Hundreds Build Gingerbread Houses and Spread Holiday Cheer for Charitable Cause

Over 400 people gathered at Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin on Sunday, Dec. 8 to build gingerbread houses at Easter Seals Hawaii’s 12th Annual Gingerbread Family Festival in Hilo, raising money for the nonprofit’s programs and services for those with developmental disabilities and special needs.

Gingerbread1

A total of 195 gingerbread house kits were sold. In addition to building gingerbread houses, this year’s event in Hilo included a community competition where attendees could watch local businesses compete to create the best gingerbread house.

Gingerbread3

Overall sales and number of attendees on Oahu, Maui and Kauai’s Gingerbread Family Festivals were equally high.

Gingerbread4

Statewide, Easter Seals Hawaii sold over 1,100 kits and the events attracted over 4,300 attendees including families, staff, volunteers and corporate competition teams.

Gingerbread2

The 2013 Easter Seals Hawaii Gingerbread Family Festival was presented by The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation with title sponsorship from Safeway and CVS/Longs Drugs.

Gingerbread5For more information, visit eastersealshawaii.org.

Puako Boat Launch Ramp To Close Jan. 7-8 For Removal Of Damaged Loading Dock

The Department of Land and Natural Resources  will close the Puako boat launch ramp from Tuesday January 7 through Wednesday January 8, for removal of a loading dock which collapsed due to high surf on Dec. 20, 2013.

DLNR

Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) engineers and Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr. inspected the damage on December 30.

Isemoto Contracting Co., Ltd. will use heavy machinery to  remove the broken concrete loading dock that cracked in half.

The ramp will reopen for use as of Jan. 9,  but there will be no loading dock available for boaters to use.

DOBOR is seeking bids for a temporary wooden dock replacement,. The pilings and pile cap appear to be usable for a temporary wooden loading dock.

Big Island Police Searching for Three Men Wanted in Unrelated Cases – Considered Armed and Dangerous

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in locating three men wanted on outstanding warrants.

Jack Toribio Casuga

Jack Toribio Casuga

Jack Toribio Casuga, 31, of Kailua-Kona is wanted on a no-bail warrant of arrest for violating parole. He is described as Filipino, 5-foot-6, 150 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

William P. Holbron-Kealoha

William P. Holbron-Kealoha

William P. Holbron-Kealoha, 29, of Kailua-Kona is wanted on a bench warrant for failure to appear in court. He is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-10, 190 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Martin Frank Booth

Martin Frank Booth

Martin Frank Booth, 55, of Kawaihae is wanted on a warrant of arrest in connection with a Grand Jury indictment for second-degree assault. He is described as Caucasian, 6-foot-1, 230 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair.

All three men are also wanted for questioning in unrelated cases. They are considered armed and dangerous.

Police ask anyone with information on the whereabouts of any of these men to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Levon Stevens at 326-4646, extension 275, or lstevens@co.hawaii.hi.us, or Detective Walter Ah Mow at 326-4646, extension 238, or wahmow@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Missing Dog in HPP Area – Have You Seen “Bella”?

UPDATE: Dog was found… Mahalo to everyone for taking the time to reunite dog w/ her ohana.

UPDATE:  Mahalo to Starr Y. for contacting me and hopefully this is the dog that was turned into the Hawaii Humane Society earlier today.

My friends dog is missing and he posted the following on Facebook:

Missing in HPP area! Her name is Bella! Super friendly!

"Bella" was last seen sometime today in the HPP area.

“Bella” was last seen sometime today in the HPP area.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have seen this dog and I can relay it to him.

Man Dies After Butane Honey Oil Lab Explosion in Puna a Few Days Ago

The 30-year-old Keaʻau man injured in the butane honey oil lab explosion, passed away at Straub Medical Center on Oahu today after being in a medically induced coma for the last few days.

HPDBadgeThe 28-year-old Puna woman who was arrested in connection with a drug-related explosion has been released from police custody.

I’m withholding identification of man until it has been publicly released.

UPDATE:
A 30-year-old Keaʻau man injured last week in a butane honey oil lab explosion in Puna has died from his injuries.

