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Hawaii House Seeks to Provide Additional Funding for Hawaii’s Space Exploration Program

The House Committee on Finance unanimously passed HB1419 HD1, which will appropriate additional funds to support the development and expansion of Hawaii’s aerospace and related industries.


Supplemental funding will be provided to the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) to help attract aerospace technology and corporations to Hawaii. The funding will capitalize upon Hawaii Island’s lunar-like terrain to build an aerospace research and development park which will create new high paying technology-related jobs.

Big Island lawmakers are excited about the many opportunities PISCES will bring to their island including new industries and jobs, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education programs for students.


Representative Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo) stated, “The expansion of PISCES will build upon our already globally recognized Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii-Hilo and will continue to position the Big Island at the forefront of space enterprise.”

“It will create a world-class program to facilitate the design, testing, and validation of new technologies that support both robotic and human missions to space,” said Representative Clift Tsuji (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea).

“The program is and will continue to be a significant economical and technological benefit to the State of Hawaii, but most especially for the Island of Hawaii,” added Representative Richard H.K. Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano).

The bill was introduced by several lawmakers including Rep. Angus McKelvey (West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei) who noted, “this is an opportunity to establish Hawaii as the next global hub of the aerospace industry and provides the funding necessary for us to realize humankind’s full potential in space exploration.”

The bill now moves to the floor for full House of Representatives consideration where, upon passage, it will crossover to the state Senate. Senator Gilbert Kahele (Hilo) pledged his support for the bill stating, “I am in full support of the development of the PISCES program and I will work hard to ensure that the measure is fully heard before the Senate.”

Hawaii State Sells Holdings in Student Loan Auction Rate Securities

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced that the State of Hawaii and Citigroup Global Capital Markets, Inc. (CGMI) agreed to have CGMI purchase all of the state’s approximately $231 million remaining balance of the Student Loan Auction Rate Securities (Securities) at full face value.


The state purchased the Securities from CGMI back in February 2008. The market for purchasing and selling these Securities subsequently collapsed as a result of the global financial crisis, thereby limiting the state’s ability to sell the Securities at full face value.

Fortunately, the state sufficiently adjusted its investment portfolio and avoided having to sell the Securities for cash flow purposes during this period. In November 2010, the state and CGMI entered into a settlement agreement that required CGMI to purchase all outstanding amounts held by the state on June 2015. At that time, the state held approximately $869 million of these Securities. Since then, the Abercrombie Administration and CGMI have been actively reducing portions of the holding, ensuring that no loss of principal occurs. This balance represents the last holdings of the Securities as well as the largest portion to be settled.

“By working with CGMI, the State of Hawaii was able to sell, without incurring any loss, all of the Securities in an accelerated manner ahead of the originally agreed upon June 2015 date,” said Gov. Abercrombie.

When the state purchased the Securities, they were rated “AAA,” which is the highest investment rating. While the state held the Securities, the state received all of the principal and interest payments due on the Securities.

“Our collaborative efforts with CGMI resulted in the state resolving this issue much earlier than provided in the settlement agreement,” said Finance Director Kalbert Young. “While this does not result in any additional new money to the state, it does allow us to strategically invest these funds to meet future obligations.”

Public Finance Managing Director and Co-Head Frank Chin said: “Citigroup is pleased to have worked closely with the Abercrombie Administration in the removal of all the auction rate securities from the state’s portfolio well ahead of the agreement schedule. We are proud of our longstanding relationship with, and commitment to, the state and are pleased to see this issue resolved.”


Big Island Police Arrest Hilo Man in Connection with Kona Burglaries Last Year

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a Hilo man in connection with three burglaries in Kona last year.

Two of the burglaries took place August 29 in the Seaview Circle subdivision. The third was October 30 off Old Māmalahoa Highway in Hōlualoa.

Jaren Larinaga-Napihaa

Jaren Larinaga-Napihaa

Jaren Larinaga-Napihaa was arrested Thursday (February 28) in Hilo and charged with two counts of failure to appear in court. He was also arrested on suspicion of burglary. On Friday (March 1) police charged him with second-degree theft and three counts of first-degree burglary. His bail was set at $100,000.


Big Island Police Asking for Help Identifying Wallet Thief at Target

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a woman wanted in connection with a theft investigation.

Have you seen her?

Have you seen her?

