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Man Charged With 16 Offenses After Stealing Purse From 87-Year-Old Woman

A Hilo man has been charged with 16 offenses stemming from the theft of a purse.

Bronson I. K. Lee

Bronson I. K. Lee

The purse was stolen from an 87-year-old woman at a drug store on Puainako Street in Hilo just before 1:30 p.m. Sunday (March 22). Shortly thereafter, the victim’s credit card was used at two businesses in the vicinity.

At 2:40 p.m., police arrested the suspect, 25-year-old Bronson I. K. Lee, in the parking lot of a home improvement store on Makaʻala Street. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 2:25 p.m. Tuesday (March 24), Lee was charged with five counts of theft, three counts of forgery, four counts of ID theft and four counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. His bail was set at $44,250.

He remains at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Wednesday (March 25).

Big Island Police Searching for Two Wanted on Abuse Charges

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 59-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man wanted for abuse.

Catherine Surtees

Catherine Surtees

Catherine Surtees is described as 5-foot-2, 110 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. Her last know address was in Kailua-Kona.

Damon Soderlund

Damon Soderlund

Damon Soderlund is described as 5-foot-9, 190 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair. He frequents the Kailua-Kona area.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide 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.

Kitchen Fire Temporarily Closes Restaurants in Volcano House

Both restaurants in Volcano House are closed for at least two days while officials investigate the cause of a kitchen fire that sent a hotel employee to the hospital Tuesday morning.
Volcano House Lodge, Volcano, HI
Both The Rim restaurant and Uncle George’s Lounge will be temporarily closed as National Park Service investigators determine the cause of the small blaze, said Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC General Manager David Macilwraith. They plan to reopen both restaurants Thursday. The Volcano House hotel remains open, he said.

Park rangers, Hawai‘i County medics and engine 19 responded quickly to the fire alarm and calls to park dispatch, around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. A 42-year-old hotel employee suffered burns to his upper arms, and was transported by county medics to the hospital.

UHHSA Approves Permaculture Parking Lot Unanimously

The University of Hawaii Student Association (UHHSA) voted unanimously to support the Permaculture Parking Lot (PPL) at last Thursday’s senate meeting (see video here).
permaculture

The bill will fund the creation of the Permaculture Parking Lot in the UH Hilo Science and Technology Building Lanikaula Parking Lot adjacent to the Kumukoa House.

The project is supported by the UH Hilo Sustainability Committee, UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Global HOPE, The Agriculture Club, and over 500 students and faculty members: see supporter video here

“The purpose of this project is to create an educational venue for the different edible plants that can grow in Hawai’i. The Permaculture Parking Lot will inform and inspire students and community members,” said principal project designer Wade Bauer. Over 80 different types of edible plants will be going into the parking lot (for complete list see below)

Earth Day Fair founder a professor Dr. Noelie Rodriguez fully supported the project. “Students could gain both skills and a way to lower their food costs,” she said.

UH Hilo neighbor Justin Avery jokingly said, “It could be a parking lot and we’ll put up a paradise,.” “This project has been a team effort to grow food on campus and be an example for the community, it’s a real win-win“ Avery said.

Over the past 3 and a half years The Kumukoa House has been organizing ‘yard days,’ where students and community members work in the gardens all day with trained gardening and landscaping experts. In the past 2 years, with the blessing of UH Hilo, the project has extended to the parking lot. “This is using the momentum we have from the past years to launch this project,” said Avery.

Agroforestry and permaculture consultant Dave Sansone said, “It’s not often that you have people who know what they are doing stepping in and offering free services and free labor. I see a real win-win. This project goes from having this idea on paper to lead the way in sustainability to actually doing it.”

UH Hilo is joining the national trend by moving in the direction of sustainability. Alex Lyon, University of Massachusets student and Kumukoa House resident, sees how permaculture gardens can serve as a recruitment tool for the university. “From 2010 UMASS started a permaculture garden at the university and has attracted considerable amount of students to enroll. The food goes straight from the campus gardens into the dining hall. You look outside of the dining hall and see 6 permaculture gardens. Students enroll in UMASS because of the garden, it has become a center of the university,” Lyon said.

The Kumukoa House invited everybody to come out for Yard Days on the 1st and 3rd Saturday from 9am-3pm. Mahalo!

NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric to Hold Informational Meetings Across State

NextEra Energy, Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. and Maui Electric Company Limited (collectively referred to as Hawaiian Electric), today announced that the companies will be hosting a series of 13 open house informational meetings across Hawaii to introduce residents to NextEra Energy and the benefits of the companies’ pending merger as well as to provide members of the public with the opportunity to provide input directly to company officials.

NextEra Logo

The open houses will take place on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai and Lanai from April 7 to April 16.

“Since we announced our merger late last year, we’ve been gratified at the reception we’ve received as well as the high level of interest in this important topic for Hawaii,” said Eric Gleason, president of NextEra Energy Hawaii, LLC. “NextEra Energy shares Hawaiian Electric’s vision of increasing renewable energy, modernizing its grid, reducing Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil, integrating more rooftop solar energy and, importantly, lowering customer bills. We recognize that addressing Hawaii’s energy challenges requires Hawaii-specific energy solutions, and that is why we look forward to meeting with and listening to residents across Hawaii. The meetings will provide us with the opportunity to receive valuable feedback while allowing residents to learn more about NextEra Energy and the significant near- and long-term benefits this merger will deliver to Hawaiian Electric customers and the state of Hawaii.”

“In selecting NextEra Energy as our partner, we will join a company that shares our community and environmental values, has a proven track record of lowering electric bills, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, and is committed to rooftop solar in Hawaii,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric’s president and chief executive officer. “We can’t imagine a better match to help us accelerate the clean energy transformation we all want for Hawaii. We hope our customers will take the opportunity to meet members of the NextEra Energy team and learn firsthand why NextEra Energy is the right partner to help us achieve a cleaner and more affordable energy future for Hawaii.”

About the Open House Meetings

Each open house meeting will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time. Senior leaders and other employees from NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric will be available to discuss NextEra Energy’s track record of increasing renewable energy, lowering customer bills, creating innovative solutions for modernizing the grid, and supporting local communities, as well as all the expected benefits from the proposed merger with Hawaiian Electric.

The dates and locations for the meetings are as follows:

Maui County

April 7

  • Central Maui: Maui Electric Auditorium
  • South Maui: Kihei Community Center

April 8

  • West Maui: Lahaina Civic Center
  • Lanai: Lanai Community Center

April 9

  • Molokai: Kaunakakai Elementary School Cafeteria

Hawaii Island

April 13

  • Hilo, Hawaii: Hilo High School Cafeteria
  • Puna, Hawaii: Pahoa High School Cafeteria

April 14

  • West Hawaii: Kealakehe High School Cafeteria
  • Waimea, Hawaii: HPA Village Campus Dining Hall

Oahu

April 15

  • West Oahu: Kapolei High School Cafeteria
  • Leeward Oahu: Pearl City High School Cafeteria

April 16

  • Honolulu: Ward Warehouse, Kakaako Conference Room
  • Windward Oahu: Windward Community College, Hale Akoakoa

Website

To learn more about the benefits of the transaction, please visit www.forhawaiisfuture.com.

23rd Annual Hawaiian Family afFAIR at UH Hilo

The 23rd annual Hawaiian Family AfFAIR at University of Hawaii Hilo happens this weekend.
2015 Family Affair

Hawaii Moon RIDERS Honored at Capital

The House of Representatives today recognized the Iolani School and Kealakehe High School robotics team, known as the Moon RIDERS, for their work on the electrodynamic dust shield lunar project and their partnerships with PISCES, NASA, and Google Lunar Xprize. 

PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso, Moon RIDERS, and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso, Moon RIDERS, and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

In February, the group was selected to take part in an experiment involving electrodynamic dust shield technology that will be conducted on the surface of the moon by the end of 2016. 

Kealakehe teacher Justin Brown, Kealakehe student Moon RIDERS, and Reps. Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima.

Kealakehe teacher Justin Brown, Kealakehe student Moon RIDERS, and Reps. Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima.

The selected Hawaii students will be mentored by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.  The project came about through an agreement with PISCES and NASA to work on a Hawaii high school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project.

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Missing Since December

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

Jonah Xavier

Jonah Xavier

Jonah Xavier was last seen in Kailua-Kona on December, 2014.

He is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-2, 105 pounds with blue eyes and medium-length blond hair.