The man, whose name is being withheld pending notification of his family, was pronounced dead at 5:20 p.m. Thursday (January 2) at Straub Medical Center in Honolulu.

The December 28 blast on 17th Avenue in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision also knocked out windows, melted plumbing fixtures and blew the doors off cabinets. At the scene, police found evidence of a lab used to manufacture butane honey oil, a marijuana byproduct.

To prevent future tragedies, police urge the public to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 if they know of any clandestine drug lab.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Related:

My 2013 Year in Review

Well 2013 was another interesting year.

Some quick site stats:

  • In 2013, 817,155 people visited this site with the most being in the month of November with 114,001 people visiting it:
  • The average amount of people that visited this site each day was 2,239 with the most average amount also being in November with 3,800 people per day:

    2013 Site Stats

    Click to enlarge

2013 Average per day

Click to enlarge

I appreciate all my sponsors, family, friends and readers that have given me the opportunity to do some of the things I’ve gotten to do in the past year.

Andrew and I

Vincent, Mayor Kenoi and Kate at the Big Island Film Festival

Vincent, Mayor Kenoi and Kate at the Big Island Film Festival

  • May was also the month that one of my best friends from when I was younger decided to have his bachelor party in Las Vegas.  Besides going go-karting, attending the Last Cowboy Standing Rodeo Competition, hitting comedy clubs up and just partying in general… well I also jumped off the Stratosphere!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/z1zHOwyl0do]

Pierre Omidyar and Arianna Huffington at Imiloa Astronomy Center announcing the beginning of HuffPost Hawaii.

Pierre Omidyar and Arianna Huffington at Imiloa Astronomy Center announcing the beginning of HuffPost Hawaii.

Family members of the Body Glove International Company

Family members of the Body Glove International Company

Billy Meistrell (2nd generation Owner and Co-Founder of Body Glove), Russ Lesser (President), Abbas Hassan and Mayor Kenoi

Billy Meistrell (2nd generation Owner and Co-Founder of Body Glove), Russ Lesser (President), Abbas Hassan and Mayor Kenoi

My Uncle and Aunt on the back end of the USS Lake Erie.

My Uncle and Aunt on the back end of the USS Lake Erie.

  • And at the end of 2013, I got to spend time in Ko Olina while my uncle and aunt renewed their 50th wedding vows:

James Tucker Ohana

Update on the Puna Drug Lab Explosion

The 28-year-old Puna woman who was arrested in connection with a drug-related explosion has been released from police custody. Savannah Maloof of Keaʻau was released at noon on Tuesday (December 31) pending further investigation of possible drug charges.

Meanwhile, the 30-year-old Keaʻau man injured in the butane honey oil lab explosion remains at Straub Medical Center on Oahu in critical condition with second-degree burns.

The blast also knocked out windows, melted plumbing fixtures and blew the doors off cabinets. At the scene, police found evidence of a lab used to manufacture butane honey oil, a marijuana byproduct.

Butane honey oil. (Wikipedia Photo)

Butane honey oil. (Wikipedia Photo)

Area I Vice Lieutenant Mark Farias said butane honey oil labs are becoming more prevalent on Hawaiʻi Island, as they are across the country.

“If you know about any butane honey oil labs on our island, we urge you to notify police immediately,” Farias said. “These labs are extremely volatile and can have tragic consequences for knowing participants as well as innocent victims.”

Anyone with information about any butane honey oil lab is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Arrest Hilo Man for Property Crimes in the Pana’ewa House and Farm Lots Area

Hawaiʻi Island police arrested and charged a Hilo man for several property crimes in the Panaʻewa House and Farm Lots area.

Kody Ono

Kody Ono

On Monday (December 30), 22-year-old Kody Ono was initially arrested for the theft of a cellular phone that was taken during a December 5 burglary on Makalika Street. Through their investigation, South Hilo Patrol officers later determined that Ono had sold several pieces of silverware that had been taken from an Awapuhi Street home on December 8. The total value of the stolen property was estimated to be $455.

Police charged Ono on Tuesday evening (December 31) with burglary and two counts of theft. His bail was set at $36,000. He was held at the Hilo police cellblock pending his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon (January 2).

