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New Lava Flow Map Shows Vicinity of Ocean Entries

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field at the coast. The area of the active flow field as of August 2 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on August 12 is shown in red.

hvo map 81316

The base is a Digital Globe image from January 2016.

Judiciary Hosts Hawaii’s First Veterans Treatment Court Conference

The Big Island Veterans Treatment Court of the Third Circuit hosted the state’s first Big Island Veterans Treatment Court Conference on August 11, 2016, for professionals who work with veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, and substance use disorders (SUDs).

(Left to right) Dr. Brian L. Meyer, PTSD-SUD Specialist at H.H. McGuire VA Medical Center; Third Circuit Judge Greg K. Nakamura; Third Circuit Chief Judge and Presiding Judge of the Veterans Treatment Court Ronald Ibarra; Scott Swain, Justice for Vets Division Director; David Pelletier, J.D., Project Director for the Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP); and Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Hawaii Supreme Court at the Big Island Veterans Treatment Court Conference held today at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel.

(Left to right) Dr. Brian L. Meyer, PTSD-SUD Specialist at H.H. McGuire VA Medical Center; Third Circuit Judge Greg K. Nakamura; Third Circuit Chief Judge and Presiding Judge of the Veterans Treatment Court Ronald Ibarra; Scott Swain, Justice for Vets Division Director; David Pelletier, J.D., Project Director for the Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP); and Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Hawaii Supreme Court at the Big Island Veterans Treatment Court Conference held today at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel.

Judges, law enforcement officials, probation officers, attorneys, researchers, and substance abuse treatment providers came to learn about the latest evidence-based best practices for effectively dealing with veterans struggling to readjust to life outside the military.

Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrably higher rates of co-occurring PTSD, traumatic brain injury, pain, and SUDs, than the general population.  , Often, these issues are compounded by family strife, unemployment, and homelessness, ultimately leading to incarceration.

The conference focused, in part, on the unique work that Hawaii’s Big Island and Oahu Veterans Treatment Courts, and similar programs across the country, are doing to help restore veterans’ health, families and futures, while also saving taxpayer dollars.

A 2016 study published by the Community Mental Health Journal found that veterans who participate in veterans treatment courts experience significant improvement in housing, relationships and social connection, overall functioning and well-being, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, and mental and emotional health.

At the conference, national and local speakers provided information and training on the latest findings in effectively working with veterans and improving the success of Veterans Treatment Court programs.

Sixteen veterans have enrolled in the Hilo and Kona Veterans Treatment Courts since the program’s inception in November 2014.  The Veterans Treatment Court program continues to grow, on both Oahu and the Big Island, as an increasing number of attorneys submit applications for their clients to participate in the program.

“I’d like to thank the Friends of Big Island Drug Court, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, the Big Island Drug and Veteran’s Courts, the Hawaii State Bar Association, Hawaii County Bar Association, West Hawaii Bar Association, and the County of Hawaii Office of the Prosecuting Attorney for their sponsorship of our first Big Island Veterans Treatment Court Conference,” said Chief Judge of the Third Circuit and Presiding Judge of the Veterans Treatment Court, Ronald Ibarra.  “Their support is mission-critical in our efforts to help veterans and their families recover and regain their chance at a successful future.”

For more information on the Hawaii State Judiciary’s Veterans Treatment Court program,visit:  www.courts.state.hi.us/special_projects/veterans_court

Hawaii Rush Soccer Team Wins National Championship… Again!

Winning a National Cup Finals championship means you’ve joined elite company.

Hawaii RushAbout 1,000 teams compete over the course of National Cup Regionals and the Finals, and that doesn’t even incorporate total state cup participation, which exceeds that.

With only 20 teams capturing national titles last month at the National Cup XV Finals, mathematics alone proves that winning your last game of US Club Soccer’s cup-based national championship series is a rare feat. The Hawaii Rush ’02 girls team one-upped those odds by winning the U-13 Premier Group championship last year and then winning the U-14 Premier Group title this year. This year, that feat was only accomplished by Hawaii Rush ‘02.

“I feel that this championship impacts all of these players for a lifetime,” Hawaii Rush coach Brent Murakami said. “It may not just be holding on to the trophy at the end of the tournament, but all the work that was put in to achieve that success. These girls needed to sacrifice a lot for this championship: time spent on the field instead of with friends, waking up early, sleeping early, being pushed physically and mentally.

“I think that the determination to overcome all those frustrations and sacrifices will take them a long way in life. It’s important to understand that getting to the top does not come easy. Unfortunately, only one team can win and that teaches the players to be proud, but to be humble. I believe that had been displayed by them throughout the entire tournament.”

The ultimate results may have been the same at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind. as it was at Aurora Sports Park in Aurora, Colo., but Murakami said the similarities stop there.

National Cup XV Finals in Aurora, Colo.:

  • Hawaii Rush ’02 5, GPS ME Phoenix Elite 1
  • Hawaii Rush ’02 4, FC Stars ’02 NH United 0
  • Hawaii Rush ’02 1, NEFC Premier South 0
  • Hawaii Rush ’02 2, NEFC Premier South 0

National Cup XIV Finals in Westfield, Ind.:

  • Hawaii Rush ’02 2, Washington East SC ’01 2
  • Hawaii Rush ’02 1, Cincinnati United Premier Black 01/02 1
  • Hawaii Rush ’02 2, California Odyssey ’01 1
  • Hawaii Rush ’02 3, Cincinnati United Premier Black 01/02 0

“Last year was our first opportunity for these girls to make a US Club Soccer national appearance,” he said. “It was tough last year in the sense that it was their first. Everything was new to them. It was the first time playing beyond the West Coast for most of the girls.”

