Hawai‘i County to Install Two New Playgrounds

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce the upcoming installation of new children’s playground equipment at both Waiākea-Uka and Gilbert Carvalho parks in Hilo.


Construction work will start Tuesday, January 21, at Waiākea-Uka Park located at 1200 ‘Āinaola Drive. Beginning Thursday, February 20, work will shift to Gilbert Carvalho Park located at 850 Waiānuenue Avenue.

Both parks will remain open for public use during the construction phase. However, the parks’ existing playgrounds will be removed and therefore unavailable for use. To protect the public, work areas will be fenced in. Park users are advised to be aware of construction activities and equipment at both sites.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks park users and the general public for their cooperation, patience and understanding as we provide for enhanced recreational experiences for our keiki.

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


Sheriff’s Wanted

The Department of Public Safety (PSD) is looking for a few good men and women to join the Sheriff Division.

Sheriff BadgeRecruitment will open on the Department of Human Resources and Development (DHRD) website for a three-week period from this Saturday, Jan. 18, until Feb. 7. PSD is particularly seeking applicants willing to serve on Hawaii Island.

“This recruitment will help the department fill several positions,” said Sheriff Robin Nagamine. “We are looking for people who possess traits and characteristics required for this type of work. Among these are physical and mental fitness, alertness, tact, integrity, honesty, good judgment and the ability to deal effectively with the public.”

“I am very pleased with what this means for the safety and security of the residents of Hawaii Island and, in particular, for my own district of West Hawaii,” said State Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau). “We have been working closely with the Department of Public Safety to accomplish this end, and it will go a long way in helping to ensure peace of mind for our families and neighbors.”

To qualify, the applicant must be a high school graduate; be able to demonstrate knowledge of English grammar, spelling and punctuation; have the ability to read and comprehend complex written material; write a clear, factual report; and have at least two years of work experience which demonstrates these abilities.

After the initial recruitment, chosen applicants will be tested on physical fitness (pushups, sit-ups and a 1.5-mile run) and have to complete a written test to gauge their reading, writing and comprehension skills. After successful completion of the physical ability and written test, the applicant may be scheduled for an interview with the department.

Once the physical testing, written testing and interview are completed, individuals selected from the recruitment will participate in a 5-month Sheriff Recruit Class, which will consist of classroom and on-the-job training in the laws, rules, regulations, principles, practices, procedures and techniques of law enforcement; the operation of firearms and other equipment; as well as physical conditioning.

For a complete list of recruitment requirements and to apply to become a Deputy Sheriff, go to the DHRD website at: http://dhrd.hawaii.gov/job-seekers.

Big Island Police Searching for 38-Year-Old Kohala Man with Medical Condition

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 38-year-old Kohala man who was reported missing.

Jonathan Riveira

Jonathan Riveira

Jonathan Riveira was last seen at a Hawi home Sunday afternoon (January 12). He has a medical condition that requires medication.

He is described as 5-foot-9, 145 pounds with brown eyes and short black hair.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Officer Dayton Tagaca at 889-6540.

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.

Hawaii Receives “A” Grade for Public Health and Injury Prevention from American College of Emergency Physicians

Hawaii has received an “A” grade for Public Health and Injury Prevention in the 2014 American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

Report Card for America’s Emergency Care Environment. The report card also ranked Hawaii second in the nation for injury prevention.
The overall letter grade awarded for the nation in the same area of public health and injury prevention was a “C.”
Department of Health
“The Department of Health is very proud of Hawaii’s A grade for public health and injury prevention; however, there is still a lot of work to be done,” said Dr. Linda Rosen, chief of the EMS System and Injury Prevention. “The report card reflects the state’s early and very wise investment in strong injury prevention policies such as car seatbelt and firearm laws that have resulted in lower injury rates.”
Dr. Rosen added: “There is continued support for injury prevention with the commitment of trauma special and general funds that will help to ensure progress toward reducing and preventing injuries. Through policy change, education, and mobilizing partnerships and communities, Hawaii has been successful in reducing traffic-related fatalities. This same approach is being applied to other emerging areas such as falls among older adults and poisoning prevention.”
Hawaii also ranks above average nationally among all of the categories combined, earning the 24th spot on the list in the five areas of: access to emergency care, quality and patient safety environment, medical liability environment, public health and injury prevention and disaster preparedness.
Hawaii made significant improvements in the area of quality and patient safety environment, receiving a “B-“in 2014, compared to a “D+” in 2009.  The report noted that these improvements reflect the state’s strong commitment to quality care and system oversight.  Hawaii has a uniform system for providing pre-arrival instructions, a statewide trauma registry, and funds a state EMS medical director. To view the state-specific report on Hawaii, go to http://www.emreportcard.org/Hawaii/.
Among Hawaii residents of all ages, injury is the fourth leading cause of death and disability. The Department of Health Injury Prevention Program focuses on the areas of: drowning prevention, fall prevention, poisoning prevention, suicide prevention, traffic safety, and violence and abuse prevention.
For more information on each of these areas go to http://health.hawaii.gov/injuryprevention/

Hawaii Health Advocates Mark 50th Anniversary of First Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health

As the United States marks the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, Hawaii tobacco control advocates are applauding the enormous progress achieved in reducing smoking. However, they are also calling on state leaders to take strong action to continue the fight against what is still the nation’s number one cause of preventable death.


