• Aloha Madeline!!!

    Click on graphic for latest storm information:
  • Follow on Facebook

  • Breaking News

  • Cheneviere Couture
  • PKF Document Shredding
  • Arnotts Mauna Kea Tours
  • World Botanical Garden
  • Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Hilton Luau
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • RSS Mayor Kenoi’s Blog

  • Say When

    August 2016
    S M T W T F S
    « Jul    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

Big Island Police Identify Victim in Mysterious Pahoa Attack

Hawaiʻi Island police have identified the victim of an assault that resulted in a large deposit of blood left fronting a vacant establishment in Puna.
Blood scene
On June 26 at about 7:30 a.m., detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section and evidence specialists responded to a report of blood discovered in an alcove fronting a closed business establishment in Pāhoa. After an extensive search in the neighboring business area using a scent discriminating canine, police could not locate a victim or any additional evidence.

This picture was taken before police arrived on the scene

This picture was taken before police arrived on the scene

On August 26, detectives were able to verify previously obtained information on the identity of the victim, who is a 60-year-old Pāhoa man. He reported that he had been in an altercation with an unidentified man in Pāhoa and that during the confrontation he had sustained a superficial head wound and did not seek treatment.

Police ask anyone with information about the confrontation to contact Detective Norbert Serrao at 961-2383 or nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

 

Acting Hawaii Governor Announces Release of $26.4 Million in Capital Improvement Project Funds

Acting Governor Shan Tsutsui today announced the release of more than $26.4 million in capital improvement projects for priority repairs and improvements at state facilities and highways under the purview of the Department of Transportation.

abercrombieheader

“These investments will increase the safety of our residents while traveling on our highways as well as support the expansion of our maritime activities,” said Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui.  “These projects will also continue our momentum of creating jobs and stimulating our economy.”

Allotment of funds for the following priority projects, identified by members of the State Legislature, has been approved by the Acting Governor:

$21,400 — Interstate Route H-3 Halekou Interchange to Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii safety improvement project.   These additional highway revenue bond funds will provide for the safety improvements needed for the H-3 Halekou Interchange.

$21,700 — H-1,H-2 and H201 destination signage upgrades.  These additional highway revenue bond funds will provide for additional design costs to upgrade existing signs to meet current standards.

$198,800 — Inoaole Stream Bridge replacement project, which is on Kalanianaole Highway in the vicinity of Waimanalo.  The bridge will be replaced to increase stream flow capacity in the area to reduce or eminate flooding during heavy rainfall.  These additional revenue bond funds will provide for additional design costs and acqusition of drainage easements.

$4,500,000 — Pier 31 improvements.  These special funds will provide for the demolition of a shed  and upgrades at Honolulu Harbor’s Pier 31 in relation to Pasha’s plans for a new larger shipping vessel.

$10,740,000 — DOT Harbors Division Maui District Office.  These special funds will provide for additional design and construction of a DOT Harbors Division Maui District Office, which will be relocated in the Old Kahului Railroad Building as part of the Kahului Harbor Development Plan of July 2012.

$11,000,000 — Habors Modernation Plan.  These revenue bonds will provide for the demolition of structures located at Kapalama Military Reservation and construction for a new Kapalama Container Facility to support expanding maritime activities in Honolulu Harbor.

 

Hawaii County Closes Hot Ponds at ‘Āhalanui Park After Person Allegedly Gets Sick Swimming in Pond

The Department of Parks and Recreation closed ‘Āhalanui Park in lower Puna on Thursday, September 26, after learning of an unconfirmed report that a member of the public allegedly became sick after swimming in the park’s hot pond.

 ‘Āhalanui Park Hot Ponds

‘Āhalanui Park Hot Ponds

Ensuring the health and safety of all park users remains the top priority of the Department of Parks and Recreation. In an abundance of caution, Director Clayton Honma took immediate action to close the park and request the Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Clean Water Branch test the pond’s water quality.

