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The Queen’s Health Systems Names Kenneth D. Graham as Acting President of North Hawaii Community Hospital

The Queen’s Health Systems (Queen’s), corporate parent of The Queen’s Medical Center (QMC), named Kenneth D. Graham, MPH, RHIA, FACHE as Acting President of North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH).

Dr. Kenneth Graham

Kenneth Graham

Graham’s primary role will be to create a relationship of cooperation and trust between Queen’s and both NHCH and the people of North Hawaii.

“Ken has significant experience in a wide array of senior healthcare executive management and leadership roles,” said Art Ushijima, President of The Queen’s Health Systems.  “He is clearly aware of the Queen’s mission and values and will bring that sensitivity in his leadership to the staff and patients at North Hawaii Community Hospital.”

“It is truly an honor to serve Queen’s, NHCH and the North Hawaii community in this important capacity,” said Graham.  “We are currently working with NHCH to assess and address NHCH’s immediate needs.  One immediate focus will be on stabilizing the hospital’s challenging financial situation.  Ultimately, our goal is to have a hospital that will advance both the missions of Queen’s and NHCH.”

Graham previously served as System Integration Advisor in the Office of Queen’s President and CEO Art Ushijima, supporting hospital planning, clinical integration, corporate alignment, and neighbor-island health.  He also provided team support for activation of The Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu and the affiliation with NHCH.

He is the former President and CEO of El Camino Hospital, a 542 bed district owned not-for-profit hospital, located on two campuses in the heart of SiliconValley. Under his leadership, El Camino was named “The most technologically advanced hospital in the world” by Popular Science Magazine in December 2009.

Previously he served as CEO at Overlake Hospital Medical Center (337 beds), and in various executive positions with the Daughters of Charity Health System West (2,400 beds), Grossmont District Hospital (426 beds), and Long Beach Community Hospital (350 beds).

He is professionally certified in medical record administration (RHIA), and also certified in healthcare administration (FACHE).  Through his career as a hospital executive, he has served as CEO at sophisticated hospitals and as a board member or advisor to dozens of healthcare organizations.

He earned a B.S in Public Health, and a Masters of Public Health, both from UCLA.

Queen’s also named Marilynn Hata as Acting Vice President of Finance and Operations.  Hata has extensive practice management consulting experience with a number of physicians.  She previously served as a business development consultant for Queen’s. Hata was born and raised in Hilo and has an MBA from the University of Hawaii.  Her father, the late Richard T. Hata, M.D., was a general surgeon in Hilo.

“I am pleased that Ken and Marilynn will be leading our transition team,” said Ushijima.  “They will both be instrumental in determining what kinds of support North Hawaii Community Hospital will be needing from Queen’s.  Over the coming months, we will be conducting a search for a permanent president to lead North Hawaii Community Hospital’s future growth and development.”

On December 16, 2013, Queen’s announced that it had officially entered into an affiliation agreement with NHCH.  In the agreement, NHCH became a corporate entity under Queen’s, similar to The Queen’s Medical Center and Molokai General Hospital.  QMC has had a clinical affiliation with NHCH since 2005.

The affiliation takes effect January 15, 2014.  Both Queen’s and NHCH expect the transition to occur without any disruption of service to the community.

North Hawaii Community Hospital is a private, non-profit community hospital that serves more than 30,000 residents in North Hawaii.  Located in Waimea (Kamuela), Hawaii Island, NHCH opened in May 1996. Its mission is to improve the health of the people of North Hawaii by improving access to care and providing high-quality services at a reasonable cost.  NHCH is an acute-care hospital with 33 licensed beds, 24 hour emergency services, 376 employees, and 68 active physicians.

Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language Fall 2013 Dean’s List

Hawaiian Language College

The following students in Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo received Dean’s List honors for the Fall 2013 semester:

Alexandria U`ilani Agdeppa, Ka`alalani Wilson Ahu, Corey Thomas Bell, Samuel Frances Clubb, Dillon Keane Dominguez, Brandy Dugo, Martin Keone Ennis, Alexander Kawika Guerrero, Kana Hayase, Stacy Caruth Joel, Kamalani M Johnson, Aleysia-Rae K Kaha, Kamaleikuuipo Kalehuawehe-Valentine, Micah Leialoha Kealaiki, Emma Nohea Laurel Aika Koa, Dylon Garreth Koehn, Monique Lee Komoda, Ciera Mae Lamb, Yixiao Li, Daniel William McDonald, Hokulani Bennett Mckeague, Maranda Dawn Mumm, Amanda Rose O’Farrell, Angela Ann F Pastores, Natalie Laua`e Poy, Christopher Bryan Ramos, Ronald Kaipo Santos, Noriko Sato, Nelli Vyacheslavovna Semenko, Jennifer Ku`uipo Thomson, Teren Nahelenani Travaso, Kellie Chiemi Yagi, Cheyne Isao Yong Yonemori, and Abcde Kawehi Zoller.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 32-Year-Old Hilo Woman

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 32-year-old Hilo woman who was reported missing.

