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

Big Island March Against Monsanto – Kona Poster:

March Against Monsanto - Kona

54th Annual Hawaii Island Billfish Tournament Information

This iconic big game fishing tournament built on prestige and strict International Game Fish Association (IGFA) rules for world records starts fishing on August 3rd and continues through August 10, 2013 in Kona, Hawaii.

Blue Hawaii

For five days, teams fish the famous waters off the Kona coast aboard some of the finest sport fishing vessels with captains who have built reputations around the world for catching big fish. Prized and powerful Pacific blue marlin are caught or tagged and released along the Kona coast every day. Occasionally, these famous waters produce a grander, a term known as a Pacific blue marlin weighing in at over 1,000 pounds. HIBT is headquartered on Kailua Pier where spectators see plenty of scoreboard action as teams weigh in at the end of the day, putting valuable points on the scoreboard. Kailua Pier is also a great place to watch the Tournament start each morning as boats line up across Historic Kailua Bay at 7:30 a.m, returning to the pier at 4:30.

Fishing action in Kona is expected to be hotly contested this summer. HIBT teams are expected from Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Vanuatu and from across the USA. All eyes will be on Old South Marlin Club Team 4 (North Carolina) who captured the 2012 win and the coveted HIBT Governor’s Trophy. This team’s cumulative total of 3,150 points ended up in the HIBT history books with the highest winning HIBT score since 2008. In fact, the Old South Marlin Club Team 4 score now ranks as the third highest since the tournament began in 1959.

HIBT event headquarters, retail and tournament control will once again be anchored at Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, located adjacent to Kailua Pier. The public is invited to come to the Kailua pier and watch the boats line up across Historic Kailua Bay as fishing starts each day sharply at 7 a.m. At 4pm, boats return to Kailua pier with their team and catch.

The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is underwritten by the generosity of the County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The tournament is further supported in part by KWXX Radio and numerous corporate and community donors.

For more tournament information, including IGFA world records, rules, and 2013 HIBT entry information, log onto www.hibtfishing.com

Japanese Tourist Attacked and Robbed By Three Men in Kailua-Kona

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a robbery early Thursday (February 7) in Kailua-Kona.

A 41-year-old Japanese national reported that he was walking to his hotel with three male friends at about 2:30 a.m. when he was attacked by three men at the intersection of Aliʻi Drive and Likana Lane. They knocked the victim to the ground, punched and kicked him and stole his fanny pack.

Ali'i Drive

The attackers, described as being local males in their mid-20s, then fled toward Likana Lane.

The victim sustained scrapes and abrasions to his arms, legs and back but declined medical attention.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Detective Joshua Lewis at 326-4646, extension 228. Detective Lewis may also be reached by email at jlewis@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.

Big Island Police Searching for 20-Year-Old Wanted on Nine Bench Warrants

Big Island police are looking for a 20-year-old man wanted on nine bench warrants.

Michael Alameda

Michael Alameda is wanted for eight bench warrants for contempt of court with bail totaling $2,200. He is also wanted on a no-bail warrant for violation of probation.

He is described as 5-foot-7, 130 pounds with brown eyes and short black hair. He may be in the South Kohala area and he may be operating a primer gray/black 1991 Honda Accord, license plate NNU 454.

Police alert the public not to contact or approach him.

Instead, anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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

Big Island Police Catch 31-Year-Old Hale Nani Escapee

A 31-year-old Kailua-Kona man wanted for allegedly escaping from a correctional facility was arrested in West Hawaiʻi.

Ryan Jeffries-Hamar

Ryan Jeffries-Hamar was located and arrested Saturday (September 8) in Kealakekua near the intersection of Highway 11 and Halekii Street. He is suspected of escaping from Hale Nani off Route 11 Tuesday afternoon (August 14).

Jeffries-Hamar also had an outstanding arrest warrant for violation of terms and conditions of furlough that he was arrested for.

At 6:00 p.m. Sunday (September 9), detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigation Section charged Ryan James Jeffries-Hamar with escape in the second degree. Bail was set at $10,000. There was no bail set by the courts for the arrest warrant.

He is being held at the Kona police cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday (September 10).

21-Year-Old Dies in Moped Crash in Kona

A 21-year-old Kealakekua man died Thursday (August 2) from injuries he sustained in a motor vehicle/moped crash at the intersection of Kealakehe Parkway and Ane Keahokalole Highway on Wednesday (August 1).


Responding to a 7:58 p.m. call Monday, Kona patrol officers determined that the victim was operating a 1995 Honda station wagon and traveling eastbound on Kealakehe Parkway when he rear-ended a moped at the intersection of Ane Keahokalole Highway. He swerved to the right and struck a fire hydrant, light pole and sign and then overturned.

The victim was not wearing a seat belt.

