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Japan Airlines Announces New Routes to Kona – Hawaii Governor to Hold News Conference Tomorrow

Japan Airlines (JAL) yesterday announced that it will launch new nonstop services between Tokyo (Narita) and Melbourne starting September 1, 2017, and between Tokyo (Narita) and Kona from September 15, 2017.

Tomorrow, Governor Ige will hold a news conference detailing the new routes with Mayor Harry Kim and Japan Airlines Director/Chairman Masaru Onisihi

Melbourne will become the second destination in Australia within JAL’s international network. Additionally, a nonstop service will return between Tokyo (Narita) and Kona, the gateway to Hawaii Island, which is one of the most popular destinations in Hawaii and surrounded by a rich natural environment.

The JAL Group will continue to embrace new challenges to deliver greater customer convenience and comfort, enhance its networks, and improve the quality of products and services.

JAL currently operates six daily flights to Honolulu, including four daily flights from Narita, and one daily flight from Osaka (Kansai) and Nagoya (Chubu), respectively. Starting September 15, 2017, JAL will resume nonstop service to Kona on Hawaii Island after a seven-year absence. The daily service from Narita will operate using the airline’s JAL SKY SUITE configured aircraft.

Hawaii Island, also commonly known as the Big Island, is one of the most popular travel destinations and surrounded by a rich natural environment. With this new Kona service, both customers visiting Hawaii for the first time and those who have visited Honolulu previously, will be able to discover more of Hawaii’s countless charms.

The well-received JAL SKY SUITE 767 aircraft operating the Narita = Kona route is fitted with the airline’s latest interior including fully flat “JAL SKY SUITEⅡ”seats in Business Class.

“JAL SKY SUITEⅡ”seats

In Economy Class, “JAL SKY WIDER” seats offer increased pitch and a slim-style seatback design resulting in approximately 10 cm (max.) more legroom than the previous seat pitch.

“JAL SKY WIDER” seats

The following plans and schedules are subject to government approval.

Note: Arrival time of JL770 and Departure time of JL779 will be 10 minutes earlier from October 1 through October 28, 2017.

United Airlines Adding Denver/Kona Route

Flights from Kona/Denver to begin this summer

United Airlines is revitalizing its route network with more destinations, more flights and more convenient connections for customers in both domestic and international markets. Subject to government approval, the carrier will add a seasonal route between San Francisco and Munich for the first time ever, and one of the carrier’s daily flights between Newark, New Jersey and Tel Aviv, Israel will be upgauged with the new Boeing 777-300ER. The airline is also growing its domestic network, adding even more connections and additional service to 30 destinations across the U.S.

“Starting this summer we’re offering more flights, to more destinations at more convenient times than in recent memory,” said Scott Kirby, president of United Airlines. “And with bigger and more modern aircraft for many of our flights, we’ll be getting you to the moments that matter most – relaxed and ready to go.”

United is also introducing daily summer service in six markets. Flights to Salt Lake City, Fort Lauderdale, Tucson and New Orleans not previously offered in the summer, will now move to year round service.

Coast Guard Seeking Public’s Help Locating Owner of Kayak Found Off Big Island

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help identifying the owner of a two-person kayak found approximately two miles west of the Captain James Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island, Wednesday.

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help identifying the owner of a two-person kayak found approximately two miles west of the Captain James Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island, Wednesday. Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the kayak is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600. (Courtesy photo)

The kayak is orange and red with the words Tropic II on both sides. The paddles appear to be in the stored position.

Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the kayak is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.

At 10:37 a.m., watchstanders at Sector Honolulu Command Center received a relayed report from the Department of Land and Natural Resources informing them that the operator of the Makana Lani had recovered the kayak while transiting two miles west of Kealakekua Bay.

Sector Honolulu watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast notice to mariners and launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to conduct a search of the area.

There are currently no reported signs of distress or missing persons in the area.

“The Coast Guard strongly encourages owners to label their gear with a name and contact information. Also, if the gear is lost, report it to the Coast Guard with a good description so that we can eliminate any unnecessary searches,” said Lt. Nicholas Spence, a search and rescue coordinator at the Sector Honolulu command center.