This year, Murakami admits that the girls weren’t playing to their potential heading into the tournament after a “roller coaster spring season.” But, the momentum started changing through good training sessions.

“This tournament was different, because we were now the defending champions and we were no longer flying under the radar. Although we had never played any of the teams in our pool before, they all knew that we were the defending champions. There was motivation for them.”

With any national championship event, scouting is difficult. The team and even the coaching staff weren’t familiar with the teams they faced in pool play (GPS ME Phoenix Elite, FC Stars NH United and NEFC Premier South). But, Hawaii Rush managed to score first in all of its games – and not only score first, but do it within the first five minutes of each game.

As the girls enjoy their back-to-back championship notoriety, Murakami insists they’ve not entertained the idea of a three-peat just yet. “We are just so happy for the girls to win this year,” he said, adding they welcome the challenge of being moved to the Super Group (most competitive) next year if they qualify to the National Cup XVI Finals. “To end the year playing the quality of soccer they played in the tournament was awesome.”

Hawaii State Reaches Agreement with United Public Workers Union to Proceed with Maui Hospitals Transition

Gov. David Ige and Dayton Nakanelua, state director of the United Public Workers (UPW), announced they have signed a settlement agreement that will resolve UPW’s lawsuit and class grievance against the state.

Click to read agreement

Click to read agreement

The union had sought to ensure that the collective bargaining agreement with the state was honored during the transition from state control to Maui Health System, a Kaiser Foundation Hospitals LLC (Kaiser). The transition can now move forward.

“I am pleased that we were able to work with UPW to ensure that state workers at the Maui healthcare facilities are treated fairly during the transition process. These employees are providing top-notch care for the community, and this agreement acknowledges their dedication to their patients. The settlement provides certainty to the people of Maui County that they will continue to have access to high quality health care,” said Gov. Ige.

“With this agreement, the governor has recognized and addressed the concerns of our members. He is honoring the process and the existing collective bargaining agreement,” said Mr. Nakanelua.

The state and UPW will jointly ask the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift its injunction and dismiss UPW’s lawsuit. Some key points of the agreement include:

  • The Maui Region hospitals will be transferred from Hawai‘i Health System Corporation management to Kaiser not earlier than November 6, 2016.
  • The Maui Region hospitals will be operated and managed exclusively by Kaiser.
  • UPW bargaining unit employees will work under Kaiser’s supervision and direction and still be covered by UPW collective bargaining agreements until those agreements expire on June 30, 2017.
  • Kaiser will offer to hire UPW employees for a period of six months starting July 1, 2017.

This agreement clears the way for the transition to Kaiser to proceed and residents of Maui County can feel secure that they will continue to have access to healthcare. While the transfer of the hospital management has been secured, some related issues remain. In particular, the Hawai‘i Government Employees’ Association (HGEA) did not join the UPW lawsuit. Instead, the union requested severance and retirement benefits for its employees through SB 2077, which was passed during the 2016 regular session. Gov. Ige vetoed the measure based upon legal and fiscal concerns and offered a compromise measure, but the legislature subsequently overrode his veto. This resulted in Act 1, Special Session 2016.

On Aug. 9, 2016, the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) filed a lawsuit against the state and Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation asserting that Act 1 will jeopardize the ERS’ federal tax-exempt status. This lawsuit will not affect the settlement agreement signed today. HGEA employees are not included in its provisions. HGEA’s severance and retirement benefits will depend on the outcome of the litigation, and/or the union could work with the state to reach an agreement in accordance with the collective bargaining law.

“I pledged to work out an agreement with UPW because we need to honor our commitments to the Maui Region hospital employees. I am hopeful that we can reach a similar agreement for employees in those facilities who are represented by HGEA,” said Ige.

Hilo’s Mo‘oheau Bandstand Closing for Renovations

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces it will close Hilo’s Mo‘oheau Bandstand temporarily starting Monday, August 15, so the structure may undergo extensive renovation.

A vigil for the victims in the Orlando night club shooting was held recently at Mo‘oheau Bandstand.

A vigil for the victims in the Orlando night club shooting was held recently at Mo‘oheau Bandstand.

The closure is expected to last through November 2016 to allow for structural and architectural repairs as well as painting, lighting and electrical upgrades.

To protect park patrons from construction hazards, barricades will be erected to restrict access to the bandstand throughout the project.

During construction, monthly Hawai‘i County Band concerts will be moved to the Aupuni Center Conference Room located at 101 Pauahi Street. The noontime performances will remain as scheduled on the following Saturdays: September 10; October 1; November 12; and December 3.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the temporary closure may cause and thanks park patrons for their understanding while it works to improve Mo‘oheau Bandstand.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Commentary – Former Prosecutor Damerville on Qualifications of Candidate Kagami (Sh*t Just Hit the Fan)

Rick Damerville

TO: Mike Kagami, Candidate for Hawaii County Prosecutor:

  1. You criticize Mr. (Mitch) Roth for what you imply are lenient plea deals. Yet in State v Joseph Amormino, it was you who plead the case down from attempted murder in the first degree and multiple other felony charges to assault in the first degree, two counts of terroistic threatening in the first degree, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Defendant was a drunk with a gun who shot his ex-girlfriend 4 times and shot into the bathroom where the woman’s ex-husband was hiding in an effort to save his own life. Before trial, Mitch approved the plea offer to save the victim from the embarassment of having to testify at trial. But Amormino rejected the offer, the case went to trial and the victim had to testify. At that point there was no longer any reason for the pre trial offer. Yet you offered the same plea offer in the middle of trial without permission from Mitch. Every prosecutor knows that plea offers made before trial are no longer available once trial starts unless you get approval from the Chief Prosecutor or First Deputy. You left the office a short time later.

