Big Island Police Searching for Missing Hilo Woman Who May Need Medical Attention

4/1/12 UPDATE She has been located.

South Hilo Patrol received a report of a missing person, Susan O’Connell, F-53, of Hilo, is described as being 5’2″, 110 lbs., having short red hair, and hazel eyes.

Susan O'Connell

Party reported checked out of a hotel today in the Banyan Drive area in Hilo. Her vehicle, a green Mercury sedan, was located in the parking area of Coconut Island. Party may be in need of medical attention.

3.0 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Southern Part of the Big Island

Magnitude 3.0
Location 18.941°N, 155.478°W
Depth 37.1 km (23.1 miles)
  • 18 km (11 miles) SE (140°) from Naalehu, HI
  • 29 km (18 miles) S (180°) from Pahala, HI
  • 36 km (22 miles) ESE (121°) from Hawaiian Ocean View, HI
  • 90 km (56 miles) SW (222°) from Hawaiian Beaches, HI
  • 94 km (59 miles) SSW (206°) from Hilo, HI
  • 360 km (224 miles) SE (137°) from Honolulu, HI
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 1.3 km (0.8 miles); depth +/- 1.5 km (0.9 miles)
Parameters Nph= 65, Dmin=20 km, Rmss=0.09 sec, Gp=238°,
M-type=duration magnitude (Md), Version=1
Event ID hv60329266

Mayor Kenoi Political Funding Summary… There’s a New Tool in Town

There is a great website that was created by Jared Kuroiwa to analyze local politicians political funding and expenditures and while the site doesn’t really have a name because it’s more of a tool… I’ll simply dub it Hawaii’s Political Funding Sources for Local Politicians.

I pulled these graphs from the site about Mayor’s Kenoi’s source of funding… feel free to click the links to get more details and deeper into the lists.

Mayor Kenoi’s Top Individual Donors:

Click for full list

Kenoi’s Top Organizational Donors:

Click for full list

Kenoi’s Top Campaign Expenditures

Click for full list of expenditure

I’m only posting a few of things listed on Mayor’s Kenoi’s link on the site since he is our Mayor here on the Big Island.  You can check out other politicians from Governor Abercrombie to folks who haven’t even been elected like Zendo Kern.

Interestingly enough, Mayor Kenoi ranks number 5 in the state in the amount of funds that he has received:

Click for complete list and ranking of funding

So no matter where you live in the State of Hawaii… Feel free to check out the site to find out where your local politician is getting their money from and where it’s going during this campaign season… The Politician List.

Big Island Resident Aboard Cruise Ship Azamara Quest that Caught on Fire Last Night

The cruise ship Azamara Quest that was heading to Malaysia when it caught fire with more then 1000 people aboard last night, is now heading to the Philippines with the assistance of the Philippines Coast Guard.

The Azamara as she arrives in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Theresa Triplett, a Big Island resident from Kailua-Kona, is aboard the cruise now and reported the following on the Azamara’s facebook page a few hours ago.

We are currently on the Quest and have finally started moving again, with internet finally up again. No A/C yet but everyone is fine. Cannot say enough about this Captain and the crew. They have been absolutely wonderful keeping us updated constantly with the good or the bad. The crew has been working round the clock with very little rest trying to keep us all in good spirits, well fed and comfortable. Hasn’t been easy in this heat, but they have succeeded. And good news on the wounded crewman, who seems to be doing better, our prayers are going out to him and his family and there is a donation jar downstairs for anyone who wants to help him and his family out can. Sorry that we cannot finish our cruise, but we will be back ASAP. So again, as Russ says, we can “Eat, Drink, and be Happy”. Until next time, Aloha

The following is the latest statement from the cruise line:

Azamara Club Cruises Statement
March 30, 2012, 11:30 p.m. E.S.T.

Engineers onboard Azamara Quest continue to work on restoring propulsion to the ship. Once they have restored the ship’s propulsion, Azamara Quest will sail directly to Sandakan (Sabah), Malaysia. When propulsion has been restored to the ship, we will be able to provide an estimated time of arrival. Until then, we will be working with our guests to determine how we can best assist them with next steps and travel arrangements.

Larry Pimentel, president and chief executive officer, will be flying to Sandakan in order to meet with Azamara Quest guests personally. Mr. Pimentel is scheduled to arrive in Malaysia on Monday morning, local time.

