President of Charter School PTSA Accused of Theft and Money Laundering

Attorney General David M. Louie announced that a two-count complaint was filed today in the First Circuit Court charging Tonya Taylor (43) with Theft in the First Degree and Money Laundering.

Tonya Taylor

Tonya Taylor

The two-count complaint charges Ms. Taylor, the former president of the Lanikai Elementary Public Charter School PTSA, with theft of $50,574.41 of the PTSA’s funds.

The complaint also alleges that Ms. Taylor laundered the proceeds of her alleged thefts.

Arraignment and plea is set for Monday, November 4, 2013 at 8:30 a.m., before Judge Richard Perkins. The complaint filed against Ms. Taylor is merely an allegation filed by the State and she is presumed innocent of the charges unless and until she is found guilty by a judge or jury.

Big Island Police Add Link to Website to Allow Public to Monitor Status of Inmates in Jail or Prison

The Hawaiʻi Police Department has added a link to its website that allows citizens to monitor the status of Hawaiʻi inmates in jail or prison.

Click to go to site

Click to go to site

The Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) system is powered by the nationwide Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) system. It offers victims and concerned citizens free, anonymous and confidential access to timely information and notification on the custody and parole status of offenders under the jurisdiction of the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Public Safety.

This service does not apply to inmates in federal prison or suspects being held at a police cellblock before going through the court system.

Interested persons can look up an incarcerated offender’s status on line or sign up to receive phone, email or text messages when that offender’s status changes. This service is particularly valuable to crime victims who want advance notice when their offender will be released from prison or up for a parole hearing.

The link can be found on the Police Department’s website on the Related Links page. It can also be accessed by going to and then clicking on the Hawaiʻi portion of the map.

Hawaii Student Wins 2013 National Poison Prevent Week Poster Contest

Students from Georgia, Alabama and Hawaii found the right words and pictures to convey important messages about preventing poisonings – and they are being honored as the winners of the 2013 National Poison Prevention Week poster contest.

The Poison Prevention Week Council announced the following winners:

  • Grades kindergarten through two: Kayla Michelle Williams – Ellenwood, Georgia
  • Grades three through five: Chandan Makwana – Vinemont, Alabama
  • Grades six through eight: Rachelle Lariba – Kapolei, Hawaii

Winning poster submitted by Rachelle Lariba

National Poison Prevention Week, held the third week in March each year, is observed nationally to highlight the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them. In honor of this awareness week, the Poison Prevention Week Council conducts a nationwide poster contest to educate the public about the dangers of poisonings and the importance of poison prevention.

The winning artwork in each division will be featured on the 2014 National Poison Prevention Week posters. First, second and third place winners in each division are posted online at

Kayla Williams’ poster depicted various household scenarios where children can come into contact with hazardous substances. Her message: “Bad things happen to good people. Keep poisons out of [the] reach of children.”

Chandan Makwana drew a checklist of reminders on avoiding accidental poisonings for young and old alike. His message: “Poisonings span a lifetime. Poisons do not discriminate. Lock them away!”

Rachelle Lariba drew a vivid image about keeping poisonous substances out of the reach of children, along with a written reminder that “Children act fast. So do poisons.”

“The winning posters play an important role in our public awareness campaign each year,” said Nancy Bock, Poison Prevention Week Council Chair. “The Council is extremely proud of the winners and we are excited to share their posters with the public in an effort to teach others about poison safety,” added Bock, Senior Vice President of Education at the American Cleaning Institute.

The posters can be ordered on the Poison Prevention Week Council website at

For more information, contact Nancy Bock, Chair, Poison Prevention Week Council at 202.662.2507 or


Body Glove’s 60th Anniversary and Tiki Mug Release Party One Week Away

One week away until Body Glove’s 60th Anniversary party at the Royal Kona Resort.

Body Glove Party

State Department of Health to Hold Public Hearings for New Food Safety Rules

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) will hold public hearings in all counties between Dec. 2 and 6, 2013, to introduce new food safety regulations that will affect all restaurants and food establishments in the state. The last substantial change to these rules was made nearly 17 years ago in 1996.

