Big Island Police Warning Residents to Prevent Holiday Burglaries


Big Island police are advising the public to take extra precautions to prevent burglaries during the holiday season and to report suspicious activities—especially suspicious persons in your neighborhood during the day or at night. The following tips can help reduce the chances of burglary in your neighborhood:

  • Lock your doors and windows when you leave your home, including those in the rear of the house that aren’t visible from the street.
  • Be cautious of posting your location on social networking sites as they can be used by criminals to determine if you are home.
  • Become familiar with your neighbors and their cars.
  • If you see unfamiliar vehicles driving around your neighborhood, note the description of the vehicle, the license plate number and descriptions of any occupants and report them to police.
  • Beware of strangers knocking on doors. They may be burglars checking to see if a house is unoccupied. Report suspicious persons coming to your home to police immediately.
  • Don’t leave a house key hidden outside your home.
  • Keep your home well lit.
  • Keep trees and bushes trimmed so they don’t provide cover for burglars.
  • If you come home and see evidence that someone has been in your home or may still be there, leave the area and call police immediately.
  • Ask your neighbors to report any suspicious persons and vehicles seen at or near your home.

If you suspect a burglary is in progress or if you encounter any suspicious person on your property, call 911. To report suspicious persons in your neighborhood, 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.

Big Island RN Returns from 10-Day Deployment in Helping with Relief Efforts Related to Superstorm Sandy

North Hawaii Community Hospital RN and Infection Prevention Coordinator, Jennifer Rabalais, returned from a ten-day deployment with the Hawaii Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) to assist in relief efforts related to Superstorm Sandy.

Hawaii DMAT is a trained corps of 75 medical professionals who respond to calls for medical surge, disaster and humanitarian assistance throughout the United States and the Pacific Region and provide on-scene, high-acuity casualty care services within 2 to 4 hours of request. Hawaii DMAT is part of HAH Emergency Services, a division of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, which provides emergency preparedness and operations management services to over 115 health-care coalition members throughout the state of Hawaii, including hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home care and hospice, air and ground ambulance, blood banks and clinical laboratories.

North Hawaii Community Hospital RN and Infection Prevention Coordinator, Jennifer Rabalais

North Hawaii Community Hospital RN and Infection Prevention Coordinator, Jennifer Rabalais

Rabalais and 24 fellow Hawaii DMAT members were deployed to New York on November 12, in conjunction with another response team from Alaska, to help medical shelter areas consolidate and relieve exhausted federally-deployed disaster workers. The Hawaii-Alaska Team split into three medical response task force teams assigned to different facilities throughout the region.

“I was assigned to a shelter called Park Slope in Brooklyn, New York, that housed nearly 600 people following the storm, but was down to around 150 when we arrived,” said Rabalais. “The remaining occupants had been residents of an assisted-living facility that was destroyed by flood waters. We provided acute medical care for shelter occupants and volunteers who had developed illnesses or injuries, in addition to overseeing the closure of the facility, as the last occupants were transferred to a more permanent situation while their facility was to be rebuilt.”

“I was touched by the many volunteer musicians who performed for the shelter occupants daily,” says Rabalais. “One of these performers was a young man in his 20s, who took the trouble to learn songs that were popular among the residents’ age group . . . he had quite a repertoire and gladly took requests. On the day everyone was moving out, tensions and apprehension were in the air; this young man and two others played music for over six solid hours, creating a calming and pleasant atmosphere for what was a trying day.”

Rabalais has also deployed with Hawaii DMAT to Guam to provide relief after a hurricane hit Saipan, as well as staffed an Acute Care Module in Kapiolani Park on Oahu during the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) last November.

“NHCH is incredibly proud of the service Jennifer provides as a member of the Hawaii DMAT team,” says Lorrie Mortensen, NHCH Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer. “Jennifer’s expertise and commitment to emergency preparedness is a wonderful asset to our patients, hospital, community and country.”

“I am extremely privileged to work with Hawaii DMAT,” says Rabalais. “It is some of the hardest work I have ever done, but it is very rewarding. My Hawaii DMAT teammates are an incredible and talented group of people. I am very grateful NHCH has been understanding and supportive of my work with DMAT, making it possible for me to continue to participate in relief work such as this. ”

Jennifer has been NHCH’s Infection Prevention Coordinator since 2005 and is one of approximately 5,000 practitioners worldwide who are certified in Infection Control by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC). As NHCH’s Infection Prevention Coordinator, Rabalais is responsible for providing infection control orientation for hospital staff, identifying and assessing the educational needs of hospital staff and providing leadership and consultation to staff in order to monitor infection control procedures in accordance with hospital policies. Jennifer is also responsible for identifying the occurrence of outbreaks or clusters of infectious diseases and monitoring nosocomial infections and antibiotic usage.


