Hakalau Farmer Named in Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit

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

Media Release:

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

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

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

When: Monday, March 4 at 1 pm

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

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

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

Jay Ram

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

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

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

SNAP believes there may be more victims suffering in silence.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



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

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

Monk Seal Institute

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

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

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

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

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

See our Monk Seal Fact Sheet for further information.

About Marine Conservation Institute

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


Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Kīlauea Man

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

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

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

The Pathfinder for Maritime Search & Rescue

The Pathfinder for Maritime Search & Rescue

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

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

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

University of Hawaii Announces 2013 Distinguished Alumni Awards

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

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

2013 UH Founders Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award

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

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

Hawaii Department of Education Honors 32 Schools Today for Extraordinary Achievements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schools receiving $12,500 each include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Events Begin with Governor’s Proclamation at the Capitol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Removing invasive species at Lyon Arboretum (March 9)

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

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

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

Other events including contests and educational opportunities.

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

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

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

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

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

Coffee Berry Borer Bill Passes House, Moves to Senate

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


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

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

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


54th Annual Hawaii Island Billfish Tournament Information

This iconic big game fishing tournament built on prestige and strict International Game Fish Association (IGFA) rules for world records starts fishing on August 3rd and continues through August 10, 2013 in Kona, Hawaii.

Blue Hawaii

For five days, teams fish the famous waters off the Kona coast aboard some of the finest sport fishing vessels with captains who have built reputations around the world for catching big fish. Prized and powerful Pacific blue marlin are caught or tagged and released along the Kona coast every day. Occasionally, these famous waters produce a grander, a term known as a Pacific blue marlin weighing in at over 1,000 pounds. HIBT is headquartered on Kailua Pier where spectators see plenty of scoreboard action as teams weigh in at the end of the day, putting valuable points on the scoreboard. Kailua Pier is also a great place to watch the Tournament start each morning as boats line up across Historic Kailua Bay at 7:30 a.m, returning to the pier at 4:30.

Fishing action in Kona is expected to be hotly contested this summer. HIBT teams are expected from Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Vanuatu and from across the USA. All eyes will be on Old South Marlin Club Team 4 (North Carolina) who captured the 2012 win and the coveted HIBT Governor’s Trophy. This team’s cumulative total of 3,150 points ended up in the HIBT history books with the highest winning HIBT score since 2008. In fact, the Old South Marlin Club Team 4 score now ranks as the third highest since the tournament began in 1959.

HIBT event headquarters, retail and tournament control will once again be anchored at Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, located adjacent to Kailua Pier. The public is invited to come to the Kailua pier and watch the boats line up across Historic Kailua Bay as fishing starts each day sharply at 7 a.m. At 4pm, boats return to Kailua pier with their team and catch.

The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is underwritten by the generosity of the County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The tournament is further supported in part by KWXX Radio and numerous corporate and community donors.

For more tournament information, including IGFA world records, rules, and 2013 HIBT entry information, log onto www.hibtfishing.com

Hawaii House of Representatives Moves 69 Bills Over to Senate

The Hawaii House of Representatives moved 69 Bills over to the Senate for consideration.


Among the measures approved by the House several focused on  sustainability, the environment, the economy,  healthy living and improving the quality of life of Hawaii’s citizens.

