22-Year-Old Man Arrested for Attempted Murder – Released at 4:20

Hawaiʻi Police Department detectives have arrested a 22 year old Mt. View man in connection with a shooting that occurred on June 28, 2014, in the Eden Roc subdivision in Mountain View.

Nick Stertz

Nick Stertz

Nicholas Stertz, M-22, was arrested today at 10:15 am for Attempted Murder in the 2nd Degree. Stertz was subsequently released at 4:20 pm, pending further investigation.

The incident involved a 30-year-old male victim with apparent gunshot wounds. At the time of this incident, the victim was treated and released from Hilo Medical Center.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation.

Police ask that anyone with information about this incident or anyone who may have witnessed it contact Detective Dean Uyetake at 961-2379 or deuyetake@co.hawaii.hi.us or Detective John Rodrigues Jr. at 961-8222 or jrodrigues@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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

Hu Honua Moves Forward on Site Construction, Reaches Settlement with Hawaiian Dredging

Hu Honua Bioenergy (HHB) expects to resume onsite operations with a full team of employees and contractors before year-end, including final site preparation, delivery of specialized equipment and construction mobilization.

Hu Honua Bioenergy is refurbishing the former sugar mill power plant at Pepeekeo into a modern biomass electricity generation facility with advanced emission control equipment. HHB will sell electricity to Hawaiian Electric Light Company under a twenty-year power sales contract. The HHB facility will generate about 100 construction jobs during the refurbishment process and 30 permanent operational and maintenance positions once the project is online. Additionally, more than 130 indirect jobs in forestry, harvesting, hauling, and local service shops are expected to be generated in the local economy.

Hu Honua Bioenergy is refurbishing the former sugar mill power plant at Pepeekeo into a modern biomass electricity generation facility with advanced emission control equipment. HHB will sell electricity to Hawaiian Electric Light Company under a twenty-year power sales contract. The HHB facility will generate about 100 construction jobs during the refurbishment process and 30 permanent operational and maintenance positions once the project is online. Additionally, more than 130 indirect jobs in forestry, harvesting, hauling, and local service shops are expected to be generated in the local economy.

The accelerated activity comes after HHB and Honolulu-based Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company (HDCC) reached a settlement to resolve a contractual dispute between the parties related to the refurbishment of HHB’s renewable energy facility in Pepeekeo.

Specific terms of the settlement are covered by a confidentiality agreement.

“We are pleased to be back on course, moving forward with construction and to resume full site activity,” said John G. Sylvia, Chief Executive Officer for Hu Honua. “As we have stated previously, there were a number of complicated issues across multiple parties that required time to resolve for the settlement; we appreciate HDCC’s patience and efforts in working through the challenges.”

Refurbishment activity, including survey and permitting work, has been underway for the final phase of construction, which is expected to be complete within 12 months, following full mobilization.

In late October, HHB received two shipments of specialized equipment in Hilo—a custom re-injection system and air quality emission control operating system. HHB designed a re-injection system for the brackish water to return to its original source after it has passed through the system’s condenser and cooled the turbine’s exhaust steam. The air quality system will maximize overall system efficiency and lower emissions beyond what is required by regulators.

Additional specialized equipment including fuel handling and the remaining emissions control equipment has been fabricated and is in route to Hilo from the mainland.

Big Island Police Investigating Officer-Involved Shooting in Puna

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an officer-involved shooting in the Puna District on Tuesday.
HPDBadgeAt approximately 2:00 p.m., Puna Patrol officers, who were on Route 11 attending to an unrelated incident, attempted to stop a stolen vehicle traveling south on Route 11, just south of the Kulani Road intersection in Mt. View. The vehicle sped toward the officers in a threatening manner. In response, an officer fired one shot toward the vehicle which continued southbound on Route 11 toward the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

Police are seeking the public’s assistance in locating the stolen vehicle described as a 1989 black Nissan hard body single-cab pickup, License Plate No. ZBC-027. The vehicle is slightly lifted with over-sized tires and has a mesh type tailgate and a red, yellow, and green sticker on the driver’s side rear window.

Police ask anyone who has any information on the location of this vehicle or the identity of the suspects to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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

As is standard practice in any officer-involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigation Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.