“GLOW 5-0″ – Drug and Drink Free Teen Party at KBXtreme in Kailua-Kona

Unlimited bowling, unlimited music and dancing make “GLOW 5-0″ the hottest event of the season, created by teens for teens.  Happening Sunday, December 16, from 7 to 11 p.m. at KBXtreme in Kailua-Kona, the “straight edge rager” is a youth-only, action-packed night with nonstop dance music by DJs, black lights and glow sticks, bowling, prizes and “no drugs, no drunks and no drama.”

Glow 5-0

Glow 5-0

GLOW 5-0 is presented by the Lifeplan Youth Leadership-West Hawaii and the North Hawaii Lifeplan Youth Leadership Team, and is the second annual event, planned and delivered by the teens themselves.   Last year’s event rallied over 100 youth aged 13-19 and this year’s goal is 300 or more.

“They want to party, and party doesn’t automatically mean drinking and drugs,” said Lifeplan youth mentor Kei-Lin Cerf, “Just everybody being in the same place… playing the music they want to dance to.”

The youth team created the theme, designed a flyer and posted a Facebook event page with the latest updates and RSVPs.  They recruited DJ Chad, DJ Jared, DJ Ohm Grown, plus youth performers, Concept, JTheory and Steve Kim to help keep the dance floor energized.  Their dress code guidelines suggest that ragers “dress to impress” – with fluorescent rave outfits like shorts and tank tops OK, but no bikini tops or swimsuit-like bottoms.  Outfits can be flashy and wild, but not overly revealing.

They strongly emphasize that no one “under the influence” will be admitted, with no re-entries once teens are inside.  “What’s important for the teens is to show there are options, there are choices,” said Cerf.  “They see their peers, their family and friends making dangerous choices, and they want to prove it’s possible to have a fantastic clean and sober party.”

Tickets are $7 at the door, $5 pre-sale, available from Team members at Kealakehe High School, or at KBXtreme and Mama’s House in Waimea.  Parents may drop young people off, go enjoy dinner or holiday shopping and return to pick them up.  Adult chaperones will watch the exits, and discreetly monitor GLOW 5-0 to help keep kids safe.

“We’ve been blessed with adult supporters who believe in what these teens are doing,” said Cerf, “and our hope is that more community members step up and help the youth provide much-needed, and really good, activities for people their own age.”

Organizers are recruiting adult chaperones; lane sponsors, prizes and donations.  Lane sponsorships are only $150 for the full night of bowling.  Small prizes such as $10 gift cards for pizza or shopping make the perfect prize donation.  To help, please call Kei-Lin Cerf at 896-6110.

GLOW 5-0 is supported by Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Lifeplan founder Andy and Kate Mecca, Mama’s House, Bob and Becky Holman, Waikoloa Irrigation and Landscape Maintenance, North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition, Models Not Bottles, Big Island Substance Abuse Council and others, with the assistance of KBXtreme, Purevybe Entertainment, Native FM-Pacific Radio Group, Body Glove Cruises, Project Grad and Randy Shelor, graphic arts teacher at Kealakehe High School.

The Lifeplan Youth Leadership teams are part of 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

New Restrooms Slated for Reed’s Bay Beach Park in Hilo

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce the construction of new restrooms at Reed’s Bay Beach Park in Hilo.

Reeds Bay Sign

Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd. has been awarded a $568,920 contract to build the comfort station and perform related site improvements. Work is scheduled to start Monday, December 10, and be finished next April.

Reeds Bay off Banyan Drive

Reeds Bay off Banyan Drive

The park will be kept open during the construction period, although the active construction areas at the site will be cordoned off to ensure the public’s safety. Portable bathrooms will continue to be provided for the public’s use until the new facility is opened.

Reeds Bay Wide

A previous $690,000 renovation project completed at Reed’s Bay Beach Park in April of this year provided new sidewalks and paved walkways, new seat walls, outdoor showers, a drinking fountain, picnic tables, and landscaping. Also, Eagle Scout Chase Tanaka of Troop 78 provided additional landscaping enhancements and two new accessible picnic tables for the public to enjoy.

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


National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks Sponsor First-Ever Reading Aloud Event

National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks Sponsor First-Ever December 7th Reading Aloud Event with 6,000-Plus Students across Hawaii—11 Big Island School Participate

Every December 7th, thousands of people from around the world gather at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center in Honolulu to pay tribute to the thousands of military service members and civilians who lost their lives in the name of freedom in 1941.  For the few surviving Pearl Harbor survivors who are able to make the trek to this sacred place, their message to future generations is clear:  Remember Pearl Harbor, the tremendous sacrifice that was made that day, and the terrible consequences of war.

USS Ronald Reagan

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Aug. 31, 2011) Sailors and Marines render honors as the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) passes the USS Arizona Memorial while entering Pearl Harbor for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin B. Gray

For the first time ever, the National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks shared the historical significance of that day with 6,000-plus school-age children across Hawaii with a simultaneous reading aloud program at 3 p.m. on December 7.

