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Little Fire Ant Awareness Forum

The Governor’s Office in West Hawai‘i Presents:  Little Fire Ant Awareness Forum on Thursday, October 27, 2016, 6-8 p.m. Doors Open at 5:30 p.m Hawai‘i Community College, Palamanui Campus located at 73-4225 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Room 127

Little fire and and queen ant.

Little fire and and queen ant.

With presenters from: Hawai‘i Ant Lab, State of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, County of Hawai‘i  Department of Research and Development.

Little Fire Ants, one of the most detrimental invasive species in Hawai‘i, threaten agriculture, native ecosystems, animals, and people. Come learn how you can prevent and control this pest.


Gabbard Honors Legacy and Service of Hawaii Nisei Veterans – Airport Unveils New Exhibit

At the Interisland Terminal of the Honolulu International Airport this morning, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard  joined the Nisei Veterans Legacy Center and Department of Transportation officials at the unveiling and blessing ceremony of a new permanent exhibit celebrating Hawaii’s Nisei veterans.

tulsi-nisei“It’s a privilege and an honor to be here to celebrate the Hawaiʻi Nisei Veterans display and all that it symbolizes—especially with our Nisei veterans here today, representing service and sacrifice from different conflicts and different generations,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed Major in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.

tulsi-nisei2“Your courage during a very difficult time says so much about the values that we strive to uphold and celebrate in this great country. To have this display here provides the opportunity for people coming through as they travel—both kama’āina and visitors from across the country and around the world—to learn more about your sacrifice and to make sure that the legacy of your service continues for generations to come.”

tulsi-nisei3The exhibit was produced by volunteers from the Nisei Veterans Legacy Center, a nonprofit organization created to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of the Americans of Japanese Ancestry who served in the United States armed forces during World War II, including the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, and 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion. Nisei stands for second generation and represents American citizens born in the United States whose parents immigrated from Japan.

Mauna Kea Polo Club Hosting Andrew Kauai Jr Memorial “Cowboy Cup”

The Mauna Kea Polo Club is hosting the second annual Andrew Kauai Jr Memorial “Cowboy Cup” on Sunday, November 6 starting at 12 noon at the Waikii Ranch Polo Field. The polo event honors Andrew Kauai Jr, and is a benefit for the Andrew Kauai Memorial Future Polo Player Fund.

mauna-kea-polo-clubMauna Kea Polo Club’s Andrew Kauai Memorial “Cowboy Cup” will feature a round robin tournament played by paniolo representing ranches from around Hawaii Island.  The cowboys will ride their ranch horses and play with Western saddles. Paniolo will battle it out for the title of Mauna Kea Polo Club Cowboy Polo Champions.

Andrew Kauai was a fourth generation paniolo and a beloved member of the Mauna Kea Polo Club who worked for many years as a cowboy and ranch hand for Parker and Ulupalakua Ranches. Kauai’s grandfather was the polo trainer at Ulupalakua Ranch where the tradition of cowboy or paniolo polo started.

For some good bumping polo action come down to Waikii Ranch on Sunday, November 6 as the Mauna Kea Polo Club keeps the cowboy polo tradition alive.

The Sunday event will also feature a match with the more advanced polo-playing paniolo mixed with the best club players. For those new to polo each polo match consists of 4 to 6 chukkers or periods that each last seven and a half minutes. The game is played on a field with goal posts and the players attempt to hit the ball between the posts to score one point. After each goal, the teams change direction. At the end of the chukker, the players change horses.

Gates open at 11 am so bring the whole family and tailgate at the lush Waikii Ranch Polo Field. The cost to attend is a $5 entry fee per person with children under 12 and military members with an ID free.

A silent auction will be held to support the Andrew Kauai Memorial Future Polo Player Fund.

The Mauna Kea Polo Club was established in the mid 1970s. It’s mission is to promote and expand the sport of polo in Hawaii through continued education, sportsmanship, member support and community outreach.