Hawaii County Plastic Bag Ordinance Transition Period Ends January 17, 2014

The one-year transition period specified in the Hawai‘i County Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance ends January 17, 2014. After that date, businesses on Hawai‘i Island shall not provide plastic checkout bags to their customers. The purpose of the ordinance is to reduce the usage of single-use plastic bags by prohibiting their distribution at store checkouts and encouraging the usage of reusable bags.
Bring your bags

Many stores are choosing to stop using plastic bags and are already encouraging customers to bring their own reusable bags. One high quality reusable bag can replace hundreds of single-use plastic bags over its lifetime. In the long term, the cost of a reusable bag can be lower than the cost of the single-use plastic bags it replaces.

The ordinance exempts plastic bags without handles that are used for retail items such as meat, produce, bulk food items, garments, and prescription drugs. It also exempts non-profit organizations and non-incorporated community booster organizations. Paper bags are still permitted under the ordinance.

If a business violates the ordinance, a warning letter will be issued. A second violation will result in a civil fine of $250 per day. The third violation will result in a civil fine of $500 per day and subsequent violations will result in civil fines of $1,000 per day.

Environmental problems posed by plastic bags warrant the implementation of this type of law and it is consistent with the County’s General Plan, which implores the County to “take positive action to further maintain the quality of the environment.” It is an important milestone on the County’s path toward Zero Waste, a commitment to protecting our island.

Hawai‘i County residents join 54% of the world’s population who live in an area that has plastic bag bans or fees to reduce plastic pollution. All Hawai‘i counties have passed plastic bag reduction ordinances, joining a growing list of cities, counties, and nations around the world taking similar initiatives including 28 entire countries.

For more information, please visit HawaiiZeroWaste.com where the ordinance, rules, and outreach materials can be viewed and downloaded. For questions and additional information about the new ordinance, please contact the Department of Environmental Management at bring-ur-bag@hawaiicounty.gov or (808) 961-8942.

Volunteers Sought for Stewardship at the Summit

Resolve to protect Hawai‘i’s fragile ecosystem from invasive, non-native species by volunteering for “Stewardship at the Summit” programs throughout 2014.

Park volunteer and Stewardship at the Summit project leader Paul Field shows an endemic kōlea plant freed from a thicket of invasive ginger. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Park volunteer and Stewardship at the Summit project leader Paul Field shows an endemic kōlea plant freed from a thicket of invasive ginger. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Stewardship at the Summit begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon. The dates from January through March are: Jan. 3, 10, 20, 18, and 24; Feb. 1, 7, 14, 21, and 28; and March 7, 14, 22, and 26.

Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center at 9 a.m. on any of the above dates. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, garden gloves, day pack, snacks and water. Tools will be provided. No advance registration is required, and there is no cost to participate, but park entrance fees apply.

There is no entrance fee on Mon., Jan. 20. The park honors Martin Luther King Day by participating in the National Day of Service with a special Stewardship at the Summit program,
9 a.m. to noon.

Park volunteers have restored more than five acres of native Hawaiian rainforest since re-invigorating the program last year, said volunteer Paul Field. Countless Himalayan ginger, faya, strawberry guava, and other invasive, non-native plants that threaten the native understory near the summit of Kīlauea volcano have been removed. In their place, once-shaded ‘ama‘u and hāpu‘u tree ferns have re-emerged, and pa‘iniu, kāwa‘u, and other vital, native plants are starting to return to these stewardship plots.

“There is no way we could be making these gains against the invasives without our community,” said Kūpono McDaniel, volunteer coordinator at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. “It is so fun to see everyone out there having a good time meeting new friends and making a very noticeable difference on the ground.  These amazing philanthropists understand that time spent serving their public lands is a service to all,” McDaniel said.

Kona Man Busted Again – Police Seeking Second Suspect

A Kona man has been charged AGAIN with several offenses following a shoplifting incident in Kona on Monday (December 30).