At the July 25, 2016 Malama O Puna Prosecutor Candidates forum in Pahoa (which was taped), you argued that the Amormino case was not truly an attempted murder case because the defendant shot his victim 4 times at close range – implying that if he intended to kill her, he would have killed her. Really, is this how you will analyze cases to “keep the community safe” ?

At the same forum, you said that according to National Prosecution Standards, you have to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt before charging a criminal case. You are wrong. National Prosecution Standards 4-2.2 states: “A prosecutor should file charges that he or she believes adequately encompass the accused’s criminal activity and which he or she believes can be substantiated by admissible evidence at trial.”

The related ABA Standard 3.43(a) states:

“A prosecutor should seek or file criminal charges only if the prosecutor reasonably believes that the charges are supported by probable cause, that the admissible evidence will be sufficient to support conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the decision to charge is in the interest of justice.”

These two standards are adequate and the standards of the profession. Your self-imposed higher standard will result in drawers full of cases that should be prosecuted but are not. Is this how you will protect the community ? Prosecutors know that the search for justice does not stop when the police turn over their reports. Investigations continue after charging, during trial, and sometimes after trial.

  1. Not all high profile cases are “tough cases.” In fact, many are easy cases because of the evidence. let’s look at some of your tough cases:
  • You take credit for the conviction in the Malaki McBride case. That case was reversed and is pending retrial because you failed to protect the record 3 times: (a) you failed to ensure that the jury instructions were correctly read to the jury, (b) you failed to ask that the written instructions be made a part of the record, and (c) you failed to ask for permission to supplement the record on appeal. I urge the public to read what is in the public record, particularly footnotes 8, 9, and 10 of the appellate opinion. There are no exceptions to the rule that everyone who does trial work makes mistakes. But when you screw up, own up.
  • Marwan Jackson case: The victim was brutally beaten to death. The Defendant was left to argue “accident.” More than one deputy prosecutor would have loved to have taken this to trial. But you were supervisor. So you got to pick this case for yourself.
  • Lito Mateo case: You were not lead counsel. Defendant shot his wife’s lover 18 times before numerous witnesses in a hotel parking lot at shift change in the afternoon. A tough case for the defense.
  • Richard Damien Serrano case: You were not lead counsel. The deputy, with now more than 30 years of trial experience, and who you now infer was too lenient for pleading down the Nakashima case, was lead counsel.
  • Van Kahumoku case: Really ? A tough case for the defense certainly. Police arrived on the scene. Defendant has a gun to his head and tells the police, “I think I wen kill the wrong guy. I think I wen kill an innocent guy.”
  • Alison Matsuda case: You listed this case in your ad as attempted murder. The jury came back assault in the first degree. Defendant poured acetone on a sleeping victim and tossed a lit match, engulfing the victim in flames. Defendant admitted to the police what he did. Another tough case for the defense.
  • Ryron Pia case: Defendant tried to rape a sleeping woman. When she awoke he stabbed her 2 times in the neck. When her boyfriend heard her screams and ran to help, he was stabbed. The Defendant admitted stabbing the victims.
  • Peter Bailey case: You take credit for this case even though it was reversed on appeal and had to be retried by other deputies years later.
  • Gary Vaughan case: You were not lead counsel.
  • Pierre Apisaloma case: Child sexual assault case. Good job on this one.

Summary: You listed 10 cases in your ad, 7 of which were easy on the facts and 2 of those were reversed on appeal and were either tried again by someone else or likely will be retried by someone else. Only 3 were truly “tough cases” and you were not lead counsel on 2 of them. If the above trial experience over a 22 year career is your selling point on why you should be the new prosecutor, most objective examiners of the record will reject your candidacy.

Why so few “tough cases”? Well maybe in the last 15 years there has been an acute shortage of “tough cases” or maybe the truly tough cases sat in your cold case files waiting for a better prosecutor, including homicide cases, like Jaylin Kema, Peter Kema, Patricia Wong, Alexander Gambsky, Daniel Dejarnette, and Xavier Cortez

As to the case results that you are so quick to criticize:

  • This year, victim Barton Bumatay was robbed, shot to death, and decapitated. Some alleged eyewitnesses with lengthy criminal histories came forward with statements. A defendant was arrested and charged. When all of the alleged witnesses invoked their Fifth Amendment rights, the case was dismissed without prejudice. The Prosecuting Attorney will sort it out and charges will be brought against the responsible parties.
  • Xavier Cortez case: This is one of your cold cases. When you got the case in 2011, you had two eyewitnesses and a favorable autopsy of the child victim. By the time your successor deputies got the case almost 3 years later, one eyewitness was gone. After the filing of the indictment, the remaining witness refused to cooperate and the autopsy opinion was weakened because it relied in part on the statements of now unavailable witnesses. Mr. Cortez was allowed to plead to assault in the first degree and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Could a better result have been achieved had you charged the case in 2011? Probably. Unjustifiable delay has consequences. the victim and her family will see some justice rather than no justice at all. The plea agreement was appropriate.
  • Atkinson Nakashima, David Lester Bars, Paul Michael Gibson, and George Curnutt were all defendants initially charged with attempted murder, and all were allowed to plead to other felonies, mostly felony assaults and/or felony terroistic threatening. All were sent to prison. All of those plea agreements were made based on the recommendations of experienced deputies, some with more trial experience than you.
  • Finally, we come to the Alexander Gambsky case. This was a 2008 case that sat in your cold case files for years. You finally assigned it out to me for a second opinion. I concurred with your assessment that the case was not ready for trial but for a very different legal reason. I informed Mr. Roth that I was somewhat confident that because the defendant was known to be a drinker and a player, eventually he would give us a piece of testimonial evidence that we needed. I did not find that evidence. Other deputies in the office did. When there was no helpful forensic evidence establishing exactly how Dawn Gambsky was killed, allowing Alexander Gambsky to plead to manslaughter and the resulting 20 year prison term was appropriate.

