Big Island Police Investigating a Body Found in Puna

Big Island police are investigating a body found in Puna as a coroner’s inquest.

Shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday (January 17), a county lifeguard reported finding a partially submerged male body near the shoreline in the vicinity of Isaac Hale Beach Park in Pohoiki. The unidentified man appeared to be in his 50s.

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning to determine the exact cause of death and to assist in identification.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case call Detective Norbert Serrao at 961-2383 or email him at

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

Hawaii Board of Education Hears Laupahoehoe Charter School Appeals

The Hawai`i Board of Education (BOE) heard two appeals today brought by Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School (LCPCS) that challenged the actions of the Charter School Review Panel (CSRP). The Panel had denied an amendment to the school’s implementation plan and proposed delaying the opening of the school by a year.

The Board appeared receptive to comprehensive and spirited written and oral arguments presented by representatives of the Interim Local School Board (ILSB). In contrast, Carl Takamura, representing the CSRP, arrived late and was visibly challenged when faced with pointed questions from the BOE about the CSRP’s authority and lack of communication with the charter school. The BOE seemed unsatisfied with his responses, particularly his explanation of the origin of CSRP authority.

When asked by a BOE member why CSRP insisted on LCPCS holding local school board elections by November 21 2011, Takamura could neither justify nor explain why elections could not be held at any time before the opening of the school. As noted by BOE Vice Chair Brian DeLima, the CSRP failed to take into account months of delay caused by the CSRP’s own conduct, including delay resulting from its denial of the charter. School representatives asked that the BOE ensure that Laupahoehoe receive a fair chance to open the school in a timely manner.

Under DeLima’s questioning, Takamura could not justify his insistence on November elections. DeLima also noted that the elections were originally planned for September 2011 but that date became impractical in view of the delays.

LCPCS supporters are confident that the BOE will take appropriate action and enable the charter school to open as scheduled in July 2012. The charter school group expects that the BOE will encourage and insist that the Department of Education fully cooperates in the transition for the benefit of the students.

LCPCS was represented by Monica Morris, Deputy Attorney General. ILSB member Steven Strauss provided a thorough presentation of the major points of the two appeals in response to insightful questions of the BOE. ILSB member Fred Pollock gave verbal testimony, emphasizing that the charter group will lose over a quarter of a million dollars in federal funds if the school does not open in 2012.

ILSB member Lucille Chung, a 1958 graduate of Laupahoehoe High & Elementary School, effectively countered the argument that there is a lack of community support for the charter. Chung conveyed her deep understanding of the heart of the community and emphasized that there is strong support to open the charter school in 2012.

Charter opponents continue to make inflammatory claims that charter school funding is insufficient to support the school, that there will be no sports and that the school will never be closed if run by the DOE. These opinions are directly contrary to the Detailed Implementation Plan that was approved by stakeholders in February 2010 and repeated statements made by Brian DeLima and House Representative Mark Nakashima that school consolidation/closure should be taken seriously.

Strauss urged the BOE to take effective oversight of the CSRP for the benefit of all Hawai`i charter schools.

In the second appeal, the charter school argued that the CSRP’s suspension of the school opening until 2013 exceeded Panel authority and is equivalent to revocation of the charter. Charter school representatives emphasized the need for DOE cooperation and asked the BOE to investigate continuing DOE obstruction and foot dragging.

The BOE also was concerned about the CSRP’s reliance on their “Assurances Framework” for which Takamura could not articulate any statutory authority.

The BOE acknowledged the presence of eleven representatives of the ILSB, school staff, parents and community members who attended the BOE adjudicate hearings.

LCPCS encourages current faculty to consider teaching at the charter school when it opens in July, 2012. Letters of interest and resumes are welcome from all qualified State teachers. Inquiries regarding either student registration or employment should be directed to More information about LCPCS may be found at

Police Arrest Waimea Man with Manslaughter In Connection to Death of 3-Year-Old Girl

A Waimea man has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of a young relative who had been left in his care.

On Friday night (January 13) Fire/Rescue personnel responded to a report of a 3-year-old girl who was found at home unconscious with labored breathing. They took her to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, where doctors also discovered suspicious bruising on her body and notified police.

Ezekiel Wakinekona

Police arrested Ezekiel Wakinekona of Kamuela on suspicion of abuse of a family/household member. A 2-year-old girl and a 6-year-old girl who also lived in his home were taken into protective custody. Wakinekona was taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Juvenile Aid Section continued the investigation.

Later Friday night, the injured child was flown to Kapiʻolani Hospital for Women and Children on Oahu. She was pronounced dead Sunday at 5:14 p.m. The girl has been identified as Marley Makanani of Kamuela.

At 8:20 p.m. Sunday, police charged Wakinekona with manslaughter for the death of the child and with two counts of abuse of a family/household member for injuries found on the children taken into protective custody. His bail was set at $60,000. He was held in the cellblock pending his initial court hearing on Tuesday (January 17).