A wallet was removed from a shopping cart in the parking lot of Target Stores in Hilo on December 3. The suspect is described as a Hawaiian mix female in her 30s to 40s about 5-foot-5 with black hair, a fair complexion and a medium build. She was seen operating a newer-model silver Toyota 4Runner. Police ask that anyone with information on her identity or her whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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

Video: Honolulu Festival 2013 – Nagaoka Fireworks Show

Here is video from Hawaii’s largest firework display that happens during the Honolulu Festival.  This is the Nagaoka Fireworks Show:


Talk Story and Free Tastings at Mauka Makai Restaurant on Saturday

The new restaurant “Mauka Makai” that is opening in the former Pahoa KFC location, will be having an event on Saturday, March 9th from 9:00 am to Noon.
New Restaurant

Related Posts:

Deadline Nears to Enter Poke Contest – Contestants Get Seafood at Wholesale Price

Put your braggin’ in the bowl and enter you favorite poke recipe to win cash and prizes at the second Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Sunday, March 17.

Poke Soy Sauce

Fun includes recipe judging, a celebrity cookoff, a poke-making demonstration by Sam Choy, entertainment, poi pounding and fishnet making, and plenty of delicious poke tasting.

Entry fee is $15 for amateurs and a reduced price of $30 for professionals—culinary students can enter for free. Suisan Company offers seafood to contestants at wholesale price. Entry deadline is March 8 and forms can be downloaded at www.SamChoysKeauhouPokeContest.org.


The Late Guy Toyama's winning Poke from the 2012  Sam Choy Poke Festival

The Late Guy Toyama’s winning Poke from the 2012 Sam Choy Poke Festival

Competition is in six categories: traditional, spicy, cooked, poke with soy sauce, non-seafood and sushi style.

Contest festivities are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with most of the activities outside on the Bay View Lawn. The poke contest and judging will be inside the Sheraton’s Ainakai restaurant.

Public admission to all contest activities is $5 at the door (keiki 12-and-under are free) and benefits “The Heart of the Campus-Equip the Kitchens Campaign” for the future Hawaii Community College-Palamanui campus. A free trolley will operate from Keauhou Shopping Center (pickup near Longs Drugs) from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Sam Choy and the Contestants at the 2012 Contest

Sam Choy and the Contestants at the 2012 Contest

Poke critiquing begins 10 a.m. with awards and public tasting at 12:30 p.m. Also on tap is an all-day Hawai‘i Island Marketplace; a demonstration on making tropical libations by mixologist Joey Gotteman of Young’s Market at 10:30 a.m., a Celebrity Poke Cook-off at 11:30 p.m. and a demo on “How to Make Poke by Sam Choy” at 1:30 p.m. Enjoy traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music by Kapala of O’ahu.

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Keauhou Resort’s annual Kamehameha III celebration March 15-17 that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli. The contest is sponsored by Kamehameha Investment Corporation, Kamehameha Schools Land Assets Division, the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Aloha Shoyu, Hawaiian Springs Water, Suisan Company, Ltd., BMW of Hawaii, Bacardi, Young’s Market, Roberts Hawaii, Sun Dried Specialties, Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering, Fresh Island Fish and KTA Superstores.

House and Senate Military Affairs Committees to Hear From Military and Defense Contractors

Topics Include Economic Impact of Sequestration on the Armed Forces

An informational briefing is being held to discuss the economic impact of the Armed forces in Hawaii.

WHO:  The House Committee on Veterans, Military & International Affairs, & Culture and the Arts and the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs

WHAT:  Informational hearing on the economic impact of the Armed Forces in Hawaii

WHEN: Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:00 a.m.

WHERE:  Conference Room 309,  Hawaii State Capitol

It will also address the effects that across the board cuts in the federal budget, known as sequestration, will have on the military in Hawaii.  The following individuals, or their representatives, have been invited to participate in the briefing:

  • Admiral Samuel Locklear, United States Pacific Command
  • General Herbert Carlisle, United States Pacific Air Forces
  • Admiral Cecil Haney, United States Pacific Fleet
  • Lieutenant General Francis Wiercinski, United States Army Pacific
  • Lieutenant General Terry Robling, United States Marine Forces Pacific
  • Rear Admiral Charles Ray, United States Coast Guard, District Fourteen
  • Major General Darryll Wong, Hawaii State Department of Defense

The Committees will also hear from the following invited defense contractors, or their representatives:

  • Alan Hayashi, BAE
  • Bill Ryzewic, BAE Shipyard
  • Ben Nakaoka, Navatek

Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans, Representative K.Mark Takai said, ” the military is an integral part of our community in Hawaii and it goes without saying that what impacts our Armed Forces will affect all of our citizens.  The country’s Defense Department will be hit particularly hard by sequestration and we need to have as much information as we can get to prepare for and deal with this critical issue.”

