$30,000 Reward Leading to the the Arrest and Conviction of Monk Seal Killers

Hawaii Island’s Most Wanted Most Features Five This Episode

The most recent edition of the Crime Stoppers television program “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted” highlights a man wanted on five warrants, a woman wanted on four warrants, and two men and a woman wanted for failing to appear in court.

The new episode began airing on January 13. In it, police ask for the public’s help in locating 30-year-old Derek S.K. Fontes, who is wanted on two arrest warrants for violating probation and three bench warrants. He is described as 5-foot-6, 180 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He may be in the Pāhala Area.

The television program also asks for help in locating 50-year-old Jamie Cuizon, who is wanted on two bench warrants and two warrants of arrest. She has no permanent address but frequents the Hilo area. She is described as 5-feet tall, 125 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

In this latest edition of “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted,” Officer Patrick Menino also asks for help in locating two men and a woman wanted on bench warrants for failure to appear in court. George Tejada, 24, of Puna is described as 5-foot-6, 250 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. Richard Correa, 48, of Hilo is described as 5-foot-10, 190 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. Mory Koi of Hilo is 39 years old. She is described as 5-foot-4, 110 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Police ask that anyone with information about any of these cases call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential. Crime Stoppers does not tape record phone calls or subscribe to caller ID.

“Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted” is a project of Crime Stoppers Hilo, Inc., which is a partnership of the business community, the media and the police. It was inspired by the national TV show, “America’s Most Wanted.” The program airs on Na Leo O Hawaii Community Television Channel 54 on Sundays at 5 p.m. and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. It also airs intermittently on Channel 53.

Walmart’s 2012 Acres for America Program to Benefit Big Island’s Palila Protection Project

Walmart’s 2012 Acres for America program is helping conserve more than 49,000 acres of critical wildlife habitat across the United States. Acres projects connect existing lands to protect migration routes, provide access for people to enjoy the outdoors and help ensure the future of rural economies that depend on forestry, tourism and recreation.

Acres for America is a 10-year, $35 million commitment that began in 2005 between Walmart and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to purchase and preserve one acre of wildlife habitat in the U.S. for every acre of land developed by the company through 2015.  To date, Acres for America has invested in projects in 24 states, protecting more than 687,000 acres.

“It is estimated that America loses nearly three million acres of open space each year,” said Jennifer May-Brust, Walmart vice president of realty supplier management and compliance. “Our strategic partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is helping save important wildlife habitats and fits perfectly with Walmart’s larger goal to bring sustainability into the communities we serve.”

In the summer of 2011, Walmart expanded its Acres investments to include urban conservation projects in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C.  The six awards announced today will support projects in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina and Tennessee.

“With these new projects, Acres for America extends into five additional states to protect vital areas for wildlife and people,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These investments will not only benefit endangered species like the Florida panther – they will also expand open space near urban areas and conserve forests and streams along the Appalachian Trail, one of our most treasured natural resources.”

The 2012 Acres for America projects:

Southern Sierra Partnership: Tehachapi Linkage, California

  • While protecting more than 22,000 acres of rare blue oak habitat in the Sierra foothills, this project completes a key 50-mile ecological corridor linking the Sierra-Cascade ranges to the California Coast ranges and the lowlands of the Great Central Valley to the Mojave Desert.

Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Expansion: Colorado

  • This project protects 1,334 acres of tallgrass prairie adjacent to the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge and connects to 70,000 acres of locally protected open space, greatly expanding recreation opportunities in metropolitan Denver.

Panther Crossing Protection Project: Florida

  • This 1,530-acre property protects a key migratory corridor for the endangered Florida panther, of which less than 165 exist in the wild.  It connects existing panther habitat to the south with 1.5 million acres of new habitat in the Northern Everglades, and will also benefit the American black bear, red-cockaded woodpecker, swallow-tailed kite and snail kite.

Almo Tract: Fort Benning, Georgia

  • This 7,550-acre tract in Georgia’s Fall Line Sandhills is the eastern anchor of a larger 30,000-acre conservation corridor adjacent to Fort Benning. The project protects longleaf pine forest and provides important habitat for the gopher tortoise and red-cockaded woodpecker, among other species.

The Palila Protection Project: Hawaii

  • On the Big Island of Hawaii, two protected parcels (4,469 acres) provide critical habitat to the palila (Loxioides bailleui), one of the rarest birds in the world, and contribute significantly to its recovery.

