Councilwoman Margaret Wille Speaks About “Appreciation” at Opening of the Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival

Hawaii Councilwoman Margaret Wille posted the following on her Facebook site regarding “appreciation” at today’s Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival:

Opening Ceremony speakers were supposed to be: Mayor Kenoi, myself, and the consulate general from Japan, but the Mayor did not show up. Wally Lau then arrived and spoke in his place.

Waimea Cherry Fest
I spoke about this day as a day of Appreciation

 Appreciation for our kupuna and in memory of Ann Gomes and her husband… David Gomes one of our community’s living treasures.

Appreciation for the beauty of nature around us here on this island and especially in Waimea where the mountains and the streams and forests meet the plains and the pastures, and as epitomized by our Waimea cherry trees.

Waimea Cherry Fest 2
Appreciation of our alliances with our Asian Pacific ohana sister nations, especially Japan — from where we received the cherry trees.

And appreciation of the contributions of our Japanese ohana and all its contributions past present and future.

And finally appreciation of each other — our alliances among ourselves sharing this special place we live and enjoy.



USS Cheyenne Arrives in the Philippines

The last of the improved Lost Angeles-class submarines, USS Cheyenne (SSN 773), arrived in Subic Bay Feb. 1 as part of its Western Pacific deployment.

Me inside the US Navy Nuclear Sub the USS Cheyenne

Me inside the US Navy Nuclear Sub the USS Cheyenne

With a crew of approximately 150 Sailors, Cheyenne will be conducting various military exercises for training.

“It is our pleasure to visit Subic Bay. My Sailors and crew have earned this much deserved rest in this great town,” said Cmdr. Noel Gonzalez, Cheyenne’s commanding officer. “We have been out to sea for a while conducting lots of training, becoming proficient at our jobs, and employing the ship as she was designed to be used. My crew looks forward to building good relationships and reinforcing our partnerships in the Philippines.”

Cheyenne is one of the most capable submarines in the U.S. Navy. Its enhanced capabilities include advanced sonar systems and a state of the art engine room. Its sophisticated design and highly trained crew enable Cheyenne to operate globally, ready for any mission.

Commander Rogeness and I infront of the USS Cheyenne Submarin

Commander Rogeness and I infront of the USS Cheyenne Submarin

“We enjoy our job and being out to sea,” Gonzalez added, ” but every Sailor will tell you that visiting foreign ports is part of the reason many of us joined the Navy.”

“This visit to Subic Bay is well deserved,” said Chief of the Boat, Electronic Technician Master Chief Michael Hinkle. “We are looking forward to exploring the area and taking part in some community service projects during our time here.”

For crew members like Culinary Specialist Seaman Sheldon Alvarez, this is their first time visiting the Philippines.

“I am looking forward to exploring the area,” said Alvarez. “This is my first port visit ever and I am happy to be here and have the ability to contribute in an area of the world I have never visited before.”

Boarding the USS Cheyenne with an Old High School buddy.

Boarding the USS Cheyenne with an Old High School buddy.

Some of Cheyenne’s Filipino-American Sailors, like Electronics Technician Seaman Teodorico-Dante Tapia, will have an opportunity to connect with their heritage.

“I am really looking forward to finding the food I grew up eating, as well as dishes I’ve never tasted before,” said Tapia. “I can’t wait for some liberty to explore the place my elders still call home. I am an American, but I am a descendant of the Philippines and this is my first chance to see a place I’ve only dreamed of visiting!”

Cheyenne is home ported in Pearl Harbor, Hi.


Coast Guard Suspends Search for Big Island Man Jeremiah Nathan

The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a missing spear fisherman off the coast of Honaunau Beach Park, on the Big Island, pending any new developments, at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Coast Guard assisted the Hawaii County Fire Department in the search for 41 year-old Jeremiah Nathan. Crews covered an area approximately 900 square miles off the west coast of the Big Island during the search.

Nathan was reportedly last seen walking on Honaunau Beach with diving gear, wearing a blue-green camouflage full body wet suit at approximately 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew conducted searches Friday. A Coast Guard Auxiliary airplane crew conducted a first light search, Saturday morning.

