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Big Island Police Searching for Missing 16-Year-Old Mountain View Boy

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Mountain View boy who was reported missing.

Rillian H. Woods

Rillian H. Woods

Rillian H. Woods was last seen in Nanawale Estates on February 28.

He is described as 5-foot-8, 120 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on his 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 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.

After Dark in the Park April Events at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the community and visitors in April. To celebrate the Merrie Monarch Festival’s 51st anniversary, special cultural presentations are offered April 23, 24, and 25. All programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association.  Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

A demonstration of ‘ohe kapala, or bamboo stamping, at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park  NPS photo/Jay Robinson.

A demonstration of ‘ohe kapala, or bamboo stamping, at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park NPS photo/Jay Robinson.

Adventures in the Philippines. Experience the Philippines through the eyes of Ranger Adrian Boone, who visited last November as Typhoon Haiyan bore down on the island nation. His travels included several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the 2,000-year-old Banaue Rice Terraces and Puerta Princesa Subterranean River National Park. He explored the hanging coffins of Sagada, the limestone caves of Sumaguing, northern Luzon, Manila, the ancient Spanish city Vigan in Ilocos Sur, and much more! Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free, and your $2 donation helps support After Dark programs.
When: Tues., April 8, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Earthquake Storms: The Past & Present of the San Andreas Fault. Dr. John Dvorak explains the San Andreas Fault: what it is, where it is, and how it works. His new book, Earthquake Storms: The Fascinating History and Volatile Future of the San Andreas Fault will be available for sale, and it explains how the recent seismic lull in could result in an “earthquake storm” of large earthquakes. Dr. Dvorak studied volcanoes and earthquakes for the U.S. Geological Survey, taught at the University of Hawai‘i, and has written numerous cover articles for scientific publications. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free, and your $2 donation helps support After Dark programs.
When: Tues., April 22, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Events Honoring the Merrie Monarch Festival. The park will offer nearly a dozen cultural programs to celebrate the 51st anniversary of the Merrie Monarch Festival, from April 23-25. All of these programs are part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Check the park website to print posters of these and other events at http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/events.htm.

Wednesday, April 23

Kalo Demonstration.
Join Edna and Sam Baldado as they share the cultural uses of kalo, or taro plant. See how each plant is identified by its leaf, steam, corm, color, and shape. Discover the hundreds of varieties of kalo in Hawaii, and how kalo was used for food, medicine, glue, dyes, and much more.
When: Wed., April 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai:

Feather Kāhili Workshop. Helene Hayselden will demonstrate the art of making a feather kāhili, a symbol of royalty. Watch or join in and make your kāhili to take home.
When: Wed., April 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai:

Music by Rupert Tripp, Jr. Enjoy the beautiful music and voice of singer, songwriter, and multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award nominee, Rupert Tripp, Jr.
When: Wed., April 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai:

La‘au Lapau. Ka‘ohu Monfort shares her knowledge and love of the island’s native plants. Learn how her passion for plants and the Hawaiian culture are used to heal and nourish. See and touch a variety of medicinal plants, including kuku‘i, ‘ōlena, ha‘uowī, noni, kī, and guava.
When: Wed., April 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai:

Thursday, April 24

Feather Work. Watch Vi Makuakāne demonstrate the intricate art of feather work. Thousands of feathers are sorted, graded, trimmed, and sewn to a base. The result is a beautiful lei hulu, or feather lei.
When: Thurs., April 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Kenneth Makuakāne. This multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer will play original songs from his solo albums and compositions.
When: Thurs., April 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

‘Ohe Kapala. ‘Ohe kapala, or bamboo stamps, are used to create distinct designs for traditional Hawaiian kapa. Join Keiko Mercado as she demonstrates how ‘ohe (bamboo) are carved into beautiful designs and how they are used. There will be samples and a hands-on opportunity to learn this Hawaiian art form.
When: Thurs., April 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Lei Making. Patricia Ka‘ula will demonstrate different styles of lei making: hilo, haku, hili and Ku‘i. Lei is used for everything from blessing crops, adornments for hula dancers, healing and sacred rituals, to show royal status or rank, honor guests, as peace offerings, to celebrating a birth.
When: Thurs., April 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Robert Cazimero Book Signing. Robert Cazimero, a highly regarded and respected kumu hula, will sign the latest edition of Men of Hula, which will be available for sale. This 2011 edition by award-winning author Benton Sen chronicles how the hula teacher and Nā Hālau Kamalei shattered the stereotypical image of hula (girls in grass skirts and coconut bras) by revitalizing the masculine aspects of the ancient dance.
When: Thurs., April 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center