Appalachian Trail Habitat Protection Project: North Carolina and Tennessee

Partners: The Conservation Fund, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Blue Ridge Forever and Conservation Trust for North Carolina

  • This group of seven key parcels collectively protects nearly 13,000 acres of forest and 40 miles of freshwater streams along the Appalachian Trail Corridor, which are home to the imperiled southern Appalachian brook trout, 1,000 species of plants, at least 300 species of birds and 20 species of rare and declining salamanders.

For more information on Acres for America or to apply for a grant, visit www.nfwf.org or http://walmartstores.com/sustainability.

DLNR Sets Up Reward Tip Line in New Effort Launched to Combat Wildlife Crimes in Hawaii

The Humane Society of the United States and Hawaii DLNR Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement Inaugurate Reward Tip Line As Total Rewards Grows to $30,000 in Monk Seal Killings.

The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust announced new efforts to support the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement’s work to combat poaching and designated wildlife-related crimes by sponsoring a toll-free, confidential reward tip line, 1-855-DLNR-TIP.

The statewide tip line will allow citizens to confidentially report information about poaching crimes to law enforcement. The HSUS will offer $2,500 rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for specific, predetermined cases. The first case under this new reward program and tip line involves three monk seals killed on Moloka‘i and a fourth monk seal found killed on Kaua‘i. Necropsies performed on three of the four seals confirmed the deaths were suspicious. The fourth case is pending additional information. Anyone with information about these cases is asked to call the confidential reward tip line.

Along with The HSUS’s $2,500 reward offering, the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Marine Conservation Institute are collectively offering $2,500 for each incident. A generous anonymous local donor has offered to match these rewards, bringing the reward total up to $30,000, or $10,000 per seal.

“We are pleased to support the critical work of DOCARE by funding a reward program and tip line for information on illegal wildlife-related offenses,” said Inga Gibson, Hawai‘i state director for The HSUS. “We must be a voice for these innocent animal victims and encourage anyone with information to please call the confidential tip line.”

“Monk seals are a vital part of Hawai‘i’s marine ecosystems,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “The intentional killing of any monk seal is not only illegal, it is inexcusable environmentally and culturally.”

“We thank The HSUS for their sponsorship of this new program to help protect Hawaii’s precious wildlife,” said Randy Awo, DOCARE chief. “Our hope is that the reward program will deter future wildlife crimes and also encourage the community to become more involved in protecting our environment and reporting wildlife offenses.”

Wildlife officials estimate that tens of millions of animals are poached annually nationwide, but less than 5 percent of poached animals come to the attention of law enforcement. Wildlife officials report that poachers often commit other crimes as well.

For more information about this current reward posting please visit humanesociety.org/hawaii

Monk Seal Facts:
• Hunted to the brink of extinction in the late 19th century, Hawaiian monk seal populations have been declining since modern surveying due to human interactions such as intentional killing, marine debris and fishing gear entanglement, disease and loss of habitat.

• Hawaiian monk seals are one of the world’s most endangered animals, with population estimates less than 1,100. Hawaiian monk seals are endemic to Hawai‘i and found nowhere else in the world.

• In June 2010, the Legislature passed Act 165, specifically to increase penalties for taking (which is defined to include harassing or killing) a monk seal. It’s a Class C felony (up to 5 years imprisonment). Someone convicted under this law could face a maximum fine of $50,000. Monk seals are also protected under the federal Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act, which makes it a crime to kill or harm a Hawaiian monk seal.

North Hawai‘i Community Hospital Awarded $680,000 to Implement a Health Information Exchange System

Hawaii Island Beacon Community has awarded a $680,000 contract to North Hawaii Community Hospital to implement a Health Information Exchange (HIE) system that will impact more than 32,000 patients. The HIE is the first to launch in our state and marks the first step toward an island-wide HIE on the Big Island.

The North Hawaii HIE will make a difference where it is needed most. It will help providers better serve their patients and coordinate care, especially for those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, which is more prevalent in Hawaii County than in any other county in our state.

In 2011, Hawaii County had twice as many hospitalizations for diabetes as the City & County of Honolulu.

The North Hawaii region has a higher population of Native Hawaiians, who are particularly at-risk for chronic diseases. In parts of North Hawaii, Native Hawaiians make up more than 30% of the population higher than the county rate of 28.9% and the state rate of 19.8%.

