Public Invited to “Magic Of The Season” Holiday Open House

Free fun, food and festivities for the whole family will be part of the County of Hawai‘i’s 2nd Annual holiday open house – the Magic of the Season – to be held December 10-21 at the Hawai‘i County Building in Hilo.

Christmas at the County
County volunteers will decorate dozens of trees, provide refreshments and offer holiday cheer so families may enjoy a safe, community-oriented event. Members of the public may view the exciting decorations daily starting at 8 a.m. Live entertainment, refreshments and holiday activities will be available weeknights between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Cyril Pahinui, Mark Yamanaka, Darlene Ahuna and Henry Kapono will be among the Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning performers. Taiko drummers, hula dancers and student musicians also will take turns entertaining audiences.

Local Girl and True Blood Star Kristina Anapau made an appearance last year.

Local Girl and True Blood Star Kristina Anapau made an appearance last year.

School groups, civic organizations and individuals are invited to experience the holiday offerings by touring the office building located at 25 Aupuni St. Attendees may vote for the best displays, which will receive donated prizes.

For more details, please contact Jason Armstrong, Department of Parks and Recreation Public Information Officer, at 345-9105 or Inquiries may also be sent to T. Ilihia Gionson, Executive Assistant to Mayor Billy Kenoi, at 961-8211 or

Entertainment Lineup

December 10
5:00 – Boni & Doug
5:45 – Stan Kaina
6:30 – Puna Taiko Drums
7:00 – Ira & Dru Kekaualua
December 11
5:00 – Cyril Pahinui and the students of
Connections Public Charter School
6:00 – Braddah Waltah Aipolani
7:00 – Hawai‘i County Band
December 12
5:00 – The Young Brothers –
Moku & Kalei of the Kuahiwis
6:00 – Ben Kaili & Friends
December 13
5:00 – Mark Yamanaka & Friends
6:00 – Hālau Nā Pua O Uluhaimālama
7:00 – Bill Noble Trio with Desiree Cruz
December 14
5:00 – Mokuleo
6:00 – Randy Lorenzo & Friends
7:00 – Darren the Lion, McGruff & Friends
December 17
5:00 – Yisa Var
6:00 – Henry Kapono
December 18
5:00 – Waiākea Elementary Choir
6:00 – Guy Cruz
7:00 – Cruz Family
December 19
5:00 – Harmony on Tap
6:00 – Hula Hālau O Kou Lima Nani Ē
7:00 – Times Five
December 20
5:00 – Dexter & Jeff of Crescent City Band
6:00 – Darlene Ahuna & Friends
December 21
5:00 – Ol’ School Band
6:00 – Lehua Kalima

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 31-Year-Old Kainaliu Woman

12/3/12 UPDATE: Big Island police have located 31-year-old Sarah Cain of Kainaliu, who was reported missing.

She was found unharmed in Naʻalehu on Saturday morning (December 1).

Big Island police are searching for a 31-year-old Kainaliu woman who was reported missing.

Sarah Cain

Sarah Cain

Sarah Cain was last seen around 4 p.m. on November 21 near the West Hawaiʻi Community Health Center in Kailua-Kona. She is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8, 120 pounds with short brown wavy hair and brown eyes.

Police ask that anyone with information on her whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Detective Walter Ah Mow at 326-4646, extension 238.

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.

3.1 Magnitude Earthquake Hits the Big Island this Afternoon


Magnitude 3.1
  • Friday, November 30, 2012 at 04:04:28 PM at epicenter
Location 19.751°N, 156.327°W
Depth 21.5 km (13.4 miles)
  • 34 km (21 miles) W (275°) from Kalaoa, HI
  • 37 km (23 miles) WNW (290°) from Kailua, HI
  • 40 km (25 miles) WNW (292°) from Holualoa, HI
  • 130 km (81 miles) W (272°) from Hilo, HI
  • 233 km (145 miles) SE (138°) from Honolulu, HI
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 13 km (8.1 miles); depth +/- 4.3 km (2.7 miles)
Parameters Nph= 19, Dmin=34 km, Rmss=0.15 sec, Gp=320°,
M-type=duration magnitude (Md), Version=1
Event ID hv60436111


Man Who Founded Mauna Loa Observatory Turns 100-Years-Old

The man who founded the Mauna Loa Observatory here on the Big Island has turned 100-years-old.