Friday, April 25

Kapa Demonstration. Kapa maker Ku‘uleimomi Makuakāne-Salāve‘a shares the art of kapa making. See how the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree is beaten into cloth.
When: Fri., April 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Ulana Lauhala. Members of ‘Aha Pūhala o Puna perpetuate the ancient art of lauhala weaving. Observe this art form and learn to weave your own lauhala star from the leaves of the hala, or pandanus tree.
When: Fri., April 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Music by Lito Arkangel. Listen to music by Lito Arkangel, one of Hawai‘i Island’s most popular entertainers, as he plays his original compositions and Hawaiian favorites.
When: Fri., April 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

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

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

Prostitutes

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

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

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

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

Avocado Festival Coming Up – New Vegan Category Added to Cooking Contest

Celebrating the versatile fruit that’s high in healthy, monounsaturated fat, the eighth annual Hawai‘i Avocado Festival is Saturday, April 5 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa. The Zero-Waste event is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on the Bayfront Lawn.

Avocado recipe at the Avocado Festival. Photo by Randy Magnus

Avocado recipe at the Avocado Festival. Photo by Randy Magnus

The free fun offers two stages headlining entertainment, culinary and agricultural activities. The festival opens with a Hawaiian pule and hula at 10 a.m.

Enjoy a farmer’s market, arts and crafts booths and a University of Hawai‘i (UH) nutrition display. Food vendors and the Sheraton’s culinary team will offer tasty, avocado-themed cuisine.

Hands-on fun for families includes games for keiki, free avocado and vegan products sampling and visits with Recycle Hawai’i’s live mascot, Recycle Dog. In addition, 200 healthy, raw treats will be served to attending keiki as part of the local Feed the Children project. Keiki and adults can also participate in painting silk banners “to banish childhood hunger” as a prelude to the Project Hawai‘i Summer Edu-Camp that will be offered free to children in need.

The lineup for the entertainment stage is Aunt Irma’s Kahikina Nahe Nahe at 11 a.m., Bolo at noon, Manuel and Bernice at 1 p.m. and eco-fashion show at 2 p.m. Live entertainment continues until 5 p.m.

A native of Central America, the avocado is classified in the same plant family as cinnamon, Lauraceae. Ty McDonald, of the Kona Extension Office of the UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, will lead a session on grafting avocados at 11 a.m. The panel discussion, “Keeping the Culture in Agriculture” returns at noon featuring local leaders concerned with agriculture and nutrition.

A 2-4 p.m. composting workshop focuses on basic backyard techniques and working with worms. Those who finish the workshop will get a free composting bin. Get the scoop on different avocado varieties at an informative display by the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers.

Cookbook author and freelance food writer Sonia R. Martinez heads the avocado recipe contest with judging at 10 a.m., public tasting at noon and announcement of winners at 1 p.m. First place winners will receive prizes from Island Naturals and Kealakekua Ranch Center.

The cooking contest is free and debuts a new vegan category that includes vegan appetizers, entrees and desserts. In addition, competition is in three other categories: appetizers, including guacamole; entréesmain dish, soups and salads—and desserts.

“Recipes will be judged on taste, appearance/presentation of dish, originality of recipe and best use of avocado,” shared Martinez. Entry form, rules and instructions can be found at www.avocadofestival.org. Contact Martinez at 963-6860 with contest questions.

For festival updates, visit Big Island Avocado Festivals on Facebook, contact Randyl Rupar at 936-5233 or visit www.avocadofestival.org.

Hawaii Avocado and Mango Festivals are sponsored by Sanctuary of Mana Kea Gardens, Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers-West Hawai’i and Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

Kona Residents Win American Culinary Federation Western Regional Awards

Kona residents Jean Hull and Ken Love were recently recognized by The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Western Region at the ACF conference in Oakland, Calif. Both are members of the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association.

Ken Love and Jean Hull

Ken Love and Jean Hull

Jean Hull, CCE, AAC of Hospitality Consulting by Jean received the President’s Medallion, which is awarded to members who exemplify culinary excellence and leadership and have contributed their expertise to the advancement of the culinary profession. The Kailua-Kona resident is a long-time champion of culinary arts on the Big Island, serving as Associate Professor of Culinary Arts at HawCC-West Hawaii for over 14 years.

Hull spearheads annual Kona Kohala Chefs fundraisers and programs, including the award-winning Chef and Child initiative that teaches West Hawaii second graders how to make nutritious food choices. She has been the driving force behind the continuing Equip the Kitchens campaign for the future Hawaii Community College (HawCC)-Palamanui campus.

Ken Love, executive director of Master Food Preservers and the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers, received the Cutting Edge Award, which taps members who provide exemplarily leadership and service to the culinary profession.

The Captain Cook resident is a long-time, outspoken advocate for the use of locally grown food. He serves as an ongoing educational resource for farmers to create value added products and in 2012-13 spearheaded a statewide exotic fruit series in 16 locations to teach grocers, chefs and consumers the benefits of 11 little-used fruits. His educational outreach went global after appearing in the 2012 feature documentary film, “The Fruit Hunters.”

