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Commentary – Concerns Over New County Police and Fire Radio Systems

I am a member of the (CERT) Community Emergency Response Team here in Ocean view, and a ham radio operator. Being part of CERT we work closely with other agencies such as Volunteer Fire Department,  Red Cross, Hawaii County Civil Defense, and the National Weather Service.

I have concerns about the county switching over to the new narrow band VHF P25 phase 2 trunked radio system. They spent 31 million on this radio upgrade, and it doesn’t even cover the entire Island. There are a number of “dead spots” in the Ka’u area, especially here in HOVE.

As far as I know the county is in the process of trying to set up another radio site at the HOVE Fire Station, but currently they don’t have sufficient coverage in this subdivision. This poses a public safety issue. This also means that the county will probably end up spending more money on radio sites, and upgrades to enhance radio coverage on the island. Not to mention until the upgrades happens, they are putting police, firefighters, and the public at risk if their radios don’t work on the new digital radio system because of “dead spots.”

The Honolulu Police Department had similar problems with “dead spots” back in 1998 when they switched to Pro-voice 800 megahertz digital radio system which initially they thought would only cost $20 million dollars, but after numerous upgrades and adding more towers they ended up spending $40 million.

After reading information posted on the Hawaii Volunteer Fire Captains Association website, Volunteers complain that their new handheld radios battery does not last more than four to six hours. Sometimes volunteer firefighters are at a fire scene for longer than that. This may cause problems in a disaster when batteries cannot be charged at the scene of a event. The county needs to address these issues before we have serious problems.

Blake Stene
Hawaiian Ocean View Estates

Ka‘u Coffee Festival Perking May 19th – May 28th

The ninth annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival celebrates its award-winning brew with a host of events starting May 19 and continuing through the weekend of May 27-28 with a java-jumpin’ ho‘olaulea‘a on Saturday and the Ka‘u Coffee College educational series on Sunday.

Supported by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and a bevy of sponsors and volunteers, the Ka‘u Coffee Festival is designed to celebrate Ka‘u as a premium coffee growing origin and a unique visitor destination. Many events are free, while others require a nominal fee and reservations. All activities feature the exceptional flavor and aroma of Ka‘u coffee and the remarkable people and special place that produces it. Kindly note the 2017 festival schedule is subject to change; check www.kaucoffeefest.com for the latest information.

On Saturday, May 13, the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant showcases the crowning of 2017 Miss Ka‘u Coffee and her court. 6 p.m. at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill. $10 admission. Contact 808-928-0606 or trinimarques@yahoo.com.

Friday, May 19 – Pa‘ina & Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House featuring music, hula, food and house tours 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. Free, donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund.  www.kaucoffeefest.com, www.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

Sunday May 21 – Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest offers a free, 2 p.m. cooking competition with cash prizes at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Entries are accepted in pupu, entree and dessert categories and all recipes are made with Ka‘u coffee. Free coffee tasting and meet Miss Ka‘u Coffee. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call Lisa at 808-928-0550.

Monday, May 22 – Observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. $35 with refreshments and shuttle transportation departing from Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Sign up at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae—the southernmost place in the U.S.—and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

Wednesday, May 24 and Thursday, May 25 – Explore historic flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Limited to 30, $40 includes lunch.  Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

Saturday, May 27 – Festival fun bubbles over with the free Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a—a full day of live music, hula, food booths, local crafts, keiki activities, educational displays, guided coffee tastings and farm/mill tours headquartered inside and out of the Pahala Community Center, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. It’s a great place to “talk story” with Ka‘u coffee growers.  The Ka‘u Coffee Experience offers Ka‘u coffees prepared using a variety of methods by professionals from 9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Farm tours with shuttle transport are 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m., $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.kaucoffeefest.com.

On Sunday, May 28 learn about the specialty coffee industry with presentations given by notable coffee experts at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. The Ka‘u Coffee College has become known for hosting some of the most renowned industry professionals from around the globe. Free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Founded in coffee traditions dating to the 1800s—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit www.kaucoffeefest.com, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.

UH Hilo to Host Presentation on Multiracial America

The public is invited to attend a presentation on the social and political implications of America’s increasingly multiracial landscape by Dr. Lauren Davenport, assistant professor of political science at Stanford University. Beyond Black and White: The Identity Construction and Political Attitudes of Biracial Americans will be held on Friday, April 7, from 5 –7 p.m. at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Student Services Center Room W-201.

