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‘Ohana Health Plan Donates Fans to Help Maui Kids Stay Cool in School

Although a recent addition to the Maui Waena Intermediate School includes nine air-conditioned classrooms, many of the school’s 1,100 students are still in rooms with little relief from the Maui heat. To help create a better educational environment for all students, ‘Ohana Health Plan, a WellCare Health Plans, Inc. company, today presented 40 tower and mini fans to the school.

ohana-health-plan-logo‘Ohana representatives were joined at the ceremony by Lt. Governor Shan S. Tsutsui and State Representative Justin Woodson (D-9).

“There is a significant relationship between education and health. We thank Rep. Woodson for recognizing this and connecting ‘Ohana to a school in need,” said Scott Sivik, market vice president at ‘Ohana Health Plan. “The best learning takes place in comfortable settings, and we are honored to help create an environment at Maui Waena that helps every student have the opportunity to succeed.”

“I would like to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for taking the initiative to engage with the community to help fill needs that assist students in the classroom and beyond,” said Rep. Woodson.

“A big mahalo to ‘Ohana Health Plan for its generous fan donation to Maui Waena and for recognizing that it’s important for members of the community to pitch in to help create a conducive learning environment for our students,” said Lt. Governor Tsutsui.  “I’d also like to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for becoming a partner in other initiatives that support the overall health and well-being of our keiki, such as the R.E.A.C.H. Initiative.”

“I want to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for its generous donation and really appreciate the community support of our school. It helps with student learning,” said Jamie Yap, principal at Maui Waena Intermediate School.

As of June 30, 2016, ‘Ohana Health Plan has more than 230 employees in Hawaii and serves approximately 57,000 members through its offices in Kapolei, Honolulu, Hilo and Kahului.

HCFCU Presents Hawaii Island United Way with $16,531

Through the support of donations and pledges across all of its five branches, the staff of Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union (HCFCU) is pleased to announce that they raised $16,531 during its Hawaii Island United Way (HIUW) annual employee campaign.  All monies will be donated to HIUW to support its mission “to unite people, organizations, and resources to build a healthier community.”

Bottom row, L-R;  Jessica Kaneakua, HIUW, President & CPO, Wally Lau, HIUW Board Director   Middle Row, L-R:  Steve Bader, HIUW Board Director; David Miyashita, HCFCU Marketing Coordinator, Nellie Medeiros, HCFCU Corporate Development & Marketing Manager; Tricia Buskirk, HCFCU President & CEO   Top row, L-R:  Toby Taniguchi, Board Director; Sasha Payao, HIUW Campaign & Special Events Coordinator; Dean Uemura, HCFCU Executive Vice President Support Services.  Photo credit: Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union

Bottom row, L-R; Jessica Kaneakua, HIUW, President & CPO, Wally Lau, HIUW Board Director
Middle Row, L-R: Steve Bader, HIUW Board Director; David Miyashita, HCFCU Marketing Coordinator, Nellie Medeiros, HCFCU Corporate Development & Marketing Manager; Tricia Buskirk, HCFCU President & CEO
Top row, L-R: Toby Taniguchi, Board Director; Sasha Payao, HIUW Campaign & Special Events Coordinator; Dean Uemura, HCFCU Executive Vice President Support Services. Photo credit: Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union

“Each year our staff opens their hearts—and wallets—to support those in need,” said Tricia Buskirk, President and CEO of Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union.

The Hawaii Island United Way invests in 54 health and human service programs that reach over 75% of Hawaii Island families and individuals each year.  All funded programs fall within the parameters of its Community Care Impact Initiatives, which include, Education (encouraging and nurturing positive values to develop skills in children, youth and adults), Income (empowering families and individuals to become financially stable; increasing self-sufficiency and independence) and Health (providing for basic needs and a safety net of services that promote prevention and encourage healing and recovery).

HCFCU branches are located in Kaloko, Kailua-Kona, Kealakekua, Kohala, and Honoka’a.  For more information, contact us at 808-930-7700, marketing@hicommfcu.com or visit www.hicommfcu.com.

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit credit union owned by its over 40,000 member/owners with branches in Honokaa, Kailua-Kona, Kaloko, Kealakekua and Kohala.  In addition to complete checking and savings services, the credit union offers credit cards, auto, mortgage, construction, small business, educational and personal loans; online and mobile banking; investment services; youth programs and supports numerous Hawaii Island programs and events.  Membership in Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is open to all Hawaii Island residents.

