Giant King Grass Being Grown in Hawaii – Grass Could Become Source of Electricity for Entire Island of Lanai

Viaspace Inc. has announced that its proprietary dedicated energy crop, Giant King Grass, is now growing in Hawaii.

“Hawaii has the highest electricity rates of any US state because their electricity is mostly generated from expensive imported oil,” said Viaspace CEO Carl Kukkonen. “Hawaii’s electric rates range from 30 cents to 40 cents per kilowatt hour depending on the cost of oil. This is two or three times the cost of electricity on the U.S. mainland.  Bioelectricity from Giant King Grass is substantially cheaper than oil generated electricity and has much lower carbon emissions.  In addition, the large military presence on Hawaii has requirements for liquid biofuels for aircraft and ships. We believe that Hawaii should be an important part of the Viaspace U.S. strategy.”

Giant King Grass was released from quarantine by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services for Distribution in the U.S. in 2012.

Giant King Grass was released from quarantine by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services for Distribution in the U.S. in 2012.

Previously, Viaspace announced that Giant King Grass has been released from quarantine by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for distribution in the United States.  Hawaii, however, has additional plant import rules, and the Giant King Grass is being grown in a facility under the purview of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

Kukkonen personally supervised the planting in Hawaii and met with Department of Agriculture officials as well as with potential Giant King Grass customers in Hawaii., “The climate in Hawaii is ideal for Giant King Grass,” Kukkonen said. “There are substantial tracts of land available on different Hawaiian Islands that were previously used to grow sugarcane and pineapple.  These are lying fallow now and can be used for energy crop production.”

“Giant King Grass can also become an important part of the tourism industry which is crucial for Hawaii’s economy. Not only can Giant King Grass provide clean electricity for hotels and resorts, visiting the Giant King Grass plantations and co-located green power plants can become one of the islands’ tourist attractions like visits to the sugar and pineapple plantations.   Giant King Grass could become the source of electricity for the entire island of Lanai—recently purchased by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison—and make it one of the world’s first green resort destinations.  This concept is not unique to Hawaii and applies to many islands and nations with tropical climates that depend on oil for their electricity. For these applications, Giant King Grass generated electricity is significantly cheaper, continuously renewable and green.”

“The Giant King Grass now growing in Hawaii was provided by the VIASPACE nursery in California, “Viaspace Board Chairman Kevin Schewe said. “We have recently shipped GKG seedlings from California for projects with three other customers and…Kukkonen is currently out of the country and personally supervising planting of GKG with one of these new customers. We are anxious to announce these projects and are respecting our clients’ internal timelines and needs in this regard. We have graduated from an R&D company and are busy executing our business strategy on a global scale.”

Pillars of Peace Hawai’i Welcomes Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi

Pillars of Peace Hawai’i – a program of the Hawai’i Community Foundation – announced today plans to co-host peace leader Aung San Suu Kyi on her visit to O’ahu this month. The trip, which will be Aung San Suu Kyi’s first visit to the islands, will allow her to share her message of peace and compassion while gaining an understanding of Hawai’i’s unique culture, history and aloha spirit. Other organizations co-hosting her visit include Rotary International, East West Center and the Myanmar Association of Hawai’i.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi

While in Hawai’i, Aung San Suu Kyi will participate in several private events hosted by Pillars of Peace Hawai’i, including a speech titled “Peace Takes Courage and Compassion,” followed by a question and answer session with public and private high school students. Tickets are being distributed to students through their respective schools.

The general public is invited to view the student event online by tuning in to a live stream on the Pillars of Peace website at For those unable to watch the live stream starting at 10:25 a.m., the talk will be available for playback after the event concludes.

“We can learn a great deal from Aung San Suu Kyi and her nonviolent struggle for democracy and human rights,” said Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of the Hawai’i Community Foundation. “At the same time, the Pillars of Peace program creates an opportunity to share with global peace leaders Hawai’i’s unique example of multiculturalism to carry with them wherever they go around the world.”

Those wishing to hear Aung San Suu Kyi speak in person can purchase a ticket to the Rotary International’s Rotary Global Peace Forum dinner where Aung San Suu Kyi will deliver the keynote speech on Saturday, Jan. 26. More information on the Rotary Global Peace Forum is available at

Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit is part of the ongoing Hawai’i Community Foundation initiative, “Pillars of Peace Hawai’i: Building Peace on a Foundation of Aloha,” which launched in April 2012 with the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. One of the program’s goals is to bring global peace leaders to Hawai’i to exchange ideas about the many forms of peace that exist here in the islands and around the world. Through these visits, the program hopes to spark dialogue about the roles of compassion, diversity and culture as key components for practicing peace.

