Hilo Man Charged with Felonies for Unlicensed Contractor Fraud

A Hilo man has been charged with three felonies after allegedly posing as a licensed contractor.

Ricky Mesa

Ricky Mesa

At 4:34 p.m. Friday (April 4) 37-year-old Ricky Mesa was charged with first-degree theft and two felony counts of unlicensed contractor fraud. His bail was set at $60,000. He was held at the Hilo police cellblock pending his initial court appearance on Monday (April 7).

The charges stem from two separate incidents in 2012. In September 2012, Mesa identified himself as a licensed contractor to a Hilo couple to do electrical, plumbing and drywall work. In November 2012, he identified himself as a licensed contractor and received more than $30,000 to install a photovoltaic system for a 69-year-old Pāhoa man but never completed the work.

He was charged under a law that went into effect in July 2012 that makes it a felony to perform work while falsely claiming to be a licensed contractor.

Hawaii Life Picked Up for Two More Seasons – Opens Hilo Office

Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers recently expanded their Big Island operations with the opening of their new Hilo office.

Hawaii Life Real Estate Companies Hilo Location

Hawaii Life Real Estate Companies Hilo Location

Nearly 200 people attended the grand opening ceremony held March 28 at the firm’s new East Hawaii location at 500 Kalanianaole Ave. in Keaukaha. The newly renovated office encompasses 3,078 square feet.

According to Hawaii Life President and Principal Broker Matt Beall, “Hawaii Life is really honored to be so well-received in Hilo. We’re committed to serving all of Hawaii, and East Hawaii is such an important part of that commitment. It’s really a special community.”

The Hilo location marks the third office on Hawaii Island for the fast-growing real estate firm, which also has offices in Kailua-Kona and Puako. Of the firm’s 65 agents island-wide, 17 will work out of the new Hilo office.

In February the firm announced the expansion of its headquarters in Princeville, Kauai and last week announced plans to open a second office in Wailea, Maui.

With 187 agents statewide and 10 offices statewide, Hawaii Life has grown steadily since it was founded in 2008. In 2012 it was ranked the third-fastest growing company in the state according to Pacific Business News’ Fastest 50 list.

Hawaii Life is featured on the cable network HGTV with a show by the same name. The show, which follows different brokers as they help clients find their perfect home in Hawaii, was recently picked up for two more seasons.

For more information on Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers or its new Hilo office, contact Katie Minkus, Statewide Director of Sales, 1-800-667-5028, or email katieminkus@hawaiilife.com.

Kailua Kanikapila Community Picnic with Darlene Ahuna and John Cruz

It’s time to bring the community back Hawaiian style to Hale Halawai with a Kailua Kanikapila Community Picnic and it’s free.

Relax. Kick back. Bring your own chairs and mats. Enjoy the sunset. Pack a picnic and bring the whole family down to Hale Halawai from 4 pm until sunset on Saturday, April 19.

Enjoying myself with John Cruz jamming in the back

Enjoying myself with John Cruz jamming in the back

Bring your pupus and enjoy a picnic along the ocean while listening to the great Hawaiian music sounds of Darlene Ahuna and John Cruz. There will be games for the keiki and a taco truck available for those who prefer to purchase food.

Hilo’s Darlene Ahuna is a multiple Na Hoku Hanohano award winner including Female Vocalist of the Year. John Cruz’s Artistic Soul album won Contemporary Album of the Year and Cruz was named Most Promising Artist. Cruz is also a Grammy winner with his song Jo Bo’s Night featured on CD Slack Key Guitar Volume 2, the first Grammy awarded for Hawaiian music.

The Kailua Kanikapila Community Picnic event is sponsored by the Kailua Village Business Improvement District, Hawaii Tourism Authority, and the County of Hawaii. Contact HKVevents@yahoo.com a minimum of 5 days in advance to request an auxiliary aid or reasonable modification.

Big Island Police Arrest Three Men Suspected of Residential Burglary

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested three men suspected of committing a residential burglary in Hilo.

On Thursday (April 3), South Hilo Patrol officers, along with investigators from the Special Enforcement Unit and the Area I Juvenile Aid Section, responded to a 12:15 p.m. report from a neighbor of an active burglary occurring at a Likeke Street home where two men fled the residence on foot. Patrol officers, assisted by detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section, determined that the suspects forcefully entered the house and removed jewelry, cash and a smart tablet having a total estimated value of $6,675.

