Kailua-Kona to Receive New Sheriff

There will soon be a new sheriff in Kailua-Kona town.

Hawai‘i Public Safety Department officials, family members and friends gathered in Waipio, O‘ahu, on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, to witness the graduation of the Law Enforcement Recruit Class 17-01 for Deputy Sheriffs at the Hawai‘i Okinawa Center.

Twenty new deputies were added to the Sheriff Division and will be assigned to positions across the state. One will be assigned to Kona on Hawai‘i Island and the remaining 19 will be assigned to O‘ahu.

Hawai‘i Public Safety Department Photo

The new deputies were presented with graduation certificates, followed by the recitation of the Oath of Office and the badge presentation. A family member was picked to pin the badge on the new deputy sheriff.

“After six long months of developing the skills necessary to prepare for a career as a State Law Enforcement Officer, 20 new deputy sheriffs stand ready,” said Sheriff Training Lt. Lane Martin. “Ready to serve and protect our Kupuna, our Keiki, our Ohana, across all of Hawai‘i Nei. I am honored to stand alongside these men and women and be a part of that.”

The recruits were trained in nearly 1,000 hours of academic instruction in laws and procedures, constant testing, training in physical fitness, and police tactics.

Student awards for Top Gun, Physical Fitness, Leadership and Academic Average were also handed out to the recruits who ranked at the top of their class in those areas.

The Sheriff Division carries out law enforcement services statewide. Its mission is to promote public safety by: protecting all persons and property within premises under the control of the Judiciary and all state facilities, providing process services and execution of court documents, handling detained persons and providing secure transportation for persons in custody.

It also provides law enforcement services at the Honolulu International Airport.

Massive Fishing Net Bundle Removed from Hilo Bay


Photo courtesy of University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Marine Option Program.

Photo courtesy of University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Marine Option Program.

Photo courtesy of University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Marine Option Program.

Photo courtesy of University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Marine Option Program.

Local groups completed an effort that began in late February to remove more than 1,500 pounds of marine debris from Hilo Bay on Nov. 4.

The effort began following a report received by the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund (HWF) from faculty at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s (UHH) Marine Science Department that a massive fishing net bundle had lodged itself into the Hilo breakwall. HWF worked together with biologists from the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) – Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and UHH to attempt a removal of the bundle in late March, but only managed to free a small portion of the tangled net.

Six months later, mother nature took charge when high surf broke the net bundle free of the breakwall. On the morning of Oct. 14, a dive team from the UHH Marine Option Program’s Sea Surveying, Training and Response Squad (SeaSTARS) spotted the loose net floating in Hilo Bay with assistance from members of the Kamehameha Canoe Club. A team of four MOP divers led by UHH MOP staff coordinator Matthew Connelly used a 17-foot vessel to tow the net from the end of Hilo breakwall towards Bayfront. Within 100 yards of the shoreline, the vessel anchored and three UHH students—Julia Stewart, Rosie Lee and Keelee Martin—swam the debris to shore using safety lines.

With the help of several canoe club members including Troy Parker-Bailey with the Puna Canoe Club, MOP co-coordinator Jen Sims, and two large 4WD vehicles, the team successfully hauled the massive bundle from shore to the Bayfront parking lot.

HWF staff and volunteers used a winch and pickup truck to retrieve the last remains of the net bundle on Saturday, Nov. 4, completing a nearly nine-month recovery effort. The net was hauled to the County of Hawai‘i’s Wai‘ōhinu Transfer Station where it will be stored until January 2018 when HWF arranges a 40-foot container full of nets to be shipped to O‘ahu for processing in the NOAA Nets-to-Energy Partnership with support from Matson Navigation and Schnitzer Steel.

Matt Connelly, UHH MOP Staff Coordinator and Marine Science Academic Support Specialist expressed his gratitude for the collective effort: “I want to thank the awesome Marine Option Program/Marine Science students that were really the driving force behind the whole operation; the Marine Science Department for having the resources available to do this for the ocean and the community; the canoe club members who helped out even though they were in the middle of a gathering, and for sharing their food with us when the work was pau; and HWF and DLNR for coordinating to get it hauled away and put to good use.”