Highway 130 to be Repaired After Lava Crosses – No Guarantee on Fix

With the lava less then 1 mile from crossing Highway 130 here in Pahoa, Senator Russell Ruderman posted the following on Facebook this morning:

Highway 130 repairs!
Big news regarding the highway and lava. The State DOT is planning to ‘repair’ the highway within a week or two if lava crosses highway. This will involve layers of cinder and a gravel roadbed, and if needed, the truck-bed platform that Bryson Kuwohara has proposed. This is wonderful news, meaning we can expect some normalcy soon after if lava breaches the highway. While there is no guarantee, I have a lot of confidence that the state DOT is taking its responsibility to keep Puna accesible seriously, and that their engineers are looking kindly on this plan.

Legislature Slashes Pahoa Booster Club Funding – Payments Still Not Received

In May the Hawaii State Legislature appropriated $92,362 in Grant-in-Aid (GIA) funding for the Pahoa Booster Club. This grant was to go towards establishing the Pahoa football program serving the entire Puna area within the 96778 zip code, which includes all Pahoa public and charter schools, with the focus on an eight-man team. The Pahoa Booster Club was formed out of community desire to assist the Pahoa Regional Schools and their student athletic programs.

Parents have wondered where this money has gone and I’ve received comments like:

I heard that the $90K funding the new Pahoa Booster Club received to fund the 8 man football team hasn’t reached Pahoa school yet. You heard anything about that?…

I inquired with the Pahoa Booster Club and was forwarded the following from their accountant:

On October 9th the following was received from the DOE in reference to the GIA requestes that had been approved.

Due to declining tax revenue collections, on September 2, 2014, the Governor needed to impose a $24 million restriction (withholding) on the Department of Education’s general fund appropriation for the current fiscal year (7/1/14-6/30/15).  To implement this restriction the Department of Education, with the approval of the Board of Education, will need to withhold a portion of each grant-in-aid appropriation as well as funding for many educational programs.

Booster FundingGuidance from the Budget Execution Policies that announced the $24 million restriction related to grant-in-aid appropriations is that “departments should refrain from requesting release of these types of appropriations until the start of the second half of the fiscal year.”  What this is referring to is the prior written approval of the Governor that is required prior to the finalization of a contract with organizations that received grant-in-aid awards by the Legislature.  So what the Budget Execution Policies are saying is Department’s should not even initiate the process until the second half of the fiscal year.  http://budget.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/EM-14-06-FY-15-Budget-Execution-Policies-Instructions.pdf

Despite these instructions the Department of Education has already initiated the process and requested the Governor’s approval to release funds for all of the GIA’s appropriated through the Department’s EDN100 and EDN200 budgets.

We are currently awaiting approval for the finalization of contracts.

Keep in mind that even if the Governor approves the release of funds at a level higher than reflected above, unless a portion of the $24 million restriction is lifted the Department will only be able to expend up to the amounts in the last column of the table above.

At this point the football grant, under fiscal sponsor Kalani Honua, was reduced from $92,362 to $78,562.

On November 17, the contract was sent to the Booster Club, dated Nov 10, for the full amount of the original grant, $92,362 with a payment schedule calling for a 2nd quarter payment of $87,362.    On November 18,  a purchase order was received, dated 10/23/14 in the amount of $78,562.

Because of the different dated and numbers, the Booster Club invoice was submitted to the DOE for the amount of $87,362, which appear to be the correct amount because the contract was dated after the purchase order.

Last week, I received a phone call from the DOE that the invoice needed to be for the amount of the purchase order.  That revised invoice was sent by Kalani Honua with a copy of the purchase order today.  We are required to send hard copy, not fax or pdf.

The DOE has agreed to expedite processing as soon as the invoice is received.

I hope this explanation helps.

 

Community Invited to Informational Display on Proposed Kona Judicary Complex

The Hawai`i State Judiciary invites the public to see an informational display of preliminary design concepts for the proposed Kona Judiciary Complex.
Kona Judiciary
While no formal program is planned, officials from the Judiciary and DAGS, and consultants from Architects Hawaii, will be available and welcome any questions, comments and/or input.

Plans call for building the new courthouse on a 10-acre parcel in Keahuolū, North Kona. The site is located mauka of Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway, and across Makala Boulevard from the Makalapua Center. The complex will be three stories high and cost $90 million to construct.

  • WHAT:   Informational Display on Proposed Kona Judiciary Complex
  • WHO:     Representatives from the Hawaii State Judiciary, Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS), and Architects Hawaii
  • WHEN:   Tuesday, December 16, 2014, from 4:30pm to 6:30pm
  • WHERE: West Hawaii Civic Center, Building G (The “Hale”) 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy, Kailua-Kona

 

DLNR Arrests Four Men For Molokai Ocean Incident

Four Molokai men will face arraignment and hearings in Maui Circuit Court later this month after being arrested and charged for their roles in a confrontation between two groups of fishermen in Molokai waters.
DLNR
The investigation was conducted by Maui Police Department with the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).   