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 islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid Announces Official 2015 Film Selections

Now in its tenth year, the Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) has announced its 50 Official Selections, to be screened May 21-25, 2015. BIFF, the “talk story” film festival is a celebration of films and filmmaking in a luxury resort setting.

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Photo by Kirk Aeder

A busy five-day schedule includes free family films at The Shops at Mauna Lani, plus a new food event, “Taste of the Movies,” on Friday, May 22, to honor BIFF’s tenth anniversary with ten top chefs presenting movie-themed cuisine. At The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, film buffs enjoy daytime movies and nightly double features with no-host bar and pupus, plus celebrity social events, workshops and more. Closing night Best of the Fest features The Rough Riders in concert: Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland—all three BIFF alumni.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

The lineup of new, independent narrative films includes 13 made in the state, six from Hawai‘i Island itself. Returning to BIFF with a new sci fi thriller, Cousins Brothers Productions of Honoka‘a will present “Hangar 52 ‘We Are Not Alone.’”
Hangar52

Kona filmmakers represent, with the new feature “Project Z” by Richard Gonzalez and the short family film “Lost Dog” by Rockwood; both longtime BIFF alumni and supporters.

“2015 is shaping up to be a great year for short films, as well as our usual fine crop of feature films. The quality is outstanding,” said BIFF Executive Director Leo Sears. “A short film only has 30 minutes or less to tell its story. It is an art of filmmaking that requires special skills. It’s not easy to do.”

Big Island Film Festival Class of 2014

Big Island Film Festival Class of 2014

Other Hawaii-made shorts include “Līhau’s Journey,” starring Leiomalama Solomon and directed by Ari Bernstein of Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy, set in the spectacular Waimea countryside, Willy Navarro’s new work “Projection” and, from Oahu, Erin Lau presents “Day Pass,” filmed on Hawai‘i Island. From Maui, Brian Kohne and the Believers of Nonsense present the world premier of their animated short, “Nothing Goin’ On But the Rent.” And, based on a story by Waikoloa author Catherine Tarleton, “The Fishing Club” by Shooters Productions is a short film starring Robert Kekaula and Keali‘i Reichel.

Keali'i Reichel and Robert Kekaula star in "The Fishing Club" based on a book by big island author Catherine Tarleton

Keali’i Reichel and Robert Kekaula star in “The Fishing Club” based on a story by Big Island Author Catherine Tarleton

Hawai‘i is well-represented in the family feature film category as well. One in particular, “Under the Blood Red Sun,” based on Graham Salisbury’s award-winning novel. Set on Oahu during WWII, two young boys grow up quickly after the raid on Pearl Harbor, and help each other deal with its impact on their families, Japanese and American. Directed by Tim Savage and starring Kyler Sakamoto, the film has already garnered numerous awards and accolades.

Under the Blood Red Sun

The Official Selections for BIFF 2015 are:

  • 34th Street Christmas
  • A Standing Still
  • Arthur
  • Bereave
  • BIRTHDAY
  • Butterflies
  • Captive
  • Day Pass
  • Demon Within…
  • Dig Two Graves
  • Dishonestly Yours
  • Flowers
  • Hamlet’s Ghost
  • Hands Off My Child
  • Hangar 52 “We Are Not Alone”
  • HoneyGlue
  • Hotwire
  • If The Trees Could Talk
  • I KNOW YOU
  • Jilel – The Calling of the Shell
  • Līhauʻs Journey
  • Listening
  • Lost Dog
  • Mother Earth
  • N. King
  • Nobody
  • Nothing Going On But The Rent
  • Our Father
  • Out of the Basement
  • Patterson’s Wager
  • Prick
  • Project Z
  • Projection
  • Seahorses
  • Sin Frontera (Without Boundary)
  • Substance
  • SURE THING
  • Take a Stand
  • The Cat’s Cradle
  • The Devil Goes Down
  • The Fishing Club
  • The Hit
  • The Lei Makers
  • The Less Fortunate
  • The Morning After
  • The Rabbit
  • The Story of M
  • The Sun Devil and the Princess
  • Under the Blood-Red Sun
  • Wildlike

A limited number of ballots will be given to audience members during each screening. Votes are tallied at the end of the festival, to determine the Audience-choice Feature and Short to be screened at Best of the Fest on Monday, May 25. An exciting closing night event, Best of the Fest will kick off with a concert by the Rough Riders: Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland. The evening includes a silent auction for Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center, and a portion of each ticket sold goes to Hawai‘i Island Food Basket.

