Kona Man Charged With Meth Trafficking and Other Offenses

A Kona man has been charged with meth trafficking and other offenses after being found with crystal methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Derwin Breithaupt

Derwin Breithaupt

On Wednesday, officers from the Area II Vice Section made contact with a man and a woman in a car in Kailua-Kona during the course of a drug investigation. After searching the car, police recovered 248.5 grams of a crystalline substance, a small amount of a dried green leafy substance, paraphernalia associated with meth distribution and $2,200 in cash for forfeiture. They also recovered 3.1 grams of a crystalline substance and paraphernalia associated with meth use from the man, 26-year-old Derwin Breithaupt of Kailua-Kona.

Breithaupt and the woman, 29-year-old Karyn Kau of Kailua-Kona, were arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives continued the investigation.

Wednesday night, after conferring with prosecutors, detectives released Kau pending further investigation. Breithaupt was charged Wednesday night with two counts of meth trafficking, two counts of possessing drug paraphernalia and one count of promoting a detrimental drug. His bail was set at $59,250.

He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance on Thursday (April 17).

Highway 190 Closed – Crews Addressing Chemical Spill from Overturned Tanker

The Hawaii Police Department is having traffic routed through Kaiminani Drive and Waikoloa Road due to a traffic accident on Route 190 near the 15 mile marker.

HPDBadgeCrews are addressing a chemical spill from this accident as a tanker type of vehicle overturned. Motorist should avoid this location and expect delays.

Agreement Reached to Place a Conservation Easement Over Lands Owned by Turtle Bay Resort

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced an agreement has been reached between the State of Hawaii, City and County of Honolulu, The Trust for Public Land, and Turtle Bay Resort (TBR) to establish a conservation easement on 665.8 acres of land at Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku. Portions of this land had previously been planned for development but will now be protected forever from future development.

Governor announces North Shore Land Preservation Deal

Governor Abercrombie announces North Shore Land Preservation Deal

“As I said in my State of the State Address this year, ‘there are times for planning, and there are times for acting; now is the time to preserve open spaces at Turtle Bay,’” Gov. Abercrombie said. “This historic agreement is the result of public and private interests joining together to benefit the people of Hawaii and our visitors. This protects the heritage and rural character of the North Shore to ‘Keep the Country Country.’ ”

[youtube=http://youtu.be/7TTF0XJ1axw]

State Sen. Clayton Hee said: “The shoreline from Kahuku Point to Kawela Bay represents one of the most beautiful and pristine areas on all of Oahu. As elected leaders, we have a profound and solemn duty and responsibility to preserve and protect this shoreline for future generations just as our ancestors did before us.”

The conservation easement will be placed upon the land and will permanently limit use of the land in order to protect the ecological, recreational and open space characteristics of Oahu’s North Shore. TBR will continue to own, use and hold title to the land, but it and future owners of the land will be bound by the restrictions. The easement will protect, and in many cases, allow restoration of critical marine and land ecosystems and Hawaiian cultural resources. It will foster and enable recreational and educational uses of the land.

The total value of this agreement is $48.5 million; $40 million will be provided by the state, $5 million will be provided by the city, and $3.5 million will be provided by The Trust for Public Land. The amounts of money provided by the state and the city are subject to appropriation and release of the funds. Gov. Abercrombie has previously asked for and encourages the Legislature to appropriate $40 million in general obligation bonds. The City Council has previously appropriated $5 million for this matter. TPL will be obtaining funds from various sources. The final documents and details of the agreement are to be worked out between the parties.

“We are excited to be a part of the stewardship to protect these natural resources and to secure forever the public’s access to that entire shoreline from Kawela Bay to Kahuku Point,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “We want to thank the state for its leadership in this effort and to the people around the table who worked hard to make sacrifices and to find common ground. The work is not yet complete, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin said: “The City Council has constantly demonstrated its commitment to land conservation as evidenced by the Fiscal Year 2014 budget appropriation of $5 million to preserve Kawela Bay. Protecting such a valuable natural resource on the North Shore today is an investment that will reap dividends for generations to come.”