On November 25, 2014 Albert K. Dudoit, Jr., age 27, Robin W. Dudoit, age 57, Floyd Kumukoa Kapuna, age 31 and Kaiula K. English, age 28 were arrested by Maui Police Department and DOCARE officers, and charged with two counts of robbery in the second degree, unauthorized first degree entry into a motor vessel, terroristic threatening in the first degree, and harassment. All of the men were released after posting $50,000 bail each. The Grand Jury returned indictments on the four men stemming from an incident which occurred in Molokai waters in May 2014 in which the men are accused of illegally boarding a vessel in state waters

The vessel used by the four men was seized as evidence and transported to Maui with the assistance of a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 aircraft.  

“We are willing to work with any community that wants to forge a proactive partnership with DLNR to ensure public safety, access, and lawful behavior concerning the natural resources of Hawaii,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson. “We will not tolerate community involvement in unlawful criminal behavior.”

“DOCARE officers have worked very hard to make this case because when there are people willing to come forward and there is sufficient evidence to show a criminal action is being perpetrated on citizens, we will take action,” said Randy K. Awo, recently retired DOCARE Chief. 

The Department of Land and Natural Resources wishes to thank the Maui Prosecutor’s Office, Maui Police Department and US Coast Guard for their assistance with this case.  

Fire at Waiakea-Uka Gym Causes Change in Venue for Winter Intersession Program

The Winter Intersession Program slated for Hilo’s Stanley Costales Waiākea-Uka Gymnasium will be held at Andrews Gym due to fire damage sustained at Waiākea-Uka Gym.

Waiakea FireOriginal program dates and times will apply to the new venue located within Waiākeawaena Park at 33 West Kawailani Street in Hilo. Open to keiki enrolled in the first through six grades, the winter Intersession classes will be held from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. weekdays starting December 22 and running through January 8, 2015.

The Department of Parks and Recreation regrets any inconvenience caused by the venue change and thanks program participants for their understanding.

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

Police detectives are investigating a fire at the Waiākea Uka Gym in Hilo.

The fire was reported at approximately 4:30 a.m. Wednesday (December 10). Police and firefighters responded and found the fire concentrated at the northwest corner of the building.

Fire personnel extinguished the flames and estimated the damage to the walls and roof area at $65,000.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time but is being investigated.

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Norbert at 961-2383 or nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us.

 

25th Anniversary America’s Health Rankings Finds Hawaii Ranks No. 1 Among All U.S. States in Overall Health

25th Anniversary America’s Health Rankings Finds Hawaii Ranks No. 1 Among All U.S. States in Overall Health

Health Rankings

  • Hawaii’s strengths include low prevalence of obesity and low rate of preventable hospitalizations; state’s challenges include high prevalence of binge drinking and high incidence of infectious disease

Nationwide, reduction in smoking, and improvements in adolescent immunization and infant mortality offset by rising rates of obesity and physical inactivity

  • Long-term analysis finds Americans have made considerable progress in avoiding premature and cardiovascular deaths in the past 25 years; life expectancy at its highest yet

HONOLULU (Dec. 10, 2014) – Rising rates of obesity and physical inactivity threaten Americans’ quality of life, even as Americans progressed in several key health metrics in 2014, according to the landmark 25th Anniversary Edition of America’s Health Rankings®: A Call to Action for Individuals & Their Communities.

Nationwide, obesity increased 7 percent from 27.6 percent to 29.4 percent of adults. Likewise, the percentage of adults who reported not participating in any physical activity in the last 30 days increased from 22.9 percent to 23.5 percent. At the same time, the number of Americans who smoke continued to decrease, declining by 3 percent this year, and has consistently declined over the past decade.

Hawaii’s Overall Health

According to the special 25th Edition of America’s Health Rankings, Hawaii ranks No. 1 again this year when compared with other states. The 2014 report illustrates Hawaii has its share of strengths and challenges.

Hawaii’s Strengths

  • Low prevalence of obesity
  • Low rate of preventable hospitalizations
  • Low rate of cancer deaths

Hawaii’s Challenges

  • High prevalence of binge drinking
  • High incidence of infectious disease
  • Low immunization coverage among children

“Hawaii’s top ranking reflects our state’s focus on maintaining healthy lifestyles and protecting our environment,” said Acting Health Director Keith Yamamoto. “The department is pleased to see Hawaii has maintained its number- one spot from last year, however, the report also points out some areas of concern that we will continue to work to address.”