The briefing will be televised live by Olelo on Channel 49.

Admiral Cecil Haney just stated the following on Facebook:

As a result of an indefinite continuing resolution and sequestration budget cuts, we will make tough choices to delay or cancel some training, operations, and maintenance and will defer these decisions until the last possible moment in order to provide flexibility and thoughtful deliberation. Our guiding principles will be to protect forward readiness and minimize the impact on our people. I am particularly concerned about the potential furlough one day a week of our valuable civilian teammates and how this will impact them as well as our military workforce. Even though budget constraints will cause some turbulence in the short-term, there should be no doubt about the Navy’s enduring commitment to maintain security and stability in the vital Asia-Pacific. The U.S. Pacific Fleet remains on watch — as demonstrated March 1 when USS Freedom departed San Diego bound for Southeast Asia, marking the maiden deployment of the Navy’s first littoral combat ship. We will continue to deploy capable warfighting units forward to operate with our allies and partners. We will also continue to keep our Pacific Fleet Sailors, civilians and families informed. Our Navy team is strong, and with everyone’s help and understanding, we will overcome this new challenge.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 22, 2013) The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) is underway conducting sea trials off the coast of Southern California. Freedom, the lead ship of the Freedom variant of LCS, is expected to deploy to Southeast Asia this spring. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James R. Evans/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 22, 2013) The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) is underway conducting sea trials off the coast of Southern California. Freedom, the lead ship of the Freedom variant of LCS, is expected to deploy to Southeast Asia this spring. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James R. Evans/Released)



Big Island Police Dismantle Underground Bunker Pot Growing Operation in Puna Ending Two-Year Long Investigation

Hawaiʻi Island police have dismantled a sophisticated underground bunker marijuana-growing operation in Puna.

The underground bunker

The underground bunker

Ending a two-year-long investigation that began in Kona, Vice Section officers served a search warrant Thursday on a home on Kokokahi Road in Glenwood. On the property was an underground bunker approximately 40 feet by 80 feet.

The setup of this growing operation, which used two large diesel generators to power the bunker’s fans and lights, posed a significant risk of fire and potentially a large explosion. With the assistance of the State Narcotics Enforcement Division and the Hawaiʻi Fire Department’s Hazmat Team, the large growing operation was safely dismantled.


Police recovered more than 500 marijuana plants (3-4 feet tall), approximately 10 pounds of dried marijuana and a small amount of hashish from the bunker and surrounding property.

Officers also seized and set for forfeiture $4,000 in cash, two vehicles, a backhoe, a trailer, three diesel generators and other tools. Total items for forfeiture totaled more than $100,000.

Charles Howard Lanham III

Charles Howard Lanham III

Police arrested 60-year-old Charles Howard Lanham III and 67-year-old Linda L. Stallings at the scene. The two were taken to the Hilo police cellblock while Vice Section detectives continued the investigation.

 Linda L. Stallings

Linda L. Stallings

Friday afternoon, detectives charged each of them with two counts of first-degree commercial promotion of a detrimental drug, one count of second-degree commercial promotion of a detrimental drug, and five counts of possessing drug paraphernalia. Bail was set $42,000 for Lanham and $35,000 for Stallings. Both were released from police custody Saturday after posting bail.

Big Island Police Investigating Possible Drowning Off Keahole Point

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a possible drowning Friday in waters off Keahole Point in the Kona District.

Keahole Point
Responding to an 8 p.m. call Friday (March 1), officers discovered that a 62-year-old woman, identified as Carolanne Perry of West Valley City, Utah, had been night diving when she experienced difficulty swimming. She was assisted back to the boat, where cardio-pulmonary resuscitation efforts began.

Emergency Medical Services personnel took Perry to Kona Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 8:54 p.m.

The case has been classified as a coroner’s inquest. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Hawaii Judge David Alan Ezra Moved to Texas to Help With Workload

I just noticed the following and I haven’t heard much about this locally:

Judge David Alan Ezra

Judge David Alan Ezra

Not many people would leave an office with a prime view of Honolulu’s harbor for a windowless office in San Antonio, but Senior U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra is doing just that.