The Coast Guard offers free “If Found” decals to be placed in a visible location on small, human-powered watercraft through the Operation Paddle Smart program.  The information on the sticker can allow response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.

The stickers can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.

Alaska Airlines Beginning Weekly Service Between Kona and Bellingham

Passengers flying out of Bellingham International Airport (BLI) will have convenient access to some of Hawaii’s best snorkeling and the world-famous Hawaii Volcanoes National Park starting Nov. 12 when Alaska Airlines begins new weekly service between Bellingham and Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The new service compliments the airline’s seasonal service from BLI to Maui which is set to begin on Nov. 6.

“The Big Island of Hawaii is one of the top rated travel destinations in the world and we are delighted Alaska Airlines is going to provide our customers with non-stop service to this incredible location,” said Sunil Harman, aviation director.  “Alaska Airlines is offering very competitive fares and we anticipate high demand for these flights.”

Alaska Airlines is offering one-way fares to Kona starting at $219.  The flights will be operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, accommodating 16 passengers in first class and 147 in the main cabin.

Island Air Hires 22 Employees for New Service to Kona – Daily Service Starts June 14th

Island Air announced it has hired 22 employees to accommodate its new daily service to Kona International Airport starting Tuesday, June 14.

“We are proud to introduce our new Kona team members who are dedicated to providing outstanding customer service and ensuring passengers have the best interisland travel experience,” said David Uchiyama, Island Air’s president and chief executive officer. “We are excited to welcome these 22 individuals to the Island Air ‘ohana as we prepare to launch daily Kona service.”

The new team members, which include former Island Air employees, were recruited through job fairs and other outreach efforts to fill positions that include customer service agents, ramp agents and station manager. The Kona employees have been undergoing extensive training for the past two months.

Shardae Kaupu Lopez

Shardae Kaupu Lopez

Shardae Kaupu Lopez, who is from Miloliʻi and started working for Island Air in 2012, will serve as the Kona station manager and will oversee the airline’s operations at the Kona Airport.

Island Air Team

Other members of Island Air’s Kona team include:

Customer Service Agents:
Makamae Kaeo-Koanui, Melissa Nunes, Dominique Ghandour, Michael Corbitt, Roger Grissom-Miller, Zachary Andrade, Pauline Carmichael-Shopay, Keiko Kanada, Gae Mitsuda, Sharon Harada and Tammy Awai

Ramp Agents:
Tavita Laasaga, Douglas Vallente Jr., Greg Nation, Terry Robso, RJ Sullivan, Stan Kaneo, Maile Comilla, Kelly Bennet, Chad Kalele and Garyn Akima

Island Air will launch service to Kona on June 14 with five daily round-trip flights between Honolulu and Kona, with connecting flights to Kahului and Līhu‘e. Island Air’s check-in counter at Kona International Airport will be located in Terminal 1, and flights will depart from and arrive at Gate 5.

Mayor Kenoi’s Statement On New Haneda-Kona Route

Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi said he is thrilled by today’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Transportation has approved the application by Hawaiian Airlines to provide passenger air service to Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport from Honolulu and Kona International Airports.
Kona tokyo

“Our economy is uniquely tied to air service,” said Mayor Kenoi. “Thousands of our working families depend on the visitor industry, not only at resorts and hotels, but also at attractions, activities, restaurants, and retailers. This is great news for our state, and especially for Hawaiʻi Island.”

Entrepreneurs on Hawaiʻi Island who specialize in agriculture and aquaculture niche markets will also benefit from added market opportunities since this flight will be able to carry air cargo. “These products no longer have to be sent to Honolulu before being flown to Japan,” said Mayor Kenoi. “This increases freshness and reduces cost.”

The new route will bring a regularly scheduled international flight to Hawaiʻi Island for the first time since 2010, the last year Japan Airlines offered service between Kona and Tokyo’s Narita airport. Hawaiian Airlines will start flying directly into Kona from Haneda three times a week by Jan. 29, 2017.

