Fire Ants Confirmed in Maui Hotel – How to Test for Little Fire Ants

A small infestation of the invasive little fire ant (LFA) was confirmed in late May and has been undergoing treatment at a hotel in Wailea, Maui. The Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC) detected the infestation, which was confirmed by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA).

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Upon confirmation of LFA, crews from MISC, the Hawaii Ant Lab (HAL) and HDOA immediately conducted a concentrated survey and determined that the infestation covered an area of about 400 square feet. The area was immediately treated with the pesticide, Siesta®, and the hotel will do follow-up treatments every six weeks under the direction of the HAL. MISC and the Oahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC) are continuing to survey areas for LFA.

“The area of infestation was caught early and crews are extremely confident that it can be eradicated,” said Scott Enright, chairperson for the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “We cannot express enough how important it is to find any infestation before it becomes widely established.”

To aid in the effort, the Department of Land and Natural (DLNR) Resources has produced a three-minute video, “How to Test for LFA,” which shows the step-by-step procedure for testing for LFA.

How to test for Little Fire Ant from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

“LFA is a serious threat to plants, people, and property across Hawaii,” said William Aila, Jr., chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources. “This tiny ant can inflict painful stings to children, pets and adults, but fortunately, testing for its presence is easily done. The state has a well-established system in place for people to submit their surveys for further testing to determine whether LFA has spread to a particular property or plant material.”

The video was produced by DLNR in cooperation with HDOA and other agencies that are jointly addressing the LFA issue. It features invasive species biologist Domingo Cravalho, Jr. of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, one of the participating agencies. The video is also available on HDOA and DLNR websites, Facebook and YouTube pages.

LFA has been found on Hawaii Island since 1999. In late December 2013, LFA was detected on hapuu logs (Hawaiian fern) at retail stores on Maui and Oahu. Since its detection, Oahu and Maui nurseries have been surveyed. Five Oahu nurseries, three of which were in Waimanalo, were found to have small infestations of LFA, which were treated and are clear of the ants.

In late May, crews began treating a 6-acre area in Waimanalo, which included a 3.5- acre infestation area and buffer zone. Follow-up treatments are continuing.

Originally from South America, LFA is considered among the world’s worst invasive species.

LFA are tiny ants, measuring 1/16th inch long, are pale orange in color and move slowly. LFA move slowly, unlike the Tropical Fire Ant, which is established in Hawaii, which move quickly, and are much larger with a larger head in proportion to its body. LFA can produce painful stings and large red welts and may cause blindness in pets. They can build up very large colonies on the ground, in trees and other vegetation, and buildings and homes and completely overrun a property.

Suspected invasive species should be reported to the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE – 643-PEST (7378).

For updated information on LFA in Hawaii, go to the HDOA website at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/main/lfainfo/

Hawaii Lava Flow Update

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow front

View is toward the southwest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater and the Northeast spatter cone.

View is toward the southwest.

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Yesterday, its most distant tip, in the foreground of this photo, was burning into the forest 7.0 km (4.3 miles) from its source at Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater and the Northeast spatter cone

Lava reaches the surface at that point and flows directly into a lava tube, which feeds the active flows downslope. View is toward the west.

Lava reaches the surface at that point and flows directly into a lava tube, which feeds the active flows downslope. View is toward the west.

The fuming spatter cone near the center of the photo is informally called the “Northeast spatter cone”, and is the source of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow.

This has happened several times over the past year, and is likely a temporary situation. View is toward the northwest.

This has happened several times over the past year, and is likely a temporary situation. View is toward the northwest.

Right: While the top of the Northeast spatter cone is often open, revealing a small lava pond (see photo from June 6, 2014), today its top was sealed shut.

Halemaʻumaʻu and the Overlook Crater lava lake

The mostly destroyed visitor overlook is at the left side of the photo, on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu. View is toward the west.

The mostly destroyed visitor overlook is at the left side of the photo, on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu. View is toward the west.

The summit lava lake, its surface composed of solidified plates separated by incandescent seams, was about 42 m (138 ft) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu today.

Spattering like this is common, can occur anywhere around the lake margin (though it most often occurs at the southeast edge), and repeatedly starts and stops. View is toward the southeast.

Spattering like this is common, can occur anywhere around the lake margin (though it most often occurs at the southeast edge), and repeatedly starts and stops. View is toward the southeast.

Spattering was occurring at three locations along the edge of the lava lake during today’s overflight.

“Runaway” Civil Defense Siren

The Hawaiʻi Police Department received a report of a “runaway” Civil Defense siren that was activated shortly before 1:20 a.m. Wednesday (June 11) in the area of the Honomū gym.