“Getting this net out took time and patience,” said Stacey Breining, HWF education coordinator. “It was a true community effort. We (HWF) rely on the relationships we create with our communities to make our coastal ecosystems less dangerous for native wildlife. We are happy this net is out of the ocean, out of our landfill and awaiting transport to H-Power so it can be combusted in the Nets-to-Energy Partnership and bring electric power to O‘ahu.”

HWF is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to conserve native wildlife. Since it started, staff and volunteers have removed a total of 264 tons of marine debris from the shores of Hawai’i Island, Maui, Midway and the French Frigate Shoals. In 2017 alone, HWF and volunteers have removed 68,750 pounds of marine debris from Hawai’i Island and Maui through 60 community cleanup events.

For more information on these conservation efforts, or to learn about volunteer opportunities with HWF, email kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com, call the Hawai‘i Island marine debris hotline at (808) 769-7629, or visit www.wildhawaii.org.

Rent Survey to be Conducted on Hawai‘i Island

Families on Hawai‘i Island and O‘ahu will soon be surveyed by SMS Research & Marketing Services on what they are paying for rent. The Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC), Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority and Counties of Honolulu and Hawai‘i have commissioned the survey.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) annually publishes Fair Market Rents based on data from the U.S. Census. HUD’s Fair Market Rents are used to set pricing for many federally subsidized programs, including Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, that help low-income families obtain and keep safe, decent and sanitary housing.

Proposed HUD 2018 Fair Market Rents will decrease from 2017.

“Voucher holders already have a difficult time finding safe, decent and affordable rentals within the range of HUD Fair Market Rents,” said Hawai‘i Island House Administrator Neil Gyotoku. “Decreasing Fair Market Rents will worsen the situation especially in high rent areas such as West Hawai‘i.”

The information collected will be used to support the state’s request to HUD to re-evaluate the 2018 Fair Market Rents for O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island.

“HUD’s Fair Market Rents are also used to determine Difficult to Develop Areas (DDAs) under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program,” said Craig K. Hirai, executive director of HHFDC. Rental housing projects located in a DDA can receive additional tax credits, and therefore, increase financial feasibility.”

The rent surveys will be mailed to selected households and be short. Non-renters need only answer one question, but the agency is asking everyone to answer the survey for accurate results. The data will be not used for any other purpose and kept strictly confidential. Only county-wide average rents will be reported to HUD and individual responses will be destroyed at the end of the project.

Island Air ‘Hopes to Compensate Employees in Full’


Hawaiian Airlines has added three extra roundtrip flights from Honolulu to Kona, Lihue and Kahului on the afternoon and night of Sunday, Nov. 12, in anticipation of high passenger traffic resulting from Island Air’s shutdown.

The new flights are: Flight No.



































The flights are available to the general public for purchase at www.hawaiianairlines.com.


Island Air has been working to connect its team members with prospective employers as the company prepares to cease operations at midnight tonight, Friday, Nov. 10.

Island Air hopes to compensate its employees in full for the work performed through Friday, Nov. 10, 2017; however, the final determination will be up to the Bankruptcy Court Trustee. The employees’ existing healthcare insurance benefits will expire on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, at the earliest.

Island Air. Courtesy photo.

Island Air officials have been in communication with businesses around the state that have expressed interest in assisting the employees.

In addition, Island Air is working with these and other prospective employers to schedule a job fair for the employees in the near future.

“We appreciate the outpouring of support from so many local businesses that want to provide opportunities for our employees,” said Island Air President and CEO David Uchiyama. “Our 423 dedicated employees are among the best in the industry. I can’t speak enough about the commitment, work ethic, professionalism and company loyalty our team members have displayed throughout their careers, and I am confident they will make positive contributions to other businesses and organizations that need talented, experienced and committed individuals.”

Uchiyama noted that businesses, including other airlines, hotels, healthcare providers and other industries, have reached out to Island Air to provide information about potential employment opportunities as well as to inquire about the skills and qualifications of the impacted employees.

“The high caliber of our employees makes them ideal candidates for job opportunities across many industries,” said Uchiyama. “Island Air’s employees have undergone stringent background and security checks, completed extensive training and education and earned numerous safety and technical certifications. In addition to being leaders in their fields, many of our employees are actively involved in our local community. Whether they were born and raised here or have adopted the Islands as their home, our employees know and love Hawai‘i and incorporate our Island traditions and values into their everyday work and service to our customers.”