Why this letter? I have been practicing criminal law for more than 34 years. I have been a defense attorney and have successfully defended individuals charged with everything from shoplifting through and including capital murder (State of Fla. versus Michael Gainey) before juries. As a deputy prosecutor and a deputy attorney general, I have successfully prosecuted charges ranging from misdemeanor assaults to tax evasion to murder. I have won my share and have lost some along the way. If you prosecute the cases that need to be prosecuted, that happens.

Everyone in this business, but not the public, knows that the number of jury trials or how long it has been since your last one, has virtually nothing to do with how well you will do as the chief prosecuting attorney.

The job of Prosecuting Attorney is to manage an office of 112 employees and a budget in the millions of dollars, oversee the prosecution of cases, try to find solutions for social problems, advocate for change, answer the complaints of the public when an employee is not measuring up to the standards expected of him or her, help to develop crime prevention solutions that work, and get the office, the police department and the community to work as a team – making sure that every victim is heard and treated fairly and every defendant is afforded his or her constitutional rights by an office whose employees maintain the highest professional and ethical standards.

I’m sorry Mr. Kagami, but Mitch is right. We can’t just end the lives of our juvenile offenders with the first mistake of their lives. We can’t just throw everyone in jail and throw away the key. We can and must be smarter about the business of prosecution. Our community and the safety and prosperity of our citizens depend on it.

The race for prosecutor will be decided in the primary election on August 13, 2016. Please vote and re-elect Mitch Roth Hawaii County Prosecutor.

Ricky R. Damerville

Hawaii DOTAX Release – July 2016 Preliminary Comparative Statement

One month into Hawaii’s fiscal year (FY) 2017, the cumulative general fund tax deposits are down by 2.2% compared with the same period in FY 2016.

General excise and use tax collections, the largest single category of tax collections, were $252.5 million in July, down by 0.6% compared to last July.  Individual income tax collections were $148.4 million in July, down by 2.8% from last July.

Transient accommodations tax collections were $40.7 million for the month, up by 13.2% from last July.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Lance Keawe Wilhelm Reappointed Kamehameha Schools Trustee

Probate Court Judge Derrick Chan today reappointed Kamehameha Schools Trustee Lance Wilhelm to serve a second term on the trustee board. Trustees Corbett Kalama, Micah Kāne and Robert Nobriga filed a response in court in support of the reappointment.

Newly reappointed Trustee Lance Wilhelm (left) considers it a blessing to work alongside his fellow trustees Corbett Kalama, Robert Nobriga and Micah Kāne. Wilhelm hopes to use his five-year 'window of opportunity' to make a positive impact on KS.

Newly reappointed Trustee Lance Wilhelm (left) considers it a blessing to work alongside his fellow trustees Corbett Kalama, Robert Nobriga and Micah Kāne. Wilhelm hopes to use his five-year ‘window of opportunity’ to make a positive impact on KS.

“Lance has brought a lot of knowledge and wisdom to our group,” says Kalama, Trustee chair. “He also brings to our organization a deep respect for the Hawaiian culture – especially in his ability to speak Hawaiian in a very humble, sensitive and meaningful manor.

“As trustees, we strive to be good representatives of Pauahi. Lance carries himself well. His behavior reinforces what we expect of our students and staff members, making him an excellent role model.”

KS trustees are appointed by the Probate Court in accordance with a process approved by the court in 2000. They may serve up to 10 years and are eligible to petition for reappointment at the end of their initial five-year term. Wilhelm hopes to make the most of his remaining time as trustee.

“I am deeply humbled by the support of my colleagues,” says Wilhelm. “I have the greatest respect for my fellow trustees and consider it one of the great blessings of my life to work alongside these remarkable individuals.

“As trustees of Kamehameha Schools, we come to our responsibilities knowing that our window of opportunity to make positive impacts to our organization is limited. I hope that within my window I can help to move us into our Strategic Plan with high energy and high confidence.”

Joining the KS trustees at Probate Court to witness the hearing was KS Chief Executive Officer Jack Wong.

“Judge Chan’s reappointment of Trustee Wilhelm today reflects the court’s acknowledgement that he has served KS well and has earned his second term as trustee,” says Wong. “I look forward to our continued work with Lance and the trustees as we build momentum around our Strategic Plan and strengthen our commitment to cultivating a thriving lāhui.”

Wilhelm is the managing principal for Irongate Capital, overseeing its current and future development operations in Hawai‘i including Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikīkī Beach. He is also a board member for several nonprofit organizations including the YMCA of Honolulu, Island Pacific Academy, Hawai‘i Pacific University and the University of Hawai‘i Foundation.

