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26-Year-Old Identified in Highway 130 Fatality

A 26-year-old Hilo man died Sunday (April 6) from injuries he received in a two-vehicle collision on the Keaʻau-Pāhoa Road (Route 130) between the 3- and 4-mile markers in Keaʻau.

HPDBadgeResponding to a 4:31 a.m. call, Puna patrol officers determined that the Hilo man was operating a 2010 Subaru multi-purpose vehicle and traveling west on the Keaʻau-Pāhoa Road when he overtook another vehicle and collided with a 2004 Ford F-350 pickup truck traveling east.

The driver of the Ford pickup truck, a 52-year-old Keaʻau man, was transported to Hilo Medical Center with minor injuries. He was also arrested for suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant and was released pending investigation.

Police are also investigating whether the driver of the other vehicle may have been intoxicated and speeding.

Both drivers were wearing their seat belts.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

He was identified as 26-year-old Matthew S. Therrien of Hilo.

Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to call Officer Tuckloy Aurello at 961-8119.

This is the fourth traffic fatality on Hawaiʻi Island this year compared with 11 at this time last year.

Happy 90th Birthday Grandma Tucker

My grandma on my dad’s side of the family celebrated her 90th birthday today in Compton, California.

My father is on her left

My father is on her left

39-Year-Old Taken Into Custody After Gunshots Fired in Kona

Today at approximately 12:05pm, Kona Patrol Officers responded to a report of gunshots fired by a man in the parking lot of a resort off Alii Drive in Kailua Kona.

HPDBadgeUpon arrival, a 39-year-old man was taken into custody without incident after being determined to be the responsible person. There were no reported injuries or damages.

Video: County of Hawaii Proclaims “Max Unger Day” – HPA Retires Jersey

Deputy Director of Hawaii County Parks and Recreation Robert A. Fitzgerald proclaimed April 2, 2014 as Seattle Seahawk’s “Matt Unger Day” in the County of Hawaii.

HPA Retires Alumnus Max Unger's Number

HPA Retires Alumnus Max Unger’s Number

Fitzgerald also happens to be Unger’s former coach here on the Big Island.

Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA), the high school that Max attended, then retired his number from ever being used again by another player at the school.


Miss Saigon Opens at UH Hilo on Thursday

Miss Saigon, the award-winning musical about love and loss in the Vietnam War, opens at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Performing Arts Center Thursday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. for a two-weekend run. Other show dates are April 11, 12, 17, 18 & 19 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, April 13, at 2 pm.

Miss SaigonCreated by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil in 1989 as a pop opera, Miss Saigon is directed by UH Hilo Performing Arts Department Professor Jackie Pualani Johnson with Armando Mendoza as Musical Director and faculty choreographer Celeste Staton. A cast of 37 performers bring to life the story of an American G.I. who falls in love with a Vietnamese girl just as Saigon is sieged by the North Vietnamese.

“This superb artistic team is joined by UH Hilo Performing Arts senior Katherine Wilson as vocal director and advanced student choreographers Kawehi Kanoho-Kalahiki and Kawai Soares, and assistant directors Kimo Apaka, a UH Hilo Performing Arts graduate, and Denyse Woo-Ockerman,” said PAC Manager Lee Dombroski.

The cast includes Norman Arancon as The Engineer, Rachel Edwards as Kim, Scott Wuscher as the American G.I., and the working girls of the Dreamland Bar: Gigi, Mimi, Yvette, and Yvonne, played by Lilinoe Kauahikaua, Angeline Jara, Bailey Woolridge, and Kawehi Kanoho-Kalahiki. Arancon is a faculty member at UH Hilo, and the women in the bar are created by UH Hilo students. Wuscher is a community member who returns to the UH Hilo stage to realize the turmoil of a soldier caught in the war’s emotional choices.

Tickets are reserved seating and priced at $20 General, $15 Discount and $10 UH Hilo/HawCC students (with a valid student ID) and children, up to age 17, and are available by calling the UH Hilo Box Office at 932-7490 or ordering online at artscenter.uhh.hawaii.edu.