The remaining Mauna Kea Polo Club dates in 2016 include:

  • November 13, US Polo Association Masters Cup, a benefit for the new USO facility at the Pohakuloa Training Area
  • November 20, US Polo Association Wahine Challenge, a benefit for Hope Lodge
  • November 27, US Polo Association Sportsmanship Cup
  • December 4, US Polo Association Amateur Cup
  • December 11, US Polo Association Players Cup

The Mauna Kea Polo Club is sponsored by huggo’s, Mauna Kea Resort, Lava Lava Beach Club, Big Island Brewhaus, The Rice Partnership, Fair Wind/Sea Paradise, Lex Brodie’s Tires, Ponoholo Ranch, Sassafras, Jon McCumsey, Chandi Hefner, Roberts Construction, Philips Contracting, Mirandas (Kaonoulu Ranch) and Welding Services Hawaii.

For a complete list of the Mauna Kea Polo Club events log on to www.maunakeapoloclub.com.

Hawaii Supreme Court Upholds Flexible Approach to State and County Retiree Health Plans

Today the Hawaii Supreme Court unanimously held that the State may provide constitutionally protected health benefits to state and county retirees in a flexible manner. Under this decision, the State has the ability to structure retiree health insurance plans in a way that provides strong benefits while simultaneously keeping costs down for the taxpayers and the retirees themselves.

Click to read decision

Click to read decision

This class action lawsuit, initiated in 2006, contended that state and county retirees were entitled to the same health benefits as active employees receive now. The Hawaii Supreme Court rejected this argument. The Court instead concluded that retirees’ health benefits are based on the benefits that were promised when the employees became members of the State’s retirement system. Most importantly, the Court also concluded that a “rigid” understanding of retirees’ protected health benefits “is inconsistent with and inadequate to provide the flexibility that legislatures need to deal with changing economic and social realities.”

“The marketplace for health benefits changes constantly,” said Attorney General Doug Chin. “Today’s decision allows the State to respond to those changes.”

The case is Dannenberg v. State of Hawaii and it was argued before the Hawaii Supreme Court in May 2016. Judge Katherine G. Leonard of the Intermediate Court of Appeals served as Acting Chief Justice for the Hawaii Supreme Court in this case. All five of the regular justices of the Hawaii Supreme Court had recused themselves. A substitute 5-judge panel was appointed by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald in their place.

Today’s decision remands the case to the trial court for the parties to address some material issues of fact.

Hokulea on Display at Virginia’s Mariner’s Museum as Crew Conducts Vital Maintenance Work in Preparation for Journey Home

Legendary voyaging canoe, Hokulea, is currently in dry dock at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia to undergo her last major maintenance of the World Wide Voyage.  This process brings her out of the water for about three weeks to undergo routine inspection and maintenance. During the dry dock period, visitors at the Mariner’s Museum are able to see the iconic sailing vessel while her crew completes their work. In conjunction with Hokulea’s visit, the museum is holding a new exhibition called Polynesian Voyagers, which celebrates the Malama Honua message and voyaging heritage of Polynesian wayfinding.
“This is an educational opportunity to display Hokulea’s beauty and history to an audience unfamiliar with the complexities and skills of Polynesian navigation,” said Nainoa Thompson, President of Polynesian Voyaging Society. “It also allows us time to take necessary care of our seafaring home, our canoe.”
hokulea-drydockHokulea’s last dry dock was in Cape Town, South Africa; the process includes varnishing, repainting or repairing parts of the canoe. At the museum, the crew is working on sealing and replacing parts such as the canoe’s main steering blade.
“It’s so important for any vessel to be examined and refurbished out of the water,” said Bruce Blankenfeld, Pwo navigator overseeing the dry dock procedures. “But especially for Hokulea, as she journeys an unprecedented expedition that even motorized vessels don’t attempt.”
hokulea-drydock2Hokulea will remain at the museum until early November, when she will leave Virginia to embark on the last legs of her journey around the world before arriving home in June 2017. To help ensure Hokulea is safe, seaworthy and beautiful for the thousands of nautical miles that lay ahead, supporters can help fund the 2016 dry dock efforts at Hokulea.com/give.

