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Hawaii First CEO Receives National Honor for Community Development

Laura Aguirre, president and CEO of Hawaii First Federal Credit Union, received the 2016 Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award during the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions’ Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. This award is the highest honor given by the Federation to community development credit union staff and volunteers.

Laura Aguirre, president and CEO of Hawaii First Federal Credit Union, received the 2016 Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award.

Laura Aguirre, president and CEO of Hawaii First Federal Credit Union, received the 2016 Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award.

Under Aguirre’s Leadership, Hawaii First has received five Community Development Financial Institution awards totaling $3.3 million. These federal dollars allow Hawaii First to provide financial services in low-income communities and to those who lack access to financing.

The credit union also operates two Hawaii First Community Resource Centers and has provided 3,600 East and West Hawaii residents with financial counseling, career resources, tax preparation and more.

“Laura is one of the most caring people dedicated to helping the underserved that I know. It has been an honor to be a part of her team,” said Diane Guidry, Hawaii First board chairperson. “We are always looking for better ways to help our community. Laura shares with her staff so that they all can make a difference, one person at a time, to be the best they can be and achieve their dreams.”

Today, Hawaii First has assets of $42 million. From 2012 to 2016, the credit union’s assets and loans have grown 21% and 23%, respectively, and provided more than $60 million in loans to members.

The Federation is a certified CDFI intermediary representing community development credit unions. The Helping Hands Award was created in 1993 in honor of Annie Vamper, a national advocate for consumer education and cooperation among low-income people until her death in 1990.

Hawaii First’s previous honors with the Federation include the 2009 Dora Maxwell Award for Social Responsibility, the Circle of Honor Leadership Award from the Opportunity Finance Network in 2014, and the 2016 National Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action.

Hawaii Electric Light Company to Conduct Aerial Line Inspections Next Week

To improve system reliability, Hawaii Electric Light Company will conduct aerial line inspections of its major overhead transmission lines from Monday, Nov. 28, to Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016.

helicopter-line-inspectionThe islandwide inspections are scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, exact times and routes will depend on weather conditions. Inspections will be conducted in a Manuiwa Airways helicopter and require the aircraft to fly low and slow which may cause some noise disturbances.

Hawaii Electric Light apologizes for any disruptions this may cause and sincerely thanks the community for their cooperation and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Offer Improved Online Calculator to Help Customers Decide on Buying an Electric Vehicle

Are you thinking about buying a plug-in electric vehicle, but having trouble figuring out whether you will save money and help the environment compared to a gasoline vehicle? Help is now just a click away, thanks to a new tool from the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

watt-planWattPlan for Electric Vehicles is an interactive, online calculator you can use via desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone to compare any make and model of plug-in electric vehicle with any internal combustion engine vehicle. It is accessible at: www.hawaiianelectric.com/wattplanforEV.

Using your personal monthly electric bill and current gasoline prices, the tool will help you decide whether an electric vehicle is right for you and your family. The calculator will show that when you charge your electric vehicle can affect your overall energy cost. With new, voluntary time-of-use rates available for residential customers of all three Hawaiian Electric companies, it is less expensive to use electricity during the day, when abundant solar power is being sent to the grid.

“We encourage prospective electric vehicle owners to consider their entire home energy bill – electricity plus gasoline – when making this decision,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “While adding an electric vehicle may slightly increase your monthly electric bill, that will likely be more than offset by buying little or no gasoline. That is my experience as a new electric vehicle owner.”

For those concerned about climate change and the global environment, the WattPlan for Electric Vehicles tool will show the environmental benefits of driving an EV compared to a gasoline car.

“Electric vehicles don’t just result in reduced use of imported oil, exhaust fumes and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Oshima. “Using more electricity during the day will allow us to use more solar power, an important step to help us get to Hawaii’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy.”

The WattPlan for Electric Vehicles was developed for Hawaiian Electric in conjunction with Clean Power Research® (www.cleanpower.com), an award-winning innovation company that delivers software products to enable customers to optimize financing, operation and integration of solar resources, engage consumers with personalized energy evaluations, and streamline business processes.

Clean Power also developed the WattPlan for Rooftop Solar, a personalized online tool that the Hawaiian Electric Companies make available to help their customers decide whether rooftop solar is right for them, and if so, what size is best and the comparative costs of buying or leasing a system.