This agreement benefits the public in many ways, such as preserving open space and providing public access to beaches in the area at no charge. It also allows public access to more than five miles of coastal hiking trails and opens up the area for traditional native Hawaiian cultural practices. In addition, the agreement keeps recreational use available to the public and prevents the sprawl of urban development in the area.

“This historic conservation agreement is supported by The Trust for Public Land, The North Shore Community Land Trust and many community organizations, residents of the North Shore and people from all over our island, along with visitors who enjoy and treasure the area,” said The Trust for Public Land, Hawaiian Islands State Director Lea Hong.

TBR Chief Executive Officer Drew Stotesbury said, “As a part of the North Shore community, Turtle Bay Resort is proud to contribute to the conservation of these unique lands.”

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 15-Year-Old Pepe’ekeo Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Pepeʻekeo girl who was reported missing.

Shaniyah Das-Laro

Shaniyah Das-Laro

Shaniyah Das-Laro was last seen in Pepeʻekeo on Saturday (April 12). She is described as 5-foot-1, 100 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

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

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

UH Hilo MOP Students Take Top Awards in Annual Symposium

Four University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Marine Option Program students were recently awarded top honors at the 31st Annual Marine Option Program System Symposium held on April 12 at Kapiolani Community College on O`ahu.
UH Hilo Moniker
The Award for Best Overall Research Paper went to Marine Science senior Amber Forrestral for her project entitled, “Bioimpedance and Condition of Reef Fish Across a Landscape Gradient.”

The Award for Best Internship Project was won by Rebecca Rogers for her project on “Automated, Remote and Near Real-time Sampling and Detection of Harmful Algae using the Environmental Sample Processor.”

Jenae Olson received the Award for Best Poster. Her project, in association with the Division of Aquatic Resources, was on “Determination of the Oxygen Tolerance of Valamugil engeli (Marquesan mullet).”

The PACON International (Hawai’i Chapter) Award for the best project integrating marine science and technology, with a Pacific focus, went to Bradley Young for his project, “Establishment of High Frequency (HF) Radar and Kiosk Interpretation in Hilo, Hawaiʻi.”

Four other UH Hilo students presented their work in the form of oral and poster presentations on research and internship MOP projects that were well received. These students were Christina Crockett, Kevin Bruce, Emily Wallingford, and James Stilley.

The UH Hilo MOP is a hands-on program open to students in any field of study who have an interest in the ocean. It is a certificate granting program that offers courses on marine project development through the Department of Marine Science.

The annual symposium rotates between UH campuses and will be hosted by Windward Community College in April 2015.

For more information, email uhhmop@hawaii.edu or lparr@hawaii.edu.

Hilo Man Charged with Burglary and Theft After Being Caught on Video

A Hilo man has been charged with burglary and theft for allegedly stealing items from a Hilo home in February.

On February 25, a 27-year-old Hilo man reported that he had video surveillance of the suspect removing tools from his attached carport.

Mitchell Kihara

Mitchell Kihara

On Wednesday (April 16) South Hilo Patrol officers located and arrested the suspect, 30-year-old Mitchell Kihara of Hilo, and held him to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, detectives charged Kihara with first-degree burglary and third-degree theft. His bail was set at $5,500.

He remains at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing Girl for Third Time

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing again.

Brianna Kehaulani Freitas-Jones

Brianna Kehaulani Freitas-Jones

Brianna Kehaulani Freitas-Jones was last seen in Hilo on March 21. She is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-7, 130 pounds with green eyes and brown hair.

