Cattlemen Sue Hawaii County Over GMO Ban

Hawaiian papaya and banana growers have joined cattlemen and floral producers to fight a ban on open-air growing and testing of genetically modified crops imposed by the Hawaii County Council.

The ban exempts existing papaya crops and growers. However, no new acres can be planted, according to the case filed June 9 in federal court. Hawaii County includes the entire Island of Hawaii. A scheduling hearing is set Sept. 8.

Growers say the ban — known as Bill 113 — conflicts with state and federal laws and is unconstitutional, according to the case filed by the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association (HPIA) and the Big Island Banana Growers Association. Other plaintiffs joining in the case include the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, the Pacific Floral Exchange and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

The Hawaii County Council approved Bill 113 in December with a 6-3 vote. It requires existing GMO growers to annually register and pay a $100 fee. In another court action, a judge recently ruled the county cannot make public growers’ personal information and specific field locations collected in the registry.

Growers challenged publication of the registry saying it would encourage vandalism, which has previously resulted in crop destruction.

Hawaii’s papaya industry was nearly destroyed by ringspot virus in the early 1990s, and development of the Rainbow variety was the industry’s answer. The Rainbow variety passed federal review and was first planted in 1998. According to court documents, at least 85% of the papaya crop grown on Hawaii Island is Rainbow.

“Bill 113 has stigmatized HPIA members by conveying a false message that (GMO) crops and plants harm human health and the environment and has imposed other costs on HPIA,” according to the lawsuit.

Banana growers, including Richard Ha who is a plaintiff in the federal case, contend they need the option to test and possibly plant GMO bananas to mitigate threats from bunchy top virus and other diseases.

More here: Cattlemen Sue Hawaii County Over GMO Ban

Star-Advertiser Poll Confirms that Majority Oppose Federal Involvement in Native Hawaiian Recognition

A new online poll by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser confirms that despite continued support from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a significant majority are opposed to the federal government’s involvement in the creation of a Native Hawaiian government.

Advertiser PollThe poll, which appeared on the Star-Advertiser website as a daily poll question for July 15, 2014, asked, “Should the U.S. Department of Interior keep open the process for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians?” An overwhelming 67% of those responding voted “No,” while only 33% supported the continuation of the DOI’s efforts.

In light of the strong opposition voiced at the recent DOI hearings, these results were not a surprise. Support for the nation-building process has waned over the years, but the recent efforts from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the federal response from the Department of the Interior have met with increasing criticism. Many Hawaiian citizens are concerned to see the nation-building process pursued so vigorously despite the many questions that have been raised about it.

“The people of Hawaii have put up a giant flashing ‘Stop’ sign for OHA and the federal government to see” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “In every possible venue they are expressing opposition to the state’s race-based nation-building program.   The question shouldn’t be whether the people support a Native Hawaiian government. The question should be whether the State will finally listen to the voice of the people and abandon this wasteful and divisive effort.”

“After the expenditure of millions of dollars and considerable influence, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has still failed to convince the People of the merit of its nation-building effort,” continued Dr. Akina. “How much more will they throw away on this process? These resources could be better spent helping the people of Hawaii in real and substantial ways such as improving educational achievement or job training. Let us hope that OHA finally hears what the citizens of Hawaii have been trying so hard to tell them–it’s time to get out of the nation-building business.”

2014 “Rusty Scalpel” Winner Announced

The League of Women Voters and Common Cause Hawaii have a 2014 “Rusty Scalpel” winner, HB2434, CD1, Relating to the Transient Accommodations Tax! The two organizations offer a “Rusty Scalpel” award for the most altered bill whose original content is no longer recognizable because of “surgical techniques” that changed the original purpose of the bill.

hb2434During a Conference Committee near the end of the 2014 legislative session, without meaningful opportunity for public or agency comment, HB 2434 SD 2 was drastically amended. When introduced the measure was a bill to allocate $3 million of hotel tax revenues to a multi-purpose conservation fund. After the Conference Committee discarded the SD2, the bill morphed to a measure to refinance the Convention Center debt. Proceeds of the refinancing will be used to acquire the conservation easement at Turtle Bay, Oahu. Regardless of the final proposal’s merits, there was no compelling reason not to extend the session and hold public hearings on this important amended bill.

HB2434_SD2 Pdf File
HB2434_SD1 Pdf File
HB2434_HD2 Pdf File
HB2434_HD1 Pdf File
HB2434_CD1 Pdf File
HB2434 Pdf File

It disrespects Hawaii’s Constitution when a legislative committee adopts bill amendments with no rational connection to the subject of the bill referred to that committee. Article III, Section 14 of our Constitution specifically requires that each bill have a single subject expressed in the bill’s title and prohibits changing any bill’s title. Article III, Section 15 requires that each bill have three separate readings in each house of the Legislature. The unambiguous intent is to encourage informed public comment on all proposed legislation and thorough consideration of all relevant factors by both House and Senate subject matter committees. The public obviously is not aware of and cannot comment on substantive amendments being proposed in Conference Committee.

Ann Shaver, League President, said “This makes a travesty of the democratic process. Just because there are enough votes to pass a measure doesn’t make it Constitutional. HB2434 CD1 proposed a new idea, maybe even a great idea, but it was obviously unrelated to the bill’s original purpose. The content of the CD1 stunned us; it was passed without a single public hearing when there was no emergency. “

Carmille Lim of Common Cause added, “Citizens should be able to participate in the legislative process in a fair and orderly manner. In this case, a $40 million dollar appropriation was grafted on to a major last-minute change, depriving many members of the legislature from the normal review and give and take of budget discussions. Gutting bills and replacing content with new and unrelated content that alters the bill’s original intention does a disservice to members of the public and distorts the legislative process.

“Last year the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and other civic organizations petitioned both houses of the Legislature asking that they amend legislative rules to ban such practices, but the legislature chose to do nothing. Maybe a Constitutional amendment to prohibit this would make democracy work a little better.

In the 2014 session the League and Common Cause identified dozens of bills which were subjected to these techniques. For example, HB 193 concerned developer compliance with conditions for land use district boundary amendments while HB 193, SD 1 concerned use of State property for transit-oriented development. Or for example, SB 2535 concerned State acquisition of real property for agricultural production while SB 2535, proposed HD 1 concerned labeling of genetically modified food.

In general, when the subject of a bill was totally changed after cross-over, only one public hearing was held on the amended subject (with the Senate totally disregarding public testimony to the House, and the House totally disregarding public testimony to the Senate). However, HB2434, CD1 was our “winner” because not only was it a “gut and replace” no hearing was held on the CD1 version of the bill.

Common Cause Hawaii is a state chapter of the national Common Cause organization. Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to protecting and improving Hawaii’s political process and holding government accountable to the public interest. For more information, www.commoncause.org/states/hawaii/

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information visit http://www.lwv-hawaii.com/index.htm

HAAS School Board Hides Executive Session Meeting – Cops Called to Protect Board – More Abuse Commentary

Last night there was supposed to be a resolution to an executive session that was going on with Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science (HAAS) school alleging teacher abuse made by a few parents of students that attended classes instructed by a teacher there named in the newspaper as Shannon Smith.

