hilo, and 35-year-old Waylon Thomas of Hilo, were also arrested at the scene on suspicion of drug offenses. All three were taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Vice Section continued the investigation. In addition, Mae was charged with contempt of court for an unrelated bench warrant.

At 9 p.m. Saturday, detectives charged Frias with first-degree meth trafficking, possession of drug paraphernalia and three weapons offenses. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday (February 23).

Thomas was released Saturday pending further investigation. Mae was released Sunday after posting $1,500 bail for the contempt charge. Detectives continue to investigate drug offenses in connection with Thomas and Mae.

Carpet Cleaning Company Caught Dumping in Public Sewage Drains

Well Island Carpet Cleaning won’t be getting any of my business in the near future as one of their employees has been caught dumping stuff in a public sewage drain!

Island Carpet Cleaning