Department of Public Works Announces Road Work and Resurfacing Projects

The Hawaii County Department of Public Works is letting folks know of the following:

Hawaii County Logo

  •  Mo‘oheau Bus Terminal, and parking lot will be resurfaced next week preparation begins March 7 -Work begins Thursday, March 7 by the Department of Public Works Highway Maintenance Division to prepare Mo‘oheau Bus Terminal, and parking lot, in Downtown Hilo for resurfacing next week.Sections of the parking lot will be closed, and no parking allowed starting midnight March 6 through March 7.  The parking lot will reopen after 5 PM on the 8th.  Mo‘oheau Bus Terminal will remain open for Hele-On passengers during this time.Resurfacing the entrance of the Mo‘oheau Bus Terminal is Monday, March 11.  No vehicle traffic allowed in to the bus terminal after 7:00 AM.  Pedestrian access will be limited.  The entrance to the terminal reopens at 5:00 PM.Monday, March 11 to Friday, March 15, Hele-On passengers will board buses at the bus shelter next to the park and ride lot on Kamehameha Avenue, not at the Mo‘oheau Bus Terminal.The Highway Maintenance Division  will close Mo‘oheau Bus Terminal parking lot for resurfacing, Sunday at midnight to Tuesday, March 12, weather permitting.  The parking lot will reopen Tuesday after 5:00 PM.

    The Highway Maintenance Division may resume resurfacing the parking lot Thursday and Friday, March 14 & 15.

    The Traffic Division of Public Works is scheduling to stripe the parking stalls on a Sunday two weeks after resurfacing is completed.  The two-week wait allows the asphalt to cure before marking the pavement.

  • The exit lane to Pauahi Street at the County of Hawai‘i Aupuni Center parking lot will be closed – The exit lane to Pauahi Street at the County of Hawai‘i Aupuni Center parking lot will bestriped and traffic patterns delineated THURSDAY, March 7 from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM, weather permitting.  The exit lane to Pauahi Street will be closed at this time.  Entrance to Aupuni Center from Pauahi Street remains open.Customers and employees may consider Kīlauea Avenue and Aupuni Street to enter and exit Aupuni Center.
  • Traffic patterns will be striped on to Kīlauea Avenue for the next two weeks – Road crews will begin marking traffic patterns to delineate traffic lanes for motorists and pedestrians on to Kīlauea Avenue between Pauahi Street and Ponahawai Street starting today for the next two weeks, weather permitting.  Traffic will be shifted around the crew and their equipment and no lanes will be closed.Tuesday, March 5 and for the remainder of the week, traffic patterns will be marked on to Kīlauea Avenue between Pauahi Street and Aupuni Street and manholes adjusted.  This is expected to take five to six days.Monday, March 11, Kīlauea Avenue between Kūkūau Street and Ponahawai Street is scheduled for road surface marking and manholes adjusted.  This is expected to take three days.Drainage improvements will also resume at the corner of Kūkūau Street and Kīlauea Avenue during the week of March 11.Street parking will be affected between the hours of 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday to Friday due to shifting traffic patterns.
  • Construction on Hoku Street – The Department of Public Works is constructing two curb ramps on either side of Hōkū Street at Kīlauea Avenue to comply with the American’s with Disabilities Act.  The project is scheduled for completion early next week, March 11 or 12, weather permitting.  Entrance to Hōkū Street is closed at Kīlauea Avenue.
  • Road resurfacing Kīlauea Avenue from Pauahi Street to Osorio Lane tomorrow, Friday, March 8 – The final layer of asphalt is scheduled to be applied on to the mauka lane of Kīlauea Avenue on Friday, March 1, weather permitting.  The contractor will start from the Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin to Osorio Lane at Alenai‘o Bridge.

    Two lanes one in each direction will remain open to motorists.  Street parking will be restored at the completion of resurfacing.  Construction hours are 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM and may vary.

    Access to Kūkūau Street from Kīlauea Avenue will be restricted to local traffic until the work is completed.  Special Duty officers will redirect motorists to Kino‘ole Street.

Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Annual Luncheon With the Mayor

Hear what Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi and his cabinet have to say on the county’s economy and outlook for 2013 at a Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Focus Luncheon Tuesday, April 2.

The Sign Outside the Hotel

The Sign Outside the Hotel

Sponsored by Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, the informative event is 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.

Reservations, which include lunch, are $40 for Chamber members and $50 for non-members; tables of eight are available. The registration deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 27. RSVP online at kona-kohala.com or by phoning the Chamber office at 329-1758. No refunds or cancellations will be taken after March 27.

Hulihe‘e Palace Honors Prince Kuhio and Queen Ka‘ahumanu

The Daughters of Hawai‘i and the Calabash Cousins present Afternoon at Hulihe‘e 4 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 17 at Hulihe‘e Palace to remember Prince Kuhio and Queen Ka‘ahumanu. Enjoy the voices of the Merrie Monarchs accompanied by the Hulihe‘e Palace Band. Kindly bring a beach mat or chair as seating won’t be provided.

The Daughters of Hawai‘i and the Calabash Cousins present Afternoon at Hulihe‘e 4 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 17 at Hulihe‘e Palace to remember Prince Kuhio and Queen Ka‘ahumanu.  Photo by Fern Gavalek

The Daughters of Hawai‘i and the Calabash Cousins present Afternoon at Hulihe‘e 4 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 17 at Hulihe‘e Palace to remember Prince Kuhio and Queen Ka‘ahumanu. Photo by Fern Gavalek

Known as the Citizen Prince, Kuhio was born on Kaua‘i and raised by his aunt and uncle, Queen Kapiolani and King Kalakaua, to become successor to the royal throne. After Hawai‘i became a U.S. territory, the Republican Party persuaded Kuhio to enter politics

Kuhio was named Hawai‘i’s second delegate to the U.S. Congress in 1902 and served the post 10 times. Honored today as the father of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Kuhio secured an area of Hawai‘i Island’s Kilauea Volcano in 1916 for public enjoyment. He was the driving force behind the development of Pearl Harbor and instituted the Hawaiian Homestead Commission.