Shortly before 3 p.m. Monday, Kona patrol officers responded to report of a shoplifting at a store on the 74-5000 block of Kamakaeha Avenue in Kailua-Kona. Two men who appeared to be together had reportedly stolen items from the store. One exited through a rear door with the stolen items and fled on foot into the brush. Another exited through a front door and got into a black Honda Civic.
Jesse Travis Ralston
Responding officers attempted to stop the car in the parking lot but the driver refused to stop. Police followed the car to the intersection of Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway and Kealakehe Parkway, where the driver exited the Honda and ran away. Following a short foot pursuit, officers arrested 23-year-old Jesse Travis Ralston of Kailua-Kona.

Jesse Travis Ralston

Previous Mugshot

Police determined that the car had fraudulent license plates and had been reported stolen from a home in Kailua View Estates between December 10 and December 11. Additionally, Ralston was in possession of crystal methamphetamine. He was taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section and Area II Vice Section continued the investigation. Detectives executed a search warrant on bags inside the car and found additional crystal meth inside, along with drug paraphernalia.

At 8 p.m. Tuesday (December 31), Ralston was charged with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, failure to obey a police officer, reckless driving, resisting arrest, fraudulent use of a license plate, possessing drug paraphernalia, two counts of promoting a dangerous drug and three counts of violating terms of probation. His bail was set at $119,000. He remained in the cellblock pending his initial court appearance Thursday (January 2).

The other suspect was not located.

Related Story: Kona Man Out on Bail For Stealing a Car… Steals Another Car

 

Commentary: Signage Needed Along Bayfront Highway to Help Tourists “Fresh Off The Boat”

Dear Mayor Billy Kenoi,

I don’t know who else to contact as I have tried for the last several years to make this matter known to a few people I thought could help, but so far no one has been able to do anything about it. Hopefully you will know who can help with this matter.

Hike into Hilo
Every ship day in Hilo we see visitors walking into town in pairs or groups all the way from the port to downtown. Most of them follow the coastline after they cross the Wailoa River Bridge and continue hugging the shores of Hilo Bay on Bayfront Park.

When they reach Pauahi Street, there is no sign to direct them to Kamehameha Avenue so that they can approach downtown easily and most of them continue to follow Bayfront Highway, not realizing there is no access to downtown from Bayfront until they reach the intersection of Waianuenue Avenue.

Hike Into Hilo 2

There are several gates on the fence separating the downtown area all the way from Pauahi Street to Waianuenue Avenue, but the gates are locked.

Several times, (including this morning) I’ve picked up visitors, both young and elderly, especially when it is raining, as I drive back home towards Hamakua. After I pick them up, I continue on across the Wailuku Bridge and turn around at Pukihae Street by the Bay Shore Towers, so I can drive back to Hilo and drop them off wherever they wanted to go in downtown. In most cases, it was to drop them off at the Farmers Market.

I cannot believe that it would be such a hardship for the County, the Department of Transportation or the Department of Parks and Recreation (I’m not sure in whose jurisdiction this matter would fall) to have proper signage at the corner of  Bayfront and Pauahi directing them to Kamehameha Avenue and/or at least have the gates open along the fence so we can make it a little bit more welcoming and convenient for our visitors to reach the downtown area without having to walk all the way to the end of the fence.

It doesn’t seem like such a big thing to do and yet, I believe it would make a big difference and maybe visitors would try to stay a bit longer in the downtown area if they weren’t so tired from having to walk the extra few blocks.

Can you think of any other solution?

Cordially,

Sonia R. Martinez

Department of Agriculture Confirms Stinging Little Fire Ant Has Spread to Oahu and Maui From Hawaii Island

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has confirmed that an invasive stinging ant called the Little Fire Ant (LFA) has spread from Hawaii Island to Oahu and Maui.  On Dec. 23, a customer at garden shop on Maui reported a suspicious ant to the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC), which sent the specimens to HDOA entomologists who confirmed the identification of LFA.