 

Civildefense

With assistance from the Hawaiʻi County Fire Department, the siren was turned off.

On Thursday (June 12) while personnel were looking into the cause of the runaway siren on Wednesday, it was inadvertently activated again shortly before 9:30 a.m.

Police apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Search Suspended for Fisherman Off Big Island

The Coast Guard and Hawaii County Fire Department are searching for a missing fisherman off the Big Island Saturday.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

A 56-year-old male was fishing from a 10-foot cliff near Mackenzie State Recreation Area Friday evening when reporting sources say he was  swept out to sea after either slipping or being washed off by a wave.

Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu Command Center received notification from the Hawaii County Fire Department Friday at 9:40 p.m. and launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, 110-foot patrol boat.

Hawaii County Fire Department has a rescue boat and ground team also assisting in the search.

The missing fisherman was wearing black rain gear.

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

Update:

“Aerial search conducted up to 1/2 mi. offshore, dive operations conducted fronting Malama Flats area, ground search conducted from Pohoiki to Kaimu Beach. All negative findings. Search suspended till first light on Sunday June 8, 2014.”

Hawaii Lava Flow Update

Breakouts remain active on the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow

The farthest active surface flows today were 6.5 km (4.0 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen in the upper left of the visual photograph.

The farthest active surface flows today were 6.5 km (4.0 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen in the upper left of the visual photograph.

Summit deflation in May resulted in a decrease in lava supply to the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, with the flow front becoming inactive and stalling. Breakouts behind the flow front, however, remain active. The thermal image on the right shows these breakouts clearly as the yellow and white regions.

Today the pond was gently gas pistoning - a process that involves the cyclic rise and fall of the lava level due to gas buildup and release.

Today the pond was gently gas pistoning – a process that involves the cyclic rise and fall of the lava level due to gas buildup and release.

The lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater remains active, and has built up a slightly elevated rim following several overflows over the past week.

Gas bubbles rising through the lava pond create small blisters in the thin flexible crust near the pond margin.

Gas bubbles rising through the lava pond create small blisters in the thin flexible crust near the pond margin.

An HVO geologist shields his face from intense heat as he dips a rock hammer into an active pāhoehoe toe. After scooping out the lava it is placed in the water to quench it.

HVO routinely collects lava samples for chemical analysis, which can give insight into changes in the magmatic system.

HVO routinely collects lava samples for chemical analysis, which can give insight into changes in the magmatic system.

Good views of the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

The lake is roughly 150 meters (490 ft) wide by 200 meters (700 ft) long.

The lake is roughly 150 meters (490 ft) wide by 200 meters (700 ft) long.

Thin fume allowed good views of the lava lake in the Overlook crater, which is set within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the summit of Kīlauea.

The lake surface is constantly moving, normally from north to south (roughly from the upper-right portion of the image towards the lower-left).

The lake surface is constantly moving, normally from north to south (roughly from the upper-right portion of the image towards the lower-left).

A view of the summit lava lake from above, using a thermal camera. The thermal images clearly show the thin crustal plates that make up the surface of the lake. The plates are separated by hot incandescent cracks.

Shark Bites Woman Near Palmyra Atoll – Victim Medically Evacuated to Oahu

The Coast Guard medically evacuated a woman after she was bitten by a shark near Palmyra Atoll, Sunday.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received a call from the Palmyra research facility director reporting that a 37-year-old female patient sustained a shark bite to her left hand.

A Coast Guard flight surgeon consulted with the medical staff treating the victim and determined that a medevac was warranted due to the risk of infection and possible nerve and tendon damage. Commercial aircraft were not available until Tuesday.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point launched to Palmyra Atoll to conduct the medevac. The woman was transported to Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu where emergency medical technicians safely transported her to Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center and Clinic for further treatment.

The aircrew flew more than 1,000 miles from Hawaii to Palmyra Atoll to complete the medevac. This is comparable to dispatching an ambulance from Seattle to respond to a patient in San Diego. The 14th Coast Guard District encompasses more than 12.2 million square miles of the Central and South Pacific.

There are four HC-130 Hercules airplanes based on Oahu serving the Central and South Pacific. These aircraft are the primary means of conducting long range missions and are scheduled to be replaced by the HC-130J, which will bring increased speed, range and capability to the Coast Guard mission in the Pacific. For more information on the HC-130J visit http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/programs/air.asp.

For more information on this case, or the Coast Guard’s role in long range search and rescue, contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at.(808) 535-3230.