Queen Ka‘ahumanu, who hailed from Hana, Maui, was the favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great.  Though much younger than her husband, Ka‘ahumanu was charismatic, intelligent and politically shrewd. Kamehameha granted her the title of kuhina nui (queen regent) upon his death in 1819. Tired of the Hawaiian laws of kapu that forbade women from certain activities, she convinced the throne’s successor, Liholiho, to overturn the kapu system.

Hulihe‘e Palace is open for self-guided tours. Museum and gift shop hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Hulihe‘e Palace admission, which at this time includes a self-guided tour brochure, remains $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and $1 for keiki under 18. Volunteer docents are sometimes available to give guided tours. For details, contact the palace at 329-1877, the palace office at 329-9555 or visit www.daughtersofhawaii.org. The gift shop can be reached by phoning 329-6558.

Caretakers of Hulihe‘e Palace are the Daughters of Hawai‘i. The organization was founded in 1903 and opens membership to any woman who is directly descended from a person who lived in Hawai‘i prior to 1880. Helping the Daughters in its efforts since 1986 are the Calabash Cousins; membership is available to all.

 

 

Big Island March to Evict Monsanto on Saturday March 16th

The Island of Hawai`i will be the 3rd of 5 Islands across the state to host a, “March in March to Evict Monsanto,” on Saturday, March 16, 2013.

Stop Monsanto

The march encourages Hawai`i residents to support and celebrate food sovereignty and investigate land stewardship practices by landowners such as Kamehameha Schools that is leasing 1,033 acres of land to Monsanto. Hawai’i is the global research lab of the world for genetic engineered organisms (GMOs) testing with over 5,000 open-field experiments statewide.

This is a free community event for all ages. There will be face-painting, a non-GMO pot-luck, a mini Zumba class with UH Hilo Dance Instructor Kea Kapahua and other island Zumba Instructors, a non- GMO seed exchange, informational tables, and dance troupe- Rebekah Duncan and the Kealakehe Dance Team will all be a part of the event.

Participants are invited to signwave at the Kamehameha Statue in Hilo at 9am. At 9:30am we will leave the statue, pass by the Hilo Farmer’s Market, and cross the street to the Mo’oheau Bandstand. Esteemed speakers will speak from 11-12pm on issues concerning the growing of genetically modified crops and the impact they have upon the `aina. Food sovereignty activist Walter Ritte, Senator Russell Ruderman- owner of Island Naturals, and UH Manoa professor of agriculture Dr. Hector Valenzuela will speak. Lono Kanaka’ole Trio, Darryl Castillo, and Chris Berry and Friends will be playing music.

We invite the community to participate in the march and rally to show solidarity for a future free from genetically engineered crops growing on the islands by Monsanto, Dow, Dupont/Pioneer and Syngenta. All of these crops are shipped off island, most of which are for animal feed and research. Also, these companies do not pay taxes on these exports. These open fields near schools and communities are doused regularly with large quantities of toxic industrial chemicals, some of which are banned in Europe.

The event is free and open to the public.

March in March to Evict Monsanto is the vision of the Hawai’i GMO Justice Coalition and Professional Surfer and MMA fighter Dustin Barca. Sponsored in part by the Sierra Club-Moku Loa Group, Know Your Farmer Alliance, Kailani Pool Service, Island Naturals, Da Hui, Kulture Tattoo, Food Democracy Now, Babes Against Biotech, and Millions Against Monsanto.

This event is highlighting the film created by the Hawai’i GMO Justice Coalition addressing the impact of genetic engineering in Hawai`I; Stop Monsanto From Poisoning Hawaii: Genetic Engineering Chemical Warfare.  The film will be shown at UH Hilo the Wednesday preceding the march on Saturday.

For more information about the event please contact Kea Kapahua at kristikea@yahoo.com or 808-896-5622.

 

Big Island Police Arrest Eight in Kona for Drugs

In response to numerous community complaints, police executed a narcotics search warrant Monday (March 4) at a residence on the 77-6500 block of Seaview Circle in Kailua-Kona. The Area II Vice Section worked in conjunction with Community Policing officers from Kona and the Department of Attorney General’s Drug Nuisance Abatement Unit.

Police recovered 0.6 grams of methamphetamine, numerous items of methamphetamine paraphernalia, 0.8 grams of dried marijuana, prescription pills and several rounds of unspent ammunition.

Eight residents were arrested at the scene on suspicion of promoting dangerous drugs. They were taken to the Kona police cellblock while Vice detectives continued the investigation.

Tuesday evening (March 5), 18-year-old Laiko Arii and 24-year-old Kaina Black were released pending further investigation.

The other six were charged as follows:

Joseph Garcia-Hine

Joseph Garcia-Hine

Joseph Garcia-Hine, 30, with two counts of promoting dangerous drugs, one count of possessing drug paraphernalia, and two counts of ownership/possession prohibited. He was also arrested and charged on two outstanding arrest warrants. His bail was set at $85,000.

Jackie Holder

Jackie Holder

Jackie Holder, 40, with one count each of promoting dangerous drugs and possessing drug paraphernalia. Her bail was set at $4,000.

John Adam Jones

John Adam Jones

John Jones, 30, with two counts of promoting dangerous drugs and one count each of promoting detrimental drugs and possessing drug paraphernalia. He was also arrested and charged on an outstanding criminal contempt warrant. His bail was set at $6,550.

Kahulaaona Kalili-Jones

Kahulaaona Kalili-Jones

Kahulaaona Kalili-Jones, with two counts of promoting dangerous drugs and one count each of promoting detrimental drugs and possessing drug paraphernalia. Her bail was set at $6,250.

Anthony McPherson

Anthony McPherson

Anthony McPherson, 26, with one count each of promoting dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia. His bail was set at $4,000.

Brandon Post

Brandon Post

Brandon Post, 26, with one count of promoting detrimental drugs. His bail was set at $250.

All charged individuals were held at the Kona police cellblock pending their initial court appearance on Wednesday morning (March 6).

Police encourage members of the public to report suspected narcotics activity to the Police Department’s Ice Hotlines at 329-”ZERO-ICE” (329-0423) for information pertaining to the Districts of Kaʻū, Kona, South Kohala and North Kohala, and at 934-”VICE” (934-8423) for information pertaining to the Districts of Puna, South Hilo, North Hilo and Hāmākua.

Tipsters may also 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.