Ezra, 65, is moving here to help the San Antonio-headquartered Western District of Texas, whose current judges are swamped largely with immigration and drug cases on top of a busy civil caseload…

…“It’s a combination of the need of the judiciary (in Texas) and my wife,” Ezra said. “I had indicated to the Administrative Office of the Courts that I was willing to move to the mainland and help. We have a very moderate caseload” in Hawaii…

New Signs Promote Pearl Harbor Heritage

New historical signs known as wayside exhibits are being installed this week at various spots around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to provide more information to inquiring visitors about historically significant sites on base.

Pearl Harbor Sign

Hawaii (Feb. 27, 2013) Builder 2nd Class Reynaldo Castro, left, and Utilitiesman 2nd Class Jeremy Orndoff, from Naval Facilities Engineering Command Self Help, install a series of wayside exhibits at USS Parche Submarine Memorial Park. The wayside exhibits enhance the landscape by providing visitors with more thorough descriptions of the landmarks and incorporating photos with information at historic sites around Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor/Released)

The project took off after several years of planning by Navy Region Hawaii, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“The idea is that when you see the wayside exhibits, it puts history in context. There’s nothing like a photograph to give one a better description of what they are looking at,” said Navy Region Hawaii Historian Jim Neuman.

There will be a total of 12 exhibits, to include locations around the former Pearl Harbor Submarine base: Lockwood Hall, the Submarine Base Chapel, Sharkey Theatre and the USS Parche Submarine Memorial Park.

Some of the exhibits include multiple signs that provide photos, historical facts and personnel profiles.

“It’s great! I think visitors will appreciate it. It shows that we understand that we have history, that we care about our history, and that we want to preserve that history,” added Neuman.

Neuman went on to say that the signs are synchronized with the National Park Service in design so visitors can see a more uniform presentation of information throughout the Pearl Harbor area.

“It’s definitely very informative when we do work like this. We learn what these various ship and submarine parts are doing here. With the pictures, it will help people understand why they put this here, why the propeller is over there, and what the memorial is all about,” said Builder 2nd Class Reynaldo Castro of the NAVFAC Self Help Seabees.

Army to Host Additional Meeting on Marine Study

The U.S. Army is hosting an informational meeting, March 12, for community members interested in learning about the draft sampling and analysis plan to study marine resources at Makua Beach and surrounding areas.

Site Location Map

Site Location Map

The meeting will be held at Nanaikapono Elementary School Cafetorium (89-153 Mano Ave., Waianae, HI 96792) at 6:30 p.m.  Army subject matter experts will provide an overview of the marine resources study, the draft sampling and analysis plan and will explain the next steps in the process.

“The community expressed a desire for more information on this topic during our public meeting, February 20, and we are being responsive to that request,”  said Col. Daniel Whitney, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. “We welcome this opportunity – the more quality community input we have, the better this plan will be.”

The draft plan is a blueprint for how the Army will conduct the supplemental marine resources study to determine whether military activities at Makua Military Reservation have contributed or will contribute to contamination of the marine resources near Makua, and whether the proposed Army training activities at MMR pose a health risk to area residents who rely on these marine resources for food or other purposes.

The Army is currently accepting comments on this draft plan through March 22.

Draft Sampling

Community can view or download the plan online at www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/makua (Click “2013 Draft MR Study” on the left side of the page.). The plan is also available at the Waianae, Kapolei and Waialua public libraries, under the title “Draft Supplemental Marine Resources Sampling and Analysis Plan, Makua Military Reservation, Oahu, Hawaii.” In consideration of the environment, hard copies of the plan are available upon request.

For more information or to provide comments, email usaghi.pao.comrel@us.army.mil or call (808) 656-3089.

The supplemental marine resources study was ordered by the Federal District Court June 20, 2012. The Army appreciates the community’s interest and involvement in this study.

Hakalau Farmer Named in Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit

He adopted and fostered boys in Hawaii and California, then victim charges man isolated boys and abused them.  There could be dozens of victims, group says.  New law allows victims to come forward, no matter when they were abused.