Rep. McKelvey Questions Gabbard’s Lack of Support in Condemning Trumps Appointment

Maui lawmaker says Congresswoman should stand with Democrats against racism

Rep. Angus McKelvey last week sent a letter to Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard asking why she has not joined in solidarity with many other Democrats in opposition to President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Stephen Brannon as chief strategist to the White House.

Letter attached below

Letter attached below

Brannon is known as a racist xenophobe with support from white nationalist hate groups.

In light of recent national reports that the Congresswoman has met with Trump, McKelvey said Hawaii’s residents have a right to know if Gabbard stands in opposition to Brannon.

McKelvey is perplexed as to why Gabbard would not join our congressional delegation, and other House Democrats, in opposing this disturbing appointment.

“Your refusal to stand with other Democrats in solidarity infers that you not only support Trump’s appointment, but are shifting your political views to fall in line with the incoming administration,” said McKelvey in his Nov. 17 letter.

Click to read the whole letter: Letter from Rep. McKelvey

Rep. Tsuji Remembrance Ceremony at State Capitol Dec. 2

The people of Hawaii are invited to pay their final respects to Hawaii  Island State Representative Clift Tsuji.

clift-tsujiOn Friday, December 2, a memorial service will be held in the House Chamber at the State Capitol.  A short program will begin at 10:30 a.m.  Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and following the memorial ceremony.

A book of condolence will be available for the public to sign at the ceremony.

There will be limited public parking at the State Capitol and motorists are encouraged to carpool or use public transportation.

On Sunday, December 4, a Memorial Service will be held in Hilo at Dodo Mortuary, 199 Wainaku Street in Hilo. Visitation will begin at 2:00 p.m. and the service at 4:00 p.m.

A private family burial will be held December 5.

Hawaii Congresswoman Gabbard Meets With President-Elect Trump

U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard today released the following statement on her meeting with President-elect Donald Trump regarding Syria:

hayden-and-tulsi-kneeling“President-elect Trump asked me to meet with him about our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face. I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government—a war which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families.

“While the rules of political expediency would say I should have refused to meet with President-elect Trump, I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives.

“Serving the people of Hawaiʻi and our nation is an honor and responsibility that I do not take lightly.  Representing the aloha spirit and diversity of the people of Hawaiʻi, I will continue to seek common ground to deliver results that best serve all Americans, as I have tried to do during my time in Congress.

“Where I disagree with President-elect Trump on issues, I will not hesitate to express that disagreement.  However, I believe we can disagree, even strongly, but still come together on issues that matter to the American people and affect their daily lives. We cannot allow continued divisiveness to destroy our country.

“President-elect Trump and I had a frank and positive conversation in which we discussed a variety of foreign policy issues in depth. I shared with him my grave concerns that escalating the war in Syria by implementing a so-called no fly/safe zone would be disastrous for the Syrian people, our country, and the world. It would lead to more death and suffering, exacerbate the refugee crisis, strengthen ISIS and al-Qaeda, and bring us into a direct conflict with Russia which could result in a nuclear war. We discussed my bill to end our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government, and the need to focus our precious resources on rebuilding our own country, and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups who pose a threat to the American people.

“For years, the issue of ending interventionist, regime change warfare has been one of my top priorities. This was the major reason I ran for Congress—I saw firsthand the cost of war, and the lives lost due to the interventionist warmongering policies our country has pursued for far too long.

“Let me be clear, I will never allow partisanship to undermine our national security when the lives of countless people lay in the balance.”

Hawaiian Airlines Pilots Closer to Striking – Possible Shutdown of Airlines

Many folks have seen Hawaiian Airline Pilots wearing lanyards that read “Fully Qualified… Partially Paid” for the last few months that represents the pilots frustrations with their contract negotiations.

I have learned that “mediation process” that was going on during November has ended without resolution.

What this means, is that Hawaiian Airline pilots are getting closer to a strike and shutdown of the airline!

mec-alertHawaiian Pilots:

Your MEC and Negotiating Committee were back in Virginia this week for the last scheduled round of mediation under the supervision of Senior Mediator Patricia Sims and NMB Board Chair Linda Puchala. Like our other sessions, mediation again ended without an agreement. To say we are unhappy is an understatement.

Management efforts to reach an agreement were completely unsatisfactory. While adding money to their previous substandard position, the company does not believe that Hawaiian pilots are due the market compensation that other pilots receive. Instead management continues to argue that we should work for less than our professional colleagues, or “buy” industry pay rates by generating offsets that fund those increases.