Department of Health

Highlights of the new food safety rules include: adoption of the 2009 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Model Food Code as the basis for the rules; introduction of a highly visible restaurant grading system that will require food establishments to post the results of their last state inspection; move to annual permitting from biennial permitting; and permit fee increases.

“Adoption of the FDA Model Food Code will provide Hawaii with nationally recognized standards based on the most current scientific findings on food safety,” said Peter Oshiro, Sanitation Branch chief. “We look forward to enhancing our current state food regulations with these new and improved rules.”

The new grading system will consist of “PASS” (green), “CONDITIONAL PASS” (yellow), and “CLOSED” (red) placards. A “PASS” green placard will be given to food facilities that have one major violation or less that is corrected prior to completion of the inspection. A “CONDITIONAL PASS” yellow placard will be issued to a facility with two or more major violations during an inspection regardless of whether the violations are corrected on site. Major violations require a follow-up inspection. Follow-up inspections are conducted the next working day after notification from the facility that all major violations have been corrected. A “CLOSED” red placard will be issued if there are imminent health hazards that warrant immediate closure of the facility (lack of water, lack of electricity, sewage overflows in food preparation areas, sick employees, vermin infestation, etc.).

Major health inspection violations at food establishments are conditions that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA recognize as the main causes of food illnesses (lack of hand washing, poor temperature controls, and contamination by raw/uncooked foods, etc.)

It is anticipated that the fee increases outlined in the new food safety rules will fund 13 additional full-time inspector positions granted by the state Legislature to be filled in fiscal years 2012-2015. The additional staffing will support an expanded inspection schedule that will include a minimum of three on-site inspections each year for high-risk establishments, two on-site inspections each year for medium risk establishments, and annual visits for all other establishments to meet national program standards and reduce foodborne illness.

“The new food safety rules will mean a huge step forward for our program and will result in overall improvements by expanding food safety testing, pesticide monitoring of local produce, and shellfish monitoring, among many other activities that protect public health every day,” added Oshiro.

To view Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapter 11- 50, titled, “Food Safety Code,” go to Public hearings will be held at the following dates and locations:

Hawaii (Hilo): Monday, Dec. 2, at 1 p.m.

Environmental Health Facility conference room (1582 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo)

Hawaii (Kona): Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m.

West Hawaii Civic Center – Liquor Control conference room, 2nd Floor, Bldg. B

(74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy., Kailua-Kona)

Oahu: Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 1 p.m.

Environmental Management Division conference room, 5th Floor (919 Ala Moana Blvd.,


Maui: Thursday, Dec. 5, at 1 p.m.

UH- Maui College Community Services Building (310 Kaahumanu Ave., Bldg. #205, Kahului)

Kauai: Friday, Dec. 6, at 1 p.m.

Lihue Health Center conference room (3040 Umi St., Lihue)


Crocs Come to Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa

Since 2002, toes of the world have enjoyed the colorful “amphibious footwear” of Crocs™.  Originally created as easy-care boat shoes for wet or dry conditions, Crocs™ work well in the Hawai‘i Island environment, and will soon be available at Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort.


Branching off creatively from the iconic clog design, Crocs™ has stepped into the workplace, golf course, fashion scene and classroom with over 300 styles for men, women and children, including sandals, sneakers and heels.  Available in 90+ different countries, the brand has topped $1 billion in annual sales and continues to expand its markets.

Sharing in that success, Crocs™ proves it is a company with a conscience through its “Crocs Cares” program, which has donated more than three million pairs of shoes to communities in need in more than 40 countries around the world.  By partnering with a variety of global non-profit organizations to help ship and distribute shoes to those in need, Crocs Cares works to help protect the foot from infections and diseases that rob the body of vital nutrients.  And, with the Soles4Souls Foundation, the company also recycles gently used Crocs™ to toes in need around the world.

“Crocs™ are great shoes for Hawai‘i, and a perfect fit for Queens’ MarketPlace,” said Sales and Operations Manager, Margo Mau Bunnell. “They are very comfortable and offer a wide range of styles that fit any lifestyle for children and adults—from fun, colorful and casual, to classy fashion for work or a special night out.  With a full selection available right here on the Kohala Coast, Crocs™ will be the place to shop.”