Ethan Legaspi

Ethan Legaspi

At 1:10 p.m. Thursday, police arrested 23 year-old Ethan Legaspi of Hilo in connection with this burglary after responding officers located him on Laula Road. Through their continued investigation, Special Enforcement Unit officers identified the two other men suspected to have been involved in this incident.

Kawika Larinaga-Napihaa

Kawika Larinaga-Napihaa

At 5:10 p.m. on Friday (April 4) police arrested 23-year-old Kawika Larinaga-Napihaa of Hilo on suspicion of burglary and on an outstanding bench warrant for criminal contempt of court. Another Hilo resident, 23-year-old Noah Simeona, was arrested in connection with this incident at 7 p.m. Friday.

Noah Simeona

Noah Simeona

After consulting with prosecutors, police charged Legaspi on Friday afternoon with one count of burglary and one count of theft. His bail was set at $26,000.On Saturday evening (April 5), police charged Larinaga-Napihaa with one count of burglary. His bail was set at $25,000. Larinaga-Napihaa was also being held in lieu of $750 bail for his bench warrant. Both were held at the Hilo police cellblock pending their initial court appearance Monday afternoon (April 7).

Simeona was released from custody late Friday evening pending further investigation.

Police remind the public to remain vigilant in securing the windows and doors to their homes and businesses. Residents are encouraged to report suspicious activity by calling the Police Department’s non-emergency number at 935-3311.

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

Kona Man Charged With Nine Offenses Following Shots Being Fired in Apartment and Resort

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 39-year-old Kailua-Kona man with nine offenses in connection with an incident involving numerous shots being fired in his Kona apartment and at a resort parking lot.

Raymond Lee Robinson

Raymond Lee Robinson

At 11 a.m. Monday (April 7), Raymond Lee Robinson was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening, first-degree reckless endangering, second-degree reckless endangering, third-degree criminal property damage, loaded firearm on a highway, place to keep ammunition and three counts of place to keep firearms.

At 12:03 p.m. Saturday, Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of shots being fired in a parking lot of a Kailua-Kona resort near the intersection of Kuakini Highway and Palani Road. As police approached the man, who was seated in a rental vehicle, he fired numerous shots into the air and made verbal threats against the officers. He was arrested shortly thereafter and taken to the Kona police cellblock pending further investigation.

No one was injured during the shooting and police received no reports of damage from the gunshots. Officers recovered numerous spent casings from the vicinity.

It was later learned that just prior to this incident, shots had been reported at Robinson’s apartment located off Kakahiaka Road, in Kailua-Kona. There were no reported injuries at or around his apartment.

Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section obtained search warrants for the car and apartment. They recovered two handguns, a rifle and ammunition from the vehicle as well as a handgun and ammunition from the apartment. They also recovered spent handgun casings from the apartment, which had gunshot damage inside.

Robinson’s bail was set at $123,000. He remains at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Tuesday (April 8).

Hawaii Teacher Survey Results Regarding Educator Effectiveness System

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) and the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) recently conducted a joint survey regarding the Educator Effectiveness System (EES), which was implemented statewide at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year. The purpose of the joint survey was to gather teacher feedback on their experiences and opinions regarding the EES to help better understand its strengths and identify areas for improvement.

DOE ReleaseFunded by the Castle Foundation and conducted by Ward Research Inc., the online survey was sent to the HSTA’s 13,500 teacher members, 4,280 (30%) of which completed the survey between the Feb. 25 and March 11 survey period. Respondents represented all districts and types of teachers. This level of response provides a maximum sampling error of only +/- 1.3 percent.

Results from the survey indicate varying degrees in understanding the EES and provide a good starting point in better identifying areas for improvement. Key survey findings include:

  • One in five respondents indicated high levels of understanding of the EES (18% rating ‘top three’ box or 8-10 where 10 = completely understand) while a comparable proportion indicated low levels of understanding of the EES (20% rating ‘bottom three’ box or 1-3 where 1 = do not understand at all)
  • Classroom Observations reflected the highest levels of reported understanding (36%) and the Hawaii Student Growth Model the lowest (12%)
  • One in five respondents indicated strong agreement (‘top three’ box or 8-10 rating where 10 = strongly agree) that they have applied the EES information towards improving their professional practice (18%), their instructional practice (18%), and toward improving student growth and learning (18%)
  • An emerging theme identified in the survey was providing teachers more time to prepare for the various requirements within the components, more guidance and clarity, and providing examples of successful stories by distinguished teachers.

