Boat Brought To Honokohau Harbor By Fisherman Is Potentially Japan Tsunami Marine Debris

A Kona fisherman has retrieved what could be the sixth confirmed item of Japan tsunami marine debris in Hawaii.

Honokohau Harbor

Honokohau Harbor

Yesterday afternoon, Randy Llanes, Kona captain of the fishing vessel Sundowner, brought to Honokohau small boat harbor, a 24-foot Japanese net boat with a deep “V” bow that was found floating about 4 miles out at sea. Other vessels reportedly had been fishing around it that morning, since fish are attracted to the marine growth and the protection a boat provides.

Llanes contacted the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) marine debris call-in line at (808) 587-0400 and kept in touch with Hawaii District Boating Manager, Nancy Murphy, to coordinate his arrival Tuesday afternoon at Honokohau.

DLNR immediately notified the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program and kept the program informed at all times. NOAA in turn notified its U.S. Coast Guard and National Parks Service contacts. The state Department of Health has been contacted regarding a testing for radiation levels.

While still at sea, Llanes spoke by phone with DLNR’s aquatic invasive species specialist, Jonathan Blodgett, who determined that Llanes had already scraped off blue mussels, an alien species in Hawaii, well out at sea, leaving only typical gooseneck barnacles that are common pelagic species and not harmful to native marine species.

Llanes told DLNR officials the skiff appeared identical to the four other small boats that have arrived in Hawaii waters since October 2012. He said he found it upside down and flipped it over.

As was done with the other four boats, NOAA will work with the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu and Government of Japan on determination of the vessel’s origin and owner, if possible.

“On behalf of NOAA and the State of Hawaii, we ask that anyone who finds personal items, which may have come from the tsunami, to please report them to county, state and/or federal officials,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “Please show aloha and respect to the people of Japan, and the regions that suffered devastation from the 2011 tsunami. Remember, these items may be all someone has left.”

By being able to communicate with this boater in advance of his arrival, DLNR was able to quickly provide important guidance to prevent introduction of possible invasive marine species to island waters, and to ensure the skiff was met on arrival and properly handled and stored pending ownership verification.

DLNR recommends that boaters, fishers and coastal users view online guidelines for reporting and handling marine debris, including possible Japan tsunami marine debris (JTMD). They can be found on DLNR’s updated website at


Shark Attack Off The Big Island – Warning Signs Posted at Kiholo Bay State Park

About 5 p.m. this evening, a 43-year old local male was surfing about 200 yards offshore at the north side of Kiholo Bay when he was bit on the right forearm by a 15 foot tiger shark. He also suffered injuries to his knee. A worker at a private home on the north side of bay called in to 911.

Kiholo Bay

Kiholo Bay

Hawaii County Fire Department responded and a helicopter was sent up to scan the waters, but nothing was seen. DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement contacted the Kiholo Community Association which posted shark warning signs at the entrance gate to Kiholo Bay State Park. The park will remain closed until noon tomorrow. In the morning, HFD and DLNR will assess the area for any sharks sightings. If nothing is seen, the park and beach will reopen.


Wordless Wednesday – Pahoa’s New Roundabout

Tonight was the informational meeting about the Pahoa Roundabout that will be installed beginning the Summer of 2013 at a cost of $5 million dollars.

Pahoa Round-a-bout

Construction will last approximately one year and Highway 130 will be detoured through Pahoa Town during this time.

Highway 130 will be closed from the Entrance of Malama Market to Kahakai Blvd.  All Traffic will be routed through Pahoa during the construction time slated to happen from Summer 2013 to Summer 2014.

Highway 130 will be closed from the Entrance of Malama Market to Kahakai Blvd. All Traffic will be routed through Pahoa during the construction time slated to happen from Summer 2013 to Summer 2014.

This is who you get to blame for the pending mess!

Highway Card


Summer Food Service Program Helps Fill Hunger Gap

Children in low-income communities are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. However, the programs end when school lets out for the summer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps fill the hunger gap.

SFSPDuring the summer months, SFSP provides nutritious meals that help children to learn, play and grow.

Schools, public agencies, and private nonprofit organizations may apply to be SFSP sponsors. Sponsoring organizations receive reimbursements for serving healthy meals and snacks at approved sites to children and teenagers (18 years and younger). Sponsors are encouraged to provide educational or recreational activities.

For more information about SFSP, contact Alexis Weisskopf at the Hawaii State Department of Education Office of Hawaii Child Nutrition Programs at (808) 587-3600.


DLNR Holds Public Hearing On Proposed Kaluanui Natural Area Reserve

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, to receive public testimony on the proposed Kaluanui Natural Area Reserve that will be withdrawn from the upper portion of Sacred Falls (Kaluanui) State Park and transferred to the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Natural Area Reserve Program.