“I am so proud of the professionalism and integrity of our team members as they focus on providing our passengers with the Island Way experience on our final day of operations,” Uchiyama added.

Also today, Island Air employees met with representatives from the state’s Workforce Development Branch to begin the job transition process. Employees on O‘ahu attended three separate meetings with the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (DLIR) “Rapid Response Team” to learn about job placement and training assistance, as well as applying for unemployment insurance and other benefits. Rapid Response Team meetings for employees on the Neighbor Islands are being scheduled.

“We appreciate the assistance the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is providing to our team members during this difficult period,” said Uchiyama.


USS Olympia Returns from Western Pacific Deployment

The crew of the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following the successful completion of a Western Pacific deployment, Nov. 9.

USS Olympia (SSN 717) approaches the pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Nov. 9. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Shaun Griffin)

Olympia participated in several coordinated exercises with U.S. and allied forces and completed three highly successful missions vital to national security.
“The total commitment and level of effort this crew has demonstrated over the last 18 months both prepared for and executing this deployment is nothing less than outstanding,” said Cmdr. Benjamin J. Selph, native of Prescott, Arizona and commanding officer of Olympia. “This group of young men conducted themselves as professionals of their trade and ambassadors of their country throughout the deployment and I could not ask to lead a more dedicated crew.”

The deployment was a great opportunity for junior Sailors to gain vital operational experience and to hone guidance and leadership skills from the senior leadership.

“The sincere efforts by our experienced submariners instilling qualities that every Sailor needs to be successful and safe helped the junior Sailors become more knowledgeable and helpful in the execution of ship’s operations,” said Master Chief Electronics Technician Submarine, Navigation Roland R. Midgett, chief of the boat and native of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

During the deployment, Olympia advanced 16 enlisted Sailors to the next rank, promoted seven officers and saw 37 submariners earn the right wear the Submarine Warfare device.

Between missions, Olympia enjoyed four port calls to Guam and Japan.
“Having the opportunity to visit Japan on two separate occasions was an unforgettable experience,” said Machinist’s Mate (Weapons) Fireman Raul Bonilla, a native of San Diego.

The return of the Olympia to Pearl Harbor marks nearly 33 years of commissioned service since November 17, 1984.

Olympia is the second ship of the Navy to be named after Olympia, Washington. Olympia is the 29th ship of the Los Angeles-class fast-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.

Name of Mauna Kea Changed to “Maunakea”

From the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy:

Why have we changed the spelling of Mauna Kea to Maunakea? While the name Mauna Kea (white mountain) is simply descriptive, “Maunakea” is a name that in Native Hawaiian tradition is short for “Mauna a Wākea,” the mountain of Wākea, one of the progenitors of the Hawaiian people. Maunakea is believed to connect the land to the heavens.

By Vadim Kurland – originally posted to Flickr as IMG_2673.JPG, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10580597

The UH Hilo School of Hawaiian Language recommends the one-word spelling, and recently the Office of Maunakea Management started using the one-word spelling (but their abbreviation remains OMKM). According to Stephanie Nagata, director of OMKM, the name Maunakea has been accepted by the official Hawai‘i Board on Geographic Names, and the federal government has also accepted the name change, so new maps will now use the one-word name.

Hawai‘i Island Resident Earns Congressional Gold Medal

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawai‘i-02), announced that North Kohala resident Alfred Estoche has earned a congressional gold medal.

Rep. Gabbard said:

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Sen. Mazie Hirono, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Congressional leaders present the Congressional Gold Medal toAlfred Estoche Lim of North Kohala.

“Alfred Estoche Lim of North Kohala is one of more than 260,000 Filipino and Filipino Americans that served under the U.S. flag in World War II. He served in the U.S. Army First Filipino Infantry Regiment during the war, and despite deep-seated racial segregation in the U.S. military, he volunteered for deployment in support of U.S.-led missions in the Philippines working with the local resistance movement, tracking enemy troop movements and employing his demolition skills.

“At 106, Alfred is among the oldest surviving U.S. Armed Forces Veterans of World War II, and I’m honored to have led the effort in Congress to award him and his fellow Filipino WWII veterans the Congressional Gold Medal—Congress’ highest civilian honor. Mahalo nui loa Alfred for your legacy of service.”

Island Air to Discontinue Service on Nov. 11

Island Air photo.