Malia Pelekane

Malia Pelekane

Malia Pelekane was last seen Saturday (January 11) in Hilo.

She is described as 5-foot-2, 170 pounds with brown eyes and shoulder-length black hair.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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

“Aloha Ohshima” Relief Drive Extended Through End Of January

Typhoon Wipha ravaged coastal towns along Japan’s east coast on October 16, 2013, and the hardest hit place was Ohshima Island, a sister city of Hawai‘i County. Wipha brought torrential rains – a record-breaking 33 inches in 24 hours – that caused flooding and mudslides that destroyed nearly 300 homes. 32 deaths have been reported and nine people were missing in the most recent report.

Carol Van Camp of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawai'i presents a $1,000 donation from the chamber to the Aloha Ohshima relief drive. Van Camp is joined by Honorary Consul General of Japan Art Taniguchi, Hawai'i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, and Hiroshi Suga and Tommy Goya of the Japanese Community Association of Hawai'i. Also pictured is Ohshima's 50th anniversary gift to Hawai'i County, a copper piece crafted by a 19th-generation craftsman assisted by the people of Ohshima.

Carol Van Camp of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawai’i presents a $1,000 donation from the chamber to the Aloha Ohshima relief drive. Van Camp is joined by Honorary Consul General of Japan Art Taniguchi, Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, and Hiroshi Suga and Tommy Goya of the Japanese Community Association of Hawai’i. Also pictured is Ohshima’s 50th anniversary gift to Hawai’i County, a copper piece crafted by a 19th-generation craftsman assisted by the people of Ohshima.

As Ohshima’s only sister city, the County of Hawai‘i joined the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawai‘i, Japanese Community Association, and Kona Japanese Civic Association in the Aloha Ohshima relief drive. The drive has been extended through the end of January 2014, bolstered by a recent donation of $1,000 from the JCCIH. Donations to “Aloha Ohshima” will continue to be accepted at Bank of Hawai‘i branches statewide.

In Japanese, Ohshima means “big island” – so it’s fitting that Ohshima Island’s only international sister city relationship is with Hawai‘i’s Big Island. Though Ohshima is much smaller than Hawai‘i Island – about 35 square miles with a population of 8,200 – it is home to waterfalls, valleys, and Mt. Mihara, an active volcano 2,507 feet tall. Located 75 miles south of Tokyo, Ohshima is the largest island in the Izu group, over a dozen islands extending south from the Izu Peninsula.

The County of Hawai‘i’s sister city relationship with Ohshima Island was initiated in 1962 by the Board of Supervisors, the predecessor to today’s County Council. The Chairman and Executive Officer of the Board of Supervisors, the predecessor to the office of the Mayor, was Thomas K. ‘Lofty’ Cook. Members of the Board of Supervisors at the time were Wing Kong ‘Winkie’ Chong, Elroy Osorio, Helene Hale, Sherwood Greenwell, Ikuo Hisaoka, and Elias Yadao.

A monument commemorating the sister city relationship was erected in 1992, the 30th anniversary of the relationship, in Lili‘uokalani Gardens, by Ohshima Mayor Nagaharu Shimizu.

The most recent visit to Hawai‘i Island by friends from Ohshima Island was in October 2012. Mayumi Jinguh and Zen Tanaka of Ohshima visited on behalf of Mayor Masafumi Kawashima, delivering a letter and a 50th anniversary gift – a copper relief depicting a rainbow bridge between Hawai‘i Island and Ohshima Island. Tanaka, the 19th master of a 414-year-old copper craftsmanship school, started his work with copper when he was 15 years old. The people of Ohshima Island, including Mayor Masafumi Kawashima, participated in crafting the piece.

Mayor Kenoi Addresses Legislature

Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi addressed the State Senate Committee on Ways & Means and the State House Committee on Finance today, the opening day of the 2014 Hawai’i State Legislature. His submitted testimony is below:

Mayor Kenoi testifying before the legislature in 2011.

Mayor Kenoi testifying before the legislature in 2011.


Aloha, Chair Ige, Chair Luke and distinguished members of the Senate Ways and Means and House Finance Committees. Thank you for this opportunity to appear before you to outline our priorities for the Island of Hawai’i for the 2014 legislative session.
 
We remain cautiously optimistic that the economy is slowly recovering. We are hopeful that the difficult decisions made at both the state and county levels are contributing to the increasingly positive economic trends. However, we recognize that we all have a great deal more work to do to support our communities.
 
We would like to underscore the importance of a number of state initiatives, and respectfully request that the Legislature support these projects to create jobs, provide relief from traffic congestion, protect public safety, and invest in critical infrastructure. We are prepared to assist our legislators and the state of Hawai’i with these projects in any way possible, and look forward to working with you to implement and expedite the following state initiatives.
  