Big Island Police Searching for 18-Year-Old Hilo Man Wanted on Suspicion of Puna Burglary

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating an 18-year-old Hilo man wanted for suspicion of a burglary that happened yesterday (Thursday) in Puna.

Darren K. Ornellas

Darren K. Ornellas

Darren K. Ornellas is described as a local male, 5’5” tall, weighing about 135 pounds, tan complexion, short brown hair, and a light mustache. He is known to operate a brownish colored 1992 Honda 4 door sedan with dark colored rims with a chrome finish ring, bearing license plate HLS-049.

On April 3, 2014 at about 2:30 p.m., police responded to an in progress burglary at a residence on 23rd Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park. A 62-year-old Keaau man reported seeing a suspicious male proceed to the front door of his neighbor’s residence and then to the rear of the residence, where he discovered signs of a break-in.

The neighbor confronted the suspect as he was seen running from the residence and towards another residence, where he subsequently ran into the bushes.

Police learned that cash and electronic devices were stolen from the residence.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section are continuing the investigation which is classified as a first degree burglary case.

Police ask that anyone with information on this incident or may know the whereabouts of Ornellas or the vehicle to call the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Detective Royce Serrao of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2272 or email at rpserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide number for Crime Stoppers 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 Investigating Report of Woman Being Accosted by Man in Vehicle in Puna

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a report of a woman being accosted by a male in a vehicle in the Puna District in early February 2014.

Composite sketch of suspect

Composite sketch of suspect

On February 5, 2014 at about 9:12 p.m., police contacted a 19-year-old Pahoa woman who reported to police that earlier in the evening and while walking along Kahakai Boulevard near Da Store, a dark colored sedan pulled alongside of her and a Caucasian male exited the vehicle. The male brandished a knife and threatened the victim, who walked away. The driver and the vehicle left the area, driving in the makai direction on Kahakai Boulevard. The victim was not injured in the incident.

The male was further described as being about 5’5” tall, weighing about 140 pounds, having short brown hair and a medium build.

The vehicle may be a foreign make, possibly a Honda or Toyota.

Police are releasing a composite drawing of the suspect with the hope that someone will recognize him.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section are continuing the investigation, which is classified as a first degree terroristic threatening case.

Police ask that anyone with information on this incident or may know the identity of the suspect to call the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Detective Norbert Serrao of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2383 or email at nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide number for Crime Stoppers 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 24-Year-Old Puna Woman Missing Since March

Hawaiʻi Island police have located 24-year-old Karissa Hirahara of a Keaʻau, who was reported missing.  She was found unharmed in Pāhoa on Saturday (April 5).

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 24-year-old woman who was reported missing.

Karissa Hirahara

Karissa Hirahara

Karissa Hirahara of a Kea’au address was last seen in Kea’au on March 24, 2014. She is described as Japanese, 5’05” – 5’06” tall, 170-175 pounds with long black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a pink sleeveless shirt with a brown jacket with laces on the sleeves and black shorts.

She may be in the lower Puna area and has a medical condition that requires medication.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2378.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Palila Mural in Downtown Hilo Featured in First Friday Event

Hilo’s newest artistic treasure, a mural showcasing the palila (a rare native Hawaiian forest bird), will be showcased in a mini-parade featuring the larger-than-life, gigantic palila this First Friday, April 4. Local artist, Kathleen Kam, teamed up with the Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project, a project of DLNR and the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, to create the 9 by 12-foot mural.

Local artist Kathleen Kam mural showcasing the palila (a rare native Hawaiian forest bird). Photo by Jackson Bauer.

Local artist Kathleen Kam mural showcasing the palila (a rare native Hawaiian forest bird). Photo by Jackson Bauer.

The painting is on the Hilo Loan Shop building in downtown Hilo adjacent to the KTA Super Store and the bustling Hilo Farmers’ Market. The public is invited to celebrate the mural’s completion on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at 64 Mamo St.

The Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project (MKFRP) commissioned the mural with funds provided by the American Bird Conservancy. Local photographer Jack Jeffrey donated the image that the mural references. The Hilo Loan Shop, Sherwin Williams, HPM Building Supply, and KTA Super Stores also provided generous support that enabled this dream to become a reality.