Dr. Robert Simpson in his earlier days

Dr. Robert Simpson in his earlier days

Many Texans have played prominent roles in science. Among them is Dr. Robert Simpson, a Corpus Christi native and graduate of Georgetown’s Southwestern University.

Simpson founded Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory, the world’s best known atmospheric monitoring station. He also served as first director of the National Hurricane Center.

Simpson recently celebrated his 100th birthday with a party at the home of his daughter Peggy Simpson and a formal reception at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. My wife Minnie and I attended both events, where we met family members and some of the scientists with whom Simpson worked over the years…

Read more:


Hawaii Plans to Provide Every State Resident 1 Gigabit Internet Service by 2018

Hawaii plans to provide every state resident 1 Gigabit Internet service by 2018.

Sonny Bhagowalia

Hawaii Chief Information Officer, Sonny Bhagowalia, talks of the island’s broadband plan


Government Technology is the award-winning national magazine covering information technology’s role in state and local governments. Keep up on government tech trends by viewing more videos at


Fatality On Highway 130 About an Hour Ago – RIP Bo Lozoff

*UPDATE* I’m getting unconfirmed reports that popular entertainer Bo Lozoff may have lost his life in this accident.

Picture via KHON2 News

Picture via KHON2 News

I just got the following report from a reliable source:


Fatality reported at Hwy 130 and Leilani Ave involving a motorcycle and car…body covered up….happened about 30 minutes ago… *EDIT*

UPDATE – I just received the following police report:

HPD advises you to AVOID Hwy 130 at Leilani Ave in Pahoa due to a current traffic issue.

A vehicle crash near Hwy 130 and Leilani Ave in Pahoa has closed Hwy 130/Leilani Ave intersection and will require a detour of traffic for the next several hours.

Traffic is being routed to the Leilani Ave and Pohoiki Road intersection.

11-30 UPDATE

A 65-year-old Pāhoa man died Thursday (November 29) from injuries he sustained in a motor vehicle/motorcycle crash at the intersection of Route 130 and Leilani Avenue in Pāhoa.

Responding to a 3:34 p.m. call, Puna patrol and Traffic Enforcement Unit officers determined that the 65-year-old man was operating a 2003 Suzuki motorcycle and traveling north on Route 130 when a 1999 Lexus multi-purpose vehicle being operated by a 66-year-old Pāhoa man failed to yield the right of way and made a left turn onto Leilani Avenue.

The motorcycle operator was not wearing a helmet and was dead at the scene.

The driver of the Lexus was not injured. His wife, a 64-year-old woman, went to the Hilo Medical Center by private vehicle and was treated and released with minor injuries.

It is unknown at this time if speed, alcohol or drugs were involved.

The motorcycle operator was taken to Hilo Medical Center and officially pronounced dead at 9:19 p.m.

The name of the motorcycle operator is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of the next of kin.

Traffic Enforcement Unit Officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask that anyone with information about the crash call Officer Tuckloy Aurello at 961-8119.

This is the 37th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared with 19 at this time last year.

Keiki Triathlon Results

The County of Hawai‘i’s Department of Parks and Recreation and the Hawai‘i Isle Police Activities League (HI-PAL) are pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural Keiki Triathlon held October 20 at the Kona Community Aquatic Center and Maka‘eo Park in Kailua-Kona.

More than 50 youth athletes from around the island finished the challenging swim, bike and run courses.

The Department of Parks and Recreation and HI-PAL congratulate all the participants and extend a special mahalo to everyone who helped to make the event successful.