Hawaii Volcanoes Lava Flow Update – Flow Remains Active

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, which began just over a year ago, remains active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Activity on the flow seems to have diminished slightly over the past two weeks, following deflation at the summit. Today, the flow front (in the foreground) was at 8.8 km (5.5 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, but the front had stalled with active breakouts present a short distance behind the flow front. The farthest active breakouts, at about 8.4 km (5.2 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, can be spotted by the small smoke plume just behind the flow front. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen in the distance in the left portion of the photograph.

On the left, a normal photograph shows the front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. On the right, a thermal image shows a similar angle but in the infrared. Warm, but inactive, portions of the flow are shown by the purple and red colors, while the white and yellow areas shows active breakouts. As the thermal image shows, the flow front was inactive today, with the farthest active breakouts (also visible by the smoke plume) present several hundred meters (yards) behind the flow front.
A closer view of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow front. The leading tip of the flow, inactive today, is in the upper right portion of the photograph. The small smoke plume is caused by active breakouts on the flow margin.

Top: Another look at the margin of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. Small vegetation fires triggered by the active lava spread a short distance out from the flow margin. Bottom: A near-vertical look at the margin of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. Numerous trees surrounded by the slowly moving pāhoehoe lava were burned through at their base, causing them to eventually fall over onto the flow itself. In many cases, by the time the tree falls over, the lava crust is no longer hot enough to ignite the wood, leaving a relatively intact tree resting on the flow surface. These fallen trees can make mapping the flow margin on foot very difficult.

A lone time-lapse camera, perched on a mound of solidified lava spatter, withstands thick volcanic fume and brutal weather to provide a record of lava pond activity in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. This spot is also the vent area for the Kahaualeʻa 2 lava flow.

Lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains active

The lava lake remains active in the Overlook crater, which is nested within the larger Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The Overlook crater today was filled with thick fume, making visual observations of the lava lake difficult.

Another view of the Overlook crater, comparing the visual photograph with a thermal image taken from a similar position. The thermal camera can “see” through thick fume, providing an unobstructed view of the crater and lava lake. The thermal image clearly shows the inner ledge along the south wall of the Overlook crater, with the active lake surface well below the level of the ledge.

Hawaii Drought Monitor for May

It’s been pretty dry here on the Big Island during the last month.

Here is the lasted U.S.D.A. Drought Monitor image for the State of Hawaii updated May 20, 2014 and released today:

Drought Monitor for MayI washed my car this weekend and after two days of driving on Puna roads… my car looked like this from all the dust on the back roads:
Dusty Car

Wordless Wednesday – Backseat Barn

As seen at Paul’s Gas Station in Pahoa a few minutes ago:

I asked the guy what his goats name was and he said something like Ganji!

I asked the guy what his goats name was and he said something like Ganji!

DLNR Leads Management Team To Investigate Sea Urchin Disease

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center Honolulu Field Station (USGS) are jointly responding to and investigating a recently reported disease affecting collector urchins (hawae or Tripneustes gratilla) in Maunalua and Kaneohe Bays.

A Sick Urchin

A Sick Urchin

Reports were initially made in late February by biologists from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) when they observed sick urchins on the mud scow barge, an artificial reef in Maunalua Bay. The USGS conducted the initial assessment and lab tests of the urchins. The preliminary diagnosis of the sea urchins is it is a disease that causes progressive loss of spines. Laboratory tests to identify the cause of this disease are ongoing, and some causes (e.g. parasites) have been ruled out.

On May 6, 2014, USGS and Division of Aquatic Resources staff responded to reports of urchins with similar lesions in Kaneohe Bay. Approximately 10 percent of urchins on one patch reef showed signs of the disease at that time.

In partnership with TNC, USGS and the University of Hawaii, DAR is coordinating a management team to address the issue and monitor the affected areas on a weekly basis. Lab results and monitoring plans will be continuously updated on the team’s Reef Response website: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/reefresponse/

The Public’s Help Is Needed!
The Eyes of the Reef (EOR) Network serves as extra eyes in local coastal areas. The public’s help is needed to determine how widespread the sea urchin disease is. Here’s what the public can do:
1. Look for sickly collector sea urchins.
2. Make a report using the EOR Network “Fish Disease and Miscellaneous” online report form (www.eorhawaii.org/make-a-report).
3. Send photos of the sick urchins to: RRCPcoordinator@gmail.com
3. Please do NOT collect samples or specimens at this time.

Man Whose House Was Set on Fire Last Week… Announces Run for Governor

Last week the infamous “House of Cards” in Seaview here on the Big Island was burned to the ground in what the Big Island Police have described as an arson.

The "House of Cards" in Seaview

The “House of Cards” in Seaview

The house was owned by Charlie Collins and he could be seen walking around today’s Pahoa Spirit Day parade talking to anybody that would talk or listen to him.

