Governor’s Statement Regarding Standard & Poor’s Favorable Assessment of Hawaii’s Progress on OPEB Liability

abercrombieheaderIn a news release titled “Hawaii Moves to Tame Its OPEB Liability,” Standard and Poor’s Rating Service today acknowledged the State of Hawaii’s actions to shore up its financial position in the wake of a stronger revenue outlook. Standard & Poor’s also claimed that Hawaii’s actions will strengthen the state’s fiscal position in both the near and longer term.

The Governor stated:

“It is encouraging to hear that one of the major agencies that rates Hawaii’s credit has spoken so positively of our administration’s efforts and our state’s achievements to build and improve our financial structure. Our most significant objectives have been to build financial reserves, deal with long-term unfunded liabilities, and instill sound financial management.

“Standard & Poor’s favorable comments acknowledge Hawaii as a leader amongst states in dealing with our financial health. Upon taking office, this administration recognized what needed to be done to restore financial confidence in our state, our financial management, and our economic well-being. We have made hard decisions that have begun to put Hawaii on the right path to better financial surety.

“Standard & Poor’s is the first rating agency to publicly recognize the significance of our state’s efforts and milestone legislation that will set the groundwork for future Legislatures and government leaders in Hawaii to deal with a growing burden that, if left unaddressed, will critically cripple the future financial viability of government to provide public services. Recent events nationally illustrate how significant Hawaii’s movement to deal with its liabilities is setting Hawaii apart from other jurisdictions.

“The message is clear: Hawaii takes its financial obligations seriously.”

Link to Standard & Poor’s news release here:


Senator Mazie Hirono Unveils Proposal that Help Hawaii Veterans

The day before the Veterans’ Affairs Committee considers eight bills that would have major impacts on vets across America, Senator Mazie K. Hirono filed three amendments designed to specifically help vets in Hawaii access federal veterans’ programs.

Senator Hirono

Senator Hirono

Two of Hirono’s amendments would help unemployed Native Hawaiian and Hawaii Island veterans access programs to help get jobs. Another Hirono amendment would ensure that Native Hawaiian-serving organizations are eligible to be considered for public/private partnerships to assist homeless vets.

The committee will consider eight bills tomorrow, including legislation that will help jobless vets find employment opportunities, improve assistance for homeless vets, improve care for female vets and align benefits with increases in cost of living.

“Hawaii’s veterans served and sacrificed for our freedoms, and we must provide the support they deserve. Among the eight bills my Veterans’ Affairs Committee colleagues and I will consider are proposals that would help veterans get jobs and help provide more assistance to homeless vets. Over the past weeks, I have explored ways that these programs could work better for Hawaii veterans, and today I am filing three amendments that will improve programs for Native Hawaiian and Hawaii Island vets. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee to get these measures adopted during tomorrow’s mark-up.”

Below are summaries of Hirono’s three amendments:

  • Transportation Assistance For Hawaii Island Veterans In New Jobs Programs:
    With more than 80 miles between towns like Hawi and Hilo, Hawaii Island’s geography can make transportation a challenge for some Hawaii veterans seeking to participate in new U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employment assistance programs. Hirono’s amendment would enable veterans to receive transportation subsidies for commutes up to 150 miles to and from their job site.
  • Outreach To Native Hawaiian Veterans For New Jobs Programs:
    Native Hawaiian veterans and native veterans who do not live on tribal lands are not mentioned in the bill, which potentially excludes them from targeted outreach efforts. Hirono’s amendment essentially expands the scope of native veteran outreach to include organizations that serve these populations.
  • Include Native Hawaiian Organizations For Public/Private Partnerships Providing Legal Services To Homeless Veterans:
    Hirono’s amendment includes Native Hawaiian-serving organizations among the entities the VA can consider in distributing the partnerships with public/private entities to provide legal services to homeless veterans.