BIFF Leo on StageThe Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 21-25. Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP. For complete schedule information and tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com.

 

10-Year-Old Hula Phenom – I Recognize That Kid!

Last weekend at Uncle Roberts memorial service in Kalapana my son busted out some Hula to honor uncle and his ohana.

Hayden dancing with Kainani Kaunahele at Uncle Robert's Memorial Service.  (Photo via Debra Isabel)

Hayden dancing with Kainani Kahaunaele at Uncle Robert’s Memorial Service. (Photo via Debra Isabel)

He has since become the talk of the town with that little dance and last night at a friends party for their baby… he danced again.

Here is my son Hayden dancing with the Kalapana Awa Band last night.

I guess it’s in his blood… but it obviously isn’t part of my genes!  Maybe I should start taking bookings. :)

Hawaii Police Kill 5 Unarmed Hawaii Residents in 8 Months – Group Calls for Justice for Sheldon Haleck

Today we say NO MORE!   World Can’t Wait-Hawai`i calls on the people of Hawai`i to demand the truth about the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheldon Haleck.

JusticeWe challenge the media to vigorously investigate the actions of the HPD and to refuse to parrot police reports and attempts to vilify victims of police brutality and murder.

We challenge the people of Hawaii to stand with the victims of police brutality and create an atmosphere where families can talk openly about their loved ones, and where witnesses of police brutality can step forward to tell the truth.

justice2In the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, people across the U.S. righteously stood up against police murder and brutality, the targeting of Black and Brown people, and the lack of prosecution of the police for their crimes.

People of different races and nationalities, and from all walks of life, joined together to say, “We  Can’t Breathe,” in solidarity with those being victimized. Through many different forms of protest and resistance, the entire society was finally forced to confront this burning injustice.  Meanwhile, murder by police continues unchecked.

justice3In the last 8 months HPD has killed at least 5 unarmed Hawai`i residents.  Hawai`i has one of the highest rates of police murder and brutality in the U.S.

The epidemic of police murder and brutality must end!   NOW!

On April 14 World Can’t Wait-Hawai`i will be joining with people across the U.S. calling for a Shut Down to Stop Murder (#ShutDownA14).  Go to www.stopmassincarceration.net to connect with the growing movement against police murder, brutality and mass incarceration!”

Commentary:

15 people responded to our Call to a Vigil/Signholding in front of Iolani Palace to
Demand Justice for Sheldon Haleck.  A small memorial was set up and our signs lined King Street during rush hour.

Many commuters honked their horns; a few stopped their cars to ask what had happened; several pedestrians stopped to talk, thank us, or tell about their own experiences with police brutality.

We also heard some potentially important new information.  According to someone who was within several hundred yards of the killing but did not personally see Sheldon get tased,, Sheldon was “dragged from the street” rather than “escorted,” as the HPD report claimed, and  several people he had spoken with overheard conversations between the police immediately after Sheldon was tased saying they were “worried that the woman cop who tased Sheldon had tased him too long.”   At this point facts are still sketchy, but while we held signs we couldn’t help but note that there were a number of surveillance cameras in the vicinity that might hold important information.

A Press Release was sent to members of Hawai`i’s media; only Channel 9 came out.  The photographer took a lot of pictures, but we haven’t seen any coverage.

World Can’t Wait Hawaii

 

Big Island Legislators Secure Over $200 Million in Capital Improvement Funding for Island Projects

Big Island legislators secured over $200 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island in the House proposed budget.

capital

The proposed budget includes funding for various highway improvements, monies for Big Island schools, plans for a new hospital in Kona, and continued financial support to complete the Kona Judiciary Complex.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

