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Autism Bill Advances in the House

Autism Bill Advances in the House:


The House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce (CPC) unanimously adopted HB721, which would require health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to provide health care coverage and benefits for autism spectrum disorders beginning next year.

A majority of States have enacted legislation similar to HB 721 which requires that state-regulated health plans cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism, including Applied Behavioral Analysis.  Actual claims data from states which were among the first to enact such legislation show the average cost of coverage is 31 cents per covered member per month. The cost of not providing appropriate treatment to individuals with autism has been estimated to be $3.2 million per child over their lifespan.

The bill was originally heard last Wednesday in a hearing that featured the stirring testimony of Luke, an eight year old boy diagnosed with Autism.  During his courageous testimony, Luke’s difficulties in communicating with others was observed firsthand by legislators as he asked for the help that he needs to better navigate the social world. The services that would be provided via HB 721, or “Luke’s Law,” would equip children like Luke with the social skill set needed to better interact with others thereby enriching their lives.

“The testimony of the brave young boy clearly illustrated the importance of early diagnosis and treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder,” said CPC Chair Angus McKelvey (West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei).  “Luke’s Law will ensure that Applied Behavior Analysis and/or other treatments will be available to increase the opportunity for keiki and teens to develop the skills and functioning necessary to survive and thrive for adult life.”

Natural Phenomena of Koa Defoliation on the Big Island Due to Population Explosion of Native Moth

Public Assistance Needed in Reporting of Continued Defoliation

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) has documented extensive defoliation of large sections of mature koa forest on Hawaii Island, which scientists believe is the result of a natural but sudden proliferation of a native moth. Koa trees located in the Hilo and Hamakua regions, between the elevations of 2000 and 4000 feet, appear to be impacted at this time.

Hawaii Island Koa Defoliation

Hawaii Island Koa Defoliation

“The department has determined that this defoliation event is the direct result of feeding by moth native to Hawaii, the koa looper. Fortunately, past occurrences of these outbreaks show us that koa forests can recover,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “We are thankful that researchers from the University of Hawaii, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Hawaii Agricultural Research Center are assisting DLNR to monitor this rare natural phenomenon.”

Although the koa looper (Scotorythra paludicola) is a native moth commonly found in koa forests, caterpillars of this species have historically been associated with mass koa forest defoliation. Oral accounts indicate that such events were occurring before the first written documented outbreak in 1892. To date, researchers have not yet discovered what circumstances trigger the occasional moth population explosions.

Scotorythra Paludicola Adult

Scotorythra Paludicola Adult

The area currently impacted is estimated to span over 24,500 acres, and is the largest koa defoliation in written history. Based on data from previous outbreaks, it is possible that the koa looper outbreak will spread to other areas of Hawaii Island, although the exact path is unpredictable.

Given that this is a natural process caused by a native moth species, the DLNR will focus its efforts on documenting and monitoring the outbreak.

“Mapping the boundaries of this infestation will tell us what areas are affected right now, and provide a way for us to measure movement of the moths into new forest areas,” said Roger Imoto, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife Administrator. “We want to assure the public that this is a natural phenomenon, and DLNR and its partners are actively monitoring. The public can help us by calling DOFAW if new areas are observed.”

Land managers and researchers have an opportunity to collect data on the moths, the koa, and the environmental conditions — the combination of which may help answer some long-standing questions about these events.

“We are prioritizing monitoring efforts because it is important to understand how this outbreak might affect our forests and koa forestry on Hawaii Island,” Imoto said. “Despite the rapid and severe visual impact of defoliation caused by the caterpillars, it should be noted that koa can and do recover after such outbreaks.”

Monitoring conducted following outbreaks on Maui in 2004 and 2009 showed mortality of up to 35 percent in unhealthy forests; however, koa trees in healthy forests fared better, recovering at a rate of nearly 100 percent.

Scotorythra Paludicola Caterpillar

Scotorythra Paludicola Caterpillar

Members of the public are encouraged to report koa defoliation and/or increased caterpillar or moth abundance to the DLNR if it is observed outside of the Hilo and Hamakua region.

