Big Island RN Returns from 10-Day Deployment in Helping with Relief Efforts Related to Superstorm Sandy

North Hawaii Community Hospital RN and Infection Prevention Coordinator, Jennifer Rabalais, returned from a ten-day deployment with the Hawaii Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) to assist in relief efforts related to Superstorm Sandy.

Hawaii DMAT is a trained corps of 75 medical professionals who respond to calls for medical surge, disaster and humanitarian assistance throughout the United States and the Pacific Region and provide on-scene, high-acuity casualty care services within 2 to 4 hours of request. Hawaii DMAT is part of HAH Emergency Services, a division of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, which provides emergency preparedness and operations management services to over 115 health-care coalition members throughout the state of Hawaii, including hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home care and hospice, air and ground ambulance, blood banks and clinical laboratories.

North Hawaii Community Hospital RN and Infection Prevention Coordinator, Jennifer Rabalais

North Hawaii Community Hospital RN and Infection Prevention Coordinator, Jennifer Rabalais

Rabalais and 24 fellow Hawaii DMAT members were deployed to New York on November 12, in conjunction with another response team from Alaska, to help medical shelter areas consolidate and relieve exhausted federally-deployed disaster workers. The Hawaii-Alaska Team split into three medical response task force teams assigned to different facilities throughout the region.

“I was assigned to a shelter called Park Slope in Brooklyn, New York, that housed nearly 600 people following the storm, but was down to around 150 when we arrived,” said Rabalais. “The remaining occupants had been residents of an assisted-living facility that was destroyed by flood waters. We provided acute medical care for shelter occupants and volunteers who had developed illnesses or injuries, in addition to overseeing the closure of the facility, as the last occupants were transferred to a more permanent situation while their facility was to be rebuilt.”

“I was touched by the many volunteer musicians who performed for the shelter occupants daily,” says Rabalais. “One of these performers was a young man in his 20s, who took the trouble to learn songs that were popular among the residents’ age group . . . he had quite a repertoire and gladly took requests. On the day everyone was moving out, tensions and apprehension were in the air; this young man and two others played music for over six solid hours, creating a calming and pleasant atmosphere for what was a trying day.”

Rabalais has also deployed with Hawaii DMAT to Guam to provide relief after a hurricane hit Saipan, as well as staffed an Acute Care Module in Kapiolani Park on Oahu during the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) last November.

“NHCH is incredibly proud of the service Jennifer provides as a member of the Hawaii DMAT team,” says Lorrie Mortensen, NHCH Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer. “Jennifer’s expertise and commitment to emergency preparedness is a wonderful asset to our patients, hospital, community and country.”

“I am extremely privileged to work with Hawaii DMAT,” says Rabalais. “It is some of the hardest work I have ever done, but it is very rewarding. My Hawaii DMAT teammates are an incredible and talented group of people. I am very grateful NHCH has been understanding and supportive of my work with DMAT, making it possible for me to continue to participate in relief work such as this. ”

Jennifer has been NHCH’s Infection Prevention Coordinator since 2005 and is one of approximately 5,000 practitioners worldwide who are certified in Infection Control by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC). As NHCH’s Infection Prevention Coordinator, Rabalais is responsible for providing infection control orientation for hospital staff, identifying and assessing the educational needs of hospital staff and providing leadership and consultation to staff in order to monitor infection control procedures in accordance with hospital policies. Jennifer is also responsible for identifying the occurrence of outbreaks or clusters of infectious diseases and monitoring nosocomial infections and antibiotic usage.


“GLOW 5-0” – Drug and Drink Free Teen Party at KBXtreme in Kailua-Kona

Unlimited bowling, unlimited music and dancing make “GLOW 5-0” the hottest event of the season, created by teens for teens.  Happening Sunday, December 16, from 7 to 11 p.m. at KBXtreme in Kailua-Kona, the “straight edge rager” is a youth-only, action-packed night with nonstop dance music by DJs, black lights and glow sticks, bowling, prizes and “no drugs, no drunks and no drama.”

Glow 5-0

Glow 5-0

GLOW 5-0 is presented by the Lifeplan Youth Leadership-West Hawaii and the North Hawaii Lifeplan Youth Leadership Team, and is the second annual event, planned and delivered by the teens themselves.   Last year’s event rallied over 100 youth aged 13-19 and this year’s goal is 300 or more.

“They want to party, and party doesn’t automatically mean drinking and drugs,” said Lifeplan youth mentor Kei-Lin Cerf, “Just everybody being in the same place… playing the music they want to dance to.”