“This is encouraging news and I look forward to working with our public health and health care communities to ensure access to care and strengthen prevention efforts to reduce chronic disease and injury in our state,” Gov. David Y. Ige said. “I’m proud to say that Hawaii is the healthiest state in the nation, and we must continue to invest in our public health efforts.”

Key Hawaii Challenges Addressed by UnitedHealthcare Programs

UnitedHealthcare watches America’s Health Rankings closely to better understand the health of individuals and communities across the nation and in Hawaii. UnitedHealthcare has several programs to address the nation’s health challenges at a state level. These programs help educate people on how to live healthier lives and empower them to take action to improve health in their communities.

UnitedHealthcare’s efforts include supporting local health and community events throughout the Islands for children, families and seniors, and supporting organizations such as the local chapters of March of Dimes, YMCA and Alzheimer’s Association to help promote health and wellness for Hawaii residents.

“For the last 25 years, United Health Foundation’s annual America’s Health Rankings has provided an invaluable look at the challenges and opportunities facing Hawaii and how the picture of health in our state compares with those of our region and our nation,” said Ron Fujimoto, D.O., chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Hawaii. “We look forward to continuing to use the report as a key tool for identifying and implementing solutions to our most pressing challenges and measuring the strides we’ve made to date.”

UnitedHealthcare in Hawaii has more than 300 employees located on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island with central offices in Honolulu. With a care provider network of 21 hospitals and more than 2,900 physicians statewide, the health and well-being company serves more than 230,000 Hawaii residents including members of the United States military and their families, and people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare and Medicaid health plans.

50-State Snapshot: Hawaii the Healthiest; Mississippi Least Healthy

Hawaii has again taken the title of healthiest state. Vermont came in second, followed by Massachusetts, which improved to third after being ranked fourth for two years. Connecticut came in fourth, rising three slots from last year. Utah came in fifth. Mississippi ranked 50th this year, preceded by Arkansas (49), Louisiana (48), Kentucky (47) and Oklahoma (46). West Virginia and Alabama moved out of the bottom five.

To see the Rankings in full, visit www.americashealthrankings.org.

Nationwide: Obesity and Physical Inactivity Increase after Short-Lived Improvements

“We applaud hard-won advances in several key measures, including smoking prevalence, even as this year’s America’s Health Rankings is a solemn reminder that we have a lot more work ahead of us,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., senior medical adviser to United Health Foundation. “It is inevitable that increases in the rates of obesity and physical inactivity will result in more people suffering from significant chronic diseases that will compromise the quality of their lives, adversely affect their families and will be unaffordable for the nation.”

United Health Foundation is marking 25 years of America’s Health Rankings by introducing new online tools to inspire health advocacy across states and communities.

  • A “Change My Rank” online tool allows users to see how improving several key measures affects the state’s overall rank (for example, if a state reduced its prevalence of obesity by 5 percent, what would its overall rank be?).
  •  A Thought Leader Perspectives portal showcases notable leaders from the public health, government, academic, business, technology and consumer arenas reflecting on the achievements and challenges in America’s health over the last 25 years, and their thoughts for the next 25 years.

United Health Foundation will discuss the 25th edition Rankings at an event Wednesday, Dec. 10, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The event will feature remarks from leading health experts and thoughtful conversation about the past, present and future of America’s health. To watch the event live – and to get more information about America’s Health Rankings – visit www.americashealthrankings.org.

25th Anniversary Report Reveals Major Long-Term Health Strides, Challenges

With the launch of this year’s report, America’s Health Rankings commemorates 25 years of comprehensive health reporting and advocacy for a healthier America. The special 25th Anniversary America’s Health Rankings report finds Americans have made meaningful strides in health since 1990, particularly as it relates to life expectancy:

  • At 78.8 years, Americans’ average life expectancy is at a record high.
  • The past 25 years have seen considerable declines in:

o            infant mortality, decreasing 41 percent

o            cardiovascular death, decreasing 38 percent

o            premature death, decreasing  20 percent

  • U.S. cancer mortality rates have also shown a steady decline, dropping 8 percent between 1996 and 2014.

The decline in smoking rates stands out as a significant health improvement over the past 25 years. Since 1990, smoking rates have decreased 36 percent, from 29.5 percent to 19 percent of adults who smoke regularly. Cigarette smoking is still associated with one of every five deaths in the United States, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the country.