  • $55 million in continued funding for the design and construction of a Judiciary Complex in Kona
  • $1.2 million for the plans and design of a new hospital in Kona
  • $2.35 million for the design and construction of a Kamuela post-harvest facility and vacuum cooling plant
  • $330,000 for improvements to the research campus in the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park
  • $30.212 for the construction of a new combined support maintenance shop complex for Hawaii Army National Guard at the Keaukaha military reservation
  • $1.675 million for Youth Challenge Academy renovations and improvements at Keaukaha military reservation
  • $2 million for the design of Building A phase 1 renovations at Hilo Intermediate School
  • $1 million for the construction of bleachers at Honokaa High School
  • $230,000 for the construction of drainage improvements and a raised covered walkway at Mountain View Elementary School
  • $450,000 for a new baseball batting cage at Waiakea High School
  • $1.58 million for the design of a new classroom building at Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School
  • $300,000 for parking improvements at Kealakehe Elementary School
  • $8.5 million for the land acquisition, design, construction and equipment for a multi-purpose workforce development processing facility
  • $1 million for the design and construction for Pu’u Wa’awa’a structure improvements and dam compliance
  • $400,000 for the plans and design for improvements at the North Kawaihae small boat harbor
  • $600,000 for the land acquisition and design for a community center in Waiakea Uka
  • $200,000 for building renovations and improvements at the Paauilo slaughterhouse plant
  • $3.5 million for airfield improvements at Hilo International Airport
  • $61 million for the design and construction of a new airport rescue firefighters regional training facility at the Kona International Airport at Keahole
  • $1.425 million for physical modifications to improve navigational safety and operational efficiencies at Hilo Harbor
  • $3.6 million for Kohala Mountain Road drainage improvements by mile post 10.60
  • $8 million for the rehabilitation of Ninole Bridge along Mamalahoa Highway (route 11)
  • $15 million for repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for Highway 130
  • $660,000 for land acquisition to extend the Daniel K. Inouye Highway from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • $1.5 million for the construction of portable trailers at Hawaii Community College
  • $350,000 to renovate the tennis court at Honokaa High and Intermediate School
  • $2.46 million lump sum for renovations at Hilo High School
  • $1.23 million lump sum for renovations at Konawaena Middle School
  • $780,000 lump sum for renovations at Kohala High
  • $4.99 million for photovoltaic projects for East Hawaii HHSC region
  • $3.492 million total for renovations at Kona Community Hospital
  • $750,000 for an 80 bed intake unit at Hawaii Community Correctional Center to address overcrowding

 

Commentary – Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division Desecrates Memorial

Over the last year, Skydive Hawaii has won a formal Part 16 FAA Hearing regarding economic discrimination and exclusivity of use at Hana Airport – violations of FAA AIF Grant Assurances 22 and 23. Earlier this year, in the Supreme Court of Hawaii, we provided oral arguments on the limitations of the ability of the Director of Transportation to make rules at airports owned by the United States of America (Dillingham Airfield).

In 2005, the State of Hawaii DOT-A was found moving sand containing human bones to local North Shore resident Thomas Shirai’s property. At that time the DOT-A blamed the contractor, Stay and Sons for the problem.

Click to enlarge

The present barrier (click to enlarge)

On March 19, 2015, Mr. Curtis Lau and another maintenance worker at Dillingham Airfield, under the direct supervision of Mike Navares, erected a second rope barrier between the skydive memorial at Dillingham Airfield and Skydive Hawaii. Prior to commencing with the project, Frank Hinshaw, President at Skydive Hawaii explained to Mr. Lau and his worker that putting a barrier up would only serve to cause outrage in the skydiver community.

An aircraft crash into Pearl Harbor on December 5, 1981 took the lives of 11 skydivers. In their memory a memorial was established at their home, Dillingham Airfield. The memorial is simple, a large rock with a bronze plaque and 11 milo trees in a circular arrangement symbolizing the “round or star” skydiving formation.

Skydiving Memorial

At the time the State DOT-A said that the area would not be rented or leased under revocable permit. Over the years, the skydiving community has lost more friends, but this memorial has served as a place of all their remembrances. The staff of Skydive Hawaii has maintained the memorial, cutting the grass, raking the leaves, and keeping the trees trimmed for the last 25 years and at no time was access to anyone restricted in any manner.

Friday, January 30, Mike Navares, verbally notified this company that beginning February 1 2015 the State had leased the skydiver memorial to Pacific Skydiving, a commercial company. The State and Pacific skydiving understood that the area was a skydive memorial and that this would be considered as an act of disrespect.

Desecration 2

Barrier in early February

A Pacific Skydiving business sign was moved onto the “memorial property.”A first rope barrier was put up and rocks moved in the front of the memorial to prevent access. Outraged skydivers removed the first rope barrier.

