Happy Birthday to ME – Post Number 8,000

Well WordPress.com has been reminding me about how many posts I make using their software.

This is officially my 8,000th post and I figure since it’s my birthday I would just make this post some sort of little thank you post to everyone that has followed my site for the last few years.

I’ve had a great time providing information unfiltered at time through my site and I’ve certainly had my ups and downs with having a site like this.

I wish more folks would have blogs.  I’m a firm believer that the more folks that are out there in the community providing information for folks is a good thing.

Mahalo to everyone that has sent me press releases and information about upcoming events.  An EVEN BIGGER MAHALO to those that actually invite me to the events that they ask me to spread the word about!

I never thought in my life that I would post so man posts on my site… I wouldn’t and couldn’t have done it without you folks reading and supporting this site!

Mahalo ~ Damon

Hilo Orchid Society Preview Party Raises $5,360 for Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center

The Hilo Orchid Society’s benefit Preview Party, which kicked off the 60th Annual Hilo Orchid Show and Sale, raised $5,360 for Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center (KMC).  Held on August 2 at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium, the benefit featured wine and beer tasting, catered food, live music, and orchid pre-sales.

Hilo Orchid Society president Julie Goettsch and show chair Sandra Song present a donation to Julie Mitchell, executive director of Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center (KMC). The $5,360 check represents a portion of ticket sales from the August 2 Preview Party, which KMC helped organize. The benefit party kicked off the 60th Annual Hilo Orchid Show and Sale at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium.

“We were so grateful to be the beneficiary of this event for the second year in a row,” said KMC Executive Director Julie Mitchell.  “In these difficult economic times, partnerships between organizations are essential.  These funds will truly make a difference in helping us provide much-needed human services.”

KMC offers a big mahalo to the Hilo Orchid Society, especially president Julie Goettsch and show chair Sandra Song.  Mahalos to Kona Brewing Co., AJ & Sons Catering, Island Naturals, Hilo Coffee Mill, Sustainable Island Products, Kui & I Florist, and Hawai‘i Printing Corporation.  Thanks also to James McCully, Rene Ahu, Boni Norito, Leafy Hao, Danny Robinson, and all the volunteers who helped make the Preview Party possible.

Since 1983, Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center has helped to bring about peaceful resolutions to conflicts in our community–first as a program of the Hawai‘i Island YMCA, and from 2005 as an independent non-profit organization.  Ku‘ikahi is the sole non-profit mediation center serving East Hawai‘i, and one of only five in the state.

“Our agency provides a vital service to the community, especially in the areas of domestic and foreclosure mediations,” Mitchell stated.  “Over 50% of our clients have annual household incomes of under $20,000.  Our services are provided on a sliding scale fee schedule, and no one is turned for lack of funds.”

Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center is offering a 28-hour “Basic Mediation Training” starting Saturday, September 29.  For more information, call 935-7844 or visit www.kmchilo.com.  KMC is located in The Hilo Lagoon Centre at 101 Aupuni Street, Suite PH 1014 B-2.

Big Island Police Asking for the Public’s Help Locating Five Individuals

Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in locating five individuals who have outstanding warrants or who are wanted for questioning.

From left to right (top row): Curtis “Hoku” Kekahuna Jr., Joel Landsborough, Sean Gregory, (bottom row): Michael Galon, Daniel “Danny” Estocado

Curtis “Hoku” Kekahuna Jr., 35, who has no permanent address, is wanted for four warrants totaling $32,500. He is also wanted for several all-points bulletins. He is described as 5-foot-11 and about 270 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He has the letters “CVK” tattooed in red and green letters on his right inner forearm and the name “Keahi” tattooed on his left inner forearm. He also has a scar that runs from his left cheekbone to his left eye. He may be in the company of 37-year-old Nani-Jo Keanini of Honoka’a, 34-year-old Elona Keanini of Kailua-Kona, or both.

Joel Landsborough, 24, of Kailua-Kona, is wanted for a $300 warrant for contempt of court. He is described as 5-foot-8 and about 145 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. He has a tattoo of the Hawaiian islands on the right side of his chest.