Military Officials and Defense Contractors Discuss Sequestration

 The Briefing Organized by Representative  Mark Takai Emphasizes Sobering Realities of Federal Budget Cuts

Top military officers, Department of Defense contractors and a representative from the Chamber of Commerce met today at the State Capitol to discuss the near-term and long-term impacts of sequestration on Hawaii’s military services and the local community.

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Military officials indicated that the cutbacks would not affect their core functions. Major General Darryll Wong, Hawaii State Department of Defense said their “critical missions were exempt” and Major General Roger Mathews, U.S. Army Pacific said we have “prioritized our readiness”.

While active military personnel are exempt from any cuts, they all expected around a 20% decrease in wages for civilian positions with the cuts coming primarily through furloughs. The loss in wages would affect discretionary spending, particularly for local retailers near military installations.

The impact on the defense contractors is not quite so clear. Most agreed that construction contracts that have been funded will move forward, but they expect delays to be inevitable.  “We don’t know what’s coming. It’s hard to gauge the impact,”  said Alan Hayashi of BAE, a civilian contractor who primarily does ship repair in Pearl Harbor but has subcontractors throughout all the islands in a variety of positions.

Ben Nakaoka, Vice President of Finance for Pacific Shipyards International who operates two dry docks expressed concern that they will have to terminate skilled craftsmen.

“If quality suffers or there isn’t an adequate pool of skilled workers in the islands, the Navy can shift work to its’ other West Coast shipyards,” he told lawmakers.

Charles Ota, Vice President for Military Affairs at the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, warned that Hawaii is in close competition with all the other US defense communities across the country, all protecting themselves against the loss of their military presence.

He noted, “even though Hawaii enjoys a strategic location in the mid-Pacific, today’s fiscal realities, coupled with the advanced capabilities of today’s high tech weapons systems, may soon override our strategic location in future basing decisions.”

He added, “It is incumbent upon the legislature to avoid actions that would detract from encouraging the military to remain in Hawaii.”

Representative K. Mark Takai, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans, Military & International Affairs said, “It has been good to have this dialogue as we consider ourselves an important member of the military team.  We need to aggressively push for legislation that ensures the availability of adequate training areas for the Army and Marine Corps, ensures continuing ship repair at Pearl Harbor which is critical to the US Pacific Fleet and ensures that members of the military have strong representation in our government process.”

 

The Food Basket, Inc. Names New Executive Director

The Food Basket, Inc. (also known as Hawaii Island’s Food Bank) has appointed En Young to be the new Executive Director for the agency. Young will oversee operations, agency relations, and development for The Food Basket island-wide.

En Young

En Young

“We would like to thank all of our community partners for your generous support and patience throughout this transition. We are fully confident that once we acclimate to our new facilities and leadership that these will translate into improved services to our partner agencies, neighbors, and friends” said Young.

He succeeds Dr. Nani Lee following her retirement in November 2012. Young is returning to the Big Island, where he was born and raised, having previously served as the Contract, Performance, and Evaluation Administrator for the State of Hawaii, Office of Community Services. In this capacity he oversaw a variety of State and Federally-funded programs designed to alleviate poverty, including supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Emergency Food Program and the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program.

Roland Higashi, Chairman of the Board, added “We here at the Food Basket are looking forward to working with someone who has the experience and qualifications of Mr. Young. Our collective vision is to provide better, more efficient services on the island and improve our ability to alleviate hunger. The addition of En and a few new Board members to our team is very exciting and will bring global perspective as well as assist us with innovative program development.”

The Food Basket, Inc, is a 501(c) 3 non-profit that manages an island-wide, supplemental food network that collects and distributes nutritious, high quality food to low income households,  the working poor, the disabled, the ill, senior citizens, and children. The Food Basket serves communities throughout Hawaii island, including difficult to serve areas such as Hawi and Ocean View, through a blend of publicly and privately-funded programming.

In 2012, the Food Basket collected, stored, and delivered over 1,067,000 pounds of dry goods, frozen meats and cheeses, fresh produce, canned fruits, vegetables, meats, and prepared meals to over 146,000 individuals and families on the Big Island. This food supports local emergency food pantries, hot meal soup kitchens, seniors in need, schools, and other businesses, non-profits, and individuals in the community wishing to help the Food Basket alleviate hunger in Hawaii County.

For more information about the Food Basket or any of its programs please call the Administrative Office at (808) 933-6030.

 

Hawaii Police Department’s 80th Recruit Class Recognized

The Hawaiʻi Police Department’s 80th Recruit Class was recognized Wednesday (March 6) during ceremonies held at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.

3rd Row L to R: Emmett Winters Jr. Ivan Alatan, Robert McKay Jr., Mario Ochoa, Daniel Silva-Sampaio, Brian Hunt, Matthew Bennett.2nd Row L to R: Joseph Picadura, Jesse Martin, Ronald Borowski, Joel Furuto, Sidra Brown, Tyler Jelsma, Brian Beckwith, Darren AbalosFront Row L to R: Nestor Cacho Jr., Landon Takenishi, Christopher Jelsma, Dustin Chaves, Justin Cabanting.

3rd Row L to R: Emmett Winters Jr. Ivan Alatan, Robert McKay Jr., Mario Ochoa, Daniel Silva-Sampaio, Brian Hunt, Matthew Bennett.
2nd Row L to R: Joseph Picadura, Jesse Martin, Ronald Borowski, Joel Furuto, Sidra Brown, Tyler Jelsma, Brian Beckwith, Darren Abalos
Front Row L to R: Nestor Cacho Jr., Landon Takenishi, Christopher Jelsma, Dustin Chaves, Justin Cabanting.

The 20 police recruits, who just completed six months of intensive training, will undergo four months of on-the-job field training with veteran police officers before they are qualified to work alone.

During Wednesday’s ceremony, Class President Christopher R. Jelsma said the first day of recruit class was a “real eye opener.” Although the recruits were pushed physically and mentally, he said, the greatest test was making the transition from being just classmates to becoming a cohesive team.

Keynote speaker Lincoln Ashida, corporation counsel for the County of Hawaiʻi, stressed the importance of officers committing their lives and careers to serving the community even when they aren’t on duty. He recalled that 17 years ago, when he was a prosecutor, he was called during the night because of a felon arrested for burglary.