Shannon Smith

Shannon Smith

The meeting was originally scheduled for today at 5:00 at HAAS School in Pahoa.  When parents and community members arrived they were met with a sign that basically told them the meeting was an executive session and that it had been moved to an undisclosed location per HSTA.

HAAS Meeting 363

We then thought of places where this meeting might have been moved to and we drove to HAAS’s Virtual Campus located behind Black Rock Cafe and we saw cars that we recognized as board member cars and decided we would wait outside the meeting there to get the results that we were told we would have last night.

HAAS Parent David Marquis outside the Virtual Campus.  HSTA Rep Tanya Yamanaka on the left by the building.

HAAS Parent David Marquis outside the Virtual Campus. HSTA Rep Rae Yamanaka on the left by the building.

When we arrived HSTA Member Rae Yamanaka was waiting outside along with a few other HAAS teachers.   I talked with the HSTA member (Ms. Yamanaka if I remember correctly) she told me she wasn’t aware of why she was called to the meeting.

About 20 of us were outside and then a bunch of Hawaii County Police Officers showed up.

HAAS Meeting 374

I listened to what the Police officers were saying and one of them was talking to a supervisor and he said to his supervisor that nothing was going on just a bunch of folks standing outside waiting around.

One of the Police Officers asked me I if was “Damon Tucker”.  I told him yes I was.  He asked me what I was doing there… I told him that I wanted to hear the results of the executive session.  He asked me why I was so interested in it.  I told him I had a nephew that was allegedly abused by the teacher.  The officer then asked me who my nephew was… I told the officer it was none of his business who my nephew was and quit talking to him.

HAAS Meeting 376

Around 6:00 HSTA member Yamanaka drove by the group and informed us that the meeting was cancelled and she didn’t give us a reason.

The board members continued to stay inside the building and we were intent on waiting outside until we got answers from them.  When they did finally leave the building the following unfolded including one of the Board Members telling us that we were stalkers:

So now we are still left looking for answers.

HAAS parent David Marquis sent me the following commentary on what he feels is going on:

My name is Dave Marquis and my wife and I have a child in the Mana’olana program. We have known this teacher since the beginning of this school year, August 2013, and more than once or twice, we thought she was a great teacher. She is confident, energetic, knowledgeable, very firm on students. She was working on teaching the students “respect” all the time. We wish we could listen to her side of the story from her mouth, in person. I really wish we could. It would’ve been so easy to hate her not knowing her in person. We drop off and pick up our child every day at Mana’olana, and get to see other students playing after school while they wait for their parents to pick them up and to see this teacher every day also.

For those who consider HAAS as a great school with many wonderful teachers, it must be hard to believe this numerous amount of abuse incidents as well as the principal Mr. Steve Hirakami and the Ohana director Ms. Debra Derbyshire covering up this whole thing. They did nothing about it this past 3+ months (since the end of January) and not only that, they wanted to pretend like nothing happened. We wanted to believe that this was a good school. However, they handled this matter very poorly. They didn’t do what they were supposed to do and trying to even cover up these incidents. They did nothing for these children after the incidents were reported. They did one thing though; they were trying to suppress the facts and to protect their reputations.

The kids this age exaggerate, we know it as parents. However, if you have a good relationship with your child, you probably can tell if your child is telling the truth or not, making it up or not, exaggerating just a bit or a lot. We feel so guilty about not paying more attention to what my child has said about his teacher in the past. There were many signs of the abuse from the beginning. Whoever is in doubt should’ve seen when she was yelling at the kids. When she yells, she does so like an old sister yelling at their younger siblings, far from how teacher should handle children. She stabbed the student’s hearts with all these mean words if not physically. Do not get fooled by her previously perceived good reputation. We are sure some people only know her wonderful side. In fact, we were the ones. We believed that she was a great teacher because we thought my child was exaggerating. How can you believe what he said, “This boy got duct taped on today!” You would be thinking “You gotta be kidding me! A teacher should be smart enough not to do that nowadays.” Sadly we learned that she has another side as well. Believe it or not, we wanted to believe so bad that she was a decent teacher after we learned that she got in trouble. We did not know what kind of trouble”s” she was in, but we thought there was some misunderstanding or something. We had high hopes for her as my child’s teacher until recently, but sadly it is shuttered completely after all of these things that have happened to our son and his classmates.

There are always 2 sides to the story; however, we strongly believe the student’s side of the story this time. They are 4th graders, smart enough not to mess around with this kind of stuff. They do not make this up. They have scars from their teacher who should be caring and loving. They can imagine what the consequences Ms. Smith will face after everything comes out in public. That is why it took so long for them to speak up. They were not telling parents everything they have experienced. They must have been in fear. I heard some students having nightmares because of what their teacher had done and without the help of the two assistant teachers who knew all about it but didn’t do anything.

My son was very afraid of her, he still is, from the very beginning. My husband and I used to think she was like a fire cracker, in a good way. We thought the students in this class will have lots of fun! She did not seem like a typical gentle kind type of teacher. She sounded like a very energetic, confident, fun, outgoing teacher who is never boring to be around. We moved from mainland just 2-3 weeks before this school year started. Everything was new to us. My son was probably somewhat nervous as he is the new student of the class where most students knew each other already.

We can personally attest to the effects that have changed my son forever. His innocence has changed in ways that shouldn’t have been for his age. He has trust issues that were never there before Shannon Smith crashed into our lives like a wrecking ball. He has had a hard time trusting us as parents for fear that we would get his hands or feet chopped off, screamed at, hit with books or have his ears flicked and it has taken quite a while to open up about what transgressed at the H.A.A.S Manao’lana. My son has also been dealing with unexplained anger issues that cropped up after he started the 4th grade class under Shannon Smith. He would be so full of uncontrolled rage that we would have to practically restrain him at times to explain how this or that behavior was unacceptable. He becomes very scared at the slightest correction from his parents. Sometimes even terrified we would say. He started to say “What the heck!” and “I don’t know” as an answer for question. He was afraid of expressing what he was feeling because he was afraid of Ms. Shannon Smith in class. He has to say “I don’t know” first and see the reaction, then only after he knows that he was safe enough to say what he was thinking, he could say, I think ____ or ____. He had to say something Miss Shannon Smith wanted to hear or he could possibly meet with her anger.

Shannon Smith came to H.A.A.S highly praised for her work in a tough Los Angeles, CA school, but I guess warning bells should have been tripped. I heard all these things in a matter of 1-2 weeks after school started. We thought my son was exaggerating. We didn’t believe what he said 100%. We thought whoever got duct-tape on was not listening or misbehaving or something, and thought she would not put a full force in that kind of discipline. She says “What the heck!”all the time and “What the hell!” occasionally. She yells at students or says “Shut Up!”, this is like everyday thing. She was even yelling at some 1st students that are the next door.