Assisting in the restoration of this route has been a priority of the Kenoi administration ever since Japan Air Lines ended its service. “The County of Hawaiʻi has done everything it could to support Hawaiian Airlines’ application for the flight, including discussions and communications with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Department of Homeland Defense Secretary Jeh Johnson regarding Customs and Border Protection in Kona.”

Mayor Kenoi thanked Hawaiian Airlines for never giving up its pursuit to expand its Hawaiʻi-Japan routes, significantly the direct flight into Kona. “Our residents are keenly aware of the great economic impact this will have for the entire island,” Mayor Kenoi said. “This is also a win-win as it strengthens the competitiveness of Hawaiian Airlines in this market, and fulfills a U.S. Department of Transportation mandate to strengthen smaller carriers.”

St. Michael’s Dedicates New Church March 25

The newly constructed St. Michael the Archangel Church will be dedicated 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 25. Parishioners and statewide clergy are invited. Most Reverend Larry (Clarence) Silva, Bishop of Honolulu, will preside.

Masses will be celebrated at the new church starting March 26.

Masses will be celebrated at the new church starting March 26.

“Listening to our parishioners and the community, we built our new church to resemble the original St. Michael’s,” notes pastor Rev. Konelio “Lio” Faletoi. “They share the same exterior profile and we incorporated several elements from our first church into our new one.”

At nearly 9,500 square feet, the $11 million church is larger and offers seating for 500. Constructed by Heartwood Pacific on a three-acre campus fronting Ali‘i Drive, the new church will offer outdoor parking for 125 vehicles and is ADA accessible.

St. Michaels2New footings on the property’s south side are in place for St. Michael’s future parish center, which will house administrative offices, conference rooms, a library and certified kitchen. The landmark 1940 Coral Grotto was moved to grace the front of the future center. Throughout the construction process, St. Michael’s on-site cemetery was not disturbed.

A baptismal font sculpted from a large piece of West Hawai‘i lava will greet the faithful entering the church. The font is surrounded by mosaic tiles etched with words that appeared over the altar of the first church: “E Ku‘u Keiki: E Ho Mai No‘u Kou Pu‘uwai A E Ike Oe I Ku‘u Alahele-The Lord Says to Thee: Give Me Thy Heart and Let Thine Eyes Keep My Ways.”

“Having the font at the entrance of the church reminds all who enter that it is in the waters of baptism that Christian life begins,” explains Father Lio.

The north and south sides of the rectangular-shaped church have six sliding glass doors that open to two sprawling lanai along the length of the building. Behind the main altar is a small adoration chapel, which houses two of the original church’s tall stained glass windows.

Local artisans crafted the church’s new altar, ambo (pulpit) and presider’s chair and cabinetry in both sacristies were completed by a local woodworker. Similar to the original church, a steeple crowns the eastern end of the new, one-story structure and contains the parish’s 1853 bell, a gift from France.

St. Michaels3

Designed by Lively Architects of Honolulu, the front of the church is elevated 21 feet to meet building code requirements and the entrance is accessed via two semi-circular stairways. Cradled between the stairways is a restored, fresh water well that was historically used by the Kailua community.

“The well has been preserved to serve as a central feature in the outdoor Waikupua Brick Garden,” says Fr. Lio. “We invited parishioners and the community to become part of the history of St. Michael’s by sponsoring a brick in the garden.” The 35-foot diameter garden uses multi-colored, inscribed pavers in a circular mosaic design to chronicle not only those who played a significant role in North Kona’s Catholic heritage, but also inscriptions by brick sponsors. A total of 2,450 bricks were used and over 1,000 are inscribed using 14 languages from contributors in 36 states.