“The Department of Education is actively engaged in an ongoing data review process that involves working with teachers, principals and other groups,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The EES is intended to provide timely, actionable and professional feedback, and support to improve teacher practice and student outcomes. We’re grateful to the teachers and various groups who are ensuring that the system fairly assesses the effectiveness of educators. This survey will be used as part of a collective process to help better understand strengths and identify areas for improvement.”

“The HSTA’s goal is to make sure that every child in Hawaii has access to the best teachers in our public school system,” said Wil Okabe, HSTA president. “When we started this process, we agreed that the Joint Committee of DOE and HSTA representatives would gather data and feedback from our members in order to implement collaborative adjustments and improvements to the EES.”

“The joint survey reflected what we have been hearing from teachers. That the EES is a work in progress, and teachers feel that more needs to be done so that the EES can help improve the practice of teaching. Our teachers clearly expressed the need for more time to implement the EES, more guidance, and more clarity of the expectations and process,” said Okabe.

“We are committed to the EES and will continue to collaborate with the DOE to improve this system and develop a fair and effective resource that should be designed to, ultimately, improve our educational system for Hawaii’s students,” added Okabe.

The committee has met four times over the last nine months and provided areas of potential recommendations to Superintendent Matayoshi, including:

  • Improving support for implementation (e.g. training structure, educator engagement strategy)
  • Solutions for new teachers (e.g. personnel consequences for SY 13-14 first-year teachers, differentiating evaluation criteria for first and second year teachers)
  • Supporting structures for teachers based on EES feedback and results (e.g. searchable database for teachers to find quality professional development opportunities based on area of need)
  • Transitioning between student assessments (impact on student growth as the state shifts from the Hawaii State Assessments, to the bridge assessments, and Smarter Balanced Assessments)
  • Differentiating frequency of evaluation components within the annual evaluation cycle, based on the needs of teachers
  • Reviewing scoring methodology for the Tripod student perception survey
  • Monitoring the use of multiple measures.

The Joint Committee is one of several feedback groups the DOE relies upon for structured input about EES. Other groups include the Teacher Leader Workgroup and Technical Advisory Group and a newly established Principal Workgroup.

“The survey results reinforce priority issues that are being discussed by the Joint Committee and raise some additional concerns for further discussion,” noted Matayoshi. “Teachers, administrators and the HSTA are all involved in this process, and this is just the beginning.”

The DOE and HSTA are committed to working together to improve the EES and teacher feedback is an important part of the improvement process. Following the first full year of implementation, the DOE will make any design improvements necessary based on reviews of data and consideration of feedback from the field.

Kīholo State Park Master Plan Released

Get your copy of the Kīholo State Park Final Master Plan and Final Environmental Assessment! Kiholo State Park

Land board submittal: 04/11/14

Approval of the Kīholo State Park Master Plan, Acceptance of the Final Environmental Assessment, and Issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Proposed Project, TMK: (3) 7-1-02: 02, 08; 7-1-03: 02, 07, Kīholo, North Kona, Hawai‘i.

New Bakery Opening in Hilo

A new bakery in downtown Hilo announces its grand opening celebration the week of April 14 to 20.  Located at 187 Kilauea Avenue, Papa‘a Palaoa Bakery is quite distinctive with its bright blue storefront, hanging flower baskets, and enticing aromas.

Papa‘a Palaoa Bakery announces its grand opening celebration the week of April 14 to 20.  The bakery is located at 187 Kilauea Avenue in downtown Hilo.

Papa‘a Palaoa Bakery announces its grand opening celebration the week of April 14 to 20. The bakery is located at 187 Kilauea Avenue in downtown Hilo.

“People tell us every day, ‘Oh, it smells so good,’” said bakery owner Eric Cox, whose bestsellers are the roasted three seed bread and chocolate chip walnut cookies.