The Crocs™ shoe store in Queens’ MarketPlace will open later this year, with daily operating hours from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.  For more information, visit or

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens. For more information, visit or call 886-8822.


Pahoa Pool Temporarily Closed for Unexpected Maintenance

Wow, the Pahoa Pool just went through at $1.5 Million dollar renovation project that left the pool closed for nearly a year and now it’s already having to temporarily close because of unexpected maintenance:

Media Release:

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation closed the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center on Wednesday, October 16, so workers could perform unexpected maintenance.

Pahoa Pool

Normal operating hours will resume Thursday, October 17, when the pool will be reopened at 9 a.m. for public recreational and adult lap swimming.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the unexpected closure may cause and thanks the public for its patience and understanding.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Kona Girl Missing Since August

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Kona girl who was reported missing. Addie Cragg was last seen in Kailua-Kona on August 16.

Addie Cragg

Addie Cragg

She is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-5, 140 pounds with blue eyes and long, straight strawberry-blond hair.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call 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.


It’s Seabird Fledging Season

Every year from Mid-September to December, seabird chicks leave their nests and make their first nocturnal flight from their nesting burrow to the sea. Guided by moonlight, the lights from cities, towns and homes can confuse these young birds – and even some adults – and cause them to fall inland rather than continue out to the ocean.

SeabirdDowned seabirds may acquire impact injuries and, once grounded, are also vulnerable to dangers including passing cars and predators. You can help protect our native seabirds by being prepared and knowing what to do if you find a downed seabird.

How to prepare: keep a clean towel, pillow case or large t-shirt and a ventilated cardboard box, pet carrier or other non-airtight container in your car. If you are on foot, just a towel will do.
How to rescue a downed seabird: gently pick up the bird from behind with a towel, carefully wrapping the material completely around its back and wings. Place it in the ventilated container as soon as possible. Keep the bird covered and in a quiet, cool location and do not feed, water or handle it. Take the bird to a permitted wildlife rehabilitation center or contact your island’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife office for further directions (contact numbers provided below). Do not attempt to release the bird yourself as it may have internal injuries or be too tired or weak to survive. Throwing the bird in the air could also cause additional harm.
Hawai‘i Island:
Hawai‘i Wildlife Center: (808) 884-5000
DOFAW Office: (808) 887-6063 or (808) 974-4226
Maui Nui:
DOFAW Office: (808) 984-8100
DOFAW Office: (808) 973-9776
Save our Shearwaters, Kaua‘i Humane Society: (808) 635-5117
DOFAW Office: (808) 274-3433
For more information, including a step-by-step breakdown on how to rescue a downed seabird and ways that you can help reduce light attraction, visit the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center seabird fallout response page at

Pierre Omidyar Comments on His New Venture and Hiring Former Guardian Journalist Glenn Greenwald

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.

As many of you know, I’ve had an interest in journalism for some time now. I’ve been working on Civil Beat for three years and through my philanthropic work at Omidyar Network and Democracy Fund, we’ve supported many efforts around the world related to media, citizen engagement, and government transparency and accountability.

Separate from my work with Omidyar Network and Democracy Fund, and as part of my growing interest to preserve and strengthen the role journalism plays in society, I explored purchasing The Washington Post over the summer. That process got me thinking about what kind of social impact could be created if a similar investment was made in something entirely new, built from the ground up. Something that I would be personally and directly involved in outside of my other efforts as a philanthropist.

I developed an interest in supporting independent journalists in a way that leverages their work to the greatest extent possible, all in support of the public interest. And, I want to find ways to convert mainstream readers into engaged citizens. I think there’s more that can be done in this space, and I’m eager to explore the possibilities.

Right now, I’m in the very early stages of creating a new mass media organization. I don’t yet know how or when it will be rolled out, or what it will look like.

What I can tell you is that the endeavor will be independent of my other organizations, and that it will cover general interest news, with a core mission around supporting and empowering independent journalists across many sectors and beats. The team will build a media platform that elevates and supports these journalists and allows them to pursue the truth in their fields. This doesn’t just mean investigative reporting, but all news.