A long-time Kailua Village landmark, the original St. Michael’s was built in the early 1850s of lava rock and coral sand mortar; the floor was simple, hard-packed dirt. Reportedly one of the island’s best buildings of its time, the simple church was dedicated upon completion in 1855. Through the years, it was weakened by ocean flooding and damaged beyond repair during the October 15, 2006 earthquakes. After deemed unsafe, the church was closed and decommissioned in 2009 with services held on the grounds under a tent. The church was soon demolished along with the adjacent wooden administration building, which opened as a convent for the Sisters of the Holy Family in 1955. When the new church construction commenced, tent services were moved offsite to Honokohau Industrial Park.

Demolition of St. Michael’s included locating the remains of Father Joachim Marechal, a member of the Congregation of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary who oversaw the construction of the original church and was buried in the church in 1859. Archeologist Bob Rechtman of Rechtman Consulting guided the exhumation and the priest’s remains have been reinterred in front of the altar and under the sanctuary.

Rev. Marechal came to St. Michael’s in 1848 to serve Catholics in the North and South Kona Districts. He succeeded two French missionary priests, Fathers Ernest Heurtel and Robert Walsh, who offered the Big Island’s first Catholic mass in 1840. With the blessing of Governor John Adams Kuakini, the founding priests built a “native-style” chapel on the site of the current Kona Plaza Shopping Arcade; a stone hitching post marks the location. Kuakini subsequently offered the priests a piece of land to build a church and school—the present property of St. Michael’s Church.

Today, St. Michael’s Parish—which includes the four mission churches of Immaculate Conception in Holualoa, Holy Rosary in Kalaoa, St. Paul’s in Honalo and St. Peter’s by the Sea in Keauhou—serves 2000 families. In addition, the parish welcomes thousands of visitors annually.

“Building the church has been a long, arduous process that involved working with multiple agencies and professionals, getting numerous permits and finalizing a design that satisfied our current needs and building codes while preserving our important history,” shared Fr. Lio. “We thank all who donated their time, talent and treasure and we continue to believe our most important asset is the faith of our members who continue to carry Christ to the community and its less fortunate persons.”

St. Michael’s has an ongoing Capital Campaign to pay off construction debt and build the future parish center. Phone (808) 326-7771.

St. Michael the Archangel Church is part of the North Kona Catholic Community that includes Immaculate Conception Church in Holualoa, St. Paul’s Church in Honalo, St. Peter’s Church in Keauhou and Holy Rosary Church in Kalaoa. NKCC serves 2,000 families and a steady stream of visitors, many who return year after year.

Hualalai Academy on Big Island Closing, Needs Funds to Get Through School Year – Board of Director Under Fire From Parents

Parents of students that attend Hualalai Academy on the Big Island of Hawaii were shocked when they received an email on Friday from the Board of Directors of the School, Dr. Matt James, that told them the academy would be closing it’s doors for good at the end of the academic year OR SOONER.

Hualalai Academy on the Big Island

Hualalai Academy on the Big Island

The letter basically stated the school needed to raise $3,000.00 per student just to be able to complete the school year.

I tried to warn folks about the legitimacy of some of the things this alleged “Dr.” was doing previously on my website:

Dr. Matt James

Dr. Matt James

Today I got an email from a parent from one of the students that attends the campus and she is concerned about her kids future at this school and whether he will even complete the school year at the school:

“Aloha Damon
I’m a concerned parent who’s child attends Hualalai. We received a letter Friday that they will be closing their doors before end if school year. We are currently trying to get answers and can’t get any. We started looking into the president of the board Dr. Matt James and seen do did a story on him awhile back, we found that his past seems to be shady. Looking for some help.”

I’ve forwarded this information on to some of my other journalist friends and we will see if we can get some answers for the students.  In the meantime here is the letter that students brought home to their parents yesterday:

 January 17, 2014

Dear Hualalai Academy Ohana,

It is with a heavy and sad heart I must share with you that Hualalai Academy must close its doors at the conclusion of this academic year or sooner if we are unable to secure additional funding. We are turning to you, the ohana, to help the school get through this school year.

Before I begin and share with you the entire series of events, I want you to know that as parents of two children who attend this amazing school, my wife and I are devastated. The faculty and Board of Directors have done everything we can and at this point we do not see a miracle on the horizon.