The youth team created the theme, designed a flyer and posted a Facebook event page with the latest updates and RSVPs.  They recruited DJ Chad, DJ Jared, DJ Ohm Grown, plus youth performers, Concept, JTheory and Steve Kim to help keep the dance floor energized.  Their dress code guidelines suggest that ragers “dress to impress” – with fluorescent rave outfits like shorts and tank tops OK, but no bikini tops or swimsuit-like bottoms.  Outfits can be flashy and wild, but not overly revealing.

They strongly emphasize that no one “under the influence” will be admitted, with no re-entries once teens are inside.  “What’s important for the teens is to show there are options, there are choices,” said Cerf.  “They see their peers, their family and friends making dangerous choices, and they want to prove it’s possible to have a fantastic clean and sober party.”

Tickets are $7 at the door, $5 pre-sale, available from Team members at Kealakehe High School, or at KBXtreme and Mama’s House in Waimea.  Parents may drop young people off, go enjoy dinner or holiday shopping and return to pick them up.  Adult chaperones will watch the exits, and discreetly monitor GLOW 5-0 to help keep kids safe.

“We’ve been blessed with adult supporters who believe in what these teens are doing,” said Cerf, “and our hope is that more community members step up and help the youth provide much-needed, and really good, activities for people their own age.”

Organizers are recruiting adult chaperones; lane sponsors, prizes and donations.  Lane sponsorships are only $150 for the full night of bowling.  Small prizes such as $10 gift cards for pizza or shopping make the perfect prize donation.  To help, please call Kei-Lin Cerf at 896-6110.

GLOW 5-0 is supported by Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Lifeplan founder Andy and Kate Mecca, Mama’s House, Bob and Becky Holman, Waikoloa Irrigation and Landscape Maintenance, North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition, Models Not Bottles, Big Island Substance Abuse Council and others, with the assistance of KBXtreme, Purevybe Entertainment, Native FM-Pacific Radio Group, Body Glove Cruises, Project Grad and Randy Shelor, graphic arts teacher at Kealakehe High School.

The Lifeplan Youth Leadership teams are part of Lifeplan Institute Hawaii Island, a creative youth mentoring program, committed to providing 5,000 island teens with a goal-driven “Lifeplan” by 2015. For more information, visit

New Restrooms Slated for Reed’s Bay Beach Park in Hilo

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce the construction of new restrooms at Reed’s Bay Beach Park in Hilo.

Reeds Bay Sign

Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd. has been awarded a $568,920 contract to build the comfort station and perform related site improvements. Work is scheduled to start Monday, December 10, and be finished next April.

Reeds Bay off Banyan Drive

Reeds Bay off Banyan Drive

The park will be kept open during the construction period, although the active construction areas at the site will be cordoned off to ensure the public’s safety. Portable bathrooms will continue to be provided for the public’s use until the new facility is opened.

Reeds Bay Wide

A previous $690,000 renovation project completed at Reed’s Bay Beach Park in April of this year provided new sidewalks and paved walkways, new seat walls, outdoor showers, a drinking fountain, picnic tables, and landscaping. Also, Eagle Scout Chase Tanaka of Troop 78 provided additional landscaping enhancements and two new accessible picnic tables for the public to enjoy.

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


National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks Sponsor First-Ever Reading Aloud Event

National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks Sponsor First-Ever December 7th Reading Aloud Event with 6,000-Plus Students across Hawaii—11 Big Island School Participate

Every December 7th, thousands of people from around the world gather at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center in Honolulu to pay tribute to the thousands of military service members and civilians who lost their lives in the name of freedom in 1941.  For the few surviving Pearl Harbor survivors who are able to make the trek to this sacred place, their message to future generations is clear:  Remember Pearl Harbor, the tremendous sacrifice that was made that day, and the terrible consequences of war.

USS Ronald Reagan

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Aug. 31, 2011) Sailors and Marines render honors as the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) passes the USS Arizona Memorial while entering Pearl Harbor for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin B. Gray

For the first time ever, the National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks shared the historical significance of that day with 6,000-plus school-age children across Hawaii with a simultaneous reading aloud program at 3 p.m. on December 7.

Through the Department of Education’s and the Island of Hawaii YMCA’s A+ Afterschool Care Programs, Big Island students at 11 schools joined their peers from across the state in learning about the real life story of an unlikely friendship between the late Pearl Harbor Survivor Richard Fiske and Japanese Fighter Pilot Zenji Abe.

Thousands of elementary and intermediate school children in A+ Afterschool Care Programs heard the true life story of an unlikely friendship between Pearl Harbor survivor Richard Fiske and Japanese diver-bomb pilot Zenji Abe through the reading of “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship.”

