Classes to Resume Monday w/ Increased Security at Big Island School Following Brawl: Cultural Lifestyles Root of Problem – Racism in Hawaii’s Schools

Classes at Kealaheke High School will resume on Monday, December 10, 2012 with increased security on campus and extended instructional hours. School faculty and staff met today to review the situations and actions that had occurred over this past week and addressed plans for next week’s return of students.

Kealakehe High School

Kealakehe High School

School officials yesterday cancelled on-campus activities and classes for students in light of increased disruptions caused by at least three student fights over the course of two days. To prevent the disorderly conduct from escalating, the school was temporarily on lockdown Wednesday afternoon and students were sent home 45 minutes early, Thursday, in increments.

The Hawaii Police Department (HPD) is assisting school officials with security measures and made eight student arrests yesterday. Those students were released from police custody but face disciplinary actions that for some may include suspension. An investigation into their disorderly conduct is ongoing.

School officials say the root of the arguments between involved students is a misunderstanding between local, Micronesian and Marshallese cultures and lifestyles.

“This misunderstanding of cultural assimilation by Marshallese and Micronesian families is not isolated to Kealakehe High School,” stated Complex Area Superintendent (CAS) Arthur Souza. “This is a community issue that we are addressing.”

CAS Souza noted that he has been in discussions with lawmakers and local agencies about the topic of cultural assimilation and the misunderstandings that exists in the Kona community.

The Department of Education has temporarily assigned four additional security personnel to Kealakehe H.S. campus.

“We want to thank the Hawaii Police Department and the Kealakehe High School faculty for their actions in ensuring a safe environment for students,” stated Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “What could have been explosive situation was contained, and community issues that have played a role in the recent disruptions are being addressed. We also thank the parents for their understanding.”

Monday’s class schedule at Kealakehe H.S. will be modified to accommodate Friday’s loss of instruction time. Aside from additional security, the school will also have counselors on hand to address harassment and bullying.


Big Island Police Searching for 22-Year-Old Puna Woman That Went Missing Today


Big Island police are searching for a 22 year-old Puna woman reported as missing.

Rosereen Ruben

Rosereen Ruben

Rosereen Ruben was last seen in Mt. View on Friday morning, (December 7). She is described as Micronesian, 5’ 4” tall, 130 pounds, having a medium build with shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a purple blouse, white capri pants and black strap sandals.

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.

One Escapee Caught… Other Still on the Run

On December 7, 2012, at approximately 8:15 pm, a joint task force apprehended Jarvis Higa, in Oceanview, Kau, after he attempted to flee a residence on foot.

Jarvis Naoki Higa

Jarvis Naoki Higa

Higa was arrested for multiple charges, to include escaping from the Hawaii County Correctional Center. Higa is being transported to the Hilo Police Station for processing.

Ryan Jeffrieshamar

Ryan Jeffries-Hamar

The joint task force was made up of Officer from both Hilo and Kona, and assisted by the State Sheriffs, along with Kau Police, Still at large is escapee Ryan Jeffries-Hamar.


Hawai’i Community Foundation Partnership Fuels Grassroots Restoration Efforts

The Hawai’i Community Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded $437,000 in grants to nine projects across the islands aimed at the protection and restoration of Hawai’i’s coastal areas. Funding for the projects is made possible through a three year partnership between the Hawai’i Community Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Restoration Center and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. The community-based grant program was started with the strong support of Senator Inouye, and actively bridges cultural and environmental stewardship efforts. Since 2009, the partnership has provided more than $1.5 million in funding to community organizations repairing fishponds, removing invasive species, and preventing polluted runoff in coastal waters on all major Hawaiian islands.

Grantees visit Kāko'o 'Ōiwi's 2011-2012 grant funded project -- Mahuahua 'Aio Hoi - He'eia Wetland Restoration. Click image above for a high-resolution version.

Grantees visit Kāko’o ‘Ōiwi’s 2011-2012 grant funded project — Mahuahua ‘Aio Hoi – He’eia Wetland Restoration.

“In Hawai’i clean water and healthy lands are fundamental to our quality of life,” said Josh Stanbro, director of Environment and Sustainability at the Hawai’i Community Foundation. “We commend these community groups for taking responsibility in their own backyards, and putting in countless hours to protect our most treasured sites.”

“This public-private initiative is a win-win, and demonstrates how much more we can do when we work together,” said Senator Daniel K. Inouye. “Engaging with the community upfront provides the best chance of an enduring and sustained effort. I will continue to advocate for a return of earmarks to be able to support efforts such as this because it is a justified and worthy federal investment.”

The Hawai’i Community Foundation is also proactively seeking funding from private donors and foundations to keep the successful grant program going in 2013 and beyond.

Hawai’i’s unique coastal resources are increasingly threatened by invasive species, climate change impacts, and inappropriate development. Wetlands and other coastal habitat help filter sediment and pollutants, replenish fishing stocks, and support traditional cultural practices. During the summer, the voyaging canoe Hōkule’a spent time at several of the restoration projects, lending her crew as volunteers working shoulder to shoulder with local residents because of the strong environmental-cultural ties.

Taro fields at Kāko'o 'Ōiwi.

Taro fields at Kāko’o ‘Ōiwi.