Unfortunately, five crew members onboard the ship suffered smoke inhalation during the fire. The crew members are being treated in our medical facility. However, one crew member is more seriously injured and requires additional and urgent medical attention that can only be provided in a hospital. Once the ship arrives in Sandakan, the crew member will be immediately transported to a local area hospital.

The damage caused by the fire will require us to cancel the rest of Azamara Quest’s voyage once the ship arrives in Sandakan. We encourage guests on the April 12, 2012, sailing of Azamara Quest to monitor this website on Monday, April 2 for an update on your voyage.

If you have specific questions regarding Azamara Quest, you may call toll free 1.888.829.4050 from the United States and Canada. Guest outside the United States may call direct or collect to 1.408.916.9001.


Congressional Candidate Bob Marx on Hawaii Prisoners in Mainland Prisons

Bob Marx, Democratic Candidate for Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District, calls for an end to outsourcing Hawai‘i’s prisoners to private, mainland prisons.

Currently, the State of Hawai‘i houses 1,738 convicted prisoners in mainland, privately operated prisons in Arizona–not counting the more than 200 female prisoners who were removed from a privately-run Kentucky prison. These women were removed to protect them from physical and sexual assault.

From left: Hawaiian inmates Margarette Kealoah-Naki, Geraldine Kealoha, Patsy Kahunaele and Deenie Tanele in a holding area outside the inmate visitation room at the Otter Creek Correction Center in Wheelwright, Ky.

The State of Hawai‘i has recently unveiled a plan to return all prisoners from out of state private prisons to facilities in Hawai‘i. The initial cost of housing an inmate in Hawai‘i is greater: $128.00 per day versus $76.18 per day. The cost savings was initially thought to be worthwhile. However, when taking into account the detrimental effects of being separated from family and cultural support, the increased recidivism rates near 90%.

Bob Marx, speaking with a group of Puna Democrats today said, “Bringing back Hawai‘i’s prisoners will initially cost more due to construction costs of new facilities on Maui and the Big Island, and re-opening of the closed facility at Kulani. In addition, we need to expand the Wahiawa Correctional facility on Oahu.”

The long-term savings are estimated at $9.8 Million for fiscal 2013, $19.5 million in 2014 and $26.5 million in 2015. Marx continued, “The cost savings does not take into account the value added effect of Hawai‘i tax dollars being spent in the local economy for staffing and operating the facilities. The short-term job creation for the construction phase of the new facilities will create an immediate economic boost.”

“I will support efforts to bring federal matching funds to Hawai‘i. Then we can build the required facilities, and ensure matching federal educational funding of programs for prisoners.  With an education they are more likely to get a job and less likely to return to prison. The best public dollar spent is invested in education,” Bob Marx concluded.

Bob Marx is a Democratic Candidate for Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District.

“Images From the Edge” Photo Contest Deadline Extended Two Weeks

Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (FHVNP) has extended their deadline to enter the first annual “Images From the Edge” photo contest.  The new submission deadline is Monday, April 16 at 5:00 p.m. Hawai‘i Standard Time.

“Since our Web site redesign and photo submission page took longer to launch than originally planned, we wanted to make sure everyone had time to upload their photos to the site,” said FHVNP General Manager Julie Mitchell.

Halema‘uma‘u by National Park Services - Jay Robinson

All images will be considered for inclusion in a special multi-image slideshow on April 28 at the Kilauea Visitor Center.  All finalists’ photographs will be exhibited from June 8-17 at the Volcano Art Center Gallery.

“We also changed our opening reception of the ‘Images From the Edge’ photography exhibit to Friday, June 8,” Mitchell explained.  “We didn’t want to conflict with the reception for the Hawai‘i Photo Expo.”

Besides being exhibited, other prizes include a helicopter tour for two, a zipline adventure for two, a private Volcano tour for two, gift certificates for Big Island Candies, gift certificates for Hawai‘i Volcanoes Institute field seminars, and more.

The contest is open to anyone with an original photograph taken in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park within the last three years.  Photos may be color or black and white and can cover any subject matter.  All ages and skill levels are welcome.

“We encourage both island residents and visitors from afar will enter the contest,” said Mitchell.

First, second, and third place awards will be given in three categories: Amateur-Beginner, Amateur-Advanced, and Professional. There will also be from three to seven Honorable Mentions.

For full contest rules and to enter, visit  The entry fee for up to 3 photos is $25, payable online by credit card.