TRANSPORTATION
Improvements to Highway 130, Kea’au-Pahoa Highway
We again ask for your support to provide urgently needed traffic relief to thousands of working people who are commuting each day on the Kea’au-Pahoa Highway. This highly congested state highway is the only major route in and out of Lower Puna, and serves one of the fastest growing regions in our state. Last year the state began construction on the first phase of the plan to convert the existing shoulder lane system on the highway into permanent lanes, and design work is underway for the second phase of the shoulder lane project. We appreciate the support the Legislature has already given to this critically needed transportation infrastructure.
 
We also ask your committees to press ahead with the larger plan to expand more than nine miles of the Kea‘au-Pahoa Highway to four lanes. State studies show that four intersections along this highway rank among the most dangerous in the state based on the numbers of serious accidents, and improvements to this thoroughfare are an urgent matter of public safety. A design consultant has been selected for this larger project to increase the capacity of this highway and make it safer, but no firm source of construction funding has yet been identified. Your commitment to provide state funding for this project would protect public safety and significantly improve the quality of life for the residents of Puna.
 
PUBLIC SAFETY
Civil Defense Sirens
We strongly support the administration’s request for an extra $2.5 million in each of the next two fiscal years to modernize the state civil defense siren system, which is critical to protect public safety. The Legislature has already provided $16.4 million to begin its statewide modernization effort, and we thank you for that support. Contractors began work around the state in 2013 on the first phases of this project, and work in the County of Hawai’i is expected to begin this spring. This initiative will convert the existing radio-activated siren system to a more reliable satellite- and cellular-based system.
 
The additional $5 million for the siren systems over the next two years would be used to add new sirens to better notify the public in the event of an emergency. That would include 36 additional, modern sirens planned for Hawai‘i Island, and we urge your committees to continue this effort to protect our communities and expand this important piece of our public safety infrastructure.
  
CHILDREN AND YOUTH
Statewide Juvenile Intake and Assessment Centers
The Hawai‘i Juvenile Justice Working Group last month issued a compelling report that demonstrates the need for alternatives to incarceration for young offenders, particularly for youths who are convicted of misdemeanor offenses. The report noted that each bed at the Hawai‘i Youth Correctional Facility on O‘ahu costs state taxpayers $199,320 per year, which underscores the fiscal impacts of incarceration of our youth.
 
Last year the Office of Youth Services in partnership with the Hawai‘i County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney launched the first juvenile intake and assessment center in East Hawai‘i with federal funding from the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. This pilot program assesses at-risk youth who have been arrested for minor or status offenses, identifies their needs, and links them and their families with appropriate services. These youths are not a threat to public safety, and diverting them out of the criminal justice system helps to free up our police officers for more important patrol duties, making better use of our public safety resources. Additional federal funding has been awarded to continue this initiative in 2014, and we strongly support the effort by OYS to expand this program to other islands and to Kona.
 
We also ask the Legislature to support statewide initiatives to increase funding for truancy prevention programs, and to place juvenile parole officers on Neighbor Islands. Current plans call for hiring a juvenile parole officer in East Hawai‘i and a second Kona parole officer to supervise and assist youths who have been incarcerated. We need to provide the necessary resources to intervene and divert these youths out of the criminal justice system and into services that will help them to succeed.
 
HIGHER EDUCATION
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building
We ask for your continued support in building on the successes of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and our community college system, which have allowed higher education to emerge as an economic engine on Hawai’i Island. The university is now the second largest employer in East Hawai’i, and is preparing our young people for success in our community and across the state. The continued growth of our higher educational system is essential for our economic success and our future.
 
In 2011 the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo became the first school of pharmacy in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Region to become fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. The college is the only school in the state offering a doctorate in pharmacy, and has been an extraordinary success. An economic impact study in 2011 found the college is generating more than $50 million per year in economic activity statewide, and each dollar of investment in salaries at the college is attracting more than three dollars in spending from outside sources.
 
The college was granted accreditation before obtaining permanent facilities, and it is time to provide a permanent home for the college to meet its long-range needs and assure it retains accreditation. Providing a permanent home for the college will allow it to fulfill its promise as a center of excellence in education and health sciences. We strongly agree with the request by the administration and the Board of Regents for $28 million in general obligation and $5 million in revenue bonds to finance the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building.
 
HEALTH CARE
Primary Care Training and Rural Residency Program
The state and Hawai‘i Island continue to face a severe physician shortage, and projections by the John A. Burns School of Medicine suggest the physician shortage will dramatically worsen in the next five years as many doctors retire. An important piece of the solution for our communities is the Hawai‘i Island Family Medicine Residency Program, which was recently notified that it has met the requirements for two-year accreditation. The program is actively recruiting, and will welcome its first class in July. National research shows that 80 percent of residents practice close to the facilities where they train, and we know this program will help ease the physician shortage in our county and in rural areas across the state.
 