While Americans are living longer, the past 25 years have seen a steady rise in chronic conditions, many of them preventable, that compromise their quality of life.

  • Obesity – now a leading contributor to death in the United States – more than doubled over the last 25 years, from 11.6 percent of adults in 1990 to 29.4 percent of adults today. One possible explanation for the increase: levels of physical inactivity remain high, with 23.5 percent of adults reporting no physical activity or exercise in the last 30 days.
  • Adults who say they have diabetes currently stands at 9.6 percent, more than double the number from 20 years ago when America’s Health Rankings first started tracking diabetes.

“The challenge for the next 25 years is to achieve widespread, uniform success in fighting the chronic conditions that threaten Americans’ quality of life and adversely affect our nation’s health care system,” said Rhonda Randall, D.O., senior adviser to United Health Foundation and chief medical officer and executive vice president, UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions. “Obesity, diabetes and physical inactivity rates are troublingly high. We must continue to promote positive health behaviors and help prevent the devastating consequences of chronic illnesses that are often left unchecked.”

Waimea Ocean Film Festival Unveils Films, Speakers, Guests

The not-to-be-missed 2015 Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Ocean Film) offers a breathtaking lineup of films, special guests, intimate coffee talks, Q&As, exhibits, receptions and morning activities, running non-stop January 1-9. The annual event opens January 1, with films playing simultaneously January 1-4 at multiple venues in Waimea (Kahilu Theatre, HPA Gates, Parker Theatre) and showings at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i January 1-4. On January 5, the festival moves to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

Ocean Film brings over 60 extraordinary films to the big screen this year, most of which are world, U.S., Hawai‘i or Big Island premieres, with many filmmakers in attendance to answer questions following the showing of each film. The format of this dynamic festival immerses participants in a greater understanding and awareness of the ocean and island culture through exceptional films, talks, exhibits and activities. Films fall into the basic categories of ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling); ocean environment—including things we do on land that impact the sea; and island culture. Inspirational films and films that shed light on who we are, or give pause for thought, form part of the mix. In honor of Hokule‘a’s current Worldwide Voyage (WWV), Malama Honua, the festival showcases a number of films and discussions around the voyage. Both Hokule‘a and Makali`i captains and crew are working together to navigate Hokule`a on the WWV, including Pwo and Hawai`i Island captains Chadd Paishon, Shorty Bertelmann and Chad Baybayan, who will participate throughout the festival.

Dr. Sam Low, Ph.D. and cousin to Nainoa Thompson, brings his award-winning film The Navigators: The Pathfinders of the Pacific along with his recent book, Hawaiki Rising. In honor of Hokule`a’s arrival in New Zealand, and the ceremony honoring her as sixth waka, the festival offers Te Hono ki Aotearoa, a film about Maori waka culture. Producer Phil Arnone returns with the KGMB production, Hokule`a: Passing the Torch, which describes the voyage bringing the Alingano Maisu to Mau Pialug, the teacher who brought the knowledge of celestial navigation back to Hawai`i, and the “Pwo” ceremony, which confirmed five Hawaiian captains as master navigators.

The Voyager Exhibit, which will be displayed at Kahilu Theatre for the festival, marks the 20th anniversary of Makali`i, the Big Island’s voyaging canoe, sharing her history. The exhibit also includes the 8×13-foot map of the world developed as part of the festival last year, showing the WWV route, along with past voyages of Makali`i and Hokule`a. The exhibit opens with a blessing and ceremony at Kahilu Theatre on January 4 p.m. Jan. 1. ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center also joins the festival, with a presentation on Wayfinding, using an interactive star compass guide and a full-dome star show.

Mark Healey and Kohl Christensen paddle into a giant swell at Cloudbreak, Fiji in the film “Thundercloud.” Photo by One Palm Media.

Mark Healey and Kohl Christensen paddle into a giant swell at Cloudbreak, Fiji in the film “Thundercloud.” Photo by One Palm Media.

Part of a heart pounding surf line-up, Behind the Lines features jaw dropping footage of British surfer Andrew Cotton at Nazarre; Thundercloud follows big wave surfers, and controversial surf history, at Cloudbreak, Fiji; Stephanie in the Water tells the story of female surf champion Stephanie Gilmore and Fading West features Switchfoot band members and surfers as they head on tour. Tierra de Patagones is a beautifully filmed story of two Argentinian brothers from Gauchos Del Mar, surfing the Patagonian frontier.