The first Surgeon General’s report, issued on Jan. 11, 1964, alerted Americans to the deadly consequences of smoking. This was a historic turning point in the nation’s fight against tobacco.

“In the past 50 years, the U.S. has made remarkable progress, cutting smoking rates by more than half, thereby protecting much of the population from harmful secondhand smoke and saving millions of lives,” said Lola Irvin, Tobacco Settlement Program manager. “Hawaii can take pride in the progress our state has made in tobacco control since the first SGR was issued.  Hawaii’s youth smoking rates are the second lowest, and adult rates the third lowest in the nation. Over the last ten years, smoking rates for youth went down about 60 percent and for adults almost 40 percent.”

But the battle against tobacco is far from over. Tobacco use still kills more than 440,000 Americans every year, sickens millions more and costs the nation $193 billion a year in health care bills and lost productivity.

Acting Health Director Gary Gill commented: “In Hawaii, an estimated 1,100 adults die annually from smoking, costing $336 million in related medical expenses. The Department of Health will continue its work with partners in Hawaii to prevent initiation of tobacco use by youth and young adults; promote quitting; eliminate involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke; and reduce tobacco-related disparities among population groups. Hawaii is one of only a handful of states that continues to use the master settlement agreement payments on tobacco prevention and control efforts.”

Gov. Neil Abercrombie noted the challenge of addressing the increasing use of new, unregulated products, such as electronic smoking devices or e-cigarettes: “Hawaii must remain vigilant about smoking behavior, especially as it influences our youth because we don’t want it to be an entryway into more dangerous smoking or drug use. On the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report, it is time for our nation and Hawaii to end the smoking epidemic. We know how to do so, and we cannot afford to wait another 50 years.”

To learn more about the Surgeon General’s Report, The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress, go to www.SurgeonGeneral.gov. Important Hawaii Milestones in Tobacco Prevention and Control

The following are highlights of important milestones that contributed to Hawaii’s successful reduction in tobacco use. The efforts were
achieved by partners across legislative, governmental, public and business sector organizations, and concerned community members
who worked to introduce and pass state and county policies on tobacco sales and use, and providing resources for communities to help people quit.
  • 1965:  The state tax on tobacco products was amended to 40% of the wholesale price
  • 1976:  Smoking in Public Places legislation (Act 108) passed by the state legislature prohibiting smoking and requiring signage for designated areas (e.g. elevators, auditoriums, meeting rooms, community centers)
  • 1978:  The Hawaii Department of Health developed states’ first governmental agency policy on smoking
  • 1988:  Sale of Tobacco Products to Minors legislation (Act 293) passed raising legal age from 15 to 18 years
  • 1991:  Hawaii Department of Education policy bans smoking in all departmental classrooms, facilities and activities. Act 253 passed by state legislature restricting placement of cigarette vending machines
  • 1997:  City and County of Honolulu prohibits smoking in all enclosed workplaces (except bars, restaurants, and nightclubs)
  • 1998:  Hawaii State Attorney General entered into master settlement agreement with 5 of the largest tobacco companies and 45 other states
  • 1999:  Hawaii establishes Tobacco Settlement Special Fund and Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund. . Hawaii cigarette tax increased to $1/pack
  • 2005:  Hawaii Tobacco Quitline started
  • 2006:  Hawaii became 14th state to enact a Smoke-free Workplace and Public Places Law (Act 395) prohibiting smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants, bars, and nightclubs
  • 2008:  The Big Island passed an ordinance banning smoking in all county beaches, parks, and recreation areas, followed in 2010 with legislation prohibiting smoking in motor vehicles when a minor is present
  • 2011: Hawaii cigarette tax raised to $3.20/pack
  • 2013: Hawaii legislature passes law banning sales of electronic smoking devices to minors under 18 and requiring warning signage (Act 295). The Big Island increases the legal age to by tobacco products to 21
  • 2014:  Honolulu County enacts ordinance banning smoking at all beaches, parks, and bus stops on Oahu

Second “Exceptional Energy” Lecture Series Event Features Renewable Energy Specialist Andrea Gill

Friends of NELHA (FON) will continue its series of lectures about energy at the NELHA Gateway Visitor Center on Thursday, January 30. The second speaker in the series is Andrea Gill, State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) Renewable Energy Specialist. Her topic will be “Understanding Energy/Electricity
Costs.”  The Exceptional Energy Lecture Series event will start at 5:30 pm and admission is free.

Andrea Gill

Andrea Gill

Andrea Gill has lived in Hilo since 1979.  She hails from Honolulu and attended Roosevelt High School and Stanford University. While at Stanford, Gill co-authored a four-volume report on biomass energy for Hawaii.  After graduation, she began working for the State’s energy program, managing a solar planning project and then opening the Hawaii Energy Extension Service office in Hilo.  She has authored a number of papers on ocean energy and the direct use of geothermal energy for presentation at energy industry conferences.