Candidate for Governor Charles Collins and County Council Candidate Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Candidate for Governor Charles Collins and County Council Candidate Tiffany Edwards Hunt

He walked up to me and he said are you with the media or are you just taking pictures… well I really didn’t want to be bombarded by him at the time and I just told him I was taking pictures.

He was talking to folks and handing out literature to anyone that would listen to him announcing his run for Hawaii State Governor.

I’m not sure what platform he’s running on or what political party.  District 5 County Council Candidate RJ Hampton did say that he was a good friend of hers.

Charles Collins and RJ Hampton

Charles Collins and RJ Hampton

Look out Abercrombie… you got competition!

Video: 2014 World Fireknife Championship Final Highlights

From the Polynesian Culture Center in Laie, Hawaii… The 2014 World Fireknife Championship Final Highlights:

Champion Viavia “VJ” Tiumalu (Orland, Florida)
1st Runner Up Falaniko Penesa (Samoa)
2nd Runner Up Malo “MJ” Mata’u (Laie, Hawaii)

HAAS Principal Busted for International Drug Running in the ’70s

According to an April 16, 1972 article in the Pacific Stars & Stripes, “Thai Police Nab 2 on Drug Rap (Bottom Left)” Steve Hirakami, the current principal at Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences (HAAS), was a former international drug runner who got busted in Bangkok back in 1972.

Click to view paper.  Warning you can only click a few times w/out buying a subscription to the paper.

Click to view paper. Warning you can only click a few times w/out buying a subscription to the paper.

“Two Japanese-American men have been arrested on charges of possessing 62 pounds of hashish worth 2 million baht ($100,000.00) police disclosed Friday.

Gary Masashi Ohashi 25, and Steven Anthony Hirakami, 26, both from Honolulu were arrested Thursday morning while they were in their hotel rooms in downtown Bangkok.  Police found two suitcases full of hashish in each room.

According to police, Ohashi and Hirakami came to Bangkok on April 8 for  a tour.  They went up to Ubon Ratchathani, a north eastern province about 300 miles from where a U.S. air base is located to see an American Air Force man named Sgt. Jack Williams.  Williams hired them to deliver the two suitcases to an address in Honolulu.  Williams then left for Manila.

Williams paid them $100 each, police said.  The two young men claimed that they did not know what was in the suitcases.”

According to the Hawaii State Judiciary site.. Hirakami found himself in trouble and remanded for something in 1991 as well:
Hirakami Case

I have to wonder if this principal told the hiring board of the school of his past troubles?  Would you want your child attending a school that is supervised by a former international drug runner?

HAAS School Board Hides Executive Session Meeting – Cops Called to Protect Board – More Abuse Commentary

Last night there was supposed to be a resolution to an executive session that was going on with Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science (HAAS) school alleging teacher abuse made by a few parents of students that attended classes instructed by a teacher there named in the newspaper as Shannon Smith.

Shannon Smith

Shannon Smith

The meeting was originally scheduled for today at 5:00 at HAAS School in Pahoa.  When parents and community members arrived they were met with a sign that basically told them the meeting was an executive session and that it had been moved to an undisclosed location per HSTA.

HAAS Meeting 363

We then thought of places where this meeting might have been moved to and we drove to HAAS’s Virtual Campus located behind Black Rock Cafe and we saw cars that we recognized as board member cars and decided we would wait outside the meeting there to get the results that we were told we would have last night.

HAAS Parent David Marquis outside the Virtual Campus.  HSTA Rep Tanya Yamanaka on the left by the building.

HAAS Parent David Marquis outside the Virtual Campus. HSTA Rep Rae Yamanaka on the left by the building.

When we arrived HSTA Member Rae Yamanaka was waiting outside along with a few other HAAS teachers.   I talked with the HSTA member (Ms. Yamanaka if I remember correctly) she told me she wasn’t aware of why she was called to the meeting.

About 20 of us were outside and then a bunch of Hawaii County Police Officers showed up.

HAAS Meeting 374

I listened to what the Police officers were saying and one of them was talking to a supervisor and he said to his supervisor that nothing was going on just a bunch of folks standing outside waiting around.

One of the Police Officers asked me I if was “Damon Tucker”.  I told him yes I was.  He asked me what I was doing there… I told him that I wanted to hear the results of the executive session.  He asked me why I was so interested in it.  I told him I had a nephew that was allegedly abused by the teacher.  The officer then asked me who my nephew was… I told the officer it was none of his business who my nephew was and quit talking to him.

HAAS Meeting 376

Around 6:00 HSTA member Yamanaka drove by the group and informed us that the meeting was cancelled and she didn’t give us a reason.