“We are proud to support Kathleen’s gorgeous mural of this beautiful but highly endangered Hawaiian bird as well as the work DLNR is doing to conserve it,” said Chris Farmer, American Bird Conservancy’s science coordinator for Hawai‘i. “It has been exciting to already have people walking by the mural, stop and talk with us about the artwork and learn about the conservation of palila.”

Palila are a member of the Hawaiian honeycreeper family and are dependent upon native māmane trees for 90 percent of their diet. They were listed as endangered in 1973 under the Endangered Species Act as a result of a drastic population decline due to habitat destruction.

“Palila live in a remote and rugged area of the island that not many people ever visit,” said Robert Stephens, MKFRP coordinator. “The goal of this mural is to inspire and educate the community about palila and how the DLNR is preserving this special, native bird and the māmane-naio forest they depend upon.”

Threats to the palila’s existence have included over-browsing by non-native feral sheep, goats and cattle on māmane seedlings and trees over the past 200 years. In addition to predation by non-native feral cats, the introduction invasive insects and plants, drought, fire and disease.

Currently, palila only occupy a small area on Mauna Kea but used to also live on Mauna Loa, Hualālai, and much more of Mauna Kea. Today, the population is estimated to be between only 1,300 and 1,700 individuals remaining on the planet.

“DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) has built 45 miles of sheep-proof fence on Mauna Kea to prevent sheep from entering Palila critical habitat, and removing sheep in those areas, as part of its compliance with a federal court order,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. As part of the reforestation project, volunteers have planted more than 80,000 native seedlings on Mauna Kea since 2010.

Kam’s numerous murals on Hawai‘i island and O‘ahu have focused on Hawai‘i’s native plants and animals. She was inspired to do this project because, “This mural’s visual information, which is fueled by a singular message to save a native species, will endure beyond its intrinsic value,” she said.

Kam depicted the mural in the style of a 1940s-era fruit crate label. She said, “It was the perfect fit in its simplicity and aesthetics, and familiar to Hilo’s agricultural community.”

To learn more about palila and how DLNR is protecting Hawai‘i for generations to come, visit: www.RestoreMaunaKea.org

Fun Seminars Announced for the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Taste the nuances of a variety of gourmet chocolates with one of the foremost chocolate experts in the world: Ed Seguine, a 45-year cacao veteran and consultant. Talk story with Food Network Star and New York City celeb Jacques Torres while savoring his delectable bonbons. Learn how to make a chocolate dessert sensation by Valrhona Pastry Chef Vincent Bourdin. Get the insider scoop on growing cacao—the bean needed to make chocolate.

Chef Jacques Torres

Chef Jacques Torres

All this and more— plus a festive evening gala are on tap May 1-3 for the Big Island Chocolate Festival. Tickets and details for all are available at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the $150,000 “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and efforts to build a community amphitheatre at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Here’s a quick rundown of activities:

Thursday, May 1

• 9-11 a.m.: On-site cacao farm and soap factory tour by Gary Colden to see how cacao is grown and used for chocolate. Kona Natural Soap Company uses the by-products of cacao to make soaps, $25.

All other activities at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i:

Friday, May 2

• 2:30-3:15 p.m. Ed Seguine of Seguine Cacao, Cocoa & Chocolate Advisors presents “Selecting Cacao Cultivar for Flavor.” Learn the segregation of agronomic and flavor traits in seed-grown cacao. Examples of breeding for flavor will be shown and tasting evaluated, plus techniques for small-scale micro-fermentation, $50.

• 3:30-4:30 p.m. “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torres offers an intimate talk story about the chocolate industry while sharing his award-winning chocolate bonbons brought in from New York City, $50.

Saturday, May 3

• 10-11 a.m. Ed Seguine of Seguine Cacao, Cocoa & Chocolate Advisors presents “How to Taste Chocolate” with a guided tasting of chocolate from Guittard, Valrhona and Waialua Estates, $30.

•11:15-12:15 p.m. Greg Colden of Kona Natural Soap Factory presents “Cacao as a Value Added Product for Business,” sharing non-chocolate uses for cacao, $30.