John Colson, the Board of Directors and I have been working on our financial challenge since July 1st of this school year. To begin, please keep in mind that John left a wonderful job at HPA to join us. He believed this school was special and that it could become the premier independent school in Kona.

First, we identified the school needed to cut expenses and reduce overhead. John did this immediately and put the school in a position to be as close to a balanced budget as possible. Furthermore, the board made the difficult decision of conducting a teach-out for the high school and suspending operation at the end of May 2014. Both of these actions set up our ability to stabilize the school.

Next, we secured funding to fill gaps created by a smaller than usual enrollment to complete the first half of the school year. This temporary loan assisted the school to remain functional, and it allowed John and I the necessary time to meet with the bank and work on our debt restructuring. While the school owns the land, it has also incurred significant debt over the years.

The school campus, both land and structures, has a significantly higher value in comparison to our debt; therefore, based on this, we created a three to five year business plan to improve the school. As a part of the plan, we met with the bank to restructure the loans and refinance the land. Based on the land value and our plan, we were very confident the bank would approve the plan and assist us with a new financial package. We have been with this bank since the foundation of our school and have a good working relationship with them.

So, with the land asset, John running the school, and our business plan, the meeting went extremely well. The bank gave us positive indications and we were asked to wait. Because of this response, we only pursued one other avenue which was a possible sale of the land to finance our operations. After waiting for two months, we were informed by the bank that not only would they NOT refinance the land, they would not assist us in any other fashion.

During the two month wait, we also met with all of the viable banks in Hawaii to no avail. Additionally, we worked with an investment company from the mainland, explored the option of becoming a charter school with authorities and we have looked for a buyer to purchase the land all with the legitimate expectation that we could stay open and continue to deliver the amazing Hualalai Academy Experience.

As of January 16, with no other viable options for the school, we felt we must disclose our financial situation to you. Thus, we must now work to find transitional funding to complete this school year and assist families as they begin to find other educational options for the 2014-2015 school year. To put our financial situation into perspective, the school needs to raise approximately $3000 per student to make it through the remainder of the 2013-2014 school year.

On behalf of the full board, I thank you for your support of Hualalai Academy and being a part of our ohana. We are now doing everything we can to complete this year, and we need your support and help. To be clear, without additional funding the school year may have to be shortened.

Should you have questions, please contact John at your convenience.

With a heavy heart,

Dr. Matt James, Chair

Board of Directors

Hualalai Academy

Rare Sighting of Killer Whales off Kona on the Big Island

Researchers off Hawaii’s Kona coast on Friday documented a rare sighting of killer whales, including at least two that were playing host to hitchhiking remoras.

Killer whale with at least five remoras hitching a ride.  Photo Robin Baird/Cascadia Research Collective

Killer whale with at least five remoras hitching a ride. Photo Robin Baird/Cascadia Research Collective

There were four individuals in the group: a male, an adult female, and two sub-adults. Three of the four were outfitted with satellite tags, and a biopsy sample was collected from one of the cetaceans.

Cascadia Research Collective stated on its Facebook page that this was only its third killer whale encounter in the 14 years the group, which is based in Olympia, Wash., has been conducting studies in Hawaiian waters:

Today off Kona we encountered a group of four killer whales! This individual has a number of remoras on it (photo (c) Robin W. Baird) There were four individuals (one male, one adult female, and two sub-adults), and we were able to deploy satellite tags on three individuals to track their movements, and collected one biopsy sample for genetic studies. This is only our third killer whale encounter in Hawaiian waters in the 14 years we’ve been undertaking research here, and the first time we’ve tagged killer whales in Hawaii. Needless to say it was a good day. We’ll be posting more photos and information on the encounter and other encounters in the last few days at www.cascadiaresearch.org/hawaii/OctNov2013.htm although probably not till tomorrow.

An adult female and a sub-adult. Credit: @Robin Baird/Cascadia Research Collective

An adult female and a sub-adult. Credit: @Robin Baird/Cascadia Research Collective

“These are the first satellite tags we’ve deployed on killer whales in Hawaiian waters, and we think the first tags deployed on this species in the tropical Pacific, so we are excited about learning where these whales spend their time,” Cascadia stated on its website.