The board members continued to stay inside the building and we were intent on waiting outside until we got answers from them.  When they did finally leave the building the following unfolded including one of the Board Members telling us that we were stalkers:

So now we are still left looking for answers.

HAAS parent David Marquis sent me the following commentary on what he feels is going on:

My name is Dave Marquis and my wife and I have a child in the Mana’olana program. We have known this teacher since the beginning of this school year, August 2013, and more than once or twice, we thought she was a great teacher. She is confident, energetic, knowledgeable, very firm on students. She was working on teaching the students “respect” all the time. We wish we could listen to her side of the story from her mouth, in person. I really wish we could. It would’ve been so easy to hate her not knowing her in person. We drop off and pick up our child every day at Mana’olana, and get to see other students playing after school while they wait for their parents to pick them up and to see this teacher every day also.

For those who consider HAAS as a great school with many wonderful teachers, it must be hard to believe this numerous amount of abuse incidents as well as the principal Mr. Steve Hirakami and the Ohana director Ms. Debra Derbyshire covering up this whole thing. They did nothing about it this past 3+ months (since the end of January) and not only that, they wanted to pretend like nothing happened. We wanted to believe that this was a good school. However, they handled this matter very poorly. They didn’t do what they were supposed to do and trying to even cover up these incidents. They did nothing for these children after the incidents were reported. They did one thing though; they were trying to suppress the facts and to protect their reputations.

The kids this age exaggerate, we know it as parents. However, if you have a good relationship with your child, you probably can tell if your child is telling the truth or not, making it up or not, exaggerating just a bit or a lot. We feel so guilty about not paying more attention to what my child has said about his teacher in the past. There were many signs of the abuse from the beginning. Whoever is in doubt should’ve seen when she was yelling at the kids. When she yells, she does so like an old sister yelling at their younger siblings, far from how teacher should handle children. She stabbed the student’s hearts with all these mean words if not physically. Do not get fooled by her previously perceived good reputation. We are sure some people only know her wonderful side. In fact, we were the ones. We believed that she was a great teacher because we thought my child was exaggerating. How can you believe what he said, “This boy got duct taped on today!” You would be thinking “You gotta be kidding me! A teacher should be smart enough not to do that nowadays.” Sadly we learned that she has another side as well. Believe it or not, we wanted to believe so bad that she was a decent teacher after we learned that she got in trouble. We did not know what kind of trouble”s” she was in, but we thought there was some misunderstanding or something. We had high hopes for her as my child’s teacher until recently, but sadly it is shuttered completely after all of these things that have happened to our son and his classmates.

There are always 2 sides to the story; however, we strongly believe the student’s side of the story this time. They are 4th graders, smart enough not to mess around with this kind of stuff. They do not make this up. They have scars from their teacher who should be caring and loving. They can imagine what the consequences Ms. Smith will face after everything comes out in public. That is why it took so long for them to speak up. They were not telling parents everything they have experienced. They must have been in fear. I heard some students having nightmares because of what their teacher had done and without the help of the two assistant teachers who knew all about it but didn’t do anything.

My son was very afraid of her, he still is, from the very beginning. My husband and I used to think she was like a fire cracker, in a good way. We thought the students in this class will have lots of fun! She did not seem like a typical gentle kind type of teacher. She sounded like a very energetic, confident, fun, outgoing teacher who is never boring to be around. We moved from mainland just 2-3 weeks before this school year started. Everything was new to us. My son was probably somewhat nervous as he is the new student of the class where most students knew each other already.

We can personally attest to the effects that have changed my son forever. His innocence has changed in ways that shouldn’t have been for his age. He has trust issues that were never there before Shannon Smith crashed into our lives like a wrecking ball. He has had a hard time trusting us as parents for fear that we would get his hands or feet chopped off, screamed at, hit with books or have his ears flicked and it has taken quite a while to open up about what transgressed at the H.A.A.S Manao’lana. My son has also been dealing with unexplained anger issues that cropped up after he started the 4th grade class under Shannon Smith. He would be so full of uncontrolled rage that we would have to practically restrain him at times to explain how this or that behavior was unacceptable. He becomes very scared at the slightest correction from his parents. Sometimes even terrified we would say. He started to say “What the heck!” and “I don’t know” as an answer for question. He was afraid of expressing what he was feeling because he was afraid of Ms. Shannon Smith in class. He has to say “I don’t know” first and see the reaction, then only after he knows that he was safe enough to say what he was thinking, he could say, I think ____ or ____. He had to say something Miss Shannon Smith wanted to hear or he could possibly meet with her anger.