Senator Mazie Hirono Announces $6.7 Million for Honolulu International Airport Upgrades

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced $6.7 million in federal funds for Honolulu International Airport. The U.S. Department of Transportation grant will fund the replacement of 12 existing passenger loading bridges in the Main Overseas Terminal that are outdated and have reached the end of their useful lives.
“Honolulu International Airport is Hawaii’s main connection to the mainland and the rest of the world,” Hirono said. “Today’s federal investment will help the airport make critical upgrades as the state continues to see growing numbers of international and domestic visitors. Since tourism is our state’s number one industry, anything we can do to promote travel to Hawaii is a step toward strengthening our economy and creating jobs.”

Built in 1927 and served by 27 international and domestic carriers, three interisland airlines and four commuter airlines, the airport is undergoing a number of modernization initiatives as visitor arrivals continue to rise. The airport hosts approximately 20 million passengers each year.

Hirono has been working closely with her Senate colleagues to get funding for major Hawaii transportation initiatives. Later this week, the Senate is expected to approve legislation that would fund many other transportation and housing initiatives – including full funding for the Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor Project for the 2014 fiscal year, support for Kalaupapa air travel and funding for Native Hawaiian Housing initiatives.


Big Island Police Catch One of Their Most Wanted

Hawaiʻi Island police have located 51-year-old Arthur Clayton of Keaʻau, who was wanted on a $40,000 bench warrant in connection with drug charges.

Arthur Clayton

Arthur Clayton

Clayton was arrested on the bench warrant Thursday (July 18). He was also charged with first-degree burglary, second-degree theft and attempted unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.

Clayton is being featured on the current episode of “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted,” which is airing this month on Na Leo O Hawaiʻi Community Television.


Three Arrested After Shots Fired From Car in Hilo – Police Looking for Witnesses

Hawaiʻi Island police are looking for witnesses to an incident involving shots being fired from a moving vehicle late Monday night (July 22).

At 11:45 p.m., officers responded to several reports that gunshots had been fired from a car traveling east on Haihai Street between Heahea Street and Kinoʻole Avenue.
Shooting Haihai
Police located the vehicle and arrested three men and two juveniles on suspicion of reckless endangering. The adults, 21-year-old Justy Kahana of Hilo, 21-year-old Kaipo Kailipaka of Hilo and 22-year-old Alfred Fuller IV of Hilo are being held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation. The juveniles were released to their parents pending further investigation.

Police have recovered the vehicle, a 1996 silver Volkswagen four-door Jetta.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed this incident contact Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2378 or

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.


PETA Asks Fisherman Who’s Boat Got Flipped by Tuna to Give Up Fishing

As Koloa, Hawaii, angler Anthony Wichman recovers from nearly drowning after a 230-pound ahi tuna he had stabbed in the eye with a fishing gaff pulled him into the water, PETA is encouraging him to make Friday’s fishing expedition his last. As the group writes in a letter sent to him today, fish experience pain and fear just as all animals—including humans—do, and as PETA’s “Silent Scream” video illustrates, fish suffer immensely when they are impaled, yanked out of the water, stabbed, and suffocated.

The fish that didn't get away!

The fish that didn’t get away!

“Mr. Wichman survived the terrifying ordeal of being caught on a line, pulled out of his natural environment, and deprived of oxygen—so we’re hoping he’ll now think of what all the fish, including his most recent victim, go through and not want to inflict that pain and fear on them,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA hopes he will make the compassionate decision to go vegan, and we’re willing to help him.” PETA is sending him a vegan starter kit and recipes for faux-fish dishes.

For more information, please visit

Here is a copy of the letter:

July 23, 2013

Anthony Wichman
5496 Emi Rd.
Koloa, HI 96756

Dear Mr. Wichman:

I am writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Hawaii. As a former fisher myself, I urge you to use your recent brush with death as an opportunity to put yourself in the place of the living being you were trying to kill and to consider the value of her life and others like her. As terrifying as it must have been for you to be nearly drowned by a 230-pound tuna, please consider how frightening and painful the experience must have been for the animal who was killed after a struggle that you initiated by punching a gaff through her back and then her eye while she began to suffocate after having been pulled out of the water. With all due respect, I ask you to do some soul-searching and abandon fishing for good.

