Annual Hilo Elks “World of Magic” – Sunday, December 8th

Community members are invited to come join in a mid-day event of spell-binding entertainment and treats.

This year the annual Hilo Elks “World of Magic” performance includes Taishoji Taiko of Hilo and magician Kelvin Chun of Oahu who will share the stage at downtown Hilo’s Palace Theater on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 11am.

Taishoji Taiko of Hilo

Taishoji Taiko of Hilo

Taishoji Taiko was founded in 1989 under the direction of Yoshihumi Ono at Taishoji Soto Mission in Hilo. The group originally played only for Taishoji’s annual Bon dance, but gradually expanded into kumi daiko, or performance drumming. In addition to the annual Toro Nagashi (lantern floating ceremony), Taishoji Taiko has played at numerous community and cultural events around the Big Island. The group opened for the Big Island debut of the critically acclaimed group TAIKOPROJECT at the UHH Performing Arts Center in June 2008 and celebrated it’s 20th anniversary at the inaugural Big Island Taiko Festival in 2009.

At various times, Taishoji Taiko has received instructions from taiko masters from Hawaii and California, including Kenny Endo of the Taiko Center of the Pacific. Members have also attended workshops given by Kodo, On Ensemble, and Seiichi Tanaka of San Francisco Taiko Dojo.

Under the direction of Chad Nakagawa, members of Taishoji Taiko are a diverse collection of ages and backgrounds united by their passion for the energy and spirit of taiko. Their performances are fun, dynamic crowd pleasers sure to be enjoyed by audience of all ages.

“Magi-kel Magi-chun” Kelvin Chun is an internationally recognized award winning educator, magician, balloon artist and kite enthusiast.  He has over 20 years of magic and balloon experience and has competed against and performed with world class magicians in prestigious international magic competitions at venues such as Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort 1,800-seat showroom.

Kelvin Chun

Kelvin Chun

He was also a featured performer at other stages, including the New Zealand International Magicians Convention in Auckland, New Zealand, Texas Convention, Japan Cup, and Hong Kong International Magic Convention.

Learning magic and balloon techniques from all over the world, Kelvin’s performance is infused with international flair and has mesmerized audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Please come join us for this fun filled event! At the show’s end we are expecting a jolly visit from Santa, too.

Admission is free and donations are gladly accepted.

Questions? Call Lily at the Hilo Elks Lodge 935-1717. Hope to see you there.

2013 Pahoa Holiday Parade Information

Mainstreet Pahoa Association, celebrating 20 years in operation, will host the Pahoa Holiday Parade on Saturday, Dec. 7.

2012 Pahoa Holiday Parade 187

Pahoa Village Road will be closed from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Montessori Country School, which celebrates 30 years in Pahoa this year, will be honored as the parade’s grand marshal. The parade’s theme will be “Passport to Pahoa.”

2012 Pahoa Holiday Parade 098

Get parade applications at Pahoa Puna Buy and Sell, Puna Style or Jeff Hunt Surfboards.

Since Pahoa High and Intermediate School won’t be hosting a ho’olaulea his year following the parade, food and arts and crafts vendors may rent a booth at the farmers market in Pahoa Village.

hoolauleaContact Mainstreet Pahoa Association holiay parade co-chairs Tiffany Edwards Hunt at (808) 938-8592 and Madie Greene at (808)965-7296 for more information.


An Update on Zoe the “Blonde Zebra” on the Big Island of Hawaii

So there has been a lot of chatter on Facebook and Twitter about “blonde zebras” in the past few weeks. Here is what we know. Up until Zoe was 10 (she now is about to be 14) she was the only one alive on earth. There is now a related animal, caught by the same animal broker, in Ohio at a roadside safari park.


Zoe the “Blonde Zebra”. Click to enlarge

There are 5 more at a private park in South Africa near Kenya. This is the same are where the Hunt brothers caught Zoe’s mother years ago. The private park was started by the same Hunt family. The zebra herd (about 50 animals) is very inbred and they are deliberately breeding the same line to get blonds. Many are pinker muzzled and with very watered down pale eyes.

