20th Annual Waimea Cherry Festival is Coming Up

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

Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival (photo provided by festival)

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

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

BJ Penn Taken to Hospital After Fight – Dana White Wants Him to Retire

Last night, Hilo’s own BJ Penn got beaten down at UFC on FOX to Rory McDonald.

BJ walks back to the locker room after last nights UFC on FOX fight. (Esther Lin, MMA Fighting)

BJ walks back to the locker room after last nights UFC on FOX fight. (Esther Lin, MMA Fighting)

According to MMAFighting he was taken to the hospital after the fight:

…The former two-division champion was routed by Rory MacDonald at UFC on FOX 5, a beating so physically taxing that Penn had to be transported to a Seattle area hospital for observation, according to UFC officials…

The article then goes on to say that UFC Promoter Dana White wants him to retire:

…Following the event, White said during a FUEL TV interview that he wanted and expected to see Penn hang up his gloves for good.

“He didn’t say it tonight but I think BJ is probably going to retire,” White said. “I wouldn’t mind seeing that…

I actually expected him to retire after his last fight and it seems like he’s really taken a beating in the last years of his career losing only winning 1 of his last 6 fights!

BJ Penn Record

Here are the results of a poll that I took back in August of 2010 asking whether BJ Penn should retire or not:

BJ Retire

 

 

Big Island Police Charge Escapee With Multiple Counts – Still Searching for Other Escapee

Big Island Police have charged Jarvis Higa today with several offenses stemming from his escape from the Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

Jarvis Naoki Higa

Jarvis Naoki Higa

Higa was charged with Escape in the 1st Degree, Kidnapping, Assault 2nd Degree, Robbery 2nd Degree, Criminal Property Damage in the 3rd Degree, and Unauthorized Control of a Propelled Vehicle. Higa is presently being held at the East Hawaii Detention Facility located at the Hilo Police Station. Higa will likely be arraigned on his charges on Monday, December 10th, at Hilo District Court.

Higa is being detained without bail.

 

Santa Lands at Queens’s MarketPlace Tonight

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

Santa at Queens'

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Saturday Find

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

3.3 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Maui This Morning

earthquake

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

 

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

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

Kealakehe High School

Kealakehe High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Big Island Police Searching for 22-Year-Old Puna Woman That Went Missing Today

UPDATE: SHE HAS BEEN LOCATED!

Big Island police are searching for a 22 year-old Puna woman reported as missing.

Rosereen Ruben

Rosereen Ruben

Rosereen Ruben was last seen in Mt. View on Friday morning, (December 7). She is described as Micronesian, 5’ 4” tall, 130 pounds, having a medium build with shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a purple blouse, white capri pants and black strap sandals.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

One Escapee Caught… Other Still on the Run

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

Jarvis Naoki Higa

Jarvis Naoki Higa

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

Ryan Jeffrieshamar

Ryan Jeffries-Hamar

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

 

Hawai’i Community Foundation Partnership Fuels Grassroots Restoration Efforts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taro fields at Kāko'o 'Ōiwi.

Taro fields at Kāko’o ‘Ōiwi.

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

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

Projects funded this year include:

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

On the Web:
Hawai`i Community Foundation: www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org
NOAA Restoration Center: www.restoration.noaa.gov
The Castle Foundation: www.castlefoundation.org

 

UH Hilo Students Rally for Clean Elections

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

UH Hilo students rallying for clean elections

UH Hilo students rallying for clean elections

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

 

Remembering Pearl Harbor – Survivor Helps Identify the Dead

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

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

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

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

Citizens Rally to Save Clean Elections Program

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

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

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

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

Noelie Rodrigues still Rallying for the Public

Noelie Rodrigues still Rallying for the Public

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

New Rescue Tubes Improve Safety at Hilo-Area Beach Parks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

 

Eight Students Arrested Following Brawl at Kealakehe High School

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

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

No one required medical attention.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Councilman Pete Hoffmann

Pete Hoffman, December 2012

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

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

Hawaii Community Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

To submit an online application, search for a scholarship or find more information, please visitwww.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/scholarships.

 

New Research Underscores Vulnerability of Wildlife in Low-Lying Hawaiian Islands

If current climate change trends continue, rising sea levels may inundate low-lying islands across the globe, placing island biodiversity at risk. A new U.S. Geological Survey scientific publication describes the first combined simulations of the effects of sea-level rise and wave action in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, offering the most detailed and multifaceted assessment available of how island biodiversity may be affected by climate change.