FHVNP appreciates assistance and donations from the following supporters: event co-sponsor Volcano Art Center, judges Rick Decker & Alvis Upitis, Ken & Mary Goodrich of Hawaii Photo Retreat, and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, plus Big Island Candies, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Hawaii Forest  & Trail / Kohala Zipline, Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, Nui Pohaku Adventure Tours, Volcano Places, and Volcano Video Productions.

Ka‘ū, Hawai’i Boasts Three of Top 10 Coffees of the Year

In an annual competition hosted by the Roasters’ Guild of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), three coffees from the Ka‘ū coffee growing region of Hawai‘i were among the top 10 judged, earning them the coveted title Coffee of the Year for 2012.

Winners from Hawai‘i are:

  • Will and Grace Tabios of The Rising Sun
  • Lorie Obra of Rusty’s Hawaiian
  • Francis and Trinidad Marques of Ali’i Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee

Top Coffees in the USA were from Ka`u farmers Bull Kailiawa in 2011 and Willie Tabios (right) in 2012. Both will head for Portland to represent Ka`u Coffee April 18 at the SCAA convention. Photo by Julia Neal

More than 250 coffee samples representing 26 countries vied in the prestigious competition to be recognized as the best specialty coffee from around the globe for the 2011/12 season.  A panel of experienced coffee cupping judges blindly evaluated the sensory attributes of each coffee to determine objective scores for fragrance and aroma, taste, flavor, acidity, aftertaste and body.  A composite of those scores was tabulated to determine the ranking.

One of the Top Ten Coffees of the Year for 2012 is from Lorie Obra, who is pictured with the 2011 U.S. Barista Champion Pete Licata, who employed Obra's coffee to win last year.

Ka‘ū coffees earned Coffee of the Year honors in 2011 and 2010, and were ranked in the top 10 five out of the last six years.

This is the third time Tabios has scored in the top 10, placing seventh in 2007 and earning a Coffee of the Year award in 2010. “I’m so glad that Ka‘ū won again,” extols Tabios. “It’s the farm and the processing that makes good quality coffee. All Ka‘ū coffee is good coffee. I’m just trying to do my best.”

“This is a special day at Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee,” says Lorie Obra. “It was my late husband Rusty’s vision that Ka‘ū would become one of the world’s top coffee-producing origins. Seeing three Ka‘ū coffees among the Coffees of the Year winners continues to keep his legacy and vision alive. This victory is for Rusty, for Ka‘ū for Hawai‘i and the USA.”

Trini Marques in the top ten at SCAA.

Trinidad Marques sees it another way: “It’s the spiritual connection to the ‘aina (land). As Hawaiians, the ‘aina and nature speak to us. I knew one day we would make it. It feels great to see the results of our perseverance.”

The coffees and the impassioned growers will be celebrated at the SCAA’s annual Expo in Portland, Oregon April 18-22 and again at the fourth annual Ka‘ū Coffee Festival in Pahala on the Big Island of Hawai‘i May 5-6 and May 12-13.

“I’m again so pleased and proud of all the Ka‘ū growers,” says festival organizer Chris Manfredi of Ka‘ū Farm and Ranch Co.. “Their dedication, combined passion and willingness to work together make Ka‘ū a very special place and Ka‘ū coffee exceptional. I’m honored to be working with them.”

Find more competition and ranking info at the SCAA website,

The Ka‘ū Coffee Festival is designed to raise awareness of Ka‘ū and its growers as a world-class coffee growing origin. For more information visit or call 808-929-9550. Vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. The Festival is supported in part by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

Police Searching for Five to Six Young Men Accused of Accosting Man Near Pahoa High School

Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects of a reported robbery in Puna early Friday morning (March 30).

A 39-year-old Pāhoa man reported that he was walking along Highway 130 near Pāhoa High School around 2:15 a.m. when he was accosted by five to six young men who were also walking in the area. One of them started a conversation with the victim. While the victim was distracted, the other men assaulted him and removed his backpack. They then fled the area.

The victim walked to Pāhoa town and notified police. He refused medical treatment for his non-life-threatening injuries.

Police recovered the backpack that was taken during the assault.

All the suspects were described as being in their 20s. One was described as “local looking,” approximately 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-7 with dark short hair, a medium build and a medium complexion. He was wearing a black T-shirt.