The MEC and NC categorically and emphatically reject that choice.  We are tired of subsidizing the company’s success. The company has no choice but to pay market rates for airplanes, and they will have no choice but to pay market rates for pilots.  It’s alarming that the CEO risks Hawaiian Airlines’ 2017 financial plans and projections, and its long-term future, by repeatedly denying the reality of the commercial marketplace.

Not only was the Company’s final pay proposal more than $20 less than the rates in recent pilot settlements, but also, management’s offer continues to pro-rate days off, keep vacation and training days at their current rate, and demand non-seniority list simulator instructors.

Early Saturday morning the NMB advised the bargaining parties that it will not schedule additional mediation sessions.  While no specific timeline was discussed, the NMB stated it will instead move forward with the actions available under the Railway Labor Act to bring negotiations to a close.  We left the meeting with renewed resolve to achieve a market-rate contract – and one that reflects our contribution to the company’s stunning and record profitability.

Senior management will no doubt try to “spin” a story about their latest proposal and argue that ALPA rejected a major pay increase without providing the full picture. We will provide additional information about the parties’ positions in the coming days.  The Association will also provide opportunities for increased pilot activity to warn the public about our looming dispute and possible disruptions to their travel plans once the RLA process is completed.  In addition, ALPA will soon be setting new informational picketing dates and other opportunities for you to show your resolve through lawful activity.

Amazingly, management continues to request contract concessions that facilitate more efficient training and operation!  In the face of management’s failure to consider the interests of Hawaiian pilots, ALPA pilot leadership has no appetite whatsoever for new LOAs like those.  In fact, we are considering whether it is even appropriate to continue existing discretionary arrangements.

It’s unfortunate that we have reached this point. Hawaiian continues to earn massive profits and its finances are stronger than ever. The company can afford your proposals. It simply doesn’t want to agree to them and considers pilot pay increases “discretionary” or “controllable.”  As the end of the year approaches, each Hawaiian pilot family must carefully review its personal financial situation to determine whether you are prepared for a strike. We recommend that major purchases or expenditures be postponed.  Be prudent and be ready.

Thank you for your continued interest, support and activity.  Regrettably, we will soon ask you to do even more to help bring home the market rate contract you have earned and deserve.

Rubbernecking Online – Dashcam Video of Yesterday’s 7-Car-Crash

Here is dashcam video of yesterday’s 7-car pile up on the highway over on Oahu.

car-pile-upThis could have been a lot worse then it was!

Hawaii County Democratic Party Seeking Candidates to Serve for House District 2

The Hawai’i County Democratic Party is seeking candidates who are interested in an appointment to serve as the Representative of House District 2.

democratic-party-of-hawaii-banner-logoI am sure you are aware of the recent and unfortunate passing of Representative Clift Tsuji who served humbly for more than a decade in this seat. Our party will hold a process to determine three names that will be forwarded to the Governor for his appointment to the seat.

To be eligible an individual must be a member in “good standing” of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i and reside in the district for a minimum of six months. The candidate must not be under current reprimand pursuant to Article I of the Constitution of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i. There will be a mandatory meeting of all candidates seeking the seat on Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 2:00p.m. The location is still to be determined and more information regarding the venue will be forthcoming in the next few days.

Prospective candidates are to provide to the County Chair, Phil Barnes, for dissemination to the appropriate selection body a written application including the following:

1. Credentials and reasons for consideration for the position
2. Evidence of Party participation
3. Verified signatures of at least five active party members within House District 2.

Items 1 and 2, above should be sent to Chair Barnes by email, preferably as PDF files, for electronic distribution to selectors. His email address is greenhi3@yahoo.com. Your signatures to complete #3 need to be on an official form created by the Hawai’i County Democratic Party which you can easily obtain by emailing Chair Barnes and asking for one. Any and all forms need to be delivered by mail to Chair Barnes at 64 Amauulu Road, Hilo, HI 96720.

The deadline for applications to be in Chair Barnes possession is Monday, November 28, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.

Hawaii Resident Awarded the Prestigious Carnegie Medal

On behalf of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, Gov. David Ige presented Haleiwa resident Keoni Bowthorpe with the prestigious Carnegie Medal at a ceremony at the State Capitol on Friday. Bowthorpe was recognized for rescuing a shark attack victim on O‘ahu’s North Shore in October of last year.