Ashida said a “young lieutenant” who was heading home during a meal break heard a report over his police radio about houses that had been burglarized in Hilo. The lieutenant spotted a suspicious man matching the suspect’s description at a convenience store, so he turned his car around, stopped at the convenience store and eventually was able to arrest the man, who was in possession of jewelry and a weapon.The burglar was prosecuted federally and sent to federal prison.

“That young lieutenant was your police chief, Harry Kubojiri,” Ashida said. “That is the type of leadership that you are joining.”

During the ceremony, Jelsma received special recognition for excellence in physical fitness training, firearms training and for being the overall outstanding recruit. Ronald S. Borowski received special recognition for excellence in academic training.

The other members of the 80th Recruit Class are:

Class Vice President Ivan L. K. Alatan, Class Secretary/Treasurer Mario A. Ochoa, Darren J. A. Abalos, Brian B. Beckwith, Justin L. Cabanting, Dustin S. Chaves, Brian A. Hunt, Tyler V. Jelsma, Robert L. McKay Jr., Joseph K. Picadura, Landon H. Takenishi, Matthew D. Bennett, Sidra K. N. Brown, Nestor Cacho Jr., Joel J. Furuto, Jesse D. Martin, Daniel K. Silva-Sampaio and Emmett H. Winters Jr.

The class motto is “Live with Honor Serve with Pride.”

Coast Guard Crewmembers Aid Disabled Vessel Off Big Island

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska assisted the crew aboard a disabled vessel approximately 6 miles east of Pohokiki, off the Big Island Sunday, March 3, 2013.

The motor vessel Mellow Yellow, center, is escorted back to Hilo by the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, foreground, Sunday, March 3, 2013, approximately 6 miles off the "Big Island" of Hawaii. Coast Guardsmen aboard Kiska boarded the disabled Mellow Yellow and determined there were issues with the vessel’s steering. Engineers effected temporary repairs to assist the Mellow Yellow crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crew members remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The motor vessel Mellow Yellow, center, is escorted back to Hilo by the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, foreground, Sunday, March 3, 2013, approximately 6 miles off the “Big Island” of Hawaii. Coast Guardsmen aboard Kiska boarded the disabled Mellow Yellow and determined there were issues with the vessel’s steering. Engineers effected temporary repairs to assist the Mellow Yellow crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crew members remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard watchstanders in the Sector Honolulu Command Center were notified that the 24-foot Mellow Yellow had lost steering at 7:15 a.m. Sunday. Two people were aboard the vessel.

A Coast Guard Cutter Kiska crew member helps steer the motor vessel Mellow Yellow back to shore Sunday, March 3, 2013, approximately 6 miles off the "Big Island" of Hawaii. Kiska crew members responded to the disabled boat after receiving a report stating the Mellow Yellow suffered a steering casualty. Kiska engineers boarded the Mellow Yellow and effected temporary repairs to assist the crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crew members remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A Coast Guard Cutter Kiska crew member helps steer the motor vessel Mellow Yellow back to shore Sunday, March 3, 2013, approximately 6 miles off the “Big Island” of Hawaii. Kiska crew members responded to the disabled boat after receiving a report stating the Mellow Yellow suffered a steering casualty. Kiska engineers boarded the Mellow Yellow and effected temporary repairs to assist the crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crew members remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The Kiska crew arrived to the vessel’s location and transferred engineers to make temporary repairs on the Mellow Yellow’s steering system. Coast Guardsmen made a very basic rudder system using wood and rope. Coast Guard engineers remained aboard the vessel and ensured its safe return to Hilo Harbor, using the makeshift rudder.

A temporary steering system made by Coast Guard Cutter Kiska engineers was used to escort the motor vessel Mellow Yellow back to port, Sunday, March 3, 2013, off the "Big Island" of Hawaii. Kiska crew members responded to the disabled boat after receiving a report stating the Mellow Yellow suffered a steering casualty. Kiska engineers boarded the Mellow Yellow and effected temporary repairs to assist the crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crew members remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A temporary steering system made by Coast Guard Cutter Kiska engineers was used to escort the motor vessel Mellow Yellow back to port, Sunday, March 3, 2013, off the “Big Island” of Hawaii. Kiska crew members responded to the disabled boat after receiving a report stating the Mellow Yellow suffered a steering casualty. Kiska engineers boarded the Mellow Yellow and effected temporary repairs to assist the crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crew members remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

As the Coast Guard is America’s maritime first responder, the Coast Guard’s professional workforce and locally based units are always ready to respond. The Coast Guard’s readiness and constant presence on America’s coasts and waterways enable fast, flexible response to assist those in need.

For more information contact Lt. Kevin Cooper, Sector Honolulu public affairs officer, at 808-842-2657.

Kona Man Charged With Burglary for Break-In Last Year

A Kona man has been charged with burglary for a break-in that occurred late last year in Kailua-Kona.

The December 17 burglary took place at a home on Onaona Drive.

Jerome Soares

Jerome Soares

Police developed a suspect, identified as 49-year-old Jerome Soares of Kailua-Kona.

Soares was arrested Monday (March 4) at the Kona courthouse and taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation. He was charged at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday (March 5) with first-degree burglary and second-degree theft. His bail was set at $35,000.

He remains at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Wednesday (March 6).

United Nations Association of the USA Re-Launches Hawaii Island Chapter

The United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) is re-launching its Hawaii Island Chapter today, at the Chapter’s Annual Meeting. UNA-USA Executive Director Patrick Madden is speaking at the re-launch, joining supporters of the UN from across the State of Hawaii for a day of Chapter building, learning, and networking.

United Nations Foundation“The re-launch of the Hawaii Island Chapter strengthens the already robust voice that UNA-USA has in the Pacific. Citizens in Hawaii help make up the more than eight in 10 Americans who believe it is important for the U.S. to stand by the UN in its efforts to lead the way in addressing the world’s urgent global conversations and crises. We are looking forward to the Hawaii Island Chapter continuing in its integral role in telling the UN’s story in its community.”

The Hawaii Island Chapter’s Annual Meeting is being held at the Hilo Yacht Club. Madden is delivering remarks addressing gender issues as UNA-USA Chapters prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day around the country. The Chapter meeting will honor the late Helene Hale, who brought new life to the Hawaii Island Chapter in Hilo.

