Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi Meets President Obama

I mentioned last month that Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi was in Washington DC for the 80th U.S. Conference of Mayors Conference.

Here is a picture of Mayor Kenoi shaking hands with President Obama while he was over there.

Mayor Kenoi greets President Obama

More on his visit here: Mayor attends conference,  meets with officials in D.C.

County Moving Forward With New $5.5 Million Pahoa Community Park

The Department of Parks & Recreation is moving forward with planning a new $5.5 million community park on a 56 acre parcel in Pāhoa town. On Jan. 18, members of the Puna community gathered at the Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility to talk story about the park, which will be adjacent to the Neighborhood Facility and Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center, right in the heart of Pāhoa.

Councilman Fred Blas, Parks & Recreation Director Bob Fitzgerald, and Deputy Director Clayton Honma discussed the plans thus far, and opened up the floor to find out what the Puna community would like in the park.

Suggestions ranged from a perimeter trail with room for wheelchairs and bikes, to a home field for the Puna Panthers football team, to a large gathering place to hold parties, to a disc golf course, to a venue for performing arts.

“This was just the first of more community meetings to come,” said Clayton Honma, deputy director of Parks & Recreation. “We will engage the community all through the master planning process to make sure Puna gets a great park.”

Pahoa Community Meeting on the Puna Park

Parks are great ways to maintain open space and provide gathering places for the community, Mayor Kenoi said. And as the father of three children engaged in team sports, he understands the importance of parks for youth athletics. The lessons taught by achieving goals through perseverance, hard work, and collaboration as taught on the field are priceless throughout life.

“Parks are vital to safe and healthy communities,” Mayor Kenoi said. “We look forward to completing this pu‘uhonua, this safe place for the families of Puna to get away from negative influences and engage in positive activities.”

Man Collapses in Kona, Police Seeking Help Identifying Man

The Hawaiʻi Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying an elderly man found unresponsive on Aliʻi Drive in Kailua-Kona today (February 6) at noon.

Hawaiʻi Fire Department medics responded to Aliʻi Drive just North of Kaleiopapa Street to a report of a man who had collapsed on the side of the road. Bystanders were performing CPR on the man when Fire Department personnel arrived.

Hawaiʻi Police Department officers canvassed the area but were unable to locate anyone who could identify the man, who is estimated to be between 60 and 70 years old. He has white hair and was wearing red shorts, a white shirt, and tennis shoes.

He was transported to Kona Community Hospital and is listed in critical condition.

Police ask that anyone with information on his identity 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.

Big Island Police Seeking Missing Puna Girl Who May Be In the Waianae Area of Oahu

Big Island police have located 17-year-old Keala Enos, who was reported missing. She was found in good health Thursday (February 16) in Volcano.

Big Island police are renewing their request for information about a 17-year-old girl reported as missing from Puna since September 2.

Keala Enos

Keala Enos is described as, 5-foot-5, about 130 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing jeans, a turquoise tank top and a white jacket.

She may be on Oahu in the Waianae area.

Police ask that anyone with information on her 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidentia

Big Island Students Representing at White House Science Fair – Take First Place in “We Can Change the World” Challenge

On Tuesday, February 7th, President Obama will host the second White House Science Fair celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. The President will also announce key steps that the Administration and its partners are taking to help more students excel in math and science, and earn degrees in these subjects.

Click to view their proposal

At the fair, the President will view exhibits of student work, ranging from breakthrough research to new inventions, followed by remarks to an audience of students, science educators and business leaders on the importance of STEM education to the country’s economic future.

The President hosted the first-ever White House Science Fair in late 2010, fulfilling a commitment he made at the launch of his Educate to Innovate campaign to inspire students to excel in math and science.  As the President noted then, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.” In addition, over the past year, the President met with the three young women who won the Google Science Fair, met a student robotics team on his bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia, and made a surprise appearance at the New York City Science Fair.

Senior Administration Officials Attending
John Holdren
, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
Subra Suresh, Director, National Science Foundation (NSF)
Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Charles F. Bolden, Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Jane Lubchenco, Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Patrick Gallagher, Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Carl Wieman, Associate Director for Science, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
Stephen Van Roekel, Federal Chief Information Officer
Harold Varmus, Director, National Cancer Institute

Additional Information on the Exhibits, Students and Competitions at the White House Science Fair
The second White House Science Fair will celebrate over 100 students from over 45 states, representing over 40 different competitions and organizations that work with students and inspire them to excel in STEM. More than 30 student teams will have the opportunity to exhibit their projects this year, almost twice as many as the first White House Science Fair.

Students from Kohala Middle School Students won the following category and will be representing Hawaii:

• Improving the Environment One Community at a Time. Isabel Steinhoff, Rico Bowman, Genevieve Boyle, and Mina Apostadiro, of Kohala Middle School in Kapaau, Hawaii, took first place in the grade 6-8 division of the Siemens “We Can Change the World” Challenge, for their household battery recycling effort to collect 6,000 batteries in 60 days.  The team, named 6000 in 60, embarked on a campaign to improve their community’s use and disposal of batteries by giving local people information on the environmental harm of batteries disposed improperly along with providing local opportunities for recycling.