In addition to Hawaii, regional winners hailed from the West Coast, Arizona, Nevada and the Philippines. The ACF Western Region has 29 chapters and named five Cutting Edge and six President’s Medallions recipients this year. The ACF is the industry leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and accreditation to enhance the professional growth of all chefs.

American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association

ACF is the largest, professional, non-profit organization for chefs and cooks in the nation. Founded in 1980, the Kona Kohala chapter is comprised of food service professionals, vendors, growers and culinary enthusiasts. Membership is open and the group meets the first week of the month during lunch at changing restaurants.  www.konakohalachefs.org.

 

Kayakers in Distress Rescued Off the Big Island

The Hawaii Fire Department and the United States Coast Guard rescued two kayakers that were in distress off the Big Island this afternoon:

Billy Pugh Net

Billy Pugh Net

Location:

Offshore, approx. 9mm Akoni Pule Hwy

Situation found at scene:

Upon arrival on scene met with the father of kayakers and spotted them with C-2.  Winds were coming from N.E. direction approx. 20-30 mph with  heavy white caps.

Cause:

Very strong offshore trade winds and lack of good judgement of strong wind and currents.

Remarks:

Two kayakers in distress were found by C-2.  Deployed one rescue swimmer to assist with billy pugh rescue.  USCG Cutter Kiska which was in the area doing training arrived on scene and rescued 2 people who were brought to Kawaihae Pier 1and no EMS was needed.

8 Hikers Rescued From Waipio Valley

The Hawaii Fire Department rescued eight hikers today that found themselves stuck in Waipio Valley because of bad weather and they were unable to pass over flowing rivers and streams.

About.Com Travel Writer John Fischer and Deston Nokes (www.destonnokes.com) hike Waipio Valley while Becky Ryan follows up the pack in a hike into Waipio we did back a few years ago.

About.Com Travel Writer John Fischer and Deston Nokes (www.destonnokes.com) hike Waipio Valley while Becky Ryan follows up the pack in a hike into Waipio we did back a few years ago.

HFD responded to 8 overdue hikers in Waipio Valley.  The hikers were unable to hike out due to worsening weather conditions and rapidly rising rivers and streams.  The hikers stayed overnight and was located and extricated out of Waipio Valley by HFD personnel the next day.  All 8 Hikers were not injured and denied any emergency medical services.

 

Big Island Lady Goes Ballistic Test Driving Car – Video Goes Viral

This Big Island Lady went ballistic yesterday test driving a car.  The car salesman simply asked her to drive the speed limit and she totally lost it.  A friend of mine said “this happened yesterday (3/22/14) at my car lot. The guy on the test drive is my co-worker. He posted this video to youtube this morning and is going viral all over the internet.”

WARNING VIDEO CONTAINS VIOLENT AND RACIAL LANGUAGE:
[youtube=http://youtu.be/EQTmOMlaxpM]

My friend went on to say, “We know the lady is a former customer of ours and has bought several cars from us prior. We are 95% sure we know her identity, but the salesman working the sale failed to obtain a copy of her driver’s license, so we’re not 100% positive.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Share Daily Solar and Wind Power Data

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are now sharing “Renewable Watch” for Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island, online displays that show the daily contribution of solar and wind generation on each island and how energy from these resources changes throughout the day.

The orange line measures the amount of energy produced by PV throughout Hawaii Island. The green line measures the wind energy production from wind facilities on Hawaii Island. The blue line represents the net system load, which is the amount of energy met by utility generation. The light blue line is the gross system load, which is the total demand, or the total amount of electricity used by customers, on the system. This demand is met by a combination of what is served by the utility and what is provided by local distributed systems, such as PV on rooftops. The difference between the blue and light blue lines represents the estimated aggregated distributed generation produced by local PV generation. This estimate provides a good estimate of how much energy is being produced by rooftop PV systems without our having to meter every rooftop PV system. This perspective provided operations and planning personnel with the information to gauge the impact of rooftop PV on system load and helped explain the decrease in mid-day load. (Click to Enlarge)

The orange line measures the amount of energy produced by PV throughout Hawaii Island.
The green line measures the wind energy production from wind facilities on Hawaii Island.
The blue line represents the net system load, which is the amount of energy met by utility generation.
The light blue line is the gross system load, which is the total demand, or the total amount of electricity used by customers, on the system. This demand is met by a combination of what is served by the utility and what is provided by local distributed systems, such as PV on rooftops.
The difference between the blue and light blue lines represents the estimated aggregated distributed generation produced by local PV generation. This estimate provides a good estimate of how much energy is being produced by rooftop PV systems without our having to meter every rooftop PV system. This perspective provided operations and planning personnel with the information to gauge the impact of rooftop PV on system load and helped explain the decrease in mid-day load.
(Click to Enlarge)

Displays for each island can be found on the homepage under Clean Energy Future at www.hawaiianelectric.com for Oahu, on www.mauielectric.com for Maui Island and www.hawaiielectriclight.com for the Island of Hawaii.