Another suspect was described as having a light complexion, reddish-brown short hair and a muscular build. He was wearing a black T-shirt and a ball cap.

A third suspect was described having dark shoulder-length hair, a goatee, a medium build and a medium complexion. He was wearing a T-shirt and ball cap.

The investigation is classified as a second-degree robbery and a third-degree assault.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed the incident contact Detective Norbert Serrao Jr. by phone at 961-2383 or by email 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.

Groundbreaking for the New Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood was Yesterday

Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood, a new 60-unit affordable senior rental housing project in Hilo had it’s groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, March 29.

From left to right: left to right: Donald Ikeda, Hawaii County Council, William Takaba, Managing Director, Keith Kato, Executive Director - Hawaii Island Community Development Corp, Michael Singer, President, Heartwood Pacific LLC (general contractor), Cheryl Fukunaga, US Dept of Housing and Urban Development, Cynthia Elliott, Rural Community Assistance Corporation, J. Yoshimoto, Hawaii County Council, Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, Hawaii County Council

Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood Phase 1 is the result of a public-private collaboration between State of Hawaii’s Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), County of Hawaii, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) and the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation (HICDC).


HHFDC provided $20.5 million in state and federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a Rental Housing Trust Fund (RHTF) loan of $8.6 million, and a Rental Assistance Revolving Fund (RARF) loan of $7.5 million. The project is also financed with $600,000 in HOME Investment Partnership Act funds administered by the County of Hawaii and a $4.0 million interim loan from RCAC.

The rental units are targeted at seniors whose incomes are at or below 30 to 50 percent of the Hawaii County median income as determined by HUD. Utilizing rental assistance from HUD and the County of Hawaii the tenants’ share of the monthly rent will be approximately 30 percent of their income for a 576 square foot one-bedroom unit. In exchange for federal and state financing and tax credits rents will remain affordable for 61 years.

By providing public lands and working with the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation, the County of Hawaii continues its collaborative efforts to provide safe, decent and affordable housing for our kupuna,” said Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi. “In addition to generating much need jobs today, the Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood Phase 1 project will be a model as we build an expanded center to serve the needs of our growing senior population.”

“The Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation wishes to acknowledge the assistance that we have received for this project from all levels of Federal, State and County government,” said HICDC Executive Director Keith Kato. “The cooperation of the Federal, State and County agencies has been the key in putting this project together with our investors, the HHF Equity Fund VI, LLC. We are working to continue the development of this Mohouli project with a new home for the Hilo Adult Day Center to replace their current facility at the old Hilo Memorial Hospital on Rainbow Drive. ”

“Public-private partnerships like this are essential to producing affordable housing,” said HHFDC Executive Director Karen Seddon. “By leveraging state resources, we are able to produce more with less. In addition to delivering safe and affordable housing for our seniors, these projects also create construction jobs and project value, investing in the future of our community.”

Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood is located at the corner of Komohana and Mohouli Streets in Hilo. Phase 1 is comprised of 11 residential buildings and a community gathering place connected with covered walkways. In addition to the new Hilo Adult Day Center future plans include 90 more residential units for seniors.

2012 Merrie Monarch Arts Fair to Feature the Waimea Artists’ Guild

Waimea Artists’ Guild (WAG) is proud to announce its participation in a very special event:  Merrie Monarch 2012 Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair, April 11-14 in Hilo.  WAG artists will exhibit and sell their work from booth #106 in the Butler Building, 648 Pi‘ilani Street.

“The Merrie Monarch Festival is the most iconic and respected hula event in the world,” said Co-Director Beth Mehau, “and we are honored and humbled to have the chance for our WAG artists to be represented.  We cannot wait to share the treasures they have worked so hard to create.”

In an unprecedented opportunity to connect with hula practitioners and aficionados from all over the world, WAG artists will present indigenous and contemporary works including prints, cultural jewelry, traditional wood and bone carvings, feather work and much more.  Many of the items are created in the Waimea Artists’ Guild workspace, a public studio for classes and workshops, with equipment and resources available to members.

Featured artists participating with WAG at the Fair include acclaimed Native Hawaiian artist Harinani Orme and Tom O’o Mehau.  Harinani, born and raised in Honolulu, has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from UH Mānoa and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Pratt Institute in New York.  Currently, her works focus on the myths, legends and traditions of old Hawai`i, and though she is known primarily as a fine arts painter and a book illustrator, she also creates artwork in mixed media and is a printmaker, a ceramicist and a jeweler.