Kona Man Charged With Murder

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a Kailua-Kona man with murder in connection with a body found last week off Hawaiʻi Belt Road.

Gafatasi Jorden Kaipo Napoleon

Gafatasi Jorden Kaipo Napoleon

Shortly before noon Saturday (October 22), Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of criminal property damage in progress in the Oʻoma subdivision in Kailua-Kona. Officers located 29-year-old Gafatasi Jorden Kaipo Napoleon of Kailua-Kona, who was also wanted on suspicion of murder for the shooting death of 36-year-old Alanaokala Solomon Covington of Kailua-Kona. Napoleon was arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 9:55 p.m. Sunday (October 23), he was charged with second-degree murder, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, promoting a dangerous drug and criminal property damage. His bail was set at $271,000. He remained at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday (October 24).

Police ask anyone with any information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Jerome Manuel at 326-4646, extension 262, or jerome.manuel@hawaiicounty.gov.

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

92-Year-Old Woman Dies Following Two Vehicle Crash in Hilo

A 92-year-old Hilo woman died following a two vehicle crash Sunday afternoon (October 23) in Hilo.

She was identified as Masako Okano.

hpd-badgeResponding to a 12:22 p.m. call, police determined that a 2000 Ford pickup truck was traveling south on Komohana Street and starting to make a left hand turn down Ponahawai Street when it was struck by a 2012 Nissan sedan that was traveling north on Komohana Street.

Okano, who was the front seat passenger of the sedan, was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 3:54 p.m.

The driver of the sedan, a 25-year-old Pāhoa woman, was also taken to Hilo Medical Center, where she was treated for her injuries and released.

The driver of the pickup, a 28-year-old man from Hauʻula, Oahu, was not injured.

Police do not know if speed was a factor in this crash but they do not believe alcohol was a factor.

The Area I Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a negligent homicide investigation. Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to contact Officer Clarence Acob at 961-2293 clarence.acob@hawaiicounty.gov. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the 24th traffic fatality this year compared with 16 at this time last year.

Updates from Day 3 of Mayor Kenoi Trial

Today is day 3 of the Mayor Kenoi trial that is taking place at the Hilo Judiciary.

kenoi-trialHonolulu Star Advertiser reporter Dan Nakaso is in the courtroom and is live tweeting the trial.

You can follow him live here: https://twitter.com/dannakaso

LAST UPDATED 4:30 PM

http://www.staradvertiser.com/2016/10/24/breaking-news/three-tampering-with-records-charges-dismissed-against-kenoi/

Judge dismisses three counts against Mayor Kenoi. 5 charges remain.

4h4 hours ago

AG counters that Kenoi atty only focused on 5 ASB/FHB personal and joint accounts. Two additional accounts suggested debts. 4h4 hours ago

Kenoi atty said forensic accountant orig included an equity line of credit to suggest Kenoi needed $ when he had plenty of money

4h4 hours ago

Kenoi atty walking AG forensic accountant through pcard expenditures and kenoi accounts to show that mayor had money.

MT : Judge asks whether AG alleging a “cover up.” AG: “We don’t know if there was a conspiracy.” Jury not present.

AG: “We wouldn’t be here” if not for efforts of AG investigator who had to get Kenoi purchase receipts directly from merchants.

3m3 minutes ago

AG wants jury to get a transcript of Kenoi presser in which jurors will “hear a confession.”

Kenoi presser held April ’15 relates to his pCard purchases; AG wants jury to hear additional docs, evidence

Hawaii Wildlife Fund Releases New Marine Debris Prevention Curriculum for Elementary School Students

Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund (HWF) is excited to announce the release of our new marine debris prevention curriculum designed for elementary school students around Hawaiʻi.

hwf-kidsOver the past two school years, HWF mentors piloted this curriculum in 20 public schools working with over 52 different teachers and 1,140 students (grade kindergarten to 5th).  HWF mentors worked with students at schools around Hawaiʻi Island: in Kona, Kohala, Kaʻū, Hāmākua, Hilo, and Puna.

beach-clean-up-hwfThe “Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach” program teaches children about:

  • Understanding aquatic life and ecosystems (basic marine biology concepts)
  • Marine debris and how land-based litter sources find their way into the sea
  • Exploring what a “discard” really is and how our daily choices affect the amount of trash we produce
  • Vulnerability of island ecosystems and communities and the responsibility (kuleana) that we each have to protect them.