The meeting will take place at the Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center at 53-516 Kamehameha Highway, Hauula, HI 96717.

This 376-acre area being proposed as a natural area reserve does not include the formerly used public trail or change the closed status of the Sacred Falls state park and trail that leads up to a pool located at the base of Kaliuwaa (Sacred) Falls. Both the park and trail will remain closed to public access due to hazards from rocks falling on the trail and at the pool.

The Kaluanui Natural Area Reserve will allow for more intensive natural resource management designed to protect and preserve this portion of Oahu’s native rainforests that contains rare plants, damselflies and snail populations. Improved management of these biological resources will allow future generations to study and learn about a native Hawaiian ecosystem in the windward Koolau Mountains.

“Many of these native species are only found in the Kaluanui area and are perilously close to extinction from the impacts of invasive plants and animals. The Natural Area Reserves System seeks to protect the best remaining samples of Hawaii’s unique ecosystems,”said William Aila Jr., DLNR chairperson.

In addition to saving native species, forest protection secures Hawaii’s water supplies. Hawaii’s native forests collect rain and fog, providing water for human use. Forests also prevent erosion that muddies beaches and reefs.

Persons unable to attend or wishing to present additional comments may mail written testimony received no later than Feb. 6, 2013, to the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, attn: Emma Yuen, 1151 Punchbowl St., Rm. 325, Honolulu HI, 96813, or via e-mail to

Copies of the nomination and a map of the area are available for inspection by contacting the address above. Any person may testify or present information at the public hearing.

Anyone planning to attend the above meeting who requires auxiliary aids (taped materials or sign language interpreter), should request assistance 10 working days prior to the date of the hearing by calling 587-4170.

Man Found Dead in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Died from Asphyxiation by Hanging

A medical examiner on Tuesday determined that a 43-year-old Hilo man found dead in his pickup truck in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park over the weekend died from asphyxiation by hanging.

Steven Elliott

Steven Elliott

On Sat., Jan. 12, a park ranger discovered Steven L. Elliott’s body in the back of a white 2002 Ford pickup truck at 9:34 a.m. The truck, registered to Elliott, was parked on the shoulder facing Ka‘ū in the southwest direction.

While Elliott’s death may appear to be suicide, the National Park Service is conducting an investigation. Anyone who noticed anything suspicious near the scene between 10:22 p.m. Fri., Jan. 11 and 9:34 a.m. on Sat., Jan. 12 is asked to call park dispatch at (808) 985-6170. Tipsters can remain anonymous.



Missing Person Investigation Now Homicide Investigation – Police Still Looking for Body

Police have opened a homicide investigation in connection with the disappearance of a 44-year-old Hawaiian Acres man.

Dante Peter Gilman

Dante Peter Gilman

Dante Peter Gilman was reported missing on January 10 and a missing person investigation was initiated.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation. As a result, they developed information leading to the initiation of the criminal case. They continue to search for the whereabouts of Gilman’s body.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case contact Detective John Rodrigues Jr. at 961-2384 or or Detective Norbert Serrao at 961-2383 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.


12 Fee-Free Days at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2013

Mark your calendars for these entrance fee-free dates at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2013:

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Courtesy USGS)

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Courtesy USGS)

  • January 21, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and volunteer to remove invasive ginger on Halema‘uma‘u Trail, 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at Kīlauea Visitor Center. Bring raingear, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, hat, water, hiking shoes, gloves, loppers and snacks and/or lunch. Walk-ins welcome. For details, contact Park Ranger Adrian Boone by phone (808) 985-6019, or email Entrance is free all day.
  • April 22-26, National Park Week. America’s best idea – national parks – is even better when it’s free! Five days of no entrance fees at all fee-collecting national parks.
  • July 13, 33rd Annual Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival. The popular cultural festival returns to the summit of Kīlauea, at the Kahua Hula overlooking Halema‘uma‘u Crater, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., but entrance is free all day.
  • August 25, National Park Service Birthday. The National Park Service was founded on Aug. 25, 1916. Celebrate America’s best idea all day at Hawai‘i Volcanoes, which was founded Aug. 16, 1916.
  • September 28, National Public Lands Day. This year marks the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day, the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States. Hawai‘i Volcanoes will provide details on its volunteer service projects at a later date.
  • November 9-11, Veterans Day Weekend. Three days of no entrance fees to honor and acknowledge the sacrifices and service of America’s veterans.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes is one of five national park units on the Island of Hawai‘i. Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is also free of charge on the NPS fee-free 2013 dates. Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, and the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail do not charge entrance fees. Information on special offerings at parks nationwide is available at


Venue Change for East Hawai’i Pro Bowl Youth Clinic

The venue for the East Hawai’i Pro Bowl Youth Clinic on Jan. 23 has changed from Kea’au High School to Wong Stadium in Hilo. The release below reflects this venue change. For more information, please contact Betty at 961-8343 or Char at 961-8503.