Hawaii Island Air (Island Air) announced on Thursday, Nov. 9, that it will be closing operations as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

As a result of this announcement, all Island Air passengers must make alternative arrangements for interisland transportation, effective this Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

Earlier this month, Island Air was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (see link below) in an effort to continue operations following threats of legal action by the lessors of Island Air’s aircraft to ground and repossess the company’s fleet.

Island Air was unable to locate a new investor or lender to provide funding to support airline flight operations and a successful reorganization.

One of the difficulties of attracting new investors was the aggressive legal attacks by Lessors Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, N.A. and Elix 8 Ltd. Although Lessors’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order was denied by Judge Robert Faris of the District of Hawai‘i Bankruptcy Court on Friday, November 3, Lessors continued to engage in multi-directional legal attacks which Island Air could no longer combat without additional financing. The aircraft lessors were seeking termination of all leases and immediate repossession of all aircraft.

“Island Air has taken every measure possible to avoid this tremendous hardship to its passengers,” said David Uchiyama, Island Air president and CEO. “Island Air appreciates the loyalty and support its customers, management, employees, and vendors have shown the airline, especially during the last few weeks of this bankruptcy process. Island Air is proud of its 37-year history of service to the State of Hawai‘i.”


“I want to thank Island Air for its decades of service to our communities,” said Gov. David Ige. “For 37 years the company and its employees have played a big role in connecting island families and supporting our business community. The closure will have a tremendous effect on 400 employees and their families, and the state will be working with Island Air to help the employees apply for unemployment insurance and provide assistance with job searches and training opportunities.”

Island Air Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Three-Carrier Strike Force Exercise to Commence in Western Pacific

The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Nimitz (CVN 68), and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) strike groups will commence a three-carrier strike force exercise in the Western Pacific, Nov 11-14.

USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) carrier strike groups transit in formation during exercise Valiant Shield in 2007. The aerial formation consists of aircraft from the carrier strike groups as well as Air Force aircraft. photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen W. Rowe (RELEASED)

Units assigned to the strike force will conduct coordinated operations in international waters in order to demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort.

“It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, Adm. Scott Swift. “Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region.”

While at sea, the strike force plans to conduct air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuvers, and other training.

This is the first time that three carrier strike groups have operated together in the Western Pacific since exercises Valiant Shield 2006 and 2007 off the coast of Guam. Both exercises focused on the ability to rapidly bring together forces from three strike groups in response to any regional situation. Ronald Reagan took part in VS 2006 and Nimitz took part in VS 2007.

More recently, U.S. Navy aircraft carriers have conducted dual carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific including in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea. These opportunities typically occur when strike groups deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations from the West Coast of the United States are joined with the forward deployed carrier strike group from Japan.

For more than 70 years, the U.S. Pacific Fleet has been a persistent and stabilizing presence conducting operations throughout the region. The Fleet is just as committed to maintaining those security commitments for the next 70 years.

Repair Work on ‘Akaka State Falls Park Trail Completed

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks has completed repair work to the 0.4-mile loop trail at Akaka Falls State Park necessitated due to accidental damage caused by earlier removal of invasive albizia trees in February this year.

Site Engineering completed the repairs to the Akaka Falls walkway as of October 30 and Division of State Parks opened the entire trail as October 31. Repairs had been expected to take until December, so the park is re-opening earlier than expected.

The work quality appears to be good and the path of the walkway has been adjusted where the stairs are located for improved safety. Project cost is $297,400.

Repairs were completed on the longer trail section that is to the right of the loop trail starting point that was closed after the damage. Workers removed and repaired damaged concrete walkways and steps, and replaced railings
The entire park was closed from October 16 – 20 for work on the shorter, left side of the trail to the Akaka Falls lookout.

The park offers a pleasant family walk through lush tropical vegetation to scenic vista points overlooking the cascading Kahuna Falls and the free-falling ‘Akaka Falls, which plunges 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge. It requires some physical exertion and will take about 1/2 hour for the full loop.

The paved route, which includes multiple steps in places (not wheelchair accessible), makes an easy to follow loop offering stunning viewpoints of the two waterfalls. To view ‘Akaka Falls only, take the path to the left (south) from the first junction. The waterfall view is just a short walk down the path.