The curriculum was designed as a 3-visit program that challenged students to put forward innovative solutions to this global marine-debris problem.  The lessons are aligned with all Common Core and Next Generation Science and other benchmarks relevant to the elementary school level.

innovations-posterAll of the lessons and activities are available for free download from the HWF website or at the following link: http://wildhawaii.org/MDKEO/Su mmaryTeacherEdition.pdf

“It was a great pleasure guest teaching in the many different classrooms around the island.  We look forward to deepening our relationships with Hawaiʻi Island students and teachers in the coming years” said HWF mentor and Education Coordinator, Stacey Breining.

school-reached

In addition, nine cleanup events were conducted as an optional follow-up component of this program (6 beach cleanups, 2 stream cleanups, 1 campus cleanup).   During these nine cleanup events, 286 students participated in removing over 1,500 lbs. of marine and land-based debris items from the coastline, stream banks, or their campus.

Please contact HWF at marine.debris.KEO@gmail.com or 808-769-7629 for more information or visit the HWF website (www.wildhawaii.org).

New Exhibit Honoring World War II Veterans Unveiled at Honolulu International Airport

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), in conjunction with the Nisei Veterans Legacy (NVL), is proud to unveil the new permanent exhibit celebrating the Nisei veterans of World War II. The unveiling was commemorated with a ceremony today at the exhibit site located at the Honolulu International Airport in the makai end of the Interisland Terminal near gate 56.

The distinguished veterans watch as the new Hawaii Nisei Veterans exhibit at the Honolulu International Airport is blessed by Kahu Wendell Davis.

The distinguished veterans watch as the new Hawaii Nisei Veterans exhibit at the Honolulu International Airport is blessed by Kahu Wendell Davis.

The exhibit was produced by volunteers from the Nisei Veterans Legacy, a nonprofit organization created to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of the Americans of Japanese Ancestry who served in the United States armed forces during World War II, including the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service and 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion.

“The Japanese American soldiers fought two battles during the war: the Axis enemies in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific and domestic racism and suspicion at home,” said Wes Deguchi, Nisei Veterans Legacy President. “This exhibit will expose millions of travelers, not only from our country but overseas as well, to the heroism and achievements of these veterans. Very few of them are still with us to tell their stories in their own words, so it was our goal that this exhibit and the work of the NVL tell of their sacrifices for Hawaii, our nation, and the world. We’re very grateful to the Hawaii Department of Transportation for this opportunity and to our volunteers for their time and creativity.”

Honored veterans from left to right: Governor George Ariyoshi, Kenji Ego, Herbert Yanamura, and Robert Kishinami.

Honored veterans from left to right: Governor George Ariyoshi, Kenji Ego, Herbert Yanamura, and Robert Kishinami.

Funding for the exhibit was provided in part by a grant from the Hawaii State Legislature for the construction of the display cabinet. The contents were produced or donated by the NVL.

Nisei stands for second generation and represents American citizens born in the United States whose parents immigrated from Japan. More information on the Nisei Veterans Legacy can be found by visiting http://www.nvlchawaii.org/

Public Input Sought on Draft Management Plan for Pahole Natural Area Reserve

A draft management plan to help in the restoration and recovery of many rare plants and animals in the Pahole Natural Area Reserve (NAR) of O‘ahu’s Waianae mountain range is now available for public review and comment.  The plan, prepared by the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), outlines the planned management activities in the reserve over the next 15 years. It is part of a series of site-specific plans to be prepared by DOFAW for natural area reserves throughout the state.

paholePahole Natural Area Reserve is situated on the northeastern face of the Wai‘anae Mountain Range in the district of Waialua on the island of O‘ahu. The 658 acre reserve was created to protect lowland native dry to moist forests, including rare and endangered plants and animals. These forests are noted for their species diversity and richness, and are becoming increasingly uncommon. The overall goal of the management plan is to protect, maintain, and enhance the reserve’s unique natural, cultural, and geological resources.

“Drier Hawaiian forest types are particularly susceptible to disturbance. Despite being an actively managed natural area reserve for 35 years, species have declined and habitat has been lost due to threats including invasive species. This plan will focus our efforts to effectively preserve the native resources that remain for future generations,” said Marigold Zoll, DOFAW O‘ahu branch manager.