America’s multiple-race population has surged by 106 percent since the 2000 U.S. Census, when Americans were first allowed to self-identify with more than one race. By 2050, an estimated 20 percent of Americans are expected to identify with multiple racial groups. Davenport’s presentation will address several questions, including:

  • How do mixed-race Americans see themselves, socially, culturally and politically?
  • What determines how someone of mixed-race parentage racially self-identifies?
  • What are the repercussions for the broader American political structure?
  • How do people of mixed-race approach various racial and social policies?
  • What is the impact on resources and benefits intended for minority populations?

The event is sponsored by the Chancellor’s Professional Development Fund and organized by the Department of Political Science and the Office of International Student Services and Intercultural Education.

Seating is limited. To reserve a seat, visit http://go.hawaii.edu/jK1. For more information, contact Dr. Su-Mi Lee at sumilee@hawaii.edu. For disability accommodation, contact Disability Services at 932-7623 (V), 932-7002 (TTY), or email uds@hawaii.edu.

Illegal Camps Moved Out of Diamond Head State Monument – Six People Cited So Far During Cleanup & Enforcement Operation

Following six months of outreach to homeless individuals living on the slopes of Hawai’i’s iconic Diamond Head, crews from the DLNR Divisions of State Parks and Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), along with a private rubbish contractor removed tons of debris from illegal camps within Diamond Head State Monument. They were joined by state outreach representatives.

“We empathize with anyone in Hawaii who does not have a home, and thank Governor Ige’s homelessness team for the work they are doing to find shelter for people who do not have it. State lands, though, are owned by all of Hawai‘i’s residents and cannot be used as a place for long-term camps,” said State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. Spread across the southeast flanks of Diamond Head, parks and outreach workers have found abandoned clothing, food containers, camping equipment, cans and bottles.

Last week, during the sixth outreach activity, social workers and DLNR staff again hiked to each camp. During previous outreach trips since last October, workers have informed people at camps, in person or in writing that they would need to vacate their camps sometime in mid-March. Cottrell continued, “We are encouraged that several of the 36 camps we originally posted are no longer occupied, and we have been told that some people have been placed into transitional housing.”

As with all the previous visits to Diamond Head, a team of DOCARE officers participated today. As of 9 a.m. they’d issued six (6) citations for the violation of being in a closed area. DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell commented, “Citing these people is the last step in this concerted effort to enforce park rules.” This is the third clean-up of illegal camps at Diamond Head State Monument.

Scott Morishige, the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness said, “This operation is not only about maintaining DLNR lands; it’s about connecting people to housing. We’ve been conducting ongoing outreach and notification to the estimated 30-35 people living in the area since October. These efforts have resulted in housing two veterans who had been homeless for a decade.  We will continue to work closely with the state service providers: Kalihi-Palama Health Center, Institute for Human Services, and the CHOW Project, to build relationships with people experiencing homelessness and connect them to housing.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Diamond Head is Hawai’i’s best known natural landmark. Our State Parks are for the enjoyment of all kama‘aina and visitors. Other than the established, paved walking path in Diamond Head crater, the area is off-limits because it’s not managed for public access and therefore not safe.”

The State has identified at least 40 camps or rubbish locations on Diamond Head. So far today workers have filled two large roll-off bins with materials that had previously been tagged as trash or identified by campers as such.

Construction Begins on Terminal Modernization Project at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Division marked the start of construction on the Terminal Modernization Project Phase 1 at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off construction of an improved facility that will enhance the customer experience for those traveling to and from Kona.

From left to right: Ross Higashi, HDOT Deputy Director Airports Division; Chauncey Wong Yuen, Manager Kona Airport; Governor David Ige; Senator Lorraine Inouye; Frank Okimoto, Nan Inc.

The $75 million investment will focus on reorganizing the existing layout of the airport in an effort to streamline operations. Improvements will be made to the security screening area, holding rooms, concession area, and restrooms.

More than three million passengers use KOA annually. Currently, the North and South Terminals are operating as two independent terminals, requiring passengers to go through security again when exiting one terminal and entering the other. The renovation will allow passengers to freely move between terminals to promote shopping and dining in the additional retail space that will be created.

Governor David Ige speaks about the upgrades that will be made at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole.

Instead of two separate security screening stations, there will be one centralized security area. The new 6-lane passenger screening checkpoint building will expedite the processing of outbound passengers and reduce the time spent in line. Baggage screening will also undergo improvements as the new inline baggage handling system will employ an Explosive Detection System for baggage screening which will improve work efficiency for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport operations.

Additional features include new restrooms in both the public area before screening and in the terminal areas. The project also includes two covered bag drop areas for added convenience.

“The upgrades to the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport are a key component in the statewide Modernization Program,” said Gov. David Y. Ige. “Joining the two terminals will boost the airport’s operational efficiency and will offer permanent solutions that will have lasting benefits for the State of Hawaii for years to come.”