Jeremiah Nathan

Jeremiah Nathan

“The decision to suspend a search is one of the hardest we have to make,” said Cmdr. Shannon Gilreath, Sector Honolulu’s acting commander. “Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Mr. Nathan during this difficult time”.

Hawaii County Fire Department crews are scheduled to continue the search.

Coast Guard officials were notified of the potential distress by a friend of Nathan’s at approximately 9 p.m. Thursday. After receiving a call indicating that Nathan had not arrived in California as expected, the friend traveled to Honaunau Bay where he found Nathan’s truck parked and unlocked with personal items still inside.

Anyone with information on Nathan’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600 or the Hawaii County Fire Department dispatch at 808-961-8336.

For more information contact the Sector Honolulu public affairs officer, Lt. Kevin Cooper, at 808-286-4675.

Silly Saturday – “The Truth About Hawaii”

“The Truth About Hawaii”


By DamnItsGood808:


UH Hilo CCECS Presenting Two Workshops on Advanced Social Media Marketing

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service presents two workshops on Advanced Social Media Marketing in February. The cost of the workshop is $125 and presented in partnership with Fred Pryor, a recognized and respected leader in professional seminars for over 40 years.

Fred Pryor

The workshop on Wednesday, February 13 will be held in Kona at the University of Hawaiʻi Center at West Hawaiʻi; Hilo’s workshop is on Thursday, February 14 in UH Hilo’s Campus Center 306. Space is limited.

Everything from daily coupon sites to mobile device applications for tablets and smartphones to social networking sites will be discussed. The workshops are designed for those who are familiar with social media but want to maximize their campaigns and efforts.

For more information and to register, contact CCECS at 974-7664 or visit

Amway China Gala Hosted 1600 at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor – “A Spectacular Success”

Last night 1600 very happy Amway China business incentive guests celebrated at their annual awards gala at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. “The event was a spectacular success and a first of this magnitude for Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor,” said Museum Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff.

Amway 1

All Photos by Picture This Hawaii

The festivities included a tour of the Museum, an outdoor cocktail party, and a gala dinner and show in the Museum’s 87,000 sq. ft. historic Hangar 79.  EventWorks, Inc. of Los Angeles was the meeting planner. Gourmet cuisine for the evening was catered by Chef Chai of Honolulu.


Among those attending were Governor Neil Abercrombie and the Museum’s Chairman of the Board ADM Ron Hays.


Fifty-seven Roberts Hawaii and Polynesian Adventure Tour buses brought the guests and performers to the Museum where more than 200 set designers, actors, dancers, sound and light technicians spent two weeks building the show in Hangar 79. The Museum staff assisted by moving aircraft and property to create an ambience fitting for the event, and by coordinating security access and ground movement for all guests, performers, and crew.


Pacific Aviation Museum is a truly international Museum with deep connections to the Chinese people.


Last year in January, Madame Li Xiaolin, president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and daughter of former Chinese President Li Xiannian, presented her documentary, Touching the Tigers—about the legendary American Volunteer Group/the Flying Tigers of the Chinese Air Force—in Hangar 79–to the Governor of Hawaii and many Chinese and American dignitary guests.


And this evening, in the back of Hangar 79, sits the P-40 Flying Tiger, one of the Museum’s 35 prized aircraft. The Flying Tigers story is one that resonates with the Chinese people.


The Museum also partners with museums in China such as Jianchuan Museum Cluster in Chengdu where they engage young people in the important work of preserving stories of these aviation heroes through a student study exchange program with Kaiser High School here in Honolulu.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located at 319 Lexington Boulevard, Historic Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Honolulu, Hawaii 96818.


Update on Yesterday’s Armed Robbery in Hilo

Detectives have charged a 23 year-old Hilo woman for several offenses in connection with an armed robbery that occurred in Downtown Hilo.

Tia Nohealani Menino

Tia Nohealani Menino

Last night (January 31, 2013) at 10:00 pm, after conferring with prosecutors, Tia Nohealani Menino was charged for first degree robbery, first degree terroristic threatening, use of a firearm in commission of a separate felony, third degree theft, two counts of fourth degree theft, place to keep an unloaded firearm, permit to acquire a firearm, and registration mandatory.

Bail for Menino was set at $28,750 and she was scheduled to make her initial court appearance this afternoon.