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

(Edit – This is the third time this girl has gone missing recently)

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

Winners for 3rd Annual Hawaii Charter School Awards Announced

Hawaii Public Charter School Network (HPCSN) will honor charter schools and leaders at the 2013-2014 Hawaii Charter Schools Awards, taking place Thursday, May 15, 2014 at the Pomaikai Ballrooms at Dole Cannery from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Hawaii Public Charter Schools NetworkToday, HPCSN announced a list of honorees, including:

  •  HPCSN Legislators of the Year – Senator Jill Tokuda and Representative Ken Ito
  • HCPSN Community Partner of the Year -Karen Street, First Insurance Company of Hawaii
  • Charter School of the Year – Na Wai Ola Waters of Life Public Charter School, Mountain View, Hawaii
  • Most Improved Charter School – Kamaile Academy Public Charter School, Waianae, Oahu
  • Creating New Best Practices – Kona Pacific Public Charter School, Kealakekua, Hawaii and Ke Kula o Nawahiokalaniopuu Iki Lab Public Charter School, Keaau, Hawaii

“Our theme is ‘Creating New Best Practices for Public Education in Hawaii,” and it’s only fitting that we’ll recognize charter schools and leaders who are charting paths in new and innovative ways and, in doing so, showing measured success in public charter schools across the state,” said Lynn Finnegan, Executive Director of the Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network.

“Through HPCSN, these schools have an opportunity to share their best practices with fellow schools and help further develop the successes that these unique schools have on the thousands of children they teach each day,” Finnegan added.

Nominations for three additional awards (Charter School Governing Board Member of the Year, Charter School Leader of the Year and Charter School Teacher of the Year) are being accepted by HPCSN through Thursday, April 24, 2014.

The dinner is open to the public and tickets can be purchased by phone at 808-380-6403 or online at 2014hawaiicharterschoolawards.eventbrite.com.

 

Victims Seek Two Investigations – Long Time Hawaii Predator Abused Several Foster Kids

SNAP: “Catholic Charities and state agency should take action”, They gave him “unfettered access to vulnerable boys,” group says.  One key individual won promotions & is now a supervisor at state bureaucracy

A support group for sex abuse victims is urging Catholic Charities and Hawaii state officials and to investigate how a predator was able to foster children.

VICE News today presents Love Serve Surrender. In the documentary, VICE News investigates alleged pedophile Jay Ram, who for decades has managed to foster, adopt, and care for dozens of boys referred by charities and child welfare agencies, despite repeated warning signs that he was a sexual predator.

VICE News presents Love Serve Surrender. In the documentary, VICE News investigates alleged pedophile Jay Ram, who for decades has managed to foster, adopt, and care for dozens of boys referred by charities and child welfare agencies, despite repeated warning signs that he was a sexual predator.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are urging the two organizations to answer questions about how so many boys were placed in the care of Jay Ram. And investigate Roselyn Viernes, who is the head of East Hawaii Child Welfare Services in Hilo, and was the social worker responsible for placing the children in foster homes.

Ram, who is also known as Gary Winnick, is accused of sexually abusing boys that he fostered and adopted in California and Hawaii. He is believed to be the Tampa Florida area. A recent documentary chronicles Ram’s abuse. 

[youtube=http://youtu.be/v2sFheAc1rQ]

Ram is accused of molesting the boys and exploiting them and forcing them to do hard physical labor. The victims say that Ram threatened them, deprived them of food and refused to let them to engage in regular social activities with their peers out of fear that the boys would report to authorities. Although Ram has been investigated by the police in the past, the victims say that they were threatened with violence and more abuse to keep them quiet. The boys were abused between the ages of 8 and 17 during the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s.

SNAP is writing to the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services and Catholic Charities urging officials to do a complete, independent investigation of all placements and the approval processes that allowed dozens of boys to be placed with a predator.

“It is time for action. More than a dozen boys lived with Jay after the first abuse complaints were made known,” said Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP volunteer Western Regional Director.  “Most—if not all—of the boys were molested. How many other children were abused because Catholic Charities and CWS refused to listen to children who were being abused? Subsequent tragedies involving Jay and the boys could have been avoided completely.”

The letters from SNAP, sent today by fax and email, are pasted below.

Letter 1:

Patricia McManaman
Director
State of Hawaii Department of Human Services
P.O. Box 339, Honolulu, HI 96809-0339
Fax 808-586-4890
dhs@dhs.hawaii.gov

East Hawaii Child Welfare Services
75 Aupuni Street Hilo, HI 96720
Fax: (808) 933-0693

Dear Ms. McManaman

We are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for men and women who have been sexually abused in religious and institutional settings.