Shannon Smith came to H.A.A.S highly praised for her work in a tough Los Angeles, CA school, but I guess warning bells should have been tripped. I heard all these things in a matter of 1-2 weeks after school started. We thought my son was exaggerating. We didn’t believe what he said 100%. We thought whoever got duct-tape on was not listening or misbehaving or something, and thought she would not put a full force in that kind of discipline. She says “What the heck!”all the time and “What the hell!” occasionally. She yells at students or says “Shut Up!”, this is like everyday thing. She was even yelling at some 1st students that are the next door.

It seems to us that she decided that the Mana’olana students in 4th grade were out of control and need some “inner city” type discipline because that is what they received, maybe even third world discipline from what our son is telling us. Shannon Smith also has two teaching assistants that saw a lot of what transpired but failed to stop the abuse or report it. The HAAS counselor, Uncle Matt, who is very close friends with Ms. Shannon Smith apparently witnessed and or knew about abuse and did nothing to stop it.

These two Teaching Assistants and the school Counselor are still working at H.A.A.S and one aide is even still in the classroom at Manao’lana, who were present but didn’t lift a hand to stop Shannon Smith nor did they report the abuse as required by law.

She was so annoyed too frequently by these students for just giggling and laughing or even just a noise of somebody making constantly, like pushing the mechanical pencil or making noise on the desk with fingers or making noise on the floor with the shoes, etc. Our son always said “You are going to get flicked the ear by Miss Smith if you keep it up!” when his younger sister was making noise in the car one day. He did say the same thing every time his younger sisters did make some constant noises.

Shannon Smith threatened our son and the other classmates to chop off their hands and feet if they couldn’t hold them still. Shannon also threatened to break the hands of children if they couldn’t keep them to themselves or hold still. A few months ago our son had two day break down when he had been acting out and we were upset at his behavior. He sobbed and cried for many, many hours in belief that we would be chopping off his feet because of what he had done. We didn’t know about his mental torment that he endured at the hands of Shannon Smith and her teaching assistants. At first we found it a bit funny, but he didn’t. He was terrified to his core! Shannon Smith had engrained it into my son that bad kids get their hands and feet chopped off and he thought that was going to happen to him. How evil! It was a rough and shaky couple of days to calm him down.

She would scream threats at children. My son has also told me that Shannon Smith would often tell him and the other classroom students that they were idiots or stupid. Shannon Smith also would scream and yell at the 1st grade kids that are right next door on a often basis. She also used rough language with the students and used curse words on the children. We have had an ongoing issue keeping our son from telling other kids to “shut up” and he has learned to say “What the hell” quite often from Ms. Smith.

We were told one day that the desk and chairs had been removed from the classroom when our son returned home from school, which was our second clue that there was something wrong in the Manao’Lana classroom. This was done apparently because of one student’s actions from what we understand. We wonder if this student has moved to the mainland to get away?

I received this email that same day that was posted on Shannon’s Shutterfly web site from another parent:

“Is it true that our children have had their desks and chairs taken away and made to sit on the floor these past few days?  If so, I am interested to hear the reason why.”

I posed an inquiry on Shannon Smith’s web forum about the removal of the desks, chairs, books and other classroom materials and why I was learning this from my son and not some form of official classroom change and this seemed to be weird to me. She exploded and sounded like she did the right thing and there was nothing for the parents to do other than trust her actions and skills. I was greeted with this response from Shannon Smith:

“Quite frankly, I did not have the time to call 17 families on Monday. It’s almost 4:00 PM, and I am nowhere near being able to leave here today as I prepare for tomorrow and next week.” I wonder how my child’s back felt like hunched over while trying to write? I know I wouldn’t be happy with this situation and I wanted to know more.

I responded to Shannon Smith with:

“I feel the same way and I need to know if my son is causing the trouble at school. I am not sure the removal of the desks is the right answer.”

This is the reply I received from her:

…. “appreciate your concerns as parents, but please trust my judgements and actions as a teacher. I do, in fact, have a master’s degree in Education, and am well versed in both working in a childs’ Zone of Proximal Development, and developmentally appropriate learning activities. I am happy to discuss these more in-depth with you, and even provide literature if you would like. Heck, read my thesis if you want. Moreover, if you have a concern, feel free to contact me personally via email and not on this message board.”

It was big news that Ms. Shannon Smith was removed from the class room and came as a surprise. It was the end of January when we learned from my son that Ms. Shannon Smith didn’t come to school and was not coming back for a while because of the “police” investigation.

Our conversation in the car on our way back home was something like
- How was your day?

- Fine.

- How was Miss Smith?

– Oh she wasn’t there. She is not going to be at school for a while.

- Why? What’s going on? (We had no clue!)

- I don’t know………… She got in trouble.
- Why?