Mayor Kenoi in Washington D.C. for the United States Conference of Mayors

Mayor Kenoi is in Washington, D.C. to participate in the 80th winter meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors

The Hawaii Island’s Mayors at last years United States Conference of Mayors

Press Release:

In the midst of the Republican Presidential primaries, more than 250 of the nation’s mayors will convene in Washington, D.C. next week for the 80th Winter Meeting of The U.S. Conference of Mayors at the Capital Hilton Hotel. The mayors will meet with Administration officials to push for a bipartisan agenda that confronts the double-digit unemployment plaguing much of main street America, and challenge Congress to act on job creation, transportation and public safety. The mayors will also express disappointment that Washington is not listening to the needs of the nation’s Metro regions, which have thus far been absent from the presidential debates. Highlighting the session will be the release of an economic report with 2012 employment forecasts, followed by an official address from USCM President Mayor Villaraigosa on The State of America’s Cities, and then a reception at the White House.

Confirmed Speakers Include:

  • TUESDAY: U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Louisville (KY) Mayor Greg Fischer
  • WEDNESDAY: HUD Sec. Shaun Donovan, Education Sec. Arne Duncan, Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood, Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), Congressman Barney Frank (MA), Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ), Consumer Fin. Protection Bureau Dir. Richard Cordray, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Huffington Post Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Indianapolis Mayor Gregory Ballard, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, Columbus (OH) Mayor Mike Coleman, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, BSG President Joel Benenson
  • THURSDAY: Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius, NYT Columnist Thomas Friedman, Vice Chairman Edelman Steve Schmidt, Former WH Comm. Dir. Anita Dunn,  POLITICO WH reporter Mike Allen, Americans for the Arts President and CEO Bob Lynch, Brookings Institute Dir. Bruce Katz, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, Green Bay Mayor James Schmitt, Jacksonville (FL) Mayor Alvin Brown, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Boston Mayor Tom Menino, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, Louisville, KY Mayor Greg Fischer
  • FRIDAY: U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk, Presidential Sr. Advisor David Plouffe, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson


26th Annual Hawaii Wood Guild Exhibit Begins Next Week

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx Says Get Corrupt Money Out of Politics

Bob Marx, Democratic candidate for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional district, called for “getting corrupt money out of our political system” in a statement to a group of Hawaii County Democrats today.

In the 2010 landmark case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot ban corporations from political spending during elections and reaffirmed that corporations are protected under the First Amendment.

“This ruling allows corporations to spend billions of dollars in political campaigns without any regulation or reporting,” Marx stated.  “The elite 1% will do whatever it takes to elect politicians with extreme corporate interests, who have anti-labor and anti-people agendas.”

Marx believes that repeal of Citizens United is “critical.”  “We see the ramifications of Citizens United today in a Congress that is the worst that money can buy.  Do we want to maintain ‘crony capitalism,’ where politics is run by special interest groups that want favors, exemptions, tax credits and subsidies in exchange for their sizable contributions?  If so, we take away from the hardworking middle class and feed into Corporate American greed.”  Marx supports the constitutional amendment proposed by U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), which would allow Congress and the states to enact campaign finance reforms.

“Citizens United is a threat to the American democratic process because it allows elections to be about the biggest checkbook rather than the best ideas.  Campaign spending and contributions need to be regulated.  If elected, I will do everything in my power to get corrupt money out of politics,” Marx concluded.

In Hawaii Marx said, corporate interests have a long history of misuse of government power, including the overthrow and imprisonment of Queen Lili‘uokalani and overthrow of the Native Hawaiian monarchy.

Top 10 Hawaii Agricultural Commodities

The number one agricultural commodity in Hawaii according to a recent USDA report are Seed Crops with the value of production at about $247 million dollars.

…Hawaii’s tropical climate and rich soil provide excellent conditions for growing coffee. In 2010, farmers in Hawaii harvested 6,300 acres of coffee. Production totaled 8.8 million pounds of coffee, valued at $33.4 million. The weather and growing conditions also allow taro, a crop deeply engrained in Hawaiian cultural and agricultural traditions, to flourish.  In 2010, Hawaiian farmers harvested 475 acres of taro, producing 3.9 million pounds (fresh and processed) of the root vegetable valued at $2.5 million.

The lush agricultural fields in Hawaii hold another distinction, as they provide an extensive network of solar panels and wind turbines. According to USDA’s On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey, Hawaii ranks third in the United States for the number of agricultural operations producing on-farm renewable energy. This is a tremendous accomplishment for our state that Hawaiian producers take pride in as they strive to be stewards of the land and our natural resources. In 2009, a total of 43 farms reported using wind turbines on their operations and 520 farms reported using solar panels. Farmers reported saving an average $2,125 on their utility bill in 2009 as a result of such on-farm renewable energy measures…

Statistics provided by the USDA

This information highlighting on-farm renewable energy production was gathered for the first time as a follow-on survey to the last Census of Agriculture.   To learn more about Hawaiian agriculture, subscribe to NASS Hawaii agriculture statistics reports online.

Full Story Here: Hawaii Showcases Its Ag Diversification – The Proof is in the Numbers

Ike Payne Announces His Candidacy for Hawaii County Council District 4

Aloha all,

I will be planning to run for county council in the new district, the day i need to register for the city council seat is February 1st.