‘Āhalanui Park will remain closed pending the Department’s receipt of the test results and assurance that the water quality continues to fall within safety guidelines.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the temporary closure may cause and thanks the public for its understanding.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaii Recognizes East Hawaii “Officer of the Month”

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Officer Frank Mohica on Thursday (September 26) as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for September.

Officer Frank Mohica

Officer Frank Mohica

Mohica, a Community Policing officer assigned to the South Hilo District, was honored for bringing about a peaceful resolution after a barricaded gunman fired shots in a residential subdivision in Puna.

On August 21, a convicted felon abused his female companion, left the house enraged, got into a motor vehicle accident and fled the scene.

Officers searching for him later discovered he had returned to the house and taken a firearm registered to the woman.

Hours later, police received several reports of gunshots being fired in another populated residential subdivision. When they arrived, they learned that the shooter was the same man from the earlier incident. The neighbors were evacuated and a standoff ensued with the suspect, who was intoxicated, belligerent and uncooperative.

Officer Mohica, who volunteers on the Hostage Negotiation Team, was off duty when he was alerted and responded to the scene.

Police discovered that the suspect’s father was also present on the property. Mohica quickly established an avenue of communication with the father and began to develop a rapport with him. Over time, he persuaded both the suspect and the father to surrender to police without incident.

When detectives obtained a search warrant for the premises, they recovered a rifle, a semi-automatic handgun, ammunition and spent casings. The suspect was charged with nine offenses.

As “Officer of the Month,” Mohica is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Na Pua No`eau Receives Funding to Continue Providing Education for Students of Hawaiian Ancestry

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Na Pua No`eau has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education to continue providing health career pathway education for students of Hawaiian ancestry in kindergarten through college and professional schools.

Na Pua Noeau
The award represents the second year of a three-year grant totaling $502, 692 per year to fund the Ke Ola Mau Project, which seeks to increase the number of Native Hawaiian students entering the health profession.

Last year, nearly 2,000 students and family members took part in the project, which utilized existing Na Pua No`eau Centers on all the islands to conduct program activities throughout Hawaiʻi. Through the project and its partners, eligible Hawaiian students at UH Hilo and UH Manoa majoring in a health career field may also receive academic support, cultural strengthening, community support, and a stipend.

For more information, call Rachel at the Ke Ola Mau office at (808) 933-3887 (UH Hilo) or Kehau at (808) 956-9410 (UH Manoa).

Environmental Protection Agency Awards Hawaii $1.1 Million to Control Polluted Water Runoff

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded the Hawaii Department of Health a $1.1 million grant to implement its Polluted Runoff Control (PRC) Program and to support water quality improvement projects.

“EPA’s grant helps Hawaii reduce harmful stormwater runoff,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our goal, along with the Department of Health, is to protect coastal waters and coral reefs from the effects of polluted surface water.”

When it rains, water flows downhill from Hawai`i’s high island ridges to the ocean, washing pollutants into the streams and rivers. (Kaaawa Valley, Oahu)

When it rains, water flows downhill from Hawai`i’s high island ridges to the ocean, washing pollutants into the streams and rivers. (Kaaawa Valley, Oahu)

Hawaii DOH will contribute $746,000 in state funds to the EPA grant for a total budget of $1.91 million to implement its state program developed under the authority of Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act. Grant funds support both state staff and local organizations to develop and implement watershed plans to achieve water quality improvement goals. The funding is specifically for such nonpoint source water pollution control projects and cannot be used for other water pollution discharges or spills like the recent molasses spill into Honolulu Harbor.

This year, the PRC Program will update Hawaii’s State Management Program Plan for addressing polluted runoff over the next five years. The plan will identify strategic priorities, establish both environmental and program goals and milestones, and discuss how partners will be engaged to most effectively to improve water quality.