It seems to us that she decided that the Mana’olana students in 4th grade were out of control and need some “inner city” type discipline because that is what they received, maybe even third world discipline from what our son is telling us. Shannon Smith also has two teaching assistants that saw a lot of what transpired but failed to stop the abuse or report it. The HAAS counselor, Uncle Matt, who is very close friends with Ms. Shannon Smith apparently witnessed and or knew about abuse and did nothing to stop it.

These two Teaching Assistants and the school Counselor are still working at H.A.A.S and one aide is even still in the classroom at Manao’lana, who were present but didn’t lift a hand to stop Shannon Smith nor did they report the abuse as required by law.

She was so annoyed too frequently by these students for just giggling and laughing or even just a noise of somebody making constantly, like pushing the mechanical pencil or making noise on the desk with fingers or making noise on the floor with the shoes, etc. Our son always said “You are going to get flicked the ear by Miss Smith if you keep it up!” when his younger sister was making noise in the car one day. He did say the same thing every time his younger sisters did make some constant noises.

Shannon Smith threatened our son and the other classmates to chop off their hands and feet if they couldn’t hold them still. Shannon also threatened to break the hands of children if they couldn’t keep them to themselves or hold still. A few months ago our son had two day break down when he had been acting out and we were upset at his behavior. He sobbed and cried for many, many hours in belief that we would be chopping off his feet because of what he had done. We didn’t know about his mental torment that he endured at the hands of Shannon Smith and her teaching assistants. At first we found it a bit funny, but he didn’t. He was terrified to his core! Shannon Smith had engrained it into my son that bad kids get their hands and feet chopped off and he thought that was going to happen to him. How evil! It was a rough and shaky couple of days to calm him down.

She would scream threats at children. My son has also told me that Shannon Smith would often tell him and the other classroom students that they were idiots or stupid. Shannon Smith also would scream and yell at the 1st grade kids that are right next door on a often basis. She also used rough language with the students and used curse words on the children. We have had an ongoing issue keeping our son from telling other kids to “shut up” and he has learned to say “What the hell” quite often from Ms. Smith.

We were told one day that the desk and chairs had been removed from the classroom when our son returned home from school, which was our second clue that there was something wrong in the Manao’Lana classroom. This was done apparently because of one student’s actions from what we understand. We wonder if this student has moved to the mainland to get away?

I received this email that same day that was posted on Shannon’s Shutterfly web site from another parent:

“Is it true that our children have had their desks and chairs taken away and made to sit on the floor these past few days?  If so, I am interested to hear the reason why.”

I posed an inquiry on Shannon Smith’s web forum about the removal of the desks, chairs, books and other classroom materials and why I was learning this from my son and not some form of official classroom change and this seemed to be weird to me. She exploded and sounded like she did the right thing and there was nothing for the parents to do other than trust her actions and skills. I was greeted with this response from Shannon Smith:

“Quite frankly, I did not have the time to call 17 families on Monday. It’s almost 4:00 PM, and I am nowhere near being able to leave here today as I prepare for tomorrow and next week.” I wonder how my child’s back felt like hunched over while trying to write? I know I wouldn’t be happy with this situation and I wanted to know more.

I responded to Shannon Smith with:

“I feel the same way and I need to know if my son is causing the trouble at school. I am not sure the removal of the desks is the right answer.”

This is the reply I received from her:

…. “appreciate your concerns as parents, but please trust my judgements and actions as a teacher. I do, in fact, have a master’s degree in Education, and am well versed in both working in a childs’ Zone of Proximal Development, and developmentally appropriate learning activities. I am happy to discuss these more in-depth with you, and even provide literature if you would like. Heck, read my thesis if you want. Moreover, if you have a concern, feel free to contact me personally via email and not on this message board.”

It was big news that Ms. Shannon Smith was removed from the class room and came as a surprise. It was the end of January when we learned from my son that Ms. Shannon Smith didn’t come to school and was not coming back for a while because of the “police” investigation.

Our conversation in the car on our way back home was something like
- How was your day?

- Fine.

- How was Miss Smith?

– Oh she wasn’t there. She is not going to be at school for a while.

- Why? What’s going on? (We had no clue!)

- I don’t know………… She got in trouble.
- Why?

-Because (boy’s name) got duck taped on. I told you a long time ago.
-Yes I remember you said that. You weren’t joking??

-No I wasn’t.

-Did they do anything to you guys?

-I got interviewed today.

-By who?

-Uncle Matt. (school counselor)

- What did he ask?

- I am not supposed to tell you. I was told not to say anything to anybody.
- WHAT! You can always tell us anything. They just didn’t want you to tell anybody you know. But you can always tell us about everything, the stuff that is happening at school.

After that day, we were forced to remain silent until the parent meeting in April. We hadn’t been told a word about what happened at the school, or what happen to the students. Shockingly, only about 10 parents (the parents of 9 kids at Mana’olana) came to the meeting to find out what the meeting was all about. The first hour of the meeting was about how incredible this new teacher was. Mr. Steve Hirakami kept saying “We need to Imua.” (meaning to move forward) Then one parent started speaking out. We cannot move on unless something has to be done about this particular incident. Then we started learning other things as well. The school counselor lost one paper that the parents reported to him, it was the list of things Ms.Smith did to them and the other students and of things they saw in the class.

I guess this is where we should have really kept an eye on the actions and judgments the teachers at Manao’lana. I feel that Shannon Smith was way out of line and there is no excuse for these torments my son and other classmates endured.

Three months after Shannon Smith was removed from the classroom Ms. Smith shows up at the May 2nd H.A.A.S. Hoolaulea hugging, sitting and chatting with Ms. Derbyshire as if she didn’t have a care in the world. How callous of Mr. Hirakami and Ms. Derbyshire, who knew that there was a temporary restraining order against Ms. Shannon Smith, to let her show up and re-intimidate the students of Manao’lana. Have they no common sense as educators and so called “protectors” of our children?

Where was the Administration in all of this?

Why has it taken 100+ days to get a smidgen of information?

Did they not monitor Shannon Smith, a first year teacher at Manao’lana?

Did Mr. Hirakami or Ms. Derbyshire call the police to stop the classroom abuse or to perform an investigation?

Did Mr. Hirakami or Ms. Derbyshire report these incidents to the Hawaii Department of Education?

Why are the teacher’s aides still teaching at H.A.A.S let alone still present in the classroom?

In my opinion this has been a cover up from the beginning. Not only does Shannon Smith need to be formally fired and her record reflection these events, the teacher’s aides and the school counselor are also complicit in the abuse and failed our children as well and they too need to me formally fired and their employment records marked with these events. Mr. Steve Hirakami and Ms. Deb Derbyshire need to resign and apologize to my son, my family and the other children in the 4th Grade Manao’lana class as they have fail them and the H.A.A.S Public charter school as a whole.

We believe Ms. Shannon Smith, Mr. Steve Hirakami and Ms. Derbyshire should never be allowed into positions of power again as they have shown a lack of human decency and moral fiber. They have truly failed our children and community.