Tom Mehau, an artist from the Kamoku-Kapulena Hawaiian Homestead area of Hawaii Island, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Colorado College in Colorado Springs. He is best known for his highly detailed pen and ink renderings, some of which can be seen in P.F. “Ski” Kwiatkowski’s book The Hawaiian Tattoo. Most recently he has transitioned into small-scaled carving under the tutelage of Maori Master Carver Stacy Gordine. His attention to line, form and detail has extended smoothly into this new medium. He is the co-founder of the Waimea Artists’ Guild, an association of professional artists whose intent is to produce art and promote education in their community.

Waimea Artists’ Guild was created by graduates of HOEA, Hawaiian ‘Ohana for Education in the Arts, whose mission is to “increase the number, accessibility, and visibility of Native Hawaiian Arts and Artists.” WAG seeks to continue this vision by perpetuating cultural relevance through the arts.  Although Native Hawaiian ancestry is not required for membership in the Waimea Artists’ Guild, sensitivity for cultural themes, materials and practices is of primary concern in the operation of the program.  For additional information, contact: Beth or Tom Mehau at 887-2289, email or visit


Big Island Police Investigating Two Burglaries at Laupahoehoe Elementary and High School

Big Island police are investigating two burglaries at Laupāhoehoe Elementary and High School.

The first occurred sometime between Thursday, March 8, and Monday, March 19, during Spring Break. The second occurred sometime between Wednesday, March 21, and Thursday, March 22. In both cases locked classrooms were entered and computer equipment was taken. The items taken have a value of more than $7,380.

Among the items removed were Lenovo Thinkpad L412 laptop computers, IBM and Lenova desktop computers and monitors, and HP printers.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case call Officer Robert Panem or Amacias Valdez at 962-2120 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 Searching for Missing 20-Year-Old Hilo Man

Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in locating a 20-year-old Hilo man who was reported missing.

Charren Kaeo Ornellas

Charren Kaeo Ornellas is described as part Hawaiian, 5-foot-8, about 130 pounds with short black hair and brown eyes.  He was last seen wearing a black tank top, black surf shorts and a black hat. He has a tribal tattoo on his upper left arm and the name “Ornellas” on his upper back.

He was last seen at a home on Leilani Street in Hilo around 8:30 p.m. Thursday and reportedly left following an argument.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts contact Detective Ernest Matsumoto Jr. by phone at 961-2379 or by email 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.

Filipino Friday – Hawaii County Delegation in the Philippines

Mayor Kenoi returned home from the Philippines today and posted the following on his Facebook page:

The Hawaii County Delegation

Mayor Kenoi said the following on his facebook page:

Here’s a photo of our delegation on our first day in the Philippines, on our trip to see how the people there are using natural assets similar to ours on Hawaiʻi Island. From left, Lito Ilagan of the Kona Visayan Club who helped connect Ormoc City and Hawaiʻi County; Randy Kurohara, Director of County Research & Development; Richard Ha and Wally Ishibashi of the Geothermal Working Group; Rose Bautista, County Immigration Specialist; Mike Kaleikini of Puna Geothermal Venture; Jane Clement of the Kona Visayan Club; Councilman Angel Pilago and his wife Nita; Jay Ignacio of HELCO; Paulette Cainglit, our Sister City Coordinator; Dr. Bruce Matthews of UH Hilo; and Dutch Kuyper of Parker Ranch. Also in our delegation but missing from this photo was Will Rolston, County Energy Coordinator, and Dr. Sonny Genio of the Kona Visayan Club.

Councilwoman Brittany Smart to Run for Hawaii State House of Representative District 3 Seat

Brittany Smart announced today that she be seeking the Hawaii State House of Representative District 3 seat. “Due to Mr. Herkes’ announcement to run for the Hawaii State Senate, there is now an open House seat.

Councilwoman Brittany Smart

District 3’s representative at the State legislature needs to have an understanding of the unique challenges that this community faces. Due to my experience as a Councilmember, I believe I am able to accurately represent this area.”

Ms. Smart wanted to sincerely thank all of her constituents for their support throughout her Council term. At the encouragement of her constituency, Ms. Smart seriously began considering a run for the State House. “I am deeply humbled by the outpouring of requests for me to continue representing my constituents at the next level.”