*12:30-1:30 p.m. President of the Asia Pacific Pastry Cup Board and Valrhona Chef Vincent Bourdin from Singapore shows how to make a standout chocolate dessert, $30.

Hands-on Culinary seminar at last year’s Big Island Chocolate Festival

Hands-on Culinary seminar at last year’s Big Island Chocolate Festival

Chocolate decadence culminates 6-10 p.m. May 3 with the festival gala in the Fairmont’s Grand Ballroom. Taste sweet and savory creations by chefs, chocolatiers, confectioners and beverage purveyors, plus vote for the People’s Choice Award. Also on tap will be fine wines and handcrafted ales, chocolate sculptures, chocolate body painting, music by Yisa Var and the Girls Nite Out band and friends, dancing and a silent auction.

Culinarians interested in participating can signup at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

Pre-sale gala tickets are $75 and will be $100 at the door. New this year is the VIP Fast Wine Pass with early event admission and personalized wine service. Buy tickets and find event details online at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. Questions? Phone 808-324-6100.

Also available is an inclusive Chocolate Lovers package that includes a two-night’s stay at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, plus all festival activities at the ocean-side Four Diamond resort; contact info@BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Attendees who want to stay at the resort during the festival can get a discounted room rate of $269 per night including daily breakfast for two and can book direct with the hotel at 808-885-2000 or 800-845-9905 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. Mahalo to sponsors and community supporters: The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Guittard, DeZaan, Valrohna, PreGel, The Wave-92.1, Big Island Honda and Tire Center, Bacardi, Dolphin Journeys, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Cocoa Outlet, Callebaut Chocolate, Cacao Cusina, DHX, Gourmet Foods Hawaii, Johnson Brothers of Hawaii, Ke Ola magazine, Kona Brewing Company, Kona Natural Soap Company, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory and West Hawaii Today.

The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

Big Island Police Investigating Stabbing Incident Involving Three People

Big Island police are investigating a stabbing incident involving three people that resulted in two of them being sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

HPDBadgeResponding to a 10:10 p.m. call Thursday (April 3) at the intersection of Alii Drive and Kahakai Road across from the Coconut Grove Shopping Complex, arriving officers discovered a 43-year-old Kailua-Kona man with a laceration to his abdomen and back, and a 38-year-old Kailua-Kona man with a laceration to his abdomen being treated by Fire Department rescue personnel.

Both men were transported to the Kona Community Hospital where they were treated for their injuries and then released.

Police arrested 43-year-old Michael Dalton of Kailua-Kona on suspicion of two counts of second-degree assault. He is being held in the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case contact Detective Scott Kurashige by phone at 326-4646, Ext. 304 or by email at skurashige@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers 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.

Official Selections: Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i

Now in its 9th year, the Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) has announced its 48 Official Selections, to be screened May 22-26, 2014. The “talk story” film festival is a celebration of narrative films and filmmaking, with free family films at The Shops at Mauna Lani, daytime movies and nightly double features for grown-ups with no-host bar and pupus, plus “meet-the-stars” celebrity social events and more at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.


On Thursday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m., BIFF’s Grand Opening at The Shops at Mauna Lani will include a free sampler of short films, and a chance to welcome filmmakers to the Island.  Celebrity guests Portia Doubleday (“Her,” “Carrie” and “Youth in Revolt”) and Jackson Rathbone (“Jasper” in the “Twilight” series) will appear in person, to give fans a chance to show their aloha.

BIFF at Mauna LaniBy special arrangement with Warner Brothers, “Sophia Grace and Rosie’s Royal Adventure” will be presented at The Shops at Mauna Lani Center Stage at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 23. The brand-new film stars British cousins, Sophia Grace Brownlee and Rosie McClelland, Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award Winners and frequent guests of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. In the movie, to be released May 20 on DVD, the girls are Ellen’s special correspondents, sent to cover the coronation of a new queen.

Sofia Grace

Other notable BIFF Official Selections include the time-travel mystery-thriller “Time Lapse,” the intense and intimate portrait of homelessness, “3:13,” drama “Pretty Rosebud,” about an ambitious career woman whose unorthodox choices unravel her carefully constructed world, and comedy “Welcome to the Lucky Country” a laughable look at an Australian reality show.