 

Serial Predator Catholic Cleric Allegedly Now Lives in Hawaii

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 8627688,SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

A Christian brother, who is accused of molesting dozens of children across the country, is allegedly living in Hawaii. We hope church officials will act responsibly and warn unsuspecting families about this dangerous man.

http://www.seattleweekly.com/home/952352-129/the-final-final-trial-of-edward

Edward Courtney

Edward Courtney

Edward Courtney joined the Christian Brothers of Ireland in 1957 and according to church records immediately started to prey on young boys. That was in New York. Since then he has been a teacher and coach at roughly 10 different schools – Catholic and public – across the US, including IL, MI, WA, and NV.

Transferring predator clergy is one of the most callous and dangerous actions church officials can take. Because of these heartless and irresponsible officials dozens of children were molested. 50 victims of Br. Courtney have come forward; we suspect there are many more suffering in silence and self blame. We urge church officials in Hawaii to warn their flock about Br. Courtney.

We hope anyone who is suffering in silence will speak up and get help. We hope anyone who saw or suspects anything will report to law enforcement. And we hope church officials, in all the places Courtney worked, will publicly disclose his whereabouts, work history and photo.

UH Hilo Students File Ethics Complaint Against UHSA Election Committee

A group of seven University of Hawaii Hilo students have filed a group ethics complaint against the University of Hawaii Student Association Election Committee alleging the university has an institutional environment that fosters unfair practices.

These students have filed an ethics complaint against the UH Hilo Election Committee.

These students have filed an ethics complaint against the UH Hilo Election Committee.

WHAT HAPPENED

We, students of UH Hilo have been wrongfully discriminated against by the University of Hawaii Student Association Election Committee consisting of Yuri Zhuraw and Joyce Pulega Auau under the advice of Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano. We were informed on Thursday, April 24, 2014 that the 7 of us running for student government have been ‘disqualified’ for violating the Election Code. No specifics were given, no warnings, no appeal process, no response. This is an example of an institutional environment that fosters unfair practices.

Numerous complaints were made against the election committee and the unfair advice of Ellen Kusano (see individual complaints below). One student had a piece of paper grabbed from his hands by an election official. Another student with a disability was told he could not use a piece of paper with endorsed candidates, became discouraged, and did not vote. Another student was disqualified to run for office the day after the election, after she had been confirmed as a candidate weeks prior. UH Hilo students deserve better. We are the shareholders of the university and we call for UH Hilo to be fair, open, and transparent.

SOLUTION

We call for the UH Hilo Student Association Election Committee to rescind their decision of ‘disqualification.’ We call for an open, fair, and transparent vote count. We call for a censure of Ellen Kusano, and ask that she be removed from any position where she has influence over students. We call for UHHSA to select and pay for a professional student government adviser and clerk and allow student government autonomy.

Mahalo,

UH Hilo student candidates:

Glenn Aanstoos          Ryu Kakazu
Josh Boranian             Chantelle Mashregry
Jarod Campbell           Ardena Saarinen

Election Complaints:
1.

UHHSA Election Complaint

April 25, 2014

At 9:49pm on April 24, 2014 I received a notification from UHHSA stating that I was disqualified from the campaign.

I filled out all of the paperwork that I was given in the election packet.

In the packet it states ‘candidates would be notified of eligibility by April 11.’

I received an eligibility confirmation on April 10.

In the packet it states, ‘Failure to attend mandatory meeting would be disqualified if not provided a alternate.’ Ryu Kakazu attended the meeting for me as my alternate and as my paperwork reflected, recorded the meeting for me, and I then listened to that recording.

I feel that my disqualification is outrageous and deceptive practice of the organization where they tell us their philosophy is fair open and honest is certainly questionable and I do not feel this is fair treatment. I feel like the UHHSA Election Committee changed the rules as they wanted.

Ardena Saarinen

UH Student

ardena@hawaii.edu

2.

Election Complaint

April 25, 2014

On 11am Wednesday, April 24, 2014 I went to vote in the student government elections. I had a paper with me with the names of the people I wanted to vote for. I was told at the table that I could not use the paper. I have a disability that limits my short term memory. I left the table discouraged. My caretaker, Stephen Paulmier approached the table and told them that I had a disability and should be allowed to use my paper to vote. The election official agreed that I could use the paper. By that time I was discouraged and left without voting. I hope the election process can be improved in the future for disabled people.

Thank you,

Keola Benjamin

UH Student

keolai@hawaii.edu

3.

Attn: UHHSA

Re: Election Complaint

April 24, 2014

Hello, my name is Joshua Boranian and I am running for the senator seat of the CAFNRM. Over the past two days I was actively campaigning. Spending meager amounts of money to print my ideals I was willing to work for and my name on a small piece of paper to hand out to students. Not just passing out paper but asking for a minute to explain my platform and if they agreed I expressed the importance of voting for me. I was shocked to learn that they were turning students away from the voting table for holding this piece of paper, or straight snatching the paper out of students hands under the claim that this was unethical campaigning. How is that unethical campaigning? In fact, on the last page of the election packet I received from UHHSA says to “consider making handouts or stickers for campaigning on the voting days.” I feel that not only I was being discouraged from participating in a democratic process but the student body was too.  Many students complained to me about their voting experience ranging from no privacy, no signage, being told to throw away the paper before voting, having the paper taken away from them forcefully, etc. What I want to know is why the workers of the voting table were following these rules and who handed them these guidelines? I feel student rights were being violated on multiple levels and now distrust me and the organization I am trying to be elected into. Whoever is in charge needs to express why they felt this was the right thing to do and apologize. I hope that this distrust that has developed doesn’t continue as it will only hinder student and student government relations.

Thank you for your time to review my concerns.

Sincerely,

Joshua Boranian

UH Hilo Student College of Agriculture

josh2008@hawaii.edu

4.

Formal Election Complaint UHHSA

April 24, 2014

I, Ryu Kakazu, hereby make a formal complaint to the UH Hilo Student Association Election Committee, The UH Hilo Student Association, Campus Center, and the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs office.I called the UHHSA office today, Thursday, April 24th, at 9:21am, the day after the UHHSA elections, and was told by Johan that the ballot box location was confidential. Johan went on to say that only the two members of the UHHSA Election Committee has access to the ballot box. Johan told me that he got his information from Yuri, who is on the Election Committee. I asked to speak to Yuri and Yuri refused to speak with me. I told Johan that I would like to make a formal complaint about the lack of transparency with the election process. From actions demonstrated throughout the UHHSA election process over the past two days I do not have confidence that the ballots will remain untampered. I request that the location of ballot box be made public, that its security is verified, and that observers be allowed to participate in the counting process.

Aloha,

Ryu Kakazu
UH Hilo student CAS

5.