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx on the Honolulu Rail Project

Bob Marx, the lone neighbor island candidate for Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District, calls the proposed Honolulu Rail Project (HART) irresponsible.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Speaking to a group of students near the University of Hawai‘i – Hilo, Marx stated: “I stand with former Governor Cayetano in his opposition to the proposed Honolulu Rail Project. Increasing the debt for Honolulu and writing it off on rural Oahu, the neighbor islands, and our future generations is not only fiscally irresponsible but impractical.”

According to newly released Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Services, Hawai‘i ranks first in the amount of debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product and second in debt per capita: almost $8000 for every man, woman and child in the state.

“As usual, the City of Honolulu will again ask the rest of the State to pick up its tab on bloated spending projects. Importing steel from Europe will not create jobs for Hawai‘i. Working class people on Oahu have been hit hard enough already by the economic downturn, and raising taxes on them is not the solution. As a small business owner, I know the devastating effect that even a 1/2 percent excise tax increase can have on a business.”

General excise taxes are paid by businesses on gross receipts, not on revenue. Therefore, even businesses that are losing money would be asked to pay more. Documents presented by former Governor Cayetano and his supporters at a press conference yesterday outlined the questionable nature of the project’s proposed job creation statistics.

And just how will a Honolulu rail project help citizens living on the neighbor islands and the rest of Oahu? “Former Mayor Hannemann already hit rural Oahu with a 1/2 percent tax increase to fund Honolulu projects, and then abandoned them to pursue his political ambitions. It’s no secret where his priorities lie,” Marx added.

A lawsuit filed in 2011 by former Governor Cayetano and Hawai‘i’s Thousand Friends states that the city’s jobs forecasts are very misleading. Marx agrees, saying: “The lack of foresight for this project rests not on the hands of Mayor Carlisle but on his predecessor. Mayor Carlisle has been forced to make tough decisions, including reducing Police, Flood Control, and Erosion Protection budgets.

“This was Mufi’s project, and was poorly handled from the onset. Now he wants the voters of Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District to give him the reigns to mismanage the neighbor islands as well.”

Bob Marx is a Democratic Candidate for Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District.

Kona to Receive Funds for Healthcare Facility Improvement Projects

Part of the more than $27.7 million of funds released by Governor Neil Abercrombie for various Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) will benefit several healthcare facilities in Kona.

“The improvements to the Kona Health Center and Kona Community Hospital will elevate the level of healthcare for all of Kona’s residents,” said Representative Denny Coffman (District 6 -North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau).

Representative Cindy Evans (District 7 – North Kona, South Kohala) said that “Public Safety is one of the highest duties of government.  These new generators are necessary for the continuum of service.”

  • $4,116,000  – Department of Health facilities, statewide – Design, construction and works of art for additional health and safety improvement projects at various sites, including:  Diamond Health Center, Irwin Health Center, Hilo Environmental Health Services Waiakea Health Center, Kalaupapa Settlement, Kamauleule Building, Keakealani State Office Building, Kinau Hale, Kona Health Center, Lanakila Health Center, Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center, Leeward Health Center, Lihue Health Center, and Windward Health Center.
  • $1,050,000 – Kona Community Hospital, Hawaii Island – Design, construction and works of art as part of the installation of two new generators.


2012 Big Island Film Festival Announces Official Selections – 57 Films From Hawaii and Around the World Selected

What do a mysterious silver case, super-competitive Scrabble and a secret drug underground have in common?  They’re some of the subjects of this year’s Official Selections for Big Island Film Festival, May 24-28.

Folks enjoy some of the outdoor movies at the Shops at Mauna Lani

Now in its 7thyear, the Big Island Film Festival (BIFF) delivers unique entertainment for film lovers of all ages, with free family films at The Shops at Mauna Lani, daytime movies and nightly double features at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and much more.

BIFF 2012 will showcase 57 films from around the world, including nine from Hawai‘i, four of those from the Big Island.  Along with short and feature-length narrative films, BIFF will for the first time spotlight two documentary films: “Aunty Nona Beamer – Malama Ko Aloha (Keep Your Love)” and “Family of the Wa‘a,” both near and dear to the hearts of Big Island fans.

“We think it’s important to show these two documentaries due to their cultural significance,” said Executive Director Leo Sears.  “’Aunty Nona Beamer – Malama Ko Aloha (Keep Your Love)’ shares the story and the music of the legendary Beamer ‘ohana—Aunty Nona, Keola, and so many more talented musicians. It’s a beautiful film by Award Winning Film Producer Kenneth Burgmaier.  The Beamer family is planning to attend, so we hope the community will come to The Shops at Mauna Lani, show their support and enjoy the film.”