Big Island ‘Top Cop’ is Brian Souki

Puna Patrol Officer Brian Souki was named the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s 2016 “Top Cop” by the Law Enforcement & Security Coalition of Hawaiʻi.

Brian Souki ‘Top Cop’

Brian Souki ‘Top Cop’

Captain Samuel Jelsma, who nominated Souki for the award, described the 11-year veteran officer as “street smart,” dependable, hard-working and diligent. “His work ethic is infectious and he serves as a motivator and example to those who work alongside him on his patrol watch,” Jelsma wrote in nomination papers.

Jelsma cited four cases as examples of Souki’s outstanding performance.

  1. The recovery of a stolen car.
  2. The arrest of one person and identification of five other suspects for a burglary.
  3. The arrest of a fugitive in a stolen car and in possession of illegal drugs.
  4. The foot pursuit of a suspect and his subsequent arrest for theft, felony assault and three drug offenses.

In one of the highlighted case, Officer Souki observed a vehicle being abandoned in the Ainaloa subdivision with the occupant leaving in another vehicle. He noted the license plate of the vehicle leaving, and then conducted checks on the vehicle that remained. That vehicle was discovered to have been stolen in a burglary the night before, along with firearms and two other vehicles. After additional officers arrived to secure the abandoned vehicle, Officer Souki conducted a search for the second vehicle. He located it and arrested two male suspects. Drugs and a stolen firearm were later recovered from that vehicle.

Souki’s award was presented Thursday (October 20) at the Hawaiʻi Prince Hotel Waikiki during the 32nd Annual Top Cop Law Enforcement and Security Awards Banquet.

Foul Play Suspected in Discovery of Body

An autopsy conducted Friday (October 21) on the body found Tuesday afternoon (October 18) off Hawaiʻi Belt Road determined that 36-year-old Alanaokala Solomon Covington of Kailua-Kona died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

hpd-badgeDetectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the murder investigation.

On Sunday, police received an anonymous tip about a possible murder in Kailua-Kona.

Investigation led to the discovery of a burial site late Tuesday afternoon (October 18) off Hawaiʻi Belt Road (Highway 190) north of the 27-mile marker. Police secured the area overnight and recovered Covington’s body Wednesday morning (October 19).

Police ask anyone with any information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Jerome Manuel at 326-4646, extension 262, or jerome.manuel@hawaiicounty.gov.

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. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Body Glove Hawaii is Hiring

Pro Surfer Jamie O'Brien in front of the Body Glove Hawaii boat.

Pro Surfer Jamie O’Brien in front of the Body Glove Hawaii boat.

Body Glove Hawaii is hiring two separate positions:

Deckhand Position – This is a FULL TIME position. Must be able to work in a fast paced environment, providing world class customer service. CPR and Lifeguard certified a plus. Pay will commensurate with experience. Candidates must be able to work flexible hours, including early mornings, afternoons, early evenings and weekends. Some heavy lifting are required. Pay will commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits; medical, dental, vision, chiropractic, paid vacations, simple IRA and tips!

Apply online at https://bodyglovehawaii.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=2

Prep Cook – Candidate must have basic food prep knowledge, excellent communication skills, be multi task oriented, enjoy working with people in a fast paced environment, have strong organizational skills, be a self-starter with the ability to keep on task and in line with programs. Must have flexible availability, hours to include mornings, afternoons and weekends. Hawaiian drivers license, and clean drivers abstract required. Kitchen Experience Required.  Pay will be based upon qualifications and experience.

Please apply online at: https://bodyglovehawaii.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=8

Body Glove Cruises is a drug free work environment. Pre-employment Drug testing required.

Enterprise Truck Rental Opens First Hawaii Location

Enterprise Truck Rental opened its first location in Hawaii this month. The new branch – located at 3250 Ualena Street in Honolulu – is close to the city’s main airport and cruise port, providing convenience and accessibility for truck rental customers. Enterprise Truck Rental is a service of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which has delivered local transportation solutions in Hawaii for nearly 25 years.

truck-rentals“As our car rental business in Hawaii has grown, we’ve also experienced increased customer demand for other transportation options, including light- and medium-duty truck rentals,” said Andrew Shults, Enterprise Group Truck Manager in Hawaii.