In addition to hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Pillars of Peace Hawaii has sponsored peace leaders Archbishop Desmond Tutu and John Hunter, founder of the World Peace Game for students. Pillars of Peace Hawai’i is a program funded primarily by the Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund of the Hawai’i Community Foundation, a $50 million charitable fund established in 2009 by Hawai’i residents Pierre and Pam Omidyar.

That's me on the far right taking his picture. (Photo by Dallas Nagata White)

That’s me on the far right taking his picture. (Photo by Dallas Nagata White)

For more information about Pillars of Peace Hawai’i, please visit For up-to-date information on Aung San Suu Kyi’s January visit, follow Pillars of Peace Hawai’i on Twitter at and on Facebook at


Aung San Suu Kyi is a Member of Parliament of the Union of Burma and is a founding member of the National League for Democracy. Early in her career, she worked in the office of the United Nations Secretariat in New York and was a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for South East Asian Studies at Kyoto University and the Indian Institute for Advanced Studies in Simla. Following her return to Burma in 1988 and winning an election by popular vote, she was placed under house arrest until 1995, and again during 2000 to 2002 and 2003 to 2010. Aung San Suu Kyi has received more than 120 awards and honors internationally, including: Nobel Peace Prize (Oslo, Norway, 1991); Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding (India, 1995); Congressional Gold Medal (USA, 2008); Honorary Canadian Citizenship Parliament Hill (Ottawa, Canada, 2008); and Legion of Honor [Ordre national de la Legion d’honneur] (France, 2012).

Big Island Police Chief Promotes 14 Officers to Rank of Sergeant/Detective

Chief Harry S. Kubojiri has promoted 14 police officers to the rank of sergeant/detective:
HPDBadgeDetective Scott P. Amaral, a 12-year veteran of the Police Department, will be assigned to the Area I Juvenile Aid Section in Hilo. Amaral is now a Community Policing officer in Puna.

Detective Fetuutuunai F. Amuimuia, a 13-year veteran, will be assigned to the Area I Juvenile Aid Section in Hilo. Amuimuia now works as a South Hilo Patrol officer.

Detective Edwin A. Buyten, a 10-year veteran, will be assigned to the Area II Vice Section in Kona. His current assignment is as an officer in the same Vice Section.

Sergeant Aaron M. Carvalho, a 9-year veteran, currently a training officer, will be assigned to Kona Patrol.

Sergeant Chris G. Correia, a 12-year veteran who has been working as a training officer, will now be the sergeant for the Personnel and Training Section.

Sergeant Calvin D. Delaries Jr., a 10-year veteran, will be assigned to the Special Response Team. He now works as a Community Policing officer in Kona.

Sergeant William H. Derr, a 10-year veteran, will be assigned to the Puna District. His current assignment is as a Community Policing officer in Hilo.

Detective Vernon C. Ferreira, a 20-year veteran, will be assigned to the Area I Juvenile Aid Section in Hilo. Ferreira is now a Community Policing Officer in Hilo.

Detective Sandor J. Finkey, an 11-year veteran, will be assigned to the Area II Criminal Investigations Section in Kona. Finkey is now a Community Policing officer in Puna.

Detective Jesse J. Kerr, a 14-year veteran, will be assigned to the Area I Juvenile Aid Section in Hilo. Kerr is now a Community Policing Officer in Hilo.

Detective Joshua K. I. Lewis, a 9-year veteran, will be assigned to the Area II Criminal Investigations Section in Kona. Lewis is now a Traffic Enforcement Unit officer in Kona.

Detective Todd C. Pataray, an 11-year veteran, will be assigned to the Area I Criminal Investigations Section in Hilo. Before his promotion, he was a Community Policing officer in Hilo.

Detective Shawn W. Tingle, a 12-year veteran, will be assigned to the Area II Criminal Investigations Section in Kona. Tingle is now a Puna patrol officer.

Detective Roylen L. Valera, a 15-year veteran, will be assigned to the Area II Juvenile Aid Section in Kona. Before his promotion, he was assigned to the Hāmākua District.

The promotions take effect January 16.

27-Year-Old Kona Woman Dies in One-Car Crash in Kailua-Kona

A 27-year-old Kona woman died Tuesday (January 15) following a one-car crash on Māmalahoa Highway (Route 190) in Kailua-Kona.

Hannah Fergerstrom

Hannah Fergerstrom

She was identified as Hannah Fergerstrom of Kailua-Kona.

In response to a 1:15 a.m. call Tuesday, police determined that a 2000 Volkswagen two-door sedan traveling north on Māmalahoa Highway at the 27-mile marker lost control, crossed the centerline and struck a utility pole on the makai side of the road.