The second documentary, “Family of the Wa‘a,” chronicles a canoe voyage of over 1,750 miles across the Hawaiian archipelago.  “Chris Luedi, General Manager of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i, was one of the paddlers on that journey,” said Sears, “And it’s an honor for us to share their amazing story at BIFF 2012.”  Luedi is a committed student of Hawaiian language and culture, who opened last year’s BIFF alongside historian Danny Kaniela Akaka, with an authentic chant and blowing of the pū (conch shell).

“Aunty Nona Beamer – Malama Ko Aloha (Keep Your Love) screens Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at The Shops at Mauna Lani (free).  “The Family of the Wa‘a” screens Sunday night (approximately 9:30 p.m., as the second feature at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i Plantation Estate (adults $15, kama‘āina $10, late film only $7.50).

During BIFF 2012, a variety of narrative feature films full of surprises, action, romance and lots of laughs will be screened Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Just a sampling:

  • “The Silver Case” is a complex thriller from Italy, starring Eric Roberts (“The Young and the Restless,” “Heroes,” “Crash”).  It follows the trail of a silver attaché case, as it passes hand-to-hand through murders and mysteries to its inevitable end.
  • The moving Native American family drama “Shouting Secrets” is rich in tradition and redemption.  It stars Chaske Spencer (“The Twilight Saga”), Q‘oriana Kilcher (“Princess Ka‘iulani”), and Tantoo Cardinal (“Blackstone,” “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”).
  • “Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy” walks the dark and gritty path of a loveable drug-runner between Scotland and Amsterdam, starring Adam Sinclair (“The Day of the Triffids,” “Painkiller Jane,” Kristina Kreuk (“Chuck,” “Smallville”) and Billy Boyd (“Lord of the Rings”).
  • Even the short cartoon “Cadaver” has voices the audience will recognize:  Christopher Lloyd and Kathy Bates.

The 2012 Official Selections are:

“A Finger, Two Dots Then Me”
“Ad & Subtract”
“Anos Despues”
“Aunty Nona Beamer – Malama Ko Aloha (Keep Your Love)”
“Bunker 731”
“Buzkashi Boys”
“Children of the Air”
“Citizen Jia Li”
“Dancing Freak”
“Dissolving Destinies”
“Easy Street”
“Election Day”
“Family of the Wa‘a”
“French Immersion”
“Giant Monsters Attack Hawai’i”
“Hi, Honey”
“Incest! The Musical”
“Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy”
“Just Like Her”
“Life Through A Lens”
“Love & Other Unstable States of Matter”
“Miss Minoes”
“Mr. Babbo”
“Nobody’s Child”
“Over the Line”
“PORK … a short film”
“Scenen (Act 1, Scene 1)”
“Searching for Sonny”
“Shouting Secrets”
“Silver Case”
“Steve Phoenix-The Untold Story”
“Subjective Expressions”
“The Ballad of Sandeep”
“The Darkest Game”
“The Glue King & His Castle”
“The Italian Key”
“The Potstickers”
“The Sea Is All I Know”
“Todd & the Book of Pure Evil, Episode: See You Later”
“Viewer Discretion Advised (Tape 96)”
“Waking Up”
“Welcoming Departure”
The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 24-28, 2012. Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawaii Tourism Authority/Hawai’i County CPEP.

For complete schedule information and tickets, visit

Victim Speaks Up About Colt Brennan Car Wreck Accident – “My Two Cents”

On November 19, 2010 a terrible car accident happened involving former University of Hawaii Quarterback Colt Brennan and his girlfriend Shakti Stream where their car was involved in a wreck with Big Island Doctor Theresa Wang that left Brennan with broken ribs and injuries to his head and Dr. Wang with serious injuries to her head and body.

Brennan has seemingly recovered from from the accident now that he has been signed on to play with a Canadian Football League team.  Brennan and his girlfriend Stream were a bit more lucky then Dr. Wang was according to KHON 2 News:

…”Two months at Queen’s Medical Center, three months at Craig Hospital in Denver, and four months at Center for Neural Skills in Bakersfield, California. It’s just been a whirlwind,” described Chen.

“David has been amazing. He is an amazing caregiver, amazing husband and friend of the community,” said family member Darrin Gee.