As part of my learning process, I recently reached out to Glenn Greenwald to find out what journalists like him need to do their jobs well. As it turns out, he and his colleagues Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, were already on a path to create an online space to support independent journalists. We had a lot of overlap in terms of our ideas, and decided to join forces.

I believe that independent journalists like Glenn, Laura, and Jeremy play an important role in our society. We’ll be working with them and others, but we have a long way to go in terms of what the organization looks like, people’s roles and responsibilities — all of those things still need to be worked out.

I’ll be sure to update you along the way as the new organization progresses.

Pierre Omidyar


Flood Advisory Issued for Big Island – Flash Flood Watch Also in Effect

1:55 Hawaii Time

1:55 Hawaii Time











Chevron’s “Fuel Your School Campaign” Awards Big Island School

Today, members of the Chevron Hawaii team visited Ms. Leticia Gonsalves’ 2nd grade class at Waiakeawaena Elementary School in Hilo.  They dropped off a box full of supplies and STEM-related games that Ms. Gonsalves requested in a proposal submitted to Chevron’s Fuel Your School Campaign via, an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students learn.

Ms. Leticia Gonsalves’ 2nd grade class at Waiakeawaina Elementary School in Hilo

Ms. Leticia Gonsalves’ 2nd grade class at Waiakeawaena Elementary School in Hilo

The supplies requested in Ms. Gonsalves’ proposal, “Hands On, Minds On,” foster collaboration, creativity and enrich a child’s overall learning experience.  Ms. Gonsalves was very thoughtful in her selection of items, including various Bingo games that teach children how to tell time and count money, Legos to help children imagine and create a built environment, magnets for classroom surveys, and four shades of brown paint because her students want painted colors that match their skin tones when they paint pictures of themselves, their families and friends.

Students opening packages.

Students opening packages.

To view a complete list of Ms. Gonsalves’ project post, click here:

Supply Box

After the supply box was opened, students selected a game, broke off into groups and played together.  The new games and supplies are a big help to Ms. Gonsalves, who, like many teachers across the state, often spend up to $500 of their own money a year to purchase additional classroom supplies for their students.

Marble Run

This is the first year that the Fuel Your School Campaign is in Hawaii.  Throughout the month of October, everyone can help their local schools by filling up at participating Chevron and Texaco locations.  Chevron will donate $1 for every 8-gallon or more fill up, up to $350,000, to support public education at Hawaii schools.

Teachers are encouraged to post project proposals and requests for learning materials on by November 30, 2013.  Fuel Your School is designed to help support and improve critical educational programs, particularly in STEM subjects, to help prepare students for everyday experiences and plant “seeds of interest” in future STEM-related careers.

Chevron Games

Carina Tagupa, Chevron Hawaii’s Community Relations Specialist stated, “Chevron is a stakeholder in seeing students succeed in science and math. We are proud to launch Fuel Your School in Hawaii in partnership with We encourage public school teachers to post projects on the Donors Choose website now until Nov 30. We also encourage families to visit our Chevron stations and fill up as $1 is donated for an 8 gallon purchase”

Lt. Gov. Tsutsui to Lead New Sports Development Initiative

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today appointed Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui to spearhead the state’s Sports Development Initiative, which aims to coordinate efforts throughout Hawaii to build a thriving sports industry.

Shan Appointed

“This initiative will help to expand sports entertainment and participation opportunities in Hawaii, while also strengthening our visitor economy – particularly during the shoulder seasons when visitor arrivals are less robust,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “With Shan at the helm, we hope to take advantage of each island’s unique characteristics and bring athletic events that fit into their individual environments.”

While collaborating with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, University of Hawaii System, Stadium Authority, and private sports organizations, the initiative will identify, promote and engage opportunities to establish Hawaii as a premier sports destination for professional, amateur and youth athletics. The improvement of current facilities and development of world-class, state-of-the-art venues are also part of the initiative, intended to attract sporting events and athletic training opportunities not only on Oahu but throughout the state.


In addition to positive media exposure and awareness, professional sporting events have contributed well over $100 million to the state’s economy each year, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

“With this Sports Development Initiative, we have the opportunity to diversify our visitor industry and generate more revenue for our state,” Lt. Gov. Tsutsui said. “Everyone can benefit from this initiative – from keiki to kupuna. They will be able to either participate in or attend a variety of sporting events.”