Unlike Zoe who has bold gold stripes and really blue eyes. Anyway that is the scoop on all we know and can verify. Thanks everyone for your input. Come visit Zoe and all the rest of the gang. Please share her image but post that she lives at Three Ring Ranch in Kona HI.

Big Island Wildlife Club Invites the Public to It’s First Meetup

Big Island Wildlife Club will be holding it’s first meetup on December 7th from 12 noon until 2pm.

Wildlife Club Meetup

Meeting will be held at the Coconut Island Pavilion, meeting to start at noon with a picnic potluck to follow. All ages welcome, especially keiki!  We will be doing a couple activities including a chance to draw/color your favorite animal.

“Like” us on fb to stay up to date on all our activities :, this event is FREE just bring smiles and good vibes!

For more information email

Public Invited to Opening Ceremony of Mountain View Gym and Park’s New Children’s Playground

Mayor Billy Kenoi, Puna Councilman Zendo Kern, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Friends of Mountain View Gym and Park invite the public to an opening ceremony for the new children’s playground at A.J. Watt Gym in Mountain View.

Mt. View Park

Mt. View Gym and Park new playground equipment

Festivities will start at 2 p.m. Friday, November 22, at the Nā Wai Ola Public Charter School campus located next to the gym.

Friends of Mountain View Gym and Park will hold drawings for donated prizes.

Covering 2,300 square feet, the new playground is comprised of two modular-design play areas designed for children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. A climbing wall, stairs, platforms, a protective roof and five slides, including a tunnel slide, are among the features. A special synthetic turf and impact-absorbing layer comprise the safety surface installed under the playground.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or

MADD Awards Five Big Island Officers

At their annual Law Enforcement Awards, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hawaiʻi and Big Island Toyota honored Big Island police officers Monday (November 18) for their outstanding efforts and dedication to preventing impaired driving and reducing underage drinking. The awards were presented at a ceremony at The Luau House in Hilo.

Left to right: Officers Keith Nacis, Nicholas McDaniel, Christopher Kapua-Allison, Shea Nactor and Sergeant Christopher Gali.

Left to right: Officers Keith Nacis, Nicholas McDaniel, Christopher Kapua-Allison, Shea Nactor and Sergeant Christopher Gali.

During the presentation, the following officers were honored for the following number of arrests during 2012:

  • Officer Keith Nacis, Traffic Enforcement Unit, Area I, 76
  • Officer Shea Nactor, Puna patrol, 27
  • Officer Nicholas McDaniel, Kona patrol, 21
  • The “Top Cop” award went to Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison of South Hilo patrol with 104 arrests.
  • Additionally, Sergeant Christopher Gali of the Traffic Enforcement Unit, Area I, was awarded the Big Island Outstanding Volunteer Award.

Vessel Missing Since October Located Adrift in Pacific, Unmanned

The Coast Guard located and boarded a derelict sailing vessel Friday nearly 1,600 miles west of Oahu that was first reported missing from Honolulu in early October.

The Coast Guard asks for assistance in locating 60-year-old Greg Stephanoff last seen departing Ala Wai boat harbor on his 42-foot Catalina sloop, "C:DRIVE."

The Coast Guard has found the “C:Drive: last seen departing Ala Wai boat harbor in October.”

Greg Stephanoff  departed Ala Wai boat harbor on a possible voyage to Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai Oct. 2, 2013. A concerned friend notified the Coast Guard Oct. 4 of Stephanoff’s departure from the harbor and that he hadn’t heard from him for two days.

Greg Stephanoff

Greg Stephanoff

The Coast Guard broadcast a notice to mariners via VHF Channel 16, contacted harbor masters, marinas and other known locations Stephanoff frequented requesting information on his whereabouts. Without any new information, the Coast Guard suspended the search Oct. 15 pending further developments.

On Nov. 7, crewmembers aboard the container ship Manukai notified the Coast Guard that they had come across what appeared to be a derelict sailing vessel named the C:Drive approximately 1,300 miles west of Oahu.  The container ship attempted to communicate with the vessel on VHF channel 16 and made several blasts on the ship’s whistle in an attempt to contact anyone aboard. No one was observed aboard and the Manukai continued its course having no means of boarding.

An HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew was launched from Air Station Barbers Point and the fishing vessel Wakatake Maru was redirected to rendezvous with C:Drive. The Wakatake Maru crewmembers located the C:Drive, but weather conditions made boarding the vessel unsafe.

The Coast Guard Cutter Kukui, a 225-foot buoy tender home ported in Honolulu, was dispatched to locate and board the sailing vessel. The transit from Honolulu to C:Drive’s last know position took four days.

The crew of the Kukui located the C:Drive and conducted a boarding at 3:30 p.m. Friday. They discovered no one aboard and  no indication of what may have happened. The vessel was marked with paint by the boarding team and remains adrift. A GPS and personal effects were removed from the vessel to possibly assertain what transpired during the month the vessel was adrift.

For the previous release and images regarding C:Drive, visit:

For more information contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

Critical Time at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park for Nēnē

Visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park now through April could get lucky and spot pairs of the endemic Hawaiian goose, or nēnē, flying overhead or grazing with goslings.

Click to view PSA

Click to view PSA

While nēnē are present in the park year-round, this seasonal window is their breeding and nesting time, and is vital for their survival.

Currently, female nēnē are focused on building up their fat reserves in order to lay eggs and survive the 30-day incubation period.  A few females have already started to nest in the park, and their mates are dutifully standing guard.  Because visitors can unknowingly disturb nesting nēnē, the park may temporarily close certain areas to give nēnē families a break from human interference.

“Nēnē are most vulnerable to vehicles this time of year.  They are focused on eating and could be out foraging from dawn to dusk.  They blend in with their surroundings, and in low-light periods, they are especially hard for motorists to spot,” said Kathleen Misajon, Nēnē Recovery Project manager.  

The park has posted nēnē crossing signs that highlight key roadside areas that nēnē use. These include sections of Highway 11, Crater Rim Drive, and Chain of Craters Road. Motorists are urged to use extra caution in signed nēnē crossing areas, and to obey posted speed limits.  

Nēnē are endangered, and in the mid-1940s, only 50 birds remained.  Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park began efforts to recover the species in the 1970s.  The Nēnē Recovery Program continues today, and more than 200 birds thrive in the park from sea level to around 8,000 feet. As many as 2,000 or more nēnē exist statewide.

“We’ve had a great deal of success protecting nēnē and maintaining the population in the park,” said Misajon. “But it is imperative that humans keep a respectful distance from the geese, especially during this sensitive time.”  

Visit for more information. To report nēnē on the road in the park, call 808-985-6001. Outside the park, call 808-974-4221.

EPA Awards Over $30 Million to the Pacific Territories for Environmental Protection

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded over $30 million as part of a yearly program that provides grants to Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa for use in continuing environmental protection work and for improvements to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

EPA LOGO“EPA’s funding enables the islands to advance their goals in the pursuit of clean air, water and land,” said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “As one example, the investment made in leak detection projects in all three territories has dramatically reduced drinking water losses, and saved over $1 million in energy costs.”

Guam EPA will be receiving $3.2 million, CNMI DEQ will be receiving $1.7 million, and the American Samoa EPA $1.8 million to support the operations of each environmental agency. The work done by the agencies include inspections, monitoring the safety of beaches and drinking water, permit writing, enforcement and other facets of their environmental protection programs.

Additionally, EPA provides drinking water and wastewater construction grants to improve the water supplies in each of the territories. The Guam Waterworks Authority will be receiving $8.2 million, CNMI’s Commonwealth Utilities Corp. will be receiving $6.9 million, and the American Samoa Power Authority $8.3 million.

Accomplishment highlights from previous funding include:

  • Improvements to the drinking water system in all three territories, including improved chlorination in Guam, increased water storage in CNMI, and an ongoing extension of the central system in American Samoa to remote villages.
  • EPA funding has contributed to the increased drinking water availability in Saipan, where 95% of the population now has access to 24-hour water (up from 75% in 2009).
  • Improvements to the wastewater collection and treatment systems in all three territories, including rehabilitation of a treatment plant in Saipan, improvements to the collection infrastructure in Guam, and ongoing extension of sewer lines in American Samoa.
  • EPA has funded the replacement of older wastewater pumps with newer energy efficient pumps and controls, saving the utilities hundreds of thousands of dollars in power bills in all three territories.