  • HB 503 Relating to the General Excise Tax.  The bill provides local farmers with a tax deduction for all produce grown and sold within the state.
  • HB 478 Relating to the Department of Education.  The bill allows schools to establish their own gardens and to utilize the produce in their meal programs.
  • HB 560 Relating to Affordable Housing Urban Gardening.  The bill encourages development projects to incorporate urban gardening into their plans.
  • HB 1365 Relating to Urban Agriculture.  The bill  allows for a rooftop garden on the State Capitol roof to promote agricultural innovation and greater food security in Hawaii and  serve as a symbol of the importance our  the State places on agriculture sustainability.
  • HB 726 Relating to Film and Digital Media Industry Development.  The purpose of the bill is to encourage new film, television, entertainment, digital media and music video production in Hawaii by enhancing existing incentives and thus adding to the diversification of our economy.
  • HB 1339 Relating to the Transient Accommodations Tax.  The bill intends to help the tourism industry retain its competitive edge in its promotional and marketing efforts by repealing the $10 daily hotel tax collected on rooms furnished on a complimentary or gratuitous basis.
  • HB120 Relating to Health.  The bill protects the health and safety of the public by enhancing public access regarding information on care homes.
  • HB 358 Relating to Video Conferencing.  The bill would make it more accessible for neighbor  island residents to participate in state government.  It requires that the legislature establish audio visual procedures for people on the neighbor islands to provide oral testimony at legislative committee hearings.
  • HB 1432 Relating to Aging and Disability Resource Centers.  The bill would support the elderly and aging population by appropriating an unspecified amount of funds to statewide aging and disability centers.

Bill Addressing Rock Climbing on Government Land on its Way to the Full Senate Vote

Senate Bill 1168 was passed through its final committee and will go before the full Senate for consideration next week.  If passed, the bill will go to the House for consideration.


The bill clarifies the State Tort Liability Act, stating that no public entity or public employee will be held liable to any person for injury or damage sustained on government land while mountain climbing, rock climbing, rappelling and bouldering.

“The bill received an overwhelming amount of support, which we took into consideration while hearing the measure,” said Senator Malama Solomon, chair of the Senate Committee on Water and Land.  “This bill will release the State from being responsible for anyone’s injuries while participating in climbing activities on state land.”

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, State Attorney General, Access Fund, and Change.org. supported the measure, while the Hawaii Association for Justice and numerous individuals opposed the bill.


March Events at the Volcano Art Center

Activities scheduled for March at the Volcano Art Center

Volcano Art Center

Fridays, March 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29, 11:00AM–1:00PM

Aloha Fridays. Every Friday, a hands-on demonstration lesson is given in a cultural craft that will vary from week to week at the VAC Gallery porch in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service should call (808) 967-8222 or email julie@volcanoartcenter.org at least two weeks in advance. This program is supported in part by the County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. All events are free (donations welcome); park entrance fees apply. Visit volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Saturday, March 2–Sunday April 14, 9:00AM–5:00PM

La‘a Ka Pa-Kapala, Sacred the Rhythms And Patterns. A collaborative exhibit by Natalie Mahina Jensen and Lucia Tarallo. A collection of acrylic paintings depicting the Hawaii Maoli’s penchant for sacred geometry. The paintings serve to illustrate the newly interpreted Nature Chant Kumulipo, entitled Kane Keia! Wahine Kela! (Male This! Female That!). Opening reception Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 5:00PM, Talk Story with both artists on Thursday, March 14 at 6:00PM at VAC Gallery in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. All events are open to the public; park entrance fees apply. Call the VAC Gallery at (808) 967-7565 or visit volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Mondays at 9:30AM & Saturdays at 11:00AM

March 2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25 & 30

Niaulani Nature Walk – Free Guided Rain Forest Tour in Volcano. This one-hour nature walk travels through a lush portion of an old-growth Hawaiian rain forest on an easy, 1/7-mile loop trail. The walk introduces individuals, families, and groups to the native plants and birds of Volcano. Guides focus not only on the biological, ecological, and geological features of the area, but also the cultural usages of flora and fauna by native Hawaiians. Offered every Monday and Saturday at VAC’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Free; donations welcome. Call (808) 967-8222 or visit volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Saturday, March 2, 10:00AM–1:00PM

“Make Books!” with Lisa Louise Adams. Join Lisa in this half day workshop. Learn to paint and fold a hard cover accordion book and also make 2 soft cover books. Treat yourself to a fun day of learning the simple art of making books and get inspired by Lisa’s collection of one-of-a-kind art books. Students are asked to bring cotton fabric for covers and magazine or favorite copies of photos. Cost is $35 or $31.50 for VAC members plus a $10 supply fee. Held at VAC’s Niaulani Campus. Please call to register in advance at (808) 967-8222.