“In December 2016 we were thrilled to welcome international flights from Tokyo back to Kona and we expect passenger volumes to continue to soar,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director. “Our goal is to provide each and every passenger with an enjoyable experience which will leave a positive impression with our visitors and residents.”

From left to right: Kahu Brian Boshard, Frank Okimoto, Nan Inc., Chauncey Wong Yuen, Manager Kona Airport; Senator Lorraine Inouye; Governor David Ige; Representative Nicole Lowen; Representative Cindy Evans; Ross Higashi, HDOT Deputy Director Airports Division.

The project is scheduled to be completed within two years. The lead contractor is Nan, Inc. and the design team is led by KYA.

The Terminal Modernization Project at Kona International Airport at Keahole is part of the $2.7 billion statewide Modernization Program that is improving facilities at airports statewide.

USS Port Royal (CG 73) Returns to Pearl Harbor Friday

The guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) will return from a 212-day independent deployment to the Arabian Sea, Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, South China Sea, Western Pacific, and Indian Ocean, March 24.
While deployed to the U.S. 5th, 6th, and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility, the ship and crew of more than 390 Sailors conducted joint maritime security exercises with South East Asia partners, theatre anti-submarine operations, joint counterterrorism/smuggling exercises, Pacific presence operations in the South China Sea, 5th Fleet sector air defense, and carrier strike group operations with USS Dwight D Eisenhower and USS Carl Vinson. Port Royal also conducted straits transits, providing protection for U.S. and international commerce and projecting sea control in the vicinity of Yemen and Somalia.
“Port Royal’s 2016-2017 deployment was the culmination of the hard work that had been ongoing since the ship’s last deployment. Port Royal’s crew remained focused on getting their ship materially ready for operational excellence, which they demonstrated throughout their 2016-2017 deployment.  The crew has lived up to the ship’s motto, ‘The Will to Win,’ and they have never wavered in their support of the ship and its mission,” said Capt. Adolfo H. Ibarra, Port Royal’s former commanding officer.
Ibarra turned over command to Capt. Christopher J. Budde during an official change of command on Feb. 24, 2017 while the ship was operating in the Western Pacific.  Budde echoed Ibarra’s sentiments. “The Port Royal crew performed brilliantly throughout a seven month deployment spanning the 5th, 6th, and 7th Fleet AORs.  More impressive was the effort that went into certification and workups.  Getting this ship prepared for its first deployment in five years was a Herculean task that required incredible work and dedicated deckplate leadership,” said Budde.
Port Royal is a multi-mission ship with air warfare, submarine warfare, surface warfare, and strike capabilities; designed to operate independently or with carrier strike groups, surface action groups or amphibious ready groups. Lt. Cmdr. Daniel A. Hancock, Port Royal executive officer, said he was proud of the crew’s performance and execution of diverse mission sets throughout deployment.
“At the heart of it, our crew proved that our Sailors truly represent the best of America,” said Hancock. “They have the hearts of lions and showed it daily under combat conditions. I am extremely proud of the work they have done for this nation. This ship returns to Pearl Harbor materially-sound and operationally ready. That is a testament to the leadership of my chiefs and officers, but above all, it reflects the tireless dedication of my Sailors to mission accomplishment. They have exuded excellence throughout this deployment, and because of their efforts, we return to our loved ones with our heads held high, undoubtedly the finest cruiser in the fleet.”
Port Royal is home ported in Pearl Harbor and is part of Naval Surface Forces and U.S. 3rd Fleet.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Kailua-Kona Boy Reported Missing Again

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Kailua-Kona boy who was reported missing again.

George Price-Apo

George Price-Apo was last seen in Kailua-Kona on January 24, 2017.

He is described as Hawaiian, 6-foot-2, 140 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

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

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

Big Island Police Searching for 15-Year-Old Captain Cook Girl Missing Since Last Year

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Captain Cook girl who was reported missing.

Irene Hernandez

Irene Hernandez was last seen in Hilo on December 8, 2016.

She is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-1, 150 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

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

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

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 15-Year-Old Waimea Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Waimea girl who was reported missing.

Shyanne Muranaka-Walton

Shyanne Muranaka-Walton was last seen in Waimea on March 7, 2017.

She is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-3, 140 pounds with long, brown, wavy hair and brown eyes. She also has a long birthmark on her left bicep.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 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.

Hawaii Department of Health Fines Department of Agriculture for Illegal Discharge of Wastewater Into Halawa Stream

The Hawaii State Department of Health has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against the Department of Agriculture for unlawful discharge of animal and human wastewater from their Halawa facility to Halawa Stream. For failing to comply with Hawaii water pollution laws that prohibit the discharge of pollutants such as sewage to state waters, the Department of Agriculture is ordered to pay a penalty of $465,000 and take corrective action to prevent future sewage discharges from their Halawa campus.