Fergerstrom, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where she died at 5:45 a.m.

The driver of the Volkswagen, 34-year-old Randall Kawasaki of Kamuela, was taken to North Hawaiiʻi Community Hospital.

Neither occupant was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Kawasaki was arrested for negligent homicide, manslaughter, operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, promoting dangerous drugs, drug paraphernalia and no insurance. After conferring with prosecutors, police released Kawasaki pending further investigation.

Police believe that speed and drug use may have been factors in the crash.

This is the second fatality this year compared with none at this time last year.

Inaugural Lineman’s Rodeo Bringing Upgrades to Maka‘eo Park

The County of Hawai‘i announces Maka‘eo Beach Park will host the first Hawai‘i Lineman’s Rodeo, which is a free event to be held Saturday, February 23, at the Kailua-Kona facility.


A friendly competition among more than 40 mainland and local teams of electric utility professionals and contractors, the rodeo highlights safety, skill and education in overhead electric work. The Hawaiian Electric Companies, which includes Hawai‘i Electric Light Co., and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 are sponsoring the drug- and alcohol-free Hawai‘i Lineman’s Rodeo.

The event will support Toys For Tots and the Hawai‘i Food Basket, with a donated canned item, new toy or small donation per child earning unlimited rides in the event’s Kids Zone. Vendor applications to participate in the free community fair are still being accepted at

HELCO will hire contractors to install fencing and prepare a surface of sand and wood chips to create a competition arena located away from park amenities. Next, they will erect 75 utility poles for the estimated 125 competitors to use.

“Working with the County of Hawai‘i Parks Department, HELCO plans to leave the park in better shape than we found it, with improvements to be enjoyed by future park users,” company President Jay Ignacio said.

Once the competition has ended, the poles will be donated to the Department of Parks and Recreation for use in enhancing Maka‘eo Beach Park.

“This is a win-win-win situation,” Deputy Parks Director Bob Fitzgerald said. “We’re bringing in a whole bunch of visitors to Hawai‘i Island, providing free public entertainment and recreation, and improving Maka‘eo at little cost to the taxpayers.”

Parks officials consulted with cultural descendants of the area, canoe clubs that use Maka‘eo and other community stakeholders before approving the competition and related park improvements. Holes drilled for the poles will not impact any cultural resources, while the park will remain open during the February 23 event.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or



Hawaii Island Humane Society – “Tropical Paws” Benefit

Hawaii Island Humane Society’s 17th annual Tropical Paws benefit event is scheduled for Friday, April 5, 2013. The gala affair is held annually at the elegant Four Seasons Hualalai Resort and will begin at 6:00 p.m.
A silent and live auction, Four Seasons-style buffet dinner, live entertainment and dancing are all part of the festive evening. Tickets, $100 per person or $1500 for a reserved table of ten, will be available beginning mid-February at HIHS’s Keaau, Waimea and Kona shelters, select island retail locations, and online at

“Tropical Paws has always been our biggest and most festive event of the year,” said HIHS Executive Director Donna Whitaker. “The support of businesses by way of their sponsorships and auction item donations, together with the support of those who purchase event tickets, helps us keep important animal-assistance programs operating throughout the year.”

Programs supported by Tropical Paws include The Second Chance Fund which provides medical care and treatment for abused animals while they recuperate and become ready for adoption. The Spay/Neuter Community Assistance Program is also supported by Tropical Paws funds. The program’s goal is to end pet overpopulation on the Big Island.
The Petco Foundation has become a Tropical Paws sponsor at the “Platinum Collar” level but many more sponsors and donations are needed to ensure the event’s success.

Visit or call 808-329-1175 for more information or to learn about donation and sponsorship opportunities.


Health Matters at Tutu’s House

Throughout Hawai`i Island, health care providers have been changing their practices to improve the quality of health care available to us all. You have a role to play in this evolution and understanding your role can help you reap the benefits.

Tutu's House

Tutu’s House

Among the changes, you may have noticed your health care providers using a computer during your appointment to capture your health information in an electronic health record. Physician, therapists, labs, and pharmacies are increasingly using electronic health records and other health information technology to securely increase provider access to health history, help reduce unnecessary duplication of services, and improve overall coordination of your health care.

You can learn more about what the Hawai`i Island health care evolution means to you at Health Matters, a series of monthly Tutu’s House presentations.

  • Wednesday, January 16, 7 to 8 pm, Melinda Nugent of the Hawai`i Island Beacon Community. Nugent will describe the improvements resulting from the transition from health care practices to patient care medical homes.
  • Wednesday, January 30, 7 to 8 pm, Hawai`i Beacon Community Patient Ombudsman, Andy Levin will talk about how health information technology is helping you and your health care provider

Located in the Kamuela Business Center, Tutu’s House is a project of Friends of the Future, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Donations are accepted and deductible to the full extent allowed by law. More information about Tutu’s House and Friends of the Future can be accessed through or by calling 885-8336.