Management of Pahole NAR, as proposed in the draft plan, will help the restoration and recovery of many rare plants and animals. One of the rarest endemic plant species found in the Reserve, Cyanea superba subsp. superba, had not been seen in the Waianae Mountains for decades before being found in Pahole in 1971. By 1978, there were only 36 plants remaining and by 2002, the plant was extinct in the wild.  Fortunately, this rare plant was successfully propagated off-site and over 1,400 plants have since been restored to the wild at protected and managed sites in Pahole NAR and elsewhere in the Wai‘anae Mountains.

The Natural Area Reserves System was created in 1971 by the Hawai‘i State Legislature to preserve in perpetuity specific land and water areas which support communities, as relatively unmodified as possible, of the natural flora and fauna, as well as geological sites, of Hawai‘i. The system presently consists of 21 reserves on five islands, encompassing more than 123,000 acres of the State’s most unique ecosystems. These diverse areas range from marine and coastal environments to alpine desert and from fresh lava flows to ancient wet forests. These reserves often serve as habitat for rare native plants and animals, many of which are on the verge of extinction.

The management plan approval process includes review by DOFAW branch and administrative staff, partner agency and public consultation, approval by the administrator of DOFAW, and finally approval by the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

The draft management plan is available on the DOFAW website at the following link: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/files/2016/10/PaholeDraftManagementPlan.pdf

Please submit written comments via email or letter by November 18, 2016 to:

Tanya Rubenstein, Natural Area Reserves Project Coordinator
Tanya.Rubenstein@hawaii.gov
Division of Forestry and Wildlife
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325
Honolulu, HI 96813

Groundbreaking Held for Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial – Affordable Senior Housing

Yesterday afternoon, Mayor-Elect Harry Kim and Big Island Veterans broke ground on the Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial.
harry-kim-at-hivmThe project has been in the works for quite some time and it’s good to see that it is finally going to happen.The location is located off Kawili Street below the University of Hawaii Hilo Campus and across the street from Waiakea High School.

hivm-site-planEarlier this year, after HIVM received the first increment of our $425,000 state grant to help us start the project, we had an engineer prepare a plan for a box culvert common-use entrance into our lots along Kawili Street. Isemoto Construction was selected from our list of bidders to construct the common-use driveway entrance and perform related construction tasks and they have begun the installation of the box culvert and new entryway. We are in the final stages of an agreement with a large and respected non-profit housing development corporation, EAH Housing, Inc., to develop and operate 75 units of affordable senior-living units on our upper 5+ acre lot.

Artist rendition

Preference for these units will be given to veterans and their spouses. Other income-qualified senior Hawaii residents will also be able to rent these units in the event there is an insufficient number of qualified vets, their spouses or vets’ widows on the wait list at the time of vacancy. This senior independent living community will also include a centrally located community center for socializing, educational, recreational, and leisure activities.

 The lot is outlined with a thin white line and is bordered on the left by Kapiolani Street across from the lower end of the UHH campus. The lot is bordered at the bottom by West Kawili Street.

The lot is outlined with a thin white line and is bordered on the left by Kapiolani Street across from the lower end of the UHH campus. The lot is bordered at the bottom by West Kawili Street.

History: Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial, Inc. (HIVM) is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) all-volunteer non-profit corporation privately organized in 1997 to serve as a development entity for the island’s many veterans and veterans groups. Our mission was to develop a one-stop combined veterans center (CVC) together with a senior independent living community complete with a multi-purpose activity center and dining facility for our islands’ 20,000+ active, reserve, retired, veterans, and other eligible seniors. A site was identified on an overgrown 7 acre parcel of unplanned public lands in Hilo along Kawili St. just below the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and was obtained for this purpose in 2004 by a Governor’s executive order.

After acquiring a start up lease in 2005, funds were raised privately to complete an approved final environmental assessment (FEA) including a master plan with all preliminary engineering. This was developed with all stakeholders, including the University of Hawai’i at Hilo (UHH), neighbors and neighboring institutions, AARP, all the veterans organization on Hawai’i and the county of Hawai’i. The FEA was completed in 2006 and was accepted and approved by the County.