Through the Department of Education’s and the Island of Hawaii YMCA’s A+ Afterschool Care Programs, Big Island students at 11 schools joined their peers from across the state in learning about the real life story of an unlikely friendship between the late Pearl Harbor Survivor Richard Fiske and Japanese Fighter Pilot Zenji Abe.

Thousands of elementary and intermediate school children in A+ Afterschool Care Programs heard the true life story of an unlikely friendship between Pearl Harbor survivor Richard Fiske and Japanese diver-bomb pilot Zenji Abe through the reading of “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship.”

Thousands of elementary and intermediate school children in A+ Afterschool Care Programs heard the true life story of an unlikely friendship between Pearl Harbor survivor Richard Fiske and Japanese diver-bomb pilot Zenji Abe through the reading of “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship.”

Participating Hawaii Island schools included De Silva Elementary, Keaukaha Elementary, St. Joseph School, Keaau Elementary, Honokaa Elementary, Waimea Elementary, Kohala Elementary, Kealakehe Elementary, Holualoa Elementary, Kamehameha Schools and the YMCA’s Club Y Teens program.

The children’s book, entitled “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship,” is a story of peace and forgiveness and how these men, who were once enemies of war, overcame their hatred and fear for one another.

“As stewards of the USS Arizona Memorial and World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, the National Park Service’s mission is to preserve and share the history of the Pacific War, including what took place at Pearl Harbor 71 years ago,” said National Park Service Superintendent Paul DePrey.

“Sharing the message of peace and reconciliation amongst thousands of young children across Hawaii is significant.  The story of Richard Fiske and Zenji Abe is proof that through friendship and peace, we can make this a better world for future generations.”

Pearl Harbor Book

Pacific Historic Parks purchased 175 copies of the book to provide to each participating school. Pacific Historic Parks, a cooperating association that assists the National Park Service, supports the education, preservation, development and interpretation of four National Park-managed historic sites throughout the Pacific, including Pearl Harbor.

A marine bugler on the USS West Virginia, Fiske witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the massive destruction that happened at the hands of Japanese fighter pilots.  For many years, his heart was filled with anger and hatred for the Japanese and his health suffered because of this.  Hospitalized due to the stress of his anger, he knew he had to forgive the Japanese for what they had done in the name of war or face imminent death due to his failing health.  In 1991, during the 5oth Anniversary Pearl Harbor Symposium, Japanese Fighter Pilot Zenji Abe offered an apology for the attack to members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors and extended his hand in friendship.  Fiske accepted his apology and the two became friends. As a symbol of peace and friendship, Abe gave Fiske $300 and asked him to lay two roses at the Arizona Memorial each month, one for him and one for Fiske.  He also asked Fiske to play the taps on his bugle after he did this.  Fiske honored this request every month until he passed away in 2004.

“Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship” is a children’s book written by Pearl Harbor civilian survivor and author Dorinda Nicholson.  The book, which has won numerous national awards including the International Reading Association’s Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Award, is written as a correspondence between the author and her granddaughter, recounting the story of two World War II veterans—an American Marine and a Japanese pilot-—whose lives intersected in war at Pearl Harbor and again in reconciliation fifty years later.

Hakunani Anakalea, group leader at the A+ program at Holualoa Elementary School, reads “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship.”  Photo: Fern Gavelek Communications

Hakunani Anakalea, group leader at the A+ program at Holualoa Elementary School, reads “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship.” Photo: Fern Gavelek Communications

“It’s a very inspirational book and the second time I read it, I cried,” says Hakunani Anakalea, group leader at the A+ program at Holualoa Elementary School. “The book makes the emotions of the characters come alive and illustrates the importance of forgiveness.”

Fifth grade student Anuhea Kainoa-Cho shared that the book had a good story and added, “I learned about protecting others and why people should make up when they disagree.”

Hakunani Anakalea reads to the students

“Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship,” can be purchased online at, phone 1-888-485-1941. As part of its reading aloud program, the National Park Service has posted several other real life stories of Pearl Harbor survivors on their website for parents to read to their children.  Go to

 Witness To History Videoconference Program

The National Park Service, with funding from Pacific Historic Parks, also offers a year round distance learning program for students and teachers from around the world.  Witness To History is a free program that utilizes videoconferencing technology to take students where visitors cannot go, bringing the sites and stories of Pearl Harbor to children and adults unable to visit Oahu.  The program includes a Pearl Harbor Survivor Series where participants can see and hear Pearl Harbor Survivors share their personal testimonies of what they experienced on that fateful day.  The Interpretive Ranger Series shows a video of a USS Arizona underwater dive while a National Park Ranger provides a voice-over interpretive lesson.  The program ends with a student and educator question and answer session.  For more information or to schedule a free Witness To History videoconference, contact 808-954-8744 or 808-4428.


Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Girl Missing Since September

UPDATE: Hawaiʻi County police have located 17-year old Mailekaleialoha Boe Hilo, who was reported missing. She was found unharmed in Hilo on August 16

Hawaiʻi County police are searching for a 17-year old Hilo girl reported as missing from Hilo since September 21.

Mailekaleialoha Boe

Mailekaleialoha Boe

Mailekaleialoha Boe is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-3, 115 pounds with black shoulder-length hair and brown eyes.

Police ask that anyone with information on 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.

20th Annual Waimea Cherry Festival is Coming Up

The 20th Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is Saturday, Feb. 2,  2013 and remembers its past with an anniversary exhibit, entertainment by some of the festival’s first performers and a commemoration of its founders.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival (photo provided by festival)

For two decades, the free community festival has showcased the 60-year-old cherry trees planted at Church Row Park and the Japanese tradition of viewing them—hanami. The event, held annually the first Saturday of February, includes a variety of activities 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at venues throughout Waimea—look for pink banners identifying site locations from the Parker Ranch Historic Homes on Mamalahoa Hwy. 190 to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Hwy. 19.

Spend the day to experience an all-day lineup of Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts, plus hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami, traditional tea ceremony, fun mochi pounding and a host of colorful craft fairs. Enjoy free shuttle transportation among most venues. For info, 808-961-8706.

Santa Lands at Queens’s MarketPlace Tonight

Naughty, nice and in between, Queens’ MarketPlace welcomes everyone to come and enjoy special holiday activities, including free family “photo ops” with Santa Claus, a Holiday Village in miniatures and grand opening of the new Wishard Gallery.

Santa at Queens'

Known for realistic landscapes that capture the allure of Hawaii’s beaches, forests, waterfalls and mountains, Harry Wishard recently opened his second location in Queens’ MarketPlace, where he’s been painting almost every day. On Saturday, December 8, from 5 to 9 p.m., art lovers have a chance to meet Wishard, along with some of Hawaii’s favorite artists who are featured in the gallery, and enjoy wine and pupus while exploring the beautiful collection.  For more information, visit or call 769-5077.

Also on December 8th, Queens’ MarketPlace unveils its own new work of art, a traditional Holiday Village Scene in miniature, festively set in a fantasy “winter wonderland.”  Located between Bike Works Beach & Sport and Quiksilver, the Holiday Village is unique to Queens’ MarketPlace, presented for the first time as a gift to the community to enrich the holiday shopping experience.  The Holiday Village can be seen daily, 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

But the magical news of course is when Jolly Old St. Nick himself comes to town, ready to greet every girl and boy in The Rotunda for those cherished holiday photos.  Families are invited to bring their own cameras and wish-lists, and visit Santa Claus during the following times:

  • Monday through Friday, December 17-21, 4-7 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday, December 22-23, 12-2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.

“Shopping and Santa Claus, two of the most exciting traditions of the holiday season,” said Sales & Operations Manager Margo Mau-Bunnell.  “And Queens’ MarketPlace has everything in place.  The lights and decorations are up and sparkling, our train display is all set—and it’s such a special time for everyone when the keiki come to see Santa.”

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama’āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens.  For more information, visit or call 886-8822.

A Saturday Find

I’m having some plumbing done at my house and I just found this old bottle. It says “Property of Hilo Soda Works Hilo, Hawaii”.  Net Contents 6 1/2 FL OZ.  On the bottom of the bottle it has a big “HS” and the number 4287-C.

3.3 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Maui This Morning


Magnitude 3.3
Location 20.064°N, 156.733°W
Depth 4.9 km (3.0 miles)
  • 76 km (47 miles) SSW (204°) from Wailea-Makena, HI
  • 82 km (51 miles) SSW (200°) from Kihei, HI
  • 85 km (53 miles) WNW (297°) from Kalaoa, HI
  • 177 km (110 miles) WNW (283°) from Hilo, HI
  • 179 km (111 miles) SE (140°) from Honolulu, HI
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 1.6 km (1.0 miles); depth +/- 1.9 km (1.2 miles)
Parameters Nph= 69, Dmin=88 km, Rmss=0.23 sec, Gp=245°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=3
Event ID hv60439071


Classes to Resume Monday w/ Increased Security at Big Island School Following Brawl: Cultural Lifestyles Root of Problem – Racism in Hawaii’s Schools

Classes at Kealaheke High School will resume on Monday, December 10, 2012 with increased security on campus and extended instructional hours. School faculty and staff met today to review the situations and actions that had occurred over this past week and addressed plans for next week’s return of students.

Kealakehe High School

Kealakehe High School

School officials yesterday cancelled on-campus activities and classes for students in light of increased disruptions caused by at least three student fights over the course of two days. To prevent the disorderly conduct from escalating, the school was temporarily on lockdown Wednesday afternoon and students were sent home 45 minutes early, Thursday, in increments.