Specific goals for the partnership include restoration of coral reef habitat, coastal wetlands and estuaries, traditional coastal fishponds, riparian zones/stream habitat, and land-based sources of pollution mitigation. Coastal habitats support approximately 25 percent of Hawai’i’s reef fish, 32 percent of marine invertebrates, and 90 percent of stream animals that are found nowhere else on the planet.

“We know how hard our ancestors worked to keep things in balance,” said Kanekoa Schultz, whose Kāko’o ‘Ōiwi restoration project was a 2011-2012 grant recipient. “This grant is going to teach a new generation how to work to support the natural systems that in the end take care of us.”

Projects funded this year include:

  • “Loko ‘Eā Fishpond Habitat Restoration Project”- Undertaken by Alu Like, Inc., this project will restore the cultural, biological, and socio-economic prosperity of Loko ‘Eā Fishpond. The goal of the project is to conduct habitat and fishpond restoration utilizing community collaboration while integrating traditional Hawaiian knowledge.
  • “Bridging Land, Sea and Native Cultural Practices Through Restoration on Kaho’olawe Island”- Undertaken by the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission and fiscally sponsored by Tri-Isle Resource Development Council, Inc., this project proposes a land-based restoration project that will help hold and improve soil health, prevent runoff, and improve water quality in the adjacent near-shore area.
  • “Watershed Restoration Program/ Mangrove Eradication Project Phase I”- Undertaken by Kaiola Canoe Club, the project will restore approximately one acre of the Huleia River riverbank which is being severely overgrown by red mangrove, reaching in some areas up to 40 feet in height.
  • “The Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps”- Undertaken by KUPU, this project will increase the number of Hawai`i Youth Conservation Corp members available to local conservation organizations, by working with over 40 conservation groups over six islands to help add capacity during both their summer and year-round programs.
  • “Invasive Marine Algae Removal at Maunalua Bay, O’ahu”-Undertaken by Mālama Maunalua, this project will train six new volunteer coordinators and four interns to focus on doubling the amount of community workdays that they can do in a year. As a result, one acre of Maunalua Bay will be cleared of invasive algae and several other benefits (maintenance on previously cleared areas, monitoring, recycling of algae as soil amendment, etc) will simultaneously occur.
  • “Anapuka Dune Restoration and Revegetation Study”- Undertaken by Moloka’i Land Trust, this project consists of partial assistance for the continued restoration of 45 acres in a coastal dune ecosystem, including habitat modifying invasive species removal, weed control, ungulate control, and restoration/replanting of native species to help offset sediment transport into the adjacent nearshore marine ecosystem.
  • “Streambed repairs to reduce silty run off at Nāpili Bay”- Undertaken by the Nāpili Bay and Beach Foundation, Inc. this project will remove woody invasive species from a 600 foot stream area in West Maui, and replant this area with native species. This will shore up the stream bank and help filter sediment before it emerges into Nāpili Bay.
  • “Coastal Fishpond Restoration at Kīholo, Hawai’i”- Undertaken by the Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i, this project will clear invasive vegetation from around the side and rear portions of two inland fishponds at Kīholo to increase juvenile fish habitat and pond water quality.
  • “Kahului Harbor Ho’aloha Beach Park and Shoreline Restoration”- Undertaken by the Wailuku Community Managed Marine Area and fiscally sponsored by Tri-Isle Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc., this project will replant and restore approximately 2,500 feet of coastal shoreline, and begin reintroducing native limu in the nearshore water at Kahului. The project seeks to replant strategic areas and channel foot traffic in marked corridors to reduce coastal erosion and siltation of the nearshore water.

On the Web:
Hawai`i Community Foundation:
NOAA Restoration Center:
The Castle Foundation:


UH Hilo Students Rally for Clean Elections

Yesterday over 75 students and community members marched from UH Hilo to The State Building to support Clean (Publicly Financed) Elections. Students carried individual signs that collectively read, “cut big money out of politics,” and, “clean elections = clean government.”

UH Hilo students rallying for clean elections

UH Hilo students rallying for clean elections

Amber Shouse, one of the student organizers of the event said, “Clean Elections is the reform that makes all other reforms possible. The pilot Clean Elections program for Hawaii County has worked well, and, as a result, our local government is more beholden to the public than to big money. We ask the state legislature to adopt the Clean Elections program for state races as well as county races.”


Remembering Pearl Harbor – Survivor Helps Identify the Dead

Ray Emory could not accept that more than one quarter of the 2,400 Americans who died at Pearl Harbor were buried, unidentified, in a volcanic crater.

Pearl Harbor survivors Alfred Rodrigues (L), Ray Emory and Sterling Cale (R) are seen at the start of the Japanese Tea Ceremony onboard the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu July 19, 2011. Members from the Urasenke School of Tea from Japan held a tea ceremony at the site to honor the deceased aboard the USS Arizona Memorial and to pray for world peace. REUTERS/Marco Garcia

Pearl Harbor survivors Alfred Rodrigues (L), Ray Emory and Sterling Cale (R) are seen at the start of the Japanese Tea Ceremony onboard the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu July 19, 2011. Members from the Urasenke School of Tea from Japan held a tea ceremony at the site to honor the deceased aboard the USS Arizona Memorial and to pray for world peace. REUTERS/Marco Garcia

And so he set out to restore names to the dead.