The 30,000-square-foot Honolulu truck rental facility carries light- and medium-duty vehicles – including cargo vans, pickup trucks, flatbeds and small box trucks – with plans to expand the fleet to include larger box trucks and refrigerated units within the next year. The branch also offers vehicles with hydraulic lift gates and tow-capability. Enterprise will work with local service shops and other area vendors to maintain the vehicles.

“At Enterprise, we are committed to listening to our customers in order to meet their transportation needs,” Shults said. “Whether a customer needs a short-term truck rental to move personal goods or a long-term truck rental for business, we now offer solutions to meet those needs.”

The new Honolulu Enterprise Truck Rental branch is open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.

Explosions at Volcano Summit – More Reminders Why Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Area is Closed

Two explosions in as many days were triggered by rocks falling into Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake.

hvo-102116The event shown above occurred around 12:26 p.m., HST, yesterday (Thursday, October 20). The other explosion happened around 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, October 19. Both events are reminders why the area around Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains closed to the public.

hvo-102116aYesterday’s explosion, triggered by a rockfall from the south-southeast wall of the summit vent within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, blasted spatter (molten lava) and rock fragments on to the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, as well as on to the closed section of Crater Rim Drive, about a quarter-mile from the vent.

hvo-102116bFollowing yesterday’s explosion, spatter (bit of molten lava) and fragments of solid rock littered this closed section of Crater Rim Drive in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. This section of the road, adjacent to the former Halemaʻumaʻu Crater parking area, has been closed since 2008 due to elevated sulfur dioxide emissions and other ongoing volcanic hazards, such as today’s rockfall-triggered explosion.

hvo-102116cSpatter and “ribbon bombs” (stretched fragments of molten lava) up to 30 cm (about 12 inches) long fell to the ground surface on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater during the two most recent explosions from Kīlauea’s summit lava lake. The black, glassy lava fragment shown here, about the size of a standard donut, landed amidst smaller, solid pieces of rock blasted from the vent.

A marking pen is shown for scale to indicate the size of this solid rock fragment hurled from the vent during the explosion.

A marking pen is shown for scale to indicate the size of this solid rock fragment hurled from the vent during the explosion.

A close-up of spatter and rock fragments blasted from the summit vent during the recent explosions.


These pieces of rock and lava, now scattered among the Pele’s hair that blankets the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, remind us of the hazards that still exist in this area.


Donations Secured to Replace Kids Stolen Laptops

Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz  secured donations to help in replacing some of the 27 Chromebooks that were taken in a burglary at Wahiawa Middle School last month. Sen. Dela Cruz and the Leilehua Alumni and Community Association will be launching a fundraising drive to raise additional funds to replace the remaining stolen items.

chromebookThe computers that were stolen are needed for a proper learning environment. Sen. Dela Cruz, who is an alumnus of Wahiawa Middle, wanted to act quickly so students would not be without the computers for a long period.

“As schools move forward with an education based in science, technology, engineering, and math, the right equipment is vital to building their skills,” said Sen. Dela Cruz. “The Leilehua Alumni and Community Association will play a critical role as schools make this transition. Whether it be donating computers or receiving grants for educational programs, the Association exists to assist all schools in the Leilehua complex.”

Additional Chromebooks, along with a MacBook Pro laptop, and an LCD projector are still needed. The Leilehua Alumni and Community Association is asking the community to make a small donation so they can continue to support our students. More information on the fundraising drive is forthcoming.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Honolulu Police Department. Police are still seeking leads on the suspects wanted for the burglary.

Kids Halloween Party Moved to Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces it has moved the Halloween Hilo Kids Party from Pana‘ewa Park to Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium located at 350 Kalanikoa Street in Hilo.

halloween-partyOpen to all ages, the free event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 31.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the venue change might cause and thanks the public for its understanding to utilize a different venue with more parking to accommodate the large number of participants.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or Jason.Armstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

international-space-stationIt will be visible beginning tonight, Friday, October 21 at 6:41 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 75 degrees. It will appear 10 degrees above the Northwest part of the sky and disappear 12 degrees above the Southeast part of the sky.