Sean Gregory, 21, of Kailua-Kona, is wanted for questioning in a theft investigation. He is described as 5-foot-11 and about 165 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. He has the word “Kalaoa” tattooed on his left tricep.

Michael Galon, 39, of Kailua-Kona, is wanted for questioning in kidnapping and burglary investigations. He is described as 5-foot-11 and about 210 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Daniel “Danny” Estocado, 24, of Kailua-Kona, is wanted for questioning for an unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle investigation. He is described as 5-foot-7 and about 178 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He has a tribal type tattoo on the left side of his chest.

Police ask that the public not approach any of these wanted persons, as they may be armed and dangerous. Instead call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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

Governor Abercrombie Releases $147 Million for Education, Health and Other CIPs

Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $147 million for design, construction and administration of various Capital Improvement Projects (CIPs) statewide, including work to decrease repair, maintenance and upgrade backlogs that over years have accumulated at public schools, the University of Hawai’i, health facilities, and the Hawai’i State Capitol.

“These CIP projects are part of an economic strategy that has already put our state back on track toward economic recovery,”said Governor Abercrombie. “Since the start of 2012, my administration has announced the release of more than $732 million for CIPs selected for their potential to immediately address priority work while stimulating the economy and generating job opportunities for residents. More than $187 million of this has been for public school facilities across the state.”

Allotment of funds for the following priority projects, identified by members of the state Legislature, has been approved by the Governor:


· $75,000,000 – Various Schools, statewide – Design, construction and works of art for school repairs and maintenance for schools statewide; projects include reroofing, electrical upgrades, plumbing, and other school repairs and renovations (DOE’s estimated backlog for repair and maintenance is currently $382 million)

· $6,750,000 – Stevenson Middle School, O’ahu – Additional construction funds to complete the school’s multipurpose educational facility; the project is based on a learning curriculum focused on science and a team teaching approach and will include a flexible multipurpose space to accommodate large instructional meetings (Existing facilities are too small for meetings having more than 25 participants)

· $4,940,000 – DOE project positions, statewide – Fiscal Year 2013 staffing costs for 58 project-funded positions to provide the technical and clerical support necessary to adequately address CIP needs

· $2,500,000 – Kailua High School, O’ahu –Design and construction for removal and replacement of bleachers and storage rooms for the soccer/football field at Kailua High School; DOE plans to replace the visitor side bleachers with concrete bleachers, provide a handicapped accessible path, and construct permanent storage for football and track equipment

· $600,000 – Radford High School, O’ahu – Additional construction to upgrade the all-weather track from six to eight lanes, and to provide renovations to bleachers due to the larger track layout

· $550,000 – Kalani High School, O’ahu – Design for girls locker room/shower building to achieve gender equity per Title IX

· $200,000 – Lunalilo Elementary, O’ahu – Resurfacing of worn basketball courts and replacement of aged, outdated and non-functioning play equipment; this project will allow for multi-sport courts and provide removable equipment to support various games

(University of Hawai’i)

· $12,500,000 – UH Manoa Athletic Facilities, O’ahu – Design and construction for projects including the Physical Education/Athletics Complex, football video platforms, Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, Stan Sheriff Center Complex, Les Murakami Stadium, Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex, and Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium

· $5,000,000 – Minor Capital Improvement Program Projects for Campuses of the Community College System, statewide – Design and construction for building renovations at Honolulu Community College, Kapi’olani Community College, Kaua’i Community College, and Leeward Community College

· $825,000 – UH Manoa Richardson Law School, O’ahu – Design and construction as part of the law school’s master plan for expansion of the west (Phase I) and east (Phase II) buildings; this allotment will be used to design west wing improvements to the classroom/administrative building, public entry, community clinic, and faculty suites


· $7,100,000 – Hospital Information System/Electronic Medical Record System, statewide – Equipment and implementation of system elements as required to help ensure continued receipt of Medicaid and Medicare incentive funds