Big Island Police Renew Search for Missing 16-Year-Old

March 29, 2012 UPDATE – Big Island police have located 16-year-old Bradley Kelii Solis-Kim of Hilo, who was reported missing. He was found unharmed Monday afternoon (March 26) in Hilo.

Big Island police are renewing their request for information about a 16-year-old boy reported as missing from Hilo since September 27, 2011.

Bradley Kelii Solis-Kim

Bradley Kelii Solis-Kim is described as, 5-foot-11, about 200 pounds with medium brown hair and brown 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Boy Missing Since June 2010

Big Island police are renewing their request for information about a 17-year-old boy reported as missing from Mountain View since June 6, 2010.

Devin D. Balai

Devin D. Balai is described as Hawaiian-Vietnamese, 5-foot-8, about 190 pounds with black hair and brown 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

ACTION ALERT! Your Voice on the Big Island Could Be Silenced by Legislation!

Legislation that would silence Public Access Community TV has been introduced by Big Island Representative Bob Herkes with the backing of Cable TV giant Oceanic Time-Warner.

The bill, introduced by Rep Herkes, would rip-apart the PEG (Public, Educational, Government) Community TV station agreements and divert 67 percent of funds for Na Leo on the Big Island, and all other Community TV stations, into state coffers.

House Bill 2652 popped onto the House committee’s schedule for Monday (Feb 6) 2:15 p.m. This was done on Friday, the eve of Super Bowl weekend when folks wouldn’t be looking and it would be too late to submit testimony. HB2652 was originally scheduled for a hearing the previous week giving us only a few hours then to submit testimony against it and despite the late notice over 45 written testimonies were submitted with most of them in strong opposition to the bill.

House Bill HB2652 appears to be fast-tracked for passage as it was originally introduced Wednesday (Jan 25) and it has already passed its first reading and is being pushed forward. The General Manager at Na Leo ‘O Hawai‘i was not told about the legislation ahead of time nor has it been mention by Rep Herkes to myself or other board members. There’s a definite lack of sunshine on what’s going on with this legislation for all the Community TV stations in Hawaii as well as the public.

The Community TV station on the Big Island is Na Leo ‘O Hawai‘i. I am the president of Na Leo and this is a volunteer position as I, along with our volunteer board of directors, believe an informed public makes for a better society.

If our PEG franchise is split into three: (P)ublic, (E)ducation and (G)overnment then it is very likely that Na Leo ‘O Hawai‘i will not survive to provide current services nor would our plans to expand our areas of coverage on Big Island survive.

On the neighbor islands we often play forgotten stepchild to Oahu. The Big Island is left out when it comes to coverage of news and events. Honolulu TV stations often ignore the Big Island when it comes to covering our island home. Because of this Na Leo has worked to fill this information gap.

Na Leo has sponsored Big Island Video News to bring much needed local coverage to the people of our island through cable TV with news that the Honolulu TV stations ignore. We also provide video from our hard working producers and staff from around the island covering an area larger than the rest of the main Hawaiian Islands combined which has always been a daunting task.

For our kupuna who may not get out often, for those living in this tough economy who can’t afford to drive across the island and often only have a decades old television Na Leo on cable TV may be their only chance to enjoy a Hawaiian music festival or watch one of our champion youth teams in action on the Big Island.

I urge everyone to ACT NOW AND CALL OR EMAIL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE. You must do this before 2 p.m. on Monday and tell them to vote ‘NO’ on HB2652. Let them know that the community on the Big Island will not be silenced. Let them know that they work for YOU and NOT big corporate interests. Tell them that you OPPOSE  HB2652.

You can visit the HB2652 page for more info here:

We urge you to contact your representative:

Mark Nakashima (District 1: North Kohala, South Kohala, Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo)
Phone (808) 586-6680
Fax (808) 586-6684

Jerry Chang (District 2: South Hilo, Waiakea Kai, Kaumana, Keaukaha)
Phone (808) 586-6120
Fax (808) 586-6121

* Cliff Tsuji (District 3: South Hilo, Panaewa, Puna, Keaau, Kurtistown)
Phone (808) 586-8480
Fax (808) 586-8484

Faye Hanohano (District 4: Puna, Pahoa, Hawaiian Acres, Kalapana)
Phone (808) 586-6530
Fax (808) 586-6531

* Robert Herkes (District 5: Puna, Ka’u, South Kona, North Kona)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 320
Phone (808) 586-8400
Fax (808) 586-8404

* Denny Coffman (District 6: North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau)
Phone (808) 586-9605
Fax (808) 586-9608

Cindy Evans (District 7: North Kona, South Kohala)
Phone (808) 586-8510
Fax (808) 586-8514

Note that Representatives Tsuji, Herkes and Coffman will be at the hearing on Monday (Feb 6) so it is especially important to contact them.

Baron Sekiya
President of Na Leo ‘O Hawai‘i Public Access Television