Unidentified Man Dies as Result of Route 11 Crash

An unidentified man died in a two-vehicle crash early Wednesday morning, Nov. 8, 2017, in Kaʻū near the 46-mile marker of the Māmalahoa Highway Route 11.

Photo via Gail Heidenfeldt-Gali

His name is being withheld pending positive identification.

Responding to a 3:39 a.m. call, police determined that a 1999 Plymouth sedan operated by the unidentified male party had been traveling south on the Māmalahoa Highway when it crossed over the center line of the roadway and was involved in a head-on collision with a 2013 Isuzu cargo van operated by a 55-year-old Mountain View man.

The collision caused the Plymouth sedan to be fully engulfed by fire, which was extinguished by the Hawaiʻi Fire Department.

The unidentified driver of the Plymouth sedan was taken to the Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 8:40 a.m.

The driver of the Isuzu cargo van was also taken to the Hilo Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries sustained in the collision. He is in stable condition.

Police believe speed was a factor in the crash but is not immediately known if alcohol was a factor.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death and to identify the male party.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at (808) 326-4646, ext. 229.

This is the 29th traffic fatality this year compared to 28 at this time last year.

Pahala Accident Results in Fatality

Kohala HS Takes Robotics Competition Sportsmanship Award

Na Paniolo robotics team from Kohala High School in Kapaʻau. PC: Art Kimura.

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High School in Kapaʻau on the Big Island, took home the VEX VRC Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championships for demonstrating courtesy and enthusiasm at the event.

The team also was a runner-up in the VRC competition.

Seventy-nine teams from Hawaiʻi, California and China participated in the weekend tournament sponsored by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Okinawa Enetech with the support of the Engineers’ Council – University of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium.

Robotics teams from Sacred Hearts Academy and Pearl City High School on O‘ahu won their respective competition Excellence Awards, qualifying both to participate in the 2018 VEX World Championships to be held next April in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Championships, and is
presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high quality VEX robotics

In the VEX IQ Championships, comprised of student teams in grades three to eight, the all-girl Sacred
Hearts Academy team 2437A entered the finals with their sister team, 2437B, as the top-seeded

Ultimately, team 2437A took home the Robot Skills Champion Award and won the Excellence Award.

According to organizers, team 2437A’s skills score has them ranked fourth in the world after the tournament.

In the VEX VRC Championship, comprised of middle and high school students, Pearl City High
School’s team, 4142A, earned the Design Award for their organized and professional approach
to the design process, project and time management, and team organization, which are all
program elements that helped them win the Excellence Award.

This is the second consecutive year that Pearl City High School qualified for the VEX Worlds through their win at the Pan Pacific VEX.

Other top awards were handed to the Kailua-based Huakailani School for Girls and an independent team (Phoenixbots) from Mililani, which together earned the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX IQ Teamwork Champion Award for their two-team alliance.

A three-team alliance of Molokaʻi High School, Waialua High & Intermediate School and the
Rolling Robots from Rolling Hills Estates, California, was named the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX VRC
Tournament Champions.

Full results of the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship can be found online.

Kamehameha Fall Musical: ‘Once On This Island’

The Kamehameha High School Hawaiʻi Island campus will hold it’s annual fall musical Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 16 through 18, 2017.

This year’s musical is Once On This Island, based on the novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy.

The musical portrays how a peasant girl from Haiti falls in love with a wealthy French boy from the other side of the island, but comes to the realization that love, just like life, can be complicated.

The shows will be held in William Charles Lunalilo Center and will begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $5 and will be available for purchase starting on Monday, Nov. 13, at the high school office from 3 to 4 p.m. or at the door right before each show.

The William Charles Lunalilo Center is located on the campus grounds located at 16-714 Volcano Road in Keaʻau.

For more information, call Eric Stack at (808) 982-0713.

County of Hawaiʻi Employee Recognition Awards

The 52nd annual County of Hawaiʻi employee recognition awards ceremony was held on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 and 19 exemplary employees were nominated for the categories of manager, supervisor and employee of the year.

