Man Surrenders After Barricading Himself in Eden Roc Subdivision

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an incident involving a barricaded subject in the Eden Roc subdivision in the Puna District.

Shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday (March 26), Puna officers responded to a call of an armed man in a home on Ahi Avenue. The suspect allegedly threatened the occupants of the house with a firearm. Responding officers determined that he was unwilling to voluntarily surrender.
Ahi Street
The department’s Special Response Team tactical unit was activated and responded to the location. Police determined that a 35-year-old relative had managed to exit the house. She informed police that a 55-year-old man was preventing his wife from leaving the structure and was armed with multiple weapons.

Negotiations ensued. As a result, the suspect surrendered to police without incident, and the 55-year-old woman was found unharmed.

At 3:45 p.m., Special Response Team officers arrested 55-year old Jeffrey K. Canabantan, of Eden Roc. He is being held in the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section and Juvenile Aid Section conduct further investigation in this incident, which is classified as a first-degree unlawful imprisonment and first-degree terroristic threatening.


New Hawaiian Paradise Park Bus Route Begins April 1st

Effective April 1, 2013, a change to the Pahoa-Hilo Hele-On Bus route will bring long-awaited service to the residents of Hawaiian Paradise Park.

New Bus Route

On any given day, a young mother has her child strapped to her back, hiking down Maku`u Drive; residents struggle as they hitchhike long distances, and our kupuna become isolated and shut-in. “It’s a dangerous situation,” said Council Member Greggor Ilagan of District 4. “The community needs this bus service to access necessary social and medical services,” said Council Member Ilagan.

The Hilo-bound bus will turn from Highway 130 down Maku’u Drive to 16th, across to Paradise Drive, and back up to Highway 130. The Pahoa-bound bus will turn down Paradise, across 16th, and up Maku’u before continuing on Highway 130 toward Pahoa. The dedicated bus stop will be located at the HPP Activities Center and riders may park their vehicles or bikes there. Flag stopping will be honored where it is safe to do so, however riders should call the transit agency for tips.

“We thank our riders for supporting our Hele-On Bus system. This expansion will have a positive impact on the Hawaiian Paradise Park,” said Acting Administrator of Hawai’i County Mass Transit Agency, Tiffany Kai.

The Hilo-bound bus will run through HPP at 6:25 a.m., 12:05 p.m., and 4:35 p.m. The Pahoa-bound bus will run through HPP at 10:45 a.m., 2:35 p.m., and 4:50 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“This new Hele-On Bus route in HPP is the result of many people working together. I thank the HPP Owners Association’s President June Conant, the Board of Directors, Tiffany Kai and the Hawai’i County Mass Transit Agency, as well as Mayor Billy Kenoi for making this happen,” said Council Member Ilagan. “Serving the community is my priority. We invite everyone to utilize this new route to ensure its success.”

For more information, contact the Hawai’i Mass Transit Agency at, or call 961-8744. Council Member Ilagan of District 4 is available at 965-2712.


Bill to Create Public Funding Option for Elections Scheduled for Final Committee

Advocates for campaign finance reform were pleased today when the Senate Ways and Means Committee scheduled House Bill 1481 for a hearing.  The bill would create a law that would modernize Hawaii’s outdated partial public funding program for elections.

HB 1481

The original public funding program was implemented during the 1978 Constitutional Convention, but has become ineffective over time.  In the 2012 election cycle, only one house candidate used the program.  Advocates in favor of house bill 1481 say it is now time to upgrade the old program.

“Delegates in 1978 fought hard to implement this important program, and we owe it to them to modernize it to make it useful once again”, said Kory Payne, executive director for Voter Owned Hawaii, a non-partisan non profit organization working to pass the bill.

This policy has been gaining national attention also.  Public Campaign is a non-partisan, non-profit that works on federal legislation for publicly funded elections and has been supporting organizations locally.   According to Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign, “States are the true laboratories of democracy and Hawaii has the chance to be a national leader in addressing the growing influence of special interests in our political system.”

In 2008, Voter Owned Hawaii led and effort to implement a similar program for Big Island County elections.  That program ran in the 2010 and 2012 elections and was deemed successful.  Currently, five out of nine councilors on the Big Island were elected without accepting money from special interests.

Payne says the program is intended to serve taxpayers.  “Special interests donate to politicians to get a return on their investment, and right now they’ve cornered the market on elections and the public is not invited to the party.  Publicly funded elections will save taxpayer money by allowing politicians to make decisions based upon what’s best for the people instead of campaign donors,” he said.