As this tuna demonstrated, fish, like other animals, value their lives and don’t want to be killed. Studies show that fish have complex nervous systems and feel pain in much the same way as dogs and cats and we do.

Fishing causes immense physical and psychological suffering to fish, who have particularly sensitive mouths and lips that they use like we use our hands. Impaling a fish through the mouth and then dragging him or her out of the water is the equivalent of someone driving a hook through your hand and yanking your entire body weight into the water, where you wouldn’t be able to breathe. As PETA’s short video “Silent Scream” shows, even though fish cannot vocalize to express their pain and fear, there is no room for doubt that they suffer greatly when they are impaled, gaffed, gutted alive, or left to suffocate slowly.

Witnessing the struggle and suffocation of a bloody founder I yanked from the waters off Catalina during a teenage fishing trip made me recognize that fishing is, quite simply, a sadistic “pleasure” derived from another’s misery, and I hung up my rod for good. I sincerely hope that you will consider this point of view in the wake of your fight to the finish with the unfortunate tuna.

Kindest regards,

Dan Mathews
Senior Vice President

Big Island Police Shoot Man Trying to Attempt Suicide

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a non-fatal officer involved shooting in Kona on Monday evening.


At 9:08 p.m., police responded to a report of an attempted suicide in progress at a home on Manu Mele Street in Kailua-Kona.

Upon arrival, officers contacted a 33-year-old man who was standing outside the house holding a rifle. Officers ordered the man to put the weapon down but he refused to follow their instructions and attempted to use the rifle to harm himself.

One officer discharged his duty weapon, striking the man in his right shoulder and causing him to drop the rifle. The man was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was treated for his injury. He is listed in stable condition.

The officer is identified as a 31-year-old eight-year veteran of the Hawaiʻi Police Department.

No officers were injured during the incident.

As is standard practice in any police involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area II Criminal Investigations Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.


Aikido of Hilo to Host World Renowned Teacher

Registration has begun for Aikido of Hilo’s upcoming Fall Seminar with Morito Suganuma. The seminar will be held during Labor Day weekend from August 31st to September 2nd at the Aikido of Hilo Dojo on 29 Shipman Street.

Morihei Ueshiba

According to Aikido of Hilo Chief Instructor, Barbara Klein, “Aikido is the Japanese martial art of peace and reconciliation.”

Suganuma who was born in Fukushima, Japan holds the title Shihan, master teacher, and is an 8th degree black belt. He began studying Aikido in 1963 and studied under the martial art’s founder Morihei Ueshiba and Ueshiba’s son Kisshomaru. In 1967, Suganuma received the honor of becoming the founder’s last uchideshi, a full time live-in student at the Aikido Headquarters in Tokyo.

After Morihei Ueshiba’s death in 1969, Suganuma was sent to Japan’s southern island of Kyūshū to represent the Aikido Headquarters in that area. In Kyūshū, Suganuma founded and is the head of the Aikido Shoheijuku Dojo, which today encompasses about 70 dojo and 4000 students. Suganuma is also a noted master in Japanese Calligraphy and a practitioner of Zen meditation and yoga.

“In Aikido there are only two 8th degree black belts in the United States and only a handful in the world. Having someone of Suganuma Shihan’s stature come to Hilo and teach is an incredibly rare opportunity,” said Klein.

Klein and her husband, prominent Hilo chiropractor, Dr. Robert Klein, both hold 6th degree black belts and have been teaching Aikido in Hilo for over 30 years.

The upcoming fall seminar has already attracted students from the U.S. Mainland, Canada, Japan and across the State of Hawai‘i. “There is still some limited space for Aikido students that want to study with Suganuma Shihan,” said Klein.

For more information and to register for Aikido of Hilo’s Fall Seminar go to the dojo’s website at

Second Annual Hospice of Hilo Benefit Concert

Hawaii Media Arts, founded by Dennis and Christy Soares, will be hosting the Second Annual Hospice of Hilo Benefit Concert on Saturday, August 10 at 7 pm. The performance will be held at Hospice of Hilo’s Community Building at 1011 Waianuenue Avenue and will showcase a fantastic lineup of talented musicians.