Screenshot from "The Haumana"

Screenshot from “The Haumana”

Contenders from Hawai‘i include Keo Woolford’s acclaimed “The Haumana,” which chronicles the journey of a new Kumu Hula and his high school men’s hālau, with choreography by Robert Cazimero, Lanakila Casupang, Maelia Loebenstein-Carter and Kaipo Hale.  From the Big Island, “Bullitt and the Curse of the Blood Ring” is the next chapter of the continuing island action-adventure,  produced, acted, and directed by Kona filmmakers Richard Gonzalez and Rockwood.

The Official Selections for BIFF 2014 are:

  • 3:13
  • BULLITT and the Curse of the Blood Ring
  • Butterfly Dreams
  • Courting Chaos
  • Day For Night
  • Druid Peak
  • Great
  • Helen Alone
  • Horse for Sale
  • If We Were Adults
  • Light Me Up
  • Limit
  • Little Girl’s War Cry
  • Lost Island of the Firewalkers
  • Makua Charley
  • Meet Anna
  • Mirror
  • Missing Child
  • No More Aloha
  • One Weekend
  • Poison Apple
  • Posey
  • Pretty Rosebud
  • Prinsesa
  • Ravi & Jane
  • Rise Again
  • Rose, Mary and Time
  • Shadow
  • Sheltered Love
  • Solace
  • Sophia Grace and Rosie’s Royal Adventure
  • Suka
  • Suriname Gold
  • Take a Deep Breath
  • The Bathroom Attendant
  • The End
  • The Haumana
  • The Haunting of Heather
  • The Honey Maple Morgan
  • The Maury Island Incident
  • The New Neighbors
  • The Pimp & The Rose
  • Time Lapse
  • Tuesday Morning
  • We Are Enemies
  • Welcome to the Lucky Country
  • Wolf Summer
  • Zone 7

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 26.  Best of the Fest also includes a silent auction to benefit Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center, and exciting concert by award-winning Hawaiian musical artist WILLIE K.

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 22-26. 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.

Makua Lani Christian Academy to Buy Hualalai Academy Campus

Aloha kākou. A little over a month ago we sent you a message to let you know that Kamehameha Schools was looking into the possible purchase of the campus and buildings of Hualalai Academy, a small independent school in Kona that had announced in January that it would be ceasing operations at the end of this school year.

Hualalai Academy on the Big Island

Hualalai Academy on the Big Island

After conducting careful due diligence throughout the month of March, Kamehameha Schools has decided not to move forward with that acquisition. We extend our sincere mahalo to the staff and leaders at Hualalai Academy for their time and assistance as we conducted our due diligence; they have built and maintained a beautiful campus. We have committed to lend them as much assistance as we can to transition to their next potential buyer, Makua Lani Christian Academy.

“This decision does not change our commitment to serving the West Hawai‘i community with educational programs and support,” said Jack Wong, KS interim Chief Executive Officer. “We will continue to increase our emphasis on assisting and strengthening new and existing West Hawai‘i community educational capacity, resources and partnerships. Accordingly, we are pleased to see an established, quality educational program such as Makua Lani be positioned to grow into the Hualalai campus property, and we look forward to future discussions with them to explore possible learning partnership opportunities.”

Mahalo for your interest and support in this matter. We look forward to keeping you informed of other events and activities in West Hawai‘i in the weeks and months ahead.

UH Student Thinks Girlfriend is Being Disrespected… Leads to Fractured Jaw

The following was reported by the University of Hawaii Security Department:
UH Hilo log

Report Status: Pending.

Location: Hale Kanilehua lounge.

Time Reported: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 8:55 PM.

Incident Occurred Between: 12:00 PM and 12:05 PM on Wednesday, April 2, 2014.

Crime Details:
A verbal misunderstanding lead one student to believe his girlfriend was being disrespected. A subsequent physical confrontation involved a knife and resulted in a fractured jaw. The student drove himself to the hospital. HPD and Campus Security have initiated investigations.