Andrea Gill also served as co-chair of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative’s Electricity Working Group, which discussed programs to expand the use of renewable energy in Hawaii through increased generation and improvements in transmission and distribution systems.  Among her recent projects was the development of Renewable EnerGIS, an online mapping tool that permits landowners, developers, and policy makers assess the renewable energy resources and pertinent attributes – like rainfall and zoning – for specific land parcels and ocean locations statewide.

The Exceptional Energy Lecture Series consists of five lectures on energy issues. The series is sponsored in part by the Hawaii Energy Resource Center, a component of the County of Hawaii’s Department of Research and Development. A lecture on “Energy Resource Optimization” is scheduled for Wednesday, February 19.

Call FON at 808.329.8073 for more information on the Exceptional Energy Lecture Series.

Hawaii Island Humane Society’s 18th Annual Tropical Paws Benefit

Hawaii Island Humane Society’s 18th annual Tropical Paws benefit event will take place Friday, March 28, 2014. The gala affair is held annually at Four Seasons Hualalai Resort and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

Click for more information

Click for more information

Tropical Paws has an established reputation for abundant silent and live auctions, cocktail reception with furry friends meet and greet, Four Seasons-style buffet dinner, and entertainment and dancing. Proceeds from the festive evening help support Hawaii Island Humane Society’s Second Chance Fund and Spay/Neuter Community Assistance Program. The Second Chance Fund provides medical care and treatment for abused animals while they recuperate and become ready for adoption. The goal of the Spay/Neuter Community Assistance Program is to end pet overpopulation on the Big Island through increased spays and neuters and community education.

“Tropical Paws is by far our largest and most important fundraiser of the year,” said HIHS Executive Director Donna Whitaker. “We are in need of and appreciate the early support of individuals and businesses that, through their donations of cash and auction items, recognize the important work of Hawaii Island Humane Society.”

Tickets, which are $125 per person or $2,000 for a reserved table of ten, will be available beginning early February at HIHS’s Keaau, Waimea and Kona shelters and online at www.HIHS.org. A portion of each table sale is tax deductible as allowed by law.

Visit HIHS.org or call 808-329-8002 for information regarding donation and sponsorship opportunities.

Free Keiki “Read to Me” Activity Saturday in Hilo

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), in partnership with Read to Me International, is hosting a “Read to Me” activity Saturday, January 18, in Hilo.

Read to Me

Open to children enrolled in kindergarten through the third grade, the free event will be held from 10 a.m. until noon outside the entrance of the Hilo Walmart store located at 325 East Maka‘ala Street. RSVP members will read age-appropriate books to the children, conduct hands-on activities and give participants a free book to take home.

All participating keiki must be accompanied by a parent or authorized guardian.

The Department of Parks and Recreation wishes to thank Read to Me International and the Hilo Walmart store for helping to promote literacy among young readers.

For more information, please call Kaui Paleka-Kama at 961-8730.

Dear Hawaii Pharmacies – Re: Expedited Partner Therapy

Dear Hawaii Pharmacies:

On July 1, 2013, Governor Abercrombie signed SB 655, SD2, HD2, CD1 into law (Act 250, SLH 2013 – see PDF of the new law below).

Act 250

This new law allows health professionals, subject to certain requirements, to treat the partners of patients diagnosed as having certain sexually transmitted diseases by dispensing or prescribing medication to the partners without examining the partners. The language in this new law also allows pharmacists to fill a prescription and dispense the antibiotic where a specific patient’s name is not indicated but written as “Expedited Partner Therapy” or “EPT”.

If a customer wishes to amend the “Expedited Partner Therapy” or “EPT” prescription by naming a specific individual, the pharmacist must first obtain authorization from the prescriber before issuing a new prescription with the specific patient’s name.

Also covered under the new law are prescriptions that are electronically transmitted to the pharmacy and prescriptions written by an “out-of-state practitioner”.

This new law also included pharmacists under the definition of “Health professional” and requires that the “Health professional” that dispenses or prescribe expedited partner antibiotic therapy distribute an information sheet developed by the Hawaii State Department of Health (“DOH”), to the patient.

The DOH has developed the attached information sheets, which are also available on their web page at http://health.hawaii.gov/std-aids/for-providers/ept-expedited-partner-therapy/.

If you have any questions pertaining to the “Expedited Partner Therapy” or “EPT” prescriptions, you may call the DOH, Food and Drug Branch at 586-4725.

If you have any questions pertaining to the information sheets, you may call the DOH, STD/AIDS Prevention Branch at 733-9281.

Your anticipated cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated.

Multiagency Search Locates Missing Fisherman Adrift and Out of Gas Off the Big Island

A fisherman is safe ashore after his vessel ran out of gas and he spent the night adrift off the coast of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Wednesday.

Lost Fishermen
At 6:11 p.m. Wednesday, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received a report from Hawaii Fire Department that a man was overdue from a fishing trip.

The fisherman was last seen Wednesday afternoon on his 17-foot fishing boat approximately 40 miles west of Kailua-Kona near a NOAA data buoy.

Watchstanders created a probable search area based on the limited available information and launched an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point at 10:20 p.m. The Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake, an 87-foot patrol boat, was also dispatched from its home-port in Honolulu.