While it appears to us that the State DOT-A is using the desecration of the skydiver memorial as retribution to our FAA hearing win and likely future victory at the Hawaii Supreme Court, the memorial held sacred by skydivers and representing the memories of those who have preceded us on that eternal flight should be held above commercialization and willful desecration by our State government.

Frank Hinshaw,
Skydive Hawaii

Skydivers

2011 group of friends at the memorial – 30th anniversary of the plane crash.

YWCA Honors Lucille Chung and Barry Taniguchi as Remarkable

The YWCA of Hawaii Island will honor local business owners and community service leaders Lucille Chung and Barry Taniguchi as its 2015 Remarkable People.

Lucille Chung and Barry Taniguchi

Lucille Chung and Barry Taniguchi

“The YWCA is proud to recognize Barry and Lucille for their extraordinary accomplishments in business and throughout the community,” said Kathleen McGilvray, CEO of YWCA of Hawaii Island. “These remarkable individuals have devoted significant time and energy to transform the lives of those around them and make our community a more dynamic place to live and work.”

Chung has been a leader in efforts to preserve Laupahoehoe, where she was born and raised; she continued her social service through community building during her employment with Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center. Taniguchi, chairman of the board of KTA Super Stores, has provided leadership and support to business and community groups locally and statewide.

The pair will be honored at the Remarkable Person Luncheon Thursday, April 23, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Moku Ola Room. There are a limited number of tickets and sponsorship opportunities available. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Naomi at the YWCA of Hawaii Island office at 930-5705 or via email: tuyemura@ywcahawaiiisland.org.

Chung was born and raised in Laupahoehoe, graduating from the area school in 1958. She received an advanced stenographer’s degree from Hilo Commercial College in 1960. After graduation, Chung served as secretary to the industrial relations director of Laupahoehoe Sugar Company until 1962, when she took a job with the Hawaii County Police Department. Chung worked as the police operations clerk at the Laupahoehoe station for 32 years, retiring in 1994.
In 1996, she came out of retirement to work for the Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center as a community building facilitator, where her work extended from Waipio to Puna; she retired from QLCC in 2014.

While employed by the Police Department, Chung and her husband, Walter, started Walter’s Electric in 1977, where she served as the company’s accountant. The company expanded its operations in 2013 to include solar panel installations through Laakea Solar Technologies. Chung has long served her community. She is a charter member of, and volunteers for, many community groups including North Hilo Community Council, the Hawaiian Civic Club of Laupahoehoe and the Hilo-Hamakua Community Development Council. For years she has worked to improve Laupahoehoe while preserving its rich heritage and culture.

Taniguchi was born and raised in Hilo. He is a graduate of Hilo High School and received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. After graduation, Taniguchi worked at Haskins & Sells, CPAs (predecessor of the current Deloitte & Touche) and became a certified public accountant in 1971. In 1973, he became controller for The Realty Investment Company. A decade later, Taniguchi returned to the family business, KTA Super Stores, started in 1916; he became president and CEO in 1989. In 2014, he assumed the role of chairman of the board for KTA. Under his leadership, the family business has grown from four to six stores throughout Hawaii Island.

Taniguchi’s commitment to building a strong community is evident in his involvement in many organizations including Hawaii Community Foundation, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Hawaii Island Economic Development Board, Lyman House Memorial Museum and the Pacific Tsunami Museum. He sits on numerous boards including Hawaiian Electric Industries, American Savings Bank, Hawaiian Electric Company and Hawaii Employers Mutual Insurance Company.

16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest Coming Up

The 16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Parker Ranch Center.

Keiki Fest 2015

Designed for children ages 3 to 12, our keiki along with their parents will spend the day exploring a variety of free, hands-on activities addressing environment, fitness, health, mind, nutrition and safety.

Families will have the opportunity to explore more than 30 hands-on learning booths offering activities designed to develop healthy brains, healthy bodies and healthy beings. Activities include:

  • Free bicycle helmets from North Hawaii Community Hospital’s (NHCH) Trauma Team
  • “Glow Monster” hand hygiene education with NHCH
  • Bike safety course by Lex Brodie’s, PATH, South Kohala Traffic Safety and NHCH’s Trauma Team
  • DIY paper volcanoes with Center of the Study of Active Volcanoes
  • Veggie stamp art with Kohala Village Hub
  • Car seat fitting by the Department of Health – Public Health Nursing
  • Collage making art activity with the Waimea Arts Council
  • Many more hands-on activities

Each child will receive a “passport” to track their participation at each learning booth.  A completed “passport” offers keiki the opportunity to choose from a host of activities, such as a turn on the rock climbing wall or bounce house, or receive an airbrush tattoo.   This event’s mission is to bring the schools and communities of North Hawaii together to celebrate the health and safety of our greatest asset, our keiki.  All activities are free.