Each island’s display shows the measured output from large wind and solar facilities combined with the estimated output from residential rooftop PV systems. These sites graphically show how renewable energy resources can vary significantly by region, day, and time of day due to changes in weather, such as wind strength and cloud cover. (Non-variable renewable energy generation — such as geothermal on Hawaii Island, bagasse-fired generation from HC&S on Maui and HPOWER on Oahu — are not shown.)

“Hawaii is blessed with abundant sunshine and strong winds. With the ‘Renewable Watch’ displays, anyone can see at a glance that these are extremely productive resources with output that varies throughout the day,” said Scott Seu, Hawaiian Electric vice president for energy resources and operations. “With the help of these resources and others, we reached a record 18% renewable energy percentage in 2013.”

The Solar Electric Power Association ranks Hawaii number one in the nation for solar watts per customer. At the end of 2013, over 40,000 solar installations across the three companies’ service territories had a combined capacity of about 300 megawatts.

To maintain reliable electric service for all customers, utility engineers must adjust the output of firm sources of generation up or down as the output from variable sources like solar and wind rises and falls throughout the day. The Hawaiian Electric Companies developed “Renewable Watch” to help system operators and engineers obtain information about the contribution of energy from the variable solar and wind resources.

“This information can help us integrate higher levels of renewable energy more effectively. Solar and wind power are increasingly important to our energy mix, so we need to understand when and how these resources affect our system,” Seu said.

Data from wind facilities and utility-scale solar facilities for “Renewable Watch” comes from utility system-monitoring equipment. Data for customer-sited solar power comes from regional estimates using solar sensors strategically placed throughout the islands and other sources.  Solar sensors monitor irradiance (the rate at which solar energy falls onto a surface) to help estimate the energy generated by thousands of PV systems across the island.

Displays of additional renewable resources will be added to “Renewable Watch” screens as they come online.

Counterfeit Bills Being Circulated in Puna – Bogus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can purchase pens that detect counterfeit bills online.

You can purchase pens that detect counterfeit bills online.

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

 

Big Island Student Wins 2014 Hawaii State Spelling Bee… “P-L-A-N-G-E-N-C-Y””

Christianne Abella, an eighth grader at Konawaena Middle School on Hawaii Island, emerged as the 2014 champion of the aio Hawaii State Spelling Bee at PBS Hawaii Saturday night.

Christianne Abella

Christianne Abella

Christianne will represent Hawaii in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. May 25-31. The national bee is televised live on ESPN.

Christianne’s winning word was “plangency” – the quality of a loud, resounding sound.

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawaii President and CEO; Christianne Abella, 2014 aio Hawaii State Spelling Bee Champion; Susan Eichor, aio President and Chief Operating Officer

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawaii President and CEO; Christianne Abella, 2014 aio Hawaii State Spelling Bee Champion; Susan Eichor, aio President and Chief Operating Officer

Runner-up Hope Kudo, another eighth grader from Hawaii Island, represented Kealakehe Intermediate School. She and Christianne were this year’s Hawaii Island co-champions.

The other 12 contestants were:

  1. Fred Adella of Waimea Canyon Middle School, Grade 6 – Kauai
  2. Kelly Brown of Ewa Makai Middle School, Grade 8 – Leeward Oahu
  3. John Griffin of Our Savior Lutheran School, Grade 6 – Central Oahu
  4. Susan Hasegawa of Iolani School, Grade 8 – Honolulu
  5. Katherine Hui of Iolani School, Grade 8 – Honolulu
  6. Reanna Inafuku of Hawaii Baptist Academy, Grade 7 – Windward Oahu
  7. Alisha Maake of Iroquois Point Elementary School, Grade 5 – Leeward Oahu
  8. Leila Nelson of Kapaa Middle School, Grade 7 – Kauai
  9. Nic Sarji of Aikahi Elementary School, Grade 5 – Windward Oahu
  10. Ameera Waterford of Emmanuel Lutheran School, Grade 6 – Maui
  11. Amalie Yach of Holy Family Catholic Academy, Grade 8 – Central Oahu
  12. Paul Yamane of Kamalii Elementary School, Grade 4 – Maui

Kamehameha Schools Hawaii Keiki Choir Performs for Disneyland Audience

The Keiki Choir of the Kamehameha Schools Hawaii Campus, is on a Southern California tour during spring break.  Today they took the stage at Disneyland and performed there.