Recently, Hawaii DOH used Clean Water Act Section 319 funds to address land-based pollution in the West Maui area to protect coral reefs. West Maui is a priority area for the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and the State of Hawaii Coral Program.

On-the-ground projects are strategically focused in specific watersheds to increase the likelihood of achieving environmental results. Previous competitively selected projects include:

  • Heeia Stream Restoration Project to stabilize eroding stream banks and restore native vegetation along the Heeia stream to reduce nutrient and sediment loads on windward Oahu.
  • Implementation of large scale agricultural management practices to reduce sediment and nutrient runoff in the Honouliuli Stream watershed.
  • A rain garden ‘how-to’ manual and the installation of several rain gardens to demonstrate an effective way to reduce the volume of polluted stormwater runoff in developed areas
  • Installation of fencing in Maui mountain watersheds to reduce the impacts of feral ungulate populations in sensitive watershed areas.

The 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act established the Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program. Section 319 addresses the need for greater federal leadership to help focus state and local nonpoint source efforts. Under Section 319, states, territories and tribes receive grant money to support a wide variety of activities including technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, restoratioin projects and monitoring efforts to assess progress toward water quality goals. EPA awards annual continuing program grants, based on a national distribution formula, to implement approved state programs.

The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region (Region 9) administers and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations — home to more than 48 million people. The EPA is also a significant source of funding. In 2013, more than 85 percent of the $631 million regional operating budget flowed to state and tribal agencies, local governments, non-profit organizations and private-sector companies in the form of grants and contracts. This funding pays for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, air pollution reduction programs, Superfund site cleanups and many other activities that protect human health and natural resources.

Study Proves Cancer Cases NOT HIGHER on Kauai Then the Rest of the State of Hawaii

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) jointly with the Hawaii Tumor Registry and University of Hawaii Cancer Center is releasing an evaluation of the incidence of cancer on Kauai and each of its census tracts. The evaluation found that there is not a higher incidence of cancer on Kauai compared to the rest of the state; except for melanoma of the skin, a cancer related to ultraviolet exposure.

The evaluation was conducted at the request of Kauai legislators and community members in response to concerns about the health impact of pesticides used by agricultural chemical companies.

Kauai Cancer Report

Click to view the full report

The analysis found that cancers of the breast, endometrium, Hodgkin lymphoma, liver, ovary, prostate and thyroid were lower on Kauai compared to the entire state of Hawaii. Higher rates of melanoma on Kauai were found and may be explained by a larger proportion of older adults of Caucasian ancestry with high levels of lifetime sun exposure residing in the northern region of Kauai.

“Cancer clusters are rare, especially those that are linked to environmental exposures. Doctors and scientists often cannot explain why one person develops cancer and another does not,” said Dr. Barbara Brooks, DOH Toxicologist.

Cancer may be caused by a variety of factors acting alone or together, usually over a period of many years. These risk factors include age, family history and exposures to viruses and bacteria, lifestyle choices, sunlight exposure and on the job exposure to chemicals.

Of the more than 12,000 cancer deaths in Hawaii between 2000 and 2005, it is estimated that nearly 30 percent could have been prevented by avoiding tobacco use and up to 35 percent could have been averted by improving nutrition and maintaining a normal body weight. Geographic, economic, and educational barriers and other social inequities influence lifestyle factors that increase a person’s chance of developing cancer.

Health Director Loretta Fuddy said, “DOH through its Foundations for Healthy Generations Initiative is committed to addressing the social conditions and physical environments where people live, work and play in order to improve the health of all groups in Hawaii.”

The Hawaii Tumor Registry conducts cancer surveillance and maintains a confidential database of information on all reportable cases of cancer, benign brain tumors and many blood disorders diagnosed in Hawaii. The Registry is jointly operated by the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and DOH.

The DOH Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office provides leadership, support, and partnership in preventing, planning for, responding to, and enforcing environmental laws relating to releases or threats of releases of hazardous substances.

The full evaluation report is available on the DOH website at www.health.hawaii.gov.