“Today we gather together as Americans, and as people of Hawaii, in support of the vital work the United Nations performs every day,” said Hawaii Island Chapter President Ruth Larkin. “There is much support for the world’s most important international organization on the island; our Chapter has done great work in support of the UN to date, and we’re looking forward to a robust future of engagement.”

Tweet This: Now even more Americans can engage w/ the #UN as @unausa re-launches its Hawaii Island Chapter. Become a member: http://bit.ly/herEbJ

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 26-Year-Old Woman

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in locating a Hāmākua woman who was reported missing.

Cherie Ward

Cherie Crystal Grace Ward

Cherie Crystal Grace Ward, 26, moved to Hawaiʻi in December. Her family on the mainland has not heard from her since December or January. She is described as Caucasian, tall with a slender build, light-brown medium hair and green eyes. She may be in the Hilo area in the company of a man named Denny Burniston.

Denny Burniston

Denny Burniston

Police ask that anyone with information on the whereabouts of either of these individuals 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.

EDITORS NOTE:  According to Facebook Denny Burniston last had activity on Facebook on February 27th when he added new friends to his account:

Denny Burniston FB Activity

And this was his last status update:

Denny Burniston job

Mary Begier and Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce Presented With Community Hero Awards

Hawaii Invasive Species Council Recognizes Commitment to Malama Mauna Kea

Hawaii residents and visitors alike appreciate the wonderful diversity of life in the islands.  Invasive species however, threaten this diversity and are both harmful to the environment, economy, or human health; and are not native to the area where they are a problem.

Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week is intended to increase awareness of such concerns among visitors, residents, elected officials, and other community leaders while recognizing the outstanding contributions coming from all segments of society in protecting Hawaii from invasive species.

Senator Malama Solomon and  Mary Begier

Senator Malama Solomon and Mary Begier

Senator Malama Solomon presented Mary Begier and the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce with the 2013 Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) Community Hero Award in a ceremony on Monday, March 4th during the first annual Hawaii Invasive Species Council Award ceremony at the State Capitol Auditorium. The Community Hero Award recognizes a community member or community based group that has been a shining example of dedication to prevent or manage invasive species.  Mary Begier and the Hawaii Island Chamber shine brightly in their commitment to help support the Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM),  University of Hawaii at Hilo in  its efforts to implement the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

The CMP is an integrated planning tool for resource management for the UH Management Areas on Mauna Kea including the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, the mid-level facilities at Hale Pohaku and the Summit Access Road.  During the approval process of the CMP, Begier and the Chamber pledged to become more involved in community-based stewardship of Mauna Kea and assisted the OMKM  by rallying its members with a call for volunteers for invasive weed pulls beginning in March 2012.  Thus launching OMKM’s community invasive species control program.
In 2012, the invasive weed pull program included over 110 volunteer days totaling more than 800 volunteer hours removing several hundred bags of invasive weeds  (fireweed, mullein, telegraph weed, and others)  from the mid-level facilities at Hale Pohaku and along the summit access road corridor.

“Stakeholder participation is critical to our programs to malama Mauna Kea and is an effective tool to help us manage the resources within UH’s managed lands on Mauna Kea. Mary Begier and the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce have supported our efforts  from day one. When we started the discussion on engaging volunteers, they quickly pitched the business community and helped us raise awareness and understanding in addressing invasive species management issues,” said Office of Mauna Kea Management Director Stephanie Nagata.

“The Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce members volunteer and collaborate as advocates for those things that make Hawaii Island a great place to live,” said Vaughn Cook, HICC President. “Mary is one of those members who gets involved and keeps us all mindful of our community commitments.  As a chamber, we supported the development of the CMP. Mary’s determination to help the University of Hawaii successfully manage their lands on Mauna Kea quickly spread and today, many Hawaii Island Chamber members continue to volunteer and kokua Mauna Kea.”

In total, more than thirty-seven statewide nominations, including individuals and organizations were submitted for the 2013 HISC Awards. Mary Begier, and Office of Mauna Kea Management Director Stephanie Nagata attended the award presentation.

Hawaii House Passes Measure to Examine Ways to Provide Transportation to Elderly and Disabled

The Hawaii House of Representatives unanimously passed HB131 HD2, which will create a Task Force on Mobility Management within the State Department of Health to establish a framework to assist elders and individuals with disabilities with transportation needs in rural communities.

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Across Hawaii, especially on the neighbor islands, there is a need for a state-wide policy on mobility management to create a plan to assist individuals without sufficient access to transportation and identify the best transportation options, both public and private, for their travel needs.

The bill has received support from the Governor’s Executive Office on Aging, Representatives from Maui, Hawaii Island and Kauai and their respective County Offices’ on Aging (Maui County Office on Aging, Hawaii County Office of Aging, and the Kauai Agency on Elderly Affairs).

“Transportation is vital to seniors and those with disabilities; it allows them to maintain their independent lifestyle and access critical services such as medical appointments,” said the bill’s introducer Rep. Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala). “It is time for us to work on finding the best solutions to address mobility, especially in rural areas where transportation options are extremely limited and many residents are without family members nearby to provide transportation and are too frail or disabled to access public transit.”

 

Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund to Give Away Five(5) $500 Awards

The Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund is giving away five (5) $500 awards to local non-profits, schools, organizations or initiatives on the Big Island that embody Aloha Grown’s philosophy to Support Local. Sustain the Aina. Share the Aloha.

Aloha Grown

Interested groups must complete and application form and write a one-page essay explaining how their organization follows Aloha Grown’s philosophy. Essays must include the organization’s mission and vision, along with the specific project, program and/or effort that the $500 award would be used to fund.

“Aloha Grown is committed to supporting efforts to care for our island, our people and our culture. That is why 2% of every Aloha Grown sale goes to the Malama Honua Fund, which awards local nonprofits, schools, organizations and initiatives that embody our philosophy.”­­

All submissions are due by March 31, 2013. The five (5) selected recipients of the Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund $500 awards will be contacted by April 30, 2013.

For more information on Aloha Grown or the Malama Honua Fund, visit www.alohagrown.com.

Hawaii House Moves Hundreds of Bills Over to Senate

Among the measures that passed their final vote in the House are several bills that are focused on sustainability, improving the environment, revitalizing our economy and improving the quality of life for Hawaii’s citizens.