Media Release:

What: At a press conference, victims of sex abuse will announce and discuss a new sex abuse lawsuit against a former Hakalau farmer. The lawsuit alleges that Jay Ram:  Sexually abused the victim and other boys for five years, Isolated the boys from family, friends and peers, and Used the boys as forced child labor to develop the land

Victims will also: Urge anyone with information about Ram or his whereabouts to report, and  Beg other victims to come forward and get help

Where: Outside of Hilo’s Third Circuit Courthouse, Hale Kaulike, 777 Kilauea Avenue in Hilo

When: Monday, March 4 at 1 pm

On Friday, a Honolulu man filed a sex abuse lawsuit against a former Hakalau farmer who, he says, adopted him and then sexually abused him for more than five years. He also says the man used him and other boys as “forced child labor” to develop his land and kept them as virtual prisoners on his farm.

Jay Ram, who is also known as Gary Winnick, is also accused of sexually abusing other boys that he fostered and adopted in California and Hawaii.

This is not the first allegation against Ram. In 1992, another foster child came forward to report that Ram had sexually abused him. A little more than a year later, Ram was indicted for child sexual abuse. The charges were dropped in 1994. There were also allegations of physical abuse launched against Ram a few years earlier. Those allegations did not result in charges.

Jay Ram

Because the boys were taken out of his custody to be questioned, Ram went on to sue the State of Hawaii, Department of Human Services for removing the boys from his custody, the case eventually settled.

According to the lawsuit, Ram adopted the victim in California in 1983, when the boy, known as John Roe 8, was 10 years old. The victim had been in foster care for five years. In 1987, Ram moved the victim and other boys to a farm in Hakalau, where, the lawsuit alleges, “Jay Ram isolated the boy and his other adopted children, prohibiting them from visiting friends’ houses, having girlfriends and playing sports.” From 1984 to 1989, the suit also charges, Ram sexually abused the victim and other boys who lived with them.

During this time, Ram was involved in agricultural research with the University of Hawaii, Hilo.

SNAP believes there may be more victims suffering in silence.

“Jay Ram adopted vulnerable boys and used them for his sexual pleasure,” said Joelle Casteix, SNAP Western Regional Director. “Since the boys were so isolated, they had nowhere to go for help and were prisoners in a cycle of abuse they could not escape.”

The group also believes there may be witnesses, including researchers from UH who spent a great deal of time on the farm.

The victim in this case was able to come forward and expose Ram in the civil courts because of a landmark new state law that allows all Hawaii victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and seek justice in the courts, no matter when the abuse occurred.

Ram’s last known address was in Saipan. However, reports claim he may in India

The victims are represented by attorneys Mike Reck (714) 742-6593 mreck@andersonadvocates.com and Mark Gallagher (808) 779-5012 mgallagher@hawaiiantel.net. Copies of the lawsuit will be available at the event.


IN HAWAII-Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA (IN HONOLULU), SNAP Western Regional Director, (949) 322-7434 cell, jcasteix@gmail.com

Barbara Blaine of Chicago, IL, SNAP President, (312) 399-4747 cell, SNAPBlaine@gmail.com

Tim Lennon of San Francisco, CA, SNAP Bay Area Director, (415) 312-5820 cell, survivorsnetworksf@gmail.com



Translocation of Hawaiian Monk Seals From the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to the Main Islands, Deferred

The Hawaiian monk seal research program permit application for conducting activities implementing the monk seal recovery program was published yesterday in the Federal Register.

Monk Seal Institute

The application has deferred for up to 5 years, the proposed translocation of juvenile monk seals from the NWHI to the main islands; the permit application specifically states “no seals would be moved from the NWHI to the MHI.” The merits of the translocation proposal have been debated for the last several years among marine scientists, ocean users and conservationists. (See: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/monkseal16632.htm).

According to Trisha Kehaulani Watson, who represents the Marine Conservation Institute in Hawai‘i, the deferral was the appropriate move at this time but should be reconsidered for future permit applications based on the seal’s recovery progress over the next five years:

“Translocation of a few seals to the main islands, and then returning them to the NWHI as adults, was something NMFS wanted to try as an experiment to see if it could build up the subpopulation of seals in the NWHI which is currently declining.  It was a novel idea, and not everyone agreed it would work. But NMFS deserves credit for considering it as one measure to maintain the monk seal as part of Hawai‘i’s ‘ohana.  Translocations of individual seals within the main islands are allowed under the permit application, and we support these as necessary to protect their important role in Hawai‘i’s ecology and culture.  Moving seals within the MHI to appropriate locations where they can thrive will be an increasingly important tool as the population of monk seals continues to naturally increase in the main islands.”