Launching his storefront with a soft opening on March 1, Cox stated, “Hilo was ready for a new bread bakery.  Tons of people have walked in to say how great it is to get fresh bread downtown and to tell us, ‘We’re so glad you’re here.’”

Papa‘a Palaoa’s breads include cranberry mac nut whole wheat, oatmeal, multi-grain, olive, spicy corn, sourdough rye, sourdough whole wheat, and cinnamon raisin mac nut swirl.  Specialty items include pan forte, cinnamon rolls, and brioche with chocolate chips and vanilla cream.

With the store’s opening, Cox has added to the menu scones, muffins, cookies, and quiche, plus coffee and chai.

“We’re thrilled to be downtown,” said Cox. “The kitchen is fantastic.  It’s big, roomy, and well appointed.  By the grand opening celebration, we’ll have tables and chairs so people can hang out.  I love that people can watch us bake since it’s an open kitchen.”

Papa‘a Palaoa Bakery owner Eric Cox (front) celebrates his store’s grand opening celebration in Hilo from April 14 to 20.  Joining him are partner and baker Paul Lackner (right) plus bakers Rachel Van Etten and Nick Mount.

Papa‘a Palaoa Bakery owner Eric Cox (front) celebrates his store’s grand opening celebration in Hilo from April 14 to 20. Joining him are partner and baker Paul Lackner (right) plus bakers Rachel Van Etten and Nick Mount.

Papa‘a Palaoa Bakery was founded in December 2006, starting small and eventually expanding to include sales at farmers markets in Hilo (Wednesday and Saturday), Na‘alehu (Wednesday), Mountain View (Saturday), Pahoa (Sunday), and Volcano (Sunday).

Cox then started looking for a place to make bread available to a broader market.  He needed a bigger kitchen, because the quantity of bread he’d been making for farmers markets and various wholesale accounts was exceeding his capacity.

“Before, we were hand kneading all our bread.  Now we have a commercial mixer.  We can make so much more bread so much more quickly,” noted Cox.  “The storefront is our next step up.  Not only does it increase our business presence, it has improved our ability to make good bread.”

Cox, who joined the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association, is assisted by partner and baker Paul Lackner, plus bakers Rachel Van Etten and Nick Mount.

“We invite you to come down, check us out, and see what we have to offer, what tickles your taste buds.  Stop in and give us a try,” Cox said.  “Smells are free.”

So are samples, which rotate on a daily basis.  Papa‘a Palaoa Bakery is open from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.  For more information, call (808) 935-5700.

Kona Man Arrested After Shots Fired at Resort

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a 39-year-old Kailua-Kona man on suspicion of reckless endangering Saturday afternoon (April 5) in Kailua-Kona. Raymond Robinson was arrested at 12:20 p.m. on Saturday at a resort in Kailua-Kona.

HPDBadgeAt 12:03 p.m. Saturday, Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of shots being fired in the parking lot of a Kailua-Kona resort. Upon police arrival, Robinson was still firing a firearm while seated in a rental vehicle. Shortly thereafter, Robinson was taken into custody without incident. No one was injured during the incident and there were no reports of damage from the gunshots.

It was later learned that just prior to this incident, shots were reported fired at Robinson’s residence located off of Kakahiaka Road, in Kailua-Kona. There were no reported injuries at or around his residence.

Robinson is being held at the Kona cellblock while Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

2014 Ka’u Coffee Festival Offering New Activities to its Lineup

The Ka‘u Coffee Festival offers new fun activities to its lineup of May 2-11. Now in its sixth year, the festival showcases its award-winning coffees and everything that makes the sprawling K‘au District so special—the rural area covers 922 square miles and encompasses the entire southern end of the Big Island.

2014 Kau CoffeefestKicking off the festival is the inaugural Pa‘ina & OpenHouse at historic Pahala Plantation House with the Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce and Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. Pa‘ina means party in Hawaiian and fun includes guided house tours, music, hula by Halau Hula O Leionalani and refreshments—including Ka‘u coffee. Bolo will also release his new CD that contains the song “Kaiholena,” that tells about the people and places of K‘au.

