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Over Sixty People Attend Agricultural Talk-Story Session with Council Member Ilagan

Over sixty people gathered at the Pahoa Community Center for an agricultural talk-story session on March 22. The Interim Dean of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo’s College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM), Dr. Bruce Matthews, industry experts from the Hawai’i Island Papaya Association, and County Council Member Greggor Ilagan of District 4, discussed the current state of agriculture and concerns for the future of food with the community.

Council Member Greggor Ilagan, District 4

Council Member Greggor Ilagan, District 4

The community had questions regarding issues of soil fertility, community gardening and resources available to remedy the increasing concern with food safety and sustainability.  “This right here, is what we need more of,” said Council Member Ilagan, as he facilitated communication between the community and UH Hilo Interim Dean, Dr. Matthews.

“Everyone agrees; we need more collaboration, cooperation and action between the individuals in the community, agencies and schools, and the policy makers,” said Council Member Ilagan.

Also in attendance was Representative Faye Hanohano, Eileen O’Hara, a representative from Senator Russell Ruderman’s office, and Dennis Kauka Jr., Council Aide to Council Member Zendo Kern of District 5.

Council Member Ilagan, District 4 and Dr. Bruce Matthews)

Council Member Ilagan, District 4 and Dr. Bruce Matthews)

Friday’s talk-story session was a prelude to Council Member Ilagan’s continued collaboration with community members to increase efforts and efficacy in agriculture. “It’s our time to take action. We need to hear from the community and responsibly direct dwindling resources to the highest areas of need.”

Council Member Ilagan continued, “We don’t live in a bountiful economy, but we do have the land to cultivate bounty. Talents and skills exist within every individual; collectively, we can accomplish so much. Let’s work together and creatively use what we have available to address food needs in the community.”

For more information call Council Member Greggor Ilagan’s office at 965-2712, or E-mail at gilagan@hawaiicounty.gov.

HI-PAL “Click It or Ticket” Basketball Tournament During Honomū Family Fun Day

The Hawaiʻi Police Department is hosting a HI-PAL “Click It or Ticket” 5-on-5 basketball tournament during the Honomū Family Fun Day at the Honomū Gymnasium on April 27.

Officer Joeseph Botelho Jr.

Officer Joeseph Botelho Jr.

This tournament is open to the first eight teams in the 9-10 age division only. This is for athletes born in years 2003 and 2004.

Deadline for teams to complete the registration packet and enter the tournament is April 17.

Teams interested in participating or anyone needing additional information may call Officer Joseph Botelho Jr. in East Hawaiʻi at 961-2220 or Officer Randy Morris in West Hawaiʻi at 326-4646, extension 258.

“Click It or Ticket” is a national education and enforcement campaign to increase seat belt use and decrease traffic fatalities and injuries. The Hawaiʻi Police Department encourages all youth, teens and adults to use their seat belts.


Hawaii to Receive Over $6.7 Million for Fish and Wildlife Conservation/Recreation Projects

More than $882.4 million in excise tax revenues generated in 2012 by sportsmen and sportswomen will be distributed to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.

Hawaii's share

Hawaii’s share

These funds are made available to all 50 states and territories through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs. Revenues come from excise taxes generated by the sale of sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment and tackle, and electric outboard motors. Recreational boaters also contribute to the program through fuel taxes on motorboats and small engines.

“The sporting community has provided the financial and spiritual foundation for wildlife conservation in America for more than 75 years,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Through these programs, hunters, anglers, recreational boaters and target shooters continue to fund vital fish and wildlife management and conservation, recreational boating access, and hunter and aquatic education programs.”

“The financial support from America’s hunting, shooting sports, fishing and boating community through their purchases of excise taxable equipment and hunting and fishing licenses is the lifeblood for funding fish and wildlife conservation; supporting public safety education; and opening access for outdoor recreation that benefits everyone,” said Jeff Vonk, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. “Fish and wildlife can be conserved, protected and restored through science-based management and it is critical that all these taxes collected be apportioned to advance conservation efforts in the field.”

The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program apportionment for 2013 totals $522.5 million. The Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program apportionment for 2013 totals $359.9 million. As a result of the statutorily required sequester, these apportionments have been reduced by 5.1 percent, or approximately $39.2 million. Additional Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration grant funding to the states has also been reduced, for a total sequestration-related reduction of approximately $44 million.

The Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program reimburses up to 75 percent of the cost of each eligible project while state fish and wildlife agencies contribute a minimum of 25 percent, generally using hunting and fishing license revenues as the required non-Federal match.

Funding is paid by manufacturers, producers, and importers, and distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program to each state and territory. For information on funding for each state, visit http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2013/pdf/Master_apport_table_Final_2013.pdf.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs have generated a total of more than $15.3 billion since their inception – in 1937 in the case of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program, and 1950 for the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program – to conserve fish and wildlife resources. The recipient fish and wildlife agencies have matched these program funds with more than $5.1 billion. This funding is critical to sustaining healthy fish and wildlife populations and providing opportunities for all to connect with nature.

Please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program website at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/ for more information on the goals and accomplishments of these programs and for individual state, commonwealth, and territorial funding allocations.

Coast Guard Rescues Kayakers Off Coast of Maui

A group of kayakers was rescued by the Coast Guard when weather took a turn for the worst approximately three miles off the coast of Wailea, Maui, Saturday.

Coast Guard Station Maui was notified by a vessel operator in the area that four kayakers, one adult and three children, were being blown toward the open sea by approximately 25mph winds. Sea conditions worsened to swells of three to four feet.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Maui was conducting training in the area and diverted to the scene. All four kayakers and their kayaks were picked up and taken to shore at 2 p.m. The kayakers were wearing life jackets and uninjured.

The Coast Guard advises all mariners to check weather conditions prior to getting underway. Weather conditions in Hawaii can change rapidly and can include high wind, breaking surf and extreme currents. Individuals unfamiliar with the area are encouraged to speak with lifeguards before entering unfamiliar water in order to become familiar with local weather and ocean hazards.

Mariners are also urged to file a float plan with a responsible friend, family member or harbor master. A float plan should include the projected course, time of departure, arrival and return which will provide responders with vital information in the case of an emergency.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

More information on float plans can be found at the following link: http://www.floatplancentral.org/

For more information contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

Puna Woman Arrested in Connection With Stabbing Incident

A Puna woman was arrested over the weekend in connection with a stabbing in the Ainaloa Estates subdivision.

HPDBadgeAt 5 a.m. Saturday (March 23), Puna patrol officers responded to a report of a man screaming for help.

They found the victim, a 31-year-old Puna man, lying on the side of Ainaloa Boulevand with knife wounds to his wrist and abdomen. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center for treatment.

Police investigation revealed that the victim had been in a domestic argument with 45-year-old Heidi Leialoha Lewis, who reportedly hit him with a broomstick and stabbed him multiple times.

Lewis was arrested at a home on Hibiscus Street. She was held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Juvenile Aid Section, which is responsible for domestic abuse investigations, continued the investigation.

Later Saturday, the victim was transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu in critical condition for additional treatment. His condition was upgraded to serious condition Sunday afternoon (March 25).

At 1:21 p.m. Sunday, detectives charged Lewis with abuse of a family/household member and first-degree assault. Her bail was set at $6,000. She remained in the cellblock until her initial court appearance on Monday (March 25).

Safe Routes to School Call for Applications

The state of Hawaii, Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking applications to plan, develop, implement and evaluate eligible Safe Routes to School (SRTS) infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects.  A call for applications is available at the following link and must be submitted by June 21, 2013.


Safe RoutesSRTS is an international effort to increase safety and promote walking and bicycling to and from school.  The federally funded SRTS program was established by Section 1404 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), signed into law in 2005.  This is DOT’s third call for applications to award SRTS federal funds provided by SAFETEA-LU.

Eligible recipients of SAFETEA-LU Section 1404 funds to be used for SRTS projects are limited to state, local and regional government agencies, including schools and school districts, and non-profit organizations.  Applications will be accepted only from these entities.  Recipients of SRTS federal funds will be responsible for all aspects of project implementation as DOT’s role is as an oversight capacity only.

Eligible SRTS projects and activities shall directly support increased safety and convenience for students in grades K-8 to walk and/or bicycle to and from school.  In addition, all projects that use SRTS federal funds shall comply with applicable federal, state and loocal provisions.