The Hercules crew dropped two self-locating datum marker buoys to better calculate the probable drift of the vessel and to refine the search area using the search and rescue optimal planning system, a computer program which factors in numerous variables to give responders a better chance of finding someone lost at sea.

At 1:20 a.m., the Hercules airplane crew spotted a boat within the area of interest nine miles west of Kailua-Kona with an individual waving his arms to get their attention. The Hercules circled the boat until Kittiwake arrived at 4 a.m. to take the vessel in tow.

Kittiwake safely transferred the passenger and vessel to a Hawaii County Fire Department rescue boat who continued the tow to Keauhou Marina.

“We are thankful that the C-130 and Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake were able to locate the fisherman,” said Lt. Cmdr. James Bendle, search and rescue mission coordinator for Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “It was a team effort that spanned multiple units including our partners at the Hawaii County Fire Department who searched the shorelines last night ultimately completing the tow and safely delivering the man to his family this morning.”

The fisherman was wearing a lifejacket, but was not equipped with other essential safety equipment such as a working VHF radio, flares and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. Mariners should also file a float plan, which can provide critical information to first responders on where to search. Individuals should always stay with their vessel, even if capsized, as it improves their chance of being located.

The Coast Guard strongly encourages boaters to remain aware of their vessel’s fuel capacity and other limitations while operating offshore of the Hawaiian Islands, especially during times of severe weather and high surf.

For more information on boating safety, visit ww.uscgboating.org.

For more information, contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu public affairs officer at (808) 842-2657.

If additional imagery becomes available, it will be published in an updated release.

White Bengal Tiger Namaste Euthanized at Hilo Zoo

Namaste, a male white Bengal tiger that was the star attraction of the Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens in Hilo for fifteen years, was euthanized this morning.



Over the past several weeks, Namaste developed multiple health problems that caused his quality of life to deteriorate.

Donated to the Pana‘ewa Zoo in 1999 by Las Vegas magician Dirk Arthur, Namaste was 8 months old when he arrived on Hawai‘i Island. For 15 years, Namaste’s daily afternoon feedings drew a crowd, and his birthday parties held every September attracted hundreds of attendees.

Namaste was buried today in his enclosure, and the spot will soon be marked with a monument. The zoo also has plans to welcome another tiger after making some renovations to the tiger habitat to accommodate a younger animal.

Hilo Harbor Kumau Street Entrance Improvements Project Begins Work

A blessing ceremony was held this morning by the state Department for Transportation (DOT) for the Hilo Harbor Kumau Street Entrance Improvements Project.

State and project officials took part in a blessing ceremony at Hilo Harbor to launch the $3.4 million Kumau Street Entrance Improvements Project. From left to right, Kahu Brian Welsh, Haili Congregational Church; Glenn Okimoto, Director, State DOT; Nami Wong, State Project Manager, Harbors Division; Creighton Chang, Senior Project Manager, Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co.; Neal Fukumoto, Senior Engineer, Wesley R. Segawa & Assoc.; Jeff Hood, Harbors District Manager, Harbors Division; and Bill Wilson, Kamaaina Nissan.

State and project officials took part in a blessing ceremony at Hilo Harbor to launch the $3.4 million Kumau Street Entrance Improvements Project. From left to right, Kahu Brian Welsh, Haili Congregational Church; Glenn Okimoto, Director, State DOT; Nami Wong, State Project Manager, Harbors Division; Creighton Chang, Senior Project Manager, Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co.; Neal Fukumoto, Senior Engineer, Wesley R. Segawa & Assoc.; Jeff Hood, Harbors District Manager, Harbors Division; and Bill Wilson, Kamaaina Nissan.

The $3.4 million project will widen Kumau Street from two lanes to four lanes and modify the intersection of Kumau Street and Kalanianaole Street to improve safety and relieve traffic congestion.  Road improvements include new asphaltic concrete pavement, concrete sidewalks, curbs, gutters, drainage systems, water mains and additional street lighting at the intersection of Kumau and Kalanianaole Streets.

“Hilo Harbor is a vital facility for the Big Island’s east side and these improvements will benefit the entire island,” said Glenn Okimoto, DOT Director.  “The on-going projects to improve and expand harbor operations will serve these communities for generations to come.”

The Kumau Street Entrance Improvements will provide an alternate entry and exit point for commercial cargo traffic when cruise ships are in port. Currently, during cruise ship dockings at Pier 1, cargo operations and cruise ship passenger traffic can overload roadway capacity at the Kuhio Street entrance, leading to traffic and pedestrian congestion.  The new improvements will help to separate the passenger traffic from cargo operations to improve safety and overall efficiency.

Completion of the Kumau Street Entrance Improvements Project is anticipated in late January 2015.

Hawai‘i County Welcomes Senior Softball Players From Canada, California and Hawaii – Mayor’s Cup Senior Softball Tournament

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to welcome kupuna athletes from Canada, California and throughout Hawai‘i who are coming to Hawai‘i Island to play in the 2nd annual Mayor’s Cup Senior Softball Tournament.

