Kalapana Lava Viewing Area Remains Free

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation reminds residents and visitors that there are no fees to visit the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area located near the end of Highway 130 in lower Puna.


The best way to see it is by boat!

A private security company opens the free public viewing area from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

To access the area, go to the end of Highway 130 and drive about two-thirds of a mile over a combination of old lava flows and new sections of asphalt to reach the parking lot and security shed. Once there, visitors may walk a short distance to a lava mound with white markings that serves as the viewing platform.

The land alongside the road and beyond the viewing platform is private property, and public access is prohibited.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.


Accident at Highway 130 and Maku’u This Afternoon

An accident was just reported at Highway 130 and Maku’u Intersection.

Photo by Kanani Konanui

Photo by Kanani Konanui

Hawaii Senate Passes Bill 369 – Relating to Video Conferencing

This afternoon in the Hawaii State Capital Chambers, members of the Hawaii Senate listened to testimony provided by video conferencing from Big Island residents that were in support of Hawaii Senate Bill 369, Relating to Video Conferencing.

Here is a screen shot from me providing testimony from here on the Big Island:

Talking to Senator Wakai before the hearing begins.

Talking to Senator Wakai before the hearing begins.

I provided the following testimony:

My name is Damon Tucker and I’m from Pahoa here on the Big Island of Hawaii and I’m here to testify via videoconferencing in support of Senate Bill 369.

Many of us folks on the neighbor islands would like to submit testimony in person at the legislature but we simply can not for many factors whether it be; time, money, jobs, kids, etc.

I’m sure that you folks as our Representatives get flooded with written testimony.  I ask you folks how often do you actually read all of the testimony.

Everyone knows that a picture is worth a thousand words… how many words do you think video could represent?

Keeping the public informed and maintaining transparency in the legislative process are key to a democratic system of government.

I believe that these hearings should not only be available to neighbor island constituents, but Oahu residents as well.  Legislative committee hearings are notorious for going late into the night often forcing some who would like to speak or listen to the debate to give up and go home.

With governments at all levels looking to maximize the return on every dollar invested in infrastructure and training, turning to video conferencing as the backbone of a forward-thinking communications strategy makes financial, environmental, and technological sense.

Executive Order 13589, issued by President Obama on November 11, 2009, states:

To ensure efficient travel spending, agencies are encouraged to devise strategic alternatives to Government travel, including local or technological alternatives, such as teleconferencing and video conferencing.

Two other folks testified in support of the bill and after listening to the testimony the Senate had a quorum and passed Senate Bill 369 unanimously.


Canadian Armed Forces Participating In Joint Exercise Off Coast of Hawaii

A Task Group Exercise will take place from February 11 to 21 off the coast of Hawaii with personnel from Canada and the United States participating in joint operations designed to build and strengthen interoperability and effectiveness between Canada’s three military services and our Allies. The exercise will also support the United States Navy Submarine Command Course, a training course for naval officers preparing to take command of a submarine.

Commander Rogeness and I infront of the USS Cheyenne Submarin

Commander Rogeness and I infront of the USS Cheyenne Submarine

“One of Canada’s responsibilities as a maritime nation is to ensure that we are interoperable with our maritime partners, including the United States,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. “The Task Group Exercise ensures that the Royal Canadian Navy remains an effective allied maritime force.”

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships Ottawa and Algonquin will meet at sea with United States Ships Chafee and Port Royal, and United States Naval Ship Guadalupe, along with three Los Angeles Class Nuclear Submarines. The ships will be joined by a Canadian CP-140 Aurora Aircraft from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron, and by CH-124 Sea King helicopters from 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron. Commodore Scott Bishop, Commander of Canadian Fleet Pacific, will have a key leadership position during this Task Group Exercise as the Commander of anti-submarine warfare.

Aloha Ottawa, (Photo from US Pacific Fleet Facebook Site)

Aloha Ottawa, (Photo from US Pacific Fleet Facebook Site)

“The Royal Canadian Navy has a significant part to play in fostering cooperation and understanding at sea, especially with our neighbours to the south,” said Rear-Admiral Bill Truelove, Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific. “Exercises such as the Task Group Exercise help improve naval interoperability, while also ensuring readiness if called upon.”

“I am honoured to have been asked to participate as the anti-submarine warfare commander,” said Commodore Bishop. “Combining work-up training, multi-ship exercises, and anti-submarine warfare scenarios provide a great opportunity for sailors and officers, new and seasoned, to develop and improve warfare skills.”

Mock scenarios are staged to make training more realistic. Exercises during the Task Group Exercise will also focus on force generation, surveillance, reconnaissance, and seamanship.