KSBE at Disneyland

Montessori Country School’s 30th Anniversary Ho’olaule’a

Montessori Country School in Pahoa is celebrating its 30th Anniversary at their Ho’olaule’a Spring Fundraiser on Saturday, March 29th from 9am to 2pm. Lots of food, entertainment and activities for everyone to enjoy!2014 HoolauleaIf you (or your keiki) are one of our MCS alumni, there will be a special “alumni only” drawing and all photo albums and class pics will be on display. Come join the fun!

Governor Abercrombie Releases $100,000 for Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council Offices in Naalehu and Honokaa

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of two grants totaling $100,000 to Hilo-based nonprofit Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) for its Naalehu and Honokaa offices.

HCEOC Naalehu Office

HCEOC Naalehu Office

The Governor approved the allotment of funds in the amount of $50,000 each for the Naalehu and Honokaa offices for planning, design and construction for emergency repairs and access improvements, as identified by members of the state Legislature.

“This money will be used to improve accessibility for our kupuna and the disabled, particularly those living in remote communities,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “These funds represent an investment in community and nonprofit efforts that will have significant impacts in the lives of local individuals and families they serve.”

HCEOC Honokaa Office

HCEOC Honokaa Office

Repair of HCEOC satellite offices will facilitate outreach and services (transportation, energy and education programs) to disadvantaged residents dispersed in rural communities on Hawaii Island. A popular program is the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which subsidizes electricity or gas bills of qualified disadvantaged households. Each June, HCEOC provides outreach for the energy assistance program administered by the state Department of Human Services and local utility companies.

Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory Update – Lava Pond Remains Active

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow and lava pond in Puʻu ʻŌʻō remain active

Mar 21, 2014: The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active, with the active flow front slowly moving through thick forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The flow front today was 8.2 km (5.1 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, which is visible in the center of the photograph, although partly obscured by fume and smoke from burning trees.

Mar 21, 2014: The small (10 meters, or 30 feet, wide) lava pond within the northeast spatter cone on Puʻu ʻŌʻō experiences cyclic rises and falls of the lava surface called “gas pistoning,” driven by the buildup and release of gas in the pond. At the time of this photograph, the pond surface had dropped following the release of gas.

Mar 21, 2014: The lava pond surface at its highest level observed during our field work today—just before the release of gas caused it to drop during the fall cycle of the gas pistoning.
Mar 21, 2014: Spattering at the edge of the pond during the fall cycle.

Mar 21, 2014: The release of gas from the lava pond at Puʻu ʻŌʻō nearly obscures the spatter (fluid fragments of molten lava) being thrown about a meter (3 ft) high.

Lava lake activity in Halemaʻumaʻu continues

Mar 21, 2014: The lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano remains active. During our observation today, the lava lake surface was about 40 m (131 ft) below the rim of the vent (the Overlook crater) within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

Paniolo Cattle Company Formed by Parker Ranch and Ulupono Initiative

Following a successful grass-fed beef trial on Hawaii Island, Parker Ranch and Ulupono Initiative announced the launch of the Paniolo Cattle Company, a joint venture aimed at statewide local beef production. The pasture-to-table enterprise taps into a growing demand for high-quality, affordable, locally raised beef.

Parker Cows

Paniolo Cattle Company will begin with 1,400 head of cattle to be raised at Parker Ranch on Hawaii Island.  This represents the largest commitment of grass-fed beef by a single ranch in the state and will increase the supply of grass-fed steers to the market by nearly 35 percent.

Parker Ranch provides calves and cattle management expertise for the joint venture and Ulupono Initiative contributes the intellectual capital to develop best practices for profitability and sustainable agricultural methods.  Both entities have financial interest and will handle the commercial aspects of the business.  Parker Ranch, headquartered in Waimea on Hawaii Island, is Hawaii’s largest cattle operation, and the state’s second largest landowner.

Ranching profitability has long been impacted by fluctuating costs of oil and corn.  The price of cattle over the last decade has increased about 57 percent, while the price of feed has increased 129 percent, causing conventional ranching returns to suffer.  Paniolo Cattle Company seeks to reduce costs substantially by animal husbandry based on sound pasture management.

“This joint venture is about trying to level the cost of beef, creating an at-home thriving cattle industry that is energy-efficient and protects us against volatility in fuel and feed costs,” said Dutch Kuyper, CEO of Parker Ranch. “Restaurants, food markets and consumers want quality and consistency in beef, at reasonable prices.”

The goal is to create a more robust local beef supply chain and ensure that a quality, consistent product is available to all Hawaii consumers, not just the high-end market.  In the pre-commercial trial on Hawaii Island, conducted from September 2012 to May 2013, 80 percent of the beef was graded “choice.”