Ike Payne

I can make my intent known but nothing shall begin with the county til then.. via Puna’s county office
district 4 watch out.  Any support and blessing and help would be great. Love to have your help and love to hear ideas and things that need work on in Puna.

I Live in hawaiian beaches,

Ike Payne

French Polynesia President Visits Hawaii – “Extremely Productive Visit”

Hon. Oscar Manutahi Temaru’s weeklong Hawai‘i visit addressed key issues for French Polynesia

An official weeklong visit by His Excellency Oscar Manutahi Temaru, President of French Polynesia, concluded Friday (13 January 2012) with an official press conference at the Hawai‘i State Capitol. Also in attendance will be members of the French Polynesia delegation, Hon. Temauri Foster, Minister of Marine Resources, Hon. Kalani Teixera, Minister of Agriculture and the delegation’s official host, Hawai‘i State Senator J. Kalani English.

“Reaching out to our cousins in the Pacific is important – we share lineal and cultural bonds for hundreds, if not thousands of years,” said President Temaru, the island nation’s highest leader, “to continue to fulfill our obligation to this body of water we share, we must find ways to enhance our home and build partnerships and strengthen the current relationships.”


President Temaru and Governor Abercrombie

The South Pacific President and his delegation initiated their stay with an official visit with Hawai‘i Governor Neil Abercrombie. Both President Temaru and Governor Abercrombie agreed to initiate a memorandum of understanding between the two governments to increase synergistic partnerships and provide an ability for more French Polynesian students to study here in Hawai‘i. “Obtaining visas are difficult,” President Temaru mentioned while speaking with Hawai‘i leaders, “we must travel to Fiji – the only U.S. Embassy in our part of the Pacific – the logistics to work or study abroad is difficult.”A Division of Pae ‘Āina Communications

State of Hawai‘i Senate President Shan Tsutsui and members of the State Senate also hosted an event for the delegation where President Temaru echoed much of his sentiments shared with Governor Abercrombie.

Throughout the week the President met with key leaders from the State of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Hawai‘i Convention Center and the University of Hawai‘i.

“Tahiti and Hawai‘i Island have a direct connection – a submarine communications cable from Kawaihae that extends to Tahiti among other islands in French Polynesia. We want to make sure we provide the best use and that it brings our cousins from Hawai‘i closer to us,” declared President Temaru.


President Temaru at the Capital

President Temaru and his delegation spent much of the week building relationships to assist creating more opportunities for the Country’s people and increase accessibility both for visitors and necessities alike. Meeting with executives from Hawaiian Airlines and Matson Navigation allowed the delegation to discuss lift capacities for the five archipelagos in French Polynesia and a potential port for Matson. “Currently we see visitor numbers of 170,000 individuals,” said Hiria Otto, Advisor to President Temaru, “our goal is to reach 250,000 individuals.”

President Temaru and his advisors also met with NBC Universal and Comcast executives to build French Polynesia as a viable destination for the film industry.

Officials from the Honolulu Marathon Association and Maui Marathon lent the French Polynesian delegation advice on building more support for the Tahiti Moorea Half Marathon now in its twenty-fourth year.


Mayor Arakawa and the President of French Polynesia Oscar Manutahi Temaru pose for a picture after exchanging gifts. (Photo County of Maui)

An official visit to Maui, where the delegation was greeted by Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, allowed the group to visit with the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s Breadfruit Institute in Hāna. The delegation was able to see firsthand how the organization is assisting in research to develop crops to respond to critical global food security issues and potentially develop an immerging industry in French Polynesia.

While meeting with the Maui Invasive Species Committee, the delegation was able to see firsthand, how the committee addresses invasive flora on Maui, “Many of our main islands like Tahiti or Moorea have many invasive species – this meeting allowed us to discover new ways to deal with our invasive species,” said Teua Temaru, Advisor to President Temaru.

“While we may be separated by nationalities, we share the same ocean, we live on islands and our environments are similar. We must find ways to continue to work together and collectively solve problems and succeed together. Tahiti is our direct neighbor to the South, and we have a great opportunity now for closer business” said Senator English, “we have the opportunities and we must reach out and engage.”

President Temaru said “I look forward to continuing our discussions and relationships and will work efficiently to act on the opportunities created by a productive week, we shall create mutually beneficial relationships.”

Senator English ended by saying, “It was my honor to have arranged the President’s visit to Hawai‘i, and commend him and his delegation for adhering to the grueling and ambitious schedule.”

Hilo Predicted to be One of the Worst Performing Housing Markets in 2012

An over supply of homes discounted by banks, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, HUD and mortgage companies to sell-off the record volume of foreclosures is pressuring home the U.S. The supply leaves no shortage of real estate markets for the worst housing markets forecast in 2012..

…The worst 25 housing markets forecast annually by Housing Predictor are a selection of the worst of the worst markets with the highest probability to reach their projected average home value losses during the calendar year.

The worst performing city was Las Vegas, predicted to drop 8.4% in 2012 in average price, followed by Wilmington in Deleware and Hilo, Hawaii, both down 8.2%. has provided market forecasts since 2006, based on factors such as income levels, employment rates and trends, real estate sales history and current market velocity.