Girls 7-8:

  1. Lainey Eckart 18:21.91
  2. Audrey Weir 19:25.02
  3. Ciara Blaber & Rachel Caldarone 19:52.14 (tie)

Boys 7-8:

  1. Levi Farinas 19:11.83
  2. Jacot McDavid 19:57.63
  3. Zion Hernendez 20:01.72

Girls 9-10:

  1. Shiloh Pintor 24:29.1
  2. Nophia Pintor  24:53.79
  3. Casy Gollen 25:13.95

Boys 9-10:

  1. Ku’e Martin 20:38.21
  2. Isaiah Manasas 20:48.86
  3. Luke Biondi 21:05.1

Girls 11-12:

  1. Hoope Napoleon-Martin 24:47.09
  2. Enjolique Hughes 26:51.10
  3. Amanda Schiff 26:52.83

Boys 11-12:

  1. Kameron Moses  20:13.08
  2. Caleb Barville 20:26.63
  3. Kai McDavid 24:54.07

Boys 13-14:

  1. Nai’a Makuakane 21:33.24

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or


Big Challenge Returns to Hawaiian Island Waters

U.S. Coast Guard feature story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler

On the morning of November 21st, 2012, a group of specialists arrive at Coast Guard Station Maui to face an annual challenge here in the Hawaiian Islands. Humpback whale season is beginning, and this assembly of scientists and first responders prepare to combine their skills, in an effort to aid marine mammals that have been entangled in fishing gear or suffered from vessel collisions.

Humpback whales complete their annual migration to the most isolated archipelago in the world each year, usually between November and April. During these months they remain in the waters surrounding Hawaii to breed, give birth and nurse their young. While transiting to or living in the Hawaiian Islands, it is common to receive reports of injured humpback whales, or animals entangled in various kinds of large fishing gear like nets and lines.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Lundy and Seaman Darren Park, both from Coast Guard Station Honolulu, watch as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration members remove line caught on a yearling whale in waters west of Molokai, Hawaii.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Program leads the effort to respond to entangled or injured humpback whales. The Coast Guard and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources work together with NOAA to respond to reports.

Entanglement and ship strikes are some of the primary threats to large whales, like the humpback. Since 2002, combined response efforts have freed 16 whales from life-threatening entanglements and more than a mile of gear has been removed from the animals.

Continue reading

Governor Abercrombie Releases $3.7 Milllion for Hilo Medical Center

Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $3.7 million for capital improvement projects (CIPs) at Hilo Medical Center, the largest facility in Hawaii’s public hospital system and one of the largest employers in Hilo.

Hilo Medical Center

“These CIPs funds represent an investment in Hilo Medical Center as an essential part of our public hospital system,” said Governor Abercrombie. “As elements of the Affordable Care Act come online, we must continue to invest in our healthcare infrastructure to ensure that facilities are ready to provide access to quality healthcare for all the people of Hawaii.”

Since the start of 2012, the Abercrombie administration has released more than $889.5 million for CIPs, including these newly released funds, as a part of an economic strategy to address priority work while stimulating the economy and generating jobs.

Allotment of funds for the following Hilo Medical Center projects, identified by the state Legislature, has been approved by the Governor:

·    $1,052,000 – Construction and required works of art to renovate the acute care hospital at Hilo Medical Center, including renovations to bathrooms with leaky fixtures and cracked shower tiles, replacement of inoperable and corroded facility doors, soundmasking to reduce noise, and other repairs as necessary
·    $728,000 – Design and construction for the replacement of the medical center’s atrium walls and roof, which need to be repaired to address the water leakage causing damage to the hospital interior
·    $650,000 – Planning, design and construction to repair leaking roofs of the West Wing, Hospital Cottage and acute hospital
·    $350,000 – Design and construction to replace chiller pipes that are more than 25 years old to prevent loss of air conditioning for the hospital
·    $235,000 – Parking lot improvements/renovations, such as re-designation of parking to accommodate patient and visitors’ needs, signage, fencing and lighting
·    $233,000 – Materials abatement, relocation of utilities, and demolition of an old two-story building on the campus that has partially collapsed, resulting in a potential fire hazard and an obstacle to the helipad adjacent to this structure
·    $200,000 – Construction to bring existing storage tanks into compliance with new EPA regulatory standards; project includes construction of a concrete footing, metal roof overhang, and installation of new chain link fences and gates
·    $160,000 – Equipment to replace an existing washer, which is more than 25 years old and is no longer operable
·    $134,000 – Design and construction to replace existing chain link fence with a higher masonry fence that will increase security for the behavioral health unit and additional privacy for patients


Public Invited to Community Input Sessions with Rep. Richard Onishi

Newly elected State Representative Richard Onishi (District 3 – South Hilo, Keaau, Honuapo) will host Input Sessions for community members to share their ideas and concerns about the district as well as their priorities for the 2013 Legislative Session.