UH Hilo Appointment of Administrators

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Matthew Platz announces the appointment of two deanship positions following the UH Board of Regents meeting held today on O`ahu. The positions take effect November 1, 2016.

uh-hilo-monikerDr. Bruce Mathews has been appointed permanent dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management. He previously served as acting dean from January – July 2012, then interim dean to present.

A 1986 graduate of UH Hilo, Mathews joined the University in 1993 as a Temporary Assistant Professor of Soils & Agronomy and became a tenure-track assistant professor two years later. His areas of research include plant nutrient cycling and soil fertility as affected by environmental conditions and crop management, assessment of the impact of agricultural and forestry production practices on soil, coastal wetlands, and surface waters, and the development of environmentally sound and economically viable nutrient management practices for pastures, forests, and field crops in the tropics.

He received an M.S. in agronomy from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in agronomy & soils from the University of Florida.

“As a graduate, faculty member and most recently interim dean, Bruce has unrivaled knowledge of this College, its mission, and its potential,” said Chancellor Don Straney. “I can think of no one else who better understands our responsibility to the community and the entire state of Hawaiʻi than Bruce Mathews.”

Dr. Drew Martin will serve as interim dean of the College of Business and Education. He joined UH Hilo in August 2004 and most recently served as professor of marketing. He has over 25 years of higher education teaching experience that spans three countries. Currently, he is also an affiliate faculty member of Daito Bunka University’s (Japan) Business Research Institute and the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa’s Center for Japanese Studies.

Martin received a B.A. and an MBA in business administration from Pacific Lutheran University, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

His intellectual contributions include extensive research on consumer behavior. He has published 65 research papers and book chapters.

“Drew is an intellectual heavyweight with an extensive professional background in business, government and academia,” Platz said. “His extensive research and publications have earned him international acclaim and numerous invitations to speak with emerging scholars on how to get their research published in leading academic journals.”

Farrah-Marie Gomes Appointed UH Hilo Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney today announced the appointment of Farrah-Marie Gomes as the University’s new permanent vice chancellor for student affairs following the UH Board of Regents meeting held today on O`ahu. The appointment is effective December 1, 2016.

uh-hilo-monikerGomes currently serves as interim associate vice president for student affairs for the UH System, a position she has held since April 1, 2016. Prior to that, she served as founding director of the North Hawaiʻi Education and Research Center since its inception in 2006, and from 2011-2016, also served as interim dean of the College of Continuing Education and Community Service. She is active in numerous university and community committees.

Gomes received her B.A. in psychology and sociology from UH Hilo in 1998, Masters in counseling psychology from Chaminade University in Honolulu in 2000, and a Ph.D. in educational studies with a specialization in educational leadership and higher education from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln in 2016.

“Farrah is a dynamic leader who has effectively served our students and community in numerous administrative roles,” Straney said. “She also possesses tremendous energy, vision and a special capacity to connect with various constituencies, which will help the Division of Student Affairs serve the needs of our students.”

Gomes succeeds Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Gail Makuakane-Lundin, who returns to the position of Executive Assistant to the Chancellor.

“We all deeply appreciate the outstanding and tireless job Gail has done as interim vice chancellor for student affairs,” Straney said. “I now look forward to her putting those same unique skills and versatility to work again as a member of my executive team.”

Notice of Last Date of Molokai Ferry Service and How to Obtain Refunds

On October 17, 2016, the Public Utilities Commission of the State of Hawaiʻi (“PUC”), in Order No. 33977 in Docket No. 2016-0214, approved Sea Link of Hawaii, Inc.’s (“Sea Link”) request to voluntarily surrender its certificate of public convenience and necessity (“CPCN”) to provide water carrier services between Maui and Molokaʻi (“Maui-Molokai Ferry”).

molokai-ferryThe PUC found “good cause” to approve, subject to certain conditions, Sea Link’s request to voluntarily surrender its CPCN, in part, because the Commission acknowledged Sea Link’s representation that its financial losses are no longer sustainable and the Commission cannot compel (i.e. force) Sea Link to continue to operate as a water carrier of passengers and property at a financial loss.  As a result, the last date of ferry service operations will be Thursday, October 27, 2016.