Big Island Police to Hold Community Meeting at Cooper Center in Volcano

The Hawaiʻi Police Department will hold a community meeting on Friday, January 25, from noon to 2 p.m. at Cooper Center in Volcano.

HPDBadgeThe purpose of the meeting is to allow the public to meet the Police Department’s command staff and to discuss police-related concerns with the police chief and commanders who oversee police operations in the Puna District.

The Puna event continues district community meetings, which are rotated throughout the eight police districts on the Big Island. To aid police commanders in focusing on specific community concerns, they ask that participation in this meeting be limited to persons who live or work in the Puna District.

Those interested in participating but unable to attend may e-mail their concerns or comments to

For more information, you may call Acting Captain Reed Mahuna at 965-2716.


ReefTalk: Chemistry and Impact of Volcanic Smog – Presented by MIT Students

ReefTalk:  Thursday, January 24, 2013 from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park Visitor Center


Presented by:  Massachusetts Institute of Technology Students

In this presentation, a team of undergraduates from MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will discuss their recent measurements of the chemical composition of volcanic smog (“vog”).  These students will be visiting the Big Island as part of an annual MIT class, “Traveling Research Environmental Experiences” (TREX), aimed at providing undergraduates with hands-on experience carrying out environmental fieldwork.  The past two TREX trips (in January 2012 and January 2013) have focused on measuring two of the most noxious components of vog, sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM), using both ground-based instruments and sensors onboard an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).  Here the students will present their results from these studies, as well an overview of the chemical composition and impact of vog.

For more information contact UH Sea Grant at 329-2861 or email



National Wildlife Federation Certifies New Wildlife Habitat at the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center in Kapa‘au, Hawai‘i

National Wildlife Federation (NWF) announces that the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center’s (HWC) native garden, located in Kapa‘au, Hawai‘i, is now recognized as an official Certified Wildlife Habitat site. The property attracts a variety of birds, butterflies and other local animals by providing a wildlife-friendly landscape.

The NWF certification sign now sits proudly in the main garden area at HWC.

The NWF certification sign now sits proudly in the main garden area at HWC.

The HWC focuses on the protection of Hawai‘i’s native species through hands-on care, research and education and recognizes the connection between the heritage and culture of all native species, plant or animal, to the land. The HWC native garden benefits many species of native insects and birds, plays an important role in uniting the cultural heritage with the mission of the HWC, brings community together to help native wildlife flourish and reawakens the connections to the customs and traditions of Hawai’i. The garden was planted by local community members of all ages, many of whom still dedicate their time to help maintain it.

NWF began the Certified Wildlife Habitat program in 1973, and has since certified almost 150,000 habitats nationwide. The majority of these sites represent the hard work and commitment of individuals and families providing habitat near their homes, but NWF has also certified more than 3000 schools and hundreds of business and community sites.

Any nature enthusiast can create a certified habitat and learn the rewards of gardening for wildlife.  NWF teaches the importance of environmental stewardship by providing guidelines for making landscapes more hospitable to wildlife.  In order to become certified, a property must provide the four basic elements that all wildlife need:  food, water, cover and places to raise young. In addition to providing for wildlife, certified habitats conserve our natural resources by reducing or eliminating the need for fertilizers, pesticides, and/or irrigation water, which ultimately protects the air, soil and water throughout our communities.

Habitats not only nurture year-round resident birds but also provide stopover sites for migratory birds traveling between their summer and winter ranges. Biologist Mark Hostetier of the University of Florida says that “urban environments are an important factor in the future conservation of many species. Not only has urban sprawl grown into the paths of stopover sites on bird flyways, but the sheer volume of human development has changed the amount of area available for nesting and overwintering.”

Creating habitats not only helps wildlife, it can help reduce global warming pollution and save energy costs as well.  Burning fossil fuels to heat and cool our homes and maintain our lawns releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.  Replacing lawns with strategically located trees and other native vegetation can insulate our homes from heat, cold and wind, reducing our heating and cooling needs and thus our carbon dioxide emissions.  Unlike lawns, wildlife-friendly native plants don’t need constant maintenance from gas guzzling lawn mowers or fertilizers that require fossil fuels to manufacture.  An additional benefit is that plants actually absorb carbon dioxide, helping to further reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  All of this adds up to increased areas available for wildlife habitats, reductions in levels of carbon dioxide that cause global warming, and reduced energy costs.  More information about how gardeners can reduce the effects of global warming can be found at

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Hawaii Island Hoops Now Accepting Registration for Its 2013 College-Prep Basketball Camp

Hawaii Island Hoops is now accepting registration for its 2013 College-Prep Basketball Camp, from June 3-7, 2013 at the Kekuaokalani Gym in Kailua-Kona.