· $1,000,000 – Maui Memorial Medical Center, Maui –Construction and equipment for the upgrade of medical center’s fire alarm system; Phase I focuses on changing fire safety devices to maintain fire codes; Phase 2 will focus on the fire sprinklers, fire extinguishing systems, smoke detectors, and signage

· $50,500 – Le’ahi Hospital, O’ahu – Repair and maintenance, including replacement of the hospital’s electrical transformer


· $12,000,000 – Kahului Airport, Maui – Acquisition of remaining parcels of land adjacent to airport to ensure compatible land use for airport and aircraft operations

· $7,440,000 (and $29,760,000 federal funds) – Hawai’i Belt Road, Rehabilitation of Umauma Stream Bridge, Hawai’i Island – Construction of new concrete towers to support bridge loading requirements, widening of the existing bridge deck, correcting existing roadway deficiencies, and reconstructing bridge railings to meet current safety standards


· $8,000,000 – Hawai’i State Capitol, O’ahu – Construction to replace the roof/deck, install waterproofing and resealing, and upgrade other related improvements to the Capitol building; the project is being coordinated with the State Historic Preservation Division because the Capitol is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places

· $2,576,292 – DLNR project positions, statewide – Fiscal Year 2013 staffing and associated costs for project-funded positions necessary to adequately address CIP needs; projects undertaken by the CIP staff include those for ADA compliance, water and land development, forest and wildlife resources, water resources management, conservation and resources enforcement, park development and operation, ocean-based recreation, park interpretation, flood control, and public lands management.

Calling All Hawaii Island Visual Artists

Art makers and lovers alike are invited to join Volcano Art Center for the first of many creative conversations about their Hawaii Island Network of Artists initiative on Wednesday, September 19, 2012.

Hosted at VAC’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village from 5:30 to 7:00pm, HINA project coordinator Tiffany DeEtte Shafto and VAC CEO Tanya Aynessazian will lead an open discussion on the needs of local artists—what works, what doesn’t, and share ideas for collective improvement. The overall goals for HINA will be examined with attendee input warmly encouraged.

Participation in the Hawaii Island Network of Artists is free to all visual artists on Hawaii’s Big Island. Meeting attendance is also free and future gatherings are already being coordinated for each District:

  • Kickoff Meeting:  September 19 at 5:30pm, Volcano Art Center, 19-4074 Old Volcano Road, Volcano
  • Puna Community:  September 20 at 5:30pm, Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road, Pahoa
  • South Kohala Community:  October 9 at 5:30pm, Waimea Community Center, 65-1260 Kawaihae Road, Waimea
  • South Hilo Community:  October 24 at 5:30pm, UH Hilo, Room UCB 127, Hilo
  • Hamakua Community:  November 7 at 5:30pm, NHERC, 45-539 Plumeria Street, Honokaa
  • South Kona Community:  January 24, 2013 at 5:30pm, SKEA, 84-5191 Mamalahoa Hwy, Captain Cook
  • North Kona Community:  February 7 at 5:30pm, Donkey Mill Art Center, 78-6670 Mamalahoa Hwy, Holualoa
  • Kau Community:  March 7 at 5:30pm, Naalehu Community Center, 95-5635 Mamalahoa Hwy, Naalehu
  • North Kohala Community:  TBA
  • North Hilo Community:  TBA

There are many ways to participate if you are unable to attend a meeting in person. For more information, visit www.HINArtists.org, connect on Facebook at facebook.com/HINArtists, on Twitter at @HINArtists, through email at info@HINArtists.org or call Volcano Art Center directly at (808) 967-8222.

Hawaii Island Network of Artists is a project of Volcano Art Center and is supported in part with funding from Hawaii County. Photo and video artist volunteers are needed to assist with documenting meetings and project progress. Please email Tiffany if you are interested in lending your services at info@HINArtists.org.

Volcano Art Center (VAC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1974 to develop, promote and perpetuate the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Hawaii’s people through the arts and education.

Wordless Wednesday – Waikiki Balloon Man

There are all kinds of street performers in Waikiki. This guy selling balloons was pretty good.