Keoni Bowthorpe awarded the Carnegie Medal today at the Hawaii State Capital

Keoni Bowthorpe awarded the Carnegie Medal today at the Hawaii State Capital

Bowthorpe is credited with fighting off an aggressive shark and taking severely injured Colin Cook on his back while paddling to shore on his paddle board. Cook lost part of his left leg and part of a finger in the attack. Bowthorpe escaped unharmed.

Bowthorpe is one of 25 Carnegie Medal recipients recognized for outstanding civilian heroism. The medal is given in the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.

The Carnegie Hero Fund will award each recipient or their survivors with a financial grant. The fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and has awarded $38.5 million in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits and continuing assistance since it was established in 1904. Since then, 9,893 heroes have been honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

December’s Centennial Events at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary throughout 2016, and continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park (ADIP) programs with the public in December.

All ADIP and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but park entrance fees apply for programs in the park. Programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Hawai‘i Nei Saturday. Come “Find Your Park” in Hilo and enjoy artwork that celebrates the native plants and animals of the five national parks on Hawai‘i Island, and the human connection to these special places. The “National Parks Preserving Pilina” category celebrates the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and features artwork from talented Hawai‘i Island artists, including a painting titled “Lava Coming to Life on the Coastal Plain,” by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Ranger Diana Miller! Hawai‘i Nei is an annual juried art show that is not to be missed. Visit www.hawaiineiartcontest.org for more information. Free.

  • When: Sat., Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Where: Wailoa Center, 200 Piopio Street, Hilo

Gorillas, Volcanoes and World Heritage of Virunga National Park. Founded in 1925, Virunga National Park became the first national park on the continent of Africa. Join travel writer and Virunga advocate, Kimberly Krusel, as she takes us on a virtual visit to what has been called “the most biologically significant park in Africa.” Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Kapa Making. Feel the unique texture and beautiful designs of Hawaiian bark cloth created by skilled practitioner Joni Mae Makuakāne-Jarrell. Kapa is the traditional cloth used by native Hawaiians for clothing. Kupu kapa, the skill of creating kapa, is rarely seen today and requires years of practice and labor to master. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

After Dark in the Park: Kīlauea Military Camp, Once a Detainment Camp. Most people are unaware that Kīlauea Military Camp in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park was used as a Japanese detainment camp during World War II.

Soldiers outside Building 34 in Kīlauea Military Camp during the 1940s. Photo courtesy of Kīlauea Military Camp.

Soldiers outside Building 34 in Kīlauea Military Camp during the 1940s. Photo courtesy of Kīlauea Military Camp.

Park Archeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura will discuss the experience and subsequent detention of Japanese-Americans here following the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The last After Dark in the Park Centennial series presentation of 2016! Free.

  • When: Tues., Dec. 13, 2016 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Centennial Hike: Kīlauea Military Camp. Park staff will lead a revealing walk through Kīlauea Military Camp, used as a Japanese detainment camp during World War II. About an hour. Free.

  • When: Sat., Dec. 17, 2016 at 10:30 a.m.
  • Where: Meet at the flagpole at Kīlauea Military Camp

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day. Calling keiki 17 and younger and their families to journey into the past on the new Pu‘u Kahuku Trail in the Kahuku Unit in Ka‘ū. Create your own piece of Hawaiian featherwork on this day of fun and discovery. Call (808) 985-6019 to register by December 2. Bring lunch, snacks, a reusable water bottle, water sunscreen, hat, long pants and shoes. Sponsored by the park and the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Free.

  • When: Sat., Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Register by Dec. 2.
  • Where: Kahuku Unit

Find Your Park on the Big Screen: Acadia National Park. Acadia and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Parks are thousands of miles apart, but they have much in common. Both parks turned 100 this year, and both are on islands defined by their indigenous host cultures, fascinating geology, and intriguing biodiversity. Learn about Maine’s iconic national park in the new film, “A Second Century of Stewardship: Science Behind the Scenery in Acadia National Park,” by filmmaker David Shaw. Free.

  • When: Tues., Dec. 20, 2016 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Kenneth Makuakāne in Concert. Enjoy the melodies of multiple award-winning artist Kenneth Makuakāne. His accolades include 15 Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards and six Big Island Music Awards. A prolific songwriter, Kenneth’s compositions have bene recorded by artists such as The Brothers Cazimero, Nā Leo Pilimehana, and many more. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.