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“As we hit the half way point of this legislative session the House of Representatives is committed to exploring avenues that provide for less dependence on outside sources for food and energy and provide for the protection of our environment for future generations,” said House Speaker Joe Souki.

  • HB858 HD1 RELATING TO THE HI GROWTH INITIATIVE Appropriates funds to the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation for the HI Growth Initiative, an investment program to develop an ecosystem to support high-growth entrepreneurial companies in the State. Part of the Governor’s New Day Plan, the bill hopes to reinvigorate state efforts to fuel an innovation economy and advance research innovation and commercialization.
  • HB1419 HD2 RELATING TO THE PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL SPACE CENTER FOR EXPLORATION SYSTEMS Appropriates funds to support the development and expansion of Hawaii’s aerospace and related industries to Hawaii. The funding will capitalize upon Hawaii Island’s lunar-like terrain to build aerospace technology research and development park industries. Supplemental funding will be provided to help attract aerospace technology and corporations that will create new high paying technology-related jobs.
  • HB497 HD3 RELATING TO RENEWABLE ENERGY Amends the tax credit for renewable energy technologies to encourage development in solar and wind energy technologies while reducing the revenue impact to the state by ramping down the percentage of the credits over the next five years.
  • HB338 HD2 RELATING TO THE ISSUANCE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE REVENUE BONDS TO ASSIST A SEAWATER AIR CONDITIONING PROJECT IN WAIKIKI Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds for Kaiuli Energy LLC for the planning, design, and construction of its seawater air conditioning district cooling system to serve Waikiki and nearby areas on the island of Oahu.
  • HB70 HD2 RELATING TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Deletes the repeal of the High Technology Innovation Corporation that would have taken effect on June 30, 2013. The High Technology Innovation Corporation (HTIC) was created by the Hawaii State Legislature as a 501(c)(3) public not-for-profit corporate body, to facilitate the growth and development of the commercial high technology industry in Hawaii.
  • HB1188 HD1 RELATING TO THE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY POVERTY REDUCTION TASK FORCE Establishes the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force to assess state policies and practices that promote economic opportunity and poverty reduction and to develop a plan to expand economic opportunities in Hawaii to reduce, by at least 50 percent by 2021, the number of Hawaii residents living in poverty.
  • HB96 HD2 RELATING TO FARMS Creates an income tax exemption for family farms, family farm communities, and family farm cooperatives.
  • HB1263 HD2 RELATING TO IRRIGATION Appropriates funds and authorizes the Director of Finance to issue general obligation bonds to finance improvements to various irrigation systems.
  • HB1264 HD2 RELATING TO AGRICULTURAL LOANS Expands the Department of Agriculture Agricultural Loan Program to provide loans for infrastructure, infrastructure improvements, the implementation of new farming techniques, and biosecurity projects.
  • HB487 HD2 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE Expands the livestock feed subsidy to include feed for certain goats, sheep, lambs, fish and crustaceans.
  • HB799 HD3 RELATING TO CREATIVE MEDIA DEVELOPMENT Establishes a Workforce Development Training Program that provides wage reimbursement for on-the-job training by entities who receive a Motion Picture, Digital Media, Television, and Film Production Tax Credit. Deletes internet-only distribution exclusion for advertising; clarifies definitions of qualified production costs; and extends the sunset date of the tax credit.  Appropriates funds for the Training Program.
  • HB111 HD2 RELATING TO SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE BUILDING CODE Authorizes the use of certain land, subject to county approval and oversight, for research, development, and testing of sustainable agriculture, development, waste management, and resource management through planned community use. This Act will create a doorway through the current limitations of traditional codes to support the development of more sustainable methods of living, allowing greater implementation of county and state sustainable living policies.
  • HB174 HD2 RELATING TO FOOD LABELING Imposes labeling requirements and import restrictions on imported genetically engineered produce.  Authorizes labeling of non-genetically engineered food and creates a private right of action to enjoin violations.
  • HB486 HD1 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE Appropriates funds for implementation and operation of the Future Farmers of America and 4-H programs to educate and support youth in agriculture careers as administered by the University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
  • HB505 HD2 RELATING TO GREENWAYS Appropriates funds for the Office of Planning to contract for up to two years with a consultant to develop a plan for the establishment and implementation of a statewide greenways system which includes trails, greenways, bike routes, parks, and other projects.
  • HB508 HD2 RELATING TO THE PROCUREMENT CODE Amends the Hawaii public procurement code to create exemptions for state agencies to procure locally produced agricultural commodities to promote food sustainability and self-sufficiency.
  • HB710 HD1 RELATING TO FISHPONDS Requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Department of Health, and Office of Planning to streamline the permitting process and facilitate the restoration of Hawaiian fishponds. Also requires DLNR to submit a report of findings and recommendations.
  • HB734 HD1 RELATING TO THE PROTECTION OF TARO LANDS Amends public lands classifications to add taro lands as a fourth class of agricultural lands to improve protections for taro lands. The bill will require the retention of supporting structures for taro fields and add growth of all traditional Hawaiian crops to agricultural planning objectives.
  • HB749 HD2 RELATING TO WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT Appropriates funds to establish the Hawaii Agriculture Workforce Advisory Board to promote economically competitive activities that increase Hawaii’s agricultural self-sufficiency, attractiveness, and opportunities for an agricultural workforce and livelihood.
  • HB856 HD2 RELATING TO GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE Establishes a regulatory financing structure that authorizes the Public Utilities Commission and the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to provide low-cost loans for green infrastructure equipment to achieve measurable cost savings and achieve Hawaii’s clean energy goals.
  • HB1330 HD1 RELATING TO THE DIVISION OF CONSERVATION AND RESOURCES ENFORCEMENT Restores funding cuts taken over the last four years to the Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement, Department of Land and Natural Resources. The budget cut has reduced or eliminated non-essential services and limited work hours for officers and the restoration of funding will allow for renewed protection of the state’s natural resources.
  • HB1483 HD2 RELATING TO THE HAWAII HEALTH SYSTEMS CORPORTATION Establishes a task force to study, among other things, the feasibility of allowing the operations of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation regional systems and their facilities to transition into public-private partnership status.
  • HB1028 HD2 RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT Raises the minimum wage to $9.00 incrementally over the next years. Provides unemployment insurance relief for businesses.
  • HB1132 HD1 RELATING TO PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF FINANCIAL INTERESTS STATEMENTS Requires a legislator to file a disclosure of financial interests statement with the State Ethics Commission between January 1 and January 31 annually.
  • HB865 HD1 RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOL REDEVELOPMENT Establishes a framework for the Department of Education to facilitate public-private partnerships to develop or redevelop public school lands in order to generate income to improve public school facilities so that our children can learn in twenty-first century schools.
  • HB7 HD2 RELATING TO THE ELDERLY Creates the Hawaii Kupuna Trust Fund, comprising public and private funding, to strengthen care for the elderly and vulnerable populations by the awarding of grants.
  • HB276 HD2 RELATING TO THE SENIOR RESIDENCE AT PIIKOI, OAHU Authorizes the Director of Finance to issue general obligation bonds for the construction of the Senior Residence at Piikoi, an affordable senior rental housing project on Oahu.
  • HB196 HD1 RELATING TO VETERANS TREATMENT COURT Appropriates funds for positions to support a Veterans Treatment Court in the First Circuit that can better respond to the unique needs of veterans entering the criminal justice system with mental illness and substance abuse issues arising from their service to our country.
  • HB158 HD3 RELATING TO TUITION ASSISTANCE Broadens the scope of tuition assistance to Hawaii National Guard members working toward a degree on any campus of the University of Hawaii system with priority given under specified conditions.
  • HB411 HD2 RELATING TO HOSPITAL EMERGENCY COMPASSIONATE CARE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS Adds new provisions to Hawaii law to ensure that female sexual assault victims are provided with medically and factually accurate and unbiased information about and access to emergency contraception when receiving emergency medical care at Hawaii’s hospitals.
  • HB245 HD1 RELATING TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Prohibits landlords from terminating the tenancy of a tenant based solely on the tenant’s status as a victim of domestic abuse with certain exceptions and provides protection for the landlord against civil claims that might arise out of the landlord’s compliance with the law.
  • HB535 HD2 RELATING TO HOMELESS PROGRAMS Authorizes the designation of temporary nighttime parking lots in each county to provide safe overnight parking for homeless individuals who live and sleep in their motor vehicles and who would otherwise park overnight on public or private roads or property.
  • HB198 HD2 RELATING TO ABSENTEE VOTING Requires the absentee ballot for a voter requesting permanent absentee status to be mailed to the mailing address contained on the voter’s most recently completed affidavit on application for voter registration, unless the voter submits a temporary mailing authorization in writing for the absentee ballot to be temporarily mailed to a different address.
  • HB321 HD1 RELATING TO ELECTIONS Provides a process for voter registration on election day at polling places to encourage greater voter participation.
  • HB114 HD3 RELATING TO HIGHER EDUCATION Requires the Administrator of the State Procurement Office, rather than the University of Hawaii President, to serve as Chief Procurement Officer for the University of Hawaii for construction contracts and professional services related to construction contracts. Establishes an Independent Audit Committee within the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii.
  • HB980 HD2 RELATING TO HIGHWAY SAFETY Creates a statute that prohibits the use of mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle in the State and establishes penalties. Having a State law that uniformly covers all the counties also makes Hawaii eligible for Federal funding.
  • HB873 HD2 RELATING TO THE YOUNG ADULT VOLUNTARY FOSTER CARE ACT Supports Hawaii’s youth in foster care by establishing the Young Adult Voluntary Foster Care Program that will extend foster care services to provide care and supervision of eligible foster youth until their twenty-first birthday.
  • HB1298 HD1 RELATING TO TAXATION Provides a nonrefundable income tax credit at fifty per cent of qualified wages for the first six months for a taxpayer who hires a developmentally, intellectually, or physically disabled individual.