Please call (808) 587-0166 with information on the nearest street address, date of sighting, and a description of the defoliation. The public is encouraged to send photos with location information to DLNR@hawaii.gov.

For more information on the koa looper, visit: www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw

(directly at Koa Moth Fact Sheet )

2013 KSBE Ho’olaule’a is Tomorrow – Preserve Your Family’s Story

Are you going to the Kamehameha Schools (Kea‘au) Ho‘olaule‘a tomorrow?

KSBE 2013

Here’s your chance to win an oral history session (tell your family’s or an ancestor’s story!) at the silent auction.

Bid on a Talk Story Press Oral History session at the Kamehameha School (Kea‘au) Ho‘olaule‘a. It’s this Saturday, February 16, 2013 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; free admittance).

It’s a silent auction, where you bid on paper. The highest bidder wins a guided, one-hour oral history interview, which will be recorded and delivered to them on CD and in transcripts.

Leslie Lang
Hot Tip: When I offered this same one-hour “oral history to CD” project last year, at the same silent auction, people didn’t seem to know quite what to make of it. There were only two bids, and the Oral History CD went for quite cheap! So if you’re interested, you might consider swooping by that day. Let me know if you have any questions.

Auction proceeds support the Kamehameha Schools PTO, which is such a good cause. Your bid supports scholarships, sending classes to special events, authors’ visits, athletes traveling to games and more.


Straight Facts About Valentines Day Provided by the US Department of Commerce

Valentine’s Day 2013: Feb. 14

Expressing one’s love to another is a celebrated custom on Valentine’s Day; whereby sweethearts and family members present gifts to one another, such as cards, candy, flowers and other symbols of affection. Opinions differ as to who was the original Valentine, but the most popular theory is that he was a clergyman who was executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome. In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius I declared Feb. 14 as Valentine Day. Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, is given credit for selling the first mass-produced valentine cards in the 1840s. The spirit continues today with even young children exchanging valentine’s cards with their fellow classmates.



Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2010, employing 35,074 people. California led the nation in the number of chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments, with 121, followed by Pennsylvania, with 114.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns: 2010, NAICS code (31132) and (31133),


Number of U.S. establishments that manufactured nonchocolate confectionary products in 2010. These establishments employed 17,526 people. California led the nation in this category, with 49 establishments.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns: 2010, NAICS code (31134)

$13.5 billion

Total value of shipments in 2011 for firms producing chocolate and cocoa products.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 Annual Survey of Manufactures, Products and Service Codes 311320 and 311330,

Nonchocolate confectionery product manufacturing, meanwhile, was an $8.8 billion industry.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 Annual Survey of Manufactures, Products and Service Code 311340,


Number of confectionery and nut stores in the United States in 2010.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS code (445292),

24.7 pounds

Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2010.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Industrial Reports, Confectionery: 2010



The total number of florists’ establishments nationwide in 2010. These businesses employed 70,575 people.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS code (4531)


The value of imports for cut flowers and buds for bouquets in 2011. Flower bouquets are a popular gift for loved ones on Valentine’s Day. The total value of fresh cut roses in 2011 was $365,453,189.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau: Foreign Trade Division USA Trade Online U.S. Import and Export Merchandise trade (Commodity code-060319)



Number of jewelry stores in the United States in 2010. Jewelry stores offer engagement, wedding and other rings to couples of all ages. In February 2012, these stores sold $2.66 billion in merchandise.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS code (448310),
<http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/> and Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services <http://www.census.gov/retail>

The merchandise at these locations could well have been produced at one of the nation’s 1,453 jewelry manufacturing establishments.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS code (339911),

“Please Be Mine”

28.6 and 26.6 years

Median age at first marriage in 2012 for men and women, respectively.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Families and Living Arrangements: 2012,
<http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/marital.html>, Table MS-2


The overall percentage of adults who reported being married.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Families and Living Arrangements: 2012,
<http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2012.html> Table A1