After graduating from Kamehameha Schools Kapālama in 1983, he went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in communications from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Traffic Alert: Oceanic Time Warner Cable Utility Relocation Work at Nāpo‘opo Road

As part of the Nāpō‘opo‘o Road and Māmalahoa Highway Intersection Improvement Project, beginning on Monday, August 15, 2016, Oceanic Time Warner Cable will be relocating overhead cables to newly placed utility poles near the intersection of Māmalahoa Highway and Nāpo‘opo‘o Road in Kona.

One lane of Māmalahoa Highway will be closed to traffic from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. throughout the week of August 15 through August 19 and August 22 through August 26, 2016.

Traffic control will be on site to assist with traffic flow and to assure the safety of motorists and pedestrians. Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution. Work is weather-permitting and is subject to change. Oceanic Time Warner Cable thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Wayne Iokepa at (808) 331-4919 or Barett Otani, County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works Information and Education Specialist, at (808) 961-8787.

Hawaii’s Hokulea Crew Encounters New Sailing Conditions

Hokulea, Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe, encountered new sailing conditions on Thursday morning: thick fog that hovered above the ocean during the crew’s early morning sail from Salem, Massachusetts to Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.

hokulea morning fog

The Hokulea crew had little to no visibility of the horizon during the first couple of hours of the sail – a rare weather situation for the worldwide voyage. Eventually, the fog cleared up at around 10:00 a.m. ET and Hokulea was back on track to her next destination: the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

hokulea morning fog2

From there, the Hokulea crew will sail to Rhode Island early Friday morning, where the canoe will be docked for a few days. In line with delivering the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage’s message of taking care of Island Earth by engaging with new communities they meet throughout the voyage, crew members will be conducting canoe tours for the public at Rhode Island this Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET.

Hokulea Morning fog3

The crew plans to continue educational engagements in the US New England states as Hokulea sails back down to New York.

Exhibit – Return of ‘Alalā: Restoring The Voice Of Hawaii’s Native Forests

Volcano Art Center is proud to present Return of ‘Alalā: Restoring The Voice Of Hawai`i’s Native Forests, a statewide multimedia art competition featuring Hawai`i’s endemic ‘Alalā.  The exhibit will be on display at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park from September 3rd to October 9th, 2016.

return of alalaProceeds from the exhibition support the reintroduction of this important species to Hawai`i’s native forests this fall.  The exhibit is open to the public and free of charge although park entrance fees apply.

“The response to this collaborative conservation effort has been terrific,” states Gallery Manager Emily C. Weiss.  “Hawai’i’s creative community has learned so much about this critically endangered species through outreach from the ‘Alalā Project and the Hawai`i Endangered Bird Conservation Program.

To date, VAC has received 47 entries. The artwork submitted reflects the artist’s knowledge of and affinity for this special species. Although the early bird registration just closed, the final registration deadline isn’t until August 19th.”

Details can be found at www.volcanoartcenter.org for those who still wish to participate.

For the first time ever, Volcano Art Center is hosting a preview exhibit.  Selected artworks from the Return Of ‘Alalā competition will be on display at the Volcano Art Center Gallery beginning at 9am on Saturday, August 27th in conjunction with the Cultural/Festival and BioBlitz hosted by Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

These select works will be available for presale purchase through a silent auction in an effort to raise funds to support the Hawai’i Endangered Bird Program and their long term project.  Bidding will commence at 9:00am on Saturday, August 27th and conclude at 6:45pm on Sunday, August 28th.

VAC welcomes anyone interested in supporting the event further to join in a special Hawaiian blessing by Kumu Kaho’okele Crabbe which will take place in front of Volcano Art Center Gallery on Sunday, August 28 beginning at 3:30pm.  Immediately following the blessing a reception will be held at The Volcano House Hotel directly across the street from VAC Gallery.

Live music by Keoki Kahumoku along with drinks and pupus will be available for ticket holders. Those interested in tickets can purchase them in person at VAC or online at volcanoartcenter.org for $50 each.  Proceeds from ticket sales go directly to support the ongoing ‘Alalā release project.  The evening events will end at VAC Gallery with desserts and the final bids for the artwork closing at 6:45pm.

“Please join Volcano Art Center in supporting this unique conservation effort. The ‘Alalā has been extinct in the wild since 2002, with your support we hope that will change,” states Weiss.   The public is reminded that entrance fees to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park will be waived from August 25 – 28, in celebration of the National Park Service Birthday.

For more information, please contact Emily C. Weiss at (808) 967-7565.

California Man Identified in Wailuku River Drowning on the Big Island

A 41-year-old California man apparently drowned Wednesday (August 10) while swimming in the Wailuku River.

Waialae Falls
He has been identified as Alejandro Barrios Sr. of Orange, California.

In response to a 3:45 p.m. call reporting a drowning, South Hilo Patrol officers learned that Barrios has been swimming near the third waterfall of an area in the river accessible from the 2000 block of Waianuenue Avenue when he appeared to be in distress. His family attempted to assist him to shore but were unsuccessful and called 911.

Fire/rescue personnel located his lifeless body and extricated the man to shore with the use of a helicopter. Barrios was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he was officially pronounced dead at 7:54 p.m.
Wainaku DrowningPolice have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest.

Hawaii Surf Legends Compete for Four Seasons Surfing Championship Trophy in the Maldives

Competition is underway at the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy 2016 with Day One seeing competitors return to basics and hitting the water on single fin boards. Taj Burrow (AUS) took out the division in pumping 3 to 4-foot clean right-handers at Sultans.

Kauai Women's surfer Bethanny Hamilton is competing against the guys.

Kauai Women’s surfer Bethany Hamilton is competing against the guys.

Burrow, who had only just ridden a single fin for the first time yesterday put on an amazing show all day pulling into barrels and smashing vertical re-entries on the groomed walls of Sultans.