Big Island Police Identify Trucker Who Died Friday in Tractor/Tanker Crash

A 41-year-old man died Friday afternoon (November 15), in a single tractor/tanker crash in South Kohala. He was identified as Amos K. Agliam of Hilo.

Amos Agliam

Amos Agliam

Around 2:04 p.m., a 2003 Kenworth tractor pulling a tanker trailer, which was loaded with 8,402 gallons of No. 2 diesel fuel, was traveling west down a steep grade on Highway 19 (Kawaihae Road) near the 64-mile marker when it pulled onto the right paved shoulder, continued onto the unpaved shoulder and collided with a large mound of dirt and debris. (It was reported that the vehicle’s brakes were smoking.) The trailer broke loose, crushing the cab and rolling onto its right side.

The tanker was punctured, spilling between 1,500 and 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

Agliam died at the scene. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the cause of death. Alcohol and speed are not considered factors in this collision.

Kawaihae Road was closed to all traffic at 2: 26 p.m. It reopened at 8:42 p.m.

Police ask that anyone who witnessed the collision call Officer Thomas Koyangi at 326-4646, extension 229.

This is the 24th fatality this year compared with 36 at this time last year.


University of Hawaii Athletic Director Ben Jay Injured in Scuffle at Stan Sheriff Center

The following recap of tonights event’s come from photographer Andrew Lee’s Facebook account (with permission) who was attending the game on his own time:


Following the Hawaii vs Western Virginia game there was an awards ceremony scheduled since it was the last game of a tournament. Before the ceremony could start there was a huge scuffle behind the WVU bench.

A number of officials and ushers went down to break up the scuffle. Among those attempting to break it up were Rich Sheriff and Ben Jay.

Rich was knocked down but was able to get up on his own with a few cuts. Ben however was unable to get up for a while.

The awards ceremony was immediately canceled and fans were cleared from the arena.

It's not everyday you see campus security, HPD and EMS blocking the Stan Sheriff Center exit area.  Photo Andrew Lee

It’s not everyday you see campus security, HPD and EMS blocking the Stan Sheriff Center exit area. Photo Andrew Lee

HPD as well as campus security were called to the arena along with EMT’s.

EMT’s arrived and began to treat Mr. Jay who appeared to have gotten hit from his back.  Ben was then taken from the court side area to the trainers room for treatment.

EMS Crew has arrived at the SSC. Photo Andrew Lee

EMS Crew has arrived at the SSC. Photo Andrew Lee

Also during the scuffle the wife of one of the WVU Coaches passed out during the scuffle but is now reported to be okay.

I will not be answering any questions about the incident and will not provide anymore updates unless they are 100% confirmed.

Thanks to everyone for their concern and when the time is right I’m sure Ben will have a statement.

Big Island Police Searching for 16-Year-Old Last Seen in Hawaiian Acres Yesterday

11/19/13 UPDATE: Missing Person Annie Chung-Pacheco has been located.

Big Island Police are searching for a 16-year-old female who was last seen in Hawaiian Acres.

Annie Chung-Pacheco

Annie Chung-Pacheco

Annie Chung-Pacheco has long brown hair, brown eyes, is 5’1″ tall and 14o lbs  with unknown clothing. She was last seen Saturday, November 16 in Hawaiian Acres.

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 Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona 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.

Workshops for Backyard Egg Farmers Scheduled – Federal and State Regulations Apply for Eggs for Sale

A series of workshops have been scheduled to educate the growing number of Hawaii residents who are raising backyard poultry and selling eggs to friends, family and in some instances, the public.  Many are not aware that if they sell their eggs, they must follow federal and state regulations to ensure good food safety practices. Buyers should also know the regulations so they may purchase eggs that are properly handled.

Egg Workshop

Workshops to educate backyard farmers have been scheduled for Kauai, Molokai, Kona and Hilo in the month of November in a collaborative effort between the Hawaii Departments of Health and Agriculture and the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

Dates, Times & Locations:

The workshop will cover topics such as:

  • Candling and grading of eggs
  • Washing and good handling practices
  • Packaging and labeling
  • Compliance with federal and state laws
  • Resources for the backyard egg farmer

Farmers are encouraged to bring their eggs to the workshop.