The victim and the moped operator were both taken to Kona Community Hospital. The moped operator was treated for his injuries and released. The operator of the station wagon was flown to The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, where he died Thursday at at 4:10 a.m.

Alcohol was a factor in this crash. At this time, it is unknown if speed was a factor.

The name of the victim is being withheld pending positive identification.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide case [corrected type of case] and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask that anyone with information about this crash call Officer Thomas Koyanagi at 326-4646, extension 229.

This is the 23rd traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared with 15 at this time last year.

Big Island Police Arrest Kona Man in Connection with Car Theft

Big Island police have arrested and charged a Kona man in connection with the theft of a car in May.

The 1995 Honda Accord was stolen from a home in the Seaview subdivision in Kailua-Kona sometime between 6 p.m. May 14 and 6:30 a.m. May 15.

Police recovered the Honda on May 15, after a South Kohala patrol officer made a traffic stop on the driver in Waimea. The driver fled the area on foot and was able to evade officers.

Jesse Travis Ralston

Weeks of investigation led to the identity of a suspect, 22-year-old Jesse Travis Ralston of Kailua-Kona. He was located and arrested at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday (July 17) in Kailua-Kona and held in the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 10:15 a.m. Thursday (July 19), detectives charged Ralston with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. He was released Thursday night after posting $2,000 bail.

Pier 1 Imports Opens on the Big Island

Pier 1 Imports is pleased to announce the opening of its newest store in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. The new store is located at 74-5586 Palani Road at the Kona Coast Shopping Center.

(left to right) Bobby Command, Executive Assistant to Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, Jenna Criswell, Store Manager, Pier 1 Imports, Jeffrey Trinh, Hawaii Regional Manager, Pier 1 Imports, Jennifer Engstrand, Pier 1 Imports Public Relations Specialist, Jennifer Bradley, Vice President, Colliers International

“We are thrilled to bring our first Pier 1 Imports store location to the Big Island of Hawaii and hope that our new Kona location will introduce customers to the eclectic and fun merchandise unique to Pier 1 Imports,” said Alex W. Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pier 1 Imports. “Pier 1 Imports offers merchandise that fits all decorating styles, as well as a broad array of affordable holiday décor, furniture and gifts, and we look forward to sharing our unique shopping experience with the residents of Kona and the Big Island of Hawaii,” Smith said.

(left to right) Jeffrey Trinh, Hawaii Regional Manager, Pier 1 Imports, Alexa Rolando, Sales Leader, Pier 1 Imports, Michelle Matusek, Sales Leader, Pier 1 Imports, Jenna Criswell, Store Manager, Pier 1 Imports

The total retail square footage of the store is 8,448 square feet.  The store will be led by store manager, Jenna Criswell of Kailua-Kona. This will be the fifth Pier 1 Imports location in Hawaii, and it will feature the new store concept (additional details included below). On average, the store will employ approximately 40 part-time associates to support the new store opening. Associate hours fluctuate based on the needs of the business and the season. Pier 1 Imports has three stores on Oahu in Honolulu, Kailua and Pearl City, and one on Maui in Kahului. Pier 1 Imports opened its first Hawaii store at Ward Centers in Honolulu in 1998.

A traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony was conducted by Kahu (Reverend) Kealoha Kaopua Coleman of the Calvary Community Church in Kona  prior to the store’s opening at 10 a.m. The ceremony featured the untying of a maile lei, signifying the official opening of the store.

The store’s grand opening festivities will take place on Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22. Additionally, 94.7 FM (Hilo) and 101.5 FM (Kona) will host a radio remote event from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 21. Attendees will have the opportunity to receive free Pier 1 Imports’ product giveaways, as well as gift cards.

The Grand Opening will be next month

New Store Concept

Pier 1 Imports was pleased to announce the unveiling of its new store concept this past fall. The new store design is a natural evolution of the Pier 1 Imports experience that utilizes a new interior finish-out, including natural-colored floor tiles, rustic ceiling elements, enhanced store lighting and lit shelving units lining the walls, all of which help customers visualize the end-use of the products within their own home. The new look is complemented by the use of “open stock” merchandising, designed to enhance the shopping environment by giving customers the opportunity to see, feel and interact with the product. The exterior design features a signature bamboo door with rustic metal door handles that will mark the entrance to Pier 1 Imports’ unique shopping experience. The features of the new store will allow easier navigation, all while maintaining the “treasure hunt” feel and continuing to make Pier 1 Imports a great place for discovery and spending time browsing.

The Community

Pier 1 Imports is dedicated to supporting the communities in which its associates live and work, as well as the international community from where it imports much of its merchandise. Since 1985, Pier 1 Imports has contributed more than $37 million to philanthropic organizations through international, national and local efforts including UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) and the United Way.

About Pier 1 Imports

Pier 1 Imports, Inc. is the original global importer of imported decorative home furnishings and gifts. Information about the Company is available on www.pier1.com.