Thousands of elementary and intermediate school children in A+ Afterschool Care Programs heard the true life story of an unlikely friendship between Pearl Harbor survivor Richard Fiske and Japanese diver-bomb pilot Zenji Abe through the reading of “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship.”

Participating Hawaii Island schools included De Silva Elementary, Keaukaha Elementary, St. Joseph School, Keaau Elementary, Honokaa Elementary, Waimea Elementary, Kohala Elementary, Kealakehe Elementary, Holualoa Elementary, Kamehameha Schools and the YMCA’s Club Y Teens program.

The children’s book, entitled “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship,” is a story of peace and forgiveness and how these men, who were once enemies of war, overcame their hatred and fear for one another.

“As stewards of the USS Arizona Memorial and World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, the National Park Service’s mission is to preserve and share the history of the Pacific War, including what took place at Pearl Harbor 71 years ago,” said National Park Service Superintendent Paul DePrey.

“Sharing the message of peace and reconciliation amongst thousands of young children across Hawaii is significant.  The story of Richard Fiske and Zenji Abe is proof that through friendship and peace, we can make this a better world for future generations.”

Pearl Harbor Book

Pacific Historic Parks purchased 175 copies of the book to provide to each participating school. Pacific Historic Parks, a cooperating association that assists the National Park Service, supports the education, preservation, development and interpretation of four National Park-managed historic sites throughout the Pacific, including Pearl Harbor.

A marine bugler on the USS West Virginia, Fiske witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the massive destruction that happened at the hands of Japanese fighter pilots.  For many years, his heart was filled with anger and hatred for the Japanese and his health suffered because of this.  Hospitalized due to the stress of his anger, he knew he had to forgive the Japanese for what they had done in the name of war or face imminent death due to his failing health.  In 1991, during the 5oth Anniversary Pearl Harbor Symposium, Japanese Fighter Pilot Zenji Abe offered an apology for the attack to members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors and extended his hand in friendship.  Fiske accepted his apology and the two became friends. As a symbol of peace and friendship, Abe gave Fiske $300 and asked him to lay two roses at the Arizona Memorial each month, one for him and one for Fiske.  He also asked Fiske to play the taps on his bugle after he did this.  Fiske honored this request every month until he passed away in 2004.

“Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship” is a children’s book written by Pearl Harbor civilian survivor and author Dorinda Nicholson.  The book, which has won numerous national awards including the International Reading Association’s Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Award, is written as a correspondence between the author and her granddaughter, recounting the story of two World War II veterans—an American Marine and a Japanese pilot-—whose lives intersected in war at Pearl Harbor and again in reconciliation fifty years later.

Hakunani Anakalea, group leader at the A+ program at Holualoa Elementary School, reads “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship.”  Photo: Fern Gavelek Communications

Hakunani Anakalea, group leader at the A+ program at Holualoa Elementary School, reads “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship.” Photo: Fern Gavelek Communications

“It’s a very inspirational book and the second time I read it, I cried,” says Hakunani Anakalea, group leader at the A+ program at Holualoa Elementary School. “The book makes the emotions of the characters come alive and illustrates the importance of forgiveness.”

Fifth grade student Anuhea Kainoa-Cho shared that the book had a good story and added, “I learned about protecting others and why people should make up when they disagree.”

Hakunani Anakalea reads to the students

“Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship,” can be purchased online at, phone 1-888-485-1941. As part of its reading aloud program, the National Park Service has posted several other real life stories of Pearl Harbor survivors on their website for parents to read to their children.  Go to

 Witness To History Videoconference Program

The National Park Service, with funding from Pacific Historic Parks, also offers a year round distance learning program for students and teachers from around the world.  Witness To History is a free program that utilizes videoconferencing technology to take students where visitors cannot go, bringing the sites and stories of Pearl Harbor to children and adults unable to visit Oahu.  The program includes a Pearl Harbor Survivor Series where participants can see and hear Pearl Harbor Survivors share their personal testimonies of what they experienced on that fateful day.  The Interpretive Ranger Series shows a video of a USS Arizona underwater dive while a National Park Ranger provides a voice-over interpretive lesson.  The program ends with a student and educator question and answer session.  For more information or to schedule a free Witness To History videoconference, contact 808-954-8744 or 808-4428.


Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Girl Missing Since September

UPDATE: Hawaiʻi County police have located 17-year old Mailekaleialoha Boe Hilo, who was reported missing. She was found unharmed in Hilo on August 16

Hawaiʻi County police are searching for a 17-year old Hilo girl reported as missing from Hilo since September 21.

Mailekaleialoha Boe

Mailekaleialoha Boe

Mailekaleialoha Boe is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-3, 115 pounds with black shoulder-length hair and brown eyes.

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.