Rep. Richard Onishi


  • Wednesday, December 5, 7-8 pm – Volcano Art Center
  • Friday, December 7, 7-8 pm – Hilo AJA Hall
  • Sunday, December 9, 7-8 pm – Pahala Community Center
  • Monday, December 10, 7-8 pm – Kea’au Community Center

Info: 808-586-6120



China to Participate in 2014 RIMPAC Excercises

I’ve been very fortunate to be invited to participate in RIMPAC Exercises in the past.  In 2010 the most exciting thing I got to do was fly out to the USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier and have lunch, tour the ship and meet the Commander.

When they catapulted me off the buggah, the velocity of the thrust off the carrier made me feel like I had left my stomach back on the ship!

This past year I got to do several cool things like take a LCAC Military Sealift Hovercraft out to the USS Essex.

That was a trip as a sailor actually fell overboard while I was on the trip!

My most memorable trip in 2012 was getting flown out to the USNS Mercy by helicopter and “Manning the Rails” of the Mercy as she returned home from the 2012 Pacific Partnership.

That was special because that was the second time I had visited the Mercy… the first time it was already in port.

Well I just learned today… That CHINA is going to be participating in the 2014 RIMPAC Exercises!!!

From the U.S. Pacific Fleet Facebook page

“I am pleased our two Navies conducted a successful counter-piracy exercise in September, and we welcome China’s participation in the Rim of the Pacific exercise in 2014. These kinds of opportunities are invaluable when it comes to building trust between our two Navies.” – Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in Beijing

*Cough* I’d love to the first US Civilian aboard a Chinese Navy Ship!

Big Island Election Clerk Jamae Kawauchi Rips Into Head of State Elections

Big island election clerk Jamae Kawauchi rips into head of state elections.

Jamae Kawauchi tells her side of the story.

Video from Hawaii Reporter:



Big Island Police Charge Kona Man With 3 Offenses in Connection With Robbery on Monday

Hawaiʻi County police have charged a Kona man with three offenses in connection with a robbery in a parking lot at Aliʻi Sunset Plaza early Monday morning.

Alexander Cho

At 7:15 p.m. Wednesday (November 28), detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section charged 20-year-old Alexander Cho with first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and third-degree theft. He was held at the Kona police cellblock in lieu of $77,000 bail pending his initial court appearance scheduled for today.

A 26-year-old Kealakekua man reported that after he met a local man at bar, the man took him to the northwest corner of the parking lot to meet with five or six males. They punched and kicked the victim and stole his backpack before fleeing on foot.

The victim was treated at Kona Community Hospital for a fractured jaw and minor cuts and scrapes.

Police investigation led to Cho’s arrest at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Police continue to ask for help from anyone who witnessed the attack or saw the victim talking with a local male in the Coconut Grove area. The victim was wearing shorts and a striped tank top and was carrying a backpack.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call Detective Walter Ah Mow at 326-4646, extension 238.

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.

Congresswoman Hirono Introduces Resolution Honoring Mother Marianne of Molokai

Congresswoman Hirono Introduces Resolution Honoring Mother Marianne of Molokai

Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono today was joined by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa , and two Republicans, Congressman Richard Hanna (NY-24) and Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25) in introducing a House Resolution honoring Mother Marianne Cope for her life’s legacy of compassionate care and dedication to those she served at the Hansen’s disease settlement at Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai.



Hilo Man Being Honored for Contribution to HIV/AIDS Prevention & Treatment in Hawaii

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) STD/AIDS Prevention Branch is pleased to announce that the 9th Annual Suzanne Richmond-Crum Award will be presented to Lenard Allen of Hilo, Hawai‘i.

The award will be presented at the World AIDS Day event on O‘ahu to be held from 11 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Church of the Crossroads (1212 University Ave.). Allen is being honored for his tremendous contributions to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services in Hawai‘i.