The Task Group Exercise serves to strengthen the skills of our sailors, soldiers, and airmen and women by preparing them to react to potentially dangerous situations. Its purpose is to hone each unit’s operational skills, enhancing Canada’s maritime contribution to global security.

6th Annual Ocean Day Hawai‘i Mālama Kanaloa Festival

UPDATE:  Ocean Day Mālama Kanaloa Festival postponed!  The University of Hawai`i at Hilo’s 2013 Ocean Day Mālama Kanaloa Festival has been postponed due to current and forecasted weather conditions.  The festival was scheduled for Saturday, February 23 at Hilo Bayfront Beach Park. The event is now scheduled for Sunday, April 21!

The public is invited to the 6th annual University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Ocean Day Hawai‘i Mālama Kanaloa Festival, to be held on Saturday, February 23, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Hilo Bayfront Beach Park.

Information booths feature UH Hilo Marine Science and Hawaiʻi IMUA III EPSCoR researchers, Kalākaua Marine Education Center, NOAA’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, The Honolulu Zoo, Hilo Marine Mammal Response Network, Pacific Tsunami Museum, Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance, Mālama ka `Āina Hana ka `Āina, Department of Land and Natural Resources, and many others.

Family-friendly activities include fishing games, marine critter touch tanks, mask and puppet making, marine life block-printing, makahiki games, face painting, poi pounding, seed planting, and more. Enjoy live music by Kainani Kahaunaele, Lono Kanaka`ole Trio, and hula by Ka `Umeke Kā`eo students.

Ocean Day is focused on increasing awareness of ocean and coastal issues such as conservation, sustainable use of resources and ocean safety through fun and interactive displays, activities and booths. The mission is to raise public awareness of the impact people have on the ocean environment, promote conservation of precious ocean and coastal resources in a culturally sensitive way, and communicate the outcomes of current ocean and coastal research, management and education efforts in Hawai‘i.

The event is hosted by the UH Hilo Pacific Island Programs for Exploring Science in partnership with the County of Hawaiʻi, EPSCoR Hawaiʻi IMUA III, Hawaiʻi Pacific Island Campus Compact, UH Hilo Campus & Community Service Program, UH Hilo Student Activities Council, and the University of Hawai’i Sea Grant.

For more information, e-mail Ho`oululahui Perry at hperry@hawaii.edu or call JoAnne Riviera at 933-0706.

Comprehensive Sex Education Bill to be Heard at Hawaii Legislature

Comprehensive Sex Education Bill to be Heard

WHAT: The Committee on Education will be hearing HB399, which would incorporate comprehensive sex education into Hawaii’s public school curriculum.

WHEN:  Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 2:00 P.M.

WHERE: Hawaii State Capitol, Room 309

WHY:  According to a 2010 study, Hawaii ranks #17 in the nation in teen pregnancy rates. These pregnancies, which cost the state $22 million annually, can be reduced with a comprehensive sex education program.

WHO:  Committee on Education Chair Roy Takumi, Vice Chair Takashi Ohno, and members Reps. Henry Aquino, Isaac Choy, Faye Hanohano, Linda Ichiyama, Mark Nakashima, K. Mark Takai, Lauren Cheape, and Richard Fale will hear the bill.  “We are currently spending $22 million a year on unplanned teen pregnancies,” said the Bill’s introducer, Vice Speaker John Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi). “While the amount of taxpayer dollars that goes towards dealing with these pregnancies is staggering, it is dwarfed by the societal cost of not being able to provide these children with stable family foundations. Comprehensive sex education will equip our young people with the knowledge and tools necessary to be conscious of their decisions when it comes to sex.”


Two Women Murdered in Hilo Last Night – 34-Year-Old Man Taken Into Custody

Police are investigating a reported shooting incident that occurred last night in Hilo that left two women dead.

HPDBadgeAt about 11:20 pm on Monday night, police responded to several calls of gunshots in the 600 block of Leilani Street. Responding officers conducted checks within the residence and discovered two victims with apparent gunshot wounds.

Both victims were transported to the Hilo Medical Center where they were pronounced dead. Police are withholding the release of the victim’s identity pending positive identification and notification of the next of kin.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section responded to the scene and are continuing the investigation.

Sean Matsumoto

Sean Matsumoto

Sean Ivan Masa Matsumoto, 34 of Hilo, was taken into custody at the scene on suspicion of first degree murder and two counts of second degree murder.

Two children who were also at the residence at the time of the shooting were uninjured and are under the care of family members.

Police are asking the public to avoid the area as there are road closures between Hinano and Manono Streets, which will remain closed while detectives conduct further investigations.

Police ask that anyone with information on this case to call Detective Ernest Matsumoto at 961-2379 or email at ematsumoto@co.hawaii.hi.us or Detective Joel Field at 961-2381 or email at jfield@co.hawaii.hi.us

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.