Hospice Benefit Concert

The lineup will include ukulele masters, Rick Jitchaku and Brian Vasquez, soulful guitarist Ronnie Harris, the melodies of Dennis and Christy Soares, Harp talents of Cymber Lily Quinn and more.

All artists are donating their time and talent to ensure every dollar raised will support quality and compassionate end-of-life care for patients in East Hawaii.

To the Soares’, this is a labor of love, “We have performed for Hospice of Hilo’s memorial service many times, and the stories from families touched by hospice care are amazing,” said Dennis Soares, “All of us will meet a point of our life when hospice is appropriate. Christy and I can’t think of a better cause to support.”

“We are so grateful to the Soares’ and the many musicians for sharing their incredible gifts to benefit Hospice of Hilo,” said An Umamoto, Hospice of Hilo Development Coordinator. “Last year’s event was wonderful and we look forward to another amazing experience this August.”

Tickets are $10 each. To purchase, visit or call Hospice of Hilo at (808) 969-1733.

Since 1983, Hospice of Hilo has been meeting the end-of-life and palliative care needs for the East and South portions of the Big Island. More information about the organization can be found at .


Announcing #TechTuesday – Hawaii TechWorks’ Monthly Meetup!

How #TechTuesdays by Hawaii TechWorks Began

On the Big Island, Cody Anderson grew up in Kea’au and Tony Marzi grew up in Pahoa. As kids, they both played on the same soccer team in Kea’au. Years later, after both had spent time away in school and on the Mainland, both returned home to the Big Island, where they reconnected in Hilo, Marzi as the founder of Hawaii TechWorks and Anderson as the owner of Bolo Graphics. Although their interests vary widely, they quickly discovered a shared mission: to bring together the creative and technical community of Big Island. With that shared vision, and with the help of dedicated Hawaii TechWorks staff and volunteers, including Charles Huston, Kent Olsen, and Anoka Jung, they started co-hosting #TechTuesday events in Hilo for programmers, creatives, designers, students, engineers, and anyone they knew to be interested in and invested in science, technology, entrepreneurship, education, and their local community. Since the launch of #TechTuesdays by Hawaii TechWorks, a cohesive membership has formed, new young leaders in the community and in tech have emerged, and #TechTuesday #ProjectGroups have taken shape, all with the shared mission of community economic and educational development.

A beautiful day for an outdoor crowd at #TechTuesday by #HawaiiTechWorks

A beautiful day for an outdoor crowd at #TechTuesday by #HawaiiTechWorks

#TechTuesdays by Hawaii TechWorks

In April of 2013, we hosted our first pau hana, potluck-style #TechTuesday event. We invited friends and colleagues interested in learning, connecting, and utilizing technology in new and interesting ways, and opened up the floor for discussions and networking. Co-hosts Tony Marzi and Cody Anderson shared their vision with the group, and modestly delivered the #TechTuesday concept as a mind-map that they drew on the whiteboard -activities, projects, and events -all in a form to build new friendships and professional collaborations, and to jump-start new tech and small business projects.

In May, our second #TechTuesday event was held at the Pacific Aquaculture Coastal Resources Center (#PACRC). There we hosted a 3D printing presentation and demonstration by Ted Stretham and Gerard Kruisheer.. Also on the agenda, Don Kosak shared his recent experience at the Bay Area Maker Faire, which was attended by well over 80,000 people, and Kent Olsen shared his new role with TEDTalks as marketing director for TEDxHilo.

Our third #TT event was held at the University of Hawaii at Hilo Old Army Reserve Building, in association with the Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES). We had an excellent presentation from PISCES Director Christian Andersen, who shared the projects PISCES has been working on in Aerospace Technology, as well as Mike Purvis and Ryder Donahue (Team Poliahu, University of Hawaii at Hilo), who shared with us the Help Me Help app that made them the 2013 Microsoft Dream Cup U.S. Champions.