Photograph of an elevated section of the H-3 Highway above Halawa Stream. USGS photo by Reuben H. Wolff

“The Department of Agriculture has been sustaining its operations at Halawa with a wastewater system that is in dire need of modernization,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of Environmental Health Administration. “An emergency stand by power source and a warning system, among other corrections, must be in place to prevent future spills and protect the environment.”

The order requires corrective actions that include upgrading the Department of Agriculture’s wastewater system and adding alarms to notify the department’s management of impending spills. The agency may contest the order and request a hearing within 20 days.

Background

The Department of Agriculture operates offices and an animal quarantine facility in Halawa Valley, Aiea on Oahu. As part of its Halawa campus, the department operates a wastewater pre-treatment facility which treats animal and human wastewater before it is pumped into the local sewage system. On June 13, 2016, the campus experienced a power outage causing the pre-treatment facility’s pump system to cease operating. Without power, wastewater overflowed from the pre-treatment facility into Halawa Stream until August 15, 2016, when temporary pumps were installed and water was shut off.

Hawaii Water Pollution laws, along with the Federal Clean Water Act, prohibit discharging pollutants to state waters unless authorized by a state discharge permit. The Department of Agriculture is not authorized to discharge wastewater to Halawa Stream.

March “Tiki” Madness Event to Help The Food Basket, Hawaii Islands Food Bank

Renowned local artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker along with Kona Oceanfront Gallery is holding a “March Tiki Madness” event this Friday March 24 from 6PM to 9 PM.

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker

Part of sales proceeds generated from this high profile event will be donated to The Food Basket, Hawai’i Island’s Food Bank, one of Parker’s favorite charities.  “The Food Basket is very excited to be working with Brad ‘Tiki Shark’ Parker for another gallery event,” said Jamilia Epping, Director of Public Relations and Events at The Food Basket. “We are appreciative of his efforts to aid in the elevation of hunger as an issue in our community. The Food Basket is unable to survive without the generous support of the community, including businesses and individuals such as Brad. Mahalo!”

Parker and Kona Oceanfront Gallery Owner Mark Hanna

“If you ever wanted to own a Brad Parker piece of art, this would be the time to get one” quoted the artist.  Mark Hanna the owner of Kona Oceanfront Gallery has agreed to consider “all and any offers on Brad artwork as long as a generous donation of canned food items are brought along that evening to be donated”.

All in the community are encouraged to come out and participate in a night filled with Art, Entertainment and Charity.  Brad will be in attendance to autograph, personalize and talk story with his patrons.  Kona Oceanfront Gallery is the premier gallery on the Big Island that carry’s all of Brad’s latest art.  The Gallery is centrally located on Ali’i Drive next to Bubba Gumps; free validated underground event parking will be available.  SEE YOU THERE!

Hawaii Food and Wine Festival – A Connoisseur’s Culinary Journey

Farms, food and fireworks headline the summer launch for the Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival (HFWF), the world class epicurean event that showcases local ingredients. The official countdown to HFWF17 will ramp up with the second annual Connoisseur’s Culinary Journey from May 29-June 2, 2017. The immersive five-day exploration of farming, food and cuisine in the Islands will be hosted by Hawai‘i’s top chefs and end with a bang: food and fireworks under the stars at The Kahala Hotel & Resort.

“It’s exciting to return to our roots with another culinary journey that honors our deep connection to everything that’s grown, raised, and caught locally” shares HFWF Chief Executive Officer Denise Yamaguchi. “This is an opportunity to show in a meaningful way our mission to Taste Our Love for the Land.”

Presented by The Kahala Hotel & Resort and Kamehameha Schools, the Connoisseur’s Culinary Journey is limited to five couples. “We’re delighted to be the host resort for the second consecutive year of the Festival’s Launch program” said Gerald Glennon, General Manager, The Kahala Hotel & Resort. “The Kahala offers the perfect setting for unique culinary experiences and will commence the 2017 HFWF Season with a spectacular fireworks show. We’re proud to support an amazing organization that contributes greatly to the Hawaiian culture, sustainability and educational programs.”

“This is a privilege for us to highlight the abundant and rich cultural and community resources on the Waiʻanae Coast,” said Kalei Kailihiwa, Regional Director for Waiʻanae, Kamehameha Schools. “We’ve witnessed the successful results of community coming together to share resources and promote sustainable practices, including food production. Community success and how it affects the well-being of those who live on this coast is an important story to tell.”

Culinary Journey highlights include:

Monday, May 29: Private Welcome Reception at The Kahala Hotel & Resort with Executive Chef Wayne Hirabayashi, Mark “Gooch” Noguchi, Lee Anne Wong, and Roy Yamaguchi.