  • The nominees for manager of the year were:
    Administrative Services Officer Joaquin B.K. Gamiao-Kunkel,  Planning Department
  • Battalion Chief Michael D. Hayashida, Fire Department

The nominees for supervisor of the year were:

  • Police Lieutenant John L. Briski, Police Department
  • Solid Waste Supervisor Denis A. Gibo, Department of Environmental Management
  • Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kevin S. Hashizaki, Office of the Prosecuting Attorney
  • Planner Bethany J. Morrison, Planning Department
  • Accountant Marianne T. Panoff, Department of Water Supply

Nominees for employee of the year were:

  • Human Resources Assistant Sandra A. Aguiar, Department of Human Resources, Health & Safety
  • Clerk Marilou B. Carvalho, Police Department
  • Planning Commission Support Technician Melissa A. Dacayanan, Planning Department
  • Senior Account Clerk Glenneen R. Erece, Department of Finance
  • Legal Technician Mary E. Fujio, Office of the Corporation Counsel
  • GIS Analyst Douglas B. Goehring, Department of Environmental Management
  • Information Systems Analyst Matthew L. Iaukea, Police Department
  • Water Plant Electrical/Electronic Equipment Repairer Alvin K. Inouye, Department of Water Supply
  • Clerical Services Assistant Dennis K. Kauka Jr., Office of the Mayor
  • Senior Account Clerk,Renee K. Kusano, Department of Water Supply
  • Police Officer Paul Mangus, Police Department
  • Legal Assistant Maurice C. Messina, Office of the Prosecuting Attorney

Joaquin B.K. Gamiao-Kunkel of the Planning Department was named Manager of the Year, Kevin S. Hashizaki of the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney took the Supervisor of the Year award and Employee of the Year was accorded to Glenneen R. Erece of the Finance Department.

Big Island Robotics Team Wins Sportsmanship Award at 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Championships

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High, took home the Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship.

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High, took home the Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship, photo credit: Art Kimura

Robotics teams from Sacred Hearts Academy and Pearl City High School won their respective competition “Excellence Awards” at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championships, qualifying both to participate in the 2018 VEX World Championships to be held next April in Louisville, Kentucky. Seventy-nine teams from Hawaii, California and China participated in the weekend tournament sponsored by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Okinawa Enetech with the support of the Engineers’ Council – University of Hawaii and Hawaii Space Grant Consortium.

The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Championships, and is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high quality VEX robotics program.

In the VEX IQ Championships comprised of student teams in grades 3-8, the all-girl Sacred Hearts Academy team 2437A entered the finals with their sister team 2437B as the top seeded alliance. Ultimately, team 2437A took home the “Robot Skills Champion Award” and won the “Excellence Award.” According to organizers, team 2437A’s skills score has them ranked fourth in the world after the tournament.

In the VEX VRC Championship comprised of middle and high school students, Pearl City High School’s team 4142A earned the “Design Award” for their organized and professional approach to the design process, project and time management, and team organization, which are all program elements that helped them win the “Excellence Award.” This is the second consecutive year that Pearl City High School qualified for the VEX Worlds through their win at the Pan Pacific VEX.

Other top awards were handed to the Kailua-based Huakailani School for Girls and an independent team (Phoenixbots) from Mililani, which together earned the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX IQ Teamwork Champion Award for their two-team alliance.

A three-team alliance of Molokai High School, Waialua High & Intermediate School and the Rolling Robots from Rolling Hills Estates, California was named the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX VRC Tournament Champions.

Full results of the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship can be found at www.robotevents.com.

UH Hilo Announces New Director of Security

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo announced the appointment of a new director of campus security. Effective Nov. 6, 2017, Richard Murray will take over the position.

Murray brings to UH Hilo more than 16 years of experience in college security administration in Hawaiʻi. He is currently the safety and security manager at Honolulu Community College, where he is responsible for all safety, security and emergency preparedness programs in addition to supervising and providing in-service training for campus security officers and contracted security guards.

He held the same title and responsibilities at Windward Community College from January 2011 until he assumed the HCC post in July 2016, and previously served as associate director of security and safety at Hawaiʻi Pacific University beginning in October 2001.

UH Hilo Security is responsible for providing 24-7, year-round security for the campus, including routine patrol duties, parking and traffic enforcement, conducting investigations, responding to emergencies and alarms, communicating emergency notifications, as well as securing rooms and buildings.

New Restaurants Open at HNL Airport

Big Island residents traveling though the Daniel K. Inouye Airport (HNL) on O‘ahu have more eateries to choose from while waiting for flights.

PC: Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill website.

Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill is now welcoming travelers with a lively beach and rock ’n’ roll atmosphere at HNL and HMSHost has expanded access to premium fresh food for Ewa Terminal travelers with a gourmet marketplace called “Makai Plantation.”

Global restaurateur HMSHost, with joint venture partner GRL Corporation, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Sammy Hagar, opened Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill to share Hagar’s love for great food, beach living and rock ’n’ roll with travelers using Hawaiʻi’s busiest airport.

HMSHost and the airport will celebrate the new opening by holding a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017.

Located in the airports’ Ewa Concourse Terminal next to Gate 28, this is the fourth Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill that HMSHost has opened in a U.S. airport.

“What a blast it is to open a new restaurant with our great partner and rock ’n’ roll legend Sammy Hagar!” said HMSHost Vice President of Business Development Anthony Alessi. “Travelers love Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill for its delicious food and fun atmosphere, and people flying in and out of Honolulu can now experience the unique vibe of dining at Sammy’s. HMSHost is proud to operate in Honolulu’s airport and we are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation to continue bringing new and exciting dining options to travelers.”

The menu at the airport’s Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill focuses on approachable, high-quality food to offer something for all travelers, from the vacationer to the businessperson and even locals jumping islands just to visit family.

The Tex-Mex and tasty traditional American cuisine for which Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill is known is fused with Hawaiian influences to offer dishes like the Baja Style Beer-Battered Mahi Tacos, Kalua Pork Sliders, Beach Fish & Chips and Red Rockin Haleakala Wings.

The drink menu naturally features Sammy’s own Cabo Wabo Tequilia and Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, which is used in the restaurant’s signature Mint Macadamia Mule.

“Hawaiʻi is one of my favorite places in the world and it’s where my Beach Bar Rum was born so HNL is the perfect fit for the newest Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill location,” said Hagar. “Mai ‘ai and cheers to my fans and travelers who dine there and I look forward to starting the circle of giving back to the community of Honolulu like we’ve done in our other locations.”

The restaurant’s interior is a vibrant tribute to Hawai‘i’s beach-going aloha lifestyle, while also showing a significant appreciation for rock music. A beach party mood is set with the brightly painted walls, surfboard lighting, Hagar autographed guitars, handwritten song lyrics, and framed records of smash hits from the musical glory days of Hagar and Van Halen.

“There are a lot of positive improvements happening now at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and the opening of the new Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill and Makai Plantation are both exciting additions that will enhance the customer experience,” said Ross Higashi, Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation Airports Division deputy director. “HMSHost has delivered a fun atmosphere for passengers to enjoy a meal, grab a beverage and relax.”

Hagar will donate some of his proceeds from this restaurant through the Hagar Family Foundation to benefit local children’s charity HUGS (Help, Understanding & Group Support).

HMSHost’s Makai Plantation gets its name from the Hawaiian term for “toward the sea,” as it is located on the seaward side of the airport while also paying homage to Hawaiʻi’s history of pineapple and sugarcane cash crop farms that dominated its 19th and 20th century economy.

With sit down, bar and fast, casual dining options available, Makai Plantation offers a range of locally sourced and inspired dishes including Market Style Ahi Poke, Furikake Crusted Ahi Salad and Char Siu Chicken Bahn Mi. There is also fresh local specialty rolls, maki and nigiri/sashimi from a made-to-order sushi bar.

HCBA 12th Annual Recognition Dinner and Auction

The Hawaiʻi County Bar Association (HCBA) will host its Twelfth Annual Recognition Dinner and Auction at the Nani Maui Gardens in Hilo on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, beginning at 5 p.m.

This year, Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center is giving the Peacemaker Award to Julie Hugo, vice president and broker-in-charge in East Hawaiʻi for Clark Realty Corporation. The award is also go to Jeffrey Melrose (posthumously), land-use planner and past president of KMC. The HCBA is honoring The Honorable Ronald Ibarra, retired chief judge of the Third Circuit.

Newton Chu and Jeri Gertz will emcee the gala event, which will feature a cameo appearance by Harmony on Tap, guitar music by Unzan Pfennig and door prizes.

Items up for bid in the silent and live auctions gift certificates for rounds of golf, outdoor excursions, overnight stays and dining experiences; artwork and gift baskets; fine wines, orchids and more.

This fundraiser provides a significant portion of the funds that KMC needs to provide free and low-cost dispute prevention and resolution services in East Hawaiʻi.