 

Teams Sought for HI-PAL 33rd Annual Winter Basketball Classic

The Hawaiʻi Police Department’s Hawaiʻi Police Activities League and the County of Hawaiʻi Department of Parks and Recreation will hold the 33rd Annual Winter Basketball Classic on Thursday, December 26, through Sunday, December 29.

Officer Joey Botello

Officer Joey Botello

Entries will be accepted for the following age group divisions and played at the following locations:

5/6 and 7/8 (may be co-ed) at Edith Kanakaʻole Tennis Stadium
Boys 9/10 and Girls 10 & under at the Kawananakoa Hall gymnasium in Keaukaha
Boys 11/12 and Girls 12 & under at the Hilo Armory
Boys 13/14 and Girls 14 & under at Ah Fook-Chinen Civic Auditorium

The age cutoff is December 31, 2013.

All championship games will be played at Ah Fook-Chinen Civic Auditorium on Sunday, December 29.

There is a registration fee of $60 per team for age 8-and-under teams. For teams ages 9 and above, the registration fee is $80 per team. The registration fee for outer island teams is $25.

Deadline to enter is Friday, December 6. Each team will be required to complete a registration packet, which must be submitted by the deadline.

Registration forms and information will be available at a future date on the Department of Parks and Recreation’s website. Completed forms are to be submitted to:

County of Hawaiʻi, Department of Parks & Recreation
Recreation Office
799 Piʻilani Street
Hilo, HI 96720

Additional information, as it becomes available, will be provided for interested persons.

Teams interested in participating or persons requesting additional information may call Officer Joseph Botelho Jr. in East Hawaiʻi at 961-8121, Officer Randy Morris in West Hawaiʻi at 326-4646, ext. 258, or Darrell Yamamoto at the Department of Parks & Recreation at 961-8740, extension 25.

 

Free Child Safety Seat Checks Saturday in Hilo

Firefighters at Central Fire Station in South Hilo are conducting child safety seat checks this Saturday from 10:00 AM to Noon at Central Fire Station on 466 Kinoole Street.
child safety seat checks

The event will allow fifteen certified technicians to provide parents and caregivers with the proper installation and guidance for the use of child car safety seats.

The check up will take about 30 minutes and the technicians can assist three to six vehicles an hour.  Bring your Keiki’s to the Fire Station to see the Fire Engine and Ambulance. Goodies will be available for the children.  Appointments may also be arranged by calling Mel at 896-1336.

Traffic control will be in place during the even and parents and caregivers are asked to enter the fire station through Ponahawai Street entrance

State law requires all children under the age of four to be secured in a car seat; children between the ages of 4 and 7 are to be secured in booster seats.  Older children must be secured in a seat belt and it is recommended that they sit in the back seat of the vehicle. Over 90% of child passenger safety seats inspected were noted to be installed incorrectly.

Island residents should be aware there is an anonymous car seat hotline (961-2226) to report sightings of children not properly restrained in a vehicle.  Callers should be prepared to provide a license plate number, car make/model/color, the date and location of the car.  A letter will be sent to the registered owner about the violation.

National statistics conclude that accidental injuries, especially those involving car crashes, pose the greatest threat to the lives of young children.  Statistics also show using car safety seats and seat belts correctly are the best way to prevent this from happening.  National statistics also show an estimated 8,959 lives were saved by child restraints from 1975 to 2008.

 

Hawaii’s History of Destructive Earthquakes the Focus of Two Talks and The Great Hawaii ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

Hawaii’s long history of destructive earthquakes and actions that residents can take to reduce injury during the next one will be the topics of two presentations on Tuesday, October 1.  Both talks are open to the public.