Little Fire Ant - Worker Ant

Little Fire Ant – Worker Ant

On Dec. 26, HDOA entomologists surveyed several nurseries and stores and found LFA infestations on hapuu (Hawaiian tree fern) at several garden shops on Oahu and at another Maui store.  All infested hapuu were contained and the areas secured. On Dec. 27, HDOA staff revisited the stores and treated the areas with pesticides.  Through trace-back and trace-forward efforts, HDOA believes the infested hapuu originated on Hawaii Island and products from that nursery have been ordered for treatment prior to shipping. The last shipment was made to Oahu and Maui on Dec. 11.  Surveys and treatment will continue by HDOA and MISC staff.

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

HDOA is advising those who recently purchased hapuu logs or planters to contain the logs by placing them in a plastic or garbage bag and seal it securely.  They should contact their nearest HDOA office as soon as possible.  Due to the holiday, please leave a message and staff will respond as soon as they are able:

Maui – (808) 872-3848

Oahu – PEST HOTLINE – 643-PEST (7378).  This is also a toll-free number for neighbor islands.

“It is important that those who have recently purchased hapuu which may be infested with little fire ants to help contain the infestation and contact us as soon as possible,” said Dr. Neil Reimer, administrator of HDOA’s Plant Industry Division. “Through past experience, we know we can contain an infestation if we find it in its early stages.”

Originally from South America, LFA is considered among the world’s worst invasive species.

LFA are tiny ants, measuring 1/16th inch long, are pale orange in color and move slowly. LFA move slowly, unlike the Tropical Fire Ant which is established in Hawaii, move quickly and are larger with a larger head in proportion to its body. LFA can produce painful stings and large red welts and may cause blindness in pets. They can build up very large colonies on the ground, in trees and other vegetation and completely overrun a property. They will also freely move into homes.

Infestation of LFA

Infestation of LFA

The first detection of LFA in Hawaii was in the Puna area in 1999. Surveys determined that LFA appeared to have been on the east side for several years prior to their initial detection and was widely distributed in Puna. Attention was then focused on controlling ant populations and preventing the spread to non-infested areas on the island and to other islands.

In October 2009, LFA was detected on a farm in Waihee, Maui. Eradication efforts at that site appear to have contained the infestation, which is being continually monitored. HDOA staff also trained Maui County employees, MISC and private pest control operators on Maui to assist in recognizing and reporting possible infestations on the island. MISC is also assisting HDOA in conducting surveys at high-risk areas on Maui.

Attached is a HDOA Pest Advisory that contains information on LFA and its history in Hawaii.
(Also available on the department’s website: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2013/01/npa99-02-lfireant.pdf). 

Puna Woman Arrested Following Drug-Related Explosion That Sends Man to Hospital

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a 28-year-old Puna woman in connection with a drug-related explosion that sent a man to the hospital with severe injuries.

Savannah Maloof of Keaʻau was arrested Monday afternoon (December 30) on suspicion of first-degree promotion of marijuana, second-degree promotion of marijuana, first-degree promotion of a harmful drug, promotion of a detrimental drug and four counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. She was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Vice Section continue the investigation.

At 8:16 p.m. Saturday (December 28), police responded to a report of a loud explosion at a home on 17th Street in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision in Puna. When officers arrived, Fire Department personnel were already at the scene, where smoke was present but not flames.

The blast had knocked out windows, melted plumbing fixtures and blown the doors off cabinets.

The sole occupant at the time, a 30-year-old Keaʻau man, was initially taken to the Hawaiian Paradise Park fire station by private vehicle. He was then taken by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center with third-degree burns. He was later transferred to a hospital on Oahu.

Maloof, who also lives at the house, was not home at the time of the explosion.

Butane honey oil. (Wikipedia Photo)

Butane honey oil. (Wikipedia Photo)

Police recovered 102 marijuana plants from an indoor growing operation, more than an ounce of butane honey oil (a marijuana byproduct) in several stages of manufacture, three e-cigarettes and components associated with the manufacture of butane honey oil.

Police ask anyone with information about any butane honey oil lab to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

 

Drug Lab Explodes in Puna Sending Man to Hospital

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a drug-related explosion that sent a man to the hospital with severe injuries.

At 8:16 p.m. Saturday (December 28), police responded to a report of a loud explosion at a home on 17th Street in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision in Puna. When officers arrived, Fire Department personnel were already at the scene, where smoke was present but not flames.