Percentage of people 15 and older in 2012 who had been married at some point in their lives — either currently or formerly.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Families and Living Arrangements: 2012,
<http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2012.html> Table A1


The provisional rate of marriages per 1,000 people performed in Nevada during 2010. So many couples tie the knot in the Silver State that it ranked number one nationally in marriage rates. Hawaii ranked second with a marriage rate of 17.6.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics,

2.1 million

The provisional number of marriages that took place in the United States in 2010. That breaks down to nearly 5,800 a day.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics,


The percentage of women who married for the first time between 1990 and 1994, who marked their 10th anniversary. This compares with 83 percent of women who married for the first time between 1960 and 1964.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009,
<http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p70-125.pdf>, Table 4


As of 2009, the percentage of currently married women who had been married for at least 50 years. A little more than half of currently married women had been married for at least 15 years.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009
<http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p70-125.pdf>, Table 9

Looking for Love


The number of dating service establishments nationwide as of 2007. These establishments, which include Internet dating services, employed 3,125 people and pulled in $928 million in revenue.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census

Try Looking Here . . .

Romantic-sounding places to spend Valentine’s Day:

Rose City, Texas Rose City, Mich. South Heart, N.D.
Loveland, Colo. Darling, Minn. Loveland, Ohio
Romeo, Colo. Sacred Heart, Minn. Loveland Park, Ohio
Lovejoy, Ga. Heart Butte, Mont. Love County, Okla.
Loves Park, Ill. Valentine, Neb. Loveland, Okla.
Lovington, Ill. Lovelock, Nev. Lovelady, Texas
Romeoville, Ill. Loving, N.M. Loving County, Texas
Rosemont, Ill. Lovington, N.M. Valentine, Texas
Romeo, Mich. Love Valley, N.C. Rose Hill Acres, Texas
Rosemont, Md.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder

Giving Love a Second Chance


Percentage of people ever married twice as of 2011. Five percent have married three or more times. By comparison, 75.3 percent of people who have ever been married have made only one trip down the aisle.
Source: 2011 American Community Survey


Median length, in years, of first marriages that ended in divorce.
Source: Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009
<http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p70-125.pdf>, Table 8

3.8 and 3.7

The median time in years between divorce and a second marriage for men and women, respectively. However, the two medians are not significantly different from each other.
Source: Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009
<http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p70-125.pdf>, Table 8

9% and 7.9%

Among people 15 and older in 2009, the percentage of men and women, respectively, who had married twice and were still married.
Source: Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009

Hawaii House Unanimously Passes PLDC Repeal

The Hawaii House of Representatives unanimously passed HB1133, which would repeal the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC).


House Lawmakers held a public hearing last Saturday to engage the community in considering a variety of options for dealing with the PLDC that ranged from overhauling the administrative rules to repealing the corporation. Testimony from the five-hour hearing made it clear where the public stood on the issue.

On Monday, the Committees on Water and Land (WAL) and Finance (FIN) voted unanimously to advance an outright repeal of the PLDC to a full vote on the House Floor. Today’s vote sends HB1133 to the Senate with a clear message that the House and the public support a repeal of the controversial Corporation.

“The public, in oral and written testimony, voiced its displeasure with the PLDC with an overwhelming number of people calling for repeal of the act,” said WAL Chair Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala). “Clearly, the way it was structured, the public came to a point of understanding that the authority we gave the corporation bypassed county plans and zoning laws. Democracy spoke today with the passage of HB1133.”


State Launches New Teen-Focused Obesity Prevention Campaign

During a special premiere at the State Capitol, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today launched a new teen-focused multi-media campaign to combat obesity. The campaign is part of a comprehensive set of interventions being implemented by the DOH to address obesity prevention.


Students, legislators, media and obesity prevention advocates were provided a preview of many of the television, radio, print and movie theater ads that will run statewide. The campaign will begin on Feb. 15 and run through May to reach youth ages 12-18. The campaign will also utilize social media outlets to reach the target audience.