“Frankly,” said Watson, “the Hawai‘i office of NMFS is in no position to finance an expensive translocation project right now because the agency’s budget for the monk seal recovery program has been cut by NOAA’s managers from around $5. 5 million in 2010 to roughly $3.5 million in 2012, and further cuts may be in the offing.  NMFS Hawai‘i cannot even pay for things it should be doing now like mounting effective outreach and volunteer programs, responding to the growing number of harmful human actions toward monk seals, and financing its scientific research projects, including its summer research camp in the NWHI.  The focus of the limited funds available needs to be on activities in Papahānaumokuākea and on managing the seal population currently in the main Hawaiian Islands.”

“If the people of Hawai‘i and across the United States want to see the monk seal properly managed and recovered,” she said, “they are going to have to ask their congressional delegation to intervene on the NOAA budget when it comes before the Congress this spring.” Watson noted that 30% of the seals seen alive today are alive because of interventions made by seal managers in Hawai‘i. “That’s a terrific record achieved by NMFS,” she said.

See our Monk Seal Fact Sheet for further information.

About Marine Conservation Institute

Marine Conservation Institute is a U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting marine ecosystems. We work with scientists, politicians, government officials and other organizations in the United States and around the world to fashion solutions to problems affecting marine ecosystems which are long lasting and compatible with sustainable ocean use. Honua Consulting represents Marine Conservation Institute in Hawai`i.


Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Kīlauea Man

The Coast Guard suspended its search at approximately 6 p.m. Friday, for a 55 year old man who went missing after he was presumed to have entered the waters off Ninini Beach, Kauai, Tuesday.The search began at approximately 8 p.m. Tuesday when it was reported that Scott Akina had not returned home from his usual workout near Kalapakī and Nawiliwili Bays.

The Coast Guard, Kauai Fire Department, Kauai Police Department, Ocean Safety Bureau and the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement have searched an area over 6,200 square miles using aircraft, cutters, small boats and shore personnel.

“The decision to suspend a search is one of the hardest we have to make,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Shannon Gilreath, Sector Honolulu’s acting commander. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Mr. Akina during this difficult time.”

The Pathfinder for Maritime Search & Rescue

The Pathfinder for Maritime Search & Rescue

The Coast Guard deployed crews aboard MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, an HC-130 Hercules airplane, the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Ahi, a 47-foot Motor Life Boat and a vessel from the local volunteer Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 3-15 Kauai.

The Coast Guard also used self locating datum marker buoys and a Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System to determine the search area of highest probability for locating Akina.

For more information regarding the search, contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

University of Hawaii Announces 2013 Distinguished Alumni Awards

The University of Hawai‘i Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes outstanding alumni who have used their education to excel professionally, provide inspirational leadership to others, and provide service for the benefit of UH and the community. This year’s honorees will be recognized on Tuesday, May 14, at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel at a dinner in their honor. The Honorable Daniel Akaka is honorary chair of our 25th annual event. The honorees are:
Distinguished Alumni 2012
2013 Distinguished Alumni Award

  • Edwin Gayagas (BEd ’62 Mānoa) – Community Service Volunteer and Retired U. S. Army Officer
  • Alden Henderson, PhD (BS ’77, MPH ’82 Mānoa) – Epidemiologist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Patrick Sullivan, PhD (MS ’81, PhD ’85 Mānoa) – Chairman & Founder, Oceanit
  • Barbara Tanabe (MBA ’83 Mānoa) – Owner & Managing Partner, Ho‘ākea Communications

2013 UH Founders Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award

  • David Ezra, JD (Attended Mānoa) – Senior United States District Judge

For more information about the Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner or UHAA, contact the Alumni Relations office at (808) 956-2586, toll-free 1‑877-842-5867 or events@UHalumni.org, or visit UHalumni.org/daa2013.

Hawaii Department of Education Honors 32 Schools Today for Extraordinary Achievements

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today honored 32 schools for extraordinary achievements at the first annual Strive HI Awards ceremony. The awards ranging from $12,500 to $100,000 recognize schools for significant academic progress for two consecutive years and represent a one-time grant to further improvement efforts.

The ceremony was held this morning at King Intermediate School, one of the high-achieving schools. The Strive HI Awards were presented by Governor Neil Abercrombie, Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and Schools Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe.

“We are proud to be able to financially recognize the hard work of the teachers, students and staff of these schools,” Supt. Kathryn Matayoshi said. “The Strive HI Awards reflect that the department is not only focused on intervention in current priority schools, but also encourages other schools across the islands to keep striving high.”