USGS seismologists Wes Thelen (left) and Paul Okubo (right) working at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

USGS seismologists Wes Thelen (left) and Paul Okubo (right) working at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Paul Okubo, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, will speak about “Damaging earthquakes in Hawaii and the Great Hawaii ShakeOut” in the University Classroom Building, Room 100, on the UH–Hilo main campus, 200 W. Kawili Street, in Hilo. A map of the campus is online.  This free presentation begins at 7:00 p.m.

Wes Thelen, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s seismic network manager, will present “Large earthquakes in the Hawaiian Islands: What you need to know” in the Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium on Crater Rim Drive, in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, at 7:00 p.m.  This “After Dark in the Park” presentation is free, but Park entrance fees apply.

Large earthquakes pose an ever-present danger to Hawaii.  Since 1868, more than 30 magnitude-6.0 or greater earthquakes have impacted residents throughout the State.  The probability that another destructive —magnitude 6.5 or higher— earthquake will strike the Hawaiian Islands in the next 10 years is 50 percent; in the next 20 years, the probability increases to 75 percent.

According to Okubo, while the Island of Hawai‘i experiences more seismicity than other Hawaiian islands, the exposure to earthquake risk spans the entire State of Hawaii.  As a recent example, he notes that the October 2006 magnitude-6.7 and 6.0 earthquakes, located in West Hawai‘i, caused $200 million in damages on the Islands of Hawai‘i and Maui, as well as an extended power outage on O‘ahu.

Thelen points out that it has been 40 years since a destructive earthquake occurred during business and school hours—the magnitude-6.2 Honomū, Hawai‘i earthquake on April 26, 1973.  Without that experience, conducting drills is even more important for all schools and businesses, as well as individuals and families, to practice “Drop! Cover! Hold on!”—actions that are proven to reduce injury in an earthquake—during the Great Hawaii ShakeOut earthquake drill on October 17.

Both Okubo and Thelen will present an overview of damaging earthquakes in Hawaii, including current theories on why they occur.  They will also talk about “The Great Hawaii ShakeOut” and what people can do to protect themselves during Hawaii’s next large earthquake.

For more information about these two presentations, visit the HVO website or call (808) 967-8844.

Hike, Explore, & Protect Kahuku

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Kahuku Unit by offering free programs to introduce visitors and residents to the park’s southernmost section, October through December 2013.

NPS Photo

NPS Photo

For all activities below, enter Kahuku on the mauka (uphill) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection, and a snack are recommended. No advance registration is required, except for the Ka‘ū ‘Ohana Day, where registration is required.

People and Lands of Kahuku is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. The guided hike is offered Oct. 13, Nov. 17, and Dec. 29; from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6 mile loop traversing scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered Oct. 20, Nov. 24, and Dec. 8; from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Ōhia Lehua. There is more to the ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree than meets the eye.  Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the lehua flower. Visitors traveling through the park will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent tree in the Kahuku Unit.  Pack a lunch to enjoy during the program. The ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua program is offered Oct. 27, Nov. 10, and Dec. 15; from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Ka‘ū ‘Ohana Day. Keiki of all ages are invited to join park rangers and explore the park’s southernmost section, Kahuku. At least one adult family member or adult must accompany the children. Enjoy a free lunch, and participate in cultural craft demonstrations. Bring a refillable water bottle, sunscreen, a hat, and sturdy hiking shoes. The event is free, but registration is required, call (808) 985-6019. Offered Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

3.6 Magnitude Earthquake Shake Fern Acres Area of Big Island

Update: it was upgraded to a 3.6 magnitude earthquake

36 Fern Acres

A 3.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Fern Acres area of the Big Island this morning.  No Tsunami was generated from it.

35 Fern Acres

Court Rules That Federal Agency Failed to Protect Thousands of Whales and Dolphins From Navy Sonar

West Coast Marine Mammals Continue to Be Harmed by Deafening Underwater Noise

A federal court has ruled that National Marine Fisheries Service failed to protect thousands of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions from U.S. Navy warfare training exercises along the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington.