Voter Owned Hawaii is a non-partisan, non-profit organization working to upgrade and modernize Hawaii’s outdated partial public funding program for elections.


HMSA Acquires Shipman Land for Keaau Office Building

To improve service for East Hawaii residents, the Hawai‘i Medical Service Association (HMSA) will start development of a new office building in the heart of Keaau town on two acres recently acquired from W.H. Shipman, Limited. The relationship between HMSA and Shipman began three years ago when HMSA representatives started looking for land for new customer service, sales, and call center operations.

Artist Rendition of new Keaau HMSA Building

Artist Rendition of new Keaau HMSA Building

“This is an investment in the health care infrastructure on Hawaii Island,” says Steve Van Ribbink, HMSA chief financial and services officer. “HMSA opened its first Hawaii Island office in 1946. Since then, we’ve grown our operations to include 45 employees in three separate offices.” The choice of Keaau shows a continuation and even acceleration of job growth in Puna, noted Shipman President Bill Walter.

“What we’re seeing are good quality jobs coming to Puna, which is important for Keaau and Puna,” said Walter, pointing to the Department of Education school complex and Big Island Bio Diesel as recent examples. “HMSA was looking for a location that would be readily accessible and have the convenience of a small town.”

The new two-story building will be located at the corner of Old Volcano and Keaau-Pahoa Roads. Shipman has retained the front portion of the property to provide retail services.

HMSA Keaau Location

Parking for both the HMSA office and future retail space will be accessible from both Old Volcano Road and the entrance to the Shipman gym.  The 20,000 square-foot complex is expected to be ready for business by the end of  2014 and the building’s design will be reminiscent of the plantation era, with gabled roofs, ample overhang, and breezeways.

“HMSA embraced our desire to have plantation-style buildings in the village,” Walter said. “They understand that what we’re trying to build here is something that will have a lasting and memorable character to it, something that will draw people in and create a destination,” Walter said. “We see HMSA as a company that is going to contribute to building a family-oriented, health-oriented, and friendly, livable community.”

HMSA is a nonprofit, mutual benefit society founded in Hawaii in 1938. It is governed by a community board of directors that includes representatives from health care, business, labor, government, education, clergy, and the community. HMSA is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit

W.H. Shipman, Limited, is a family-owned company vested in Keaau with more than 16,000 acres and a 130-year history in Puna. Engaged in land stewardship, commercial/industrial development and leasing, including the lease of agricultural lands, W.H. Shipman, Limited’s, growth is at the pace of East Hawaii’s. Building character and quality companies are chief concerns for W.H. Shipman, Limited.


Blue Earth Announces MOU for ~$4.5 Million to Build & Operate 3 Megawatts Solar PV in Hawaii

Blue Earth, Inc. a renewable energy and energy efficiency services company, announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary, Xnergy Inc., entered into a binding Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with a major renewable energy company to construct about 3 MWs of solar PV projects in Hawaii. Under the MOU, Xnergy will provide engineering support, procurement for majority of the equipment and complete construction (“EPC”) services for the approximate 3 megawatts of solar PV projects. The EPC revenue for the Company is expected to be approximately ~$4.5 million.

Blue Earth

Procurement and Construction is expected to commence in April and be concluded during the fourth quarter. The parties are concluding final EPC and O&M contracts prior to the start of construction.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to provide EPC and Operational services for a major renewable energy company. We expect to soon be the largest by MW’s installed in the great State of Hawaii and leverage that into more opportunities,” stated D. Jason Davis, CEO of Xnergy, Inc. “Expanding our EPC business activities in HI will be beneficial to the ramp up of construction of our HI solar PV pipeline, including the Waianae project, which is now under construction.”

“Constructing these projects in conjunction with the completing the Sun Valley projects and commencing our first HI projects will continue the rapid ramp up in revenue growth and help the Company achieve revenue as presented in previous presentations,” according to Dr. Johnny Thomas, CEO and President.

Xnergy is a full-service EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) firm, which has engineered, installed, and/or commissioned over a 100 MW of traditional and alternative energy systems. Energy provides a broad range of comprehensive energy solutions including the design and implementation of energy savings projects, energy conservation, energy infrastructure outsourcing, power generation and energy supply and risk management. Xnergy serves private and public clients from all industries throughout the Western United States, including Hawaii and helps them minimize their energy consumption and reduce their carbon footprint.