Applications must be received by June 21, 2013 at 2:00 p.m., at the following address:

Department of Transportation, Highways Division

Traffic Branch

601 Kamokila Boulevard, Rm 602

Kapolei, Hawaii 96707

Attention: Tara Lucas

For more information on the SRTS Federal program in Hawaii, please visit http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/safe-routes-to-school-program/.


Hawaii State Obtains Judgment Against Individual in Mortgage Rescue Fraud Case

The State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair’s (“DCCA”) Office of Consumer Protection (“OCP”) on Friday obtained a judgment against Sean Keala Remos (“Remos”) and Loan Network Honolulu LLC aka Loan Network Honolulu LLC (“Loan Network”). The judgment prohibits Remos and Loan Network from violating Hawaii’s consumer protection laws, requires them to pay back consumers and imposes civil penalties of $10,000.


OCP’s lawsuit alleged that Remos acted as distressed property consultant and promised to help distressed homeowners obtain loan modifications. He collected upfront fees from the homeowners and failed to get loan modifications or provide refunds.

“Homeowners should think twice when approached by anyone offering to save their home from foreclosure and asking you for payment upfront. It’s generally illegal under state and federal law to charge an upfront fee to save your house from foreclosure,” said Bruce Kim, OCP’s Executive Director. “You can obtain the same help at no charge by contacting a certified housing counselor. Housing counselors work for non-profit agencies and are trained to help homeowners who find themselves in this situation.”

If you are behind on your mortgage or facing foreclosure, you may be targeted by a Mortgage rescue scam. These mortgage rescue “professionals” use half-truths and deceptive tactics to sell services that promise relief to homeowners in distress.

If you are looking for foreclosure prevention help, avoid any business that:

  • Promises they can stop the foreclosure process, no matter your circumstances
  • Instructs you not to contact your lender, lawyer or HUD approved credit or housing counselor
  • Collects a fee before providing any services
  • Recommends that you stop making your mortgage paymentsRecommends that you make your mortgage payments directly to it, rather than your lender
  • Pressures you to sign papers you haven ’t had a chance to read or that you don’t Understand Violations of Hawaii’s Mortgage Rescue

Fraud Prevention Act and the laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive trade practices subject offending parties to fines ranging from $500 to $10,000 per violation.

Act 183, signed into law by Governor Neil Abercrombie on June 28, 2012, makes violations of the Mortgage Rescue Fraud Prevention Act a class C felony with a mandatory $10,000 fine.

Anyone who believes they have been victimized by a mortgage rescue scam, whether by the above Defendants or any other business, and have not filed a complaint with the OCP may call 587-3222.

Certified housing counseling agencies in Hawaii provide advice on defaults, foreclosures and credit issues for free.  You can locate a certified Hawaii housing counselor by contacting the Hawaii Foreclosure Information Center at  http://HFIC.Hawaii.gov or call 587-3222, toll free at 1-800-394-1902.

The Hawaii Foreclosure Information Center is a free public information service operated by DCCA. Lisa Tong, a senior staff attorney at the Office of Consumer Protection, represented the State on the case.

Waimea Arts Programs for April

Two new classes: Realistic Painting, and Basics in Sewing will take place in Waimea in April, continuing the arts program series presented by Waimea Artists’ Guild (WAG) in partnership with Kanu o ka ‘Āina Learning ‘Ohana (KALO).

Waimea Artists Guild


Acclaimed nature artist Patrick Ching, known for his vibrant oil paintings of Hawaii’s dramatic landscapes and wildlife, will introduce his techniques at a free community presentation on Friday, April 12, 6-8 p.m. at the Kanu o ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School in Waimea.  His Realistic Painting Workshop will be held the following day, Saturday, April 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Bring some photographs of things you’d like to paint; your pet, a place, etc.,” Ching said.  “You may email me photos beforehand to make the best use of our time together. Picture selection is important. Try to keep it simple.”  Ching can be reached at Patrick@NaturallyHawaiian.com.

Cost for the Realistic Painting Workshop is $175, which includes all materials and an 11”x14” canvas for your painting. Bring your own lunch or snacks.  To register, call The Pantry office at 887-2289.

Sewing, for all ages, can be a fun, creative and economical hobby. Offering a great opportunity for beginners, Gina Underhill will teach Basics in Sewing on Tuesdays, at the Kanu campus, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. as follows:  April 9: Get to Know Your Machine, April 16: Let’s Get Sewing, and April 23: Complete the Project.