(July 3, 2013) The guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) prepares to moor alongside the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) in Khalifa Bin Salman port, Bahrain during a port visit. Monterey and Shoup are deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Billy Ho/Released)

(July 3, 2013) The guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) prepares to moor alongside the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) in Khalifa Bin Salman port, Bahrain during a port visit. Monterey and Shoup are deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Billy Ho/Released)

In an opinion released late Wednesday, Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas, U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California, found that the agency’s approval of the Navy’s training activities in its Northwest Training Range Complex failed to use the best available science to assess the extent and duration of impacts to whales and other marine mammals. The decision requires the federal agency to reassess its permits to ensure that the Navy’s training activities comply with protective measures in the Endangered Species Act.

“This is a victory for dozens of protected species of marine mammals, including critically endangered Southern Resident orcas, blue whales, humpback whales, dolphins and porpoises,” said Steve Mashuda, an Earthjustice attorney representing a coalition of conservation and Northern California Indian Tribes. “NMFS must now employ the best science and require the Navy to take reasonable and effective actions to avoid and minimize harm from its training activities.”

The Navy uses a vast area of the West Coast, stretching from Northern California to the Canadian border, for training. Activities include anti-submarine warfare exercises involving tracking aircraft and sonar; surface-to-air gunnery and missile exercises; air-to-surface bombing exercises; and extensive testing for several new weapons systems.

In 2010 and 2012, the Fisheries Service authorized the Navy to harm or “take” marine mammals and other sea life through 2015. The permits allow the Navy to conduct increased training exercises that can harm marine mammals and disrupt their migration, nursing, breeding or feeding, primarily as a result of harassment through exposure to the use of sonar.

New science from 2010 and 2011 shows that whales and other marine mammals are far more sensitive to sonar and other noise than previously thought. In permitting the Navy’s activities, NMFS ignored this new information. The court found that the agency violated its legal duty to use this “best available data” when evaluating impacts to endangered whales and other marine life.

The court also rejected the agency’s decision to limit its review to only a five-year period when the Navy has been clear that its training activities will continue indefinitely. The court held that NMFS’s limited review “ignores the realities of the Navy’s acknowledged long-term, ongoing activities in the [Northwest Training Range],” because “a series of short-term analyses can mask the long-term impact of an agency action. … [T]he segmented analysis is inadequate to address long-term effects of the Navy’s acknowledged continuing activities in the area.”

“This is an important win for the environment and for the tribes’ traditional, cultural and subsistence ways in their ancestral coastal territories,” said Hawk Rosales, executive director of the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council. “Marine mammals now stand a better chance of being protected from the Navy’s war testing and training off our coastline.”

According to the ruling, the Fisheries Service must now reassess the permits using the latest science, which could trigger a requirement that the Navy do more to protect whales and dolphins in its ongoing training exercises.

“The Navy’s Northwest Training Range is the size of the state of California, yet not one square inch was off-limits to the most harmful aspects of naval testing and training activities,” said Zak Smith, staff attorney for NRDC. “NMFS relied on faulty science when approving the Navy’s permits and thousands of marine mammals suffered the consequences.”

“Today’s ruling gives whales and other marine mammals a fighting chance against the Navy,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This ruling means that the Navy must take greater precautions to protect marine life.”

The Navy’s mid-frequency sonar has been implicated in mass strandings of marine mammals in, among other places, the Bahamas, Greece, the Canary Islands and Spain. In 2004, during war games near Hawaii, the Navy’s sonar was implicated in a mass stranding of up to 200 melon-headed whales in Hanalei Bay. In 2003 the USS Shoup,operating in Washington’s Haro Strait, exposed a group of endangered Southern Resident killer whales to mid-frequency sonar, causing the animals to stop feeding and attempt to flee the sound. Even when sonar use does not result in these or other kinds of physical injury, it can disrupt feeding, migration and breeding or drive whales from areas vital to their survival.