The 15-day research project ended Friday, but some of the scientists went back to sea on Sunday and re-located the four killer whales, plus three others, and witnessed a predation event involving a thresher shark.

Cascadia also posted a chart showing the movements of two of the three tagged killer  whales:

Whale Chart

Mayor Kenoi Proclaims “October 25th, 2013 – Body Glove 60th Anniversary Day” in the County of Hawaii

Last week, Body Glove International celebrated it’s 60th Anniversary with a party in Kona, Hawaii that was attended by the family of Body Glove and was open to the public.

Creature From the Black Lagoon and Mayor Kenoi

Creature From the Black Lagoon and Mayor Kenoi

The following night the party continued at the Wyland Gallery in Kona where Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker was signing merchandise and had his new Body Glove 60th Anniversary “Tiki Mug” release party.

Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker, Mayor Kenoi and Abbas Hassan

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Mayor Kenoi and Abbas Hassan

Here is a photo of the new mugs:

Brad Parker Tiki Mug

Mayor Kenoi was on hand and proclaimed October 25th, 2013 as Body Glove 60th Anniversary Day in the County of Hawaii.

Meistrell Brothers, Abbas Hassan and Mayor Kenoi

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

Here is the proclamation that he read to folks in attendance:

Proclamation:

WHEREAS, growing up in Missouri, twin brothers Bob and Bill Meistrell fell in love with the water. They dreamed of making a life in the ocean, and those dreams came true when the family moved to California in 1944; and

WHEREAS, in 1953, the Meistrell brothers turned their passion for the ocean into a business venture. They joined Bev Morgan and the three became business partners at Dive N’ Surf, the first dive and surf store of its kind; and

WHEREAS, Dive N’ Surf became quickly known for being the home of the first practical and commercially viable wetsuit, invented by the Meistrell brothers and Morgan. The name given to the suit – Body Glove, because it fit like a glove – has become an iconic brand worldwide; and

WHEREAS, over their sixty years in business, serious watermen and waterwomen worldwide have come to count on Body Glove’s products, and Body Glove-sponsored teams in surfing and wakeboarding are made up of many of the most skilled athletes in those sports in the world; and

WHEREAS, the values that have guided Body Glove for the past six decades – hard work, perseverance, love of family, and love of the environment – are values shared by the people of Hawai‘i Island and the many long-standing family-owned businesses that are the cornerstones of our economy; and

WHEREAS, we are honored to host Body Glove’s 60th anniversary celebration on Hawai‘i Island here in Kailua-Kona, home of local partners Body Glove Cruises and Tiki Shark Art Hawai‘i,

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BILLY KENOI, Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i, do hereby proclaim October 25, 2013, as BODY GLOVE 60th ANNIVERSARY DAY in the County of Hawai‘i, and we hope to celebrate many more Body Glove anniversaries in the future.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused The Seal of the County of Hawai‘i to be affixed.  Done this 25th day of October, 2013 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i.

Billy Kenoi
MAYOR

You can click on the pictures in this gallery to open them up for larger views:

Big Island Police Asking Public’s Help in Identifying Credit Card Thief

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man wanted for using a stolen credit card.

Have you seen this man?

Have you seen this man?

An unidentified man used the stolen card on June 26 to purchase two flat-screen televisions at a store in Kona. He was seen driving away in what appeared to be a red four-door sports-utility vehicle. His image, which was captured on a surveillance camera, is posted on the Police Department’s website at www.hawaiipolice.com.

Police ask anyone who recognizes the man in the photo to call Lieutenant Gerald Wike at 326-4646, extension 266, or 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 Shoot Man Trying to Attempt Suicide

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a non-fatal officer involved shooting in Kona on Monday evening.

HPDBadge

At 9:08 p.m., police responded to a report of an attempted suicide in progress at a home on Manu Mele Street in Kailua-Kona.