We have had individuals across the education, business, and tech spectrum join us in helping to establish #TechTuesday as a monthly meetup in Hilo -enabling Hawaii TechWorks to provide a highly anticipated, new and interesting forum for tech collaboration and opportunity in our community. From high school and college students, design and software engineers, university staff, and local business members, all have been and are deeply engaged, and our first #ProjectGroup, which is being spearheaded by Vahid Ajimine, has already launched. Our next #TechTuesday meetup, for July, is coming up, as well as other, much-anticipated events.

The Future of #TechTuesdays by Hawaii TechWorks

Anderson and Marzi, with the assistance of Hawaii TechWorks volunteers and support staff, plan to continue co-hosting #TechTuesday meetups each month. In the pipeline, along with the formation of #TechTuesday #ProjectGroups, are #CodeJam and #GameJam events that should prove to be both fun and productive. The level of engagement and commitment with #TechTuesdays from our membership is high, and we look forward to continuing to meet our community economic development and STEM education mission with our members as partners. With each #TechTuesday meetup and #ProjectGroup activity, Hawaii TechWorks is fostering and nurturing the crucial exchange of ideas that will lead to new tech, small businesses, and opportunity for everyone in our community.

About Hawaii TechWorks

Hawaii TechWorks is a non-governmental, social enterprise organization working in East Hawaii and surrounding communities. Hawaii TechWorks’ mission, as established by founder Tony Marzi, is to approach the existing and systemic issues we face today with 21st century tools and solutions. The goals of Hawaii TechWorks are: to assist in the development of community-based high growth and high impact businesses; to help entrepreneurs convert great ideas into successful businesses; and, to help companies succeed by providing the technical assistance, business infrastructure, and networking opportunities that will increase their chances of successes. We are focused on fostering the emergence of a next generation of leaders, in facilitating the development of strong community ties through informal networking and relationship-building, in new job opportunities for local residents, and in community-based economic development.

For more information or to become a #TechTuesday by Hawaii TechWorks presenter, please contact us at

To view our #TechTuesdays photo album, please click here:#TechTuesdays by Hawaii TechWorks

Big Island Police Investigating Theft of Two Golf Carts

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating the theft of two golf carts from a golf course in Kona last month.

EZ Go Cart
The white E-Z-Go RXV golf carts were taken from Makalei Golf Course at 72-390 Hawaiʻi Belt Road in Kailua-Kona sometime between June 22 and June 23.

The golf carts are valued at 6,402 each. They may each display a 3-inch by 3-inch sticker. One had the number 27 and the other had the number 35.

Police ask anyone with information about this case or the location of the golf carts to call Officer Jeremy Riddle at 326-4646, extension 253.

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.


Kailua Village Business Improvement District Revised Strategic Planning Takes Shape

Since its 2007 inception Kailua Village Business Improvement District (KVBID) has worked collaboratively with business, government and area residents to develop and implement creative solutions to improve the cleanliness, attractiveness, community and economic vibrancy of Historic Kailua Village.

Click to view plan

Click to view plan

In June, a yearlong process culminated with KVBID Board’s adoption of an updated five-year Strategic Plan. Initiatives outline the core fundamentals and operations of KVBID while the organization looks to meet the growing demands of various stakeholders and seek new opportunities to improve the vitality of the district.

“A lot of hard work and insight has gone into this strategic plan,” said Michele Otake, development manager, Queen Liliuokalani Trust and KVBID board member. “I join everyone on the strategic planning committee in extending thanks to the KVBID board of directors and its board committee chairs as we worked through the process.”

Strategic initiatives in the new five year plan include Clean Team and Aloha Ambassadors, Public Realm, Economic Development, Branding & Public Relations, Community Events, and Parks and Open Space.

Short and long term objectives are prioritized within the scope of each strategic initiative and the KVBID board committees serving as champions behind each initiative are recognized. Preliminary funding sources for each objective have been identified.