Coast Guard Transports Injured Monk Seal From Big Island To Oahu for Urgent Medical Care

Coast Guard crews, working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration transported a Hawaiian monk seal from the Big Island to Oahu for urgent medical care, Friday.

Monk Seal

Coast Guard crews, working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration transport a Hawaiian monk seal from the Big Island to Oahu for urgent medical care, Feb. 1, 2013. The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler.

The HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu, received the seal at Kona International Airport, Kailua-Kona, Friday morning.

“The juvenile male monk seal, I.D. tag K68, was observed exhibiting what appeared to be breathing difficulties, but a diagnosis was not possible in the field and it was necessary to bring the seal in to a care facility for a health assessment and treatment as needed. As of 1:00 pm on Friday, the monk seal had been transferred to the Waikiki Aquarium, and NOAA Fisheries veterinarians were preparing to conduct diagnostic procedures such as x-rays and ultrasound. NOAA Fisheries will provide an update early next week after a full health assessment has been completed.” said Dr. Jeffrey Walters, NOAA Marine Mammal Branch Chief.

The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world. Part of the true seal family, they are one of only two remaining monk seal species.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Veterinarian Michelle Barbieri travels from the Big Island to Oahu aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point with a Hawaiian monk seal Feb. 1, 2013. The Hawaiian monk seal was suffering respiratory problems and Coast Guard air crews transported him to Oahu for medical care. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Veterinarian Michelle Barbieri travels from the Big Island to Oahu aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point with a Hawaiian monk seal Feb. 1, 2013. The Hawaiian monk seal was suffering respiratory problems and Coast Guard air crews transported him to Oahu for medical care. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler.

Safeguarding marine mammals falls under the Coast Guard’s living marine resources mission, one of the service’s 11 statutory missions. The nation’s waterways and their ecosystems are vital to the country’s economy and health. This includes ensuring the country’s marine protected species are provided the protection necessary to help their populations recover to healthy, sustainable levels.

The Coast Guard partners with NOAA on many living marine resources missions in Hawaii to protect endangered marine mammals including humpback whales. Operation Kohola Guardian involves coordinated joint Coast Guard, NOAA and State of Hawaii patrols of the National Marine Sanctuary during the peak Humpback Whale season months of January through March.

The 14th Coast Guard District is home to four Marine National Monuments and two National Marine Sanctuaries, more than any other region in the United States.

For more information on the Coast Guard’s many ongoing missions protecting Hawaii’s marine resources throughout the year contact the 14th District’s Public Affairs Office at 808-535-3230.

Harbor Modernization Project Begins at Kawaihae Harbor

The state Department of Transportation (DOT) Harbors Division kicked off a $7 million harbor terminal improvement project at Kawaihae Harbor on Hawaii Island today.  This harbor modernization project is part of Governor Neil Abercrombie’s New Day Work Projects.

Me in front of an LCAC at the Kawaihae Harbor

Me in front of an LCAC at the Kawaihae Harbor

During this morning’s groundbreaking ceremony, state DOT Director Glenn Okimoto said, “For the past ten years, Kawaihae Harbor has experienced steady growth; these much needed improvements will ensure safe and efficient cargo operations into West Hawaii now and in the future.  Kawaihae Harbor is a vital hub for the resorts, businesses, and residents along Hawaii’s west coast.”

The project will include paving 3.1 acres of land adjacent to Pier 2.  The container yard will be used by shippers to load and store containers.  The project also includes associated infrastructure work such as area lighting, fire protection and drainage.  An aging Harbors Division office and comfort station will be demolished and a new Harbor Division office trailer will be installed near the South Gate.  In addition, a new comfort station will be constructed. The terminal container yard improvements will increase cargo handling capacity by approximately 11%.

Construction is anticipated to continue for another 12 to 16 months.


USDOE Recognizes State Two-Year Race to the Top Progress “Hawaii has shown promising growth”

The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) today released its two-year report on the 12 Race to the Top (RTTT) grantees, which includes Hawaii. The report covers the progress made through August 2012.