Upon arrival, officers contacted a 33-year-old man who was standing outside the house holding a rifle. Officers ordered the man to put the weapon down but he refused to follow their instructions and attempted to use the rifle to harm himself.

One officer discharged his duty weapon, striking the man in his right shoulder and causing him to drop the rifle. The man was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was treated for his injury. He is listed in stable condition.

The officer is identified as a 31-year-old eight-year veteran of the Hawaiʻi Police Department.

No officers were injured during the incident.

As is standard practice in any police involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area II Criminal Investigations Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.

 

Kona and Kauai to Get New WestJet Flights From Canada

WestJet today announced new, daily service between Vancouver and Hawaii Island (Kona) and between Vancouver and Kauai (Lihue), starting this December.

On December 12, 2013, service between Vancouver and Hawaii Island increases to daily from four times weekly last winter. Service between Vancouver and Kauai also increases to daily, beginning December 14, 2013, from three times weekly.

WestJet

“WestJet is the airline of choice for Canadians who love the Hawaiian Islands,” said Chris Avery, WestJet Vice-President, Network Planning, Alliances and Corporate Development. “With seamless connections from many cities across Canada and no need to pick up your bag before you pre-clear U.S. customs in Vancouver, it’s never been easier to take that fabulous Hawaiian vacation you’ve been waiting for.”

In addition to increased service to Hawaii Island and Kauai, WestJet also offers twice-daily service from Vancouver to both Honolulu and Maui.

Flights are now available for sale at westjet.com.

WestJet Vacations has something for everyone, offering 29 hotels and condos situated on Hawaii Island from Kailua-Kona to Waikoloa, and on Kauai from Poipu to Princeville. Hawaii Island is inspirational with its diverse beauty and Kauai, the tropical island of discovery, is visually spectacular. More information on vacation packages is available at westjetvacations.com.

About WestJet
WestJet is Canada’s most preferred airline, offering scheduled service to 86 destinations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Powered by an award-winning culture of care, WestJet pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. Recognized nationally as a top employer, WestJet now has more than 9,000 WestJetters across Canada. Operating a fleet of more than 100 Boeing Next-Generation 737 and Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft, WestJet strives to be one of the five most successful international airlines in the world. This year, WestJet launched its new regional airline, WestJet Encore.

 

Big Island Police Searching for 15-Year-Old Kona Girl Missing Since May

The Hawai´i Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a 15-year-old Kona teen.

Reina Aldorasi

Reina Aldorasi

Reina Aldorasi was last seen on Monday (May 27, 2013) at about 2:55 p.m. in Kailua-Kona and may possibly be in the Hawaii Ocean View Estates.

Aldorasi is 5’04” tall, weighing about 115 pounds, with dark brown hair, and was last seen wearing gray sweat pants with “PHAT” letters in pink and a gray t-shirt with “KAU HIGH” in maroon letters going across the front and also having a black hoodie.

Police ask that anyone with information on Aldorasi’s whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Officer Robert Sakata at 326-4646 ext. 276.

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.

Shark Attack Off Kona

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a public accident case in connection with a shark attack Tuesday afternoon in waters off a Kona beach.
Kekaha Kai State Park
A 28-year-old Kailua-Kona man was swimming about 100 feet off shore shortly before 1 p.m. when he spotted a shark in waters off Kekaha Kai State Park, also known as Kona Coast State Park. As the man was swimming to shore, the shark bit him on the right thigh and right calf and then released him. The swimmer made it to shore, where a Fire Department helicopter took him to Kona Community Hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life threatening.

A 12-14-foot tiger shark was sighted in the area shortly after the attack. The park was closed to the public until further notice.

And from the Hawaii Fire Department:

A 28 year old male shark bite victim was found conscious and alert. The patient was attended to by bystanders and a volunteer firefighter. The patient was transported to Kona Hospital by Chopper 2.

Fire rescue and medical units from Kailua-Kona and South Kohala Fire Stations responded to a 28 year old male with lacerations to his right leg above and below the knee due to a shark bite. The male patient was attended by bystanders and a volunteer firefighter who helped to control the bleeding. The victim was conscious and responsive. He was taken to Kona Hospital by Chopper 2 of the South Kohala Fire Station. A shark estimated to be 10 to 14 ft in length was observed near shore in the area.