For workshop information, contact:  Lynn Nakamura-Tengan on Maui at 808-244-3242 ext. 222 or e-mail:

Big Island Pop Warner Club Funds Stolen – $150,000 Plus Missing From Travel Account Funds

Well here goes… I’ve kept quiet long enough.  I’ve heard others will be releasing the name of the suspect soon enough and I don’t feel it’s my responsibility to place blame on this person.

At this time I will just give you folks the background on the case as I have heard it so far.  The following is a compilation of a few emails on the subject and I feel comfortable posting this knowing that I’m not posting anyone’s name specifically as all folks are considered innocent until proven guilty.:

Members of the Puna Panthers

Members of the Puna Panthers

Aloha Damon, I met you a few times real briefly a few years ago thru councilman Fred Blas and Aunty Mattie Green… I’m in need of your advice on an issue that came about last July and needs to be dealt with ASAP.

So the Pop Warner league treasurer whom we’ve booted out of her position, stole over $150K of which belonged to the children and was to be used for national travel to Florida to participate in the National Pop Warner Super Bowl should a team from the Big Island ever qualify. This was put in to place in 2006 and was put together with each team depositing $8250 each. At the time there were 12 teams in the league.

Long story short, this treasurer has admitted to stealing all of that money as well as several years worth of ticket monies collected during playoffs and private vendor monies that she collected that were all supposed to be spent on the kids. Anyhow, my issue or desire is to expose this individual as well as the Big Island Pop Warner Football Conference (BIPWFC). See when this was learned a police report was filed, which was fine. In her interview with the police, she has openly admitted to taking the money. My frustration is that BIPWFC is not following up and completing the necessary documentation so that the police can move forward with the case and go for prosecution.

I am seeking your advice / expertise and hoping you can point me in the right direction to put some pressure on the BIPWFC president so that this case can be brought to light and something can be done. Please share any info you can I would greatly appreciate it.

From what I’m told by the police, all they need is for a BIPWFC official comb thru all the checks that were written and confirm which were fraudulent and which were actually approved. Apparently her method of theft was by forging the BIPWFC presidents signature on the checks that were made out to herself.

Moving forward, this year is a travel year for big island pop Warner’s midget division which means a team from the big island has a really good chance at representing the western region in Florida. In fact Panaewa and Kohala are 2 games away from Florida. About $100K that was taken was specifically from the travel fund which was designed to aid a team should they get that far. Needless to say, if Kohala or Panaewa should advance to Florida, they are left with a burden of raising another $100K to take 35 players and 15 chaperones to Florida for 10 days.

Which is the duration of the pop warner Super Bowl. They would have to play 3 games total if they do make it. However, if either of the teams should advance but not show up in Florida for whatever reason, the league (BIPWFC) will be fined $25K.


Hey I was told today that a story is supposed to come out about the theft tomorrow. Not sure by who but apparently someone else has gone to the press. Just in time because Panaewa won the regional championship against Maui today and is headed to Florida. From what I understand they still need about $60K dollars to get there. Just thought I give you this update.

Here’s the police report number and more information. Report number C12014283 Filed as a forgery report. It was originally taken by officer Kuamo’o but is now sitting with detective Jason Berryhill who works out of the Kona station.

From what I’ve been told, the police department needs a representative from BIPWFC to go and verify each check to see which checks were written fraudulently and which checks were legit. Apparently “Pua” had been writing checks to herself and forging Charles Nahale’s signature (president at the time). Nahale has since stepped down back in December citing his want to get this case completed.

Unfortunately it’s been stuck in this stage since last June which is why I’m seeking Damon’s assistance.


Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Surfer Kirk Passmore

The Coast Guard suspended the search at sunset Friday for a missing surfer near Alligator Rock.

Kirk Passmore's Facebook Profile Picture

Kirk Passmore’s Facebook Profile Picture

“It is with heavy hearts that we now suspend our active search efforts,” said Capt. Shannon Gilreath, commanding officer for Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “Our thoughts go out to the Passmore family and the tight-knit communities in both Hawaii and California where he was an important member.”