In the final, Burrow came up against former Pipe Master Rob Machado (USA). The two went blow for blow but it was Burrow who came out on top with a heat total of 14.94 (out of a possible 20).

“Surfing in a final on a single fin against Rob Machado is like a dream,” Burrow said. “That was just so much fun, the waves are sick and my board felt really good. It’s a bit bigger than what I’m used to but you could really push it through turns. I’m just having such a sick time here on Kuda Huraa, we’re all being so spoiled.”

Machado, who was surfing on a board he shaped himself, was a real standout. Surfing a single fin at a wave like Sultans on your backhand is no easy task, but Machado made light work of it posting high heat scores all day.

“That was so fun out there,” Machado said. “The conditions are so dreamy today. It’s been so sick to catch up with Shane (Dorian) and the rest of the crew especially here in paradise. It doesn’t get any better.”

Last year’s event Champion Shane Dorian (HAW) came up against childhood friend and single fin master Machado in Semifinal two. Dorian tucked into a number of barrels for a heat total of 15.34 to tie with Machado who won on a count back due to receiving the highest single wave score of the heat.

“Rob and I have been competing against each other since we were kids,” Dorian said. “We’re good friends so it was super chilled out there. Rob is surfing as good as he ever has so it was sick to share waves with him. It’s just such a pleasure to be back at this event.”

Semifinal one was an amazing duel between Taj Burrow and WSL Deputy Commissioner and former CT competitor Travis Logie (ZAF). Logie’s backhand was on point going vertical on critical sections to earn himself a heat total of 17.06. He was unable to overcome Burrow’s division high score of 18.44.

“They were the best waves I’ve had in a heat in over ten years,” Logie said. “Taj was just getting tubes and I was doing a million turns, it was so fun. It’s always great when you both get opportunities. The conditions are perfect for a single fin, just so good.”

Jamie O'Brien in Kona recently.

Jamie O’Brien in Kona recently.

In one of the slower heats of the morning, Hawaii’s Jamie O’Brien was unable to find an early score as the ocean went flat. As the heat progressed he began to develop momentum as the waves built. Left needing a 8.40, O’Brien took off on one of the better looking waves of the heat pulling into a long barrel across the inside section; unfortunately it was after the siren and O’Brien bowed out of the day’s competition.

“This is such a unique contest,” O’Brien said. “When a wave comes through and it’s your turn, it’s a real treat; this wave is so perfect. It was a real challenge to ride the single find, you have to take off a bunch of talent and just go with the feel of it. It’s really cool out there, everyone was super relaxed so it was really cool.”

Local Trials Winner Hussain ‘Iboo’ Areef (MDV) had to ask a friend if he could borrow a single fin as the young Maldivian had never ridden one before. His lack of experience did not show as the goofy footer nailed backhand hit after backhand hit. His heat total of 12.40 was not enough to move into the Semifinals so Areef will now set his sights on the twin fin division.

“Riding a single fin is really different,” Areef said. “You have to really slow everything down. It was so cool to see Travis, Jamie and Shane surfing up close; they were all ripping. I surf out at Sultans a lot and it can get really busy so having it with only four people out there was awesome.”

Single Fin Division Results:

Round 1 –
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.67, Rob Machado (USA) 14.67, Bethany Hamilton (HAW) 13.56
Heat 2: Shane Dorian (HAW) 15.93, Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.33, Iboo Areef (MDV) 12.44, Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 7.86
Semifinals –
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 18.44, Travis Logie (ZAF) 17.06
Heat 2: Rob Machado (USA) 15.34, Shane Dorian (HAW) 15.34
Final: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.94, Rob Machado (USA) 14.00

Man Drowns in Wailuku River Spot Known as “Narnia”

Hawaii Fire Department Incident Report 14527:
Wainaku DrowningType of Incident: Drowning

Situation Found at Scene: Upon arrival in the Upper Wailuku River area, locally known as “Narnia”, we found three (3) people on the river bank. They stated that a family member jumped into the water and had difficulty swimming. They jumped in to save him, but were unsuccessful with holding onto him.

Remarks: A Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) team member cleared fallen trees using a chainsaw, allowing easier access to the river for HFD and Hawaii Police Department personnel.

With Chopper 1 providing aerial support, two (2) Fire Rescue Specialists conducted a free dive search and found the victim in approximately thirty (30) feet of water on the river bottom.

Hawaiian Electric Donates $25K to Waianae Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii

Students at the Waianae Clubhouse of Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii (BGCH) have received a much-needed boost from the Hawaiian Electric Companies today with a check for $25,000.

Hawaiian Electric presented a $25,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii for the Waianae Clubhouse "Power Hour" - an afterschool program for students to focus on their studies so they can improve their school performance and achieve academic success.

Hawaiian Electric presented a $25,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii for the Waianae Clubhouse “Power Hour” – an after school program for students to focus on their studies so they can improve their school performance and achieve academic success.

The funds, appropriated for the 2016-2017 school year, will be used to support the Clubhouse’s Power Hour, a dedicated after-school time for students to focus on homework or be tutored by trained staff members, allowing students to stay on pace with their peers and enter the next school day with confidence.

“Power Hour has helped me a lot,” said Tyrese Clark, a Waianae Clubhouse kid. “I use to hate math and I wasn’t very good at it. I didn’t like to do the homework, because it was hard. I was failing tests and not trying my best. But at Power Hour, Mr. Ortiz-Morales taught me how to do fractions in a way I can understand – and I made an ‘A’ on my last test.”