USGS ReportThe publication, “Predicting Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability of Terrestrial Habitat and Wildlife of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands,” by Michelle H. Reynolds, Paul Berkowitz, Karen N. Courtot, Crystal M. Krause, Jamie Carter, and Curt Storlazzi is available online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2012/1182/.

Recent models predict a rise of approximately 1 meter in global sea level by 2100, with larger increases possible in parts of the Pacific Ocean. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI), which extend 1,930 kilometers beyond the main Hawaiian Islands, are a World Heritage Site and part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. These islands – comprising the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, and Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary – support the largest tropical seabird rookery in the world, providing breeding habitat for 21 species of seabirds, four endemic land bird species and essential foraging, breeding or haul-out habitat for many other resident and migratory wildlife species.

“These magnificent seabirds spend the majority of their adult lives at sea: soaring vast distances over open water searching for food in an over-fished ocean. The one thing they cannot do at sea is reproduce,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “And now their breeding ground is in peril.”

The USGS team led by biologist Michelle H. Reynolds of the USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center modeled what is known as passive sea-level rise (excluding wave-driven effects such as wave flooding and erosion) for islands in this biologically important region. General climate models that predict a temperature rise of 1.8–2.6 degrees Celsius and an annual decrease in rainfall of 24.7–76.3 millimeters by 2100 were applied across the study area.  For the most biologically diverse low-lying island of Laysan, dynamic wave-driven effects on habitat and wildlife populations were modeled for a range of sea-level rise scenarios.

After collecting new high-resolution topographic data in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, the researchers modeled sea-level rise inundation, habitat loss, and calculated wildlife vulnerability. Given a passive sea-level rise of 1 meter, they found, about 4 percent of the land mass of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands will be lost. If sea level rises 2 meters, 26 percent of the land mass will be lost. On Laysan Island, within the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, impacts from storm waves as well as groundwater rise were found to greatly amplify the effects of sea-level rise: from 4.6 percent to 17.2 percent inundation in the 2-meter scenario, for instance. Thus habitat loss would be most dramatic in the wave-exposed coastal habitats and most devastating to species with global breeding distributions primarily on the low-lying Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, such as the Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes), Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis), Bonin Petrel (Pterodroma hypoleuca), Gray-backed Tern (Onychoprion lunatus), Laysan Teal (Anas laysanensis), Laysan Finch (Telespiza cantans), and Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi).

This publication may be a useful tool and a starting place for developing climate change mitigation/adaptation plans as well as future scientific studies for this important region.

 

MANHUNT CONTINUES – Escapees May Try to Rob Bank

Hawaiʻi County Police have received information that two inmates who escaped from Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center on Wednesday intend to rob a bank.

Police recommend heightened security measures at financial institutions.

ManhuntThe first suspect is identified as 35-year-old Jarvis Naoki Higa. He is described as Japanese, about 5-foot-6 tall, about 160 pounds with short black hair and tattoos on his chest. Higa is considered dangerous and may be armed. He was being held at the facility awaiting trial for an attempted murder charge, in which he allegedly shot at a 34-year-old Hilo man in July of this year.

The second suspect is identified as 31-year-old Ryan James Jeffries-Hamar. He is described as Caucasian, about 5-foot-7, about 170 pounds, with blue eyes and short reddish-brown hair. Jeffries-Hamar was serving his sentence at the facility for a parole violation and was also awaiting trial for a previous escape from the Hale Nani facility in August of this year. He is considered dangerous.

Police urge the public to call 911 if they see either man.

A Very Merry Kulani Christmas Bird Count

If you’ll be on Hawaii Island in December, the DLNR Hawaii Island Natural Area Reserves System, Three Mountain Alliance, ‘Imi Pono No Ka ‘Aina, and the Audubon Society invite you to join them December 15th for a Very Merry Kulani Christmas Bird Count!
Annual Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count
Please join them for a day beneath the beautiful rain forest canopy of Kulani forest to observe rare and endangered birds and take part in restoring their home by planting a tree at this year’s, 113th Annual Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count.

To request a registration packet or for more information please e-mail or call Anya Tagawa at atagawa@hawaii.edu or (808) 443-4245. Registration is required. Registration available to 20 individuals on a first come first serve basis.