Big Island Police Investigating Kona Sexual Assault

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a sexual assault late Wednesday night (May 29) in Kona.

An adult female was walking west on Loloku Street in the old industrial area of Kailua-Kona at about 9:30 p.m. when an unknown man grabbed her from behind, punched her, dragged her off the north shoulder of the road and sexually assaulted her. He then ran in the mauka direction on Loloku Street.

Sex AssaultPolice are looking for anyone who passed the area and saw a struggle on the shoulder of the road near a car dealership or saw a man running in that area. The suspect is described as a local male in his 30s, possibly homeless, about 5-foot-7, about 200 pounds with medium-length wavy dark hair.

In addition to the sexual assault, the victim sustained scratches, bruises and facial swelling.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case or anyone who recognizes the person depicted in the composite drawing above call the Police department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Tyson Matsumura at 326-4646, extension 265, or tmatsumura@co.hawaii.hi.us or Detective Renee Morinaka at 301 or rmorinaka@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.

 

Traffic Stop in Kona Leads to Arrests of Three People in Two Separate Cars

A routine traffic stop in Kona has led to the arrests of three persons in two separate cars.

At 9:40 p.m. Saturday (May 4), a Kona patrol officer made a traffic stop on a car occupied by two women. During the stop, the officer observed drug paraphernalia in the car and later recovered a glass smoking pipe and two small plastic bags containing residue of a white powdery substance. Police arrested the driver, 47-year-old Grace Duguran of Kailua-Kona, and her passenger, 37-year-old Danette Corrales of Pāhala, on suspicion of promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Chito Reno Asuncion

Chito Reno Asuncion

While officers were waiting with the women for a blue-and-white police vehicle to arrive, a man in a Kia sedan passed them twice and yelled at one of the women. An officer recognized the Kia’s driver as 37-year-old Chito Reno Asuncion of Pāhala, who was wanted on three bench warrants. As an officer attempted to make a traffic stop on the Kia, it sped toward two other officers who were standing on the road signaling for him to stop. The officers had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit but were not injured.

Other officers stopped the Kia and arrested Asuncion on the warrants for two counts of contempt of court and one count of failure to appear. His bail on those charges was set at $20,300. He was also arrested on suspicion of reckless endangering. He was taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

On Sunday (May 5), police obtained a search warrant for the Kia and recovered a glass smoking pipe and a small plastic bag with residue of a white powdery substance, as well as brass knuckles.

Also Sunday, the two women from the initial traffic stop were released pending further investigation.

On Monday, Asuncion went to court on the bench warrants and then was returned to the Kona cellblock. At 6 p.m. Monday, detectives charged him with two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, two counts of second-degree reckless endangering, carrying a deadly weapon, resisting an order to stop, driving with an expired license, promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia. His bail on those offenses was set at $12,000. His initial court appearance on those charges is scheduled for Tuesday (May 7).

Big Island Police Searching for Kona Man Wanted for Questioning in Connection With a Sexual Assault

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in locating a 22-year-old Kona man wanted for questioning in connection with a sexual assault.

William John Johnson

William John Johnson

William John Johnson, who has no permanent address, is also wanted on a $10,000 bench warrant in an unrelated case. He may be in Kona or Waipio. He is described as 5-foot-9, 150 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts 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 Searching for Missing 17-Year-Old Kona Boy

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old boy who was reported missing from Kona.

Chance Gorelangton-Kuanoni

Chance Gorelangton-Kuanoni

Chance Gorelangton-Kuanoni was last seen in Kailua-Kona on December 10, 2012.

He is described as 5-foot-5, 150 pounds with brown eyes, black wavy hair and a dark complexion. He may be in Kona or South Kohala.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Officer Robert Sakata at 326-4646, extension 276.

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 March Against Monsanto – Kona Information

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March Against Monsanto - Kona