Market research conducted by Ulupono indicated that Oahu consumers would make the shift to local beef if the quality was consistent and prices were reasonable.  Ulupono has been exploring the grass-fed beef model for nearly four years.
“We view this as an equal partnership of capital and capabilities based on shared values, mutual respect, and a commitment to the future of ranching in Hawaii,” said Kyle Datta, general partner of Ulupono Initiative.  Ulupono Initiative is an impact investment firm focused on Hawaii operations that promote a self-reliant community.
Paniolo Cattle Company plans to expand statewide and has begun talks with ranchers on Oahu, Maui and Kauai to broaden the program’s reach and benefit Hawaii ranchers, processors, and consumers in every county.  The pace of expansion will be based on the market demand.

Kuyper and Datta said meetings with Gov. Neil Abercrombie and cattle ranchers were the catalyst behind pursuing a value-based brand that increases the sustainability of Hawaii’s food supply and reduces the headwinds facing the local ranching industry.  “The State understands the food security issues. We’ve gotten a lot of support and guidance from Scott Enright, State Department of Agriculture board chair,” said Datta.

Paniolo Cattle Company will be involved in the full cycle of beef production, from grazing and finishing to working with processors and distribution.

In the initial grass-fed stage, cattle are free to roam and graze pasture until they reach about 800 pounds. The finishing stage requires active management to assure consistent nutrition to grow to 1,150 pounds, which produces high-quality meat that has the tenderness consumers seek.  Paniolo Cattle Company will operate irrigated finishing forage pastures and employ rotational pasture techniques to achieve consistency and quality, an approach not widely practiced in Hawaii.

“Parker Ranch and Ulupono Initiative both share the core value of caring about our aina and we’re committed to finding solutions that allow us to be here for the long-term providing affordable, high quality food for our community,” said Datta.  “The rotational grazing approach is a regenerative agricultural method that will improve soil health and increase pasture fertility.  Converting pasture to higher yield grasses, and reinvesting in our natural capital will pay dividends for years to come.”

Officer and Firefighter of the Year Recognized Last Night

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Sergeant James Correa as “Officer of the Year” and Captain Darwin Okinaka as “Firefighter of the Year” in a dinner ceremony Thursday evening (March 20).

Sergeant James Correa as “Officer of the Year” and Captain Darwin Okinaka as “Firefighter of the Year”

Sergeant James Correa as “Officer of the Year” and Captain Darwin Okinaka as “Firefighter of the Year”

Sergeant Correa, who joined the Police Department in March 1998, is assigned to the South Hilo District, where he heads the Special Enforcement Unit. Captain Okinaka joined the Fire Department in May 2000 and is in charge of the Training Bureau.

During a ceremony at the Hilo Yacht Club, each honoree received a plaque from the Aloha Exchange Club, certificates of commendation from the governor’s office, the mayor’s office, the Legislature and the Hawaiʻi County Council, and a gift basket of donated items and gift certificates.

Correa was honored for his leadership role in capturing two escaped prisoners.

On December 5, 2012, two inmates escaped from Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center after overpowering and assaulting a correctional officer. In the aftermath of the escape, the Police Department formed two teams, one from each side of the island, to lead an intense man hunt for the fugitives.

Sergeant Correa was assigned to lead the Area I Task Force in East Hawaiʻi, while Sergeant Bradley Freitas was in charge of the Area II Task Force in West Hawaiʻi. The two teams worked together tracking down all leads. Due to their commitment, one prisoner was arrested in Kaʻū two days after the escape. The second was tracked down a week later in Puna.

In nominating Correa for the honor, Captain Robert Wagner said citizens were grateful for the dedication of the task forces members, who worked long hours to protect the safety of the public.

“It can be very stressful to be given the task of apprehending two dangerous escapees, especially when everyone on the island is expecting quick results so their families can return to their normal lifestyle,” Wagner wrote in nomination papers. “There were many officers involved in this manhunt, but the direction, decisions and leadership of both Sergeant Correa and Sergeant Freitas were critical in ensuring both task forces worked together efficiently for their common goal.”

Correa thanked the Exchange Club for the honor but credited everyone involved for the successful outcome. “It’s a team effort,” he said. He also thanked his fiancée for being so understanding about his job responsibilities. “She’s the one who always has to change the schedule,” he said. Correa said his father, retired Chief James Correa, is a constant reminder that he has big shoes to fill.

Assistant Police Chief Henry Tavares said Sergeant Correa was hand-picked to head the Special Enforcement Unit because of his extreme dedication to the department and to serving his community and because of his investigative skills. “Sergeant Correa, you’re doing a fine job of filling those shoes,” he said.

Fire Captain Okinaka was honored for his leadership, attitude and community service. During the past year, he was the core facilitator for Fire Fighter recruits, leading 29 of them to realize their dreams of protecting the community. Okinaka continues to take the lead in assisting with voluntary community service events with the recruits, such as the painting of the NAS pool parking lot, painting of the exhibit structures at the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo, providing first aid service at booths at the Muscular Dystrophy walk and American Cancer Society Relay for Life, as well as being an integral part of the planning and operations team for the annual Hawaiʻi Fire Department’s EMS Week Festivities and Fire Prevention Week events.