Re-zoning and subdivision into 3 separate lots for each project component were completed by mid-2007 when the lots were graded, partially grubbed and a sewer tap installed on the lower lot planned for the one-stop CVC as Phase 1. With an agreement in hand with the USDVA (VA) to build and lease to them a 5000 sq ft facility estimated at $2.1m. $1m in state and county matching funds were then sought, approved, and appropriated for FY 2008 to enable HIVM to privately finance the balance and begin the project. However the national financial meltdown reached Hawaii in the summer of 2008 and stopped all planned construction because of no available private or public financing. With development actions at a stop for the next 4 years, HIVM subleased the site to a private contractor to use as a base yard in exchange for periodic mowing and essential maintenance.

We resumed progress in 2012 with an improved economic outlook, a new lease, new opportunities, and a rejuvenated board of directors to move us forward to our current status.

Little Fire Ant Awareness Forum

The Governor’s Office in West Hawai‘i Presents:  Little Fire Ant Awareness Forum on Thursday, October 27, 2016, 6-8 p.m. Doors Open at 5:30 p.m Hawai‘i Community College, Palamanui Campus located at 73-4225 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Room 127

Little fire and and queen ant.

Little fire and and queen ant.

With presenters from: Hawai‘i Ant Lab, State of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, County of Hawai‘i  Department of Research and Development.

Little Fire Ants, one of the most detrimental invasive species in Hawai‘i, threaten agriculture, native ecosystems, animals, and people. Come learn how you can prevent and control this pest.

 

Gabbard Honors Legacy and Service of Hawaii Nisei Veterans – Airport Unveils New Exhibit

At the Interisland Terminal of the Honolulu International Airport this morning, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard  joined the Nisei Veterans Legacy Center and Department of Transportation officials at the unveiling and blessing ceremony of a new permanent exhibit celebrating Hawaii’s Nisei veterans.

tulsi-nisei“It’s a privilege and an honor to be here to celebrate the Hawaiʻi Nisei Veterans display and all that it symbolizes—especially with our Nisei veterans here today, representing service and sacrifice from different conflicts and different generations,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed Major in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.

tulsi-nisei2“Your courage during a very difficult time says so much about the values that we strive to uphold and celebrate in this great country. To have this display here provides the opportunity for people coming through as they travel—both kama’āina and visitors from across the country and around the world—to learn more about your sacrifice and to make sure that the legacy of your service continues for generations to come.”

tulsi-nisei3The exhibit was produced by volunteers from the Nisei Veterans Legacy Center, a nonprofit organization created to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of the Americans of Japanese Ancestry who served in the United States armed forces during World War II, including the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, and 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion. Nisei stands for second generation and represents American citizens born in the United States whose parents immigrated from Japan.

Mauna Kea Polo Club Hosting Andrew Kauai Jr Memorial “Cowboy Cup”

The Mauna Kea Polo Club is hosting the second annual Andrew Kauai Jr Memorial “Cowboy Cup” on Sunday, November 6 starting at 12 noon at the Waikii Ranch Polo Field. The polo event honors Andrew Kauai Jr, and is a benefit for the Andrew Kauai Memorial Future Polo Player Fund.

mauna-kea-polo-clubMauna Kea Polo Club’s Andrew Kauai Memorial “Cowboy Cup” will feature a round robin tournament played by paniolo representing ranches from around Hawaii Island.  The cowboys will ride their ranch horses and play with Western saddles. Paniolo will battle it out for the title of Mauna Kea Polo Club Cowboy Polo Champions.

Andrew Kauai was a fourth generation paniolo and a beloved member of the Mauna Kea Polo Club who worked for many years as a cowboy and ranch hand for Parker and Ulupalakua Ranches. Kauai’s grandfather was the polo trainer at Ulupalakua Ranch where the tradition of cowboy or paniolo polo started.

For some good bumping polo action come down to Waikii Ranch on Sunday, November 6 as the Mauna Kea Polo Club keeps the cowboy polo tradition alive.

The Sunday event will also feature a match with the more advanced polo-playing paniolo mixed with the best club players. For those new to polo each polo match consists of 4 to 6 chukkers or periods that each last seven and a half minutes. The game is played on a field with goal posts and the players attempt to hit the ball between the posts to score one point. After each goal, the teams change direction. At the end of the chukker, the players change horses.

Gates open at 11 am so bring the whole family and tailgate at the lush Waikii Ranch Polo Field. The cost to attend is a $5 entry fee per person with children under 12 and military members with an ID free.

A silent auction will be held to support the Andrew Kauai Memorial Future Polo Player Fund.