Softball Tournament

Games will be played at Maka‘eo Park, also known as Old Airport Park, in Kailua-Kona starting Monday, January 20, and wrapping up Thursday, January 23.  The public is invited to watch players competing in the tournament’s two age-group divisions: 60 years and older; and 70 years and older. Admission is free.

Tournament fees will go to the nonprofit Hawai‘i Island United Way for use in supporting dozens of local health and human service organizations. Last year’s inaugural tournament was a tremendous success, and this year’s event promises to deliver an even greater financial boost to Hawai‘i Island’s less fortunate.

The Department of Parks and Recreation humbly asks residents to serve as good hosts by showing aloha for the visiting senior softball players and their families.

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

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park February 2014 Hawaiian Cultural & After Dark in the Park Programs

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the community and visitors in February. All programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and your $2 donation helps support park programs.  Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

What We Don’t Know About Hawaiian Volcanoes. For all that scientists have learned about Hawaiian volcanoes during the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s first 100 years, there are still questions to be answered.

Mike Poland, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Scientist. (USGS HVO photo)

Mike Poland, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Scientist. (USGS HVO photo)

James Dwight Dana, one of the first geologists to study Hawaiian volcanoes, called these unknowns “points requiring elucidation” in his book, Characteristics of Volcanoes, in 1890.  In the years since, many of Dana’s points have been addressed, but some have not.  A number of new questions have also arisen, thanks to years of continuous observation and study of Kīlauea, Mauna Loa, and other Hawaiian volcanoes.  USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist Mike Poland will discuss the big issues faced by volcanologists studying Hawai‘i’s volcanoes today, from the source of magma deep within the Earth to predicting eruptions—or determining when an ongoing eruption will end! Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

When: Tues., Feb. 4, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Up in Arms! The Struggle to Preserve the Legacy of the National Park Service During Wartime.

U.S. Army Signal Corps, 1940s. Building 34 in background used to intern Japanese Americans during World War II (Kilauea Military Camp photo)

U.S. Army Signal Corps, 1940s. Building 34 in background used to intern Japanese Americans during World War II (Kilauea Military Camp photo)

Park archeologist Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura shares a revealing and fascinating presentation of the challenges faced by the National Park Service before, during, and after World War II at Kīlauea, in what was then called Hawai‘i National Park. The findings of Moniz-Nakamura’s extensive research were recently published in The Hawaiian Journal of History, vol. 47 (2013). Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

When: Tues., Feb. 11, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Kalo Demonstration. Join Sam and Edna Buldado as they share the cultural uses of the kalo (taro) plant. Kalo is used for many things, including food, medicine, glue, and dyes – making it one of the most important plants in all of Hawai‘i. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

When: Wed., Feb. 13, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Russell Mauga in Concert. Enjoy an evening of contemporary Hawaiian music through the vibrant voice and slack-key guitar styling of Russell Mauga, one of Hawai‘i Island’s top entertainers.  Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.

When: Wed., Feb. 19, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Lei Hulu a me Ulana Pāpale Lauhala. Join master lei maker Kilohana Domingo as he demonstrates the intricate art of lei hulu, or feather lei making. His mother, Lehua Domingo, will share the detailed ‘anoni style of weaving pandanus leaves into an exquisite pāpale, or hat. Both lei hulu and pāpale will be on display. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

When: Wed., Feb. 26, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Agricultural Registration Process Established for All Commercial Crops in Hawai‘i County

The Hawai‘i County Department of Research & Development is inviting all commercial farmers who grow and sell agricultural products including organic, conventional and genetically modified crops to complete a new county agricultural registration form.


“This new registration system will allow the county to identify and better support commercial agricultural activities across the island,” said Laverne Omori, director of the Research & Development department.

The department plans to use the new registration program to identify the crops being grown, the locations of those farming activities, and the owners of the lands that are being farmed. It will help the county to accurately inventory all commercial farming activities to help assess the strengths and needs of the agricultural community, and to identify areas where additional federal, state or county investment may be necessary to assist farmers.

The registration form meets the requirements of the newly adopted Chapter 14, Article 22, Section 14-133 of the Hawai‘i County Code, which requires registration of genetically modified crops by March 5, 2014.

There is no cost for registration. The new ordinance establishes a $100 registration fee for genetically modified crops, but the county is waiving all fees for all farmers who register.

The registration form with instructions is available online at hawaiicounty.gov/online-services, or at the Department of Research & Development’s offices in the Hawai‘i County Building in Hilo or the West Hawai‘i Civic Center in Kona.

For more information or assistance with the registration process, call the Department of Research & Development at (808) 961-8366.

The Queen’s Health Systems Names Kenneth D. Graham as Acting President of North Hawaii Community Hospital

The Queen’s Health Systems (Queen’s), corporate parent of The Queen’s Medical Center (QMC), named Kenneth D. Graham, MPH, RHIA, FACHE as Acting President of North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH).

Dr. Kenneth Graham

Kenneth Graham

Graham’s primary role will be to create a relationship of cooperation and trust between Queen’s and both NHCH and the people of North Hawaii.

“Ken has significant experience in a wide array of senior healthcare executive management and leadership roles,” said Art Ushijima, President of The Queen’s Health Systems.  “He is clearly aware of the Queen’s mission and values and will bring that sensitivity in his leadership to the staff and patients at North Hawaii Community Hospital.”