This year’s Keiki Fest is brought to you by North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) and Tutu’s House. This event supports the hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment topic of “Exercise, Weight and Nutrition”.   The umbrella topic of “Exercise, Weight and Nutrition” allows NHCH to touch the numerous health disparities found within the community. The Parker Ranch Center is located at 67-1185 Mamalahoa Highway in Kamuela.   For more information and to learn how you can support this hands-on kids’ event, please contact Laurie Edmondson, Community Outreach Coordinator at North Hawaii Community Hospital, at 881-4425 or at Laurie.Edmondson@NHCH.com.

Hawaii Principal Survey Results – Only One in Nine Principals Has Confidence in Board of Education

The Hawaii Education Institute (EIH), an independent think tank, has released the results of its 2015 Public School Principals Survey.

Education Institute

Methodology.  To participate in this on-line survey, principals were required to identify themselves to EIH.  This ensured that only principals completed the survey, and that no one principal completed the survey more than once.  Some principals chose not to participate because they did not want anyone to have the ability to link them to their opinions about the DOE.  But a majority of principals (144 out of 256) trusted EIH’s promise not to reveal the names of participating principals.

Complete Results Available.  The complete survey results, including the written comments of every survey participants, are attached to this news release.  They also can be found at http://www.edthinktankhawaii.org/.

Major Findings

Climate of Fear.  The climate of fear that was apparent in the 2014 EIH Principals Survey continues to exist.  For example, only two in five principals (41%) say they can express concern or critique DOE policies and practices without fear of reprisal, retaliation, or being unfairly evaluated on their performance evaluations.

Poor Implementation.  Principals give low marks to state DOE leadership for faulty implementation of Common Core and other recent initiatives:

  •  While most principals (70%) think Common Core has been good for their students, less than one in five (18%) thinks that state DOE leadership has done a good job of implementing it.
  • The percentage of principals who think state DOE leadership has done a good job of implementing the new testing regime is even smaller (8%).
  • Three out of four principals (78%) think the DOE’s implementation of the new teacher evaluation system (EES) has adversely affected morale at their schools.

Agreement with Governor Ige: Principals overwhelmingly support school empowerment and the governor’s plan to increase the percentage of DOE funding that is allocated by Weighted Student Formula (WSF) to 75%.

  • Only one in twenty principals (5%) disagree with the following statement:  “The share of DOE funding covered by WSF should be increased to 75% or higher.”
  • Only one in five principals (18%) say that the schools are already “empowered” to an appropriate degree.
  • Seven out of eight (87%) think school-level personnel should be allowed to control the means by which statewide standards and policies are achieved.
  • An even higher percentage of the principals (91%) think a principal who is not satisfied with support services from the DOE should be able to seek comparable services from a different provider.
  • None of the 144 principals disagreed with the following statement:  “I would like more flexibility in determining who will and will not work at my school.”

Lack of Support from DOE Leadership:  Only one in five (18%) thinks the DOE is providing the “system of support” that it is contractually obligated to provide, and the principals who say t DOE leadership treats them like partners are greatly outnumbered by those who say they are sometimes treated like servants.

  • Only 21% think that DOE leadership treats them like a partner.
  • Less than one in three (28%) disagrees with the following statement:  “DOE leadership sometimes treats me and other members of my school community like servants.”
  • Only one in three principals (32%) has confidence in the Superintendent.
  • Only one in five (21%) has confidence in the Assistant Superintendents.
  • Only one in nine (11%) has confidence in the Board of Education.

Observations of EIH leadership:

EIH President and Board Chair Roberta Mayor noted that “survey results indicate that principals are overwhelmingly in favor of Governor Ige’s school empowerment agenda.”

“Leading research indicates that principals are a key factor for student achievement, according to EIH Executive Director Darrel Galera.  “Supporting and empowering principals to be instructional leaders must be a priority, if it is ever to happen.”