  • When: Wed., Dec. 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

“Chip Away at Cancer” Golf Tournament

Friends of Elton Goo, former Food & Beverage manager at the Marriott are rallying and having an amazing golf fundraiser to help him fight recently-diagnosed, stage IV lung cancer.

chip-away

The tournament takes place on December 4 at 11 a.m. at Hapuna Golf Course, with food booths, DJ and prizes — followed by a four-course Whiskey Dinner at Arnie’s Restaurant (priced separately).

Rapid Ohia Death Kills Forest Giant and Confirms Spread to Hamakua

Twin Tests Verify Fungal Disease Killed Centuries Old Tree

From the road, in the Laupahoehoe Section of the Hilo Forest Reserve, Steve Bergfeld of the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources spots the enormous, towering, ōhiʻa tree; its thick branches now completely without leaves.  The Hawai’i Island Branch Manager for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife wants to get a close-up look at the tree, after a technician first spotted it and took samples a week ago.  Two laboratory tests have confirmed that this very old tree was killed by the fast-moving fungal infection known as Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death.

ohia-death2Across Hawai’i Island, the disease is killing trees and devastating tens of thousands of acres of native forest. First reported in the Puna District in 2010, the latest aerial surveys show that the fungus has impacted nearly 50,000 acres of forest here.

Named for the rapidity in which it kills infected trees, the loss of the 100-130 foot tall ōhiʻa in the Laupahoehoe forest, and perhaps others around it, shows the disease has spread to the island’s eastern side, along the Hamakua Coast.  Bergfeld observed, “It’s devastating to look at the forest and the damage Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death is doing to our ecosystem and our watersheds. That tree is a giant in the forest. It also supports a lot of other plant life and bird life. It was an important part of our ecosystem. These trees have been here for hundreds of years and to see them go down to a disease like this is really heartbreaking.”

ohia-death1ʻŌhiʻa trees are culturally significant and their flowers are prized for lei making. Foresters consider ōhiʻa the most important species for protecting the state’s forested watersheds for its dense canopy, where virtually all domestic water supplies originate.

That’s why a strong collaboration between state and federal government agencies and conservation organizations is actively researching the cause of the disease, potential treatments, and the establishment of quarantines and protocols to prevent further spread.

ohia-death3The identification of this diseased tree is the latest example of this cooperative effort.  The tree was spotted by a technician from the U.S. Forest Service’s Institute of Pacific Island Forestry, who collected the wood samples for lab testing.  Verification of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, as the trees cause of death, was done by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo.

An entomologist from the University of Hawai’i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Extension Service also collected samples for research that suggests beetles are a primary cause for the spread of the fungus.

ohia-deathBergfeld explains the next steps involving experts from the Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death working group. “We’ll put everyone’s heads together and see what the best management strategy will be for this particular tree.  I assume, more than likely, we’ll fell the tree to get it out of the forest and cover it with tarps to keep insects from putting out frass (the powdery refuse or fragile perforated wood produced by the activity of boring insects), into the air,” he said.

Experts are very concerned that with the confirmation of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death in this tree, the disease has spread to a previously unaffected area farther up the Hamakua Coast: a forest already impacted by a 2013-2014 outbreak of the Koa looper, a native insect that defoliates entire koa trees during rare, unexplained outbreaks.
Governor David Ige, lead scientists, and policy makers engaged in the fight against Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, will gather for the first-ever summit on the disease at the State Capitol on

Wednesday, November 30, 2016.  The event is open to the public and is scheduled from

9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium.  More information on this to follow.

Big Island Police Donate 136 Boxes of Christmas Gifts for Kids Around the World

Employees from the Hawaiʻi Police Department donated 136 boxes of Christmas gifts destined for children in need around the world.

Chief Harry Kubojiri presents 136 shoeboxes full of Christmas presents donated by Police Department personnel to Nell Quay, Operation Christmas Child area coordinator of East Hawaii. To the chief's left is Steve Meek, the island's collections coordinator for the charity project.

Chief Harry Kubojiri presents 136 shoeboxes full of Christmas presents donated by Police Department personnel to Nell Quay, Operation Christmas Child area coordinator of East Hawaii. To the chief’s left is Steve Meek, the island’s collections coordinator for the charity project.