Saturday, March 2 at 6:30PM & Sunday, March 3 at 2:00PM (Matinee)

Volcano Variety Show! The ultimate in good time entertainment! Spring fever is in the air and everyone needs a good dose of delight! Acts range from sketch, comedy, music, dance and downright fun! Shows are appropriate for all ages. Performances held at VAC’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Tickets: Adults $8, Children under 17 $5. Order your tickets now at (808) 967-8222 and visit volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Mondays at 7:30AM, Tuesdays & Thursdays at 5:30PM

March 4, 5, 7, 11, 12, 14, 18, 19, 21, 25, 26 & 28

Yoga with Emily Catey. Relax your body and rejuvenate your soul in this gentle and peaceful class. The focus is on stretching and releasing both physical and mental tension. Classes are offered on Monday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday evenings, open to both beginning and intermediate students at VAC’s Niaulani Campus. $10 drop in fee or $5 for VAC members. Call (808) 967-8222 or visit volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Mondays, March 4, 11, 18 and 25, 5:30PM–7:00PM

Beginner’s Yoga With Rob Kennedy. A gentle, comprehensive yoga practice suited to all levels of experience but aimed specifically at beginners or people resuming their practice after an injury or interruption. Slow-paced but with an emphasis on individual growth. Stretch and strengthen your entire body then reward yourself with a deep, conscious relaxation. Participants should wear loose, comfortable clothes and bring a mat or large towel. Ongoing on Mondays. $5 per class. Volcano Art Center Niaulani Campus. Call (808) 967-8222 or visit volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Tuesdays, March 5, 12, 19 & 26, 2:00PM–3:00PM

Tea for Tuesdays – Hina Matsuri (Girls Day) & National Women’s History Month. Join JoAnn Aguirre, tea educator and member of the Hawaii Tea Society, for an hour of tea talk, a delicious scone and a cuppa, in a special tribute to all young girls, and to women’s contributions to the world of tea. Tea for Tuesdays is a one hour program and part of our monthly 2013 Volcano Tea Series. Free activity; donations accepted. Held at VAC’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. For more information, call (808) 967-8222 or visit teachingtea.com.

Wednesdays, March 6, 13, 20 & 27 at 5:30PM

Kanikapila Jam Sessions are open to all musicians. Bring your instrument and enjoy “garage style” jamming with your neighbors and community. Donations are appreciated. Ongoing at VAC’s Niaulani Campus. Call (808) 967-8222 or visit volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Thursday, March 7, 5:30PM–7:00PM

HINA Community Meeting - Kau District. Come and learn about VAC’s Hawaii Island Network of Artists project, partially funded by the County of Hawaii. This exciting new initiative aims to encourage and support a greater awareness of Big Island artists and the economic impact of this unrecognized creative workforce. Held at the Naalehu Community Center, 95-5635 Mamalahoa Hwy in Naalehu, Hawaii. For more information, visit www.HINArtists.org or contact HINA Project Manager Tiffany DeEtte Shafto at info@hinartists.org. Stay connected with HINA on our Facebook Page and on Twitter, join our Facebook Group and subscribe to our Blog to receive updates in your inbox.

Saturday, March 9, 10:30AM–11:30AM

Hula Arts at Kilauea in HVNP – Na Mea Hawai`i Hula Kahiko Performance. Featuring Halau Hula Manaolana `O Kohala and visiting halau, Hula Halau Ka Pi’o O Ke Anuenue of Ashland, Oregon. Their performance honors their late kumu hula Raylene Kawaia`ea. This inspired outdoor presentation takes place rain or shine at the pa hula (stone platform) located near VAC Gallery in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The audience is encouraged to bring sitting mat and be prepared for variable weather. On the same day, there is a hands-on cultural demonstration from 9:30AM to 1:30PM on the VAC Gallery lanai. Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service should call (808) 967-8222 or email julie@volcanoartcenter.org at least two weeks in advance. This program is supported in part by the County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. All events are free, though donations are welcome and park entrance fees apply. Visit volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Sunday, March 10, 4:00PM–5:30PM