Hawaii Island Hoops Group Picture

Special Guest:  Guest NBA Player at Camp and ESPN Top 10 Nationally Ranked High School Coach instructing at Camp All Week.

Get noticed and be instructed by college coaches! Our college-prep camp includes Nike SPARQ Training, daily fundamental training workouts, shooting clinics, defensive breakdowns, team offense, individual skills competitions, team tournament and championship game.  There will also be a 3-point shootout, free-throw, slam dunk contest, all-star game and awards ceremony. Take advantage of this opportunity!

Hawaii Island Hoops College-Prep Basketball Camp is open to boy’s ages 13-19 that are looking to improve their skills and learn a college style program.  The cost of the five-day camp is $350 and includes top-notch college coach/player instruction from NCAA, NAIA and JUCO level, evening college-prep seminars on academic requirements, financial aid available, and athletic recruitment.  Each camper will also receive a Nike Reversible Jersey and Nike shorts, Daily Agility Training, College-Prep Handbook, All-Meals included, athletic trainer on site, Hapuna Beach trip…and a week of fun!

More information on coaches and special guests to follow!

Registration can be found online at or For more info contact Director Andy Smith at (808) 937-3082


Waimea Artists’ Guild Program at Kanu O Ka ‘Āina School – “Cordage & Lashing”

Waimea Artists’ Guild (WAG) in partnership with KALO, announces their first arts education program of 2013, “Cordage & Lashing,” presented by Hawaiian cultural artist Beau Jack Key.   Classes take place at Kanu O Ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School on Fridays, 5:30-7:30 p.m., January 25 and February 1.

Beau Jack Key at work, photo by Randy C. Horne

Beau Jack Key at work, photo by Randy C. Horne

What is Cordage?  Any kind of rope, string, twine, thread, yarn, cable or any flexible line is cordage, made in ancient times by Native Hawaiians, who twisted together fibers from plants and animal sinews (ligament and bones).  Extremely useful, cordage was part of practically everything made to insure survival: bows and arrows, nets, clothing, shelters, baskets and more.

Beau Jack Key is a cordage master and son of noted lei makers James and Lucy Key, well known statewide for their Ni‘ihau shell and various Hawaiian seed lei. Also a lifetime fisherman and modern-day lure maker, Key appreciates the art, functionality and evolution of the ancient Hawaiian implements.   Each of Key’s museum-quality works exudes his love and respect for his family, his ancestors, and the ocean.

Cost for the workshop is $45 including materials, limited to eight beginners or advanced students, age 13 and up, per class.  To register, please call The Pantry at (808) 887-2289.

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, of which Waimea Artists’ Guild and Mama’s House Thrift Store are components.  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.

Aupaka o Wao Lama Partnership Provides Dryland Forest Education

The Hawai’i Forest Industry Association (HFIA) and La’i’Ōpua 2020 have formed the Aupaka o Wao Lama collaborative partnership to provide West Hawai’i youth a land-based, forest stewardship experience. Aupaka o Wao Lama is a “learning while doing” stewardship education partnership, which integrates community, cultural, and science ecology. Other collaborators include Kau I Ka Mālie Multimedia Cultural Center, Kealakehe Intermediate and High Schools, Ke Kama Pono, Aupaka Ke Kilohana, Hui Lā’au Kama’āina La’i’Ōpua, Ho’ola Ka Makana’a Ka’upulehu (‘Āina ‘Ulu) and Ka’upulehu Cultural Center at Kalaemanō.

Kealakehe Intermediate Na Kahumoku students after pulling fountain grass at La'i'Ōpua Preserve. This activity was followed up with an hour of reinforcing e-curriculum at the La'i'Ōpua 2020 Mālie Tech Center. Photo: Yvonne Yarber Carter.

Kealakehe Intermediate Na Kahumoku students after pulling fountain grass at La’i’Ōpua Preserve. This activity was followed up with an hour of reinforcing e-curriculum at the La’i’Ōpua 2020 Mālie Tech Center. Photo: Yvonne Yarber Carter.


The project promotes positive change in the areas of kuleana (responsibility), mālama (stewardship), and interdependency of all living things.  Cultural Ecology Team educators Keoki Apokolani Carter and Yvonne Yarber Carter are developing cultural ecology curriculum that provides programmatic content both in the field and at Kona’s Mālie Computer Tech Center, combining traditional and modern field work with digital learning.