Election Complaint
April 24, 2014

At around 2:30pm on Tuesday, April 22 at the election area I was told by the people working at the election table that I would have to put my endorsement ticket away. They told me that I wasn’t able to look at it. I was shocked that I was told this like I don’t have the right to access my own private property. I have friends who were told they were not able to access their endorsement list while voting and they became discouraged and never ended up voting. The next day I witnessed Ellen Kusano telling the people working at the election table that, ‘If a student comes with one of these [endorsement tickets] please ask them if they will throw it away because it is improper in the voting area, if they don’t want to they don’t have to.’ I was surprised to hear her advising UHHSA members to knowingly discourage students to do something that is within their rights.

Thank you,
Jarod Campbell

Student- University of Hawaii at Hilo

jarodc@hawaii.edu

6.

UH Hilo Election Complaint
April 24, 2014

Aloha UHHSA,

I am running for Senator at Large for UHHSA. I was told by Ellen Kusano on Wednesday, April 23, the second day of the UHHSA elections that it was unethical for me to hand out endorsement papers. I was outside of the voting area, employing my democratic rights. I was insulted that Mrs. Kusano, an authority figure on campus, called my legitimate actions unethical.

The same day I witnessed a student with a learning disability being told that he wasn’t able to have his endorsement ticket with him while voting, and that he would have to remember the names on the ticket away from the table, and then return to vote. The student suffers from a learning disability affecting his short term memory. He was embarrassed from having this highlighted and ultimately discouraged from voting.

Many people were discouraged from voting because of the aggressive attitude demonstrated by UHHSA senators working at the election table. It was clear that they were being instructed by Ellen Kusano.

Thank you for hearing my complaint,

Chantelle ​Mashreghy

UH Hilo student

csm74@hawaii.edu

7.

Election Complaint

April 25, 2014

I went to vote in the UHHSA elections around 12:30pm on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. I had my endorsement list in my hand that was given to me by a trusted friend. I wanted to

vote for the people on the list. Yuri Zhuraw physically grabbed the paper from out of my hand and told me that there is no campaign material in the election area. I was not campaigning nor do I consider the endorsement ticket ‘campaign material.’ I felt assaulted. I told Yuri that I thought it was disrespectful that he had done that. He could

have simply told me something without taking my property. I hope in the future the UHHSA election process could be run with more respect for students.

Aloha,

Nathan Clark

UH Hilo Student

natclark108@gmail.com

You can view their group complaint here: group ethics complaint

Governor Abercrombie to Sign Industrial Hemp Bill

On Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 3 pm, in the Office of the Governor, Governor Abercrombie will officially sign SB2175 into law. SB2175 authorizes the University of Hawaii at Manoa to establish a two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel research program.

Click to view bill

Click to view bill

This year, the United States Senate approved the Agriculture Act of 2014, also known as the “Farm Bill,” and industrial hemp is now allowed to be grown for research purposes. According to the National Farm Bill, any university can now grow industrial hemp without obtaining a Drug Enforcement Agency permit. Twenty-two other states, including Colorado and Oregon, have passed legislation relating to industrial hemp similar to Hawaii’s SB2175.

State Representative Cynthia Thielen has long been a proponent of industrial hemp because the economic capabilities of the crop will be a great asset for the State and will promote self-sustainability. In addition to hemp being used to decontaminate soil, hemp can also be processed into building materials.
“Hempcrete, a hemp and lime composite, is termite proof, making it an excellent choice for the construction industry,” declared Representative Cynthia Thielen.

Representative Thielen notes, “There is a huge global market for hemp and the U.S. is the largest consumer at nearly $500 million per year. The passage of SB2175 is the first step for Hawaii to become a national and global player in the hemp market. We could profit hugely off this environmentally friendly crop.”

Former Hawaii Government Chief and Priest Sued, Victims Respond

A former government chief, who resigned from his position after sexual misconduct allegations, has been sued for child sex abuse from when he was a priest. We are glad that victims are being given a voice and grateful for the brave victim for speaking up.

http://www.k5thehometeam.com/story/25326385/catholic-priest-sued-over-alleged-assault-of-kailua-teen

Marc Alexander

Marc Alexander

As this lawsuit moves forward, we hope more information is revealed about how Marc Alexander was able to keep his position as Homeless Coordinator, despite an email warning of the sexual misconduct allegations against him and despite being removed as a priest in 2011.

Alexander was accused of sexual misconduct with a woman while he was a Catholic priest. We want to know why the Governor’s office did not act immediately after receiving warnings about Alexander. He was allowed to resign for “personal matters” a year later after the allegations were threatened to be made public.

According to the email that was sent the diocese was aware of the allegations and the staff at the governor’s office assumed someone else would handle the situation. It is wrong and dangerous to pass the buck on sexual abuse allegations.

http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2012/02/10/14833-former-state-workers-say-governors-office-was-warned-about-alexander/

We applaud the courageous survivor who filed this complaint for coming forward and taking this action in the interest of truth, justice, and the protection of children.

While we are grateful for the 2-year window during which Hawaii lifted the statute of limitations for such crimes – a window that has allowed this case to move forward – we believe sexual crimes against children should carry no statute of limitations whatsoever.

Regardless of such limitations, we urge anyone who has suffered, witnessed or suspects similar crimes to come forward and contact secular authorities.

Statement by Joelle Casteix, Southern California Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949-322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com)

HVO Update – Lava Flow Slowly Creeping Towards Subdivisions

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow moving slowly through remote forest, spattering at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The Kahaualeʻa 2 lava flow remains active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and is still moving slowly through thick forest. The active flows retreated a short amount over the past week due to a deflation-inflation cycle at the summit, with the farthest active flows today at about 7.5 km (4.7 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. These farthest active flows are evident by the smoke in the left hand portion of the photograph. The stalled flow front, in the foreground, is at 8.3 km (5.2 miles) from the vent.
Another view of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow front, with a normal photograph at the left and a corresponding thermal image on the right. The thermal image shows the distribution of active pāhoehoe lobes clearly, with active flows shown by the white colors. This image shows how the active flows have retreated a short distance back from the stalled flow front over the past week.

In Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, a small lava pond (about 5 meters, or yards, wide) continued to be active and was still “gas pistoning” today. Gas pistoning is a cyclic rise and fall of the lava pond surface due to gas buildup and release. During the fall phase, intense spattering disrupts the lava pond surface and releases the accumulated gas. Each cycle lasted about five to ten minutes.

Continued lava lake activity in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

A closer view of the lava lake in the Overlook crater, within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea’s summit. The lake is now about 160 m by 200 m (520 x 700 feet) in size. The lava rises to the surface in the northern part of the lake (right side in this photograph) and flows towards the south (left). Cracks around the Overlook crater rim (right side of photo) suggest that future collapses of the rim will occur at some point.

Full Video – Big Island Farmer Exposed as Sexual Predator

In a breaking international news video, a Big Island farmer is found living in hiding in Florida, after his victims in Hawaii came forward to sue him for child sexual abuse.

VICE News today presents Love Serve Surrender. In the documentary, VICE News investigates alleged pedophile Jay Ram, who for decades has managed to foster, adopt, and care for dozens of boys referred by charities and child welfare agencies, despite repeated warning signs that he was a sexual predator.