The next step for KVBID’s strategic planning committee will determine budgeting and the timeline for seeking other sources of major funding including grants and County of Hawaii Capital Improvement Project funds.

The complete KVBID Strategic Plan may be downloaded at

The mission of the Kailua Village Business Improvement District is to make Kailua Village a model sustainable community that is a better place to invest, work, live and play. KVBID is working cooperatively to improve and maintain the physical appearance and aesthetics of public right of ways, open space and parks, increase cleanliness and security, and attract long term sustainable business and community activity in Kailua Village

Damon Tucker Endorses Hawaii Senator Will Espero For Congress

I will be supporting Hawaii Senator Will Espero during his run for Congress this year.

Espero for Congress

Click to see his campaign site

Got Fish?

I just realized that I never posted anything today!

4th Annual Lifeplan Youth Summit Reaches 1,000 Kids Since 2010

On July 5, 2013, a group of 39 young people and 35 adults took part in the 4th Annual Lifeplan Youth Summit, hosted by the Hualālai ‘Ohana Foundation and Four Seasons Resort Hualālai.

Youth leaders working in the classrooms at Kealakehe High School were recognized at the 4th Annual Lifeplan Youth Summit.  L to R,Tumama Tupuola, Taylor Donager, Sophie Balanay, Jordan Orr, Jeremy Gambing, Kasala Vailea, Kawena Case, Lei Cox, Mina Agdeppa, Sarah Barry, Tiffany Kurozawa.

Youth leaders working in the classrooms at Kealakehe High School were recognized at the 4th Annual Lifeplan Youth Summit. L to R,Tumama Tupuola, Taylor Donager, Sophie Balanay, Jordan Orr, Jeremy Gambing, Kasala Vailea, Kawena Case, Lei Cox, Mina Agdeppa, Sarah Barry, Tiffany Kurozawa.

The Summit recognized an important milestone in Lifeplan Institute Hawai‘i Island’s accomplishments, having assisted over 1,000 youth from North Kohala to North Kona since 2010.  Events of the day included training workshops, presentation of leadership, volunteers and excellence awards, career speakers and a vigorous round of laser tag.

“This was a great day of learning and connection for both mentors and youth,” said Lifeplan mentor Robin Mullin, Executive Director of Five Mountains Hawai‘i. “The presentations from Drs. Jim and Lee Kooler, Kealakehehe Principal, Wil Murakami, and Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth inspired us to continue evolving the program.”

Lifeplan is a creative youth mentoring program, which grew from the central Lifeplan Institute, founded by Dr. Andrew Mecca. Lifeplan’s main tool is the Lifeplan itself, a kind of map or strategic plotline, referred to as “a journey of choices, decisions and consequences.”

In plotting their Lifeplan, youth and mentors engage to set goals, determine a course, gather a support group, avoid pitfalls and achieve success in stages. Goals are not strictly career-driven, but include education, relationships, health, and personal growth.

Many of the youth and mentors recognized at the summit are part of an ongoing project with Kealakehe High School, wherein volunteer mentors and upper classmen youth leaders ‘adopt’ the 16 classrooms of freshmen to help facilitate the Lifeplan program. Mentors and youth leaders work closely with the teachers to help the students navigate their high school years. Several mentors have committed to staying with the classrooms all the way to graduation.

“We are very grateful to Kealakehe principal Wil Murakami and to Superintendent Art Souza for supporting the Lifeplan programs in the schools,” said Kei-Lin Cerf, Executive Director of Hualālai ‘Ohana Foundation. “Without their guidance and support, the program would not be as successful as it is today.”

Hualālai ‘Ohana Foundation hosts the Annual Youth Summit and runs the program at Kealakehe High School, with mentors from Four Seasons Resort Hualālai, Hualālai Resort and other members of the community.

“We believe in the power of the community to help support and educate our Hawaii Island youth. It is our shared responsibility to prepare our youth for the future and keep our community healthy, strong, and ready,” said Kei-Lin Cerf.