Bud Browne Film Archives Going Surfin’ and Cavalcade of Surf, with its pounding finale of epic big waves and big board North Shore wipe outs, reminds us of why Bud Browne has long been considered the godfather of the surf film genre. Anna Trent Moore, curator of the collection, brings a special exhibit of Browne’s photographs, not displayed since his passing, for a nostalgic exhibit of the 1960s surf scene at The Fairmont Orchid Jan. 1-4.

Delving into island culture, Hula: Merrie Monarch’s Golden Anniversary shares a behind the scenes look at the Merrie Monarch’s 50th Anniversary year, with filmmaker Roland Yamamoto. Lihau’s Journey is a coming-of-age hula drama and narrative film, featuring the 150-year hula legacy of Halau O Poʻohala, the Solomon-Beamer halau, plus the halau’s lead dancer, Leiomalama Tamasese Solomon. Halau members and Malama Solomon will be present, along with filmmaker and HPA faculty Ari Bernstein. Volcanoscapes: Dancing with the Goddess shares stunning cinematography and interviews, highlighting the magical beauty, geology and power of Kilauea. In her premiere of Wild Child, local filmmaker Alison Teal reveals the advice and knowledge she received from Hawaiians and other South Kona locals that enabled her to survive on an island for three weeks, after being invited to participate in Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid.

tefanie Brendl with a tiger shark in the film “Extinction Soup.” Photo courtesy Waimea Ocean Film Festival.

Stefanie Brendl with a tiger shark in the film “Extinction Soup.” Photo courtesy Waimea Ocean Film Festival.

O‘ahu’s Stefanie Brendl brings Extinction Soup and joins local filmmaker Bryce Groark in a discussion about sharks, their importance and Hawai`i’s leadership role in shark protection. Groark also speaks after the showing of Mission Blue, a film about Dr. Sylvia Earle’s life and mission, in which he appears and provides cinematography. Still beautiful after 30 years, Dr. Earle’s 1978 film Humpback’s: The Gentle Giants, shares stunning footage and interesting information about the whales on our shores. Presentations about Ka`upulehu Dryland Forest and shoreline, as well as traditional ‘opihi fishing practices in Miloli`i, share more about Hawaiian cultural practices and traditional resource management.

Continue reading

Big Island Resident Wins Big in McDonald’s Monopoly Game

It was Hilo resident Glen M.’s lucky day when he decided to play the 2014 MONOPOLY Game at McDonald’s. After ordering his Egg White Delight McMuffin®, Glen peeled off his third and final game piece to his winning combination of Atlantic Avenue, Ventnor Avenue and Marvin Gardens, that won him a family vacation to a Beaches Resort in Jamaica or Turks and Caicos.

monopoly“I didn’t know we won, until my wife took a double look at the game card and shouted ‘WE WON,’” said Glen M. of Hilo. “Both my wife and I contributed to this endeavor and ate at McDonald’s quite a bit because it was the best deal at a great value.”

This year, the MONOPOLY Game at McDonald’s returned for its 22nd season and delighted customers across the country with a wide range of prizes from partners such as Target, Redbox, Shell, VIZIO, Delta Air Lines, Shutterfly and Softcard, among others. There were four $100,000 prizes through the “Free Parking” Game Stamp, ten $5,000 Target Gift Cards with early access to the Black Friday in-store sale and one $1 million prize.

To play the game, consumers were able to collect game pieces on a wide variety of menu favorites.

“Our team was so excited to learn that we had a MONOPOLY winner close to home,” said Pat Lim, a McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner and operator. “We congratulate Glen and his family and look forward to hopefully another local winner in 2015.”

Glenn M. is not the only Hawaii player to win a McDonald’s sweepstakes game recently. Earlier this year, a Kihei, Maui resident was one of six winners of the “Peel. Play. Ole Ole!” sweepstakes and won an exclusive trip to the championship match of the FIFA World Cup on July 13 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Full Video – Kilauea Mountain of Fire

Kilauea, on Hawaii’s Big Island, is the world’s most active volcano. Its latest eruption began in 1983 and it hasn’t stopped since.
kilauea video
Since that time it has created 544 acres of new land and has consumed 200 homes. But as we watch nature’s own fireworks display and witness the devastation wrought by flowing lava, we’ve also been able to observe a process that’s central to life on these islands.

The most spectacular moment of creation is when lava pours into the ocean creating new land, and it is here that filmmaker Paul Atkins finds himself getting a shot few have ever filmed — the cataclysmic meeting of 2,000-degree lava and 75-degree ocean water — a sight to behold.