-Because (boy’s name) got duck taped on. I told you a long time ago.
-Yes I remember you said that. You weren’t joking??

-No I wasn’t.

-Did they do anything to you guys?

-I got interviewed today.

-By who?

-Uncle Matt. (school counselor)

- What did he ask?

- I am not supposed to tell you. I was told not to say anything to anybody.
- WHAT! You can always tell us anything. They just didn’t want you to tell anybody you know. But you can always tell us about everything, the stuff that is happening at school.

After that day, we were forced to remain silent until the parent meeting in April. We hadn’t been told a word about what happened at the school, or what happen to the students. Shockingly, only about 10 parents (the parents of 9 kids at Mana’olana) came to the meeting to find out what the meeting was all about. The first hour of the meeting was about how incredible this new teacher was. Mr. Steve Hirakami kept saying “We need to Imua.” (meaning to move forward) Then one parent started speaking out. We cannot move on unless something has to be done about this particular incident. Then we started learning other things as well. The school counselor lost one paper that the parents reported to him, it was the list of things Ms.Smith did to them and the other students and of things they saw in the class.

I guess this is where we should have really kept an eye on the actions and judgments the teachers at Manao’lana. I feel that Shannon Smith was way out of line and there is no excuse for these torments my son and other classmates endured.

Three months after Shannon Smith was removed from the classroom Ms. Smith shows up at the May 2nd H.A.A.S. Hoolaulea hugging, sitting and chatting with Ms. Derbyshire as if she didn’t have a care in the world. How callous of Mr. Hirakami and Ms. Derbyshire, who knew that there was a temporary restraining order against Ms. Shannon Smith, to let her show up and re-intimidate the students of Manao’lana. Have they no common sense as educators and so called “protectors” of our children?

Where was the Administration in all of this?

Why has it taken 100+ days to get a smidgen of information?

Did they not monitor Shannon Smith, a first year teacher at Manao’lana?

Did Mr. Hirakami or Ms. Derbyshire call the police to stop the classroom abuse or to perform an investigation?

Did Mr. Hirakami or Ms. Derbyshire report these incidents to the Hawaii Department of Education?

Why are the teacher’s aides still teaching at H.A.A.S let alone still present in the classroom?

In my opinion this has been a cover up from the beginning. Not only does Shannon Smith need to be formally fired and her record reflection these events, the teacher’s aides and the school counselor are also complicit in the abuse and failed our children as well and they too need to me formally fired and their employment records marked with these events. Mr. Steve Hirakami and Ms. Deb Derbyshire need to resign and apologize to my son, my family and the other children in the 4th Grade Manao’lana class as they have fail them and the H.A.A.S Public charter school as a whole.

We believe Ms. Shannon Smith, Mr. Steve Hirakami and Ms. Derbyshire should never be allowed into positions of power again as they have shown a lack of human decency and moral fiber. They have truly failed our children and community.

 

Commentary – A Giant Tree Almost Killed Me Last Night on HWY 132

I received the following commentary:

Dear Damon,

I really had a close call last night.

Tree Smash

Was driving down on my way home in Kapoho through the tree tunnel by Lava Tree state park. I heard a thunderous crack and saw for a split second a giant branch on it way down directly in front of me…not sure if I hit it first or it hit the road first but I hit it hard.

Tree Smash 2

Airbags went off and smoke filled the cabin…when I came to I was choking from the airbag smoke I got out from the car, dazed. The occupants from the car behind me asked if I was OK and said that they saw the tree come down and I was lucky to be alive…Police said I was lucky to be alive as well.

The force was enough to crack the block on the engine and spray oil and engine parts on the road.

Tree Smash 3I drive through that tree tunnel of old junk albizias every day… So do my loved ones and friends. Almost every local resident has a story of branches of all sizes down in the road and near misses.

I ask why does the county allow such a persistent and inevitable threat to exist? All one has to do is look up at the mass of giant tangled limbs and it not hard to see the gravity of the situation.

Who’s next? Will they be lucky like me? Only sore, bruised and shaken or will they be more gravely injured? 

I am a farmer by trade and don’t think I will be picking up any baskets of ginger for a while.

I will be writing letters to the County of Hawaii public works, road maintenance division as well as our council members asking the same questions above.

Tree Smash 4

In a perfect world my sincere story would be enough to get them moving to take care of this obvious problem, however If you would like to share my story on your blog it may help shine a light on this issue.

Thank you kindly,

Daniel Kelly

Wordless Wednesday – Pahoa Burger King Drive In

The Pahoa Burger King had another Drive-In today!