Power Hour at the Waianae Clubhouse began on August 1, 2016 with an estimated 65 elementary through high school student participants. Last year, the program served over 120 students throughout the school year.

“We are deeply grateful for Hawaiian Electric Companies’ generous gift,” said Tim Motts, President and CEO of BGCH. “Often coming from an underserved community and unstructured home environment, the students from the Waianae Clubhouse will benefit immensely from Power Hour to encourage academic success for a bright future.”

Statistics overwhelmingly show that nationally one in five kids will not graduate from high school, perpetuating the cycle of poverty. For low-income children, academic struggles can lead to disengagement from school and high drop-out rates. In 2015, 98 percent of BGCH high school seniors graduated with a high school diploma. Hawaiian Electric Companies’ support of Power Hour will provide youth with the opportunity to achieve their educational goals.

“We are encouraged by organizations like the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii for their unwavering commitment to improving the lives and future of the communities they serve,” said Colton Ching, Hawaiian Electric vice president – energy delivery, and BGCH board member. “Seeing first-hand the impact of their programs and hearing from the kids themselves has been so rewarding. We share BGCH’s commitment to the health and welfare of children and youth, and we are honored to partner with them in their efforts.”

Coast Guard Evacuates Man From Oil Tanker Off Oahu

The Coast Guard medevaced a 45-year-old citizen of India from an oil tanker 12 miles south of Oahu, Wednesday.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point rescued a 45-year-old man from an oil tanker 14 miles south of Oahu, Aug. 10, 2016. Personnel aboard the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager reported a crewmember with heart attack symptoms to watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Ron Green/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point rescued a 45-year-old man from an oil tanker 14 miles south of Oahu, Aug. 10, 2016. Personnel aboard the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager reported a crewmember with heart attack symptoms to watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Ron Green/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point safely hoisted the man from the 1,050-foot Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager at 7 a.m. and transferred him to Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point lowers a rescue swimmer onto an oil tanker 14 miles south of Oahu, Aug. 10, 2016. Personnel aboard the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager reported a 45-year-old crewmember with heart attack symptoms to watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Ron Green/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point lowers a rescue swimmer onto an oil tanker 14 miles south of Oahu, Aug. 10, 2016. Personnel aboard the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager reported a 45-year-old crewmember with heart attack symptoms to watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Ron Green/Released)

Personnel aboard the ship contacted watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center at 11 a.m. Saturday requesting assistance for a crewmember presenting heart attack symptoms. The vessel was 1,438 miles from Oahu at the time headed toward the U.S. from Southeast Asia and elected to divert their course toward Honolulu.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point hoists a 45-year-old man from an oil tanker 14 miles south of Oahu, Aug. 10, 2016. Personnel aboard the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager reported a crewmember with heart attack symptoms to watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Ron Green/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point hoists a 45-year-old man from an oil tanker 14 miles south of Oahu, Aug. 10, 2016. Personnel aboard the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Andromeda Voyager reported a crewmember with heart attack symptoms to watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Ron Green/Released)

A Coast Guard flight surgeon was consulted and recommended the vessel continue toward Honolulu. The man’s condition was stable and plans were made to get him to shore via water taxi. However, when his condition began to deteriorate it was decided that a hoist would be conducted when the vessel arrived 14 miles offshore of Oahu to expedite his access to a higher level of medical care.

The Dolphin aircrew launched from Air Station Barbers Point at 5:45 a.m. and conducted the hoist at 6:35 a.m. He was delivered to awaiting emergency medical personnel in stable condition.

Hawaii Sheriff Impersonators – Jury Duty Phone Scam Alert

Recent Sheriff impersonator scam incidents have prompted the Hawaii Sheriff Division to put out this reminder warning. Impersonators claiming to be from the “Sheriff Department”, “Honolulu Sheriff Department” or “Sheriffs’ Office” are calling Hawaii residents to say they are wanted on a warrant for failing to show up for jury duty. The alleged scammer is offering to clear the warrant in exchange for payment by phone.

scam alertIn three recent cases, the individuals received calls from people who identified themselves as Captains or Lieutenants with the Sheriffs. All of the scammers in these reports had what was described as a southern drawl or accent.  After mentioning that the individual had a warrant for failure to show up for jury duty, the caller then asked for money and told the individuals to go over to the Honolulu District Court and meet with the Sheriffs to clear the warrant.  In two of the cases, the individuals figured out it was a scam before giving any money over the phone and immediately notified the Hawaii State Sheriffs.  A third report resulted in a Theft 2 case being opened.

The public is reminded that Sheriffs do not call people about warrants having to do with jury duty.  They will NEVER ask for personal information or solicit payment over the phone.  Hawaii residents are also advised not to provide credit card numbers or other personal information to callers claiming to represent a law enforcement agency or the courts.

“This is a nationwide scam that started affecting Hawaii residents in early 2014,” said Hawaii State Sheriff Renee Sonobe Hong. “The calls appear to be random. The victims are usually scammed to pay money. We urge people to share this alert with your family and friends so they don’t become the next victim”.

If you receive a call matching this scam please alert the Sheriff Division by calling 586-1352.

Hawaii Governor Announces Opening of Section 8 Waiting list for First Time in Decade

Gov. David Ige announced that the Section 8 waiting list is opening on O‘ahu for the first time in 10 years. There is currently no one on the waiting list, which will reopen on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016 for families under the first tier of preferences which includes homeless individuals and families, victims of domestic violence, and families involuntarily displaced. More than 8,000 people have found housing through this program in the last decade.