Tuesday, May 30: Tour Hoa ‘Āina O Mākaha and taste local goods grown at The Farm, a nonprofit educational learning center. Take a culinary voyage with a visit to E Ala (“Awake”) a double-hulled voyaging canoe built to revive the art of canoe-building on the Wai‘anae Coast. We’ll sail the Waiʻanae Coast onboard the canoe Nā Kama Kai (“Child of the Sea”) and showcase the foods that ancient and modern navigators prepared on their voyages. Chef Mark Noguchi will be the guide.

Wednesday, May 31: Got Poke champagne brunch at The Kahala Hotel & Resort. Learn how to make poke with Chef Lee Anne Wong and enjoy brunch prepared by Chef Wayne Hirabayashi.

Thursday, June 1: Take a culinary journey to Kaua‘i’s North Shore with Chef Roy Yamaguchi for a once-in-a-lifetime visit to 100+ year old taro family farm, experience Poi Day at the ahupua‘a of Waipa, tour a rice mill museum, and enjoy a special dinner prepared by Chef Roy Yamaguchi at a surprise location.

Friday, June 2: 2017 Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival Launch Event ‘Cuisines of the Sea’ at The Kahala Hotel & Resort with a fireworks finale.

The exclusive Connoisseur’s Culinary Journey is offered at $6,995.00 plus tax per couple. The journey includes a five-night stay in an ocean view room at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, chef guided tours, ground transportation and airfare to Kaua‘i, and memorable meals.  To view the complete itinerary and to purchase tickets, visit our website.

The journey will culminate in the 2017 Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival Launch ‘Cuisines of the Sea’– featuring ten of the state’s best chefs and fireworks at Kahala Beach to celebrate the talent lineup announcement for the seventh annual festival. HFWF17 will welcome more than 100 culinary masters, 50 wine makers, and a dozen mixologists to events on Maui, Hawai‘i Island and O‘ahu from October 20-November 5, 2017. The 2017 Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival Launch on Friday, June 2, 2017 is open to the public and tickets are priced at $175 per person. To purchase tickets, please visit our website.

In six years, HFWF has expanded from a 3-day festival with 30 chefs in Waikiki to a two week long culinary celebration spanning 3 Islands that attracts nearly 8,000 attendees. The festival has raised close to $1.7 million for community organizations that support sustainability, culinary programs and agriculture since its 2011 launch.

Hikianalia Launches from Hawaii to Reunite with Hokulea

Polynesian sailing vessel Hikianalia launched from the Marine Education Training Center at Sand Island today to meet her sister canoe Hokulea in Tahiti. This will be the crew’s final stop to share the Malama Honua message before sailing back home to complete the Worldwide Voyage.

The journey to Tahiti marks the inaugural voyage as captain for apprentice navigator Kala Baybayan Tanaka. Tanaka is an educator and apprentice navigator with Maui’s voyaging society, Hui o Waa Kaulua, where she teaches about  Polynesian wayfinding techniques to children and other interested learners. Tanaka draws her inspiration and connection to voyaging from her father and pwo navigator, Kalepa Baybayan, who will also be aboard while Kala captains Hikianalia to Tahiti.

“As a captain for the first time I’m reminded of the amazing teachers like my dad who I’ve learned from over the years,” said Kala Babayan, captain of Hikianalia. “It’s truly an honor to lead this leg on an epic journey that aims to inspire the world and our home here in Hawaiʻi.”

Hikianalia is the Hawaiian name for the star also known as Spica, which rises together with Hokulea (Arcturus) in Hawaii. They are sister stars because they break the horizon together at the latitude of the Hawaiian Islands. The 72-foot canoe Hikianalia is a modern Polynesian voyaging canoe and sister canoe to the Hokulea, uses sustainable solar and wind energy to combine the latest ecological technology with the heritage of the voyaging tradition.

The crews anticipate arrival at Tahiti around mid-April. They will travel throughout Tahiti and Raiatea to engage with the local community in ceremony and education outreach as they celebrate the message of caring for Island Earth at the close of the nearly four-year long voyage. Together, Hokulea and Hikianalia will head home to a welcoming ceremony on Magic Island in June 2017.

Big Island Police Looking for Missing Man with Medical Condition

Big Island police have located the 1999 Toyota Camry that was believed to have been operated by missing person Glenn S. Oyama. The car was found unattended along Highway 19 in the area of the Kolekole Bridge on Tuesday morning (March 21).

Glenn S. Oyama

Oyama was not found to be in the immediate area and police still ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Glenn S. Oyama, 59-years-old, of Honomū, was last seen in Hilo on Sunday (March 19) at about 11:30 p.m. He has a medical condition and requires medication.