VICE News today presents Love Serve Surrender. In the documentary, VICE News investigates alleged pedophile Jay Ram, who for decades has managed to foster, adopt, and care for dozens of boys referred by charities and child welfare agencies, despite repeated warning signs that he was a sexual predator.

A VICE News exclusive investigation: Hippie guru Jay Ram was hailed as a public hero for fostering, adopting, and caring for dozens of boys that had nowhere else to go. But years later, a new picture has emerged. Several of his sons have come forward to say that he preyed on them sexually and forced them to recruit other boys to molest. VICE News has uncovered new evidence that shows that charities and child welfare agencies missed several clear warning signs, and continued to place new children in Ram’s care. Until now, he has never faced justice.

…I remember the first time going up there,” says Carlos, now burly and bearded with a large tribal tattoo on his bald scalp. “It was on a big, dry ranch. It was really hot, and I saw all these boys, different nationalities. I said, ‘Wow! Where’s the mom?’ I wasn’t really thinking about it because I saw all these boys having fun…. They could cuss. It’s like they could do whatever they wanted there. And you know, it was cool.”

Just two weeks later, Ram abruptly moved to the Big Island of Hawaii with some of the boys. Shortly thereafter, he was approved to adopt them, and the boys became brothers. As a family, they lived together on a sprawling but secluded property nestled amongst cane fields, dramatic cliffs overlooking the deep blue Pacific, and rolling hills covered with thick rainforest. It looked like paradise. It was anything but.

Alleged victims told us Ram set up a ranking system for the boys, pitting them against one another in a competition for clothes, food, and his affection.

“You were either a ‘Snoot’ or a ‘Louse,’” explains Jared Legro, who met Ram’s boys at a local surf spot and began spending time at their home. He says that Snoots got special treatment, like desserts or trips to the mall or new surfboards. They were also “rewarded” with a chance to sleep with Ram…

More here: An Alleged Pedophiles Perfect Scam

The video, produced by VICE NEWS out of New York, tells the story of former Hakalau farmer Jay Ram, who adopted dozens of boys in California and Hawaii. He then used the boys for sex and slave labor. Ram has been featured in numerous print stories in Hilo. http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/local-news/former-hakalau-sex-abuse-suspect-located-florida

The video also shows how social services had complaints against Ram dating back almost a decade, but failed to protect the boys in Ram’s care.

The boys were able to sue Ram for abuse because of a landmark Hawaii “window” law that allows victims of child sex abuse to use the civil courts for justice, no matter when the abuse occurred. The law expires on April 24.

Jay Ram LetterMembers of SNAP worked with the victims to help expose Ram and encourage other victims and witnesses to come forward.

Lava Flow Update – Kahauale’a 2 Flow Continues Moving Through Forest

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active, with scattered pāhoehoe breakouts driving slow advancement of the flow field through the forest.

Breakouts at the flow margins trigger forest fires, and numerous plumes of smoke. Today, the flow front was 8.2 km (5.1 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.
A comparison of a thermal image (left) with a normal photograph (right) of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow front. Brighter colors in the thermal image depict hotter surface temperatures, with white and yellow areas showing active pāhoehoe breakouts. These breakouts are distributed in a scattered fashion across this portion of the flow field. The vent for the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow is on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, visible in the upper left of the photograph.

A view of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater from the north, looking southeast. In the foreground, the crater rim has red hues due to oxidized cinder and spatter from the early days of Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the 1980s. In the center of the photograph, the black crater floor consists of lava flows erupted in the last several years, with several spatter cones built upon these flows. Near the left edge of the photograph, a small perched lava pond has been active in recent months. A closer view of the lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. The lava pond has partially closed over the past several weeks, and today was about 5 meters (yards) in diameter – about half of the diameter from two weeks ago. The pond was spattering, with small bits of airborne spatter visible in this photograph.

Island Air Signs Purchase Agreement for up to Six Planes – Looking to Expand

Bombardier Aerospace announced today that Hawaii Island Air, Inc. (Island Air) has placed a firm order for two Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners and has also taken options for four additional Q400 NextGen aircraft. The aircraft will be delivered with a dual-class, 71-seat configuration. Island Air is Hawaii’s leading regional airline and second oldest carrier.

Q400 NextGen turboprop

Inside a Q400 NextGen turboprop

Based on the list price of the Q400 NextGen airliner, the firm order is valued at approximately $60.9 million US. The value could increase to $188 million US should Island Air exercise all its options.

“As part of our ongoing restructuring and expansion strategy, the Island Air team considered a number of aircraft and we are pleased to announce the selection of the Q400 NextGen turboprop. With its superior speed, performance and fuel efficiency; outstanding operational flexibility; and market-leading passenger comfort, the Q400 NextGen aircraft is the optimal solution for our needs,” said Paul Casey, President and Chief Executive Officer, Island Air.

“We are pleased to partner with Bombardier as Island Air moves to redefine regional travel within the Hawaiian Islands and offer our passengers the premium product they expect. The Q400 NextGen aircraft is clearly the most suitable airliner for Island Air and will provide a superior passenger experience coupled with unbeatable performance. My experience with Bombardier over the years has been nothing but positive which has further led to our selection of the Q400 NextGen aircraft for the next chapter of Island Air,” said Island Air’s owner, Larry Ellison.

“We are proud to welcome Island Air back to the Bombardier family and we are excited to see the Q400 NextGen airliner take to Hawaiian skies,” said Ryan DeBrusk, Regional Vice President, Sales, Americas, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The Q400 NextGen aircraft with its superior passenger comfort and market-leading performance characteristics will serve Island Air well as it embarks on its re-fleeting strategy.”

“The Q400 NextGen aircraft is designed to respond to the needs of an evolving market and our growing customer base shows that the aircraft is creating excellent value for operators and meeting a wide variety of business requirements. This operational flexibility maximizes the profit potential of the aircraft and positions it well ahead of competitive aircraft,” said Ray Jones, Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Asset Management, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “I’m delighted that Island Air has chosen to re-join the Bombardier family and I wish the airline much success in its future ventures.” Island Air currently offers flights to and from the islands of Oahu, Maui, Lanai and Kauai.

Visits to Correctional Centers Cancelled… Again!

For the second weekend in a row… visits at Correctional Centers have been cancelled.

Hawaii State LogoIt is rumored that the correctional centers are understaffed and that guards are intentionally calling in sick to bring attention to the matter.

  • Visitation at Oahu Community Correctional Center has been cancelled for the day.  To check the OCCC hotline you can call 832-1623. The Department of Public Safety has started putting out visitation cancellation notices through social media in an effort to get the word out faster to people who are planning to come to the facility to visit a loved one. Watch for these posts between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on the scheduled visitation day.  To find out more about visitation schedules for each facility go to our website at dps.hawaii.gov.
  • Visitation at Hawaii Community Correctional Center has been cancelled for the day. The Department of Public Safety has started putting out visitation cancellation notices through social media in an effort to get the word out faster to people who are planning to come to the facility to visit a loved one. Watch for these posts between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on the scheduled visitation day. To find out more about visitation schedules for each facility go to our website at dps.hawaii.gov.