The Hawaii Police Department (HPD) is assisting school officials with security measures and made eight student arrests yesterday. Those students were released from police custody but face disciplinary actions that for some may include suspension. An investigation into their disorderly conduct is ongoing.

School officials say the root of the arguments between involved students is a misunderstanding between local, Micronesian and Marshallese cultures and lifestyles.

“This misunderstanding of cultural assimilation by Marshallese and Micronesian families is not isolated to Kealakehe High School,” stated Complex Area Superintendent (CAS) Arthur Souza. “This is a community issue that we are addressing.”

CAS Souza noted that he has been in discussions with lawmakers and local agencies about the topic of cultural assimilation and the misunderstandings that exists in the Kona community.

The Department of Education has temporarily assigned four additional security personnel to Kealakehe H.S. campus.

“We want to thank the Hawaii Police Department and the Kealakehe High School faculty for their actions in ensuring a safe environment for students,” stated Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “What could have been explosive situation was contained, and community issues that have played a role in the recent disruptions are being addressed. We also thank the parents for their understanding.”

Monday’s class schedule at Kealakehe H.S. will be modified to accommodate Friday’s loss of instruction time. Aside from additional security, the school will also have counselors on hand to address harassment and bullying.


One Escapee Caught… Other Still on the Run

On December 7, 2012, at approximately 8:15 pm, a joint task force apprehended Jarvis Higa, in Oceanview, Kau, after he attempted to flee a residence on foot.

Jarvis Naoki Higa

Jarvis Naoki Higa

Higa was arrested for multiple charges, to include escaping from the Hawaii County Correctional Center. Higa is being transported to the Hilo Police Station for processing.

Ryan Jeffrieshamar

Ryan Jeffries-Hamar

The joint task force was made up of Officer from both Hilo and Kona, and assisted by the State Sheriffs, along with Kau Police, Still at large is escapee Ryan Jeffries-Hamar.


Hawai’i Community Foundation Partnership Fuels Grassroots Restoration Efforts

The Hawai’i Community Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded $437,000 in grants to nine projects across the islands aimed at the protection and restoration of Hawai’i’s coastal areas. Funding for the projects is made possible through a three year partnership between the Hawai’i Community Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Restoration Center and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. The community-based grant program was started with the strong support of Senator Inouye, and actively bridges cultural and environmental stewardship efforts. Since 2009, the partnership has provided more than $1.5 million in funding to community organizations repairing fishponds, removing invasive species, and preventing polluted runoff in coastal waters on all major Hawaiian islands.

Grantees visit Kāko'o 'Ōiwi's 2011-2012 grant funded project -- Mahuahua 'Aio Hoi - He'eia Wetland Restoration. Click image above for a high-resolution version.

Grantees visit Kāko’o ‘Ōiwi’s 2011-2012 grant funded project — Mahuahua ‘Aio Hoi – He’eia Wetland Restoration.

“In Hawai’i clean water and healthy lands are fundamental to our quality of life,” said Josh Stanbro, director of Environment and Sustainability at the Hawai’i Community Foundation. “We commend these community groups for taking responsibility in their own backyards, and putting in countless hours to protect our most treasured sites.”

“This public-private initiative is a win-win, and demonstrates how much more we can do when we work together,” said Senator Daniel K. Inouye. “Engaging with the community upfront provides the best chance of an enduring and sustained effort. I will continue to advocate for a return of earmarks to be able to support efforts such as this because it is a justified and worthy federal investment.”

The Hawai’i Community Foundation is also proactively seeking funding from private donors and foundations to keep the successful grant program going in 2013 and beyond.

Hawai’i’s unique coastal resources are increasingly threatened by invasive species, climate change impacts, and inappropriate development. Wetlands and other coastal habitat help filter sediment and pollutants, replenish fishing stocks, and support traditional cultural practices. During the summer, the voyaging canoe Hōkule’a spent time at several of the restoration projects, lending her crew as volunteers working shoulder to shoulder with local residents because of the strong environmental-cultural ties.

Taro fields at Kāko'o 'Ōiwi.

Taro fields at Kāko’o ‘Ōiwi.

Specific goals for the partnership include restoration of coral reef habitat, coastal wetlands and estuaries, traditional coastal fishponds, riparian zones/stream habitat, and land-based sources of pollution mitigation. Coastal habitats support approximately 25 percent of Hawai’i’s reef fish, 32 percent of marine invertebrates, and 90 percent of stream animals that are found nowhere else on the planet.

“We know how hard our ancestors worked to keep things in balance,” said Kanekoa Schultz, whose Kāko’o ‘Ōiwi restoration project was a 2011-2012 grant recipient. “This grant is going to teach a new generation how to work to support the natural systems that in the end take care of us.”