“It is truly an honor to serve Queen’s, NHCH and the North Hawaii community in this important capacity,” said Graham.  “We are currently working with NHCH to assess and address NHCH’s immediate needs.  One immediate focus will be on stabilizing the hospital’s challenging financial situation.  Ultimately, our goal is to have a hospital that will advance both the missions of Queen’s and NHCH.”

Graham previously served as System Integration Advisor in the Office of Queen’s President and CEO Art Ushijima, supporting hospital planning, clinical integration, corporate alignment, and neighbor-island health.  He also provided team support for activation of The Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu and the affiliation with NHCH.

He is the former President and CEO of El Camino Hospital, a 542 bed district owned not-for-profit hospital, located on two campuses in the heart of SiliconValley. Under his leadership, El Camino was named “The most technologically advanced hospital in the world” by Popular Science Magazine in December 2009.

Previously he served as CEO at Overlake Hospital Medical Center (337 beds), and in various executive positions with the Daughters of Charity Health System West (2,400 beds), Grossmont District Hospital (426 beds), and Long Beach Community Hospital (350 beds).

He is professionally certified in medical record administration (RHIA), and also certified in healthcare administration (FACHE).  Through his career as a hospital executive, he has served as CEO at sophisticated hospitals and as a board member or advisor to dozens of healthcare organizations.

He earned a B.S in Public Health, and a Masters of Public Health, both from UCLA.

Queen’s also named Marilynn Hata as Acting Vice President of Finance and Operations.  Hata has extensive practice management consulting experience with a number of physicians.  She previously served as a business development consultant for Queen’s. Hata was born and raised in Hilo and has an MBA from the University of Hawaii.  Her father, the late Richard T. Hata, M.D., was a general surgeon in Hilo.

“I am pleased that Ken and Marilynn will be leading our transition team,” said Ushijima.  “They will both be instrumental in determining what kinds of support North Hawaii Community Hospital will be needing from Queen’s.  Over the coming months, we will be conducting a search for a permanent president to lead North Hawaii Community Hospital’s future growth and development.”

On December 16, 2013, Queen’s announced that it had officially entered into an affiliation agreement with NHCH.  In the agreement, NHCH became a corporate entity under Queen’s, similar to The Queen’s Medical Center and Molokai General Hospital.  QMC has had a clinical affiliation with NHCH since 2005.

The affiliation takes effect January 15, 2014.  Both Queen’s and NHCH expect the transition to occur without any disruption of service to the community.

North Hawaii Community Hospital is a private, non-profit community hospital that serves more than 30,000 residents in North Hawaii.  Located in Waimea (Kamuela), Hawaii Island, NHCH opened in May 1996. Its mission is to improve the health of the people of North Hawaii by improving access to care and providing high-quality services at a reasonable cost.  NHCH is an acute-care hospital with 33 licensed beds, 24 hour emergency services, 376 employees, and 68 active physicians.

Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language Fall 2013 Dean’s List

Hawaiian Language College

The following students in Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo received Dean’s List honors for the Fall 2013 semester:

Alexandria U`ilani Agdeppa, Ka`alalani Wilson Ahu, Corey Thomas Bell, Samuel Frances Clubb, Dillon Keane Dominguez, Brandy Dugo, Martin Keone Ennis, Alexander Kawika Guerrero, Kana Hayase, Stacy Caruth Joel, Kamalani M Johnson, Aleysia-Rae K Kaha, Kamaleikuuipo Kalehuawehe-Valentine, Micah Leialoha Kealaiki, Emma Nohea Laurel Aika Koa, Dylon Garreth Koehn, Monique Lee Komoda, Ciera Mae Lamb, Yixiao Li, Daniel William McDonald, Hokulani Bennett Mckeague, Maranda Dawn Mumm, Amanda Rose O’Farrell, Angela Ann F Pastores, Natalie Laua`e Poy, Christopher Bryan Ramos, Ronald Kaipo Santos, Noriko Sato, Nelli Vyacheslavovna Semenko, Jennifer Ku`uipo Thomson, Teren Nahelenani Travaso, Kellie Chiemi Yagi, Cheyne Isao Yong Yonemori, and Abcde Kawehi Zoller.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 32-Year-Old Hilo Woman

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 32-year-old Hilo woman who was reported missing.

Malia Pelekane

Malia Pelekane

Malia Pelekane was last seen Saturday (January 11) in Hilo.

She is described as 5-foot-2, 170 pounds with brown eyes and shoulder-length black hair.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call 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.

“Aloha Ohshima” Relief Drive Extended Through End Of January

Typhoon Wipha ravaged coastal towns along Japan’s east coast on October 16, 2013, and the hardest hit place was Ohshima Island, a sister city of Hawai‘i County. Wipha brought torrential rains – a record-breaking 33 inches in 24 hours – that caused flooding and mudslides that destroyed nearly 300 homes. 32 deaths have been reported and nine people were missing in the most recent report.