He is described as Japanese, 5-foot-7, 190 pounds with black/gray hair, and brown eyes.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 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.

Trump Travel Ban Update: Hawaii Seeks Conversion of Temporary Restraining Order to Preliminary Injunction

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that the state of Hawaii has moved to convert the temporary restraining order issued last week by Hawaii federal judge Derrick K. Watson in the travel ban case into a preliminary injunction.

Attorney General Doug Chin

On March 15, 2017, Judge Watson issued a 43-page opinion enjoining the federal government nationwide from enforcing or implementing Sections 2 and 6 of a second Executive Order issued by President Trump. That Executive Order would have restricted immigration from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen, and also temporarily suspended refugee admissions. The second Executive Order had been scheduled to become effective on March 16, 2017.

Attorney General Chin said, “Protecting national security and the safety of our state is critically important, but executive orders must not discriminate against people based on national origin or religion. President Trump during his campaign called for a Muslim ban. His comments in the last week indicate he still supports that policy.”

In today’s filings, Hawaii quotes from the following statement made by the President at a rally in Nashville, Tennessee on the evening of March 15 after the federal court had issued its temporary restraining order:

“The order [Judge Watson] blocked was a watered down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with . . . . Remember this. I wasn’t thrilled, but the lawyers all said, oh, let’s tailor it. This is a watered down version of the first one. This is a watered down version. And let me tell you something, I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.”

Today’s filings also describe a television interview later that night during which President Trump stated that it was “very hard” to assimilate Muslims into Western culture.

Under federal court rules, a temporary restraining order expires 14 days after entry, unless the court extends it. In contrast, a preliminary injunction will last as long as directed by the court.

A hearing on today’s motion is currently scheduled before Judge Watson on March 29, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. The Court has advised that the hearing date and time may be changed or vacated upon review of the written briefs. The parties have also stipulated that Judge Watson’s nationwide order of March 15, 2017 shall remain in place until such time as the Court rules on whether the TRO should be converted to a preliminary injunction or until otherwise ordered by the Court.

Copies of the motion to convert the temporary restraining order to a preliminary injunction and the memorandum in support of the motion are attached.

Kohala Officer of the Quarter: Sidra Naki-Brown

The Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association recognized Officer Sidra Naki-Brown as “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” during a ceremony held on Friday (March 10).

Pictured from left to right: Robert Hickox of Kohanaiki, Randy Crowe of R. Crowe Consulting, Officer Sidra Naki-Brown, and Captain Randal Ishii

Officer Naki-Brown was honored for her diligence, persistence and determination while dealing with an unruly and violent suspect.

On December 5, 2016, Officer Naki-Brown responded to a report of a disorderly male at the Waikoloa Village shopping center. Despite the male suspect being very vulgar towards her and challenging her and others to fight, Officer Naki-Brown remained calm and professional. The suspect then attempted to flee, although fell to the ground and was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct.

Throughout the arrest process, Officer Naki-Brown remained calm and professional, never letting her emotions take over. She treated the male suspect with dignity and respect, regardless of how he was treating her.

Sergeant Floyd Richards commented in his nomination papers that “her level of determination, professionalism, and perseverance is a testament of her professional work ethic and moral character. Our department’s core values of professionalism and compassion come to mind when reflecting on the actions of Officer Naki-Brown.”

The Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association is an organization of hotel and airport security managers and visitor industry professionals. Its “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” program is an opportunity to recognize outstanding officers from the North Kohala and South Kohala Districts.

Hawaii House Budget Includes $360.8 Million for Big Island Capital Improvement Projects

Big Island legislators secured more than $360.8 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island in the recently passed House proposed budget.

The two largest single amounts were in transportation: $89 million for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension and $64.8 million for projects at the Kona International Airport.

The budget includes a total of nearly $1.9 billion for FY2018 and $926 million for FY2019 for capital improvement projects throughout the state.

The budget bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

These numbers do not reflect numerous statewide projects, which includes work in all counties.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

GENERAL

  • $4.3 million for a new maintenance shop for the Hawaii Army National Guard at Keaukaha Mililtary Reservation
  • $5.5 million for Hawaiian Home Lands to build a Kau water system
  • $4.5 million to renovate the Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center
  • $2 million to create a telehealth unit at Hilo Medical Center
  • $850,000 to build a West Hawaii Vet’s Center
  • $500,000 for Hawaiian Home Land for development of Kaumana subdivision
  • $300,000 for repairs to state-owned roads to benefit agricultural producers
  • $300,000 to build a throw away ditch and drainage area at Puupulehu Reservoir
  • $250,000 to build a swimming are at Pohoiki