Ground Breaking Held for Volcano Transfer Station project

The County of Hawai‘i’s Volcano transfer station will be expanded and undergo structural repairs as part of a $1.06 million project that broke ground today.

Hawaii County Logo

The new transfer station is designed to encourage recycling, and will be able to accommodate green waste recycling, a HI-5 redemption site and reuse operations in the years ahead as the county adds those services in rural communities.

“This project is part of our continuing effort to encourage all of our communities to reuse, recycle and protect the environment,” said County of Hawai‘i’s Mayor Billy Kenoi. “We want to make recycling as convenient as possible so that more and more people will participate.”

Green Aina Engineering designed the project, which uses a design-build approach to allow the contractor to utilize lower-cost construction techniques. The contractor is William C. Loeffler Construction Inc.

The overhaul of the transfer station is necessary because the current facility was built with older construction techniques that included a wooden retaining wall. That wall has now deteriorated to the point where it is no longer structurally sound, according to the county Department of Environmental Management.

The project is scheduled for completion by early summer of 2015.

Hilo Folks are Big Spenders During the Holidays

Yep… us folks in Hilo are big spenders come Christmas time.  According to Nerdwallet, Hilo ranks 2nd in the most expensive places for holiday spending.

The average family in Hilo spends about $1,172.02 during the holidays.  The national average for a family of four is $877.22.

spending

Man Sentenced to Prison for Threatening Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

A New York man was sentenced on Monday to 33 months in prison for threatening Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, federal prosecutors said.

Aniruddha Sherbow

Aniruddha Sherbow

Aniruddha Sherbow, 44, whose last known address was in Poughkeepsie, New York, was sentenced in U.S. District Court. He pleaded no contest in February to two charges of transmitting threats, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement…

…Sherbow had been harassing Gabbard, a Democrat, since about February 2011, including making threats via email and telephone, prosecutors said. He was charged with two threats made in August 2013, one of them a voicemail message in which he threatened to kill her.

Full story here: New Yorker gets 33 months for threatening Hawaii congresswoman

New Fee Added to Electric Bills to Support Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) Program

A new line on electric bills starting this month will finance the State of Hawaii Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program. However, a corresponding reduction of the monthly Public Benefits Fund surcharge, collected to pay for the State’s conservation and energy efficiency programs, means most customers will likely see little net change on their electric bills. For a typical residential customer using 600 kWh a month, the green infrastructure fee will be $1.29 per month.

GEMS Office

The new line item, titled “Green Infrastructure Fee,” will appear under the listing of “Current Charges: Electric Service” beginning with December 2014 monthly bills of all Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light customers.

As required by law and authorized by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, all residential and commercial customers will pay the Green Infrastructure Fee. The new fee will enable the State of Hawaii to borrow $150 million for its GEMS program. The State Department of Business, Economic Development will initially administer GEMS. The program will make low-cost loans so green infrastructure improvements are more affordable and accessible for customers who cannot afford upfront costs or cannot qualify for other financing.

The GEMS program will initially focus on clean energy investments so customers can take advantage of green initiatives such as photovoltaic systems, energy storage, advanced inverters and energy monitoring devices.

To learn more, visit the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Energy Office website (http://energy.hawaii.gov/testbeds-initiatives/gems) or call 808.586.2407.

County Inviting Public to Two Holiday Events

The County of Hawai‘i invites the public to two special holiday events this year – the fourth annual Magic Of The Season open house at the Hawai‘i County Building in Hilo, and the inaugural A Holiday Family Affair at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center in Kona.

Hilo’s Magic Of The Season will run weeknights December 8 – 19 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at the Hawai‘i County Building.

magic of the season 2014

County volunteers will decorate dozens of trees and offer holiday cheer so families may enjoy a safe, community-oriented event. Members of the public may view the exciting decorations weekdays starting at 8 a.m. Live entertainment and holiday activities will be available weeknights between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Kuana Torres Kahele, Lehua Kalima, Henry Kapono, Cyril Pahinui, Darlene Ahuna, and Mark Yamanaka will be among the Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning performers joining local favorites, hula groups, and the Hawai‘i County Band to entertain audiences.

Kona’s inaugural event, A Holiday Family Affair, will take place on Friday, December 12 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the West Hawai‘i Civic Center.

holiday family affair

The program will consist of a pule by Kumu Keala Ching and performances by Ka Pā Hula Nā Wai Iwi Ola and the Kealakehe Intermediate School Chorus & ‘Ukulele Ensemble. Bring a towel or mat for seating on the courtyard lawn.