EIH Vice-President and Board Vice-chair Ray L’Heureux said EIH’s goal is to add some transparency to the public school system, and added, “We also plan to survey teachers, parents, and state-level administrators in the near future.”

Purposes of the survey include the following:

  • To determine if principals have a collective voice, a shared perspective, and common agreement on relevant issues including school empowerment;
  • To provide feedback on the implementation of required policies, procedures, and initiatives that affect principals and their schools;
  • To provide feedback that can help to improve Hawaii’s public education system – so that principals can:
  1. Be student centered in meeting student learning needs
  2. Be more effective instructional leaders that support classroom teachers
  3. Build and sustain a positive school culture evidenced by high achievement and high morale
  4. Empower their school communities to provide for innovative and effective teaching and learning.

Groundbreaking Ceremony Begins Construction For New Hilo International Airport Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting Station

The state Department of Transportation (HDOT), Airports Division, celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony today for the new Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) station at the Hilo International Airport.

ito fire department 2

The new two-story, 21,000 square-foot facility will include four drive-through truck bays, a fueling area, new training facilities, along with improved work and living quarters for firefighters.

“Our crews here at the Hilo ARFF station provide very specialized Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting responses that are unique to the airport setting,” said Ross Higashi, Deputy Director of the Airports Division. “Each of these improvements will supply our firefighters with the facilities they need to train and carry out operations.”

ITO Fire department

Nearly 87-percent of the $18.8 million total was provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  State funds covered the remaining $3 million. The new station will be fully compliant with FAA requirements and is anticipated to be completed by June 2016.

“The safety of our air travelers is always one of our highest priorities,” said Governor David Ige. “Each of these improvements will help to keep our firefighters better trained, better equipped and ready to respond when the need arises. We look forward to the work being completed on time.”

Shark Attack at Hapuna Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii

A Kansas man suffered a shark attack Wednesday (March 18) at Hapuna Beach Park.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach

In response to an 11:46 a.m. call, South Kohala officers responded to Hapuna Beach and learned that a 58-year-old man from Overland Park, Kansas, had been snorkeling with family at the south point of the beach when a shark bit him on the arm.

He was assisted to shore and taken to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, where he was treated for severe lacerations to his left forearm and injury to his left thigh.

Swimmers were evacuated from the waters.

Wordless Wednesday – Lava Sampling

HVO geologists get fresh lava samples as close to the vent as possible. Once the sample is scooped from the pāhoehoe lobe, it is quickly quenched in a bucket of water to stop the growth of any crystals and to preserve the composition of the liquid lava.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Once cooled, the sample is sent first to UH Hilo for quick analysis of a few components and prepared for a fuller analysis of its chemical components by a lab on the mainland. These data are used, with HVO’s geophysical monitoring data, as another way to assess any changes that may be occurring within Kīlauea volcano.

National PBS Documentary Features Local Efforts to Perpetuate Hawaiian Language

What does it take to save a language? Poet Bob Holman travels across the globe to uncover answers – including a stop in Hawaii to feature ongoing efforts to perpetuate our native language. Language Matters with Bob Holman makes its Hawaii broadcast premiere Thursday, March 19 at 8:00 p.m. on PBS Hawaii. language matters

Filmed around the world, the two-hour documentary features Hawaii in the third of three acts. Among those featured: Puakea Nogelmeier (pictured in attached photo with Holman), Pele Harman (pictured in attached photo with students from Ke Kula O Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u), Kauanoe Kamana, Larry Kimura, Kepa Maly, W.S. Merwin, Lolena Nicholas, Keali‘i Reichel and Kau‘i Sai-Dudoit.

Holman makes two other global stops:

  • In Australia, Holman visits Charlie Mangulda, an Aboriginal songman (poet), who is the only person left on the planet who speaks Amurdak. With linguist Nick Evans, Holman also flies to Goulburn Island off the coast of Northern Australia, where he meets a community of 400 people speaking ten languages, many endangered, all vulnerable.
  • In Wales, Holman explores the humor, rage and lyricism of the Welsh people, who brought their language back from the edge of extinction. Currently, three million people live in Wales and speak the native language.

Language Matters with Bob Holman is a co-production of David Grubin Productions Inc. and Pacific Islanders in Communications. For more information, visit the film’s website: www.languagemattersfilm.com