Medicine for the Mind, Buddhist Healing Meditation. Everyone longs for happiness in external conditions, expecting people and things to be the source of the satisfaction we seek. In these classes, we will look at Buddha’s teachings on finding happiness inside – in states of mind that are the cause of inner peace. We will engage in meditations to train our mind in the inner causes of fulfillment and discover a lasting source of happiness. Everyone is welcome to these free classes held at at VAC’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Free; donations welcome. For more information contact Buddhist student Patty Johnson at (808) 985-7470.

Thursday, March 14 at 6:00PM

La‘a Ka Pa-Kapala, Sacred the Rhythms And Patterns – Artist Talk Story. Talk Story with artists Natalie Mahina Jensen and Lucia Tarallo about their collection of acrylic paintings depicting the Hawaii Maoli’s penchant for sacred geometry. The paintings serve to illustrate the newly interpreted Nature Chant Kumulipo, entitled Kane Keia! Wahine Kela! (Male This! Female That!) Held at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. All events open to the public, although park entrance fees apply. Call VAC Gallery (808) 967-7565 for more information.

Big Island Police Identify Man Who Died in Hit-and-Run Accident This Morning

Police traffic investigators have identified a 71-year-old Kealakekua man who died Thursday (February 28) in a motor vehicle/pedestrian crash on the Hawaii Belt Road (Route 11) and Hokukano Road in Kealakekua.


The pedestrian was identified as Francisco Asuncion of Kealakekua.

Police are looking for a dark colored Nissan sedan, unknown model, and unknown if it is a 2-door or 4-door. The vehicle should have damages to the front bumper, hood, and possibly the windshield.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide and accident involving death or serious bodily injury cases.

Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to call Officer Larry Flowers at 326-4646, extension 229.

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

Mayor Kenoi Submits Budget To Council

In accordance with the Hawai’i County Charter, Mayor Billy Kenoi today submitted a proposed Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget to the Hawai’i County Council.

Click to see the full report

Click to see the full report

This FY 2013-2014 budget is $32,426,525 or 8.0 percent less than the budget in effect when this administration took office in 2008. It marks the fifth consecutive year of our efforts to control the cost of government in a strategic and responsible manner that maintains critical infrastructure and public services. This proposed balanced budget does not require any increase in property taxes.

Printed copies of the full budget are available by request from the Mayor’s Office in Hilo (808-961-8211). A PDF of the budget message is available for download at this link: Hawaii County 2013-2014 Budget Message.


North Hawaii Community Hospital Announces New Chief Development Officer

North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) is pleased to announce the appointment of Wayne Higaki to the expanded role of Vice President, Public Affairs, and Chief Development Officer. Higaki’s additional responsibilities include overseeing the hospital’s marketing, communications and fundraising development.

Wayne Higaki

Wayne Higaki

“For more than a decade, Wayne has been an invaluable member of our NHCH ‘ohana,” says Lowell Johnson, NHCH Interim CEO. “His newly expanded role allows us to consolidate administrative leadership roles and resources into one functional area, under Wayne’s very able leadership. I am confident that he will excel in his newly expanded role and help lead NHCH to continued success in the future.”

Higaki’s tenure with NHCH began when the hospital was still under construction in 1996. He has been involved in many varied leadership roles over the years, most recently, as the organization’s government representative while serving as Vice President, Public Affairs. Higaki also leads the hospital’s Community Advisory Group (CAB), established in 2011, which serves as a critical conduit for sharing two-way communication between the hospital and communities served by NHCH. Higaki will continue to also oversee the hospital’s Facilities, Engineering and Security.