Participants in last year's Pro Bowl Youth Clinic at Kealakehe High Schoolenjoyed lessons and drills with NFL Players and Cheerleaders.

Participants in last year’s Pro Bowl Youth Clinic at Kealakehe High School
enjoyed lessons and drills with NFL Players and Cheerleaders.

On Tuesday, January 22, 2013, NFL Football Players and NFL Cheerleaders will be holding Youth Clinics for Hawai’i Island intermediate and high school students at Kealakehe High School from 3:00–5:30 p.m. and Wednesday, January 23, 2013, at Wong Stadium from 3:00–5:30 p.m. Players and cheerleaders will also visit a local school for an assembly before the clinics. The NFL Pro Bowl Youth Clinics, now in its 11th year, is focused on motivating our youth to realize their dreams and to maximize their potential.

In the past years, players and cheerleaders from the NFL teams have come to Hawai’i Island, to present our children with inspirational messages and positive skills training. The 2-hour clinic will feature a variety of hands-on skills and techniques for both boys and girls.

“Seeing the smiles, the excitement, and the joy on the faces of the kids – its quite an honor to be part of such a positive and inspirational event”, said Mayor Billy Kenoi, Pro Bowl ‘Ohana Committee Member. “I cannot thank the NFL, Nat Moore, the Pro Bowl ‘Ohana Committee, and our volunteers enough for making this event possible. Each year we involve more students on Hawai’i Island – we now get to involve over 700 of our youth Island wide. Our kids will remember this for the rest of their lives!”

All youth participants will also receive an NFL Pro Bowl t-shirt that will be autographed by each player and an NFL Pro Bowl sling backpack. The public and youth not signed up for the program are welcome to attend the event. Youth participants are selected by their respective school, however, every year there are open slots that need to be filled. Youth who are accompanied by a parent may be able to participate if there are any open slots prior to the beginning of the clinic on a first come, first served basis. For more information, please contact Betty at 961-8343 or Char at 961-8503.


2013 Hawaii Legislative Session Begins – Opening Day Speech By Representative Scott Saiki

Hawaii House Representative Scott Saiki

Hawaii House Representative Scott Saiki

Mr. Speaker, Colleagues and Guests,

I would like to begin this morning by thanking some people.

First, and I know I can say this on behalf of all members, thank you to the residents of our respective communities who have given all of us the opportunity to represent them in the Legislature.

Second, thank you to our families and friends – many of whom are seated with us today. They are the ones who stand by us and believe that we are trying to do the right thing. They make more sacrifices than we do. We thank them for their support and presence in our lives.  

Third, there is a member of our Democratic caucus whom we would like to recognize. He is grounded and strives to teach House members to be grounded themselves, to be responsible and to be practical and philosophical. He serves his community, our State and our body with distinction. Thank you to Representative Calvin Say and his family for their service and sacrifice throughout the years.

[ lei presentation – Rep. Luke ]

Finally, there is another House member whom I would like to thank. This Representative also serves with distinction and with steadfast allegiance to our democratic process. He has been a statesman and has made our transition an orderly one. Thank you to Representative Marcus Oshiro.

[ lei presentation – Rep. Awana ]

Mr. Speaker, we are all here because we have a common goal. We want to ensure that the State of Hawaii is and continues to be a place where we all live in safety, with dignity, and with fair opportunity. This is not a partisan concept – it is embraced by all.

Every legislative session, thousands of students from elementary, middle and high schools throughout the State visit the State Capitol. They usually tour the building and observe our House floor session. The members also meet with them and usually give them a mini civics lesson.

There are two subjects that we discuss with students that I believe are pertinent today.

The first subject is the symbolism of the State Capitol. The building itself represents a volcano that is surrounded by coconut trees and the ocean. Our House chamber is decorated in earth tones and a sun lamp. In contrast, the Senate chamber is shaded in ocean blue with a moon lamp.

I have to say that it is more appropriate that earth colors are on our side – because everyone agrees that the House is the more grounded body in the Legislature.

But don’t tell the Senate President I just said that.

Because we have more members and smaller districts, we have a constant check on the pulse of our community.

Mr. Speaker, the second subject that we discuss with students is the legislative process. We explain that the Legislature is an independent and co- equal branch of government and that legislators pass laws. What we don’t really explain is how the Legislature and legislators do their work.

Maybe that’s on purpose. Everyone knows the saying about the similarities between lawmaking and sausage making. But perhaps the lawmaking process doesn’t have to always be that way.

As we keep mindful of the memory of Senator Daniel K. Inouye, we should remember his qualities as a statesman who placed the bigger picture and the greater good ahead of personal politics. A colleague of his, Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, recently said this of Senator Inouye:

“He was a counselor to younger members like me, a great listener, and a Senator who always put his nation and the people of Hawaii ahead of partisan politics and his own ambition.”