Cost for all three classes is only $60, and students will need to bring their own sewing machine, scissors, thread, and recycled T-shirts or fabric.  Space is limited, so please register by calling The Pantry, 887-2289.

To reach the Kanu o ka ‘Āina campus, turn onto Kamamalu Street at the “Taco Tako/Waimea Brewhaus” intersection; pass the Police Station on your right; stay on this road through a sharp left bend and look for the campus on your right.

The Pantry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which includes Waimea Artists’ Guild, the Friday Night Crew youth group, and Mama’s House Thrift Store.  WAG is an association of professional artists whose intent is to produce art and promote education in their community.  For additional information, contact: Beth or Tom Mehau at The Pantry, 887-2289.


Bills Important to the Big Island Continue Moving in the Legislature

As the 2013 legislative session hits the half way mark, proposed bills affecting the economy and quality of life for Big Island residents have been approved by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate for further consideration.  Representative Richard H.K. Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano, Pahala) has been working to keep several of those measures moving forward.


“Agriculture is an important component of life for residents who live in my district and for all of us on Hawaii Island.  I am pleased that the House has approved legislation that supports, improves and strengthens this vital part of our economy and life style. If we truly want to achieve food sustainability for Hawaii and put more local food in our markets and homes we need to assist farmers in every way we can, “said Representative Onishi.

The House also approved funding for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) to improve facilities at Keeau Middle School, and appropriated money to renovate the Keaukaha Military Reservation to house the Youth Challenge Academy.

Onishi said, “The funding for Keeau Middle School allows us to renovate the music building, and provide for the health and safety of our students by demolishing classrooms that are deemed not safe.  As for the Youth Challenge Academy, it needs to be relocated to the Keaukaha Military Reservation so that its current site, Kulani Correctional Facility, can be returned to its original and proper mission as an incarceration facility.”

Legislative Highlights for Hawaii Island:

  • HB353 – Appropriates funds to the Department of Agriculture for the United States Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center to research and develop methods for the prevention and treatment of coffee berry borer infestations. Provides a grant for the coffee berry borer task force for control of the coffee berry borer and mitigation of damage.
  • HB487 – Expands livestock feed subsidy to include feed for goats, sheep, lambs, fish and crustaceans. Creates a subsidy for qualified feed developers.
  • HB489 – Provides, under certain circumstances, an exemption from building code and permit requirements for nonresidential buildings or structures on farms.
  • HB1264 – Allows for agricultural loans to be administered for livestock biosecurity projects. Modifies the new farmer loan program of the Department of Agriculture to promote the development of innovative technologies and to assist new farm enterprises.
  • HB1419 – Appropriates funds for personnel, operations and equipment to the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES).
  • HB417 – Addresses primary care physician shortages by appropriating funds for the interdisciplinary Hawaii Health Systems Corporation primary care training program at Hilo Medical Center.

House CIP Highlights for Hawaii Island:

  • $20,000 to renovate music building at Keeau Middle School
  • $675,000 to construct covered walkways and demolish unsafe classrooms at Keeau Middle School
  • $2.5 million for improvements to Ka‘u irrigation system
  • $5.9 million to renovate Keeaukaha Military Reservation to house the Youth Challenge Academy


Paradise Roller Girls Poster Contest Offers Tickets and Merchandise

It’s derby time again and this year the Paradise Roller Girls want you to help get the crowds fired up for the 2013 season by entering the first ever PRG poster contest. Selected posters will be used to promote the May 18 season opener bouts between the Mauna Killahz, Hilo Bay Bruisers, and Volcano Vixens. First prize includes a pair of VIP season tickets, $20 in merchandise, plus a place on the PRG website and Facebook page to display the winning artwork and earn some name recognition.

Paradise Roller Girls

Posters must be submitted by email to media.prg@gmail.com no later than April 10, so don’t wait to be a part of the worldwide derby phenomenon and get your submissions in today! Color code your poster to match the league logo and team uniforms, or just let your creativity go wild and produce your own vision of how these romp stomping, shoulder smashing, hip bashing derby divas should be represented.