“It is essential that these messages resonate, starting with Hawaii’s teens, so we enlisted their help in creatively developing how they will be presented,”said Gov. Abercrombie. “This campaign represents an ideal nexus of state government working with local students to ensure that public information messages intended for teens are effective and impact.”


The campaign’s TV, radio and print ads were produced with the help of Hawaii middle and high school students. After initial focus group testing with teens to determine the concept, 10th graders from Island Pacific Academy acted as youth advisers for the campaign, advising DOH staff on the look and feel of the logos and print ads.


In addition, the theater ads were entirely student-produced videos submitted by Aikahi Elementary, Aliamanu Middle, and Waianae High Schools, which were finalists in the 2012 Olelo Youth XChange video competition.

“The campaign counters the attractive promotion of unhealthy foods and drinks that are popular with our teens,”said Health Director Loretta Fuddy. “Our goal is to begin the conversation with our youth on how marketing influences their over-consumption. We have found that Hawaii teenagers have a great deal of purchasing power, so it’s important that they are made aware of how their decisions are swayed.”



Consumption of some unhealthy items, such as sugary drinks, is highest in the teen population, with nearly all teens (93 percent) reporting consumption within the past week. One-half (48 percent) reported consuming of at least one sugar-sweetened beverage per day.

A 2012 survey of over 600 Hawaii teenagers also found that 63 percent of teens have more than $11 each week to spend any way they want to; over one-half of these had more than $20 of disposable income each week.

While 27 percent of high school students are currently overweight and obese, the figure is much higher among adults at 57 percent –more than one of every two adults. “With overweight and obesity rates more than double between high school and adulthood, it is important to address the issue with teens while they’re young and before they grow into adults,”added Director Fuddy.

Marketing messages around healthy eating and active living is a nationally recognized strategy to address obesity, and it is a fundamental part of the Hawaii State Physical Activity and Nutrition Plan. The state’s media campaign is integral to a comprehensive effort to reduce obesity and the chronic disease in Hawaii. The theater, television, radio, and print ads are funded with Tobacco Settlement funds.


Sharks Sighted Off Waikiki Beach

Tad Tamura writes:

Two sharks spotted offshore from the Sheraton Waikiki; Monday, 2-11-13.

Sharks at Waikiki

They swam around the shallow area beneath the walkway for about an hour. There was at least one honu (turtle) in the area at the time. Don’t know what happened to it.


Posted with permission:

Published on Feb 11, 2013

copyright 2013 TT Hawaii Production/ Tad Tamura
No use without permission.
contact: tdtamura@yahoo.com

Waimea Artists’ Guild Programs at Kanu O Ka ‘Āina School

Two new classes, Fundamentals in Art and Beginners Ballet, come to Waimea March 1-22, 2013, continuing the arts program series presented by Waimea Artists’ Guild (WAG) in partnership with KALO.

Waimea Artists Guild

Professional designer George Detchev brings 15 years of teaching experience in Santa Monica, CA to Waimea for his Fundamentals in Art class.  Encouraging each individual’s talent, Detchev will work with students in watercolor and pastels to seek out the creative spark, to discover the artist in everyone.

Ballet instructor Youlia Doneva has danced, taught and achieved prestigious awards in Bulgaria, Italy, and the United States during the last 25 years.  Employing Russian Ballet techniques to highlight the graceful and exquisite dancer in each student, Doneva teaches a wide range of dance steps, basic ballet movement, position coordination, stretching and creative dance.

“We are so thrilled to have George and Youlia join our community,” said Beth Mehau, Executive Director of The Pantry, of which WAG is a component.  “They are so generous with their talents and they are bringing an amazing enthusiasm and energy into the programs.  If you have ever wanted to try your hand—or your feet—at art or dance, this is a great opportunity to work with highly-skilled teachers, right here in our own backyard.”

Both Fundamentals in Art and Beginners Ballet classes will be held on Fridays, March 1-22 at Kanu o ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School in Waimea.  Cost is $85 per person for four weeks of instruction.  To register, please call The Pantry at (808) 887-2289.