“In 2003, NMFS learned firsthand the harmful impacts of Navy sonar in Washington waters when active sonar blasts distressed members of J pod, one of our resident pods of endangered orcas,” said Kyle Loring, staff attorney at Friends of the San Juans. “The use of deafening noises just does not belong in sensitive areas or marine sanctuaries where whales and dolphins use their acute hearing to feed, navigate, and raise their young.”

Said Marcie Keever, Oceans & Vessels program director at Friends of the Earth: “Recent research confirms that the 82 remaining endangered Southern Resident orcas use coastal waters within the Navy’s training range to find salmon during the critical fall and winter months. NMFS must do more to assure that the Navy is not pushing these critically endangered orcas and other endangered marine mammals even closer to extinction.”

Earthjustice represents the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, and Friends of the San Juans and has partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in the lawsuit.

 

Senator Brian Schatz on Ted Cruz All Night Grandstanding Effort on Senate Floor – “He Recklessly Wasted Valuable Time…”

Brian Schatz

Aloha —

They’ve really done it this time: Ted Cruz spent all night grandstanding on the Senate floor in an effort to abolish President Obama’s landmark healthcare legislation. He recklessly wasted valuable time holding up real debate and votes on the budget, bringing us even closer to a potential government shutdown.

Cruz’s threats are real – if we don’t pass a budget in the next few days, the government will shut down. Cruz and his Tea Party colleagues would rather send employees home without pay, send the economy into a tailspin, and delay essential public services than fund Obamacare.

We need to show Ted Cruz and his allies that strong progressives like you and me are willing to fight for better health care for middle-class families.

Obamacare is already providing better health care coverage at lower costs for millions of Americans — and it will work even better when the new health care exchanges open on October 1.

But extremists in the House and Senate — led by Texas tea party Senator Ted Cruz — want to kick millions of people off of their health plans, make seniors pay more for essential medications, and end preventive screenings for Medicare recipients.

That’s why my campaign for U.S. Senate is more important than ever. I’ve always stood up for — and will continue leading the fight for — Obamacare, Social Security, and other vital programs that support Hawaii families.

Seeing these values threatened last night and this morning — and seeing how Cruz and his allies are willing to recklessly waste valuable time to grandstand against the health of everyday families — makes me even more motivated to keep fighting for middle-class values.

I’ve got to stay in the Senate to stop people like Ted Cruz and his right-wing corporate cronies from taking away Obamacare.

We can’t let them him get away with this.

Aloha,

Brian Schatz
U.S. Senator 

 

Big Island Police Searching for 38-Year-Old Man Wanted for Bail Jumping and Contempt

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 38-year old man wanted on bench warrants for bail jumping and contempt of court.

Mark Wirth

Mark Wirth

Mark Wirth is describe as 6-feet tall, 170 pounds with short blond hair and blue eyes. He has no permanent address but may be in the Hilo area.

Police caution the public not to contact or approach him if they see him. Instead, anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Lawsuit Charges State Of Hawaii With Breach Of Public Trust – Electric Monopoly

On Wednesday afternoon, September 25, Honolulu attorney, John Carroll, filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawaii, charging the State of Hawaii with breach of the public trust for its failure to address the State’s energy crisis to the satisfaction of its residents.

The defendants in the case are the State of Hawaii and Neil S. Abercrombie, sued in his capacity as the Governor of the State, responsible for the faithful execution of State law.

HELCO Lawsuit

Click to view lawsuit

Big Island Police Searching for 48-Year-Old Missing Kayaker

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 48-year-old Hilo man who was reported missing.

Richard Gomez

Richard Gomez

Richard Gomez, entered the water in Hilo in a Kayak at 10 a.m. Friday (September 20) and has not been seen since. He may be headed for South Point.

He is described as 6-feet-tall, 175 pounds and bald with green eyes.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Hawaiʻi Fire Department are assisting in the search.

Police ask anyone with information on Gomez’ whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or the Coast Guard Command Center on Oahu at (808) 842-2600.