Rules for Protests at Hawaii State Capitol Challenged as Unconstitutional in Federal Court

A federal lawsuit against the State Department of Accounting and General Services (“DAGS”) charges that outdated rules restricting public use of State property (including the Hawaii State Capitol rotunda and grounds) violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiffs for the lawsuit are the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii (“ACLU”) and Pamela G. Lichty, President of the Drug Policy Action Group and ACLU board member. They are represented by Daniel M.Gluck, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU and Alexandra Rosenblatt of Chun Kerr, LLLC.

capital

Public access to grounds and rotunda, noted in the run-up to 2011 APEC meeting, now an issue for upcoming ASEAN meeting, April 1-2.

The lawsuit asks the court to require DAGS to remove burdensome requirements for obtaining a permit – including requirements that small groups have to get the government’s permission before holding a protest; that individuals have to agree to indemnify the State for any injuries arising from their protest (even if the injuries are caused by the protesters’ opponents); and that individuals or groups apply for a permit  weeks in advance (with no exception for spontaneous demonstrations in response to sudden events or news).

The ACLU informed DAGS of these problems over three and a half years ago (more than a year before the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting). The ACLU continued to inform the State of these problems through 2011, 2012, and 2013, but the State has neither changed its rules nor issued any new policies to correct these problems.

The ACLU has assisted several groups in navigating the unlawful permit process, but does not know how many other individuals or groups have been deterred from holding a demonstration because of DAGS’ unconstitutional rules. Honolulu now plans to host Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and defense ministers of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations April 1-2, and the ACLU hopes that this lawsuit will ensure that any individuals or groups that want to demonstrate on State property during the ASEAN Conference (or any other matter) are able to do so.

Daniel M. Gluck said: “After three years of being rebuffed by DAGS and the Attorney General?s office to resolve these issues administratively, it’s clear that the State won’t take any action without being sued.  We need to ensure that the free speech rights of all people are respected and protected, particularly on state grounds such as the Capitol, to show that our government is open, transparent, and participatory.”

Alexandra Rosenblatt said: “Current permitting practices could prevent people from gathering around a legislative measure or breaking community crisis. The State requires a fourteen day lead time for permits, yet legislative hearings only have a 2-3 day lead time. The State also requires that permit holders waive all claims against the state as a condition of exercising their first amendment rights. DAGS has made exceptions, but the absence of consistent, objective standards raises a concern that groups could be treated differently based on the content of their speech. When it comes to our government and state capitol there is no room for opaque rules that hinder community voices from being heard.”

The ACLU’s First Amendment Toolkit is a free guide for those considering demonstrations at the Hawaii State Capitol, or at parks, beaches, sidewalks and more statewide.

Coast Guard Releases Information of Tuna Boat Sinking – Master and Chief Engineer Presumed Dead

The Coast Guard released the results of its investigation into the June 2010 sinking of the U.S. flagged Distant Water Tuna Fleet vessel Majestic Blue 2,100 miles southwest of Hawaii, Friday.

F/V Majestic Blue

F/V Majestic Blue

The investigation revealed twenty-two crewmembers safely abandoned ship and were rescued by a sister ship but the master and chief engineer remain missing and presumed deceased.

The investigation was unable to determine the exact cause of flooding that originated in the steering compartment where steel work was previously performed during an overseas shipyard visit.

However, the investigation determined that the immediate secondary cause of the sinking was due to a shipboard practice of leaving watertight doors open. This caused continued progressive flooding through the open doors throughout the vessel.

In addition, response to the flooding was hampered because the engineering officers could not read or communicate in English and were unfamiliar with emergency response procedures. Under special legislation afforded to the Distant Water Tuna Fleet only the vessel’s captain needed to be a U.S. citizen.

The Coast Guard investigating officer recommended and the Coast Guard commandant concurred that a large fishing vessel of this size should receive additional oversight.

“A benefit of sharing a report of investigation is an opportunity for all fishermen and mariners to learn something from this casualty,” said Cmdr. Jonathan Maiorine, chief of inspections and investigations for the Fourteenth Coast Guard District. “By reevaluating their own onboard procedures for training, communications and emergency drills we hope to prevent similar tragedies in the future.”

Click to view report

Click to view report

The entire report of investigation is available for download on the Coast Guard Homeport website under the investigations tab.

For more information regarding the report of investigation, contact Cmdr. Jonathan Maiorine at (808) 535-3421.

Honolulu Police Department Responds to Allegations About Officers Engaging in Sex with Prostitutes

Recent news reports claimed that the Honolulu Police Department urged lawmakers to keep an exemption in state law that allows undercover officers to engage in sex with prostitutes. This statement is misleading and inaccurate.

Prostitutes

First and foremost, the HPD asked the legislature to keep the existing language in the exception. The HPD did not ask for permission to engage in sexual conduct with prostitutes.

Under Hawaii law (HRS Section 712-1200), merely agreeing to pay a fee for sexual conduct constitutes a violation of the statute thus, the exemption for police officers is necessary so they can conduct prostitution investigations. If there was no exemption, officers would not be able to respond to a verbal offer from a suspected prostitute. This does not mean that officers are allowed to engage in sexual penetration.

The HPD has never asked the legislature to allow officers to engage in sex with prostitutes. When HB 1926 was originally drafted, it contained language that allowed the law enforcement exemption UNLESS “the act” involved sexual penetration or deviate sexual intercourse. It was poorly worded so the department asked the committee to omit that sentence, or our officers would not have been able to respond to even a verbal offer of sexual intercourse from a suspected prostitute – one of the most common prostitution violations. The request was NOT made to allow officers to engage in sexual penetration. If we were to codify these rules, we would be publicly revealing specific undercover officer guidelines and Hawaii’s prostitutes, “pimps,” and johns would be able to use the information to avoid prosecution and continue their illegal activity.

The department is keenly aware that prostitutes are often victims of human trafficking or other offenses. Because of this, we work closely with the Hawaii Coalition Against Human Trafficking and other community groups. Our goal is to conduct fair, accurate investigations, taking into consideration the need for prosecution as well as the need to protect the innocent. To accomplish this, we maintain careful oversight of all prostitution cases. There are strict written guidelines to regulate the conduct of officers conducting prostitution investigations.

Counterfeit Bills Being Circulated in Puna – Bogus

Last night I went into the 7-11 store to take out cash from the cash machine and all of a sudden I hear the clerk saying really loud… “That’s a counterfeit bill… I can’t take that!”

Would you be able to tell this is a fake bill?

Would you be able to tell this is a fake bill?

I got up to the cash register and asked the clerk what just happened and she said someone tried to pass off another counterfeit $5.00 bill onto the store.  I said “another” and she turned to the other clerk on duty and he said it was like the second one that has been tried to be passed onto the store in the last week.  They also mentioned that even $1.00 bills were being counterfeited.