Carol Van Camp of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawai'i presents a $1,000 donation from the chamber to the Aloha Ohshima relief drive. Van Camp is joined by Honorary Consul General of Japan Art Taniguchi, Hawai'i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, and Hiroshi Suga and Tommy Goya of the Japanese Community Association of Hawai'i. Also pictured is Ohshima's 50th anniversary gift to Hawai'i County, a copper piece crafted by a 19th-generation craftsman assisted by the people of Ohshima.

Carol Van Camp of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawai’i presents a $1,000 donation from the chamber to the Aloha Ohshima relief drive. Van Camp is joined by Honorary Consul General of Japan Art Taniguchi, Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, and Hiroshi Suga and Tommy Goya of the Japanese Community Association of Hawai’i. Also pictured is Ohshima’s 50th anniversary gift to Hawai’i County, a copper piece crafted by a 19th-generation craftsman assisted by the people of Ohshima.

As Ohshima’s only sister city, the County of Hawai‘i joined the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawai‘i, Japanese Community Association, and Kona Japanese Civic Association in the Aloha Ohshima relief drive. The drive has been extended through the end of January 2014, bolstered by a recent donation of $1,000 from the JCCIH. Donations to “Aloha Ohshima” will continue to be accepted at Bank of Hawai‘i branches statewide.

In Japanese, Ohshima means “big island” – so it’s fitting that Ohshima Island’s only international sister city relationship is with Hawai‘i’s Big Island. Though Ohshima is much smaller than Hawai‘i Island – about 35 square miles with a population of 8,200 – it is home to waterfalls, valleys, and Mt. Mihara, an active volcano 2,507 feet tall. Located 75 miles south of Tokyo, Ohshima is the largest island in the Izu group, over a dozen islands extending south from the Izu Peninsula.

The County of Hawai‘i’s sister city relationship with Ohshima Island was initiated in 1962 by the Board of Supervisors, the predecessor to today’s County Council. The Chairman and Executive Officer of the Board of Supervisors, the predecessor to the office of the Mayor, was Thomas K. ‘Lofty’ Cook. Members of the Board of Supervisors at the time were Wing Kong ‘Winkie’ Chong, Elroy Osorio, Helene Hale, Sherwood Greenwell, Ikuo Hisaoka, and Elias Yadao.

A monument commemorating the sister city relationship was erected in 1992, the 30th anniversary of the relationship, in Lili‘uokalani Gardens, by Ohshima Mayor Nagaharu Shimizu.

The most recent visit to Hawai‘i Island by friends from Ohshima Island was in October 2012. Mayumi Jinguh and Zen Tanaka of Ohshima visited on behalf of Mayor Masafumi Kawashima, delivering a letter and a 50th anniversary gift – a copper relief depicting a rainbow bridge between Hawai‘i Island and Ohshima Island. Tanaka, the 19th master of a 414-year-old copper craftsmanship school, started his work with copper when he was 15 years old. The people of Ohshima Island, including Mayor Masafumi Kawashima, participated in crafting the piece.

Mayor Kenoi Addresses Legislature

Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi addressed the State Senate Committee on Ways & Means and the State House Committee on Finance today, the opening day of the 2014 Hawai’i State Legislature. His submitted testimony is below:

Mayor Kenoi testifying before the legislature in 2011.

Mayor Kenoi testifying before the legislature in 2011.