 

Sen. Ruderman Presents Hawaii Invasive Species Council MVP Award to Hawaii Cattleman’s Association

On Monday, March 4th, 2013, the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council held their awards ceremony at the Hawai‘i State Capitol Auditorium. Senator Russell Ruderman presented the Hawai‘i County MVP Award to Dr. Tim Richards of the Hawai‘i Cattleman’s Association.

Sen. Ruderman presenting Tim Richards of the Hawai'i Cattleman's Association with the Hawai'i Invasive Species Council, Hawaii County MVP 2013 Award for their tireless efforts in eradicating fireweed from the Hawai'i.

Sen. Ruderman presenting Tim Richards of the Hawai’i Cattleman’s Association with the Hawai’i Invasive Species Council, Hawaii County MVP 2013 Award for their tireless efforts in eradicating fireweed from the Hawai’i.

The Hawai‘i Cattlemen’s Council has been a critical partner in the development and release of a moth from Madagascar (Secusio extensa) as a biocontrol agent to control invasive fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis). Fireweed is very toxic to livestock and and its rapid spread across the Big Island and Maui across Hawai‘i Island and Maui, outcompeting other plants. Over a decade of study by the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture went into ensuring that the moth from Madagascar would feed only on fireweed and not on other plants in Hawai‘i.

The Hawai‘i Cattlemen’s Council helped the bio-control through the federal approval process to be released as a bio-control agent earlier this year. Now that the moth is being released, the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture and the Hawai‘i Cattlemen’s Council anticipate that the moth will slow the spread of fireweed, limiting its environmental and economic impacts.

Sen. Russell Ruderman said, “I would like to congratulate Dr. Tim Richards and the Hawai‘i Cattleman’s Association on their MVP award from the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council. As anyone on the Big Island knows, we have been inundated by many invasive species over the years.

Fireweed Plant

Fireweed Plant

Fireweed, the red mangrove, and the coqui frog represent three of the most potentially devastating invaders we have seen in recent memory. The work of the Cattleman’s Association in the containment of fireweed has been monumental in forwarding the process of finding an acceptable biocontrol agent thatr will not negatively impact our ecosystem.”

Honorable mentions were Malama O Puna and Tim Tunison for their work on red mangrove eradication and control of the coqui frog, respectively.