Fundamentals in Art Program by George Detchev

Fridays, Fridays, March 1-22

Keiki 6-10 years old, 4 to 5 p.m. (12 Maximum)

Age 11 years and up, 5 to 6 p.m. (12 Maximum)

$85 per person for 4 weeks of instruction

Beginners Ballet with Youlia Doneva

Fridays, Fridays, March 1-22

Keiki 6-10 years old, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. (12 maximum)

Age 11 years and up, 5 to 6 p.m. (12 maximum)

$85 per person for 4 weeks of instructions

Kanu o ka ‘Āina is a free public school for grades K-12 with focus on Hawaiian culture, located in Waimea.  To reach the school, turn onto Kamamalu Street at the “Taco Tako/Waimea Brewhaus” intersection; pass the Police Station on your right; stay on this road through a sharp left bend and look for the campus on your right.

The Pantry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which includes Waimea Artists’ Guild, the Friday Night Crew youth group, and Mama’s House Thrift Store.  WAG is an association of professional artists whose intent is to produce art and promote education in their community.  For additional information, contact: Beth or Tom Mehau at The Pantry, 887-2289.


Big Island Police Identify Women Murdered in Hilo Last Night – Suspect Charged

Detectives have charged a 34 year-old Hilo man for several offenses stemming from the shooting deaths of two Hilo women.

Sean Matsumoto

Sean Matsumoto

This evening at 6:30 pm, after conferring with prosecutors, Sean Ivan Masa Matsumoto, 34 was charged for first degree murder, two counts of second degree murder, three counts of use of a firearm in commission of a separate felony, and first degree reckless endangering. Matsumoto is being held without bail in the police cellblock pending his initial court appearance tomorrow.

Police have identified both victims as Elaine Ahu, 74 of Hilo and her daughter Rhonda Lynn Alohalani Ahu, 45, also of Hilo.
Autopsies on both victims are scheduled for Friday to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask that anyone with information on this case to call Detective Ernest Matsumoto at 961-2379 or email at ematsumoto@co.hawaii.hi.us or Detective Joel Field at 961-2381 or email at jfield@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.

House Scheduled to Vote on Bill to Repeal Public Land Development Corporation

House Scheduled to Vote on Bill to Repeal Public Land Development Corporation


WHAT:  The House of Representatives will vote tomorrow on HB 1133 which repeals the Public Land Development Corporation.

WHEN:  Thursday, February 14, 2013, 12 noon

WHERE:  House Chamber

WHY:  The public has voiced serious concerns with the PLDC and the House has made it a priority to address the issue as quickly as possible.

WHO:  House Speaker Joe Souki and WAL Chair Cindy Evans will be available to media following the session.  Please meet on the Mauka side of the House Chamber.



County of Hawaii Issues $98.8M in Bonds, Saving Hawai’i Island Taxpayers $8.5M

The County of Hawai’i sold $98.8 million in bonds in a sale that closed Feb. 12, obtaining funding for new projects and refinancing old loans and bonds in a move that will save taxpayers about $8.5 million over the life of the bonds.

Hawaii County Logo

The County’s ratings were affirmed in January by all three major rating agencies: Aa2 from Moody’s, AA- from Standard & Poor’s, and AA- from Fitch. These positive ratings, which recognize the County’s strong fiscal position and effective management, allowed the County to achieve a very favorable combined interest rate of 2.58% on these new bonds.

“Our County found itself in a great position – with a trio of positive ratings and the excellent market conditions for municipal bonds, we could refinance some of our pre-existing obligations for a lower cost,” said Finance Director Nancy Crawford. “The savings we realize with this bond issuance will free up resources to do more for the people of Hawai‘i Island.”

In addition to refinancing previous loans and bonds, $27.5 million in new money was obtained to fund projects previously authorized by the County Council. Some of these projects include the improvements to the Edith Kanaka’ole Stadium in Hilo, the La’aloa Avenue Extension in Kona, and an islandwide public safety radio upgrade.