Projects funded this year include:

  • “Loko ‘Eā Fishpond Habitat Restoration Project”- Undertaken by Alu Like, Inc., this project will restore the cultural, biological, and socio-economic prosperity of Loko ‘Eā Fishpond. The goal of the project is to conduct habitat and fishpond restoration utilizing community collaboration while integrating traditional Hawaiian knowledge.
  • “Bridging Land, Sea and Native Cultural Practices Through Restoration on Kaho’olawe Island”- Undertaken by the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission and fiscally sponsored by Tri-Isle Resource Development Council, Inc., this project proposes a land-based restoration project that will help hold and improve soil health, prevent runoff, and improve water quality in the adjacent near-shore area.
  • “Watershed Restoration Program/ Mangrove Eradication Project Phase I”- Undertaken by Kaiola Canoe Club, the project will restore approximately one acre of the Huleia River riverbank which is being severely overgrown by red mangrove, reaching in some areas up to 40 feet in height.
  • “The Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps”- Undertaken by KUPU, this project will increase the number of Hawai`i Youth Conservation Corp members available to local conservation organizations, by working with over 40 conservation groups over six islands to help add capacity during both their summer and year-round programs.
  • “Invasive Marine Algae Removal at Maunalua Bay, O’ahu”-Undertaken by Mālama Maunalua, this project will train six new volunteer coordinators and four interns to focus on doubling the amount of community workdays that they can do in a year. As a result, one acre of Maunalua Bay will be cleared of invasive algae and several other benefits (maintenance on previously cleared areas, monitoring, recycling of algae as soil amendment, etc) will simultaneously occur.
  • “Anapuka Dune Restoration and Revegetation Study”- Undertaken by Moloka’i Land Trust, this project consists of partial assistance for the continued restoration of 45 acres in a coastal dune ecosystem, including habitat modifying invasive species removal, weed control, ungulate control, and restoration/replanting of native species to help offset sediment transport into the adjacent nearshore marine ecosystem.
  • “Streambed repairs to reduce silty run off at Nāpili Bay”- Undertaken by the Nāpili Bay and Beach Foundation, Inc. this project will remove woody invasive species from a 600 foot stream area in West Maui, and replant this area with native species. This will shore up the stream bank and help filter sediment before it emerges into Nāpili Bay.
  • “Coastal Fishpond Restoration at Kīholo, Hawai’i”- Undertaken by the Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i, this project will clear invasive vegetation from around the side and rear portions of two inland fishponds at Kīholo to increase juvenile fish habitat and pond water quality.
  • “Kahului Harbor Ho’aloha Beach Park and Shoreline Restoration”- Undertaken by the Wailuku Community Managed Marine Area and fiscally sponsored by Tri-Isle Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc., this project will replant and restore approximately 2,500 feet of coastal shoreline, and begin reintroducing native limu in the nearshore water at Kahului. The project seeks to replant strategic areas and channel foot traffic in marked corridors to reduce coastal erosion and siltation of the nearshore water.

On the Web:
Hawai`i Community Foundation:
NOAA Restoration Center:
The Castle Foundation:


UH Hilo Students Rally for Clean Elections

Yesterday over 75 students and community members marched from UH Hilo to The State Building to support Clean (Publicly Financed) Elections. Students carried individual signs that collectively read, “cut big money out of politics,” and, “clean elections = clean government.”

UH Hilo students rallying for clean elections

UH Hilo students rallying for clean elections

Amber Shouse, one of the student organizers of the event said, “Clean Elections is the reform that makes all other reforms possible. The pilot Clean Elections program for Hawaii County has worked well, and, as a result, our local government is more beholden to the public than to big money. We ask the state legislature to adopt the Clean Elections program for state races as well as county races.”


Remembering Pearl Harbor – Survivor Helps Identify the Dead

Ray Emory could not accept that more than one quarter of the 2,400 Americans who died at Pearl Harbor were buried, unidentified, in a volcanic crater.

Pearl Harbor survivors Alfred Rodrigues (L), Ray Emory and Sterling Cale (R) are seen at the start of the Japanese Tea Ceremony onboard the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu July 19, 2011. Members from the Urasenke School of Tea from Japan held a tea ceremony at the site to honor the deceased aboard the USS Arizona Memorial and to pray for world peace. REUTERS/Marco Garcia

Pearl Harbor survivors Alfred Rodrigues (L), Ray Emory and Sterling Cale (R) are seen at the start of the Japanese Tea Ceremony onboard the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu July 19, 2011. Members from the Urasenke School of Tea from Japan held a tea ceremony at the site to honor the deceased aboard the USS Arizona Memorial and to pray for world peace. REUTERS/Marco Garcia

And so he set out to restore names to the dead.


Citizens Rally to Save Clean Elections Program

Students Gather to Push Legislation Protecting Public Funding Pilot for County Council Elections

In the wake of an elections season dominated by private money and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v FEC, over thirty students and citizens walked from UH Hilo and gathered at the state building, holding signs and calling on state legislators to keep up funding for the Big Island public funding pilot program.

Even though the pilot program has been successful, allowing five out of nine current councilors to get elected without accepting any private money, funding to continue the program has been called into question.