Fire Chief Darren Rosario said in a written summary that Okinaka has been known as “the Fire Fighter’s Fire Fighter” since he first joined the Fire Department. “He could be counted on to help with anything anyone needed at work,” Rosario said. “Throughout his career, his work ethic always exemplified the core values of our department: integrity, pride, commitment to service, safety and teamwork.”

In accepting his award, Okinaka said he remembers seeing a “Firefighter of the Year” award for his father when he was a boy. “I was proud of him,” he said, adding that he never thought he would earn the same distinction. “Thank you, Chief Rosario, for believing in me,” he said. He also thanked his assistant chief for his guidance and his wife for her support.

The “Officer of the Year” and “Fire Fighter of the Year” awards are projects of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Pahoa High and Intermediate to Participate in New Reading and Math Tests

Approximately 25,000 Hawaii public school students will practice taking improved and more engaging annual state tests meant to better gauge their progress toward college and career readiness.

DOE ReleaseStudents in grades 3-8 and 11 at 91 schools statewide will participate in the field test of the new Smarter Balanced assessments in English language arts and mathematics between March 24 and June 6. The field test is a practice run of the Smarter Balanced assessments, which will replace the Hawaii State Reading and Mathematics Assessments in the 2014-15 school year.

Hawaii is a governing member of a multi-state consortium that has worked with teachers, parents and higher education faculty in the past two years to develop the Smarter Balanced assessments. Over three million students across the consortium will participate in the field test to ensure questions are valid, reliable and fair for all students. A small sample of students in grades 9 and 10 will also take the field test as part of a small study.

Students will complete the online test in either English language arts or mathematics, or both. Administered over multiple days, the tests are untimed, but each subject area is expected to take 2.5 to 4 hours to complete. Because questions may be revised or dropped after the field test, students will not receive scores.

Click to view

Click to view

The field test includes questions with the same features that students will experience in the 2014-15 school year, when Smarter Balanced assessments become operational, including accessibility tools for all students and accommodations – such as Braille – for those who need them. The work of Smarter Balanced is guided by the belief that a high-quality assessment system can provide information and tools for teachers and schools to improve instruction and help all students succeed – regardless of disability, language, or background. Additional information is available on the Smarter Balanced website: http://www.smarterbalanced.org.

About the Smarter Balanced Assessment System
The Smarter Balanced Assessment System is a key component of the Hawaii State Board and Department of Education’s Strategic Plan to prepare all students for college and career success. The new tests are aligned to the Hawaii Common Core Standards, a set of consistent expectations for what students should know and be able to do at each grade in order to graduate equipped with essential critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

Over the past two years, the consortium has worked with K-12 teachers and higher education faculty from across member states, as well as national experts, to develop, review and test over 20,000 assessment questions and performance tasks and to build a digital library of instructional and professional development resources for teachers.

Once launched in the 2014-15 school year, the Smarter Balanced Assessment System will also provide information during the year to give teachers and parents a better picture of where students are thriving and where they need help.

“This is a step forward in our plans to raise student achievement,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.” This comprehensive assessment system will provide meaningful information on student progress to educators, parents and the community. Not only will relevant and innovative test items engage and support students, but teachers will also benefit from actionable data and tools to help them maximize the impact of classroom instruction on learning.”

National Science Foundation Renews UH Hilo’s $5 Million CREST Grant

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) Program has been awarded a second $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) CREST (Centers for Research Excellence in Science and Technology) Program. The award represents Phase II funding of the original $5 million grant received in 2009, and covers a five-year period.

UH Hilo Moniker
The CREST: TCBES Project brings together a diverse, inter-disciplinary team spanning several natural sciences led by Principal Investigator and TCBES Director Dr. Donald Price, with Drs. Patrick Hart, Elizabeth Stacy and Misaki Takabayashi as Co-Principal Investigators. Other senior personnel on the project are Drs. Jonathan Awaya, Jie Cheng, Abby Cuttriss, William Mautz, Adam Pack, Jonathan Price and Michael Shintaku along with Terrilani Chong and Doreen Koizumi. The project’s overarching theme is Understanding Biotic Response to Environmental Change in Tropical Ecosystems Through a Place-Based Context.

“To fully understand the impact of climate change you need to start with the leading indicators, which are those life forms, whose well-being is tied to the state of their environment,” Price said. “The CREST team we’ve assembled will employ emerging genetic, physiological, bioacoustic and bioinformatic tools to examine various effects of anthropogenic change on animals, plants and microbes.”

The project is organized around three sub-components for which separate teams will be formed to develop interactive research programs with each team contributing to the overall synergistic center theme.

An Organismal Response to Environmental Change (OREC) team will analyze the short- and long-term responses of key organisms to a range of steady and fluctuating environmental conditions in their respective habitats, which will be incorporated into landscape-level response to climate change.