“We’re pleased that we were able to leverage our County’s strong financial position to save our taxpayers money. It is truly a credit to the hard work of our employees and our finance team for managing our resources wisely,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “We’re excited to have funds available to invest in projects that will upgrade our public facilities, better connect our communities, and keep our island safe.”


Aegis Missile Defense System Intercepts Target in Test Off Kauai

The Missile Defense Agency and sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie conducted a successful flight test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system today, resulting in the intercept of a medium-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by a Standard Missile-3 Block IA guided missile.

At 4:10 a.m. EST, a unitary medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew northwest toward a broad area of the Pacific Ocean.

USS Lake Erie (CG 70) fires a Standard Missile-2 during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from Jun. 20 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/EXW) Derek R. Sanchez/RELEASED

USS Lake Erie (CG 70) fires a Standard Missile-2 during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from Jun. 20 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/EXW) Derek R. Sanchez/RELEASED Stock Photo)

The in-orbit Space Tracking and Surveillance System-Demonstrators, or STSS-D, detected and tracked the target, and forwarded track data to the USS Lake Erie. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system, used “Launch on Remote” doctrine to engage the target.

The ship developed a fire control solution from the STSS-D track and launched the SM-3 Block IA guided missile about five minutes after target launch. The SM-3 maneuvered to a point in space and released its kinetic warhead. The warhead acquired the target re-entry vehicle, diverted into its path, and, using only the force of a direct impact, engaged and destroyed the target.

Initial indications are that all components performed as designed, officials said. Program officials will assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test, they added.

Today’s event, designated Flight Test Standard Missile-20, or FTM-20, was a demonstration of the ability of space-based assets to provide mid-course fire control quality data to an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense ship, extending the battle space, providing the ability for longer-range intercepts and defense of larger areas, officials said.

FTM-20 is the 24th successful intercept in 30 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 58th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 73 flight tests since 2001.

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense is the sea-based component of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System. The Aegis BMD engagement capability defeats short- to intermediate-range, unitary and separating, midcourse-phase ballistic missile threats with the SM-3, as well as short-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase with the SM-2 Block IV missile.

The MDA and the Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.

Annual Governor Focus Luncheon Includes Business Expo

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce (KKCC) invites the community to attend the annual focus luncheon with Governor Neil Abercrombie, sponsored by Bank of Hawaii, H.M.A.A. and Parker Ranch Center , on Wednesday, February 27 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.

Gov. Abercrombie speaks at a community meeting

Gov. Abercrombie speaks at a community meeting

Governor Abercrombie will speak on issues of importance to our community, and time permitting, he may answer questions from the floor. This event is timed to coincide with the Legislative session so we may hear his priorities and we can share ours.

In addition, attendees can learn about new and existing KKCC businesses at the Chamber’s annual Business Expo, which precedes and follows the banquet. Times are 10:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. The Business Expo is free and open to the public.

Admission for the banquet is $40 for KKCC and Rotary members and $50 for non-members. Tables of eight can be reserved. Reservations are required by Thursday, February 21, no refunds afterwards. Secure your seat online at www.kona-kohala.com or phone 329-1758.



Big Island Police Charge 23-Year-Old Kona Man in Connection With Terroristic Threatening That Put Schools on Lockdown

Big Island police have charged a 23-year-old Kona man in connection with reports of terroristic threatening Monday morning (February 11) in Honokaa.

Lyle Kawika Pascubillo

Lyle Kawika Pascubillo

At 7:00 p.m. Tuesday (February 12), after conferring with prosecutors, Lyle Kawika Pascubillo was charged with two counts of first degree terroristic threatening. His bail was set at $4,000. He is being held at the Kona police cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Wednesday (February 13).

On Monday morning (February 11), Hamakua patrol officers received a complaint from the victim, a 25-year-old Honokaa female, who reported receiving numerous threatening telephone calls and text messages from an unknown source. Text messages received by the victim made reference to the threat of violent actions taking place at Honokaa School and Waimea Elementary School.

Police contacted officials at the two schools and notified them of the reports received. As a precaution, officials at both of the schools placed the campuses in lock down.