The Campaign Spending Commission, which administers the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund, has been running at a deficit for several years.  Unless the Campaign Fund has more than $3.5 million by next September, the Commission may halt the pilot program.

Noelie Rodrigues still Rallying for the Public

Noelie Rodrigues still Rallying for the Public

“It’s imperative the state find more funding for the Election Fund,” said Dr. Noelie Rodriguez, one of the event’s organizers.  “When candidates don’t have to spend time dialing for dollars, they can spend more time figuring out how to make the county better for everyone,” she said.

The crowd at the Capitol included many younger people, including Jennifer Ruggles, a Voter Owned Hawaii intern, who said “This pay-to-play system of elections just isn’t sustainable for the long term.  We need to address the issue of money in politics and publicly funded elections is the best place to start, and it needs to get adequate funding.”

To provide an alternative model to the outdated statewide partial funding program for elections, citizen advocates convinced legislators to implement a pilot program for Big Island County Council elections starting in 2010.

“Special interest money really undermines our system and we are very glad to have five councilors elected without accepting any,” said Rodriguez.

Advocates will also propose legislation this coming session to overhaul the statewide partial funding program.  Implemented in 1978, the program was meant to limit the influence of special interest money on elections and laws passed by politicians.  Over time, citizens say, the program became obsolete and now does not provide candidates with competitive sums of money.

“It’s a shame the 1978 program was never kept up to date and has become obsolete,” said Kory Payne, executive director for Voter Owned Hawaii.  “After the Citizens United court decision, people are finally ready to see the public funding program work once again,” he added.

In Hawaii there appears to be overwhelming support for a public funding program for elections that grants competitive amounts of money to candidates.  In a 2005 poll conducted by AARP, 86% of voting age Hawaii residents thought campaign contributions moderately or greatly influenced policies supported by elected officials.


New Rescue Tubes Improve Safety at Hilo-Area Beach Parks

Donated flotation devices are being installed at Hilo-area beach parks so the public may aid swimmers, snorkelers and other ocean users who show signs of distress or have trouble returning to shore.

Rotary Club of South Hilo members Dayle Tejada (L) and Gene Hennen finish installing the first donated rescue tube Thursday at Lehia Beach Park in Hilo.

Rotary Club of South Hilo members Dayle Tejada (L) and Gene Hennen finish installing the first donated rescue tube Thursday at Lehia Beach Park in Hilo.

Known as rescue tubes, the yellow safety devices resemble a thick waist belt about 4 feet long. Each is mounted on a PVC stand topped with a flag and includes a strap, whistle and identification markings.

Rescue tubes are not toys and should be used only in emergencies. Misuse could leave the rescue tubes unavailable should they be needed to help save a life.

The Rotary Club of South Hilo is donating 24 rescue tubes. Club members started installing them today at County beach parks between Lehia Beach Park, also known as Pu‘umaile, in Keaukaha and Kolekole Beach Park located north of Honomū. Leleiwi Beach Park, Hilo BayfrontBeach and CoconutIsland are among the other parks receiving rescue tubes valued at $100 apiece.

Gene Hennen of the Rotary Club of South Hilo marks the location where a rescue tube will be placed at Hilo’s James Kealoha Beach Park.

Gene Hennen of the Rotary Club of South Hilo marks the location where a rescue tube will be placed at Hilo’s James Kealoha Beach Park.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the Rotary Club of South Hilo for its generous gift and asks the public to respect the new safety equipment.

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


Eight Students Arrested Following Brawl at Kealakehe High School

Eight students were arrested at Kealakehe High School on Thursday (December 6).
Kealakehe High School
Kona patrol officers responded to a call at approximately 1:30 p.m. reporting an affray involving 20-30 students. When officers arrived, the crowd had already begun dispersing and the campus was on lockdown.

Seven male students and one female student were charged with disorderly conduct and released.

No one required medical attention.

All after-school activities were canceled Thursday afternoon. School will not be in session Friday for the safety of the students.

Commentary by Former Councilman Pete Hoffman – Let the “Newbies” Cast a Few Votes Before Criticizing

Despite some misgivings, I’m finding I’m unable to simply fade into the woodwork after eight years in County politics. I doubt anyone who’s even remotely interested in what’s happening locally would be able to ‘turn off the faucet’ and evaporate in an instant. Therefore, a few opinions are offered as I labor to meet my wife’s goal of finding ‘gainful employment’.

It’s been a month since the elections and mercifully we have survived another bout of ‘sign pollution’. However, no spectator of this last election, irrespective of what level (federal, state, local) is reviewed, can fail to be concerned regarding the impact of the so-called ‘super-PACs’ on the voting results. Personally, I wonder whether the Supreme Court in its decision really anticipated the effect of the resources brought to bear on candidates from the PACs in a wide variety of races? Here in Hawaii, one or two Honolulu-based organizations spent several hundreds of thousands of dollars influencing the outcome of local campaigns. Is this the political future upon which our democracy rests!! This is truly scary!!!