“I looking forward to helping our hospital transition through the challenges of healthcare reform, especially in our ability to serve the community in a meaningful way,” says Higaki. Higaki was born and raised on Hawaii Island and has more than 30 years of healthcare experience. He is a member of the Statewide Health Planning Council, Chair of the County of Hawaii’s Workforce Investment Board and a Director of the Waimea Community Association.

Women’s Support Group Workshop at the Neighborhood Place of Puna

Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP) is hosting a Women’s group facilitator workshop on March 14-15, 2013, from 8:30am to 4:30pm in the Conference rooms on the ground floor of the Hawaii State building in Hilo.

Through exercises and dialogue participants in this workshop will explore what they can do to bring women together, end horizontal hostility and create true social change.

Jill Abernathy

Jill Abernathy

The workshop will be facilitated by Jill Abernathy who has worked for 26 years with the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs as a women’s advocate, women’s group facilitator, and mentor. Jill is an international trainer, having trained professionals in the battered women’s movement using Duluth Model curricula.

The workshop is open to women who are interested in forming and facilitating women’s support groups in their community.

The workshop costs $25 which will help Neighborhood Place of Puna defray the cost of hosting the workshop.

Space is limited. The registration deadline is end of the work day on Thursday March 7th.

For more information and to register please call Stacey at 965-5550 or email: Stacey@neighborhoodplace.org.

Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to help families raise healthy safe keiki by providing families with the tools and supports they need to be successful.

Hit-and-Run Leaves 71-Year-Old Man Dead in Kealakekua

A 71-year-old Kealakekua man died Thursday (February 28) from injuries he sustained in a motor vehicle/pedestrian crash on the Hawaii Belt Road (Route 11) and Hokukano Road in Kealakekua.
Responding to a 1:32 a.m. call, Kona patrol officers determined that the pedestrian was walking in a northerly direction on the mauka shoulder of the highway when an unknown vehicle struck him.

The driver of the vehicle fled the scene.

The pedestrian was transported to the Kona Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:54 a.m.

Police are looking for a sedan with damage to the front end, hood and possibly the windshield.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide and accident involving death or serious bodily injury cases.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The name of the victim is being held pending positive identification and notification of the next of kin.

Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to call Officer Larry Flowers at 326-4646, extension 229.

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

This is the 9th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared to 5 at the same time last year.


Big Island Police Asking Public’s Assistance in Identifity Weed Eater Thief in Puna

The Hawaiʻi Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect caught on video during the theft of a weed eater. The crime took place in Puna in late January of 2013. The suspect appears to be a male with close cropped dark hair and a thin build.
Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed this theft or who has any information about it call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Officer Kimo Veincent of Puna Patrol at 965-2716.

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


UH Hilo Hosts Women’s History Month Events

The Women’s Center at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo hosts a series of events during March in honor of Women’s History Month. The events are free and open to the public.

A lecture on “Gender Agenda” by Patrick Madden, is held on Monday, March 4, 6:30 p.m. in Campus Center 306. Madden is executive director of the United Nations Association. He previously served four years as president & CEO of Sister Cities International (SCI), building a network of U.S cities partnered with more than 2,000 international communities that worked to implement economic development, humanitarian, cultural and education programs and exchanges.

A film screening of “Half the Sky” is on Wednesday, March 6, 5 p.m., Campus Center 306. Discussion and light refreshments will follow. On Friday, March 8, an International Women’s Day presentation will be held at 10 a.m. on the Campus Center Plaza. Local women’s organizations will present information, discuss ways to help support woman locally and internationally, and to network.

The Women’s Center is also hosting Yoga Tuesdays with Amanda Pierson through the end of the school year. The weekly sessions are being held every Tuesday from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in Campus Center 301.

For more information about any of these events, or disability accommodations, contact the Women’s Center at 974-7306 or email uhhwomen@hawaii.edu.

Student Pharmacists Earn National Award for Pacific Islander Mobile Screening Clinic

A team of student pharmacists from the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo attained the top spot in a national pharmacy organization’s student community service awards.