The Mauna Kea Polo Club was established in the mid 1970s. It’s mission is to promote and expand the sport of polo in Hawaii through continued education, sportsmanship, member support and community outreach.

The remaining Mauna Kea Polo Club dates in 2016 include:

  • November 13, US Polo Association Masters Cup, a benefit for the new USO facility at the Pohakuloa Training Area
  • November 20, US Polo Association Wahine Challenge, a benefit for Hope Lodge
  • November 27, US Polo Association Sportsmanship Cup
  • December 4, US Polo Association Amateur Cup
  • December 11, US Polo Association Players Cup

The Mauna Kea Polo Club is sponsored by huggo’s, Mauna Kea Resort, Lava Lava Beach Club, Big Island Brewhaus, The Rice Partnership, Fair Wind/Sea Paradise, Lex Brodie’s Tires, Ponoholo Ranch, Sassafras, Jon McCumsey, Chandi Hefner, Roberts Construction, Philips Contracting, Mirandas (Kaonoulu Ranch) and Welding Services Hawaii.

For a complete list of the Mauna Kea Polo Club events log on to www.maunakeapoloclub.com.

Hawaii Supreme Court Upholds Flexible Approach to State and County Retiree Health Plans

Today the Hawaii Supreme Court unanimously held that the State may provide constitutionally protected health benefits to state and county retirees in a flexible manner. Under this decision, the State has the ability to structure retiree health insurance plans in a way that provides strong benefits while simultaneously keeping costs down for the taxpayers and the retirees themselves.

Click to read decision

Click to read decision

This class action lawsuit, initiated in 2006, contended that state and county retirees were entitled to the same health benefits as active employees receive now. The Hawaii Supreme Court rejected this argument. The Court instead concluded that retirees’ health benefits are based on the benefits that were promised when the employees became members of the State’s retirement system. Most importantly, the Court also concluded that a “rigid” understanding of retirees’ protected health benefits “is inconsistent with and inadequate to provide the flexibility that legislatures need to deal with changing economic and social realities.”

“The marketplace for health benefits changes constantly,” said Attorney General Doug Chin. “Today’s decision allows the State to respond to those changes.”

The case is Dannenberg v. State of Hawaii and it was argued before the Hawaii Supreme Court in May 2016. Judge Katherine G. Leonard of the Intermediate Court of Appeals served as Acting Chief Justice for the Hawaii Supreme Court in this case. All five of the regular justices of the Hawaii Supreme Court had recused themselves. A substitute 5-judge panel was appointed by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald in their place.

Today’s decision remands the case to the trial court for the parties to address some material issues of fact.

Hokulea on Display at Virginia’s Mariner’s Museum as Crew Conducts Vital Maintenance Work in Preparation for Journey Home

Legendary voyaging canoe, Hokulea, is currently in dry dock at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia to undergo her last major maintenance of the World Wide Voyage.  This process brings her out of the water for about three weeks to undergo routine inspection and maintenance. During the dry dock period, visitors at the Mariner’s Museum are able to see the iconic sailing vessel while her crew completes their work. In conjunction with Hokulea’s visit, the museum is holding a new exhibition called Polynesian Voyagers, which celebrates the Malama Honua message and voyaging heritage of Polynesian wayfinding.
hokulea-drydock3
“This is an educational opportunity to display Hokulea’s beauty and history to an audience unfamiliar with the complexities and skills of Polynesian navigation,” said Nainoa Thompson, President of Polynesian Voyaging Society. “It also allows us time to take necessary care of our seafaring home, our canoe.”
hokulea-drydockHokulea’s last dry dock was in Cape Town, South Africa; the process includes varnishing, repainting or repairing parts of the canoe. At the museum, the crew is working on sealing and replacing parts such as the canoe’s main steering blade.
“It’s so important for any vessel to be examined and refurbished out of the water,” said Bruce Blankenfeld, Pwo navigator overseeing the dry dock procedures. “But especially for Hokulea, as she journeys an unprecedented expedition that even motorized vessels don’t attempt.”
hokulea-drydock2Hokulea will remain at the museum until early November, when she will leave Virginia to embark on the last legs of her journey around the world before arriving home in June 2017. To help ensure Hokulea is safe, seaworthy and beautiful for the thousands of nautical miles that lay ahead, supporters can help fund the 2016 dry dock efforts at Hokulea.com/give.