We were disturbed and dismayed by the recent news documentary LOVE SERVE SURRENDER (http://youtu.be/v2sFheAc1rQ), which tells the story of Hilo-area rancher Jay Ram, who fostered, adopted, and sexually abused more than two dozen boys on the Big Island.

What is even more upsetting is to learn that high-ranking state social worker Roselyn Viernes has had knowledge of suspicions and complaints against Ram for decades. She is currently working in your East Hawai’i Central offices. According to the news story and corresponding documents, there are records of at least two allegations of abuse against Ram in 1989. Despite this, Viernes continued to place boys in his care. The documents can be viewed here: https://news.vice.com/articles/an-alleged-pedophiles-perfect-scam?trk_source=homepage-feature

It is time for action. State social workers who ignore abuse complaints and put more children as risk must be held accountable. More than a dozen boys lived with Jay after the first abuse complaints crossed Viernes’ desk. Most—if not all—of the boys were molested. How many other children were abused because Ms. Viernes refused to do the right thing? Subsequent tragedies involving Jay and the boys could have been avoided completely.

We ask that you do the following:

–Do a complete investigation of all of Ms. Viernes’ placements and the approval processes that allowed dozens of boys to be placed with a predator,
–Immediately remove Viernes from her position until the investigation is complete,
–Reach out to all boys placed in Ram’s care and let them know they have criminal and civil rights and that help is available.

Your offices may even house the evidence necessary to help criminally prosecute Jay and help his victims get the accountability they deserve.

Hawaii’s most vulnerable kids deserve far better than being placed in foster homes with sex predators.

Mahalo,

Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director (949) 322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director, (314) 503-0003, snapdorris@gmail.com

Letter 2:

Jerry Rauckhorst
President & Chief Executive Officer
Catholic Charities Hawai‘i
Clarence T. C. Ching Campus
1822 Ke‘eaumoku Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
info@catholiccharitieshawaii.org
jrauckhorst@catholiccharitieshawaii.org
(808) 599-8761 Fax

Catholic Charities
Hilo Office
62 Kinoole Street
Hilo, HI 96720
Fax: (808) 961-7059

Dear Mr. Rauckhorst:

We are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for men and women who have been sexually abused in religious and institutional settings.

We were disturbed and dismayed by the recent news documentary LOVE SERVE SURRENDER (http://youtu.be/v2sFheAc1rQ), which tells the story of Hilo-area rancher Jay Ram, who fostered and adopted—and then sexually abused—more than two dozen boys on the Big Island.

What is even more upsetting is to learn that Catholic Charities had a role in this abuse. According to the news story and corresponding documents, there are records of at least two allegations of abuse against Ram in 1989. Despite this, Catholic Charities, in partnership with Child Welfare Services, placed boys in Ram’s care and allowed other boys to remain with Ram. The documents can be viewed here: https://news.vice.com/articles/an-alleged-pedophiles-perfect-scam?trk_source=homepage-feature

It is time for action. More than a dozen boys lived with Jay after the first abuse complaints were made known. Most—if not all—of the boys were molested. How many other children were abused because Catholic Charities and CWS refused to listen to children who were being abused? Subsequent tragedies involving Jay and the boys could have been avoided completely.

We ask that you do the following:

–Do a complete investigation of all of Catholic Charities’ placements and the approval processes that allowed dozens of boys to be placed with a predator,
–Reach out to all boys placed in Ram’s care and let them know they have criminal and civil rights and that help is available.

Your offices may even house the evidence necessary to help criminally prosecute Jay and help his victims get the accountability they deserve.

Hawaii’s most vulnerable kids deserve far better than being placed in foster homes with sex predators.

Mahalo,

 

Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director (949) 322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director, (314) 503-0003, snapdorris@gmail.com

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Overboard Crewmember of Container Ship

The Coast Guard suspended the search Wednesday for a Japanese crewmember reported overboard from the container ship Hercules Highway, approximately 805 miles northeast of Oahu.

Container ship Hercules Highway

Container ship Hercules Highway

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center were notified at approximately 8:23 a.m., Monday regarding the 23-year-old male who was reported overboard from the container ship Hercules Highway.