Lifeplan Institute Hawai‘i Island continues to evolve. A sponsored program of Five Mountains Hawaii since 2010, a new fiscal sponsor and funding are now needed to expand the program in North Hawai‘i. For more information about opportunities to help, supporters are welcome to call Robin Mullin at 887-1284 or email

In West Hawai‘i at Kealakehe High School, more community mentors are needed to support the Lifeplan program for the next set of 300+ freshmen. No special experience is required, and training is provided by the Hualālai ‘Ohana Foundation.  For more information, please call Kei-Lin Cerf at 325-4701, or email


Huge Fish Capsizes Boat Off Kauai

A 54-year-old man was rescued from his capsized vessel approximately 10 miles southwest of Port Allen, Kauai, Friday.

A huge fish capsized this boat. Coast Guard rescuers were able to upright the boat.

A huge fish capsized this boat. Coast Guard rescuers were able to upright the boat.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received a distress call at 7:41 a.m., from Wichman’s spouse notifying watchstanders that her husband’s 14-foot Livingston boat was capsized south of Port Allen. Wichman was fishing in the area when he hooked a 230 lb. Ahi that subsequently capsized his boat. When his boat capsized, his leg was caught in the fishing line and he was dragged underwater. After freeing himself, he was able to get on top of the hull and call his wife for help. Sector Honolulu was able to establish communication with Wichman via cell phone and launched a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Coast Guard Station Kauai and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to the scene.

The Dolphin crew arrived on scene and found Wichman sitting on the hull of his partially submerged vessel. A Coast Guard rescue swimmer was lowered to the water and hoisted Wichman into the helicopter. Sector Honolulu and Station Kauai coordinated with Lihue Airport and local emergency medical personnel to arrange for medical transport to Wilcox Memorial Hospital.

The MLB crew stayed on scene with the capsized vessel until Jordon Ornellas and Abraham Apilado, friends of Wichman arrived on scene with a vessel to help salvage his boat. While assessing the situation to determine if they could right the capsized vessel, Ornellas and Apilado realized that the Ahi was still hooked on the fishing line attached the vessel. They were able to reel in the Ahi, right the vessel and take it in tow back to Port Allen.

The fish that didn't get away!

The fish that didn’t get away!

“This rescue is a perfect example of why mariners must be sure they have good safety equipment and reliable communications before heading out on the water,” said Lt. Jessica Mickelson, Sector Honolulu’s Public Affairs Officer.  “Thankfully Mr. Wichman was still able to use his cell phone after capsizing and entering the water. Sector Honolulu was able to work in conjunction with 911 dispatch to get a GPS position of the capsized vessel from Mr. Wichman’s cell phone enabling Coast Guard rescue crews to arrive on scene at the exact location of distress instead of having to conduct a search. At the end of the day, we couldn’t have asked for a better rescue. Mr. Wichman was delivered safely to shore with minimal injuries and he and his friends will have quite the indisputable fish tale to tell.”

The Coast Guard recommends all mariners ensure they are prepared before heading out on the water. This includes having appropriate safety and communications equipment, checking local weather conditions and ensuring the vessel is seaworthy. For more information on boating safety visit

For more information, contact the 14th Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office at (808) 535-3230.

Commentary – Richard Ha on Bill 79, the Anti-GMO Bill

Click to read Richard's Blog on this

Click to read Richard’s Blog on this

Dear Editor,

Bill 79, the anti-GMO bill, has brought out a lot of concern and a lot of anxiety.

I say that we need to slow down. It would be premature to rush into a decision on this bill without taking the time to hear everybody’s input and address all the issues on the table.

Before we make big decisions – any of which could have unintended consequences – we should set up some sort of task force to look at the bigger picture of Hawai‘i’s self-sufficiency, and how we are going to achieve that.

How are we going to get there, all of us together? We need to end up at a place where we aloha each other, and take care of everybody.

Let’s not rush to pass this bill without fully understanding the bigger picture.

Richard Ha

Owner, Hamakua Springs Country Farms


“Al Capone” Arrested on the Big Island for Wednesday’s Carjacking Incident

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged the man arrested in connection with a carjacking Wednesday night (July 17).