The boxes were presented to representatives of Operation Christmas Child on Thursday (November 17) at the South Hilo police station.

Operation Christmas Child is a yearly community project that reaches out to children in need who have never experienced the kindness of receiving a gift. Shoebox gifts are collected around the state in this international effort to assist those in war torn countries or suffering from famine, sickness and poverty.

Nell Quay, Operation Christmas Child’s area coordinator for East Hawaiʻi, said a shipping container carrying the gift boxes will be picked up on Tuesday to sail out of Hilo for processing in California before the presents reach their final destination. Quay said she had the privilege of going to Colombia last year to help distribute Christmas boxes at a public school in the South American nation.

Steve Meek, Operations Christmas Child’s collections coordinator, said donations on Hawaiʻi Island are being accepted through Monday, November 21. Shoeboxes full of gifts may be dropped off at Big Island Toyota from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Monday or from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. They also may be dropped off at Hilo Missionary Church from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Monday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 p.m., to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Last year Hawaiʻi Island collected more than 8,300 shoe boxes to combine with a total of more than 42,000 across the state. Internationally, 11.2 million boxes were sent to 110 countries.

Officer Baumgarner Named East Hawaii “Officer of the Month” for November

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Puna Patrol Officer Joshua Baumgarner on Thursday (November 17) as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for November.

Aloha Exchange board member Joey Estrella presents an 'Officer of the Month' award to Officer Joshua Baumgarner.

Aloha Exchange board member Joey Estrella presents an ‘Officer of the Month’ award to Officer Joshua Baumgarner.

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

On September 23, Baumgarner was among the 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 Baumbarner 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 Hawaii Police Department’s Core Values of Integrity, Professionalism, Compassion, Teamwork, and Community Satisfaction.”

As “Officer of the Month,” Baumgarner is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Offers Special Programs for Youth to Gain a Better Understanding of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

In preparation for this year’s 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor has created three specialized programs, each designed to provide Hawaii’s youth with a better understanding and appreciation for what took place at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.

pearl-harbor-youth-dayStudents, teachers and families are encouraged to participate in the following:

December 6, 2016 – Blackened Canteen Youth Symposium, 10 – 11:30 am, Pacific Aviation Museum Theater. For the last 21 years, WWII veterans from the United States and Japan have joined in silent prayer, pouring whiskey from a blackened canteen into the hallowed waters from the USS Arizona Memorial in observation of Dec 7. The annual Blackened Canteen ceremony, hosted by Pacific Aviation Museum, commemorates the friendship, honor, and reconciliation borne out of the horror of WWII. The canteen used in the ceremony was recovered from a B-29 bomber that was destroyed after colliding with another B-29 bomber over Shizuoka, Japan, in 1945.

Following the ceremony, a youth symposium will be held in the Pacific Aviation Museum Theater, from 10 – 11:30 am. The symposium will highlight the story and lessons of the Blackened

Canteen Ceremony, commemorating the friendship, honor and reconciliation borne out of the horror of WWII.

Students from Nagaoka, Japan and Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu will participate in the program, along with Dr. Hiroya Sugano and Jerry Yellin, WWII pilot and author of The Blackened Canteen. Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng will serve as moderator.

This event is free and open to the public. Teachers at public, private, or charter schools who register their classes for the Youth Symposium will receive The Blackened Canteen classroom curriculum and an autographed copy of the book. Additionally, the cost of bus transportation to the event will be provided for registered school groups. Curriculum materials and a video of the symposium will also be available at PacificAviationMuseum.org.  Seating is very limited.

For more information or to register for this event, please visit www.PacificAviationMuseum.org/Events/75YouthSymposium

or call Lynda Davis at 808-445-9137.

December 8-9 – Discover Pearl Harbor Youth Program, 7:30 am on 12/8 to 4 pm on 12/9. Two-day program for teens that combines engaging, aviation-related STEM activities within the historically significant context of the Pearl Harbor sites. Open to students ages 12-15, program participants will spend two days at Pacific Aviation Museum and one night onboard the USS Missouri Battleship Memorial. The program will build upon the anticipated national and international youth participation in the 75th commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Discover Pearl Harbor provides youth with a greater appreciation for the sacrifices that brought peace, and ultimately, friendship, between two nations previously at war. The cry, “Remember Pearl Harbor,” will once again serve as a vital theme, as it is now a call to action for youth to learn these stories of courage, resiliency, and innovation, and to use the lessons of WWII to create a more peaceful world. Discover Pearl Harbor offers a cross-cultural opportunity for teens to gain greater understanding about the history of WWII while also learning about the impact of scientific and technological advancements that were introduced during that era.