We continue to support efforts by the Hawai’i Health Systems Corporation and our Hawai’i Island delegation to seek a state commitment of $2.8 million per year for the HHSC primary care training program. This includes the Hawai’i Island Family Medicine Residency program, and will also offer training to advanced practice nurses from programs at University of Hawai’i at Manoa and Hilo, and to students from the UH-Hilo College of Pharmacy. This program will produce inter-disciplinary teams that can care for four times as many patients as independent practitioners, and will expand to serve rural communities on each of the islands. We are convinced this is an innovative and effective strategy for improving access to primary care services.
 
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Kona International Airport Improvements
We strongly support the administration’s plans for urgently needed improvements for Kona International Airport, and appreciate the decision by the Legislature to appropriate $37.5 million for an international arrivals building, and $70 million for a major terminal expansion. We continue to work collaboratively with state Department of Transportation and community organizations to encourage the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to reopen the international arrivals inspection facilities in Kona. State investment in Kona airport infrastructure including the international arrivals building is essential to the success of those efforts.
 
Your continued support for the Kona airport improvements is important to the state as a whole. Honolulu International Airport operates at its top capacity during busier times of the year, and the administration’s planned international arrivals area in West Hawai’i will allow Kona to function as a reliever airport to ease congestion in Honolulu. Investment in Kona airport infrastructure will allow our state to continue to grow as an international visitor destination during the busiest travel seasons.
 
Each of these state projects represents a smart, long-term investment in the welfare of our communities and the safety and well-being of our residents and visitors. We thank you for your consideration, and look forward to working with all of our distinguished legislators in the weeks ahead as we press forward together with these initiatives.
 
Mahalo for your support and your commitment to our communities.

 
Aloha,

William P. Kenoi
MAYOR

Senator Hirono Announces Four Big Island Students Selected as Class of 2018 Nominees to U.S. Service Academies

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced her nomination list of 32 students to the U.S. military service academies for the Class of 2018. The students’ applications are now being considered by the four academies for final selections.

Congresswoman Hirono Introduces Resolution Honoring Mother Marianne of Molokai (file photo)

Congresswoman Hirono Introduces Resolution Honoring Mother Marianne of Molokai (file photo)

Four students were selected from Hawaii Island. Hirono has nominated James Whalen of Makua Lani Christian Academy, Scott Takahashi of Waiakea High School, and Christopher Hutt and Phil K. Aganus both of Kamehameha Schools – Keaau.

U.S. Air Force Academy: James Whalen (Kailua Kona), Makua Lani Christian Academy
James Whalen is both a tremendous athlete and model student. Mr. Whalen is a varsity athlete in soccer, tennis, and cross country, and was selected for the Olympic Development Program State Selection Camp in 2011. He currently sits on the Honor Roll and has received the Principal’s Award for his academic achievements. Additionally, he has been a dedicated member of the Boy Scouts and in August of 2013 went to the Eagle Board of Review.

U.S. Military Academy at West Point: Scott Takahashi (Hilo), Waiakea High School
Scott Takahashi plans to commit his life to a career in the U.S. Army and follow in the footsteps of his father, uncles, and grandfather. After much research and consideration, has come to the decision that he would benefit most from the training and responsibilities provided to officers and academy cadets in order to contribute most to the Army and military as a whole. Mr. Takahashi participates in JROTC at his high school and was introduced to the idea of attending an Academy by his senior instructor during his freshman year of high school.

U.S. Naval Academy: Christopher Hutt (Keaau), Kamehameha Schools – Keaau
Christopher Hutt has decided that pursuing a career in the military through an education at a service academy is the path in life he wants to follow. He came to this conclusion under the influence of his family’s various roles in the military, specifically his father’s time in the U.S. Navy. Mr. Hutt has since joined the Civil Air Patrol and is frequently building his leadership capacity. He believes that the Naval Academy helps cadets to develop courage, leadership, and character.

U.S. Air Force Academy: Phil K. Aganus (Hilo), Kamehameha Schools – Keaau
Phil Aganus is interested in pursuing an education at the U.S. Air Force Academy, as he sees the school as a series of physical and mental challenges with the teachings and core values of leadership and service. Mr. Aganus would eventually like to become a pilot or engineer. He is a scholar and a varsity athlete in football (where he is also the team captain), soccer, and track and field, and won the Scholar Athlete award, something given to a student with both scholastic and athletic achievements.

The four military service academies are: the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

U.S. Representatives and Senators submit nominations to the four service academies. Each academy’s director of admissions then selects from the submitted lists of nominees who are measured on their scholastic achievement, leadership experience, school involvement, athletic and extra-curricular activities, community contributions and volunteer or employment experiences. Nomination does not guarantee appointment.