Alkapone Cruz-Balles

Alkapone Cruz-Balles, 19, who has no permanent address, was charged at 4:25 p.m. Friday (July 19) with first-degree robbery and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.

He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock in lieu of $12,000 bail pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday (July 22).


Hawaiian Songwriting Retreat August 2-4, 2013

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is offering a three-day Hawaiian music songwriting retreat for just $25, from Friday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 4 with Hawaiian music, language and haku mele (Hawaiian song) experts Kenneth Makuakāne and Kaliko Trapp-Beamer.

Kenneth Makuakane

Kenneth Makuakane

The Friday, Aug. 2 workshop runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 3 and Sun., Aug. 4 both begin at 8 a.m. and finish at 4 p.m.

Advance registration required. To register, contact Elizabeth Bell at (808) 985-6019 or email no later than July 25.

The retreat will be held in the park at the summit of Kīlauea. Budding songwriters will find inspiration in this wahi kapu (sacred place), among the towering koa and ‘ōhi‘a lehua trees, over fields of ropy pāhoehoe lava, and in the awe-inspiring eruptive glow from Halema‘uma‘u Crater.

Also inspirational are the retreat’s accomplished teachers. Kenneth Makuakāne is a multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winner, along with his group, The Pandanus Club. He’s a prolific songwriter (1,500-plus songs), producer of more than 100 albums, and collaborator who has worked with virtually all of the stars of Hawaiian music over the years.

Kaliko was raised as the hānai son of Hawaiian cultural expert Aunty Nona Beamer (1923-2008), learning Hawaiian chant, storytelling, traditional protocol, family songs, and stories. He currently teaches Hawaiian language courses at the University of Hawai‘i in Hilo, and helps coordinate the Beamer Family Aloha Music Camp. He is the President of the Mohala Hou Foundation dedicated to “preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian culture through education and the arts.”

The three-day Hawaiian songwriting retreat is sponsored by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association.


Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hosting “Community Power Night”

Underage drinking is not “somebody’s” problem.  It’s everybody’s problem.  The cost in dollars, nationwide, is enormous at $62 billion, but the cost in heartbreak and family crisis are much higher. The Hawai‘i Island chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is doing its best to prevent underage drinking, by hosting a “Community Power Night,” Friday, August 9, 2013, 5:30-8:00 p.m. at the YWCA in Hilo.

With separate tracks for adults, teens and young children, the Community Power Night is designed to share information and alternatives from a broad range of organizations and individuals. The event is free and complimentary pupus are provided, along with a parenting workshop, youth leadership and expression, and group support. For young children, facepainting, crafts and storytelling activities will be shared.

“For youth, we want to create an environment where they feel free to express themselves and their ideas about drugs and alcohol,” said Aaron Collins, Program Coordinator for Hawai‘i Island MADD.  “We also have MADD’s ‘Power of Parenting’ workshop and different resources to help parents, and possibly enlighten them about how positive parenting contributes to good choices,” said Collins.  “We aren’t here to lecture, but to start a discussion, and our handbook with facts and information.”

Collins said that all kinds of community organizations are more than welcome to join in the free event, as well as service providers, support groups, resources for family strengthening and healthy alternatives to drug and alcohol use.  “MADD offers a 30-minute workshop and we wanted to give something more, not just information about drugs and alcohol, but about positive alternatives that are available in the community for kids.”

Representatives from BJ Penn Training and Fitness Center, Big Island Cheer, Boys and Girls Clubs and others will be on hand to share information.  The event is free and a great selection of doorprizes will be awarded, including gift certificates, ‘ukulele, gym memberships, health products, and more.  For more information about the Community Power Night, or MADD Hawai‘i Island, contact Aaron Collins at 808-934-0300 or

Five Mountains Hawaii

The North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition, a project of Five Mountains Hawai‘i, is a regional volunteer organization committed to developing strong, sustaining relationships for Healthy Communities Choosing to Live Drug Free. For more information, visit