Big Island ‘Top Cop’ is Brian Souki

Puna Patrol Officer Brian Souki was named the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s 2016 “Top Cop” by the Law Enforcement & Security Coalition of Hawaiʻi.

Brian Souki ‘Top Cop’

Brian Souki ‘Top Cop’

Captain Samuel Jelsma, who nominated Souki for the award, described the 11-year veteran officer as “street smart,” dependable, hard-working and diligent. “His work ethic is infectious and he serves as a motivator and example to those who work alongside him on his patrol watch,” Jelsma wrote in nomination papers.

Jelsma cited four cases as examples of Souki’s outstanding performance.

  1. The recovery of a stolen car.
  2. The arrest of one person and identification of five other suspects for a burglary.
  3. The arrest of a fugitive in a stolen car and in possession of illegal drugs.
  4. The foot pursuit of a suspect and his subsequent arrest for theft, felony assault and three drug offenses.

In one of the highlighted case, Officer Souki observed a vehicle being abandoned in the Ainaloa subdivision with the occupant leaving in another vehicle. He noted the license plate of the vehicle leaving, and then conducted checks on the vehicle that remained. That vehicle was discovered to have been stolen in a burglary the night before, along with firearms and two other vehicles. After additional officers arrived to secure the abandoned vehicle, Officer Souki conducted a search for the second vehicle. He located it and arrested two male suspects. Drugs and a stolen firearm were later recovered from that vehicle.

Souki’s award was presented Thursday (October 20) at the Hawaiʻi Prince Hotel Waikiki during the 32nd Annual Top Cop Law Enforcement and Security Awards Banquet.

Foul Play Suspected in Discovery of Body

An autopsy conducted Friday (October 21) on the body found Tuesday afternoon (October 18) off Hawaiʻi Belt Road determined that 36-year-old Alanaokala Solomon Covington of Kailua-Kona died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

hpd-badgeDetectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the murder investigation.

On Sunday, police received an anonymous tip about a possible murder in Kailua-Kona.

Investigation led to the discovery of a burial site late Tuesday afternoon (October 18) off Hawaiʻi Belt Road (Highway 190) north of the 27-mile marker. Police secured the area overnight and recovered Covington’s body Wednesday morning (October 19).

Police ask anyone with any information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Jerome Manuel at 326-4646, extension 262, or jerome.manuel@hawaiicounty.gov.

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

Body Glove Hawaii is Hiring

Pro Surfer Jamie O'Brien in front of the Body Glove Hawaii boat.

Pro Surfer Jamie O’Brien in front of the Body Glove Hawaii boat.

Body Glove Hawaii is hiring two separate positions:

Deckhand Position – This is a FULL TIME position. Must be able to work in a fast paced environment, providing world class customer service. CPR and Lifeguard certified a plus. Pay will commensurate with experience. Candidates must be able to work flexible hours, including early mornings, afternoons, early evenings and weekends. Some heavy lifting are required. Pay will commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits; medical, dental, vision, chiropractic, paid vacations, simple IRA and tips!

Apply online at https://bodyglovehawaii.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=2

Prep Cook – Candidate must have basic food prep knowledge, excellent communication skills, be multi task oriented, enjoy working with people in a fast paced environment, have strong organizational skills, be a self-starter with the ability to keep on task and in line with programs. Must have flexible availability, hours to include mornings, afternoons and weekends. Hawaiian drivers license, and clean drivers abstract required. Kitchen Experience Required.  Pay will be based upon qualifications and experience.

Please apply online at: https://bodyglovehawaii.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=8

Body Glove Cruises is a drug free work environment. Pre-employment Drug testing required.

Enterprise Truck Rental Opens First Hawaii Location

Enterprise Truck Rental opened its first location in Hawaii this month. The new branch – located at 3250 Ualena Street in Honolulu – is close to the city’s main airport and cruise port, providing convenience and accessibility for truck rental customers. Enterprise Truck Rental is a service of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which has delivered local transportation solutions in Hawaii for nearly 25 years.

truck-rentals“As our car rental business in Hawaii has grown, we’ve also experienced increased customer demand for other transportation options, including light- and medium-duty truck rentals,” said Andrew Shults, Enterprise Group Truck Manager in Hawaii.