The crewmember was last seen at approximately 7 p.m., Sunday.

As part of the AMVER program, the motor vessel’s St. Andrews, Anne Gret and the UACC Masafi assisted the Hercules Highway in the search for the crewmember.

AMVER, sponsored by the Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.

Approximately 2,255 square miles were searched.

The Coast Guard regularly coordinates with DoD, commercial vessels that are part of the AMVER program and international partners to conduct searches in the Pacific where extreme distances often limit the resources immediately available to respond.

The 14th Coast Guard District area of responsibility encompasses more than 12.2 million square miles of the Central and South Pacific.

 

Department of Education Announces 2014 Graduation Dates

The Hawaii State Department of Education is announcing its 2014 graduation dates for more than 60 schools, including public high schools and charter schools. In all, there will be approximately 11,000 students graduating from public schools this year.

Graduation dates begin in late May with the ceremonies for Pahoa on Hawaii Island on Sunday, May 18.

graduation

Click to view dates

Stolen Checkbook Leads to Eight Felonies for Waimea Woman

A 23-year-old Waimea woman has been charged with eight felonies in connection with a stolen checkbook.

The victim, a 58-year-old Hōlualoa woman, reported on April 7 that a new checkbook from her bank had been stolen. Police investigation determined that some of the checks were later forged and cashed.

Josephine Miranda

Josephine Miranda

The suspect, Josephine Miranda, was arrested Monday (April 14) at a bank in Kealakekua, where she had unsuccessfully attempted to cash another forged check from the stolen checkbook. She was taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

On Tuesday (April 15), Miranda was charged with two counts of theft, two counts of ID theft, two counts of forgery and two counts of possession of unauthorized personal information. Her bail was set at $22,000.

She remained at the cellblock until her initial court appearance on Wednesday.

Big Island Police Still Seeking Hilo Man

Hawaiʻi Island police are renewing their request for information about a 25-year-old man wanted on no-bail warrants and for questioning in connection with unrelated investigations.

Keahi Calvin Sale

Keahi Calvin Sale

Keahi Calvin Sale is described as 5-foot-7, 155 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He has no permanent address but frequents the Hilo area. He is considered armed and dangerous.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts not to approach him but 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.

Taser Not Cause of Death in Kona Man’s Death

The final results of an autopsy conducted Wednesday (February 5) on the body of 39-year-old Randall Hatori of Kailua-Kona concluded that the cause of death was cardio-respiratory arrest due to the combined effects of high levels of methamphetamine in his blood, an enlarged heart and a physical struggle.

HPDBadgeAccording to Dr. Lindsey Harle, the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy, the stress of these three factors likely caused a cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heart rhythm, that led to his death.

Dr. Harle said the autopsy showed minor injuries on the body of Hatori and that, while an electronic control device was used during the confrontation, it did not play a role in his death.

At 12:30 a.m. on February 4, a Kona Patrol officer made a traffic stop at a gas station in a shopping center on Palani Road. The driver, 38-year-old Ernest Ricky Alvarez of Kailua-Kona, was arrested on a $10,000 bench warrant for contempt of court.

Hatori, who was a passenger and was wanted for assault and violating temporary restraining orders, fled on foot.

The officer pursued Hatori on foot and a struggle ensued while trying to apprehend him. Initially unable to restrain Hatori, the officer deployed his conducted electric weapon (commonly known as a “Taser”) in an attempt to subdue him. Hatori continued to actively resist arrest and the struggle continued. Other officers responded to the scene and assisted in restraining Hatori. After Hatori was placed in handcuffs, he became unresponsive.

Fire Department EMTs on scene attempted resuscitation and then transported him to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:53 a.m.

Detectives recovered 7.3 grams of methamphetamine at the scene of the struggle.

Hawaii, Mexico Students Explore Volcano in Virtual Field Trip

Clad in their fiery red uniforms, Keaau Elementary students stand at the edge of Kilauea Volcano and lead a chant in honor of the goddess Pele as they prepare to hike down the Big Island crater. Across the Pacific Ocean, students from Peterson Schools in Mexico City rise in their classroom, reciting the same Hawaiian words as they watch steam billow from the crater’s vents and listen to the gusty trade winds through a live video feed.