The American Association of College of Pharmacy (AACP) named Shanele Shimabuku (Class of 2013), Jed Sana, Tracy Nakama, Ann Txakeeyang, Brianne Gustillo, Amanda Wendel and Naoto Oki (Class of 2014) and Davis Hanai (Class of 2015) as the top team to have earned The Student Community Engaged Service Award.

The award, sponsored by Teva Pharmaceuticals, is “intended to encourage students and faculty to design and build programs of community-engaged service learning, deliver consumer education about medication use, expand access to affordable medications, and improve the public’s health.”

The award-winning project is called the Pacific Islander Mobile Screening Clinic (PIMSC), which seeks to improve public health and access to people largely from the Marshall Islands through the use of health fairs and wellness clinics. Students conducted diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, as well as provided wellness and lifestyle counseling and referrals to accessible health care services offered at reasonable costs.

Through collaboration with the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) and networking with other community organizations island-wide, the PIMSC has screened more than 350 participants so far this year through mobile screening clinics. PIMSC participants are invited back for follow-up, and Hawaiʻi County residents are welcome to take advantage of regularly scheduled clinic office hours at the free ADRC Wellness and Safe Medication Use Clinic run by Dr. Katherine Anderson and second-year pharmacy students.

“Part of the beauty is that students and our community partners serve when they are able and so there is a fluid combination of different members volunteering at different times,” said Anderson, who is the faculty adviser for the project. “In this way, in addition to providing an important service for our patients, the overall educational experience of our student pharmacists is enriched.”

The students were awarded plaques and a cash team prize to be used for enhancing or sustaining PIMSC, or for travel support for them to attend and present their projects at a professional meeting.

The College also received a cash award to be used exclusively to support program expansion of recognized or new community engaged service projects, as well as a Tiffany & Co. Shooting Star. One designated student and faculty advisor will receive funding to attend the national awards ceremony at AACP’s 2013 annual meeting that will be held in Chicago this July.

Txakeeyang, who is the lead author on a poster that will be presented at a conference for the American Pharmacists Association (AphA) March 1-4 in Los Angeles, said PIMSC has come a long way since beginning in 2010. She said being a part of the mobile clinic has helped her and her fellow students become better future pharmacists.

“By reaching out to disenfranchised Pacific Islanders and giving us hands-on, real professional pharmacy experience working with people, we as student pharmacists have the ability to increase our cultural awareness,” Txakeeyang said. “One of our greatest accomplishments this year was establishing relationships with some of the Marshallese leaders. This allowed us to build bridges with a group of individuals who typically do not seek health care due to barriers such as language and health care access.”

The Marshallese Mobile Screening Clinic got its start with funding from the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy’s Student Leadership Enrichment fund. In March 2012, it was named one of 17 Healthy Eating and Active Living projects to receive funding from the Hawaiʻi Island Beacon Community.

Parents Given Extra Week to Return Public School Survey

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is extending until March 8 the deadline for parents to complete a survey to help public schools set priorities for improving programs and services.

DOE ReleaseParents whose children are enrolled in grades 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11 are asked to complete the School Quality Survey (SQS) and return it in a prepaid envelope. Schools have mailed or asked students to bring the surveys home.

Survey results provide schools data on everything ranging from parent satisfaction with course offerings, support services and availability to discuss their child’s progress to whether students feel safe and are meeting their goals. In addition to the parent survey, teachers and students from the selected grades will fill out separate surveys at school.

Results will also be used to measure strategic plan goals for the DOE.

Survey responses are confidential. Overall survey results should be available to schools by the end of the academic year. The reports will also be posted on the internet at http://arch.k12.hi.us.

An informational video about the survey is available online at http://vimeo.com/57619187. Questions about the survey may be emailed to sqs@notes.k12.hi.us. Parents may also call 808-733-4008 (Oahu) or 1-855-276-5801 (toll-free Neighbor Islands) from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.