Full List – Senator Hirono’s Class of 2018 Academy Nominations:

U.S. Naval Academy

  • Anna Cochrane (Kapolei), Moanalua High School
  • Michael B. Compton (Kailua), Le Jardin Academy
  • Christopher Hutt (Keaau), Kamehameha Schools – Keaau
  • Kristen Kadooka (Kailua), Kalaheo High School
  • Maximo Mejia (Honolulu), Roosevelt High School
  • Zachary Moore (Kailua), Le Jardin Academy
  • Kanoeala Nakoa (Honolulu), Kaiser High School
  • Drew Olice (Aiea), Radford High School
  • Kaila A. Wang (Honolulu), Honolulu Community College
  • Joseph D.K. Yokoi (Kaneohe), Kamehameha Schools – Kapalama

U.S. Air Force Academy

  • Phil K. Aganus (Hilo), Kamehameha Schools – Keaau
  • Jennifer Borzilleri (Kapolei), Island Pacific Academy
  • Conner Chung (Honolulu), Sacred Hearts Academy
  • Jason C. Evans (Kaneohe), Kalaheo High School
  • Marissa Goo (Kapaa), Kapaa High School
  • Trent Hori (Kahului), Maui High School
  • Keoki Massad (Honolulu), Kamehameha Schools – Kapalama
  • Devon H. Miller (Aiea), Grammar School at Leeds (England)
  • Harmony Pacheco (Honolulu), Kamehameha Schools – Kapalama
  • James Whalen (Kailua Kona), Makua Lani Christian Academy

U.S. Military Academy at West Point

  • Iain J. Armitage (Kula), Kamehameha Schools – Maui
  • Shiloh Begley (Kapaa), Kapaa High School
  • Andrew Drake (Kaneohe), Kalaheo High School
  • Ethan Finberg (Kula), Seabury Hall
  • Jensen Fontanilla (Honolulu), Iolani School
  • Seamus Hurley (Wahiawa), Saint Louis School
  • Erin K.G. Lindsey (Kula), Kamehameha Schools – Maui
  • Bradley Pierce (Kailua), Le Jardin Academy
  • Scott Takahashi (Hilo), Waiakea High School
  • Gabriel K. Yarbrough (Kailua), Kalaheo High School

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

  • Nathan Fields (Mililani), Leilehua High School
  • Erin Scheidt (Waipahu), Kamehameha Schools – Kapalama

Wordless Wednesday – Mysterious Facebook Comment Leaves Me Wondering About Body Found Hanging in Puna Last Week

1/28/14 UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have identified human remains as that of a 47-year-old man reported missing in 2012.

Robert Allen Park of Mountain View was reported missing on October 22, 2012.

On January 6 of this year, human remains were found in an abandoned house on Pikake Street in the Fern Acres subdivision.

The body was identified as Park on Monday (January 27) through dental records.

An autopsy was conducted January 7 but the cause of death is still pending. Police do not suspect foul play.

So last week I received a  private message on my public “Facebook Page” from someone who obviously follows this website.  They informed me that there was a body found hanging in an old shack last on Pikake near Rose St.

Facebook message I received last week.

Facebook message I received last week.

I haven’t heard anything from local authorities however, the person swears to the event happening and an officer allegedly came by their house to ask them if they had heard of anything.

UPDATE:

The body found on Pikake was a suicide. His name was Robert Park. …..There were several signs posted in the Fern Acres area “Looking for Rob”.

Robert Allen Park

Robert Allen Park

Big Island Police Searching for 51-Year-Old Wanted for Theft

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in locating a 51-year-old man wanted for theft.

Benjamin Fonseca

Benjamin Fonseca

Benjamin Fonseca of Hilo is described as 6-foot-1, 250 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2378 or wcarter@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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.

Big Island Police Seek Witnesses to Hale Nani Escape

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a woman who escaped from a minimum security jail Tuesday (January 14).

Mary Lolita Santos

Mary Lolita Santos

At 7:40 p.m. Tuesday, 40-year-old Mary Lolita Santos of Mountain View was charged with second-degree escape. Her bail was set at $10,000. She is being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending her initial court appearance scheduled for Wednesday afternoon (January 15).

At about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, police responded to the Hale Nani Correctional Facility off Route 11 in Hilo after receiving a report from correctional officers that at about 9:40 a.m., a female inmate scaled a fence and fled on foot. After running along Route 11 and into the Puna-bound traffic lanes, she stopped a blue van and jumped into the passenger side window. State correctional officers were able to prevent the van from leaving until they took Santos into custody. The van then left the area.

Detectives still want to interview the van’s driver, who was described as an older Filipino man. He was operating a blue Honda Odyssey van that may have been a taxi, as it was described as having the letters “PUC” on its exterior.

Police ask anyone who was traveling on Route 11 and may have witnessed this incident or may know the identity of the driver to call Detective Norbert Serrao of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2383 or email at nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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.

Commentary – Family Looking for Missing Big Island Man Last Seen in Fern Forest July of 2013

Phillip Ray Voelker has been missing since July, 2013.   