Posters selected for promotional use may be altered to include additional still to-be-announced information about the season opener, including bout times, title, and ticket sale locations. Artists who wish to include their own text should check the upcoming events section on the PRG website at www.paradiserollergirls.com to find the bout information as it is announced. Artists should also include the bout date and location – May 18 at the Hilo Afook-chinnen Civic Auditorium – and the PRG website url on the poster. Artists can recreate and include team and league logos in the posters, or just leave a 3 inch by 3 inch space and have them incorporated into the work after submission. Submitted posters may also have sponsor logos added after selection. Winning poster will be announced on our Facebook and webpage on Friday, April 12th and artist will be contacted via email.

For best printing quality it is recommended that posters by at a resolution of 300 dots or pixels per inch and be sized at 11 inches wide by 17 inches high for color posters and 8.5 inches wide by 11 inches high for black and white posters.

By entering a poster into the contest artists understand that their work may be resized or altered after submission and that the work will be displayed in public spaces. All work should be the artists own and should be family friendly. Submissions displaying or promoting profanity, drug use, sex, violence, or which use unauthorized copyrighted or trademarked material will not be considered and automatically withdrawn from the contest.

Fairmont-Orchid Sweeps Awards at Big Island Chocolate Festival

The Fairmont-Orchid, Hawaii swept the awards at the sold-out Big Island Chocolate Festival March 23. The Fairmont’s culinary team earned three “bests,” winning Best Savory and Best Sweet (plated dessert), and took the People’s Choice Award for their savory offering of a Cocoa-Dusted Spicy Ahi Cone with Orange Shiso Mayo, Truffle Orange Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese.

L to R: Fairmont Exec Pastry Chef Daniel Sampson, Dr. Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate, Elena Garcia of Elena Chocolate, Fairmont Chef Stephen Rouelle and Fairmont Exec Chef Hubert Des Marais. Photo by Shortini Photography.

L to R: Fairmont Exec Pastry Chef Daniel Sampson, Dr. Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate, Elena Garcia of Elena Chocolate, Fairmont Chef Stephen Rouelle and Fairmont Exec Chef Hubert Des Marais. Photo by Shortini Photography.

Other winners were Elena Chocolate for Best Bon Bon and Madre Chocolate for Best Bean to Bar. Twenty different chefs and chocolatiers vied in the festival taste-off that was critiqued by a team of eight judges. Besides indulging in tastes at the event’s culinary stations, attendees could get a chocolate “tattoo” and watch Guittard Executive Pastry Chef Donald Wressell put the finishing touches on a towering, 40-pound chocolate sculpture.

“All of the taste-off entries were spectacular and mahalo to all our culinary participants and celebrity judges,” said Farsheed Bonakdar. “We appreciate the support of the community—our attendees and volunteers—who made the evening a great success. A special mahalo to Chef Teresa (Cheech) Shurilla who created and facilitated the student competition.”

Taste-off judges included eight, off-island chefs: chocolate consultant Stanton Ho, George Mavrothalassitis of Chef Mavro restaurant, Bret Pafford of Gannon’s restaurant, Abigail Langlas of Cakeworks, Christopher Speere of the University of Hawaii Maui College, Rhonda Ashton-Chavez of Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, Orly Yadao of Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa and David Brown of Kapiolani Community College.

The sold-out event at The Fairmont-Orchid benefitted the $1 million “Equip the Kitchen” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and efforts to build a community amphitheater at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, the gala was the culmination of three days of chocolate-inspired activities that included culinary and agriculture-related sessions and a college competition in chocolate desserts. Taking first place in the college competition, which was held earlier on Saturday, was University of Hawai‘i Maui College, followed by Hawai‘i Community College-West Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i Community College-East Hawai‘i.

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of this new association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. Mahalo to 2013 BICF sponsors The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Guittard Chocolate, Mahalo Broadcasting-The Wave, KKOA, LAVA 105, The Shops at Mauna Lani, Dolphin Journeys, Hawaii Coffee Connection, Johnson Brothers Distributors, West Hawaii Today, Waialua Estate Chocolate, Alex’s Westside Wines, Tinguely Development, BMW of Hawaii, Fair Wind-Big Island Ocean Guides, Barry Callebaut, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Gourmet Foods Hawaii, Cocoa Outlet and Kulana Foods. Info: www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.