Their world was turned upside down in an instant last November. An SUV driven by Brennan’s girlfriend, Shakti Stream, crossed the center line and slammed into Wang’s sedan. She suffered a serious head injury and several broken bones. The couple’s faith helped to sustain them, and they’re looking forward to being back at Waikoloa Community Church on Sunday…

A clip from Dr. Wang's Facebook page

The last few days I’ve had a chance to get to know Dr. Wang a bit further through Facebook and email correspondence and she has given me the following account of what she can remember about the incident.

How are you doing in your recovery?

Astounding! I have progress from being wheel chair dependent most of the time to now walking with the assistance of a cane  and without if needed! My physical therapy sessions are progressing from daily to once every two weeks with doing home exercises. That is the physical side of things. Cognitively I am doing better in that I can follow most of a movie and am able to read a book, the newspaper and remember what I have read. I still need reminders for taking medications and a way to check off that I have taken the meds. I was started on HCG and that has helped a lot with my physical and cognitive improvement. It is expensive but I am thankful that UHA is covering the cost and the company Genentech has a co payment reimbursement plan for it.

What do you remember of the accident?

Nothing in fact a lot of my memories for even before the accident has been erased although some is percolating back since I came home to Hawaii and also read a diary that I usually keep.

How has your life changed since the accident?

It has been turned upside down then right-side up. Financially we are not doing well and it doesn’t look like I will be going back to practice medicine but we both have found peace and cherish the good in each other as well as the world. If doomsday was to come tomorrow I would have no regrets on what we have done in our lives and I would be confident in the thought that I would see my husband in the afterlife. I do struggle from time to time with anger and frustration with Colt and Shakti but when I calmed down I realize that both of them are simply kids who are trying to make it big in their lives. I’m more concern with Colt as he is in a field that will only continue to aggravate his head injury.

Has Colt and/or Shakti contacted you personally and if so…do they remain in contact?

Colt has not but his father has and I did reply back to him. His father is a very gracious man and has been following my blogsite which incidentally is written by my husband and I just provide the entertainment value:). Shakti has written to my husband and from what I can recall..she is getting treatment for her broken collar bone through Alohacare and has gone to Honolulu for care covered by Alohacare. We do not remain in contact with Shakti.

What have you learned about this accident that folks don’t know that needs to be put out there?

Do you mean what have I learned from this accident? About this accident …most folks know it all simply because it was such a public accident and I think people knew more than I did about the details. I’m actually learning more details from the oddest places …at the rehab place I attend, from other patients there, from flight attendants on Hawaiian airlines because they knew Shakti in school and even at the opening ceremony at West Hawaii Community Health Center (my previous employer). Most people knew the two were arguing at the time. I did get to see the police photos of my car and the ouside was really mangled up so I was shocked by how intact the interior was. If I saw only the interior and knew nothing about the accident I would not believe that the car was in an accident. It was a SAAB and I bought it after my Trooper Isuzu was totaled by a woman who ran a red light and was driving a Parisian plus speeding. I had bought the SAAB for its concentration on safety. I’m really happy to see that the automobile industry is focused on safety features. Of course the industry can’t protect us from everything especially ourselves when we do stupid things like drink and drive, running red lights or texting or driving distracted. Personally, I feel a fund should be started where people who receive tickets for violating those laws must also contribute to above the actual ticket costs and then victims can tap into this fund for their financial needs. 

Lawsuits is typically a dirty word and I, as a physician am not keen on it but sometimes there is a more practical need for it. My lawyer Ian Mattoch is a sweet man who is working hard for the brain injured and it is an area that is overlooked by the medical field, government and health industry. It is becoming more prevalent and more attention should be brought to the public awareness even more so than cancer or AIDS!

My two cents… Theresa Wang

Dr. Theresa Wang and Brother Noland

Click to learn more about Dr. Wang's story

Wordless Thursday – A Chrome Car

This is the car that every lady that loves mirrors would dream about!

A “Chrome Car”!

Big Island Police Looking for Tree Vandals

Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person or persons who damaged trees at Waimea Ānuenue Park earlier this month.

Sometime between the evening of Friday, March 2, and the morning of Saturday, March 3, two koa trees were stripped of most of their bark, and five calliandra trees were partially stripped.

Police ask that anyone with any information about this case call Officer Kristi Crivello at 887-3080, 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.