Students are learning about cultural ecology relationships, native plants, invasive weeds and heritage stories of the landscape and people, particularly as it relates to the mountain of Hualālai.  Kalaemanō Cultural Center educator, performing artist, and Hawaiian language teacher Ku’ulei Keakealani is providing a “mo’olelo wahi pana” (storied place) component giving a deeper grounding of the oral tradition of place.

The experiential part of this program involves the restoration of native plants in the community “Piko” area of the Aupaka Preserve in the La’i’Ōpua Dryland Preserve, Kealakehe.  The field team includes Site Manager Wilds Pihanui Brawner and Restoration Technician Kealaka’i Knoche, who together with the outreach education team and collaborators, intertwine the history of people and place with land restoration activities to better understand the lands of Kealakehe and the larger mauka-makai lands of North Kona and the Kekaha region of Hualālai mountain.

La’i’Ōpua 2020 Kau I Ka Mālie Cultural Center and Aupaka Ke Kilohana Administrator Christy Schumann is providing program support for La’i’Ōpua 2020 and Kealakehe High School Teacher Chris Ibarra, Kealakehe Elementary Na Kahumoku Coordinator Jeannine Crisafi, and Ke Kama Pono Coordinator Anthony Savvis are coordinating their student logistics, grading, attendance, recruitment, and transportation.

Other project supporters include Kamehameha Schools, Friends of Hawaii Charities, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and Kukio Community Fund and Arthur Lawrence Mullaly Fund of the Hawai’i Community Foundation.


Big Island Police Searching for Two People Who Went Missing Last Week in Separate Incidences

Police are asking for the public’s help in locating two people who went missing in separate incidences last week.

HPDBadge Police are asking for the public’s help in locating a 20-year-old Honokaʻa woman who was reported missing.

Chelsea Wondergem is described as Caucasian, about 5-foot-2, about 110 pounds with short blond hair and brown eyes. She was last seen January 5 in the area of the Honokaʻa Theater. She was wearing a bright multi-colored dress and makeup.

She may have a condition that requires medical treatment.

Police ask that anyone with information on her whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Detective Derek Morimoto at 961-2380. Detective Morimoto 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.
Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for an 18-year-old Hilo man who was reported missing.

Abhay Williams, who has no permanent address, was last seen in Hilo on the morning of January 9.

He is described as Caucasian, 6-feet tall, 150 pounds with brown eyes and wavy brown medium-length hair. He has a medical condition that may require medical attention.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-331.

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



20th Annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival – Schedule and Information

The 20th annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival has a full lineup of multi-cultural performing arts, hands-on demonstrations, plus over 100 crafters and food booths 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at various venues sprawling through town—look for pink banners identifying site locations.

Cherry Blossom Poster

Marking its 20th anniversary year, the festival debuts a commemorative poster showcasing the art of Kailua-Kona resident Aelbert Aehegma. The 11X17-inch poster features Aehegma’s impressionistic painting, “Cherry Blossom Snows.” The $10 poster, along with prints and the original 18X24-inch painting, can be purchased at the Firehouse Gallery.  The internationally recognized artist will be at the gallery 10 a.m.-3 p.m. during the festival to sign the souvenir event posters.

Organized by members of the upcountry community and the county’s department of parks and recreation, the festival marks the blooming of the historic cherry trees at Church Row Park and celebrates the age-old Japanese tradition of hanami, which translates to “cherry blossom viewing party.” After a seasonal winter chill, the trees typically are blooming in February.

This year’s festival commemorates festival organizer, community activist and Outstanding Older American for Hawaii Island, the late Anne Field Gomes—and her husband, David Gomes.

The official festival program will be included just prior to the event in the North Hawaii News and also distributed at festival venues. It includes a map with activity locations and details on the many presenting organizations.

Festival parking is available at Parker Ranch Center and the soccer field across Church Row Park. A free shuttle offers transportation among festival venues with stops at Parker Ranch Historic Homes on Hwy. 190, Parker Ranch Center’s back parking lot and Church Row Park. A quick rundown of festival activities at various locations follows (times are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. unless specified otherwise). Events are also free unless specified otherwise.

Church Row Park

• Historical Cherry Tree Display: Waimea Lions’ Club offers a pictorial history of the cherry trees and serves as the festival’s official Lost and Found station. The Lions will also collect used eyeglasses, offer vision screening and sell pancake breakfast tickets

• Bonsai: The Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club offers a display and sale of bonsai, ongoing demonstrations and a clinic to discuss and work on the art of bonsai

• Cooking Demos at Kamuela Hongwanji: Big Isle chefs offer cooking demonstrations with free samples

• Japanese Cultural Demos/Entertainment at Kamuela Hongwanji: Learn the time-honored arts of furoshiki (gift wrapping cloth) and origami. Taiko drumming performance.