Media Release:

Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community (HIBC) has awarded a $680,000 contract to North Hawai‘i Community Hospital (NHCH) to implement a Health Information Exchange (HIE) system throughout the North Hawai‘i region, impacting more than 32,000 patients and marking the first step toward an island-wide HIE. Implementation has begun and will continue through 2012.

NHCH’s existing vendor partner Wellogic® has already laid the technical foundation for the HIE, connecting information systems from NHCH; affiliated physician groups; two statewide labs; all pharmacies, radiology and imaging centers in the region; a national database of dispensed prescriptions; and a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).

“We are pleased to support the groundbreaking initiatives of NHCH to help providers in the North Hawai‘i region adopt and benefit from the latest technology in health care,” said Susan B. Hunt, M.H.A., project director and CEO of HIBC. “NHCH has pioneered the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) by North Hawai‘i providers and helped to achieve a nearly 95 percent adoption rate—one of the highest for any community nationwide. The region is more than ready to take the next step, and both patients and providers will benefit from the streamlined operations that a secure HIE system makes possible.”

“It’s an exciting breakthrough for health care in North Hawai‘i,” said William Park, M.D., chief medical  officer and general surgeon at NHCH, who has championed the region’s HIE since the project’s inception. “Our partnership with Wellogic® has been very successful, and we have built up to a smooth launch. Through access to comprehensive, up-to-date patient information for providers and, eventually, patients themselves, care will be more efficient, more easily coordinated and more holistic.”

Wellogic staff will be conducting training for all North Hawai‘i providers. In addition, HIBC staff, in partnership with staff from the Hawai‘i Pacific Regional Extension Center (REC), will continue ongoing support related to the adoption and use of EHR.

In addition to supporting and assisting with EHR and HIE implementation, HIBC is working to effect clinical transformation, particularly in terms of greater coordination of and access to care for patients who are most at-risk for chronic diseases, and conducting outreach by awarding $300,000 to the community in the form of Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Grants.

Hawaii as Seen From the International Space Station

One of the Expedition 30 crew members aboard the International Space Station captured this image of the Big Island of Hawaii in the chain that makes up the 50th state on Dec. 29, 2011. ISS030-E-019053 (29 Dec. 2011) — high res (1.2 M) low res (94 K)

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USDA Expands Export Opportunities for Hawaiian Rainbow Papaya – Japan Approves

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that on Dec. 1, the Government of Japan approved Rainbow papaya for commercial shipment to Japan. The Rainbow papaya is genetically engineered to be resistant to the papaya ringspot virus. This announcement marks the beginning of a new chapter for Hawaiian papaya growers.

“The market opening in Japan is great news for Hawaii’s papaya producers and even better news for American agricultural exports,” said Michael Scuse, Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. “Under the Obama Administration, USDA has continued to expand markets for American goods abroad, worked aggressively to break down barriers to trade, and assisted U.S. businesses with the resources needed to reach consumers around the world. This announcement will ensure that Hawaii’s papaya producers help to drive our agricultural economy by expanding exports, creating jobs, and strengthening our nation’s competitiveness.”

In the 1990s, an outbreak of the papaya ringspot virus decimated Hawaii’s papaya crop. Scientists from Cornell University, the University of Hawaii, The Upjohn Company and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service used biotechnology to develop the Rainbow papaya, which is resistant to the virus. After receiving full clearance from the U.S. government, the Rainbow papaya was commercialized in 1998. Now, the majority of Hawaii’s papaya crop is resistant to ringspot virus through genetic engineering.

Japan was once the major market for Hawaiian papayas, with annual sales reaching $15 million in 1996. These sales dropped to $1 million by 2010 while U.S. exporters awaited Japan’s approval of Rainbow papaya. With Japan’s approval for import of Rainbow papaya, U.S. papaya producers are set to regain access to this important market, supporting jobs through increased exports.

Currently, the American brand of agriculture is surging in popularity worldwide. Farm exports in fiscal year 2011 reached a record high of $137.4 billion—exceeding past highs by $22.5 billion—and supported 1.15 million jobs here at home. The agricultural trade surplus stands at a record $42.7 billion. Horticultural product exports are forecast to reach a record of $28 billion, based on steady demand and high prices. Exports of fresh fruits and vegetables are expected to be strong to Japan, Canada and the European Union. Strong agricultural exports contribute to the positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, boost economic growth and support President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

The History of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Explained – Volcano Awareness Month

The story of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this month, is the topic of an “After Dark in the Park” program in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Tues., Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.