Although the PAC contributions did not result in victories in every race (Margaret Wille did manage to win her race for County Council), the specter of their potential impact will dramatically change the campaigning landscape in 2014 and beyond if no steps are taken to place some restraints on the size of these contributions. While national contests may be immune to some of this impact, local races remain extremely vulnerable in this environment. This should not happen. I believe that the concept of public financing for elections is in jeopardy under these circumstances. Not many new candidates, let alone toughened incumbents, will be able to match PAC donations.

As to the Mayoral campaign, much can be stated about the results and much more can be inferred. If I understand it correctly, Mayor Kenoi won re-election after outspending Harry Kim by a factor of 30 times. (Some have calculated that disparity even higher). Whatever number you wish to use, the impact of political contributions from sources outside the BigIsland likely played a considerable role in the vote count. And when you consider that Mayor Kenoi won by a relatively small margin despite the tidal wave of spending on his behalf, any observer must conclude this was not exactly a resounding endorsement of an incumbent candidate who seeks higher office. A reassessment of policy and a more effective public outreach would be my first considerations if I were in the Mayor’s shoes. A reappraisal of my leadership style and initiatives would also rank high on my list of things to review. The Mayor is a smart individual with supposedly good people skills. I’m hopeful in his second term he makes the adjustments that our island requires, that he will be able to partner with those who don’t always agree with him politically, and that he will be able to generate the voter support an effective leader requires in his quest for higher office.

As to the results of the election itself, a very different County Council is in place. Some letters to the editor have already condemned the ‘overwhelming tilt’ of the Council to the eastside, and that may be the case. But at least give the novice Council members the benefit of the doubt before determining that they are ‘lost’ to compromise. Let the ‘newbies’ cast a few votes before criticism is levied.

I do agree that the estrangement of Brenda Ford from any real position of leadership on the new Council does not bode well and sends an ominous signal. One can only imagine the convoluted rationale of the Council that denied Ms. Ford some major responsibility in the current organization. No one denies that she is tenacious in defending her positions. No one denies that she can be aggressive and controversial. (I didn’t agree with her on many issues). However, no one denies she has been the hardest worker on the Council for the past two terms, has probably done more extensive homework and research than other members, and has a wealth of experience and information that a vastly renovated Council lacks, at least for the moment. The Council needs individuals who can lead, and no matter whether you agree or not with the policies of Ms. Ford, she is a leader. A Council with six new members can ill afford to play politics and remain effective.

At the bottom of County Council correspondence is a brief statement that says: “serving the interests of the people of our island.” I trust the new Council recognizes that to be effective it must adhere to that statement and avoid even the hint of political gamesmanship that, unfortunately, has characterized many previous Council discussions. The people of our island need real leadership not simply political agendas.

Councilman Pete Hoffmann

Pete Hoffman, December 2012

Hawai’i Community Foundation Gives Students 4.5 Million Reasons to Apply for Scholarships

For more than 30 years, Hawai’i Community Foundation has provided Hawai’i’s students, young and young-at-heart, with an opportunity to attend college. They are once again making this possible. Hawai’i Community Foundation is opening its online application for Hawai’i students seeking financial assistance to fund their college or vocational education.

Hawaii Community Foundation

From Dec. 10, 2012 – Feb. 22, 2013, students can apply for one of the organization’s more than 170 scholarship opportunities by simply completing an online application Hawai’i Community Foundation distributes $4.5 million in scholarships to students each year, with individuals receiving an average scholarship award of $2,200, making it the third largest private scholarship provider in the state.

“With the cost of college tuition rising, these scholarships help to ensure that Hawai’i’s students have an equal opportunity to achieve their dreams and seek a college education,” said Amy Luersen, director of philanthropic services at the Hawai’i Community Foundation. “With the help of our generous donors, we are pleased to offer hope for thousands of students.”

Students should expect to spend approximately 60 – 90 minutes to fill out and upload the required documents for the application. In addition to the application, students will be required to submit supporting documents, including: a full Student Aid Report (SAR) generated when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), grade transcript, and personal statement. Some of the scholarships may include additional information, such as letters of recommendation or essays. These requirements can be determined by searching for specific scholarship opportunities on the site’s scholarship search function.

Through the online application, students are also able to send requests for letters of recommendation directly to their recommender’s email and can regularly view status updates of their requests.

Hawai’i Community Foundation’s scholarship program consists of more than 170 different scholarship opportunities established by generous individuals, families, businesses or organizations to assist Hawai’i’s residents in obtaining a college education. Some scholarship funds are part of the Hawai’i Community Foundation and some opportunities are through private foundations that contract with Hawai’i Community Foundation to administer their scholarships. Students apply online with one common application and, if eligible, can be awarded from one or more of these funds.

To submit an online application, search for a scholarship or find more information, please