Phillip Ray Voelkner

Phillip Ray Voelker

His mother just filed a missing persons today with the police, but it wont be public until the detective goes to her home and investigates.

We’ve heard a lot of rumors regarding his whereabouts, the latest is that he is dead. His mother wants to know and we believe there has been foul play.

He is 23 years-old, 6’3 and about 200 pound, hair is sandy brown, and he has a large tattoo of the grim reaper on his neck.

Last known address was Fern Forest on the Big Island.

Hospice of Hilo Sponsors Youth and Teen Bereavement Camps

Hospice of Hilo will be having free, four-week youth and teen bereavement camps at its Pōhai Mālama a Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Care Center located at 590 Kapi‘olani St. in Hilo.  The youth camp is for children ages five to 11 and will meet from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm every Tuesday starting January 21 and going to February 11.  The teen camp is for ages 12 to 17 and will meet from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm every Wednesday starting January 22 to February 12.

Hospice Youth Camp

“Grief is a normal response to death and loss. Within every child and adult there is a natural ability to respond to great loss. Each person chooses his/her individual path for expressing grief. Any death is emotional and disruptive for an adult; it can be devastating for a child,” said Hospice of Hilo Children’s Bereavement Counselor Fujio Sato.

“In a relaxed, supportive, open and safe environment, the youth and teens work with professionals to learn positive ways to share their feelings related to their loss and learn new ways to cope,” said Community Bereavement Counselor Cathy Hough.

Pre-registration is required for each camp.  No charge to participants. For more information or to register call Fujio Sato at 969-1733.

 

Hawaii in Critical Fiscal Condition – Study of State Solvency Ranks Hawaii in Bottom 10 Nationwide

A nationwide study found Hawaii ranks number 43 nationwide as one of the states whose finances are reaching a critical point. The study, which was conducted by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, considered and weighted a variety of financial indices, including cash solvency, budget solvency, long-run solvency, and service level solvency, in formulating their rankings.
Cash Solvency
Though the report specifies that the findings reveal a, “snapshot in time,” for the states, the rankings are reflective of general fiscal health and policy—a fact that underlines Hawaii’s spending and budget issues as well as the problem of unfunded liabilities that continue to damage the state economic outlook. Hawaii ranked 24th in cash solvency (whether the state has cash on hand to meet short-term obligations), but was 47th in budget solvency, 40th in long-run solvency (ability to cover long-term obligations), and 42nd in service-level solvency (whether the government has sufficient resources to provide adequate services for residents).

“Again, we see the effect of continual fiscal mismanagement,” states Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, the state’s free market think-tank and advocate for greater fiscal responsibility. “Taxpayers and citizens must demand greater accountability from our political leaders or we will see our spending and budget shortfalls continue to damage Hawaii’s economic well-being.”

With the legislature primed to consider new bills related to taxes, spending, and unfunded liabilities, Dr. Akina called on legislators to heed the warnings contained in the Mercatus Center’s State Fiscal Condition Report:  “As Hawaii’s legislators begin a new session, we urge them to consider sound fiscal policies which will raise Hawaii out of the ‘Bottom 10’ grouping of states in terms of fiscal condition.  Serious and workable measures are needed immediately not only to reduce the State’s unfunded liabilities, but to reverse the trend of borrowing from the future to pay for the past.”

The Mercatus report can be downloaded and read in full at http://mercatus.org/publication/state-fiscal-condition-ranking-50-states.

UH Hilo Sophomore Awarded Gilman Scholarship

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo sophomore Jimmee Makamae Silva-Naone has received a Spring 2014 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad.

Gilman

Silva-Naone was awarded $3,000 to continue her second semester at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. A Hawaiian studies and anthropology major, Silva-Naone looks forward to learning how Maori youth view their presence in a growing Western society. Upon her return, she hopes to share how young Maori balance their role in society with cultural preservation.

The Gilman program was established to promote interest in non-traditional study abroad destinations and to support students traditionally under-represented in study abroad activities. The scholarship also helps to promote multi-cultural fluency through exchange opportunities, which is a key objective of the UH Hilo Strategic Plan.

For more information, contact the Center for Global Education and Exchange, at 932-7488 or www.hilo.hawaii.edu/studyabroad.

“Tuskegee Airmen” Hangar Talk Scheduled for Saturday, February 8 During Black History Month

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor will welcome Hawaii’s own Tuskegee Airman Philip Baham, Dr. Dorothy Goldsborough, and a panel of Black History experts, as they discuss the stories and the legacy of the first African-American military aviators who served during WWII. The Hangar Talk, “Tuskegee Airmen Then and Now” is Saturday, February 8, 2014, 2 to 4pm in the Museum Theater.

Members of the Tuskegee Airmen (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Members of the Tuskegee Airmen (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

The panel discussion will begin at 2pm, followed by an audience question and answer session. A Meet and Greet with the panelists will follow at 3pm. The event is free with regular Museum admission and free to Museum Members.