“Mr. Allen has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty to develop and implement activities to support the HIV community in Hawai‘i,” said Health Director Loretta Fuddy. “His unwavering commitment to give of himself to individuals and organizations in need makes him a most deserving recipient of the 9th Annual Suzanne Richmond-Crum Award.”

Monica Adams M.A., M.B.A., Director of Development for the Bay Clinic Family Health Centers said of Lenard Allen: “His work has profoundly changed the environment for HIV/AIDS care, perceptions, and services in East Hawai‘i. There are some people in this world who do tremendous things, who work tirelessly for a cause, and who do it without recognition and fame. Lenard is one of these people.”

For 20 years, Allen has been actively involved in HIV client services, care, prevention, community education, advocacy, and fundraising. Allen has worked in HIV/AIDS services at the Big Island AIDS Project, Hawai‘i Island HIV/AIDS Foundation, and Bay Clinic, Inc. His considerable efforts have focused on all persons living with HIV and those at risk for acquiring HIV. Allen also founded OUTSPOKEN, which served as a community fundraiser to fill in service gaps for people living with HIV. He developed a free counseling program and phone support for individuals living with HIV. He worked with the Big Island Aloha Patrol for four years as a liaison and advocate between business owners, community, and the County of Hawai‘i Judiciary to provide referrals to services, testing, healthcare and education.

Suzanne Richmond-Crum passed away in August 2004 after serving as director of the Hawai‘i Seropositivity and Medical Management Program (HSPAMM) of the DOH STD/AIDS Prevention Branch for more than 10 years. The award was established in honor of the competence and compassion she demonstrated in her HIV/AIDS work, and is presented annually to an individual in Hawai‘i for their outstanding contribution in providing HIV/AIDS services.

The public is invited to attend the award presentation at the 2012 World AIDS Day program on Saturday, Dec.1, at the Church of the Crossroads, as well as many other activities occurring statewide. For more information on all statewide World AIDS Day events, go to:

Jimmy Buffett Sells Cheeseburger in Paradise Restaurants for $11 Million

Jimmy Buffett is parting with Cheeseburger in Paradise, a chain of theme restaurants that is named after one of his songs, for $11 million.

Luby’s Inc. announced on Wednesday it was buying Paradise Restaurants Group LLC with cash and credit, acquiring its 23 Cheeseburger in Paradise locations in 14 states that in previous years had generated revenue of more than $50 million.

Cheeseburger in Paradise was founded 10 years ago in collaboration with the entertainer, based on his 1978 ode to “heaven on earth with an onion slice.”

“Luby’s anticipates developing opportunities to expand the brand,” the company said in a statement.

The restaurants created an island, beach-party atmosphere that would be familiar to fans of Buffett’s music and a slight departure from the more family-oriented Luby’s Cafeterias and Fudduckers restaurants operated by Luby’s Inc.

Big Island Police Searching for Painting Stolen During Puna Burglary

Hawaiʻi County police are requesting the public’s help in locating a painting stolen during a burglary in Puna.

The koa framed painting “Mystic Light” by Christian Reese Lassen was among several items removed from a home in the Ainaloa subdivision sometime between April and July.

“Mystic Light” by Christian Reese Lassen

Police ask that anyone with information about the whereabouts of the painting or with information about burglaries contact Detective Royce Serrao at 961-8810 or or Detective John Rodrigues Jr. at 961-2384 or

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.


“Let Carols Ring” to Benefit the Food Basket Ministry

This Sunday, December 2, at 3 PM, the Hilo Community Chorus will perform their Christmas concert “Let Carols Ring” at the Church of the Holy Cross, 440 W. Lanikaula Street in Hilo.

“Let Carols Ring” is a program of Christmas music that has been re-arranged or newly written in the 21st century.  There are many familiar favorite Christmas tunes that will be performed in new arrangements, as well as new pieces such as Eric Barnum’s “Sweeter Still”  and John Rutter’s “Rejoice and Be Merry.”

Conductor Tom McAlexander says, “You will hear some of the most beautiful carols you’ve never heard, and some wonderful new twists on the older ones.”

The concert features accompaniment by Walter Greenwood on piano and organ, Rick Mazurowski on continuo, and Gerdine Markus and Laurel Rain on recorders.

Admission is free, although a calabash will be provided and donations of non-perishable food for the Food Basket Ministry will also be welcomed.