DOE Release

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) received recognition for a number of major accomplishments over that time period in the following areas:

· Transitioning to College and Career-Ready Standards
· Building Better Data Systems
· Supporting Great Teachers and School Leaders
· Turning Around Low-Performing Schools
· Expanding Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education
“Hawaii has shown promising growth in their second year under Race to the Top, and we are optimistic about their framework for continuing this progress,” stated U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We will continue to work closely with Hawaii to ensure they are enacting reforms that will improve student achievement and empower teachers to prepare all students for college and careers.”

“We are pleased that federal officials recognize the continued progress in our schools and the ongoing transformation of the Hawaii State Department of Education,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

Among the major challenges identified by the USDOE was the delayed principal evaluation implementation. On January 25, 2013, the Hawaii Government Employees Association and HIDOE announced that implementation is in effect and that an agreement on the principal evaluation, the Comprehensive Evaluation System for School Administrators (CESSA), was executed.

“We will make it clear to the USDOE that the principal evaluation implementation is underway,” said Superintendent Matayoshi. “There is still work to be done with the Hawaii State Teachers Association which remains a challenge but I’m hopeful that the State’s latest proposal holds promise for an agreement.”

The USDOE RTTT report does not cover the progress made by HIDOE since August 2012. Those highlights include:

· CESSA Implementation
· Professional Development for all teachers on Common Core
· Response to Intervention Training: A school-wide model of tiered interventions and supports for all students
· A systemic review of new curricular materials
· End of Course Exam development
· Additions to the Data for School Improvements System (an online system of formative assessment items and performance tasks, also aligned with Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Math)
Superintendent Matayoshi added, “We are making significant progress and we’re confident that continued achievements will lead to our removal from high-risk status.”

In late November 2012, HIDOE released its own progress report on its two-year Race to the Top performance and noted that it had completed more than 90 percent of its RTTT grant deliverables. The Department’s five-point plan for student success and progress resulted in major gains. Read more here:

In August 2010, the U.S. DOE awarded Hawaii with a four-year $75 million RTTT grant. In December 2011, Hawaii was placed on high-risk status. U.S. DOE officials have since acknowledged Hawaii’s progress in implementing important reforms, including programs to support educator effectiveness.


Animal Control Permits Available for Ungulates at Kaohe Game Management Area on the Big Island

he Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) today announced the availability of  muzzleloader animal control permits for feral goats and feral sheep at Kaohe Game Management Area, pursuant to Title 13, Chapter 123 (13-123-9).

Kaohe Game Management Area

Kaohe Game Management Area (GMA) is an archery unit for game mammals with no bag limit for sheep and goats. To increase public harvest efficiency of feral goats and sheep, DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) is allowing the use of muzzleloaders for licensed hunters by permit.

From Feb. 9 through April 14, 2013, permits will be available at the Kilohana check station for muzzleloader for feral goats and sheep with no bag limit, but every effort must be made to retrieve and harvest animals within designated areas.

Hunters must use every safety precaution in using muzzleloaders. Blaze orange is required for all hunters in Kaohe GMA, including archery hunters.

DLNR is increasing hunter participation in Kaohe GMA to protect Palila Critical Habitat from overgrazing of mamane trees from feral goats and sheep.

Further information may be obtained by contacting the DOFAW offices in Hilo at (808) 974-4221 or in Kamuela at (808) 887-6063.



Big Island Police Searching for Missing Diver

Big Island police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating a missing 42-year-old man who was said to have gone diving at a location called “2 step” near Puuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park on Wednesday ( January 30).

Jeremiah Nathan

Jeremiah Nathan

Jeremiah Nathan of Kealakekua was last seen in the area of the park on January 30, 2013 at approximately 4:00 p.m. and his vehicle was also located there.

Nathan is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-10, 150 pounds, green eyes, short brown hair and has a tattoo across his chest with Arabic-like lettering.

Fire/Rescue crews and Coast Guard personnel are continuing to search in the ocean for Nathan.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call Officer Bradden Kimura of Kona Patrol at (808) 326-4646, extension 253. Callers may also call the Police Department’s non-emergency number at 935-3311.

Hawaii House of Representatives to Open Chamber for Public Visits

The House of Representatives announced today that beginning Monday, February 4st the House Chamber will be open Mon – Fri for Hawaii State Capitol visitors and guests to tour the gallery area. Access to the Chamber will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including the hours that the House is normally in session.