Dr. John Bailey with Keeau Elemantary students at the crater rim.

Dr. John Bailey with Keeau Elemantary students at the crater rim.

Dozens of public school students took part in a virtual field trip on Monday to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the latest example of how the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is using technology to innovate and expand learning opportunities at home and abroad.

Virtual ClassChildren from Nanakuli Elementary’s Immersion program (Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Nanakuli), Hale Kula Elementary and University Laboratory School also experienced the sights and sounds of Kilauea volcano, thanks to Keaau students and staff who wore Google Glass to broadcast their excursion online. The public and more than 50 educators worldwide were able to engage in the field trip, which was in part recorded from the students’-eye view via the “Grab & Go Glassroom” – a wired pack projecting a feed from the students’ Google Glass view into a livestream.

Virtual Class3

The DOE’s own digital curriculum program, known as Access Learning, has allowed eight pilot schools – including Keaau and Nanakuli – to explore exciting lessons that go beyond textbooks and classroom walls by equipping students with laptops and training teachers on the latest educational tools.

In February, for example, University Laboratory students live streamed their field trip to Honolulu Zoo to the laptops of Keaau Elementary students. Children from both schools partnered to produce videos and other projects about birds they saw at the zoo.

On Monday, Keaau students returned the favor by bringing other students along as they kicked off their volcano adventure by meeting with Matt Patrick, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0fET_xgHBY]

Hawaii and Mexico students quickly peppered Patrick with questions: “How do you know when volcanoes will erupt?” “What do you have to study to become a volcanologist?,” and “What’s the speed of lava?”

Students virtually joined their Keaau classmates on a bus ride to the volcano, then performed a chant together before watching their descent into the crater.

During a question-and-answer period, a Peterson Schools student remarked the experience “was awesome” because it allowed him to “see the things that we don’t have here in Mexico.”
Virtual Class2
University Laboratory teacher Marybeth Baldwin said students use Google applications to do homework, peer edit and collaborate on projects.  Her class will use the information from the volcano field trip to learn a new storytelling tool, called Tour Builder, which lets students create interactive maps of places around the world.

“They will take their own information, their pictures, links, and any text that they write, to build a map and – just like Google Earth – drop a pin with all the story they want to tell,” Baldwin said.

For more photos of today’s event, visit https://www.facebook.com/HIDepartmentofEducation.

Man Overboard! Coast Guard Searching for Man Reported Overboard from Container Ship

The Coast Guard is searching for a male crewmember reported overboard from a container ship approximately 805 miles northeast of Oahu, Monday.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center were notified at approximately 8:23 a.m., regarding a 23-year-old male Japanese national who was reported overboard from the container ship Hercules Highway.

Container ship Hercules Highway

Container ship Hercules Highway

The crewmember was last seen at approximately 7 p.m., Sunday.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point launched to the scene and the ship has changed course and is searching for the missing crewmember.

As part of the AMVER program, the motor vessel’s St. Andrews, Anne Gret and the UACC Masafi are assisting in the search.

The Coast Guard regularly coordinates with DoD, commercial vessels that are part of the AMVER program and international partners to conduct searches in the Pacific where extreme distances often limit the resources immediately available to respond. The 14th Coast Guard District area of responsibility encompasses more than 12.2 million square miles of the Central and South Pacific.
AMVER, sponsored by the Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.

Weather conditions on scene are winds of approximately 28 mph, seas of 12 feet and a water temperature of approximately 69 degrees.

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

Changes in State ID Card and Driver’s License Application Process

Beginning May 1, 2014, the cost of a state identification card and the documents required to obtain a driver’s license will change.

State ID’s will cost $32.00 in Kauai County with a fee of $4 per year, and $40.00 in Honolulu, Maui and Hawaii counties with a fee of $5 per year. The state ID is good for 8 years, and a duplicate will cost $7 in Kauai County and $6 in Honolulu, Maui and Hawaii counties.