During the heyday of Big Isle sugar production, Pahala Plantation House served as the manager’s home of the former Ka‘u Sugar Plantation. Now an inn and community gathering place, the House has been painstakingly restored to maintain the integrity and history of Hawai‘i’s sugar era. Enjoy guided tours of the spacious interior that boasts high ceilings, a large dining hall, antiques, artwork and a baby grand piano in the foyer. Time is 5:30-9 p.m. Friday, May 2 at the corner of Maile and Pikake Streets in Pahala. Admission is free and donations are appreciated for the Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund, 808-928-9811.

The annual Miss K‘au Coffee Pageant is part of a festival doubleheader with the Triple C Recipe Contest on Sunday, May 2 at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Starting at noon, the Triple C Recipe Contest offers a new cake competition category, along with cookies and candy—all must contain K‘au coffee. Contestants vie for free in either adult amateur or student (middle or high school) divisions to win cash prizes. Contest entry deadline is April 25.  Public admission is free with complimentary coffee and recipe sampling. Find contest details at www.kaucoffeemill.com.

On Sunday evening, the 2014-15 Miss Ka‘u Coffee and junior Miss Ka‘u Peaberry Pageant is open to contestants who were either born, grew up or now live in Ka‘u. Girls are judged for talent, public speaking, gown and Miss Popularity. Winners are awarded scholarships. A mahalo party for the reigning queens is 6 p.m., followed by the pageant at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $10 with additional donations appreciated.

The annual Coffee & Cattle Day 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, May 9 showcases Ka‘u agriculture at the 150-acre Aikane Plantation with a tour of a working ranch/farm, followed by a luncheon buffet.  Co-owner Merle Becker says her great-grandfather, “Papa” J. C. Searle, planted coffee there in 1894 and keiki from Searle’s trees are grown today by numerous Ka‘u farmers. The Beckers oversee eight acres of coffee, a Black Angus cattle operation, plus plantings of exotic protea, sugar cane, macadamia nuts, citrus, avocado, taro, pineapple and papaya. The buffet will offer grass-fed beef, pork and chicken; a variety of side dishes and desserts made with Ka‘u coffee.  Price is $25, make reservations at 808-927-2252.

The all-day Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a on Saturday, May 10 is free and features day-long entertainment. It hosts a variety of art, craft, information and food booths; and some of the finest coffees grown anywhere.

The Ka‘u Coffee Experience has a new twist with free coffee tastings guided by professional baristas at the Pahala Community Center. Coffee enthusiasts can sample Ka‘u coffees prepared in a variety of ways—like a pour-over or a French press, cold brew and espresso drinks.

The festival is supported by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. A full schedule of events and Ka‘u activity recommendations follows. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com to learn more.

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Kona Man Charged With Several Offenses Following Stabbing Incident

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a Kona man with several offenses in connection with a stabbing incident last week in Kailua-Kona.

Michael Dalton

Michael Dalton

On Saturday evening (April 5), detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section charged 43-year-old Michael Dalton of Kailua-Kona with kidnapping, first-degree terroristic threatening, harassment and two counts of second-degree assault. His bail was set at $11,250. He was held at the Kona police cellblock until his initial court appearance on Monday (April 7).

The charges stemmed from an incident Thursday (April 3) at the intersection of Aliʻi Drive and Kahakai Road across from the Coconut Grove shopping complex.

Responding to a 10:10 p.m. call, officers discovered a 43-year-old Kailua-Kona man with a laceration to his abdomen and back and a 38-year-old Kailua-Kona man with a laceration to his abdomen being treated by Fire Department rescue personnel.

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

Dalton was arrested several minutes later in Kailua-Kona and taken to the Kona cellblock while detectives continued the investigation.

26-Year-Old Identified in Highway 130 Fatality

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

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

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

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

Both drivers were wearing their seat belts.

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

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

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

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

Happy 90th Birthday Grandma Tucker

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

My father is on her left

My father is on her left

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

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

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

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

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

HPA Retires Alumnus Max Unger's Number

HPA Retires Alumnus Max Unger’s Number

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

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

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

Miss Saigon Opens at UH Hilo on Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darren K. Ornellas

Darren K. Ornellas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Island Police Investigating Report of Woman Being Accosted by Man in Vehicle in Puna

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

Composite sketch of suspect

Composite sketch of suspect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Island Police Searching for 24-Year-Old Puna Woman Missing Since March

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

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

Karissa Hirahara

Karissa Hirahara

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

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

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

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

Palila Mural in Downtown Hilo Featured in First Friday Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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