Investigation revealed that the suspect was calling from a residence in Kailua-Kona where Kona patrol officers contacted and arrested him. School officials were notified of the arrest of the suspect.


Big Island Police Seeking 21-Year-Old Wanted for Questioning in Recent Burglaries

Big Island police request the public’s assistance in locating a 21-year-old Hilo man wanted on outstanding warrants and for questioning in recent burglaries that have occurred in the Kaūmana area.

Kyson Kaleiwahea

Kyson Kaleiwahea

Kyson Kaleiwahea is described as being 5-foot-8,150 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair. He also has tattoos behind his neck, left leg, and lower back. Kakeiwahea is believed to be in the Kaūmana or Piihonua areas.

Police warn the public of recent burglaries that have occurred in the upper Kaūmana and Piihonua areas. Burglaries have been occurring in the late afternoon and evening hours, involving a male suspect on foot who claims to be looking for a lost puppy when he is confronted by residents in the neighborhood.

Police ask that anyone with information on Kaleiwahea’s whereabouts 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.


Kalapana Lava Viewing Area Remains Free

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation reminds residents and visitors that there are no fees to visit the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area located near the end of Highway 130 in lower Puna.


The best way to see it is by boat!

A private security company opens the free public viewing area from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

To access the area, go to the end of Highway 130 and drive about two-thirds of a mile over a combination of old lava flows and new sections of asphalt to reach the parking lot and security shed. Once there, visitors may walk a short distance to a lava mound with white markings that serves as the viewing platform.

The land alongside the road and beyond the viewing platform is private property, and public access is prohibited.

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


Accident at Highway 130 and Maku’u This Afternoon

An accident was just reported at Highway 130 and Maku’u Intersection.

Photo by Kanani Konanui

Photo by Kanani Konanui

Hawaii Senate Passes Bill 369 – Relating to Video Conferencing

This afternoon in the Hawaii State Capital Chambers, members of the Hawaii Senate listened to testimony provided by video conferencing from Big Island residents that were in support of Hawaii Senate Bill 369, Relating to Video Conferencing.

Here is a screen shot from me providing testimony from here on the Big Island:

Talking to Senator Wakai before the hearing begins.

Talking to Senator Wakai before the hearing begins.

I provided the following testimony:

My name is Damon Tucker and I’m from Pahoa here on the Big Island of Hawaii and I’m here to testify via videoconferencing in support of Senate Bill 369.

Many of us folks on the neighbor islands would like to submit testimony in person at the legislature but we simply can not for many factors whether it be; time, money, jobs, kids, etc.

I’m sure that you folks as our Representatives get flooded with written testimony.  I ask you folks how often do you actually read all of the testimony.

Everyone knows that a picture is worth a thousand words… how many words do you think video could represent?

Keeping the public informed and maintaining transparency in the legislative process are key to a democratic system of government.

I believe that these hearings should not only be available to neighbor island constituents, but Oahu residents as well.  Legislative committee hearings are notorious for going late into the night often forcing some who would like to speak or listen to the debate to give up and go home.

With governments at all levels looking to maximize the return on every dollar invested in infrastructure and training, turning to video conferencing as the backbone of a forward-thinking communications strategy makes financial, environmental, and technological sense.

Executive Order 13589, issued by President Obama on November 11, 2009, states:

To ensure efficient travel spending, agencies are encouraged to devise strategic alternatives to Government travel, including local or technological alternatives, such as teleconferencing and video conferencing.

Two other folks testified in support of the bill and after listening to the testimony the Senate had a quorum and passed Senate Bill 369 unanimously.


Canadian Armed Forces Participating In Joint Exercise Off Coast of Hawaii

A Task Group Exercise will take place from February 11 to 21 off the coast of Hawaii with personnel from Canada and the United States participating in joint operations designed to build and strengthen interoperability and effectiveness between Canada’s three military services and our Allies. The exercise will also support the United States Navy Submarine Command Course, a training course for naval officers preparing to take command of a submarine.