The following schools earned the highest single awards of $100,000 for exiting “restructuring” – a sanction under the No Child Left Behind law – by meeting annual progress goals for two consecutive years:

  • Hilo Intermediate School
  • King Intermediate School
  • Moanalua Middle School
  • Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School (Oahu)
  • Waters of Life Public Charter School (Hawaii Island)
From left to right: King Intermediate Principal Sheena Alaiasa, Governor Neil Abercrombie, Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe, State Sen. Jill Tokuda, Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, Hawaii State Board of Education Chairman Donald Horner, and Castle-Kahuku Complex Area Superintendent Lea Albert at the Strive HI Awards ceremony.

From left to right: King Intermediate Principal Sheena Alaiasa, Governor Neil Abercrombie, Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe, State Sen. Jill Tokuda, Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, Hawaii State Board of Education Chairman Donald Horner, and Castle-Kahuku Complex Area Superintendent Lea Albert at the Strive HI Awards ceremony.

Awards of $50,000 were given to two elementary schools exiting restructuring, Benjamin Parker and Nanakuli.

“I want to congratulate the principals, teachers, staff, and students at these Strive HI schools for leading the charge in transforming our public education system,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “They are setting an excellent example by showing what can be achieved when everyone strives higher toward a common goal.”

The Strive HI Awards also celebrated schools that ranked in the top 5 percent in the state for reading or math growth, providing grants of $12,500 for each subject area – or $25,000 for schools reaching the mark in both subjects. These high-performing schools are boosting student reading and/or math proficiency at the fastest pace among all Hawaii public schools.

On top of exiting restructuring, Nanakuli won an extra $25,000 for finishing in the top 5 percent in both reading and math growth, bringing its total award to $75,000. Parker, which also left restructuring, earned an additional $12,500 for ranking in the top 5 percent in math, for a combined award of $62,500.

Four other schools also finished in the top 5 percent in both categories and earned $25,000: Thomas Jefferson Elementary on Oahu, King Kekaulike on Maui and Kalanianaole Elementary & Intermediate and Keaau High on Hawaii Island.

Schools receiving $12,500 each include:

  • Aliamanu Elementary (Math)
  • Haaheo Elementary (Math)
  • Haleiwa Elementary (Reading)
  • Hokulani Elementary (Reading)
  • James Campbell High (Math)
  • Kahakai Elementary (Math)
  • Kanoelani Elementary (Math)
  • Kanuikapono Learning Center Public Charter School (Reading)
  • Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino (Reading)
  • Keaau Middle (Math)
  • Kealakehe High (Math)
  • Kilohana Elementary (Math)
  • King William Lunalilo Elementary (Math)
  • Kohala High (Reading)
  • Kula Kaiapuni O Anuenue (Reading)
  • Lanakila Elementary (Math)
  • Manoa Elementary (Reading)
  • Maunawili Elementary (Reading)
  • Pahoa High & Intermediate (Math)
  • Red Hill Elementary (Reading)
  • William P. Jarrett Middle (Reading)

The award money must be used for upgrades at the schools, which could include the purchase of technology infrastructure, musical instruments, science lab and equipment, as well as other academic/financial plan-approved expenditures.

“Receiving recognition for the work that we, as educators, goes a long way,” said King Intermediate Principal Sheena Alaiasa. “We believe in educating our future, we believe in our talents and abilities to teach, and more importantly, we believe in our children. To have this honor bestowed upon our school is affirmation that we are on the right track and that we have made a difference.”

The DOE’s “Strive HI” campaign reflects the department’s commitment to transform public education in the 50th state by preparing students for success, leading education transformation and building a brighter future.

Strive HI award funds are part of the state’s Race to the Top (RTTT) federal grant received in 2010. U.S. education officials recently removed Hawaii from the RTTT “high-risk” status for progress in two specific areas, which cover standards, assessments, and data system development and use. Next year’s Strive HI Awards will be based on each school’s performance under the state’s new accountability system metrics that go into effect in the 2013-14 school year.

Hawaii Joins the Nation in Recognizing ‘Invasive Species Awareness Week’

Events Begin with Governor’s Proclamation at the Capitol

For the first time, the State of Hawaii will participate in National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW), observed from March 4 to 10. Gov. Neil Abercrombie will kick off “Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week” (HISAW) with a proclamation on March 4 at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Auditorium.