Students will begin the program at the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument where history will come to life. They will hear stories of courage and sacrifice that transformed the entire world, and will visit the USS Arizona Memorial to gain a greater appreciation for the peace and friendship that has been forged between former enemies. Their experience continues at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, where skilled instructors and costumed interpreters will share the legacy of Pearl Harbor through guided tours, hands-on activities, and team assignments.

In the evening, students will stay onboard the Missouri Battleship Memorial, engaging in activities that emphasize the historical precedent for peacemaking that emerged from WWII.

Day Two brings the students to the 21st century with an array of learning challenges that spotlight the role of technology in the increasingly global culture, and emphasize the need for collaboration and critical thinking. The program ends with a closing ceremony of remembrance and honor in historic Hangar 79.

Cost is $225 per student, $202.50 for museum members and includes meals, snacks, overnight accommodations and program on the USS Missouri Battleship, program materials and souvenir T-shirt.

Registration is limited to 50 youth.

December 10, 2016 – Pearl Harbor Youth day, 9 am – 3:30 pm. Families and visitors of all ages can explore the lessons and legacy of WWII through special presentations, exhibits, and hands-on activities. Event will engage and educate youth about the history of Pearl Harbor and its impact on young people in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific.

Featured activities include:

  • Special screening of “Under the Blood Red Sun,” followed by a presentation and Q & A session with author Graham Salisbury.
  • Historical exhibits designed and created by local high school students.
  • Thematic tours of the Museum
  • Costumed interpreters and historical demonstrations

Event is free to students 18 years and younger, free with museum admission, and free to museum members. Registration required for teachers and youth organizations that are interested in bringing large groups and wish to apply for funding assistance for bus transportation.

For more information or to register for these events, please visit www.PacificAviationMuseum.org/Events/75YouthDay or call Lynda Davis at 808-445-9137.

Big Island Police Searching for 16-Year-Old Girl Missing Since August

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing.

Kailee-Ann Santiago

Kailee-Ann Santiago

Kailee-Ann Santiago was last seen in Hilo on August 22.

She is described as Puerto Rican, 5-foot, 145 pounds with brown eyes and brown shoulder-length hair.

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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

‘Alalā Doing Well in Aviary in Natural Reserve Area

The five male birds living in an aviary at the Pu’u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve on Hawai‘i island are adjusting well to their new environment according to animal care staff of the San Diego Zoo Global’s Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program.  The birds were moved to the aviary in mid-October to allow them to acclimate to the sights and sounds of a Hawaiian forest.  This reserve is an area that conservationists have worked to preserve, protecting native plants and species, and represents the type of habitat ‘alalā were originally native to before they began to decline.

"Nahoa" rebuilds his perching ability in a custom-made sling.

“Nahoa” rebuilds his perching ability in a custom-made sling.

“Decades of intensive management by the State Dept. of Land and Natural Resources, in stewardship with local conservation partners, have led to the preservation of some of the most intact native-dominated wet and mesic forest on windward Hawai`i Island, known as Pu`u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve,” said Jackie Gaudioso-Levita, Project Coordinator of the ‘Alalā Project.

‘Alalā are an important part of the life of the Hawaiian forest, eating and assisting with the dispersal of native plant seeds.   The reintroduction of this species, gone from the forest for more than a decade, is expected to be an important part of the overall recovery of the ecosystem.

“This reserve is the highest quality habitat and is the best place on the island of Hawai`i for the reintroduction of the ‘alalā,” said Donna Ball, Conservation Partnerships biologist, U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service.  “Pu’u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve has all the components for the survival of this species and soon it will also have the ‘alalā, a missing species of the ecosystem that has returned.”

The ‘alalā, or Hawaiian crow, has been extinct in the wild since 2002, preserved only at the Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation Centers managed by San Diego Zoo Global.  With more than 100 individuals of the species now preserved at the centers, conservationists are ready to put them back into their native forests.  Although it was hoped to release the birds this month, the release was unexpectedly and cautiously postponed to ensure the transmitters that will track the birds could be properly refined.