The Coast Guard, Honolulu Fire Department and Ocean Safety searched more than 2,330 square miles.

Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Honolulu and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Air Station Barbers Point searched the area.

Honolulu Fire Department, Ocean Safety and volunteers from the community also combed the area by land, air and sea.

For more information, contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Public Affairs Officer at 808-842-2657.

Big Island Police File Additional Charges Against 22-Year-Old Pahoa Man

Hawaiʻi Island police have filed additional charges against a 22-year-old Pāhoa man who is being featured this month on “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted.”

Airiel Jost

Airiel Rhodes Jost

On Thursday, police arrested Airiel Rhodes Jost on bench warrants for violating terms and conditions of his probation. He was also a suspect in other crimes.

On November 2, a 49-year-old man returned to his home on Uliana Drive in Pāhoa and found an unknown man in his house. The stranger exited the house and threatened the victim with a knife before leaving.

On November 8, a Mercedez Benz automobile was removed from the garage of a house on Kapoho Beach Road.

On November 14, a Mazda Miata sports car was stolen from a home on Luana Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision and later crashed.

Police investigation linked all three incidents to Jost. Friday afternoon, detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section charged him with first-degree burglary, first-degree terroristic threatening, two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and driving without a license. His bail was set at $57,000.

Jost is being featured this month on the cable access program “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted,” which was pre-recorded before his arrest.

The program airs on Na Leo O Hawaiʻi Community Television Channel 54 on Sundays at 5 p.m. and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. It also airs intermittently on Channel 53


Kona Man Charged With a Dozen Offenses After Stealing Pickup Truck From Auto Dealer

A Kona man has been charged with a dozen offenses after a pickup truck was stolen from an auto dealer.

Last Friday (November 8), a 2004 Toyota pickup truck was stolen from a car dealership on Kanoelehua Avenue in Hilo. In addition, a lock to a gate was damaged, the establishment was entered and vehicle parts were removed.

Shortly after midnight on November 14, personal belongings were removed from a vehicle parked at Hilo Medical Center. Witnesses identified the suspect’s vehicle, which matched the description of the truck taken from the car dealership.

Later that morning, a patrol officer observed the truck on Komohana Street and attempted to make a traffic stop. The vehicle fled. It was located 10 minutes later in a residential area of the Kaumana area. When an officer approached the pickup, it almost hit a police car and fled from the area.

Jason Schloffel

Jason Schloffel

The truck was later located on a dirt road off Saddle Road near the 10-mile marker. The driver, who resisted arrest, was determined to be wanted for two cases of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle in Kona. Jason Schloffel, 23, of Kailua-Kona was arrested and taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 1:30 p.m. Friday, Schloffel was charged with three counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, two counts of second-degree theft and one count each of first-degree reckless endangering, second-degree burglary, unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, criminal property damage, resisting an order to stop, resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license. His bail was set at $83,000.

He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending his initial court hearing scheduled for Monday (November 18).

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Passenger That Jumped Off Cruise Ship Grand Princess

The Coast Guard suspended the search Friday for a female passenger reported overboard from the cruise ship Grand Princess approximately 750 miles northeast of Hilo.

A flare marks where the a sailor fell into the ocean when I was visiting the USS Essex.

A flare marks where the a sailor fell into the ocean when I was visiting the USS Essex.

Two Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crews from Air Station Barber’s Point searched for approximately 20 hours.

A Navy P-3 Orion airplane crew from Navy Patrol Squadron FOUR based at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe and the commercial tug and barge Moku Pahu also assisted in search efforts.

More than 10,000 square miles were searched.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center were notified at approximately 1 p.m. Wednesday by the crew of the Grand Princess that the 54-year-old was overboard.

“Suspending a search is never an easy decision to make,” said Lt. Cmdr. Peter Zauner, command duty officer of the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center. “It’s done with much deliberation and after a concerted effort to ensure that the Coast Guard has adequately searched all probable locations for survivors. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and loved ones.”

For more information, contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.


Man Dies When Tanker Truck Crashes on Big Island Spilling Thousands of Gallons of Fuel

A tanker truck crashed in South Kohala on Friday (November 15), killing the driver and spilling thousands of gallons of fuel.