Waiākeawaena Park Playground to Close During Equipment Replacement Project

Hilo’s Waiākeawaena Park playground will be closed for renovation from Monday, April 7, through early June. The project is a partnership between the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation and the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (DOE) that will provide a safe, modern playground for both the community and Waiākeawaena Elementary School students to enjoy.

Mt. View's new Playground

Mt. View’s new Playground

The park’s ball fields and gymnasium will remain open and available for use during the construction phase, although the work will have a slight impact on part of the main ball field’s right field area.

The DOE has hired contractor Pacific Recreation Co. LLC to build a replacement playground designed for keiki 2 to 5 years old and an adjacent play area for children between the ages of 5 and 12. Features include multiple slides, covered decks, climbing walls and a safety surface. Waiākeawaena Elementary School, which is located next to the park, is providing two park benches that will be installed as part of the overall project estimated to cost approximately $220,000.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks state Sen. Gilbert Kahele for helping secure state funding needed to replace the aging playground, along with Mayor Billy Kenoi and Hawai‘i County Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi for their valuable support of this needed project.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Albizia-Control Training Workshops in Puna

Invasive albizia trees pose imminent danger to homes, powerlines, emergency access routes, and native forests. As the fastest-growing tree in the world, its brittle branches and shallow roots make it an impending threat to public safety. As part of the “Albizia Demonstration Project,” the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) is providing community training workshops on albizia control on the second Saturday of April and May, in Black Sands, Puna.



When:        Saturday, April 12th & May 10th, 8:30am-12:00pm

Where:       Meet at the Corner of Ocean View Parkway and Aloha Road, in Black Sands (map).

Directions from Highway 130: Turn right onto One Ele`ele Road. Take the first left onto Ocean View Parkway. Park on the side of the road near the BIISC tent at the corner of Ocean View Parkway and Aloha Rd (12 minutes from Pahoa Town).

What:         Participants will learn how to estimate tree height and the “Incision Point Application” control method, developed by the University of Hawaii and the U.S. Forest Service. Through hands-on training, volunteers will apply their skills to trees endangering the Keauohana Forest, roads, homes and power lines in Black Sands Subdivision.

Who:          Anyone interested in learning about Albizia control. Volunteers under 18 years old must have parental consent.

Sign-up:     Space is limited, please sign-up by emailing biisc@hawaii.edu your name and phone number by Wednesday, April 9th (for April workshop) and Wednesday, May 7th (for May).

What you should bring:

Volunteers are asked to wear sturdy shoes, pants, a long-sleeved shirt, hat, bug repellent, and sunscreen. Gloves, hatchets, herbicide, safety gear, hand-washing stations, and refreshments will be provided.

Why in Black Sands?

BIISC identified the Black Sands area of Puna as a case study to showcase the wide range of issues in albizia control, develop best management practices, and empower communities to limit the spread of these menacing trees in their own neighborhoods. The 500-acre “Albizia Demonstration Project” area in Puna includes trees overhanging homes and roads, as well as in native lowland Keauohana forest.

Why use herbicide?

The “Incision Point Application” control method has proven most effective and efficient at killing non-hazard albizia trees in natural areas (at least 100 ft. away from homes or roads). This method involves making one angled cut every 6-10’’ around the tree trunk, then carefully applying 0.5-1mL (10-20 drops) of Milestone Specialty Herbicide into each cut. The herbicide is then taken into the tree’s circulatory system, killing the tree. The tree will drop its leaves within two weeks and crumble over the next two years. This method does not disturb the surrounding foliage, allowing a natural shield from more albizia seeds taking root. More information about Milestone and how to ensure environmental and human safety will be available at the training workshops.

What is BIISC?

The Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) is a voluntary partnership of private citizens, community organizations, businesses, and government agencies working to address invasive species issues on the island of Hawaii. The mission of BIISC is to prevent, detect, and control the spread of the highest risk invasive species threats to the Big Island environment, economy, and way of life. BIISC’s guiding principle is to serve the land and people of Hawaii. BIISC is a project of the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit of the University of Hawaii.  Projects are funded by a combination of public and private service contracts and competitive grants.