“With this Sports Development Initiative, we have the opportunity to diversify our visitor industry and generate more revenue for our state,” Lt. Gov. Tsutsui said. “Everyone can benefit from this initiative – from keiki to kupuna. They will be able to either participate in or attend a variety of sporting events.”

Through this initiative, community involvement and outreach will expand with more mentoring, camps and clinics to develop young athletes using unique concepts, utilizing teams, players and participants. It will also encourage active lifestyles and improve the health of keiki and adults


Consumer Electronics Industry to Team with ERI for Hawaiian E-Waste Recycling Events

Partnering with the Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company (MRM), in an effort to properly recycle unwanted consumer electronics in the state of Hawaii, Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) has announced two one-day opportunities for Hawaiians to recycle e-waste on Saturday, October 19th. Both events are free to the public, and accepted items include computer equipment, televisions and mobile devices.


For this special manufacturing takeback program, ERI, the largest recycler of electronic waste in the nation, partnering with a number of electronics manufacturers and a local recycling organization in Hawaii, safely recycles all e-waste collected across the Hawaiian islands. Manufacturers work through MRM to sponsor the events. Sponsoring manufacturers include Funai Corporation, Inc., Hitachi America Ltd., Imation, JVC America, Mitsubishi, Orion, Panasonic, PLR IP Holdings (Polaroid), Sanyo Manufacturing Corp., Sharp, Toshiba and VIZIO.

The special e-waste collection events will take place at the following venues:

· Kaimuki High School (2705 Kaimuki Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816), as part of the 10th Annual Community Cleanup for many items beyond electronics — 9:00 – 1:00 pm

· Kapolei Middle School (91-5335 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei, HI 96707) — 1:00 – 5:00 pm

For those unable to participate in the events, MRM-participating manufacturers and ERI have provided and continue to provide the community an opportunity to safely unload their old computers, television sets and other out-dated, unusable or unwanted consumer electronic items via permanent drop off locations across the Hawaiian islands for proper recycling that is safe and environmentally sound.

“With their collaborative support and proactive actions in Hawaii – and across the U.S. as well,” said Tricia Conroy, MRM’s Executive Director, “ERI has continued to be an organization we are proud to partner with. Just as the manufacturers that make up MRM are leaders in the electronic profession by being responsible recyclers of electronic waste and stewards of the environment, so too is ERI. ERI uses innovation and a commitment to doing things right to help forge processes that benefit all of us as well as our planet’s natural resources.”

“Partnering with the responsible electronics manufacturers through MRM to benefit the good people of Hawaii has been and continues to be an honor and a privilege, and the events we are holding later this week are no exception,” said John Shegerian, Chairman and CEO of ERI. “MRM has proven to be a partnering of manufacturing organizations that has been forward-thinking in terms of environmental concerns. That we have already prevented literally millions of pounds of electronic waste from ending up in landfills in Hawaii through our partnership with MRM is a further example of just what can be accomplished when great organizations pool their resources for the common good.”

“Events like these are so important because they help the local residents unload the electronic junk that’s just sitting around while also benefiting the environment,” said Nik Nikolaidis of T&N Computer Recycling Services, who will be collecting the e-waste at the events. “We are proud to be able, alongside MRM and ERI, to help Hawaii’s residents become more environmentally responsible by offering them convenient opportunities to safely dispose of their old electronic devices.”

For local information about these special recycling events, consumers can contact Nik Nikolaidis of T&N Computer Recycling Services at (808) 371-0281. Also, consumers can visit the Hawaii MRM webpage ( for ongoing collection information.

For more information on general recycling needs, visit, or


Applications Being Accepted for 2014 Elks National Foundation’s Most Valuable Student Scholarships

The cost of education continues to rise. For many students entering college, this means getting a job to help pay for school. For others, higher costs mean sacrificing their dream school. Through the 2014 Elks National Foundation’s Most Valuable Student (MVS) scholarship contest, 500 current high school seniors will be able to start college next year with less stress.