The blast had knocked out windows, melted plumbing fixtures and blown the doors off cabinets.

The sole occupant, a 30-year-old Keaʻau man, was initially taken to the Hawaiian Paradise Park fire station by private vehicle. He was then taken by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center with third-degree burns. He was later transferred to a hospital on Oahu.

Butane honey oil. (Wikipedia Photo)

Butane honey oil. (Wikipedia Photo)

Police recovered 102 marijuana plants from an indoor growing operation, more than an ounce of butane honey oil (a marijuana byproduct) in several stages of manufacture, three e-cigarettes and components associated with the manufacture of butane honey oil.

Detectives from the Area I Vice Section are continuing the investigation.

Police ask anyone with information about any butane honey oil lab to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Charge Captain Cook Woman With Shoplifting Clothes Valued at More than $1,000.00

Hawaiʻi island police have charged a Captain Cook woman with a felony in connection with a shoplifting incident in October.

On October 29, a man and a woman entered a clothing store in Kainaliu and removed items of clothing valued at more than $1,000 without paying for them.

After viewing the store’s surveillance video, police were able to identify the suspect.

Cassandra Lynn Ellis

Cassandra Lynn Ellis

On Sunday (December 29), the woman, 29-year-old Cassandra Lynn Ellis of Captain Cook, was arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

Monday morning (December 30), detectives charged her with second-degree theft. Her bail was set at $10,000. She remains at the cellblock pending her initial court appearance scheduled for Tuesday (December 31).

Parks Department to Issue Kohanaiki Beach Park Camping Permits

Starting Monday, January 6, the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation will begin issuing permits to camp at Kohanaiki Beach Park, also known as “Pine Trees,” located north of Kailua-Kona.

Kohanaiki Beach Park. Photo Courtesy County of Hawaii Parks & Recreation

Kohanaiki Beach Park. Photo Courtesy County of Hawaii Parks & Recreation

People seeking camping permits must apply in person during normal business hours at the Department’s administrative offices located at 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 6 in Hilo and in Building B of the West Hawai‘i Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Highway in Kailua-Kona. A separate announcement will be issued when permits are made available through the Internet.

Camping fees for Hawai‘i County’s 10 other campgrounds will apply to Kohanaiki Beach Park. Nightly camping fees for Hawai‘i residents are $5 for adults, $2 for junior campers 13 to 17 years old, and $1 for children 12 and younger. The nonresident rate is $20 per night, regardless of age. A valid Hawai‘i driver’s license or state-issued identification is required to verify Hawai‘i residency. First and last names of all campers are required for a camping permit to be issued.

Ehawaii.gov also imposes a nonrefundable $1 per-night processing fee for each adult and junior camper. Ehawaii.gov provides the software program for issuing camping permits and collects the processing fee.

Kohanaiki Beach Park features accommodations for up to 80 campers nightly, ocean access, and both permanent and portable restroom facilities. Operating hours are 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Kohanaiki Beach Park is closed to campers each Tuesday and Wednesday.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

 

HI-PAL Winter Basketball Classic Skills Challenge Winners Announced

Hawai‘i’s premier youth basketball players displayed their talents during the Kevin Kai‘ea Pavel Skills Challenge held Friday night in Hilo as part of the 33rd Annual HI-PAL Winter Basketball Classic.

Kevin Kai‘ea Pavel Skills Challenge Winners: Front row L-R: Tanniya Uchida, Jay Young, Kai Nafarrete and Colby Casinas. Back row L-R: Jamila Collins-Ebanez, Mandi Kawaha, Jaelina Wells, Koby Tabuyo-Kahele and Elijah Dobson. Not pictured: Liko Soares. Photo credit: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Kevin Kai‘ea Pavel Skills Challenge Winners: Front row L-R: Tanniya Uchida, Jay Young, Kai Nafarrete and Colby Casinas. Back row L-R: Jamila Collins-Ebanez, Mandi Kawaha, Jaelina Wells, Koby Tabuyo-Kahele and Elijah Dobson. Not pictured: Liko Soares. Photo credit: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Named in honor of the former Hilo basketball player who lost a battle with cancer on Christmas morning 2007, the Skills Challenge offered players the chance to compete in either the Hot-Shot or 3-Point Shooting events held at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.