Hawaii Drivers License SampleThose obtaining a driver’s license will be required to present two forms of proof of principal residence in Hawaii. Principal residence is defined as the location where a person currently resides even if the residence location is temporary. Any two of the following documents (original or copy) with the applicant as the addressee and stating the applicant’s principal residence will be acceptable proof:

  1. A current valid Hawaii driver’s license;
  2. Vehicle registration or title;
  3. A current voter registration card or other mail addressed to the applicant from a government or medical entity that is not more than two months old;
  4. Utility bill that is not more than two months old with applicant’s name and address;
  5. Checking or savings account statement not more than two months old;
  6. Payroll check or check stub issued by an employer within two months of the application date;
  7. Current mortgage account or proof of home ownership;
  8. Residential rental or time share contract for six months or more;
  9. United States income tax return, W-2 form or 1099 SSA benefits form from the previous year;
  10. Hawaii income tax return from the previous year or W-2 form;
  11. Receipt for personal property taxes paid to a county within the State of Hawaii within the last year;
  12. Medical card issued by a health insurance agency with principal residence address printed on it;
  13. Documentation dated not more than ninety days prior to making application that the individual is receiving State of Hawaii public assistance;
  14. Current property tax assessment bill or statement;
  15. A stamped department of taxation form A-6, application for tax clearance that is not more than six months old;
  16. Homeless applicants may use the address of their current shelter agency, or if not staying in a shelter, may use the general delivery of the post office nearest where they spend most of their time;
  17. Applicants documenting enrollment in a State or Federal address confidentiality program which allows an applicant to obtain and use alternative addresses may use an alternative address on the card but must provide the applicant’s permanent address for file purposes;
  18. P.O. Box numbers are not acceptable to indicate principal residence address unless a number and street name have not been assigned for U.S. mail delivery. An address convention used by the U.S. Postal Service is acceptable;
  19. Affidavit indicating that the applicant currently resides with the affiant, provided the affiant’s address can be verified and the affidavit is notarized within two months of the application date; or
  20. Other documents the examiner of drivers accepts as proof of principal residence in the State of Hawaii.

Volcano School Of Arts and Sciences Receives $618,000 for Planning and Design of New Campus

The Office of the Governor has announced the release of $618,000 to the Volcano School of Arts and Sciences for the planning and design of their new campus in Volcano Village, Hawaii.

Volcano School

Volcano School of Arts and Sciences, a public charter school, was created by community members to educate and nurture the individual strengths and interests of each student. VSAS graduates have demonstrated exceptional success in high school and college. The construction of a new campus will ensure that the successful vision of VSAS will continue long into the future.

Senator Russell Ruderman stated, “I am extremely happy with the announcement of the release of Grant in Aid funds for the Volcano School of the Arts’ new campus and I fully support the new models to education that VSAS provides its students. Students deserve quality options in education and they are motivated by the kinds of challenges that charter schools like VSAS can provide. I am thrilled to support these innovators in education that are demonstrating what’s possible, and learning what works, to put our students in the best possible position to succeed.

The project supported by this funding will provide expanded and improved educational opportunities. This award will provide an exceptional learning environment for all keiki at Volcano School of Arts and Sciences. Additionally, this funding will assist in creating jobs for our district. Our office has worked diligently to ensure that this GIA request made its way through the process, and redoubled our efforts with the knowledge that these funds would be lapsing soon. Through the efforts of many people including C. Mike Kido, Legislative Advisor, Office of Governor Abercrombie and Leila Shar, Financial Performance Manager, State Public Charter School Commission, that request has come to fruition.”

Grassroot Institute ‘Celebrates’ Hawaii’s Tax Freedom Day

In an effort to help Hawaii’s citizens better understand the state tax burden, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is wishing them all a “Happy Tax Freedom Day” today via social media.

Tax Freedom Day
Based on calculations by theTax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day is the day when taxpayers have collectively earned enough to satisfy the tax bill for that year. In other words, for the average Hawaii citizen, if he or she had dedicated every penny of their earnings to their tax bill from the beginning of the year, then today (April 15th) would be the day that bill would be “paid off.”