This year, the Elks National Foundation is investing in our nation’s future by awarding $3.74 million in college scholarships. MVS scholars are graduating from college at a rate of 90 percent, nearly 40 percent higher than the national average.

Through the contest, the ENF will award 20 top scholarships ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. The remaining 480 runners-up will receive $4,000 scholarships.

The MVS scholarship is available to all high school seniors who are United States citizens. Applicants do not need to be related to a member of the Elks. Males and females compete separately, and are judged on scholarship, leadership and financial need.

Completed applications from east Hawaii residents must be turned into Hilo Elks Lodge at 150 Kinoole St., Hilo HI 96720 no later than December 6, 2013. The 500 national winners will be announced in late April 2014, after the top 20 finalists participate in a Leadership Weekend in Chicago.

Applications for the 2014 contest are available on the Elks National Foundation’s website. For complete Most Valuable Student scholarship contest details including the application, visit, or call Lily Chan-Harris, Hilo Elks Scholarship Chair at 935-1717.

Stop Flu at School Program Begins Today

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) annual Stop Flu at School program begins today and will continue in more than 300 public, private, and charter schools statewide through Nov. 27, 2013. This is the seventh year for the voluntary program, which administers free flu vaccinations to Hawaii students in kindergarten through grade 8.

Flu Shot“Despite cutbacks in spending at all levels of government, we prioritized funding for this important program, which helps protect our children,” said Health Director Loretta Fuddy. “By reducing flu in our keiki, older adults in the household will have less exposure to the virus, so that fewer of them will get it. Ultimately, this cost-effective prevention program saves lives and reduces healthcare costs.”

To vaccinate more than 60,000 students during the six-week program, DOH will orchestrate a team of more than 1,000 clinic staff that include volunteers from the Hawaii Medical Reserve Corps, state Department of Defense, Kaiser Permanente, UH Hilo School of Pharmacy, nursing programs at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii Pacific University, Kapiolani Community College, Chaminade University, UH Hilo, Kauai County Community College, and UH Maui College.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older.

“The Stop Flu at School program not only helps to protect the health of Hawaii students, it is an integral part of maintaining the state’s ability to respond to infectious disease emergencies like pandemic influenza,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist.

“Through this program, we are able to work with our many partners to practice and refine our mass vaccination plans.”

For more information about the Stop Flu at School program, go to or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1. The Stop Flu at School program is an innovative partnership between the State of Hawaii Departments of Health and Education, the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, and Hawaii Catholic Schools. The program is endorsed by the Hawaii Chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians and is made possible through funding received from the CDC and the Hawaii Association of Health Plans.

Hawaii Scientist Wins International Ocean Challenge

Build a better reef, and the world will beat a path to your shore.

A marine biologist at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) has won an international competition by proposing to develop stocks of corals with an extended functional range and resilience to the more acidic and warmer conditions predicted for the oceans of the future.

Ruth Gates, a researcher at HIMB

Ruth Gates, a researcher at HIMB

The winning concept titled “Building a biological toolkit to mitigate ocean acidification impacts and restore corals reefs,” is led by Ruth Gates, a researcher at HIMB, and Madeleine van Oppen, senior principal research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science.  They submitted their concept in response to the Ocean Challenge:  Mitigating Acidification Impacts issued by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in collaboration with The Oceanography Society.  The winning proposal was selected from a pool of 36 concepts from 7 countries around the world.

“Human-assisted evolution for corals is a radical departure from the conservation perspective traditionally applied in the field,” said Gates.  “It’s often confused with GMO-type approaches in which foreign DNA is introduced, but in reality, we are proposing to accelerate naturally occurring evolutionary processes.”

Ofu lagoon, image courtesy Gates laboratory

Ofu lagoon, image courtesy Gates laboratory

Gates and van Oppen propose to build a stock of super corals that are equipped to survive the conditions in oceans of the future.  “Our approach is analogous to the genetic selection of animals and plants in agriculture, aquaculture and forestry and involves pre-conditioning corals to high-acidification scenarios, selective breeding, and introducing new symbionts to the coral hosts,” said van Oppen. “Our goal is to develop and maintain banks of ecologically important, structurally diverse and geographically widespread coral species.”