Posted to Facebook tonight:

Drive Thru

Photo by Tasha Nakatsu

So went to work today everything was normal and then all he’ll broke lose!!!!!
My co worker goes and clocks out for lunch and then walks out to order his meal when a car goes through the building. The car hits him n he goes flying.
It was the most scariest thing I have ever experienced in the work place.

 

Hawaii Lava Flow Update From Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

New camera position on Puʻu ʻŌʻō; The active front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow (Click to Enlarge Pictures)

New flows on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater over the past few weeks threatened cameras positioned on the crater’s north rim.

Poor weather and winds prevented the power systems for the cameras that were moved from being put into place until today (May 5, 2014). The cameras are now operational, and are visible in the background of this photo, beyond a spatter cone on the north side of the crater floor.

Poor weather and winds prevented the power systems for the cameras that were moved from being put into place until today (May 5, 2014). The cameras are now operational, and are visible in the background of this photo, beyond a spatter cone on the north side of the crater floor.

Two cameras—a thermal camera observing the crater and a regular webcam observing the active Kahaualeʻa 2 flow in the distance—were moved to a safer location partway up the steep northwestern flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone. Another webcam, regularly capturing a panorama of the crater floor, was left in place to maintain a consistent view of the crater.

The distal tip of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, shown here, was 8.6 km (5.3 miles) straight-line distance northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō when mapped today. The flows advanced about 300 m (0.2 miles) since April 28.

The distal tip of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, shown here, was 8.6 km (5.3 miles) straight-line distance northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō when mapped today. The flows advanced about 300 m (0.2 miles) since April 28.

Lava flow from South spatter cone; Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s south flank slowly being buried

A lava flow fed from a spatter cone on the south part of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater floor (the South spatter cone) continues to advance toward the east-southeast, and is about 700 m from its vent.

The flow is the silvery lava that crosses the center of the photo.

The flow is the silvery lava that crosses the center of the photo.

The flow from the South spatter cone has buried part of the southern flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone, leaving little of the original tephra that composes the cone visible. Compare this photo to the one taken just a few months ago, on March 7.

The South spatter cone, feeding the flows that have blanketed the south flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, is the prominent, fuming spatter cone just to the right of the center of the image, directly behind where the cone has been covered.

The South spatter cone, feeding the flows that have blanketed the south flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, is the prominent, fuming spatter cone just to the right of the center of the image, directly behind where the cone has been covered.

Hawaii Volcano Update – Lava Continues to Advance Through Remote Forest

Lava overflows Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active

Lava flows from two different vents in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater have spilled out of the crater and down the flanks of the cone over the past week. This photo shows the new flow, easy to identify with its light gray color, originating from the south spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater (the spatter cone is visible as a bump on the crater floor). This flow was still active this morning and had traveled a short distance southeast. Another flow, originating from the north spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, is not visible in this photograph.
The north spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater fed a new flow, starting Tuesday evening, that covered much of the northern part of the crater floor and spilled over the crater rim towards the north. The right side of the north spatter cone has been present for many months, but the left side, which was spattering this morning, is new as of this week.
The lava flow from the north spatter cone ran over old cinder deposits from the early fountaining phases of Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the 1980s. Cinders sticking to the front of the pāhoehoe lava were lifted up as the front of the pāhoehoe toes inflated.
The northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater remained active, but the lava pond (featured in many recent photographs posted here) has crusted over, leaving only a small circular opening venting gas.
A closer look at the small opening at the top of the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. Although the lava pond is crusted over, fluid lava is likely present just a short distance below the opening. Delicate lava stalactites have formed just inside the rim.
The lava flow from the north spatter cone, in Puʻu ʻŌʻō, began on Tuesday night and came close to the north rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, where our webcams are situated. Because of this proximity, several of the webcams and other pieces of equipment were moved to higher ground on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.
Despite the recent changes in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater over the past week, the Kahaualeʻa 2 lava flow remains active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and continues to advance slowly through remote forest. The active flow front today was 8.3 km (5.2 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible near the top of the photograph.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

International Space Station

It will be visible beginning tonight, Sat Apr 26 at 8:08 PM.  It will be visible for approximately 3 minutes.  Max Height: 50 degrees, and it will appear in the North Northwest part of the sky and disappear to the North.

“The Volcano Kilauea” – 1918 Rare Silent Movie Surfaces

This original 1918 film, The Volcano Kilauea, is a version updated through 1924.  Filmed using the Prisma Process, this was the first Hawaii film produced in color on the Islands.

The Volcano

No audio as words/lines were inserted; thus, a silent film. Rare film documented as being ‘lost’.

Ray J Baker was the producer; he was an early Hawaii photographer who progressed into moving film. Produced in Los Angeles by William Horsley Company.