Mr. Speaker, we should follow Senator Inouye’s lead, for we know

that the public wants us to work together to produce results.

There are 51 members in this body. Each brings experience and perspective. We will rely upon each member to play a meaningful role in the Legislature.

After all, that is what we are all elected to do.

Simply put and geographically speaking, our State is too small, and our challenges too large, for there to be division within the people’s House.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to conclude by introducing the newest members of our body. It takes a lot to be a candidate for public office – to put your name and reputation into a public arena – and worse yet, to sign wave every morning and pau hana.

I would like to begin by introducing our two quasi-freshmen.

19 Former Representative, Former Senator, and Current Representative Bert Kobayashi

30 Former Representative, Former Councilmember,

and Current Representative Romy Cachola

Mr. Speaker, we also have five true freshmen who take their work seriously and want to make a difference. Please join me in welcoming them.

District 3 Richard Onishi

6 Nicole Lowen

9 Justin Woodson

11 Kaniela Ing

27 Takashi Ohno  

34 Gregg Takayama

I want our freshmen to know that we senior members of this body will support them, serve as examples, and work to advance them as leaders.

Mr. Speaker, I know that this will be a productive legislative session that will produce good results for our State.

Thank you very much.


2013 Hawaii Legislative Session Begins – Opening Day Speech By Representative Joseph Souki

Joseph Souki

Hawaii House Representative Joseph Souki

My fellow members, and all of our guests, aloha and welcome to the 2013 Regular Session! Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to recognize some of our distinguished guests:

  • Senator Schatz and Mrs. Schatz
  • Governor Abercrombie
  • Lt. Governor Tsutsui
  • Chief Justice Recktenwald
  • Chair Machado
  • And of course, Senator Akaka and Mrs. Akaka.

I would also like to recognize the former Governors; the Mayors and County Council Chairs; members of our military; and members of our Consular Corps.  And before I go on, I’d like to introduce my family.

Thank you all for being here to commemorate this momentous occasion with us.  We are here today to chart a path forward for our state.
With Hawaii’s economy on the rise, construction stable, tourism up, and unemployment down, there is reason for cautious optimism. This is the moment we have been waiting for.

Over the past few years, the state budget was cut by over two billion dollars. Meanwhile, wages dropped, health benefit costs rose, many people were forced out of work.  The homeless population still grows – among them, war heroes, persons needing mental health services, families unable to pay their mortgage or rent.

We have the chance now, to rebuild what the recession took away.

Investment in projects and programs throughout the state is critical. But to strengthen economic development and job growth, to restore public services, we need to proceed intelligently.

Members, if we want to restore the safety net, put people back to work, and provide the best education, including early childhood education,
If we want to take care of people’s health, take care of our kupuna, and make sure the state’s health care system transitions into the new era of health care – smoothly and without undue delay, If we want to improve our roads, bridges, and transportation infrastructure — to reduce traffic, improve the mobility of our residents, and enhance safety — in every county, If we want clean energy that uses the best renewable energy resources, including our ocean and solar resources, If we want to be responsible stewards of Hawaii’s natural resources and our native plants and animals, If we want to increase farming opportunities on agricultural land and the market for locally-grown products, If we want to support the tourism industry and promote the Hawaii product to the world, If we want to do all these things the people require — and yes, I know we do — we must enhance our revenue stream. We must put together a mix of strategies that will generate more state revenues —- equitably.

One option may be to rethink tax credits. No, I’m not saying we should abandon all caution and fall for the marketing hype. Instead, let’s learn from our experience and do our due diligence. The film industry claims a tax credit will generate $350 million in revenues for the State. Should we turn our back on this? Let’s give it a serious and thorough look first.

But increasing revenue does not mean placing an unfair burden on those who can least afford it. Members, the top personal tax rate was down at 7-3/4 percent at one time and now it’s up to 11 percent – the highest in the nation. It’s time to look at rolling back the personal tax burden for people with lower incomes and the middle class, at least incrementally, over the next few years.

Members, I am humbled and honored to stand before you today.

Over my 30 years here, I have seen many faces come and go. I have seen our communities prosper, struggle, and prosper again.  But one thing that remains constant is the privilege and price of public service.

All of us know what it’s like to walk the district. We go door to door — we talk to our constituents. We ask them to entrust us with their vote and a seat in this chamber.

The price for this privilege is the responsibility each of us has to conduct ourselves with compassion and dignity. Every day, as you walk down these halls and on this floor, remember the hopes and dreams of the people of this state — and do your best for them.

Before I close, I would like to thank Speaker Calvin Say for his 14 years of leadership as Speaker of the House, and for maintaining the fiscal solvency of this State.

I look forward to working with each and every one of you this session. Thank you, very much, for the trust you have in me. Aloha.