“Mediation is an empowerment model for shared decision-making,” said KMC President Doug Adams. “Mediation encourages self-determination and provides a safe space for all voices to be heard. We need more peace building programs on Hawaiʻi Island. Your presence at our dinner can make that happen.”

Tickets for the Annual Dinner are $90 per person (of which $45 is tax deductible) and are available from KMC’s board of directors; KMC’s office in The Hilo Lagoon Centre at 101 Aupuni St., Ste. PH 1014 B-2; Day-Lum Rentals; and The Most Irresistible Shop.

Click here for a form to purchase tickets, reserve a table, sponsor the event, make a donation or contribute to the auction. You can also call Jenifer Aveiro at (808) 935-7844, ext. 1, or email jenifer@hawaiimediation.org.

Lifelong Kona Resident Announces Run for County Council Seat

Bronsten “Kalei” Kossow will run for Kanuha’s vacant District 7 seat on the Hawai‘i County Counil. Courtesy photo.

Bronsten “Kalei” Kossow has announced he will run for Dru Mamo Kanuha’s vacant seat on the Hawai‘i County Council.

Kanuha’s open seat represents District 7, which includes Kealakekua, Kona Scenic, Kainaliu, Honalo, Keauhou, Kahalu‘u, Hōlualoa, Kona Hillcrest, Pualani Estates, Sunset View, Kuakini Heights, Kona Vistas, Ali‘i Heights and Kona Industrial.

Kossow is a lifelong resident of Kona who attended Hōlualoa Elementary and Kealakehe Intermediate Schools before graduating from Makua Lani Christian School. While a junior in high school, he earned his Eagle Scout award, and soon after received the Honor of Vigil.

A former Boy Scout lodge-vice chief for Hawai‘i Island, Kossow has served as an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 79, and a section-vice chief for the Pacific Region. He is currently working toward his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with the University of Hawai‘i.

“I am proud to be born and raised in this beautiful community,” Kossow said. “I am eager to jump into the conversation and continue the discussion of the current issues that our community is facing such as: creating efficiency in government; pushing for temporary housing for our homeless, working with both County and State agencies to expand the services to those who need assistance; investing in a long-term plan to implement Kona water well security; striving for renewable and alternative energy sources; and enhancing agriculture development for food sustainability.”

Kossow is also a member of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, a former paraprofessional for Aloha Council, and current finance chair for Kona Coast Boy Scouts of America. He is also a game management advisory commissioner for Hawai‘i County District 7, as well as a flight coordinator for Paradise Helicopters.

Gabbard’s Clean Energy Act Gains Momentum in Congress

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Courtesy photo.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (OFF Act) is gaining traction in Congress with eleven new House cosponsors since it was first introduced in September.

The act is based on Hawai‘i’s legislative mandate aiming for 100% clean energy and would put the U.S. on track to completely replace fossil fuels with clean energy sources by 2035.

The OFF Act builds on a growing number of state initiatives designed to address climate change head-on by focusing on clean energy alternatives.

“It’s long overdue for Congress to take action to address the threat of climate change to our people and our planet,” said Rep. Gabbard. “We must end our addiction to fossil fuels and transition America toward a clean, sustainable energy economy and prioritize our future. I urge my fellow lawmakers to join us in supporting the OFF Act to put our country on the path to a 100% clean energy economy.”

“Americans deserve a Congress that will step up and act to solve climate change,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said. “We simply cannot afford to continue using taxpayer dollars to prop up the coal and oil industries. It is long past time to transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy. Scientific experts across the world are in clear agreement that climate change is happening and we are quickly running out of time to do something. This bill would take the strong action needed to aggressively combat climate change and lay the groundwork for the 100 percent clean energy economy our country needs.”

“As recent monster storms and raging wildfires clearly demonstrate, our climate crisis is acute,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Science shows that to keep a decent chance of avoiding deeper climate chaos, we must move off fossil fuels aggressively, and the transition needs to be complete by 2035. The OFF Act is the strongest, most comprehensive climate and energy legislation we’ve got, and we’re mobilizing across the country to make it the law of the land.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s OFF Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, H.R. 3671 is currently supported by environmental advocates and co-sponsors including Reps. Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Luis Gutierrez (IL-04), Eleanor Holmes Norton, (DC-AL), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), and James McGovern (MA-02).