Refund instructions for unused fares:

Unused Paper Tickets and Coupon Books

  • Refund Forms will be made available on Sea Link’s website, molokaiferry.com, and at Sea Link’s main office by mail by phone at (808) 661-3392, by email to info@molokaiferry.com, or by postal mail, 1036 Limahana Place, 3E, Lahaina, HI 96761.
  • By December 16, 2016, completed Refund Forms may be mailed, along with unused paper tickets or coupons, to Sea Link of Hawaii, Inc., 1036 Limahana Place, 3E, Lahaina, HI 96761. Unused paper tickets or coupons must be stapled to or enclosed with the form.
  • Until October 27, 2016, Refund Forms will also be available in person at:
    • Sea Link’s ticket sales/terminal at Lahaina Harbor from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday;
    • Sea Link’s ticket sales/terminal at Kaunakakai Harbor from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; and
    • Sea Link’s Main Office, located at 1036 Limahana Place, 3E, Lahaina, HI 96761, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Unused Electronic Tickets

  • By December 16, 2016, Sea Link will attempt to notify Electronic Ticket holders using the contact information provided at the time of sale of the last date of ferry service and options for refunds via phone and/or email. Electronic Ticket holders may contact Sea Link’s office by phone, 808.661.3392, or by email, info@molokaiferry.com.  Please provide full name and/or confirmation number to expedite refund.

Unused Prepaid Bulk or Group Tickets

  • By December 16, 2016, Sea Link will attempt to notify Prepaid Bulk or Group Ticket holders using the contact information provided at the time of sale of the last date of ferry service and options for refunds via phone and/or email. Prepaid Bulk or Group Ticket holders may contact Sea Link’s office by phone, 808.661.3392, or by email, info@molokaiferry.com.



Comments addressed to the PUC may be mailed to 465 South King Street, Room 103, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96813, or sent by electronic mail to Hawaii.PUC@hawaii.gov.

Big Island, UH Hilo to Host PWC Cross Country Championships

When the University of Hawai`i Hilo hosts the Pacific West Conference Cross Country Championships this Saturday (Oct. 22), one thing is certain… the course will be unlike any other that the teams have run on this season, or maybe ever.

uhh-xcThe jungle trail at Kamehameha School Hawai`i will feature grass, gravel, mud and likely, standing water. There will be a mixture of hill and flat. There could be rain, and it will be warm and humid.

In other words, this is no walk in the park.

“It is a true cross country course,” said Vulcan head coach Jaime Guerpo. “Other than the Hawaii schools that were here for our meet early in the year, this will be a new experience for everyone else. It’s a fair course, and it is challenging, which in my mind is perfect for a championship meet.”

14 schools will make their way to Hilo and Keaau, flying in from Utah, northern California, southern California and Oahu. 14 men’s teams will compete in the 7:30 a.m. race, and 12 women’s squads (including UHH) will run at 8:30 a.m.

In both races, California Baptist University is the defending champion. In fact, the Lancers have won the last five championships on the men’s side, and the last two trophies in the women’s race. Individually, 2015 PacWest champion Eileen Stressling from Azusa Pacific is back. The junior is running strong again this season and was named the PacWest Runner of the Week earlier in the month after crossing the line as the top Division II finisher at the Stanford Invitational.

CBU is ranked 17th nationally this week in the men’s NCAA Division II poll, with Academy of Art at No. 24. On the women’s side, the Lancers are No. 8 in this week’s national listing, with Point Loma at No. 16.

Hawai`i Hilo hosted the very first PacWest Cross Country Championships in 2006, on their campus. The conference was much smaller back then, but now nearly 250 student-athletes will race and many more coaches, administrators, parents and fans will travel to the Big Island for the event.