Commander Rogeness and I infront of the USS Cheyenne Submarin

Commander Rogeness and I infront of the USS Cheyenne Submarine

“One of Canada’s responsibilities as a maritime nation is to ensure that we are interoperable with our maritime partners, including the United States,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. “The Task Group Exercise ensures that the Royal Canadian Navy remains an effective allied maritime force.”

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships Ottawa and Algonquin will meet at sea with United States Ships Chafee and Port Royal, and United States Naval Ship Guadalupe, along with three Los Angeles Class Nuclear Submarines. The ships will be joined by a Canadian CP-140 Aurora Aircraft from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron, and by CH-124 Sea King helicopters from 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron. Commodore Scott Bishop, Commander of Canadian Fleet Pacific, will have a key leadership position during this Task Group Exercise as the Commander of anti-submarine warfare.

Aloha Ottawa, (Photo from US Pacific Fleet Facebook Site)

Aloha Ottawa, (Photo from US Pacific Fleet Facebook Site)

“The Royal Canadian Navy has a significant part to play in fostering cooperation and understanding at sea, especially with our neighbours to the south,” said Rear-Admiral Bill Truelove, Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific. “Exercises such as the Task Group Exercise help improve naval interoperability, while also ensuring readiness if called upon.”

“I am honoured to have been asked to participate as the anti-submarine warfare commander,” said Commodore Bishop. “Combining work-up training, multi-ship exercises, and anti-submarine warfare scenarios provide a great opportunity for sailors and officers, new and seasoned, to develop and improve warfare skills.”

Mock scenarios are staged to make training more realistic. Exercises during the Task Group Exercise will also focus on force generation, surveillance, reconnaissance, and seamanship.

The Task Group Exercise serves to strengthen the skills of our sailors, soldiers, and airmen and women by preparing them to react to potentially dangerous situations. Its purpose is to hone each unit’s operational skills, enhancing Canada’s maritime contribution to global security.

6th Annual Ocean Day Hawai‘i Mālama Kanaloa Festival

UPDATE:  Ocean Day Mālama Kanaloa Festival postponed!  The University of Hawai`i at Hilo’s 2013 Ocean Day Mālama Kanaloa Festival has been postponed due to current and forecasted weather conditions.  The festival was scheduled for Saturday, February 23 at Hilo Bayfront Beach Park. The event is now scheduled for Sunday, April 21!

The public is invited to the 6th annual University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Ocean Day Hawai‘i Mālama Kanaloa Festival, to be held on Saturday, February 23, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Hilo Bayfront Beach Park.

Information booths feature UH Hilo Marine Science and Hawaiʻi IMUA III EPSCoR researchers, Kalākaua Marine Education Center, NOAA’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, The Honolulu Zoo, Hilo Marine Mammal Response Network, Pacific Tsunami Museum, Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance, Mālama ka `Āina Hana ka `Āina, Department of Land and Natural Resources, and many others.

Family-friendly activities include fishing games, marine critter touch tanks, mask and puppet making, marine life block-printing, makahiki games, face painting, poi pounding, seed planting, and more. Enjoy live music by Kainani Kahaunaele, Lono Kanaka`ole Trio, and hula by Ka `Umeke Kā`eo students.

Ocean Day is focused on increasing awareness of ocean and coastal issues such as conservation, sustainable use of resources and ocean safety through fun and interactive displays, activities and booths. The mission is to raise public awareness of the impact people have on the ocean environment, promote conservation of precious ocean and coastal resources in a culturally sensitive way, and communicate the outcomes of current ocean and coastal research, management and education efforts in Hawai‘i.

The event is hosted by the UH Hilo Pacific Island Programs for Exploring Science in partnership with the County of Hawaiʻi, EPSCoR Hawaiʻi IMUA III, Hawaiʻi Pacific Island Campus Compact, UH Hilo Campus & Community Service Program, UH Hilo Student Activities Council, and the University of Hawai’i Sea Grant.

For more information, e-mail Ho`oululahui Perry at hperry@hawaii.edu or call JoAnne Riviera at 933-0706.