Hawaii House Chamber

There will not be an official tour, however visitors to the Chamber will have access to look around, take pictures, and will be given a brochure explaining the history and symbolism of the Chamber architecture and design. The House Sergeant-at-Arms expects about 100 visitors to the Chamber daily.

“The House Chamber is quite stunning with warm earth tones, a large copper and brass chandelier representing the sun and a magnificent tapestry above the Speaker’s rostrum” said Speaker of the House Joseph Souki. “Previously the chamber was open only during floor session and times would vary depending on the agenda. Now, given the expanded and set hours, more visitors will have the opportunity to sit on koa benches and experience the beauty of our Chamber.”

For more information, call the House of Representative’s Sergeant-at-Arms Office at (808) 586-6500.



Bills on Taro, GMOs, and Local Agriculture to be Heard at the Legislature

Bills on Taro, GMOs, and Local Agriculture to be Heard


WHAT:            The Committee on Agriculture will be hearing several bills relating to taro, GMOs, and growing our local agriculture industry.

WHEN:            Monday, February 4, 2013, 8:30 A.M.

WHERE:           Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium

WHY:               The Constitution of Hawaii mandates that the State “shall conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands.” These goals are also highlighted as a major priority in the Governor’s “New Day” plan. The Legislature aims to do its part to move Hawaii forward this Session.

WHO:               Chair Jessica Wooley, Vice Chair Richard H.K. Onishi, Reps. Tom Brower, Romy Cachola, Isaac Choy, Takashi Ohno, Gregg Takayama, James Kunane Tokioka, Clift Tsuji, Lauren Kealohilani Cheape, and Gene Ward comprise the Committee.

“This is a really exciting time for local agriculture,” said Rep. Jessica Wooley. “These bills could represent a turning point in the future of agriculture in Hawaii. Food security, increased local food production, recognizing consumers’ right to know what they’re eating, and protecting the most culturally significant crop in Hawaii are at the forefront of our agenda.”

The Hearing Notices posted below contain the bills on Monday’s agenda as well as links to submit online testimony.



Big Island Police Identify Motorcyclist Who Died in Motor Vehicle/Motorcycle Collisioin

HPDBadgePolice traffic investigators have identified a 45-year-old Captain Cook man who died Monday (January 28) in a motor vehicle/motorcycle collision on Route 11, south of the 109-mile-marker in South Kona.

The motorcyclist was identified as Dennis B. Huber of a Captain Cook address.

Gov. Abercrombie’s Statement Regarding Hawaii’s Race to the Top

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today released a statement regarding U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s recent comments in Education Week (“Race to the Top Winners Make Progress, Face Challenges, Ed. Dept. Reports; Feb. 1, 2013) indicating that the State of Hawaii “is now making real progress”in implementing its Race to the Top initiatives.


Gov. Abercrombie stated:

“Secretary Duncan’s comments about Hawaii’s progress are reassuring and demonstrate the positive transformations taking place in our public schools.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with the U.S. Department of Education to further improve Hawaii’s status.

“Race to the Top has served as a catalyst to improve Hawaii’s public education system, and represents an immense opportunity to invest in the professional growth of Hawaii’s educators by providing measurable, long-term benefits for our students.”

Read the Education Week article here:



Youth Festival of Arts Comes to Kanu O Ka ‘Āina

Talented youth share their creative works in visual arts, poetry and music at the “Youth Festival of Arts” on Friday, February 22 at the Kanu O Ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School campus in Waimea.

Youth Festival of Arts

From 3 to 6 p.m., the public is invited to meet the artists and enjoy their mixed media arts exhibit, hear original and recited poetry and music.  Young artists age 10 to 17 will have the chance to experience art demonstrations by local professionals in “mini-classes” presented every half-hour from 3:30-5:00 p.m.  Admission is free and light refreshments are provided.

The family-friendly Youth Festival of Arts is presented by Lifeplan Youth Leaders of Waimea (LYLW), a project of Five Mountains Hawai‘i, and sponsored by the Richard Smart Fund of Hawai‘i Community Foundation.  The event will also incorporate the Senior Projects of three Kanu o Ka ‘Āina  students, including Luana Zablan, who is leading the organizing efforts of the LYLW group.