“We are pleased to host this event for a number of reasons,” said Vulcan athletic director Patrick Guillen. “We are excited to show off the Big Island to our fellow PacWest universities and we look forward to putting on a quality event. At the same time, these championships bring in significant tourism dollars to Hilo and the surrounding communities, and we feel privileged to partner with local businesses to help make this a great experience for all involved.”

Dr. Tam Vu, Chair of the UHH Business Administration and Economics department, confirmed that teams visiting Hilo bring in significant dollars.

“Between airfare, rental vehicles, hotel rooms, restaurants and shopping, there will be significant spending,” said Vu, who along with
Dr. Eric Im compiled the long-run impact for this event. “That includes spending in Oahu and the Big Island. The number on the Big Island can be estimated at over a half million dollars ($556,100) including the leakage spending due to the larger number of Big Island residents shopping in Oahu in the future, and with Oahu as the base for Hawaiian Airlines, their number is close to $400,000 ($390,700). That brings you close to a million dollars ($946,800) in long term impact.”

Foul Play Suspected in Discovery of Dead Kona Man

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a murder investigation in connection with the recovery of a Kona man’s body.

hpd-badgeOn Sunday, police received an anonymous tip about a possible murder in Kailua-Kona.

Investigation led to the discovery of a burial site late Tuesday afternoon (October 18) off Hawaiʻi Belt Road (Highway 190) north of the 27-mile marker. Police secured the area overnight and recovered the body Wednesday morning (October 19).

The victim has been identified as 36-year-old Alanaokala Solomon Covington of Kailua-Kona.

An autopsy to determine the exact cause of death is scheduled for Friday (October 21).

Police ask anyone with any information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Jerome Manuel at 326-4646, extension 262, or jerome.manuel@hawaiicounty.gov.

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. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Scheduled Power Outage in North Kohala on Nov. 3-4

Hawaii Electric Light Company announces a scheduled power outage that will affect customers in North Kohala. The outage will be from 10 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, to 5 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

outageThis temporary outage is necessary to allow Hawaii Electric Light personnel to safely perform maintenance and upgrade equipment to improve system reliability. The affected communities are Hawi, Kapaau and Halaula, as well as customers along Kohala Mountain Road between mile marker 6 and mile marker 9.

Hawaii Electric Light advises affected customers to unplug sensitive equipment prior to the outage and to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Customers who depend on medication or life support equipment should make arrangements for a back-up power supply or transportation to a facility outside the affected area.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any disruption this outage could cause and thanks customers for their patience and understanding. If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Hawaii First Becomes First Blue Zones Approved Worksite in Hawaii County

Hawaii First Federal Credit Union has been approved as a Blue Zones Project Worksite, an initiative to creating a healthier, happier and more purpose-driven work environment. Hawaii First joins the Blue Zones Project, sponsored by Hawaii Medical Services Association, to take a systematic approach to community transformation.

blue-zonesHawaii First becomes the first financial institution to be Blue Zones approved in the state of Hawaii. The 60-year-old credit union is also the first Blue Zones approved worksite in Hawaii County.

The Blue Zones Project was first introduced to Hawaii in 2013. The Blue Zones principles are at work in cities and communities in seven states. The initiative is based on nine evidence-based common denominators of communities across the globe where people happily live the longest.

For Hawaii First, the goals for improving well-being includes reducing healthcare costs, lowering absenteeism and improving productivity. By promoting better lifestyle principles, the credit union says better retention and a more engaged, focused and happy workforce will ultimately lead to happier members.

“Our world – what we do every day –  is about putting people first,” said Hawaii First President and chief executive Laura Aguirre. “The Blue Zones Project is a movement among movements that provides the tools and resources to support healthier choices. We fully embrace making Hawaii a Blue Zone where our residents live longer, happier, healthier lives.”

Within two branches, Hawaii First employs 21 full-time and three part-time employees. The credit union serves 7,756 members on the Island of Hawaii.