WHO: Hilo Community Chorus
WHAT: Free Christmas concert “Let Carols Ring”
WHERE: Church of the Holy Cross, 440 W. Lanikaula Street, Hilo HI
WHEN: Sunday, December 2, 3 PM
WHY: Accepting donation of non-perishable food for the Food Basket Ministry

Matson’s 2013 Westbound Hawaii Service Rates to Increase by $225 per Container

Matson, Inc. announced today that Matson Navigation Company, Inc. (Matson) will raise its rates for the company’s Hawaii service by $175 per westbound container and $85 per eastbound container, effective January 1, 2013.

Matson is increasing their prices to Hawaii beginning January 1st, 2013

The increase will be filed with the Surface Transportation Board. In addition, Matson will raise its terminal handling charge by $50 per westbound container and $25 per eastbound container, also effective January 1, 2013. Matson estimates that the combined increase of both the rate adjustment and terminal handling charge will result in shipping costs rising by an average of 5.6 percent. Historically, Matson announced average percentage increases based solely on the rate increase, excluding terminal handling charges. As of last year, it is now combing both numbers for the average percent increase in the interest of greater transparency.

“This rate increase will help offset rises in operating costs and support ongoing investments in our Hawaii service,” said Dave Hoppes, senior vice president, ocean services. “This rate adjustment is consistent with our longstanding philosophy of implementing modest, incremental increases as necessary to maintain the highest levels of service. Matson continues to diligently look for ways to operate the most efficient, cost effective service possible, without undercutting our standards of quality. In the past decade, Matson has invested nearly $1 billion in four new containerships, fleet enhancements, new container equipment, information technology and upgrades to its terminal facilities. Matson remains committed to continuing to make long term investments that will provide the state with a strong ocean transportation infrastructure.”

Matson’s terminal handling charge was first implemented in 2003 and is designed to recover a portion of the costs associated with the movement of cargo through terminals. This charge is standard in the industry and appears as a separate line item at the bottom of the company’s freight bills.

“Terminal handling costs comprise approximately 40 percent of Matson’s operating costs,” said Hoppes. “Matson continues to absorb a substantial amount of the expenses associated with terminal operations, the majority of which are driven by factors that are outside of our control.”


Federal Grand Jury Indicts Eight In Connection With Big Island Gambling Business

Vida G. Bottom, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Harry S. Kubojiri, Police Chief of the Hawaii Police Department, Kenneth J. Hines, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, announced that law enforcement officers today arrested persons on the Big Island indicted by a federal grand jury in Honolulu on November 20, 2012, for operating an illegal gambling business and conspiring to do so.

Picture courtesy of KHON 2 News

Charged with those offenses are:

  • Eric Ford, age 45
  • Marlo Banasan, 34
  • Matthew Phillips, 39
  • Kendale Limahai, 47
  • Robert Bland, 35
  • Jonah Yardley, 37
  • Trevor Carter, 24

A Slot Machine shop in Hilo

The grand jury also charged Eric Ford and an eighth defendant, Barbara Ford, age 44, with 25 counts of structuring financial transactions for the purpose of evading federal reporting requirements, which include the filing of a Currency Transaction Report with the IRS by a financial institution in regard to any currency transaction over $10,000. All seven of the Big Island residents, everyone except Bland, now a resident of Arizona, were arrested today.

United States Attorney Nakakuni said that according to the indictment, Eric Ford operated an illegal gambling business from at least November 2009, until November 20, 2012, out of a water company business located in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The indictment alleges that the gambling operation consisted of sports betting and various gambling events, to include poker games and craps games, and used an offshore gaming website. The six other defendants, not including Barbara Ford, are alleged to have assisted Eric Ford in the taking of bets, collection of gambling debts, and payment of gambling winnings.

A Slot Machine shop in Hilo

If convicted of the gambling and conspiracy charges, each defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years on each count. Each of the structuring charges also carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The charges in the indictment are merely accusations and each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The case resulted from an investigation initiated by the Hawaii Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit. Through an established partnership among the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Hawaii Police Department, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, investigators were able to uncover the breadth of the illegal gambling enterprise. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Nammar is handling the prosecution.