The Behavioral Responses to Environmental Change (BREC) team will examine how behaviors central to the survival and reproductive success of animals have evolve through natural and sexual selection in conditions that greatly differ from today’s ecological environment.

A third team will examine Dynamic Interactions between Symbioses and Environment (DISE), or how symbiotic relationships between macro and micro organisms can shift in response to environmental changes.

The results of the research is expected to produce a deeper understanding of the impacts climate change will have on the geographic ranges as well as social and symbiotic interactions of species in Hawaiʻi and the broader Pacific region.

“Hawaiʻi’s unique natural resources are our heritage, and it is our kuleana to be effective stewards to provide for future generations,” said Chancellor Don Straney. “The CREST: TCBES project will provide the next generation of scientists and professionals with the depth of knowledge and the inter-disciplinary perspective required to both study and effectively manage those spectacular, yet fragile, resources.”

Beyond its discovery value, the CREST Project is expected to enhance faculty research capacity and attract students from groups traditionally under-represented in the sciences, whose participation will open up opportunities in Ph.D. programs and professional careers. As involvement from students of native Hawaiian and Pacific Island ancestry grows, so too should the application of indigenous knowledge to environmental issues as they forge ties with federal and state agencies, along with researchers from Ph.D. granting institutions throughout Hawaiʻi and the U.S. mainland.

“In the span of its 10-year history, TCBES has established itself as a truly outstanding graduate program with both national and international distinction,” said Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Matt Platz. “Through the CREST project, the program is taking another important step in its development as a center of excellence for research and training throughout Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region.”

Third Annual Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Names Winners

Over 40 professional, amateur and high school contestants vied in the third annual Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest March 16 at the Sheraton Keauhou Convention Center. Proceeds benefit the $150,000 Equip the Kitchens Campaign for the future Hawai’i Community College-Palamanui campus and the Kealii Pauahi Foundation.

Poke in Cup

New to this year’s contest was a category for using Hamakua Mushrooms and a fun Poke Throw Down. The Throw Down pitted winner Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s preparing a quick poke in competition with Bryan Fujikawa of Sun Dried Specialties.

Poke Wontons

Florist Barbara Meheula won the Celebrity Poke Contest, besting pro football player Max Unger, Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, West Hawaii Today Publisher Tracey Fosso, Miss Kona Coffee 2014 Jeanne Kapela and Facebook Chef Billy Desmond.

Kila Pablo Tripe Poke

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Kamehameha School’s annual Kamehameha III celebration that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/MLQVqM2iops]

The contest is sponsored by presenting sponsor Kamehameha Schools, plus Aloha Shoyu Company, Suisan Company Ltd., Hawaiian Springs, Hamakua Mushrooms, West Hawaii Today, the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, Fresh Island Fish, Coca Cola, BMW of Hawaii, Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Roberts Hawaii, Bacardi, Sun Dried Specialties, Kapa Radio and Young’s Market Co.

2014 Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Winners

Professional Division

Category: Traditional Poke:

  • 1st Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s
  • 2nd Wade Tamura of Facebook
  • 3rd Robin Ganir of Broke Da Mouth

Category: Cooked

  • 1st Peter Kaluna of UH Dining Services
  • 2nd George Gomes of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel

Category: Poke with Aloha Shoyu

  • 1st Robin Ganir of Broke Da Mouth
  • 2nd Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s

Category: Non-Seafood

  • 1st Paul Muranaka of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel
  • 2nd Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s

New Category: Poke with Hamakua Mushrooms

  • 1st George Gomes of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel
  • 2nd Troy Cataraha of Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai
  • 3rd Robin Ganir of Broke Da Mouth

Non-Professional Division

Category: Traditional Poke

  • 1st Ryan Koyanagi
  • 2nd Chuck Okazaki
  • 3rd Pono Bintliff

Category: Poke with Aloha Shoyu

  • 1st Keauhou Canoe Club Boys #1
  • 2nd Shane Lee
  • 3rd Cal Haena

Category: Non-Seafood

  • 1st Punana Leo Team #2

New Category: Poke with Hamakua Mushrooms

  • 1st Tori Koyanagi

Division: High School

Category-Traditional: 1st Konawaena #304

Category-Cooked: 1st Kealakehe #302

Category-Poke with Aloha Shoyu

  • 1st: Kealakehe #301
  • 1st Runner Up: Konawaena #305
  • 2nd Runner Up: Konawaena #303

Poke Throw Down

  • 1st Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s
  • 2nd Bryan Fujikawa of Sundried Specialties

Celebrity Poke Contest

  • Winner: Barbara Meheula, florist

Contestants: Pro football player Max Unger, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, West Hawaii Today Publisher Tracey Fosso, Miss Kona Coffee 2014 Jeanne Kapela and Facebook Chef Billy Desmond