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

New Report Shows Plan to Expand Hawaii Early Education With Tobacco Tax Increase

President Obama has proposed to expand early childhood education and fund it with an increase in federal tobacco taxes. 

CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS LOGO

In Hawaii, this initiative would provide 853 more children from low- and moderate-income families with access to high-quality preschool in the first year alone and prevent 4,700 kids from becoming addicted smokers, according to a report released today by nine organizations that focus on early learning and/or public health.

Additional Hawaii benefits include:

  • Additional funds provided for preschool in the first year: $7 million
  • Residents saved from premature, smoking-caused deaths: 2,400

In his fiscal year 2014 budget, President Obama proposed to expand federal funding for early education programs, paid for with a 94-cent per pack increase in the federal cigarette tax and a proportional increase in the federal tax on other tobacco products.  “Taken together, these two measures would help ensure a future of smart, healthy kids nationwide and in every state,” the report concludes.

The report can be found at www.smarthealthykids.org.  It details the educational and health benefits of the President’s proposal nationwide and in every state.

Nationwide, the President’s proposal would ensure that two million children in low- and moderate-income families have access to high-quality preschool and prevent 1.7 million kids from becoming addicted smokers.

Organizations releasing the report are the National Women’s Law Center, Save the Children, MomsRising, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and American Academy of Pediatrics.

Background

The President’s proposal would address two major challenges facing America’s children: Too few have access to high-quality preschool programs, while too many still smoke.

Less than half of four-year-olds are currently enrolled in public preschool programs, and many of these programs are not high quality.  Numerous studies show that children who have a high-quality preschool experience perform better on cognitive tests in elementary and secondary school, are more likely to graduate from high school, go to college, be employed and be in good health, and are less likely to become involved with crime or have to rely on public assistance.

The proposed increase in tobacco taxes would significantly reduce smoking and other tobacco use, which is the nation’s leading preventable cause of death.  Tobacco use kills more than 400,000 Americans every year and costs the nation $96 billion in health care bills.  Every day, more than 3,500 U.S. youth try their first cigarette.

 

Roger Christie to Plead Guilty to Distribution of Marijuana on Friday

Roger Christie

Roger Christie in front of the former THC Ministry

“…Roger Christie promoted the religious use of marijuana for years at The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry in Hilo.  He was arrested in July 2010 and his operation was shut down.  He has been in custody for more than three years.

Christie’s attorney says his client will enter a guilty plea to distribution of marijuana because he was factually doing that.  However, Christie strongly believes his actions were protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

In the plea agreement, Christie reserves the right to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals…”

 

Monsanto Protection Act Removed From Senate CR

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz released the following statement on the elimination of what is known as the “Monsanto Protection Act” from the Senate version of the short-term appropriations bill, the Continuing Resolution.

Brian Schatz
“The Monsanto Protection Act is bad policy for the country and the State of Hawai‘i,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. “The Senate version of the Continuing Resolution does not include this provision, effectively repealing the Monsanto Protection Act. This provision took the ability of the Secretary of Agriculture to fully exercise his regulatory power over GMOs, and compromised the role of our courts as a check on the legislative and executive systems, making it significantly more difficult for concerned citizens to present their case.

“I strongly urge the House not to sneak the Monsanto Protection Act back into the final version of the appropriations bill. However, if it is slipped back in, rather than letting the issue be deliberated with full transparency and public input, I will immediately introduce legislation to repeal it.”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester from Montana led the charge in getting the Senate to remove the Monsanto Protection Act from the Continuing Resolution.

“Stripping the Monsanto Protection Act is a victory for American consumers and family farm agriculture,” said U.S. Senator Jon Tester.  “Corporate giveaways have no business in a bill to fund the government, and I’m pleased that the Senate stood up for accountability and transparency and against special interests.  I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Schatz to make sure that this damaging provision never again makes it into law.”