HPDBadgeShortly after 2 p.m., South Kohala police responded to a traffic crash and determined that a tanker carrying approximately 8,400 gallons of diesel fuel was traveling in the makai direction on Kawaihae Road when it ran off the road and overturned between the 63- and 64-mile markers, spilling nearly half its load.

The driver was pinned inside the vehicle and died at the scene. His name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of his family.

Kawaihae Road is closed in both directions and is expected to remain closed for several hours. Police Department personnel and Fire Department hazardous materials personnel are on the scene, as is a replacement tanker to transfer the remaining fuel.

Motorists are advised to use Waikoloa Road or Kohala Mountain Road until further notice.

Maui Member of State Board of Education Resigns Due to Time Constraints

The Maui member of the state Board of Education resigned effective the end of October.

A member of the original appointed board, Wesley Lo left the panel that governs the public school system eight months before his three-year term was to end in June.

Increasing responsibilities with his job as regional chief executive officer at Maui Memorial Medical Center effectively forced him to leave the Board of Education, he said Wednesday in an interview with The Maui News.

WESLEY LO Time constraints “just too much”

WESLEY LO Time constraints “just too much”

“The time constraints were just too much,” Lo said. “I was really depressed that I had to step down.”

In addition to being in charge of three hospitals in the county, Lo was given additional responsibilities from the Hawaii Health Systems Corp., the quasi-public entity that runs Neighbor Island public hospitals, after the departure of Bruce Anderson, HHSC chief executive officer and president, in July.

Lo said he has been given the responsibility to look into possible public-private partnerships.

As far as replacing Lo, the governor is “considering all applicants and will be making an appointment as soon as possible,” said Christine Hirasa, deputy director of communications for the governor, in an email Wednesday.

The governor’s nominee to the volunteer post on the nine-member board must be confirmed by the state Senate.

Lo was a member of the inaugural governor-appointed Education Board in the spring of 2011. A state constitutional amendment passed in 2010 by voters switched the board from an elected to an appointed panel.

While having high regard for the elected board, Lo said he thought the appointed board worked well. “The idea was we could have some common vision as a board” without the worry of re-election, he said. He thought the appointed board could become more focused without the politics.

“It takes time for a board to develop,” he said. “We had our ups and downs. . . . We started jelling a little bit better and trusting members.”

One of the initial challenges for the new board was getting a handle on the size and complexity of the state Department of Education, the only statewide public school system in the country. He thought Maui Memorial with its 1,500 employees was a large entity, but the hospital pales in comparison to the DOE with 20,000 employees, 260 schools and a “budget not in the millions (but) . . . in the billions.”

“I guess that I was surprised at how big the Department of Education is . . . how complex it is,” he said. “It’s hard to maneuver. It took a lot of time to understand.”
He was thankful for the support and counsel he received from Maui County school superintendents Lindsay Ball and Alvin Shima and also Bruce Anderson (not the same as the former HHSC head), Shima’s predecessor who moved on to become Maui High School’s principal.

Lo also recalled a gathering with social studies teachers who provided him with information on graduation requirements.

“I realized how little I did know about the education system,” said Lo, whose children attend public schools and whose wife is a counselor at Maui High.

The departing board member had high praise for state schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and her staff. Given the size and complexities of the DOE, Lo noted that it is difficult to make changes, saying “it’s like turning the aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean.”

“The superintendent and the board are taking some bold steps,” he said. “It will take time. It’s really exciting.”

He noted the Race to the Top initiatives, improving test scores and the implementation of teacher evaluations.

There were some things he would have liked to continue to work on, such as centralizing and reorganizing nonacademic functions. He cited, for example, creating a centralized food service system instead of the current school-by-school one. The goal of centralization and reorganization would be to allow principals and teachers to focus more of their time on academics, he said.

Locally, he had two issues he wishes he could “have seen through” – the opening of the Kihei high school and the Hawaiian immersion program. The long-sought high school received $130 million in construction funding in the last Legislative session, with construction expected to begin in July 2015. At Paia Elementary School, there is a move to turn the school into a fully Hawaiian immersion school.

“Both are controversial issues I was involved in and appreciated the community input,” he said.