The 30,000-square-foot Honolulu truck rental facility carries light- and medium-duty vehicles – including cargo vans, pickup trucks, flatbeds and small box trucks – with plans to expand the fleet to include larger box trucks and refrigerated units within the next year. The branch also offers vehicles with hydraulic lift gates and tow-capability. Enterprise will work with local service shops and other area vendors to maintain the vehicles.

“At Enterprise, we are committed to listening to our customers in order to meet their transportation needs,” Shults said. “Whether a customer needs a short-term truck rental to move personal goods or a long-term truck rental for business, we now offer solutions to meet those needs.”

The new Honolulu Enterprise Truck Rental branch is open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.

Kaiser High Hosts Cultural Exchange With Students From Japan

Kaiser High’s gymnasium was filled anticipation and excitement this morning as the school welcomed more than 300 students from Hokkaido Sapporo Intercultural & Technological High School (HSITHS). The visitors arrived for cultural exchange activities, which included musical performances, speeches and traditional Japanese dance demonstrations.

kaiser-elementary2Before the assembly started sophomore Noah Matsumoto said, “I’m looking forward to meeting the students from Hokkaido. I’m Japanese and have never been to Japan, so it’ll be interesting to have a chance to talk with them and learn about their culture and be able to teach them about ours.”

kaiser-elementary3The group comprised of 13 dignitaries from Hokkaido including Vice Governor Yoshihiro Yamaya who presented a gift to Principal Justin Mew and shared his goal of increasing educational opportunities between Hokkaido and Hawaii.

“Sharing music is a wonderful way to showcase any culture,” said Principal Mew. “We were honored to be able to make our visitors feel welcomed this morning by having our Kaiser High band play the Hokkaido school song to conclude the assembly. It was heartwarming to hear their song and our alma mater played with such pride in front of a packed gym.”

MCLC at Kaiser High.

MCLC at Kaiser High.

Following the assembly, students spread out in small groups throughout the campus to discuss a variety of topics such as Foreign Studies, Science, Engineering, and Global Business. The students also discussed pop culture.

“I was really excited to talk to the students from Hokkaido about fashion,” said sophomore Grailee Caldwell. “This was an incredible opportunity and experience because we were able to meet with them one-on-one and really get to talk about our similarities and differences, like our high school experiences.”

This morning’s cultural exchange was part of ongoing efforts to establish a Sister-State agreement between Hokkaido and Hawaii in 2017. It will be the fifth prefecture in Japan to establish a formal relationship with the State.

The Hokkaido students will be in Hawaii until Oct. 23. Their only school visit was with Kaiser High because of the school’s prestigious International Baccalaureate accreditation.

For more information about Kaiser High School, visit www.kaiserhighschoolhawaii.org. Information about the State of Hawaii’s current Sister-States is available at http://bit.ly/2ed14Sl.

Explosions at Volcano Summit – More Reminders Why Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Area is Closed

Two explosions in as many days were triggered by rocks falling into Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake.

hvo-102116The event shown above occurred around 12:26 p.m., HST, yesterday (Thursday, October 20). The other explosion happened around 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, October 19. Both events are reminders why the area around Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains closed to the public.

hvo-102116aYesterday’s explosion, triggered by a rockfall from the south-southeast wall of the summit vent within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, blasted spatter (molten lava) and rock fragments on to the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, as well as on to the closed section of Crater Rim Drive, about a quarter-mile from the vent.

hvo-102116bFollowing yesterday’s explosion, spatter (bit of molten lava) and fragments of solid rock littered this closed section of Crater Rim Drive in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. This section of the road, adjacent to the former Halemaʻumaʻu Crater parking area, has been closed since 2008 due to elevated sulfur dioxide emissions and other ongoing volcanic hazards, such as today’s rockfall-triggered explosion.

hvo-102116cSpatter and “ribbon bombs” (stretched fragments of molten lava) up to 30 cm (about 12 inches) long fell to the ground surface on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater during the two most recent explosions from Kīlauea’s summit lava lake. The black, glassy lava fragment shown here, about the size of a standard donut, landed amidst smaller, solid pieces of rock blasted from the vent.

A marking pen is shown for scale to indicate the size of this solid rock fragment hurled from the vent during the explosion.

A marking pen is shown for scale to indicate the size of this solid rock fragment hurled from the vent during the explosion.

A close-up of spatter and rock fragments blasted from the summit vent during the recent explosions.

hvo-102116e

These pieces of rock and lava, now scattered among the Pele’s hair that blankets the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, remind us of the hazards that still exist in this area.