“‘Alalā are very intelligent and precocious birds and are inclined to play with and manipulate new items, so our ability to observe their behaviors closely and give them more time allows us to make adjustments to the tracking systems we will be using once they are released,” said Bryce Masuda, conservation program manager of the Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program. “It is important for us to track these birds once they go out into the forest so that we can continue to support them as they explore their new home.”

Hawai’i  Dept. of Land and Natural Resources mission statement – Enhance, protect, conserve and manage Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of the people of Hawai’i nei, and its visitors, in partnership with others from the public and private sectors.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The mission of the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office is to conserve and restore native biodiversity and ecological integrity of Pacific Island ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations through leadership, science-based management and collaborative partnerships.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

Help Celebrate the ʻAlalā on Saturday in Hilo

E Hoʻolāʻau Hou ka ʻAlalā 

‘Alala are unique treasures of our Hawaiian forests, revered in Hawaiian culture. This very intelligent native bird is found nowhere else on earth. It’s been extinct in the wild for some time and is our only native crow still surviving in captivity. The DLNR ʻAlalā Project is holding a community celebration in advance of the first release of the Native Hawaiian crow back into the wild, to be scheduled in the next few weeks.

alala-celebrationWhat:   Everyone is invited to join us for the celebration of one of Hawai‘i’s most interesting native forest birds. Learn about the ʻAlalā Project, the extraordinary efforts underway to best ensure their reintroduction and survival in their native habitats, Fun for the whole ‘ohana.  Enjoy videos, keiki activities and conservation information displays and booths.

When:  Saturday, November 19th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center, 76 Kamehameha Ave. in downtown Hilo.

Who:  The ʻAlalā Project is a partnership between the State of Hawaiʻi Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and San Diego Zoo Global.

PISCES Partners with UH Hilo and NASA for Simulated Human Mars Mission on Hawaii Island

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) is partnering with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NASA this month in a ground breaking research project to prepare for an eventual manned mission to Mars.

mars-simulationThe project, called BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains), is focused on developing operation protocols for a joint human-robotic exploration of Mars in the search for extraterrestrial life. BASALT scientists and crew members are conducting simulated missions in two locations which closely resemble the Martian landscape at different areas: Mauna Ulu at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho.

Currently, the BASALT team is investigating Mauna Ulu by traversing the rugged lava terrain to collect rock samples for both biologic and geologic analysis.

“We add a twist to our scientific fieldwork by conducting it under simulated Mars mission constraints,” said Dr. Darlene Lim, geobiologist and principal investigator for the BASALT research project. “By doing so, we can evaluate operational concepts and a variety of supporting capabilities that range from software to hardware components with respect to their anticipated value for the human exploration of Mars.”

One of their constraints is a communication time delay to simulate the latency of transmissions experienced between planets. Dr. Lim and her team are hoping to develop a tricorder-like device, as envisioned in Star Trek, to be able to identify rock samples using a hand-held instrument.

The researchers hope to better understand the habitability of Mars by studying Mauna Ulu, which is a high-fidelity analog for the landscape of early Mars when volcanism and water were common.

“No one has really worked this out yet,” said John Hamilton, PISCES test logistics and education/public outreach manager. “We want to work out the kinks during these exercises so we have it together on a real mission. By the time they go to Mars, they’ll have a rock-solid plan.”

The BASALT team consists of scientists, engineers, mission operators and active astronauts. Roughly a dozen students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo are also assisting with the project. Hamilton, who is also a faculty member with the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Department of Physics and Astronomy, is serving on the BASALT Science Team, overseeing data collection, logistics, and student assignments. The research project is central to NASA’s Journey to Mars program.

“PISCES is honored to be working together with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NASA Ames on this project,” said Rodrigo Romo, PISCES program manager. “Collaborative work with Ames has been in the frontline of applied research for PISCES recently. The fact that university students get the opportunity to participate in events like the BASALT project will help them meet the demands of a very competitive industry.”

PISCES was selected last year by NASA’s highly competitive PSTAR (Planetary Science and Technology Through Analog Research) program to participate in the four-year, $4.2 million BASALT project, which is being administered by the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The BASALT research team will be conducting their research on Hawaii Island until Nov. 18.

For more information visit PISCES’ website at www.pacificspacecenter.com.