As test cases, Gates and van Oppen propose to use their modified coral stocks to both restore a denuded reef and to ‘green’ a concrete artificial reef, demonstrating that over time, full reef services can be restored.  This greening effort reflects a growing trend in physical restoration projects that seek to protect coastlines where native corals in barrier reef populations have been destroyed.

“Coral reefs are reservoirs of biodiversity and play central roles in coastal security, tourism and fisheries. Reef health is declining at an alarming rate across the globe as a result of human-induced climate change,” said Gates. “The results of this project have the potential to transform our capacity to preserve and restore coral reefs and to sustain human services in a future characterized by more acidic and warmer coastal waters.”

Madeleine van Oppen, Australian Institute of Marine Science

Madeleine van Oppen, Australian Institute of Marine Science

Over the last 150 years, atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased from 290 ppm to 395 ppm, primarily due to burning of fossil fuels.  The ocean, as a primary carbon sink, is absorbing increasing amounts of atmospheric CO2, lowering surface water pH, impacting the global ocean ecosystem, and potentially threatening marine food supplies.

“We are extremely grateful to the Paul G. Allen Foundation for the award and for raising awareness regarding the potential gains that can be made by employing human-assisted evolution in coral reef ecosystems,” said Gates.  “This is an exciting transition from documenting the demise of reefs to science focused on implementable solutions.”


Big Island Police Searching for 32-Year-Old Woman Wanted on Outstanding Warrants

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 32-year-old woman wanted on outstanding warrants.

Janette Marie Silva

Janette Marie Silva

Janette Marie Silva is wanted on two $10,000 warrants for felony drug offenses. She is also wanted for questioning in connection with a burglary investigation.

She is described as 5-foot-1, 170 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. She has no permanent address but frequents the Puʻuʻeo area of Hilo.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call 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.


Brian Evans, Tom Arnold & William Shatner Live in Kona – Big Island Celebrity Series

The Big Island Celebrity Series Begins in December:
Enjoy an evening of comedy and song when crooner Brian Evans (“At Fenway”) takes to the stage on Kona, introduced by legendary film star William Shatner, followed by a full stand up performance by the hilarious Tom Arnold (“True Lies,” “Roseanne”). Get your tickets now to experience this unexpected surprise in Hawaii!
Autographs will be available and cameras are welcome at the show.

Cameras are welcome at the show.

Tickets: $95 (General)
VIP: $125
Photo with William Shatner (prior to show in personal Meet & Greet): $350 (includes 1 VIP seat to the show)
Saturday, December 28th, 2013 at The Hilton Waikoloa Village in The Monarchy Ballroom
Time: 7:30 PM
Camera’s are allowed at this performance.  Tickets available online here: Big Island Celebrity Series

UH Hilo Performing Arts Center Presents Nnenna Freelon & Trio

World-renowned jazz singer and six-time GRAMMY Award nominee Nnenna Freelon performs at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Performing Arts Center on Friday, October 25 at 7:30 pm. Freelon appears with Miki Hayama on piano, Alfred Batchelor on upright bass, and Leon Joyce on drums.

Nnenna Freelon

Nnenna Freelon

Freelon has earned a reputation as a compelling and captivating live performer. Recently, she triumphed in two productions: composer Laura Karpman’s undertaking of Langston Hughes’ “Ask Your Mama” at The Apollo Theater and The Hollywood Bowl, and in SRO-shows at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival with the Duke Ellington- inspired “Dreaming the Duke” with Harolyn Blackwell and pop-jazz-crossover pianist Mike Garson.

Over the last decade Freelon has garnered six GRAMMY nominations, made her feature film debut in What Women Want starring Mel Gibson, and sang a remake of Frank Sinatra’s classic, “Fly Me To The Moon” for The Visit, starring Billy Dee Williams. She has twice been nominated for the “Lady of Soul” Soul Train Award. Freelon has performed and toured with Ray Charles, Ellis Marsalis, Al Jarreau, and George Benson, among others.
Tickets are reserved seating and priced at $25 General, $20 Discount and $12 UH Hilo/HawCC students and children, up to age 17, and are available by calling the UH Hilo Box Office at 974-7310 or by ordering online at