Hawaii ranks in the middle of the pack for state Tax Freedom Days. Louisiana has the lowest burden (their Tax Freedom Day was March 30th), while Connecticut and New Jersey are the highest (May 9th). The National Tax Freedom Day (using figures from the country as a whole) is on April 21st, three days later than last year–which reflects the slow economic recovery. (As a point of comparison, consider that Tax Freedom Day in the year 1900 would have fallen on January 22nd.)

“Hawaii’s economic recovery has a lot to do with our better-than-average performance,” stated Keli’i Akina, President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “However, we’ve taken a small step backward and should be wary of policies that will increase the tax burden and slow our economic growth.”

“Most people don’t realize just how hard and long they work to pay their tax bill,” Dr. Akina continued. “We hope that this helps put that into perspective and encourages taxpayers to demand greater fiscal responsibility and accountability from the government and their elected officials.”

Slew of Celebrities Headline Big Island Chocolate Festival

“Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torres of New York City headlines a slew of chocolate and cacao celebrities appearing at this year’s Big Island Chocolate Festival gala. Time is 6-10 p.m., Saturday, May 3 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. Adding to the star power is Yisa Var and the Girls Nite Out! band.

Chef Jacques Torres

Chef Jacques Torres

Also in the limelight are a host of chocolate savory and sweet culinary treats prepared by top Hawai’i chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners. Think Pork Mole with Tomatillo Salsa or Orange Ginger Chocolate Mac Nut Crunch Torte.

The 6-10 p.m. gala features the creation of a chocolate sculpture using 40 pounds of chocolate—bring your camera—chocolate body painting, fine wines, chocolate-infused beer and the debut of a tasty new Bacardi Mango Fusion cocktail.

Chocolate Festival

Back by popular demand, Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard chocolates returns to the festival to create a decadent, multi-colored sculpture. He recently made the news when he fashioned a massive chocolate cake to serve 15,000 revelers at the centennial celebration of Rodeo Drive. A Washington resident, Wressell was named Pastry Chef of the Year at the 2005 National Pastry Team Championships.

Food Network star Torres leads a stable of off-island chefs who will judge the evening’s culinary creations and also give pre-gala seminars May 2-3. Attendees can also vote for the People’s Choice Award from a host of categories including mouth-watering bonbons.

Torres, who became the youngest pastry chef to earn the prestigious Best Craftsman in France medal for pastry, is the first artisan chocolatier to make his own chocolate starting from cocoa beans. Joining him is celebrity judge Vincent Bourdin of Singapore, a regional chef at Valrhona Chocolate and president of the Asia Pacific Pastry Cup Board.  He is co-author of “Cooking with Chocolate,” which has been translated into five languages. Judging bean to bar “tastes” is cacao and chocolate tasting advisor Ed Seguine of Pennsylvania who has 30 years experience working with farmers and companies in developing cacaos.

Also serving as culinary station judges are Chef Heather Campbell of Kauai‘s St. Regis Resort Princeville and Chef Rhonda Ashton-Chavez of the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.

Girl's Night Out

Girls Night Out!

Girls Nite Out! is a diverse dance band hailing from East Hawai‘i that performs rock, blues, disco, pop, R&B, Hawaiian and country music. Drummer Will Divine founded the group in 2000 with guitarist Wesley Matsuda and offers a variety of guitar, synth and keyboard sounds. The lead vocalist is local performer, actor and morning radio show personality Yisa Var. Adding to the vocal section is Sherry Fox, best known for her appearance on TV’s “Your Big Break,” and Jeff Enriques, who also plays bass.

Volcano Choy

Volcano Choy

Joining Girls Nite Out! is a talented horn section with Moon Brown on saxophone and Jr. Volcano Choy on trumpet. Choy has performed with the likes of Al Jarreau, George Benson and Nancy Wilson.

In addition, a silent auction benefits the $150,000 “Equip the Kitchen” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua. The third annual festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc.

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

Chocolate Fest

Also available is an inclusive Chocolate Lovers package that features 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.