Aloha, Chair Ige, Chair Luke and distinguished members of the Senate Ways and Means and House Finance Committees. Thank you for this opportunity to appear before you to outline our priorities for the Island of Hawai’i for the 2014 legislative session.
We remain cautiously optimistic that the economy is slowly recovering. We are hopeful that the difficult decisions made at both the state and county levels are contributing to the increasingly positive economic trends. However, we recognize that we all have a great deal more work to do to support our communities.
We would like to underscore the importance of a number of state initiatives, and respectfully request that the Legislature support these projects to create jobs, provide relief from traffic congestion, protect public safety, and invest in critical infrastructure. We are prepared to assist our legislators and the state of Hawai’i with these projects in any way possible, and look forward to working with you to implement and expedite the following state initiatives.
Improvements to Highway 130, Kea’au-Pahoa Highway
We again ask for your support to provide urgently needed traffic relief to thousands of working people who are commuting each day on the Kea’au-Pahoa Highway. This highly congested state highway is the only major route in and out of Lower Puna, and serves one of the fastest growing regions in our state. Last year the state began construction on the first phase of the plan to convert the existing shoulder lane system on the highway into permanent lanes, and design work is underway for the second phase of the shoulder lane project. We appreciate the support the Legislature has already given to this critically needed transportation infrastructure.
We also ask your committees to press ahead with the larger plan to expand more than nine miles of the Kea‘au-Pahoa Highway to four lanes. State studies show that four intersections along this highway rank among the most dangerous in the state based on the numbers of serious accidents, and improvements to this thoroughfare are an urgent matter of public safety. A design consultant has been selected for this larger project to increase the capacity of this highway and make it safer, but no firm source of construction funding has yet been identified. Your commitment to provide state funding for this project would protect public safety and significantly improve the quality of life for the residents of Puna.
Civil Defense Sirens
We strongly support the administration’s request for an extra $2.5 million in each of the next two fiscal years to modernize the state civil defense siren system, which is critical to protect public safety. The Legislature has already provided $16.4 million to begin its statewide modernization effort, and we thank you for that support. Contractors began work around the state in 2013 on the first phases of this project, and work in the County of Hawai’i is expected to begin this spring. This initiative will convert the existing radio-activated siren system to a more reliable satellite- and cellular-based system.
The additional $5 million for the siren systems over the next two years would be used to add new sirens to better notify the public in the event of an emergency. That would include 36 additional, modern sirens planned for Hawai‘i Island, and we urge your committees to continue this effort to protect our communities and expand this important piece of our public safety infrastructure.
Statewide Juvenile Intake and Assessment Centers
The Hawai‘i Juvenile Justice Working Group last month issued a compelling report that demonstrates the need for alternatives to incarceration for young offenders, particularly for youths who are convicted of misdemeanor offenses. The report noted that each bed at the Hawai‘i Youth Correctional Facility on O‘ahu costs state taxpayers $199,320 per year, which underscores the fiscal impacts of incarceration of our youth.
Last year the Office of Youth Services in partnership with the Hawai‘i County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney launched the first juvenile intake and assessment center in East Hawai‘i with federal funding from the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. This pilot program assesses at-risk youth who have been arrested for minor or status offenses, identifies their needs, and links them and their families with appropriate services. These youths are not a threat to public safety, and diverting them out of the criminal justice system helps to free up our police officers for more important patrol duties, making better use of our public safety resources. Additional federal funding has been awarded to continue this initiative in 2014, and we strongly support the effort by OYS to expand this program to other islands and to Kona.
We also ask the Legislature to support statewide initiatives to increase funding for truancy prevention programs, and to place juvenile parole officers on Neighbor Islands. Current plans call for hiring a juvenile parole officer in East Hawai‘i and a second Kona parole officer to supervise and assist youths who have been incarcerated. We need to provide the necessary resources to intervene and divert these youths out of the criminal justice system and into services that will help them to succeed.
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building
We ask for your continued support in building on the successes of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and our community college system, which have allowed higher education to emerge as an economic engine on Hawai’i Island. The university is now the second largest employer in East Hawai’i, and is preparing our young people for success in our community and across the state. The continued growth of our higher educational system is essential for our economic success and our future.
In 2011 the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo became the first school of pharmacy in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Region to become fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. The college is the only school in the state offering a doctorate in pharmacy, and has been an extraordinary success. An economic impact study in 2011 found the college is generating more than $50 million per year in economic activity statewide, and each dollar of investment in salaries at the college is attracting more than three dollars in spending from outside sources.
The college was granted accreditation before obtaining permanent facilities, and it is time to provide a permanent home for the college to meet its long-range needs and assure it retains accreditation. Providing a permanent home for the college will allow it to fulfill its promise as a center of excellence in education and health sciences. We strongly agree with the request by the administration and the Board of Regents for $28 million in general obligation and $5 million in revenue bonds to finance the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building.
Primary Care Training and Rural Residency Program
The state and Hawai‘i Island continue to face a severe physician shortage, and projections by the John A. Burns School of Medicine suggest the physician shortage will dramatically worsen in the next five years as many doctors retire. An important piece of the solution for our communities is the Hawai‘i Island Family Medicine Residency Program, which was recently notified that it has met the requirements for two-year accreditation. The program is actively recruiting, and will welcome its first class in July. National research shows that 80 percent of residents practice close to the facilities where they train, and we know this program will help ease the physician shortage in our county and in rural areas across the state.
We continue to support efforts by the Hawai’i Health Systems Corporation and our Hawai’i Island delegation to seek a state commitment of $2.8 million per year for the HHSC primary care training program. This includes the Hawai’i Island Family Medicine Residency program, and will also offer training to advanced practice nurses from programs at University of Hawai’i at Manoa and Hilo, and to students from the UH-Hilo College of Pharmacy. This program will produce inter-disciplinary teams that can care for four times as many patients as independent practitioners, and will expand to serve rural communities on each of the islands. We are convinced this is an innovative and effective strategy for improving access to primary care services.
Kona International Airport Improvements
We strongly support the administration’s plans for urgently needed improvements for Kona International Airport, and appreciate the decision by the Legislature to appropriate $37.5 million for an international arrivals building, and $70 million for a major terminal expansion. We continue to work collaboratively with state Department of Transportation and community organizations to encourage the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to reopen the international arrivals inspection facilities in Kona. State investment in Kona airport infrastructure including the international arrivals building is essential to the success of those efforts.
Your continued support for the Kona airport improvements is important to the state as a whole. Honolulu International Airport operates at its top capacity during busier times of the year, and the administration’s planned international arrivals area in West Hawai’i will allow Kona to function as a reliever airport to ease congestion in Honolulu. Investment in Kona airport infrastructure will allow our state to continue to grow as an international visitor destination during the busiest travel seasons.
Each of these state projects represents a smart, long-term investment in the welfare of our communities and the safety and well-being of our residents and visitors. We thank you for your consideration, and look forward to working with all of our distinguished legislators in the weeks ahead as we press forward together with these initiatives.
Mahalo for your support and your commitment to our communities.


William P. Kenoi