On April 8, 2016, Governor David Ige proclaimed April "Fair Housing Awareness Month."

On April 8, 2016, Governor David Ige proclaimed April “Fair Housing Awareness Month.”

“We know that affordable housing is the primary concern for many families in our state,” Gov. Ige said. “Today’s announcement shows progress and confirms there is movement through the system.”

The state has worked diligently to increase access to housing by establishing an online application process. It estimates that approximately 12,000 new applications will be accepted before the list closes at midnight on Aug. 18, 2016.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to work with homeless service providers to access the online application portal.

Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi acknowledged Hawai‘i’s landlords who make their properties available to Section 8 renters.  There are currently more than a thousand landlords participating in the program, a 375 percent increase over the last decade. “Each landlord provides more than a home to a local family,” said Ouansafi. “Landlords who open their properties to Section 8 renters provide the stability families need to thrive in our community. Applying for Section 8 has never been more convenient. Now applicants can even submit their online application from their mobile devices.”

For more information about the Section 8 program or the online application process, go to www.hpha.hawaii.gov.

More Restaurants Tied to Hepatitis Outbreak – 168 Cases – New Survey for Residents

The number of people affected by the hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii continues to rise, including two additional cases confirmed in Oahu food service workers today by the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH). As a public health precaution, food handlers identified as contacts of a case must be tested for hepatitis A and found negative for the virus before returning to work.

One infected food service worker is an employee at Papa John’s restaurant, located at 94-1021 Waipahu Street, in Waipahu. The employee worked on July 23 and 24, and Aug. 2, 2016.

The other infected food service worker is an employee at New Lin Fong bakery, located at 1132 Maunakea Street, in Chinatown. The employee worked on July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and August 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016.

Establishment Island Location Dates of Service
Papa John’s Oahu Waipahu                        (94-1021 Waipahu St.)


July 23 and 24, and Aug. 2, 2016


New Lin Fong Oahu Chinatown                        (1132 Maunakea St.)


July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and Aug. 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016

Since DOH began its investigation, a total of 168 cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed as part of the outbreak, as of Aug. 10, 2016. DOH investigators have been hard at work to identify the outbreak source, which was likely a product widely distributed primarily on Oahu.

Click to take survey

Click to take survey

As a part of the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in our state, we are performing a survey of Hawaii residents to determine how frequently residents eat at restaurants and obtain food from grocery stores in our communities. This survey should take less than 5 minutes. Please limit survey responses to one survey per household/family. Mahalo for your help!

Click here to take the survey


As of August 10, 2016*:Since the last update, HDOH has identified 33 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 46 have required hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Eight (8) individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.


Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 8/1/16.

This information is provided to the public as a precaution in an attempt to prevent any new cases, and the likelihood that patrons of this business will become infected is very low. Updated case counts and information are provided each Wednesday along with a complete list of food service establishments who have had employees diagnosed with hepatitis A infection at the following link: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.

“The public’s health is our primary concern, and we feel it is important to provide them with the most up-to-date information so they can work with their healthcare providers to protect themselves and their families,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “At the same time, we also want the public to understand that these businesses and the other previously affected food establishments are not the source of the outbreak.”

Vaccination provides the best protection from hepatitis A, so any person who consumed food or beverage products prepared or served at this business during the identified periods may want to contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG), which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure. A statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies can be found at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf, or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1

Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, and before preparing food can also help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Additionally, appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame Announces the 2016 Inductees

The Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame announces the 2016 inductees. The ceremony will take place at the Outrigger Canoe Club on the 23rd August, the eve of what would be the 126th birthday of Duke Kahanamoku, the father of modern surfing.

“The Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame honors legends and celebrates those who help perpetuate the spirit and legacy of Duke Kahanamoku,” notes Bill Pratt, co‐chair of the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame.

Miss Yokohama greets Hokule'a captain Bruce Blankenfeld when the canoe reached the end of its Voyage to Japan.

Miss Yokohama greets Hokule’a captain Bruce Blankenfeld when the canoe reached the end of its Voyage to Japan.

Bruce Blankenfeld is one of the most influential figures in canoe paddling and Polynesian Voyaging Society.  He is a distinguished pwo navigator and captain of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea and was the president of Hui Nalu Canoe Club for more than 20 years.

Diane Stowell

Diane Stowell

Diane Stowell is an All-America swimmer at UCLA. She went on to claim more than 100 national and international titles in swimming. Stowell was also a dedicated volunteer in her community, serving on numerous charitable boards and serving as a counselor in the Hawaii prison system.

Paul Strauch, Jr.

Paul Strauch, Jr.

Paul Strauch, Jr. was one of the most influential figures in the world of surfing back in the 1960s. Founder of the “Cheater Five” and the first to use bottom turns in large waves, Strauch won numerous surfing titles and was a member of the prestigious Duke Kahanamoku Surf Team.

Sharron Weber

Sharron Weber

Sharron Weber is a two-time world surfing champion and member of the Surfing Walk of Fame. Weber is also known today as a leader in her community. Weber was recently bestowed with the prestigious Kauai Living Treasures Award, given for her lifetime commitment and kokua to her community.

The Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame awards dinner will recognize the honorees, and it will raise money for Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation’s (ODKF) college scholarships and athletic grants program.

Since its inception in 1986, ODKF has gifted more than 2.5 million dollars to scholar athletes and non‐profit organizations in Hawaii. Past Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame inductees include Duke Kahanamoku, Eddie Aikau, Fred Hemmings, Mark Cunningham, Randy Rarick, Duane DeSoto and much more.