Lead by Rene Siracusa, Mālama O Puna is a grassroots environmental non-profit based in Lower Puna. The organization’s invasive species programs are coordinated by Dr. Ann Kobsa, who has overseen a number of challenging projects. Mālama O Puna began working to remove red mangrove from Wai ‘Opae in 2005, which lead to federal funding for the organization to explore removal from four other sites with the goal of island-wide eradication. Mālama O Puna has also tackled miconia, clidemia, pickleweed, and other difficult species. It is due to the tireless efforts of Rene, Ann, and the staff and volunteers with Mālama O Puna, that Hawai‘i Island is well on its way to being mangrove-free and its native ecosystems are more secure.

Retired from his position at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Tim Tunison still continues to be involved in restoration of forests and control of invasive species. Tim has organized a coqui control program based in Volcano called The Coquistadors and has created a manual for the mechanical and chemical control of invasive plants on Kilauea. Tim has made a substantially positive impact on the Volcano community and the surrounding environment of Kilauea.

Sen. Ruderman added, “I would also like to extend my congratulations and heartfelt thank you to Malama o Puna, and Tim Tunison . They have both contributed significantly to the saving of our native species and economy from irreparable harm. Their efforts have made meaningful impacts in protecting our fragile ecosystems and native species while minimizing the negative environmental and economical impacts to our island and state.”

Navy Submarine USS Olympia Returns to Pearl Harbor

Friends and families of the crew from USS Olympia (SSN 717) gathered at the submarine piers to welcome back the Los Angeles-class submarine as she returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific region, March 4.

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (March 4, 2013) The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) approaches the pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as she returns from a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Special Operation Forces; carry out Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support battle group operations, and engage in mine warfare. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor/Released)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (March 4, 2013) The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) approaches the pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as she returns from a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Special Operation Forces; carry out Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support battle group operations, and engage in mine warfare. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor/Released)

“Olympia accomplished national tasking, theater tasking, and security cooperation events throughout the 7th Fleet area, and enhanced continued relations with our allies overseas,” said Cmdr. Michael J. Boone, Olympia’s commanding officer.

Boone said the submarine crew worked around the clock applying months of preparations and workups into mission accomplishment. The range of the missions offered a broad aspect for training and development, creating experienced Sailors across all mission areas.

“The hard work and determination from the crew of Olympia these past seven months developed a camaraderie that is second to none. We are returning to Pearl Harbor as a more experienced and capable unit,” said Boone.

During the deployment, two officers and 21 enlisted Sailors earned their designation as qualified in submarines and now wear their dolphin warfare insignia.

Boone added the crew was able to get time off to experience the diverse cultures in Yokosuka, Japan; Subic Bay, Philippines; Guam, and Singapore. While in a few of these foreign ports, foreign dignitaries and ambassadors toured the submarine.

When the deployment was finally complete, the crew came home to a waiting crowd of smiling family and friends at the pier.

“I am estatic, it’s been such a long time! The best thing is just to hold my husband and have him home.” said Beecee Hall, an Olympia spouse.

USS Olympia is the second ship named after Olympia, Wash. Commissioned Nov. 17, 1984, Olympia is the 29th ship of the Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarines. The submarine is 362-feet long, displaces 6,900 tons and can be armed with sophisticated Mark-48 torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.

 

Volunteers Sought to Restore Historic Halema‘uma‘u Trail

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has launched a new “Stewardship at the Summit” volunteer project to restore native Hawaiian forest surrounding one of the park’s most historic and beloved trails, Halema‘uma‘u Trail.

Halema'uma'u from the summit. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

Halema’uma’u from the summit. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

The dates and times for March are Thurs., Mar. 7 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Fri., Mar. 15 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; and Sat., Mar. 23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Meet Stewardship at the Summit project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, garden gloves, day pack, snacks and water. Tools will be provided. No advance registration is required, and there is no cost to participate, but park entrance fees apply.

The Fields, who are volunteers, have removed countless Himalayan ginger, faya, strawberry guava, and other invasive non-native plants that threaten the native understory alongside Halema‘uma‘u Trail.

Paul and Jane Field, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park volunteers, on Halema'uma'u Trail

Paul and Jane Field, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park volunteers, on Halema’uma’u Trail

“It is an inspiring and heartwarming sight to see once-shaded ‘ama‘u and hāpu‘u tree ferns emerge, and the seed banks of pa‘iniu, kāwa‘u, and other vital, native plants return to the rainforest on this beautiful trail,” said Park Ranger Adrian Boone. “We truly appreciate the selfless, valuable efforts the Fields and all volunteers make on behalf of the national park,” he said.

Halema‘uma‘u Trail has been used since 1864, when guests at the newly established Volcano House hotel used it to hike into Kīlauea Caldera. A section leading across the caldera floor to Halema‘uma‘u Crater is closed, but much of the trail remains open and it is one of the park’s most treasured hikes for visitors and residents alike.

 

 

Bill for Publicly Funded Elections Advances

Advocates for campaign finance reform were pleased today when the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1481, a law that would modernize Hawaii’s outdated partial public funding program for elections.  The measure passed with three legislators voting “no”.

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The original public funding program was implemented during the 1978 Constitutional Convention, but has become ineffective over time.  In the 2012 election cycle, only one house candidate used the the funds.  Advocates in favor of house bill 1481 say it is now time to upgrade the old program.

“Delegates in 1978 fought hard to implement this important program, and we owe it to them to modernize it to make it useful once again”, said Kory Payne, executive director for Voter Owned Hawaii, a non-partisan non profit organization working to pass the bill.

Representative Chris Lee (D – 51, Lanikai, Waimanalo), a supporter of the bill added “this is a first big step toward limiting the influence of money and special interest influence in our political process.”

In 2008, Voter Owned Hawaii led and effort to implement a similar program for Big Island County elections.  That program ran in the 2010 and 2012 elections and was largely deemed successful.  Currently, five out of nine councilors on the Big Island were elected without accepting money from special interests.

According to Payne, the program is intended to serve taxpayers.  “Special interests donate to politicians to get a return on their investment, and right now they’ve cornered the market on elections and the public is not invited to the party.  Publicly funded elections will save taxpayer money by allowing politicians to make decisions based upon what’s best for the people instead of campaign donors,” he said.

Forty-eight out of fifty-one legislators voted in favor of HB 1481, and Richard Fale, Marcus Oshiro, and Sharon Har voted “no”.