At both events, non-perishable food items will be accepted for the Hawai‘i Island Food Basket. Please kōkua. For more details on either event, please contact the Office of Mayor Billy Kenoi in Hilo at 961-8211 or Kona at 323-4444.

Hawaii Wildlife Fund Ends its 2014 Marine Debris Season

On Friday, the Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF) ended its 2014 marine debris season loading net and line into a container for shipment to Honolulu. The HWF team loaded about 4.5 tons of net into a 40’ trailer provided by Matson Navigation’s “Ka Ipu ‘Āina” program.

L to R (with affiliations): Megan Lamson/HWF, Nohealani Ka'awa/DLNR-DOFAW, Stacey Breining/HWF, Ryan Levita/HWF, and Kallie Barnes/HWF.

L to R (with affiliations): Megan Lamson/HWF, Nohealani Ka’awa/DLNR-DOFAW, Stacey Breining/HWF, Ryan Levita/HWF, and Kallie Barnes/HWF.

Megan Lamson, Marine Debris Project Coordinator for HWF, said “Most of the net and line was recovered from the southeast Kaʻū coast.” The container will be shipped to Oʻahu, where Schnitzer Steel will chop it into pieces and then it will be burned at the Covanta H-Power plant. This Nets-to-Energy partnership was arranged by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program to keep the material out of the landfill and create electricity with it. Since 2005, HWF’s tally for these net and line shipments is about 75 tons.

Ryan Levita and Stacey Breining (with HWF) hard at work during the net loading with the JD Services, LLC. skidsteer and operator in the backdrop.

Ryan Levita and Stacey Breining (with HWF) hard at work during the net loading with the JD Services, LLC. skidsteer and operator in the backdrop.

Lamson said, “This container shipment is only a fraction of the total debris we’ve collected from the Hawaiʻi Island shoreline. This year, winds and currents brought in different proportions of marine debris — less net and line, and a higher percentage of other floating debris, including fish traps, buoys, crates, tires, boat pieces, and an extensive list of normal household items.” While HWF works with other groups on the island gathering debris from multiple sites, their main focus is on the Kaʻū coast where more debris washes ashore than any other place in the main Hawaiian Islands. The organization began this work in 2003 and in recent years has been removing an annual average of 15-20 tons for a total to date of about 173 tons. The HWF marine debris cleanup work is supported with a grant from NOAA.   But, Lamson said “We have other local partners that also help with in-kind donations and funding and we have a large group of volunteers that are critical to the overall effort. The container loading, for example, would not be possible without the tractor assistance provided by JD Services, LLC.”

She said “We organize community cleanups about every other month and dozens of volunteers show up to these events. Our volunteers are an enthusiastic mix of regulars and first-time collectors and are great fun to work with; we recognize them as our most effect tool in our marine debris removal efforts.” The next large cleanup event in Kaʻū will be held on Saturday, February 7th. To volunteer or for more information on HWF’s other activities see wildhawaii.org or contact kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com or (808) 769-7629.

2014 Pahoa Holiday Parade Judging Results

Here are the results of the 2014 Pahoa Holiday Parade:

2014 Pahoa Holiday Parade 256

Best Student ages K-6th grade:

1st place 2nd Place

Malamalama Waldorf School Hiccup Circus

Best Student ages 7-12th Grade:

Puna Panthers Hawaii Youth Challenge

Best Kupuna:

Ukulele Group Hawaii Horse Association

Best True To Theme:

Pahoa High & Inter Green Club Puna Canoe Club

Best Club:

Merahi Tahitian Productions

Best Community Spirit:

USO with MJ/Pahoa Propane

Lava Tree State Park to Reopen Monday

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will reopen portions of Lava Tree State Monument on a limited basis beginning Monday December 8, 2014. The public will be able to visit most of the viewable lava tree molds, the main pavilion and the informational kiosk. The parking lot, comfort station and front portion of the loop trail will also be available for public use.

Lava Tree State Park

The park has been closed due to numerous albizia trees blown down during Tropical Storm Ana in August this year, which park crews have been working to address.

Lava Tree State Park

The back portion of the park will remain closed until further notice. “We ask that the public respect the closed areas as dangerous conditions may be encountered in those areas,” said Dean Takebayashi, Hawaii district parks superintendent.

Cost of repairs and clean up in the park so far has been $88,045. Local tour companies will be notified about the opening.