I caught this Jackson Chameleon the other day in my yard.  These are invasive to our islands and can do a lot of harm to our ecosystem

I caught this Jackson Chameleon the other day in my yard. These are invasive to our islands and can do a lot of harm to our ecosystem

Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) Co-Chairs Russell S. Kokubun, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, and William J. Aila, Jr., Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, will receive the proclamation.

“Invasive species impact our natural resources, food security, health, cultural heritage, economy and way of life, and we must build our capacity to address these challenges,” said Gov. Abercrombie, who has made this issue an administration priority by encouraging his cabinet to work across departments as members of the HISC.

The HISC is coordinating a series of events and activities in recognition of HISAW with HISC member agencies and partners, including the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, county-based Invasive Species Committees, Hawaii Conservation Alliance, Hawaii Biodiversity Information Network, and The Nature Conservancy.

· HISAW Kickoff at the Capitol, March 4, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Capitol Auditorium

Governor’s Proclamation: The public is invited to join Governor Abercrombie in commencing Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week. HISC members Dr. Maria Gallo, Dean of UH’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, and Gary Gill, Deputy Director of the Department of Health’s Environmental Health Administration, will offer opening remarks.

HISC Awards Ceremony: HISC will honor individuals, agencies, organizations and businesses that have made a difference in protecting Hawaii from invasive species. Members of the Legislature will present the awards in the categories of Above and Beyond, Business Leader, Community Hero, County MVP’s, and Greatest Hit of 2012. See full list of winners and honorable mentions at www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com.

People across the state can easily participate in HISAW online by joining the special Hawaii Bioblitz “mission” to find out what’s living in their backyard. The public is invited to take and submit photos of plants and animals anywhere in Hawaii and post them to the Project Noah website or via mobile app. More than 30 local experts have volunteered to help the public identify the plants and animals in their photos and whether they are native, non-native or invasive species. For more information and instructions on how to participate, go to: www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com

· Volunteer Events: March 210 (statewide)
Visit the HISAW website at http://www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com/p/activities.html for a full list of volunteer activities across the state. Opportunities include:

Removing invasive species at Lyon Arboretum (March 9)

Pulling invasive algae from Oahu’s fishponds (March 9)

Working to restore the forests of Keauohana on Hawaii Island (March 2 & 9)

Pulling weeds in the Alakai bog on Kauai (March 7)

Other events including contests and educational opportunities.

Chair Kokubun called upon the HISC to organize Hawaii’s first Invasive Species Awareness Week in concurrence with NISAW. “It is important for Hawaii to be engaged at a national level so that we can partner with federal agencies and other states to safeguard Hawaii’s biosecurity,” Kokubun said.

“Hawaii has unique challenges and successes in addressing invasive species. Islands are especially vulnerable to invasive species,” said Chair Aila. “But we also have the opportunity to more effectively prevent and manage invasive species on islands because of our isolation.”

Administration bills propose enhanced funding for lead agencies and partners through conveyance and barrel taxes and a proposed 10 cent fee on single-use grocery bags.

To learn more about HISAW, visit www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) is a cabinet-level interagency collaboration mandated by Chapter 194, Hawaii Revised Statutes. It is co-chaired by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture with additional voting members from the Departments of Health; Transportation; and Business, Economic Development and Tourism; as well as the University of Hawaii. The HISC approves an annual budget to support invasive species prevention, control, and public outreach projects across the state. www.hawaiiinvasivespecies.org

Coffee Berry Borer Bill Passes House, Moves to Senate

The House passed HB353 HD1, introduced by Representative Nicole Lowen, which would appropriate funds to address the infestation of the coffee berry borer beetle, a pest that is causing widespread damage to coffee crops on the Big Island.


In recent years the coffee berry borer beetle has been ravaging coffee farms in the Kona area, with over 90% of coffee operations on Hawaii Island being affected. Help is clearly needed for an industry that is responsible for $30 million in revenue annually, and help is on the way. The bill, which will now advance to the Senate for consideration, would appropriate $300,000 in State funds to be matched by an additional $200,000 from federal or other sources.  When added to current federal funds of $330,000 already granted and another $200,000 that the State DOA has committed to, it adds up to a total of just over $1 million in state and matching funds over the next four years.

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

“Our farmers need help in dealing with the coffee berry borer beetle before it decimates the Kona coffee industry,” said the bill’s introducer, Rep. Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau). “The final draft that we sent over to the Senate provides the industry with the aid it desperately needs in a manner that is fiscally responsible, and I plan to keep working hard to secure additional funds in the future.”