SCHOOLS

  • $7.2 million for Hilo High School to upgrade the track and field and renovate building B
  • $6 million for Waikeawaena Elementary School to renovate and expand the cafeteria
  • $3.6 million for Kealakehe High School to build a synthetic track and plan a performing arts center
  • $3.4 million for Kohala Middle School to build a play court/assembly area
  • $1.2 million for Naalehu Elementary School for covered walkways $950,000 for Hilo Intermediate School to renovate the locker rooms
  • $700,000 for Hawaii Community College, Palamanui campus for improvements for the trade and apprenticeship program and to convert a classroom to a physics lab
  • $500,000 for Pahoa Elementary School to plan a new cafeteria and administration building
  • $450,000 for Hawaii Community College, Hilo campus to reroof the automotive building
  • $400,000 for Paauilo Elementary School to renovate a the home economics classroom to meet state health standards for a certified kitchen
  • $186,000 for Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino for campus-wide repair work

TRANSPORTATION

  • $89 million for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • $64.8 million for the Kona International Airport for a new agriculture inspection station, an aircraft rescue and fire fighting center, install an emergency generator, build a federal inspection station, replace the perimeter fence, renovate the restrooms
  • $55.3 million for the Hawaii Belt Road for improvements to drainage, rockfall protection, repairs to the Umauma Stream Bridge, replace an arch-deck bridge near Papaikou, and replace Wailuku Bridge
  • $40 million for Keaau-Pahoa Road improvements and widening
  • $16.6 million for Hilo International Airport to reconstruct the aircraft aprons, improve the Arcade building, build noise attenuation dwelling at the Keaukaha subdivision, improve the ticket lobby, holdrooms, and restrooms
  • $14.3 million for Mamalahoa Highway drainage improvements, replacing Hilea Stream Bridge, replacing Ninole Bridge and guardrail and shoulder work
  • $13 million to replace the one-lane 4 mile Creek Bridge for commuters between Hilo and Puna
  • $8 million for Kawaihae Road to replace Waiaka Stream Bridge and realign the approaches
  • $3 million for Akoni Pule Highway for widening and guardrails on the Pololu Valley side of Aamakao Gulch
  • $2 million to build acceleration lanes on Highway 11
  • $2 million for guardrail and shoulder improvements on state highways
  • $1.1 million for Kawaihae North and South Small Boat Harbor for paving and drainage improvements
  • $1 million for Upolu Airport to install a security system and replace a storage shed
  • $600,000 for traffic operational improvements to existing intersections and highway facilities

Contact Information:

Representative Richard Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona) (808) 586-9605 repcreagan@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala) (808) 586-8510 repevans@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) (808) 586-6530 repsanbuenaventura@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau) (808) 586-8400 replowen@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo) (808) 586-6680 repnakashima@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Richard Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano) (808) 586-6120 reponishi@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Chris Todd (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea) (808) 586-8480 reptodd@capitol.hawaii.gov

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls for Federal Decriminalization of Marijuana

Continuing her commitment to common sense criminal justice reform, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke on the House floor today urging Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to federally decriminalize marijuana.

If passed, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (H.R.1227) would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list—joining other industries such as alcohol and tobacco. Gabbard introduced the legislation with Rep. Tom Garrett (VA-05), an Army veteran and former prosecutor.

“Our outdated policies on marijuana are having devastating ripple effects on individuals and communities across the country. They have turned everyday Americans into criminals, torn apart families, and wasted huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate people for non-violent marijuana charges,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Differences in state and federal law have also created confusion and uncertainty for our local businesses, who face contradictory regulations that affect their bottom line and ability to operate. I urge our colleagues to support our bipartisan legislation which would decriminalize marijuana, bringing about long overdue and common sense reform.”

“There is growing consensus acknowledging that the effects of marijuana are less harmful than its criminal prohibition, which has increased incarceration rates, divided families, and burdened state governments with the high cost of enforcement, prison and probation. It’s clear that there are more vital needs that we as a society need to allocate our precious resources towards, such as education, mental health, and homelessness. Decriminalization is a step forward in making needed criminal justice reforms, which should also include more diversion to substance abuse treatment,” said Karen Umemoto, Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and juvenile justice researcher.

“As long as marijuana is federally illegal, FDIC regulations make it impossible for banks to provide any services to the eight Hawaiʻi Medical Marijuana Dispensary licensees. Federal decriminalization will enable professional dispensaries to provide much needed patient access and cost savings,” said Richard Ha, CEO of Lau Ola, a medical marijuana dispensary on Hawaiʻi Island.