One of the original WWII Tuskegee Airmen, Philip Baham was drafted into the Army Air Corps at 21 years of age and served as crew chief assigned to the 377th Composite Group at Tuskegee Field. Despite facing the racial injustice prevalent throughout his career, Mr. Baham continued to serve his country, achieving the rank of TSgt in the newly formed United States Air Force. Mr. Baham received a number of medals and commendations for his service. He is a founding member of Hawaii’s Artis-Baham-Goldsborough Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen and is a volunteer docent at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

Dr. Dorothy Goldsborough is a Professor Emerita at Chaminade University and a lecturer at University of Hawaii Manoa. She is the wife of the late Romaine Goldsborough, another documented original Tuskegee Airman who served in the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II.

For more information, call (808) 441-1007, email Education@PacificAviationMuseum.org or visit online www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Big Island Police Capture Female Escapee From Hale Nani Correctional Facility

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an escape from a correctional center in Hilo that resulted in the arrest of an inmate.

Mary Lolita Santos

Mary Lolita Santos

At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday (January 14), 40-year-old Mary Lolita Santos of Mountain View was arrested for second-degree escape. She is being held at the police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

At about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, police responded to the Hale Nani Correctional Facility off Route 11 in Hilo after receiving a report from correctional officers that at about 9:40 a.m., a female inmate scaled a fence and fled on foot from the minimum security facility. After running along Route 11 and into the Puna-bound traffic lanes, she stopped a blue van and jumped into the passenger side window. State correctional officers were able to prevent the van from leaving until they took Santos into custody. The van then left the area.

Mary Lolita Santos

Mary Lolita Santos

Detectives want to interview the van’s driver, who was described as an older Filipino man. He was operating a blue Honda Odyssey van that may have been a taxi, as it was described as having the letters “PUC” on its exterior.

Police ask anyone who was traveling on Route 11 and may have witnessed this incident or may know the identity of the driver to call Detective Norbert Serrao of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2383 or email at nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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.

6 Year Photographic Nature Study Released: Sentient Dolphins and Interspecies Communications are a Focus of “The Leaf Game”

Photographer and Freediver, Ted Roe, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to gain the funds needed to self-publish a photography book with stories and exhibit his work. The last day to participate as a Backer to fund the all-or-nothing campaign is January 19, 2014.

Imagine swimming in the warm waters of Hawaii.  You take a deep inhale and dive down.  You swim down like a dolphin.  You pass 30 feet, then 60 feet, then 90 feet and then slowly flatten out like a skydiver as you approach the bottom of the ocean.  You gently turn and stand up on the bottom of the sea, at 120ft.  You look up and see the sun as a tiny bright dot against the surface of the ocean.  Looking at your dive watch, you know this breath will give you another 2 minutes before you must return to the surface because you have a 6 minute static breath-hold.  You are holding your breath, one breath.  You lift your camera…

The Leaf Game, Dolphins Offer Photographer, Ted Roe a Leaf to Play in Pod Games. (PRNewsFoto/Ted Roe)

The Leaf Game, Dolphins Offer Photographer, Ted Roe a Leaf to Play in Pod Games. (NewsFoto/Ted Roe)

For six years freediving teacher Ted Roe has been conducting a photographic study documenting nature and the underwater world on the Big Island, Hawaii.  He is one of a few people able to swim freely with wild dolphin pods at 60 feet without SCUBA tanks.  Roe has documented images of their resting behaviors, hunting behaviors, play behaviors and many engaging interspecies communications.  The striking images in Roe’s portfolio go further to document eye-to-eye contact, invitations and other interactions with wild dolphins.

Roe decided to self-publish a book including stories of these encounters to accompany these breathtaking photographs.  He chose Kickstarter.com to host his crowdfunding campaign, The Leaf Game.  Pledging begins at $1.  Rewards begin at $5.  For more information go to the project here: http://kck.st/1fvDO84

Roe’s collection also includes beautiful photographs of turtles, fish, geckos, other wildlife, landscapes, flowers, sunsets, and some images of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

TED ROE LEAF GAME DOLPHINS

Complex Photography

Freediving photography is complex. The ocean is constantly moving and changing. There is no way to plan or stage images that involve wild, fast-moving creatures. Roe consciously monitors remaining breath, dive duration, pressure equalization, the camera, sea conditions, all aspects of personal safety, and the shot itselfThese photographs are the result of six years of diving quietly and deeply, every day, swimming naturally and unobtrusively for hours alone in the sea.

A Reverent Approach

Roe works with wildlife in a unique and respectful way.  He uses almost no equipment; a small Canon G10 camera with an underwater housing and natural light.  All underwater images are taken freediving with one breath. He does not pursue, disturb, confuse or upset wildlife.  He does not use large cameras, flash, or underwater strobe lights.  He does not use SCUBA equipment.