Tournament sponsors the Hawai‘i Police Department’s Hawai‘i Isle Police Activities League, or HI-PAL, and the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation wish to congratulate the following Skills Challenge age-group winners:

3-Point Shooting Competition:

  • 9/10-year-old boys: Koby Tabuyo-Kahele; Team Ballistic
  • 9/10-year-old girls: no contestants
  • 11/12-year-old boys: Kai Nafarrete; Team Honolulu Sharks Green
  • 11/12-year-old girls: Tanniya Uchida; Team Stingrays
  • 13/14-year-old boys: Jay Young; Team Honolulu Sharks Green
  • 13/14-year-old girls: Mandi Kawaha; Team Wahine Ryders

Hot-Shot Competition:

  • 9/10-year-old boys: Colby Casinas: Team Honolulu Sharks Gold
  • 9/10-year-old girls: no contestants
  • 11/12-year-old boys: Liko Soares; Team Honolulu Sharks Green
  • 11/12-year-old girls: Jamila Collins-Ebanez; Team Wahine Ryders
  • 13/14-year-old boys: Elijah Dobson; Honolulu Sharks Green
  • 13/14-year-old girls: Jaelina Wells; Team Wahine Ryders

The four-day Winter Basketball Classic attracted 49 teams from Oahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island.

For additional information, please call Officer Randy Morris at 326-4646, ext. 258, or Darrell Yamamoto of the Department of Parks and Recreation at 961-8735.

 

A Private Tour Aboard US Navy Ship the USS Lake Erie

On Monday, December 23rd, I was given the opportunity to get a private tour aboard the US Navy Ship the USS Lake Erie with James and Phyllis Tucker (my uncle and aunt) that were celebrating their 50th anniversary and renewing their wedding vows the following day.

My Uncle and Aunt on the back end of the USS Lake Erie.

My Uncle and Aunt on the back end of the USS Lake Erie. (Click to enlarge)

I began the day with giving them a tour of Pearl Harbor.  One thing I learned is that if you want to catch that first boat out to the USS Arizona Memorial… you need to be at Pearl Harbor very early.

At Pearl Harbor.  USS Arizona Memorial in background. (Click to enlarge)

At Pearl Harbor. USS Arizona Memorial in background. (Click to enlarge)

Unfortunately, we arrived at Pearl Harbor around 8:00 and when we got our tickets to go out to the USS Arizona the time of our departure was 12:45 in the afternoon so instead of visiting the Arizona Memorial we just cruised around Pearl Harbor.

Checking out WWII displays.

Checking out WWII displays.  (Click to enlarge)

At 10:30 I had an appointment set up with a Public Affairs Officer to meet with them at the Navy’s Pass and ID Gate.  We arrived their shortly after 10:00 and let them know that we were waiting for them at the location agreed upon.  My Uncle, Aunt and I then climbed into a Navy van where we were lead into the confines of Pearl Harbor.  I had not told my Uncle or Aunt what we were about to do previously, however, I did tell them to be prepared and wear some walking shoes.

Life on board a Navy ship requires a lot of walking and going up and down ladders and stairs.

Life on board a Navy ship requires a lot of walking and going up and down ladders and stairs

As we arrived at the USS Lake Erie my uncle said “That’s a big ship!”.  At this point I broke the news to them that we were getting a private invitation aboard the ship and I don’t know what they were thinking but I know my uncle was pretty excited about it.

Signing in to the ship and showing ID.

Signing in to the ship and showing ID

We signed in with Navy personnel fronting the ship and showed them are identification so that we could get boarding passes and then quickly made our way aboard the ship.

Learning first hand about the capabilities of the ship.

Learning first hand about the capabilities of the ship

We met Lt. Hillenbrand on board the ship and he told us that he would act as our escort around the boat.  We started at the front of the ship where Lt. Hillenbrand talked to us about the fighting capabilities of the ship and a little history about the ship.

"That's a big gun" said James Tucker.