Student artists in grades 6-12, who live or go to school in Waimea, are encouraged to submit up to three of their best paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, “recycle art” or photography for the community display.  Submission forms are available at Parker School, Kanu o Ka ‘Āina, Five Mountains office or online, at, and the deadline to enter is February 15, 2013.  Youth artists who attend the Festival will receive a Certificate of Participation and chance to enter prize drawings for art supplies and a Go Pro camera.

“The youth leadership team holds a vision of creating teen events that strengthen relationships between students from different schools in Waimea.  For this project, they wanted showcase creative talent to inspire and honor local youth,” said Robin Mullin, executive director of Five Mountains Hawai‘i and Lifeplan youth mentor.  “They decided not to have a juried show or competitive process, but to follow more of the traditions of ‘hō‘ike,’ sharing the knowledge they’ve gained with the community who supports them.”

Lifeplan Youth Leadership Waimea is part of the Lifeplan Institute Hawaii Island, a creative youth mentoring program, committed to providing 5,000 island teens with a goal-driven “Lifeplan” by 2015. For more information, visit

For more information on Youth Festival of Arts, call Five Mountains Hawai‘i, at 887-1281 or visit

Big Island Police Searching for Kona Man Last Seen in Hilo Yesterday


Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 47-year-old man who was last seen in Hilo yesterday ( January 31) at 4:00 p.m.

Viktor Goy

Viktor Goy

Viktor Goy of Kailua-Kona left his home yesterday at 9:30 a.m. and has not been seen or heard from since an afternoon appointment in Hilo.

Goy is described as a Caucasian male, 5-foot-7, 185 pounds, with blue eyes, and gray hair.

Goy was last seen operating a 2009 Silver Hyundai four door sedan bearing license plate number ZAX-199 and was believed to be returning to Kona from the Hilo side.

Police ask that 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 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Ranger Earns Top Honors for Search-and-Rescue Training

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Law Enforcement Ranger Nainoa Keana‘aina is the first-ever recipient of the Honor Graduate Award from the National Search and Rescue Academy (NSARA).

National Park Law Enforcement Ranger Nainoa Keana‘aina

National Park Law Enforcement Ranger Nainoa Keana‘aina. NPS Photo by Jay Robinson.

The intensive six-week NSARA program was conducted at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at 7,000 feet, near Bridgeport, CA. The training provides participants with essential field rescue skills in ground search operations, incident command systems, swiftwater rescue, technical rope rescue, helicopter rescue techniques, remote emergency medical responder training, and more.

Keana‘aina served as class president and incident commander, and was selected by his fellow classmates for the Honor Graduate Award.

“Nainoa exemplified personal leadership skills and a commitment to learning during the intensive six-week academy,” said NARSA Coordinator Ken Phillips. “He is the sort of professional responder that a search and rescue (SAR) coordinator desires to have on a SAR team.”

The physically demanding NSARA training was conducted by the National Park Service in conjunction with the Department of Defense. To broaden inter-agency cooperation, allied and federal agency personnel jointly attended the academy.



Second Robbery Reported Today in Hilo – Suspects Still at Large

Police are investigating a reported robbery attempt in a Hilo park early Thursday morning (January 31).
HPDBadgeAt about 6:32 a.m., police received a report that an 82-year-old female visitor was walking near the area of Liliuokalani Park on Banyan Drive in Hilo when she was accosted by two male suspects. One of them approached her from behind and attempted to forcibly remove her handbag, causing her to fall to the ground, while the other watched. After their unsuccessful attempt, both suspects fled the area empty handed.

The victim was uninjured and declined treatment.

One suspect was described as in his 20s, approximately 6- feet tall with a slim build. The other was shorter, described as about 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-7, also with a slim build. Both were wearing dark clothing.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing this investigation, which is classified as an attempted second-degree robbery.

Although the Banyan Drive peninsula is a relatively safe area, police would like to issue an advisory to the public who often frequent the park and surrounding areas during the early morning or late evening hours for exercise—as well as others who may be in the area—to be cognizant of their surroundings. In addition, park users should have a flashlight available during the hours of darkness.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed this robbery attempt or who has any information about it call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Detective Joel Field at 961-2381. Detective Field may also be reached by email at

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.