Roe teaches freediving as a form of yoga that enhances awareness and allows a swimmer to integrate fully with the environment.  Roe uses body language he has learned from his wild subjects to encourage communication and dynamic interactions.  This approach is reflected in his pictures showing a connection between photographer, subject and the surrounding environment.

“We are trained from birth to think that we know what reality is because we know the names of the things we see. But that isn’t really knowledge. If you really want to know how things are connected and where you fit in you have to learn to see through appearances, concepts and words. Connect with reality directly.  Spend hours in contemplation, alone, in wild places.”  Ted Roe

As the controversy mounts over corporations profiting from captive dolphins and whales as exposed by movies like “The Cove” (Taiji, Japan) and “Blackfish” (SeaWorld); Roe’s images show us that dolphins in the wild are the only show to see.  He reminds us that dolphins are real beings that are open, welcoming, and sentient yet they are living challenging and difficult lives.  He gives us a window into who they really are; their community, their true natures, their scars, and their natural beauty.

The Kickstarter Project: A Photographic Book and Exhibit

The title of Roe’s Kickstarter project, his book and the signature photograph; “The Leaf Game”, is a reference to a game that dolphins play.  It’s a combination of soccer and tag, whereby they pass a leaf between them.  Roe has captured images of them offering a leaf to him; a photograph that is an icon of the project.

“The idea that any free, wild, non-human being would invite a human being to play with them is a revealing comment about the concept of sentience and the true nature of our fellow beings.  The truth is that we are all more alike than we are different.  It’s been a humbling and gratifying experience and I want to share it with you.”  Ted Roe

Funding Deadline is January 19, 2014

The Leaf Game is an all-or-nothing Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for Roe to self-publish his photography book and exhibit his work.  The funding deadline to participate as a “Backer” and pledge for a chosen “Reward” is January 19, 2014.  The funding goal to achieve the book publication and the print exhibit is $30,000.00.  Pledging is no-risk; Amazon Payments manages pledges and a Backer is not charged if the project does not meet the funding goal.

Rewards for Pledging

Roe is offering exclusive rewards for pledging that include photographs, a first edition hardback book, an e-book, a collector’s book, fine art pigment prints (numbered, signed, limited edition), framed fine art prints, and a few one-of-a-kind artist’s proofs are available.  There is also a reward of freediving lessons with Roe.

Roe asks you to consider a pledge of a 10 license e-book copy as your gift to a school, library or children’s hospital.

Roe will ship any reward you purchase as a gift in your name and provide you with delivery confirmation.

Contribute, see the photographs, and learn more about The Leaf Game project HERE:

http://kck.st/1fvDO84

The Names That WERE Submitted to Governor Abercrombie to Replace Rep. Denny Coffman

The three nominees that were submitted to Governor Abercrombie to replace Rep. Denny Coffman were Richard Creagan, Steve Sakala, and Michael Matsukawa.

Richard P. Creagan

Richard P. Creagan

As we know now… Richard Creagan was selected by the Governor.

Big Island Police Searching for 28-Year-Old Hilo Man

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 28-year-old Hilo man wanted on two outstanding $50,000 bench warrants.

Bryce D. Feary

Bryce D. Feary

Bryce D. Feary is described as 5-foot-11, 170 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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

Big Island Police Searching for 22-Year-Old Woman… AGAIN

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 22-year-old woman wanted on five outstanding $50,000 bench warrants.

Shaylyn Araw

Shaylyn Araw

Shaylyn Momi Araw is described as 5-foot-3, 110 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.

She may be in Hilo or Pepeʻekeo.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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

Count Humpback Whales from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park encourages volunteers to register to help count humpback whales during the 2014 Sanctuary Ocean Count held the last Saturday of January, February and March (Jan. 25, Feb. 22, and Mar. 29), from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

umpback whale seen offshore near the end of Chain of Craters Road, January 2014. Image courtesy of Thomas C. Stein

Humpback whale seen offshore near the end of Chain of Craters Road, January 2014. Image courtesy of Thomas C. Stein

Ka‘ena Point, located at the end of Chain of Craters Road in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, is one of Hawai‘i Island’s 21 Sanctuary Ocean Count sites. Volunteers on shore monitor humpbacks in nearshore waters for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Residents and visitors look forward to this yearly event which provides important population and distribution information about humpback whales around the Hawaiian Islands.

The Sanctuary Ocean Count is an ideal opportunity for the community and the park to work together as stewards of the ocean. These splendid creatures swim more than 2,000 miles to Hawai‘i from Arctic waters every winter, and the annual count is one way to observe and record their behavior and ensure their future.

For more information, visit www.hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov. To register online, visit www.sanctuaryoceancount.org. For any additional questions please call the Ocean Count Hotline 808-268-3087.

Registered volunteers meet Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park volunteer and Sanctuary Ocean Count site leader Jennifer Watson at the end of Chain of Craters Road on the scheduled count days.