Spot the International Space Station Tonight in Hawaii

If you live in Hawaii you can spot the International Space Station tonight at 7:15 PM.
International Space StationVisible: 6 min, Max Height: 40 degrees, Appears: SSW, Disappears: ENE

Hawaii Police Department Holding Community Meeting at Kona Police Station

The Hawaiʻi Police Department will hold a community meeting on Thursday, April 17, from 12-2 p.m. at the Kona police station.

HPDBadgeThe purpose of the meeting is to allow the public to meet the Police Department’s command staff and to discuss concerns with the police chief and commanders who oversee police operations in the Kona District. This event continues the district community meetings, which are rotated throughout the eight police districts on the Big Island.

To aid police commanders in focusing on specific concerns, police request that participation be limited to persons who live or work in the Kona district. Those interested in participating but unable to attend may e-mail their concerns or comments to copsysop@co.hawaii.hi.us.

For more information, you may call Captain Randal Ishii at 326-4646, extension 299, or stop by the Kona police station

Kamehameha Schools CEO Search Update

Aloha kākou:

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to share with you an update on our CEO search.

Dee Jay Mailer’s last day as CEO of Kamehameha Schools was Tuesday, April 1. As we announced earlier, Jack Wong, current Vice President of Legal Services and General Counsel, has assumed the role of interim CEO. Jack will serve in both roles until the next CEO assumes office. During the past few months, Jack has worked closely with Dee Jay and her staff to prepare for a smooth transition without unnecessary disruption to our work. This partnership has enabled the Board of Trustees to focus our full attention on a successful conclusion to the CEO search.

Jack has served Kamehameha Schools since 1997 in several key roles, initially as a Senior Counsel and most recently as Director of the Endowment Legal Division. He knows our people, our mission and the way we do things. Jack will focus on moving all of our key initiatives forward – on schedule – with the strong support of the executive leadership team he oversees.  We are all gratified that Jack has agreed to accept this critical role and we’re confident that he will provide continuity and strong leadership on an interim basis.

We continue to have conversations with a wide-range of outstanding leaders in our search for a new CEO, our commitment to selecting an individual of the highest caliber is unwavering, and we are grateful for the incredibly high quality of interest this opportunity has attracted. It is our expectation to have a new CEO identified before the end of the year. We will continue to provide updates throughout the search process. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about the process, please feel free to provide your thoughts at: KSCEO@spencerstuart.com.

This past week we all experienced the joys and memories that flood our senses as we bid a fond aloha to one of our most admired leaders. As Dee Jay transitions from being the CEO of Kamehameha Schools to begin her life’s next chapter, we are all enriched from her thoughtful guidance and leadership. She has nurtured us, and renewed us, and from here, we will continue to flourish.

And, now we begin the next chapter, dedicated to delivering the highest quality education and doing the good work that has always been the measure of Kamehameha Schools. Mahalo for your continued dedication and execution of our mission. The work you do every day is so valued, and we are very grateful.

As the Easter Season approaches we wish you and your families a happy and safe Easter. We are most appreciative of your continuing support of Kamehameha Schools.

Me ka ha‘a ha‘a,

Janeen-Ann A. Olds, Chairman
Board of Trustees

Kona Crime Prevention Committee Recognized Officer Sheldon Nakamoto as “Officer of the Month”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Sheldon Nakamoto as “Officer of the Month” for April in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (April 2) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Sheldon Nakamoto

Officer Sheldon Nakamoto

Nakamoto was honored for an investigation that led to felony charges in a stolen vehicle case.

On the afternoon of September 22, Officer Nakamoto and another officer responded to a report that a possible stolen car had been seen near a home in Captain Cook. It was reported that a couple on an all-terrain vehicle told an area resident that a car parked nearby had broken down and that they were on their way to a gas station. The resident noticed that the car’s license plate had been altered with black electrical tape.

The officers investigated and learned that the car had been stolen from Kealakekua while the owner was jogging.

Using forensics from the stolen car, Officer Nakamoto was able to identify a female suspect, who had an extensive criminal record. The woman was charged with the felony offense of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.

Sergeant Mekia Rose commended Nakamoto for his “diligence, attention to detail, thorough investigative techniques and dedication to duty.”

As “Officer of the Month,” Nakamoto is eligible to become “Officer of the Year.