I asked the clerk if they called the police and she said no… the company doesn’t call the police as there is just too much paperwork to be filled out every time someone tries to pass one off.

I thought about this and then went to Paul’s Gas Station at the end of Pahoa Town and while I was paying for my gas there… I noticed they had a $5.00 bill taped to the wall.  I asked the lady at Paul’s Gas Station if they had also had any counterfeit bills being passed onto them… and she said yes.  Recently they have had quite a few people trying to pass on bogus bills and one even got through.

The clerk uses a pen to mark the bill to see if it is a fake bill.

The clerk uses a pen to mark the bill to see if it is a fake bill.

So if stores like 7-11 and Paul’s Gas Station are being targeted… I can only imagine what might be going on elsewhere.  I can only imagine a place like the Maku’u Farmers Market being a prime place for these folks to pass on these bogus bills to unsuspecting folks… and then perfectly innocent folks get caught up in trying to purchase something with them legally.

You can purchase pens that detect counterfeit bills online.

You can purchase pens that detect counterfeit bills online.

Be vigilant and realize that folks are passing $5.00 bills and $1.00 bills that are bogus around Pahoa right now and if you are a merchant… you may want to invest in a pen that can detect bogus bills.

 

FBI Combing My Area Looking for Terrorist Daniel Andreas San Diego

The FBI has been combing my area of the Big Island (Puna District) looking for terrorist Daniel Andreas San Diego.

San Diego 2

If anyone in the Puna District is harboring him… I suggest you turn him in.  See the Wikipedia entry below for more information about him.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

From Wikipedia:

Daniel Andreas San Diego (born February 9, 1978) is the first Revolutionary American environmentalist added to the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list. He is a straight edge vegan and animal liberationist who has an alleged association with the Animal Liberation Brigade cell responsible for two bombings in 2003. He is believed to have ties to Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty.

Background

San Diego was born in 1978 in Berkeley, California and grew up in San Rafael, California. He attended Terra Linda High School. He took classes at College of Marin and worked at San Rafael High School’s radio station, KSRH, listening to heavy metal and rock music. As a young man he gave up drugs, alcohol, meat, and milk products, taking an interest in the straight edge movement and becoming vegan.

At the time of the bombings he lived in Schellville, California, a small community outside of Sonoma, where he worked as a computer specialist. His landlord described him as “very nice and personable,” mentioned his claim to be starting a new business venture of vegan marshmallows made without gelatin, and said that he had never given the impression of holding radical views on animal rights. The FBI claims this was all an act.

San Diego is described as having ties to Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) as a well-known San Francisco Bay Area animal rights activist. SHAC is an international campaign set up to close down Europe’s largest animal testing laboratory, Huntingdon Life Sciences, a company that performs drug and chemical research experiments on animals.[7] Before the related bombings SHAC targeted HLS customer Chiron and its employees with a series of actions, accusing them of being “puppy killers.”

Animal Liberation Brigade

On August 28, 2003, two sophisticated homemade bombs exploded approximately one hour apart, at the Chiron Corporation in Emeryville, California, causing minor property damage but no injuries.The FBI believes the second bomb was timed to target first responders.  Another bomb, wrapped with nails to produce shrapnel, exploded on September 26, 2003 at the Shaklee Corporation in Pleasanton, California, again causing damage but no casualties.  The bombs used ammonium nitrate explosives and mechanical timers.

A group called the Revolutionary Cells – Animal Liberation Brigade claimed responsibility via an email message after each bombing. FBI agents admit that they cannot prove San Diego has ties to the emails, but believe he has ties to the group that sent them. The bombing targets were chosen because they were both clients of Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Disappearance

The agency had San Diego under 24 hour surveillance in 2003.However, he discovered that he was being watched. On October 6, 2003 he parked his car in downtown San Francisco, California, walked away, and never returned.

Most Wanted

San Diego was profiled on America’s Most Wanted six times after his disappearance. In April, 2009, he became the first domestic terrorism suspect to be added to the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists List.This sparked a global search for him in Germany, Britain, Costa Rica, France, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Argentina, the Philippines, and Chile. The FBI believes he could be in the Northampton, Massachusetts area.

Because of his many years on the run, authorities believe that San Diego may be excessively secretive and vague about details of his life. He may also use prepaid cellphone cards and other means in order to further hide his identity. A reward of $250,000 has been offered by officials for information leading to his arrest, five times that of other animal rights activists.

Former Hawaii Superferry to Serve US Navy in Western Pacific

The Hawaii Superferry when it was harbored in Honolulu

The Hawaii Superferry when it was harbored in Honolulu

According to Defense News one of the former Hawaii superferries will be put into service in the Western Pacific:

Q. What is the rationale for counting Joint High-Speed Vessels (JHSVs)?

A. JHSVs would be a support ship. An important connector. In peacetime, they’re going to be operating forward supporting Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and riverine forces; theater cooperation forces such as the Seabees, point-to-point transportation of Marine Corps and Army forces. And in wartime they will be doing inter-theater transport.

I think of them as the LST [landing ship tank] of the total force battle network. Very shallow draft, can go into these austere ports and offload capability in support of the battle force. They will be very, very useful.

The [two recently-acquired] Hawaii Superferries [known as high-speed vessels, or HSVs] will not count. They do not have the capabilities of the JHSV, all they have are airline seats and you can put stuff on them. The JHSVs are specifically designed to support a company combat team. There are 104 racks, 312 airline bunks. They’re designed to transport an intact company combat team.

We will debate whether the HSVs should count as part of the high-speed vessel force that will be operating. But the JHSV and the HSV are not interchangeable.

So the universe of things we’re debating right now is how you count the PCs, the mine warfare vessels, the hospital ships and the Hawaii Superferries. The rest of the force will probably stay.

[NOTE: One of those Hawaii Superferries is being put into service in the Western Pacific to support Japan-based Marines, replacing a ship named WestPac Express. The Navy now has decided that the replacement ferry will count toward the battle force.]

You can read the full article here:  New US Navy Counting Rules Add Up To More Ships

 

Mayor Kenoi on the GMO Issue

Big Island Mayor Kenoi is quoted as saying the following about the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) lawsuits that are currently floating around the state in Hawaii Business Magazine:

Mayor Kenoi at the APEC Conference

Mayor Kenoi at the APEC Conference

“GMO has been very important and beneficial to our cut-flower, orchid, anthurium and nursery industry. The science research has been cutting-edge and we’ve seen a lot of innovation and creativity, and certainly in our papaya industry, the importance of research is well-known for maintaining, growing and protecting its viability.

I still don’t believe GMO is the issue facing agriculture – it’s water and access to land and how we can grow our next generation of farmers. GMO has taken a lot of energy and emphasis away from more important issues like these. Another important issue is access to markets, making it easier for farmers to overcome regulatory hurdles, reducing our dependence on imported food and providing real food security.

My message to the Council and the community is…”

You can read the rest of his message and other mayor’s thoughts on the issue here: “Talk Story with Neighbor Island Mayors”