U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Scientist-in-Charge Jim Kauahikaua will talk about the founding of the observatory in 1912, as well as HVO’s achievements monitoring Hawaiian volcanoes and earthquakes during the past century.  His presentation will be held at the park’s Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Park entrance fees apply.

Thomas A. Jaggar founded the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in 1912 and served as its Director until 1940. Shown here in 1925, Jaggar is at work in HVO’s first building, which, at the time, was located on the northeast rim of Kīlauea Volcano’s summit caldera, near the present-day Volcano House hotel. Today’s HVO Scientist-in-Charge presents the story of America’s first volcano observatory in a talk at the Kīlauea Visitor Center at 7 p.m. on Jan. 17.

The founding of HVO, America’s first volcano observatory, is attributed to Thomas A. Jaggar in the year 1912. But the study and monitoring of Kīlauea actually began in 1911 with Frank Perret, who came to Hawai‘i at the request of Jaggar.

Jaggar arrived at Kīlauea on Jan. 17, 1912, and immediately set forth monitoring earthquakes and changes in the shape of Kīlauea with the best tools available to him at the time: a few seismometers, some meteorological equipment, and a surveyor’s transit.

One hundred years later, HVO scientists in 2012 analyze data collected from more than 100 field stations, each of which consists of one to five instruments, including seismic, deformation, volcanic-gas, geologic, and other monitoring tools.  These stations transmit data to HVO around the clock, with a single instrument sending as much as 60 terabytes of data each year—more information than Jaggar could have imagined possible.

Kauahikaua will tell the story of HVO’s first 100 years, the various buildings and locations HVO has occupied, the legacy of HVO’s leaders, the evolution of volcano monitoring tools and techniques, and significant discoveries along the way.

HVO’s entire history is a lot of information to compress into a 45-minute presentation, but Kauahikaua says not to worry.  He is coauthor of a new USGS General Interest Product, “The Story of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory—A Remarkable First 100 Years of Tracking Eruptions and Earthquakes.”  One hundred paper copies of the publication will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to attendees at his talk.

The public is also invited to attend an Open House of the observatory in celebration of HVO’s centennial milestone.

“HVO is not ordinarily open to the public, so our Open House on Jan. 21 is a special opportunity for island residents and visitors to see how we monitor Hawaiian volcanoes and to interact with HVO scientists,” said Kauahikaua.

Kauahikaua’s presentation is one of many programs offered by HVO during Volcano Awareness Month and in celebration of HVO’s 100th anniversary in January 2012.  For details about this After Dark in the Park program, please call 808-985-6011.  More information about Volcano Awareness Month is posted on the HVO website at hvo.wr.usgs.gov.

Four Finalists Selected for New Dean of CTAHR Will Visit UH Manoa Campus

Finalists for new Dean of College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources will visit UH Mānoa campus.

Four finalists have been identified for the position of Dean, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and Director for Research and Cooperative Extension at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The four are scheduled to participate in a three-day period of visits that covers college department discussions; meetings with senior administrators, faculty, staff, students and members of their respective professions; and a public presentation. The visit will also include a one-day visit to the Big Island.

Campus and community members, as well as the general public, are encouraged to attend.

The Four Finalists

Maria Gallo

Maria Gallo

Professor and Chair, Department of Agronomy
University of Florida

Campus visit: Feb. 13–15



Campus Visit Schedule

John F. Leslie

John F. Leslie

Professor and Head, Department of Plant Pathology
Kansas State University

Campus visit:
Jan. 30–Feb. 1



Campus Visit Schedule

Ganesan Srinivasan

Ganesan Srinivasan

Director, University Agricultural Laboratory
Director, Agricultural Operations
Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology
California State University at Fresno

Campus visit: Feb. 6–8



Campus Visit Schedule

Andrew Thulin

Andrew J. Thulin

Professor and Head, Department of Animal Science
College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
California Polytechnic State University

Campus visit: Jan. 18–20



Campus Visit Schedule

Wordless Wednesday – Pole Position

The utility pole in front of the Pahoa Post Office