• Asian Collectibles/Food Sales at Kamuela Hongwanji: Church organizations sell Asian-themed collectibles, lanterns made from recycled beverage cans, cherry tree seedlings and cherry blossoms in mugs, temple cookbooks. Asian foods: Inari sushi, teriyaki chicken bowl, nishime, manju, andagi and prune mui.

• Martial Arts Demonstrations throughout the day

Parker Ranch Center- Hwy. 19

• Festival Entertainment Stage: In the back parking lot. Opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. kick off continuous entertainment until 3 p.m.: Bon Odori Taiko, bon dance, Japanese for Kids and Montessori Schools presentation, Kaliko Kalehua Hula Studio, Kumu Hula Michael Pang’s Hula Halau Ka Noeau, Darlene Ahuna, Tropic Lightning Band, Tai Shoji Taiko.

• Craft Fair: Over 100 crafters inside Center and in the back parking lot, cherry tree seedlings for sale in back parking lot

• Mochi Tsuki Pounding: Help pound mochi using 500 pounds of rice with the Kona Hongwanji Mission outside the Fireside Food Court starting 10 a.m.; samples

Mana Christian Ohana Church – (Former Kahilu Town Hall) Behind Parker Ranch Center

• Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea’s 20th Biennial Hawaiian Quilt Show: Extensive quilt display that includes the Cherry Blossom quilt and honors the late Kimo Balai. Members sell merchandise, offer a free “learn how” area and pattern tracing for a nominal fee.

• Kamaaina Motors Car Show: Hamakua side of parking lot

Waimea Historic Corner-Hwys. 19/190 intersection

• Firehouse Gallery Art Demos/Exhibition: Waimea Arts Council presents a members’ invitational show with a cherry blossom theme. Artists demonstrate paper, painting and jewelry making, plus sidewalk chalk drawings for all ages, while Kohala Taco & Burger sells tacos as a fundraiser for the arts organization. Commemorative Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival poster sales here for $10, poster art by Aelbert Aehegam signs posters 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Waimea Preservation Association presents a history of the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival.

Parker School-Hwy. 19

Waimea Town Market/Performing Arts: Farmers Market open 8 a.m.-1 p.m. with performance by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii-Kohala and Okinawan folk dance 10 a.m.-noon.

Parker Ranch Historic Homes-Hwy. 190

Cultural Demos/Performing Arts/Food: Enjoy ritual Japanese tea ceremony led by Emi Wakayama; the Sakura Ensemble joined by harpist Chikako Nakano and tsuzumi drummer Issa Mochizuki, plus a Japanese hula halau. Enjoy sumie demonstrations and displays of mosaic/glass art and ikebana.

Parker Ranch Arena-Hwy. 190

Hawaii High School Rodeo Assn.: Monthly event competition for keiki in the morning and junior high division in the afternoon (high school on Sunday). Donations welcome; food booth sales.

Paniolo Heritage Center at Historic Pukalani Stables-End of Pukalani St. (turn south off Hwy. 19 at Ace Hardware)

Ranching Themed Activities: Paniolo breakfast 8-10 a.m. for $10 donation, heritage center open house, historic photo display by the Natural Resources Conservation Service/Soil/Water Conservation District and of Japanese “Kepani” cowboys, live music, hanafuda card playing, refreshments and sales of Paniolo Preservation Society merchandise.

Kamuela Liquors-Hwy. 19

Sake Tasting: Noon-3 p.m.

Kuhio Hale-Hwy. 19

Farmer’s Market: More than 20 members of the Hawaiian Homestead Market offer a variety of products 7 a.m.-noon

Ginger Farm- (old Anderson Homestead) MM 55 across from Puu Nani St. on Hwy. 19

Japanese Home Tour/Tea Tasting/Art Fun: Self-guided tour through traditional Japanese style home; Island keiki serve cherry tea and show keiki how to make a cherry blossom hanging scroll.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is produced by the Hawaii County Parks and Recreation Department. Overseen by the park’s culture education administrator, Roxcie Waltjen, the festival is a community-wide effort by a dedicated team of volunteers, 961-8706.



Big Island Police Searching for Missing 43-Year-Old Hilo Man

2/7/13 UPDATE: He has been located.

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 43-year-old Hilo man who was reported missing.

Steven Przedwojeski

Steven Przedwojeski

Steven Przedwojewski, who has no permanent address, was last heard from on Monday (January 7).