“That’s a big gun” said James Tucker

USS Lake Erie (CG-70) is a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser of the United States Navy, named after the U.S. Navy’s decisive victory in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. She is the first U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned in Hawaii.  Lake Erie’s motto, “Courage, Determination, Peace,” honors the memory of the men who fought the Battle of Lake Erie and Mrs. Margaret Meyer. Courage to fight, Determination to win, with Peace as the ultimate goal.”

We had the first hand opportunity to see the upkeep of the ship that is done by the sailors as folks were grinding away rust and painting the ship… some folks literally using small brushes to get in the tiniest of spots.

The Commander of the Ship told us “If we take care of the ship… the ship will take care of us”.

The Commander of the Ship told us “If we take care of the ship… the ship will take care of us”

At ll:00 we made our way to the entrance of the ship as Lieutenant Commander Troy Noonen was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his time served aboard the ship as this would be his last day on the ship after serving on her for since May of 2011.

The Commander gives Lt. Noonen a certificate for his time aboard the ship.

The Commander gives Lt. Noonen a certificate for his time aboard the ship

Seeing Lt. Noonen off of the ship:

Lt. Noonens last moment on USS Lake Erie.

Lt. Noonen’s last moment on USS Lake Erie

We then continued on with our tour of the ship where we got to see the helicopter pad and where they store the helicopter and they explained how the helicopter was brought inside of the ship when not in use.

The helicopter pad.

The helicopter pad

We then moved to the bridge of the ship where we got to see where the ship is steered from… of course my uncle wanted to sit in the “Captain’s Chair”!  They talked to us about the general characteristics of the ship and how it was steered and what each seat was for within the bridge.

"You think the Captain would mine if I sat in his chair?"

“You think the Captain would mind if I sat in his chair?”

My uncle, aunt and I all learned a lot about the ship on our brief time above her.  I of course couldn’t get off the ship w/out landing another coin for my collection!

At the helm of the USS Lake Erie

At the helm of the USS Lake Erie

Here is a video of what they did back in September:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/pLnQ4SxTOQU]

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) successfully conducted a flight test today of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, resulting in the intercept of a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile.
At approximately 2:30 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (8:30 p.m. EDT), a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew northwest towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean. Following target launch, the USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles to engage the target. The first SM-3 that was launched successfully intercepted the target warhead. This was the first salvo mission of two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles launched against a single separating target. Official U.S. Navy Video courtesy Missile Defense Agency www.mda.mil

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Navy Issues Record of Decision for Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Environmental Impact Statement

The U.S. Navy has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS).

A Navy ship at Pearl Harbor last week.

A Navy ship at Pearl Harbor last week.

Following several years of research, environmental analysis, and public involvement, the Navy has chosen Alternative 2, the Preferred Alternative described in the HSTT Final EIS/OEIS, to accomplish the Proposed Action. This alternative includes establishment of new range capabilities, adjustments to the types and levels of training and testing and modifications to existing capabilities.

The Navy’s Proposed Action is to conduct training and testing activities – which will include the use of active sonar and explosives – throughout the in-water areas around the Hawaiian Islands, off the coast of Southern California, in the transit corridor between Hawaii and Southern California, and at Navy pierside locations. The Proposed Action also includes sonar maintenance and gunnery exercises conducted concurrently with ship transits as well as pierside testing conducted as part of overhaul, modernization, maintenance and repair activities at Navy piers located in Hawaii and Southern California.

“This EIS was developed with the best available science and will enable the Navy to continue training and testing in Hawaii and Southern California while minimizing potential injury to the environment, as we have safely done for more than 60 years,” said Alex Stone, senior environmental planner for the U.S. Pacific Fleet and HSTT EIS project manager. “This training and testing is essential for the fleet to fulfill its mission of defending the nation and the global commons and leading America’s rebalance to the Indo-Asia-Pacific.”

The Navy prepared the EIS/OEIS to assess potential environmental impacts from its training and testing activities and to support authorizations, permits and consultations required under the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and other relevant statutes.

The ROD is now available to the public. The document and the HSTT Final EIS/OEIS can be found online at www.HSTTEIS.com.