“Descheduling cannabis will benefit Hawaiʻi patients by allowing for more rapid research to identify the best medical marijuana strains and dosages for individual medical conditions. Also, eliminating the barriers to banking will make it easier and safer for Hawaiʻi patients to purchase the medicine they need and eliminate unnecessary expense and complexity for dispensaries,” said Brian Goldstein, Founder and CEO of Mānoa Botanicals, a licensed medical marijuana dispensary on Oʻahu.

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard supports the full legalization of marijuana on the federal level as part of her overall effort toward criminal justice reform. Last month, she visited correctional facilities throughout the state, and met with inmates, criminal justice advocates and experts, health professionals, educators and others to discuss reducing recidivism and her continued efforts to pass federal criminal justice reform legislation like the SAFE Justice Act and the Sentencing Reform Act.

The congresswoman has also supported legislation like the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to support the cultivation of industrial hemp in Hawaiʻi and nationwide.

 

Announcing East Hawai’i Officer of the Year and Firefighter of the Year

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Puna Patrol Officer Joshua Baumgarner on Monday evening (March 20) as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Year” and Fire EMS Captain Chris Honda as “Firefighter of the Year.”

Hawaii County Council Member Susan Lee Loy, ‘Firefighter of the Year’ EMS Captain Chris Honda, ‘East Hawai’i Officer of the Year’ Puna Patrol Officer Joshua Baumgarner, Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth, and Senator Kaiali’i Kahele

Baumgarner, who began solo patrol duty in April 2016, was honored for saving the life of a woman who would have bled to death without his aid.

Honda, a member of the Fire Department since 2000, was honored for improving cardiac arrest survival rates on Hawai‘i Island.

On September 23, 2016, Officer Baumgarner was among the police officers who responded to a home in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision to find a 29-year-old woman bleeding profusely after punching a glass window during a domestic dispute. The woman’s husband and young children were frantic at the scene, where the husband was unsuccessfully attempting to stem the bleeding.

Baumgarner quickly took action. He applied direct pressure to the woman’s affected artery, elevated her feet to concentrate remaining blood in her vital organs, and reassured her to prevent shock. He was successful in stopping the bleeding, and he continued to maintain constant pressure on the artery until Fire Department rescue personnel arrived on the scene about 8-10 minutes later. The woman was taken to the hospital and survived her injuries.

Sergeant Chris Correia, who nominated Baumgarner for the award, noted that the officer had training as a combat medic in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.

“Officer Baumgarner’s background in the medical field, as well as his calm demeanor in providing and maintaining first aid treatment saved the life of a gravely injured person,” Correia wrote in nomination papers. “His decisive action in the saving of a life truly embodies the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s Core Values of Integrity, Professionalism, Compassion, Teamwork, and Community Satisfaction.”

Baumgarner was named “Officer of the Month” in November for the same incident.

The Fire Department’s honoree, Captain Honda, was promoted to his current position as a Fire Medical Specialist III, or EMS Captain, with the EMS Bureau in August 2012. He is the Fire Department’s lead in “High Performance” CPR training, the “Community Hands Only” CPR training in schools project, and the “Pilot HPD AED” response program.

Since inception, more than 9,000 persons have been trained in “Hands Only” CPR. In that time, cardiac arrest survivor rates improved from 4 percent in 2014 to more than 10 percent in 2016. In 2016, 19 out of 197 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims walked out of the hospital neurologically intact.

One such success story involved several students who participated in and helped instruct the “Hands Only” CPR training at Waiākea High School. They performed “Hands Only” CPR on a friend who collapsed in cardiac arrest off campus while playing basketball. Because of their training, the students were able to resuscitate their classmate, who later recovered in time to graduate with his class as the valedictorian.

During his time off, Honda can be found on the baseball field as a volunteer coach, mentoring youth on the values of hard work, commitment, sacrifice, integrity and teamwork.

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Year” and “Firefighter of the Year” awards are a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Community Presentation – Raising Awareness of Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death

The Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM), ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy, continue their community presentations this Thursday, March 23 starting at 7 pm. The free Maunakea Speaker Series will be held in the UH Hilo Wentworth Hall: Room 1. On-campus parking after 4 pm is open and available without charge.

Raising Awareness of Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death

Dr. Friday will speak on Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death, a fungal disease that is causing extensive mortality across tens of thousands of acres of ‘ōhi’a (Metrosideros polymorpha) forests on Hawai’i Island. Loss of these native forests threatens native species, watershed protection, landscape and cultural resources. Dr. Friday will provide updates on what is currently known about the pathogens, how the disease moves, how it is being monitored, ongoing research, and measures being taken to limit the spread of the disease.

The Maunakea Speaker Series is a monthly scholar-focused presentation in partnership with the Office of Maunakea Management, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy. For more information visit malamamaunakea.org or call 808-933-0734.