He is described as Caucasian, 6-foot-2, 250 pounds with brown eyes and long brown hair. He has a medical condition that may require medical attention.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-331. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hilo Man Found Dead Inside Truck in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A 43-year old Hilo man was found dead in his vehicle on Highway 11 in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Sat., Jan. 12.

Steven Elliott

Steven Elliott

A park ranger discovered the lifeless body of Steven L. Elliott in a white 2002 Ford pickup truck on the shoulder of Highway 11 near mile marker 35 at 9:34 a.m. The truck was parked facing the Ka‘ū direction. Elliott’s family has been notified.

The cause of death is unknown, and an investigation is being conducted by the National Park Service. An autopsy by the medical examiner is scheduled for Tuesday.


UH Hilo Professor’s Research Traces Ancestors of Hawaiians to Remote Atolls

A University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo professor has discovered evidence that the ancestors of East Polynesians, including Hawaiians, once lived on remote Polynesian Outlier atolls.

Dr. William H. Wilson

Dr. William H. Wilson

Dr. William H. Wilson, a professor with Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language, has published a study of 73 unique linguistic changes distinctive of East Polynesian languages and the languages of these Outliers. The article, entitled, “Whence The East Polynesians?” is in the December 2012 issue of Oceanic Linguistics (

“Anthropologists, archeologists and linguists have long assumed that the first settlers entered East Polynesia from Samoa,” Wilson noted. “The latest archeological research indicates the initial settlement took place as recently as a thousand years ago, which left many wondering why the East Polynesian and Samoan languages were so different. The associated cultures are also quite different, with ancient East Polynesian archeological sites exhibiting innovations in fishing technology that have long puzzled researchers.”

Wilson’s research found that the East Polynesian ancestors were separated far to the northwest of Samoa on Polynesian atolls for a considerable period before they entered East Polynesia, the huge geographic area containing Hawaiʻi, Rapanui, and New Zealand. It was in these Polynesian atolls that many of the unique features differentiating East Polynesian languages and cultures from the Samoan language and culture developed.

Wilson said that early Polynesians first moved 2,000 miles west and north from Samoa to the tiny Central Northern Polynesian Outlier atolls off the coast of the Solomon Islands, of which the best known are Takuu and Luangiua (Ontong Java). Nearby atolls with languages only slightly more distantly related to Hawaiian and other East Polynesian languages are Sikaiana to the south and Kapingamarangi and Nukuoro to the north.

“The peoples of these atolls have highly developed traditions of navigation,” Wilson said. “They are also more dependent on fishing for survival than the people of the high islands of Samoa which, unlike atolls, have extensive agricultural lands. Ancient East Polynesian innovations in navigation and fishing methods developed first in these atolls.”

Wilson’s linguistic evidence linking East Polynesian languages with those of the Central Northern Outlier atolls includes words known to many in Hawaiʻi. One is a change from an earlier term kiu for a bird with a curved beak. In the Outliers and early East Polynesia, this became kiwi, which then developed into the Hawaiian bird name `i`iwi. The same term spread to New Zealand to name an endemic bird there known as the kiwi.

Wilson listed 51unique words and 22 grammatical similarities whose development is shared by the Central Northern Outlier and East Polynesian languages. Wilson traced all of the unique words and grammatical features back to an ancient Central Northern Outlier ancestral language that gave birth to Proto East Polynesian, the unifying ancestor of Hawaiian, Tahitian, Marquesan, Rapanui, and Maori.


Big Island Police Searching for Missing Puna Man

The Hawaiʻi Police Department is searching for a 44-year-old Puna man who was reported missing.


Dante Peter Gilman

Dante Peter Gilman of Kurtistown was last seen in Hawaiian Acres on or about December 30. He is described as 6-feet tall, 200 pounds with short brown hair and green eyes.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call Officer Shawn Matsuda at 965-2716 or 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.

3.1 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes the Big Island Today


Magnitude 3.1
Location 19.242°N, 156.051°W
Depth 47.4 km (29.5 miles)
  • 28 km (18 miles) SW (217°) from Honaunau-Napoopoo, HI
  • 32 km (20 miles) SSW (208°) from Captain Cook, HI
  • 33 km (21 miles) WNW (297°) from Hawaiian Ocean View, HI
  • 54 km (33 miles) S (185°) from Kalaoa, HI
  • 114 km (71 miles) WSW (243°) from Hilo, HI
  • 295 km (183 miles) SE (141°) from Honolulu, HI
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.6 km (0.4 miles); depth +/- 1 km (0.6 miles)
Parameters Nph= 60, Dmin=19 km, Rmss=0.11 sec, Gp=238°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=5
Event ID hv60449046