House of Representatives Honors Hawaii School Leaders During Annual Education Week at the Legislature

As part of week-long activities during its annual Education Week at the Legislature, the State House of Representatives honored school leaders for their dedication to their students and profession.  Several resolutions and public presentations were sponsored by House Education Committee Chair, Rep. Roy Takumi (D, Pearl City-Manana-Waipio) and Vice Chair Rep. Takashi Ohno (D, Liliha-Puunui-Alewa Heights-Nuuanu).


“The individuals before us today have devoted their lives to the children of Hawaii through their tenacious efforts to provide them with better skills to take on the future,” said Takumi in an introduction of honorees, “They bring dedication and passion to their profession everyday and deserve to be commended for their efforts.”

Ohno, himself a former elementary school teacher added, “These teachers, principals, librarians and the schools they represent have proven themselves worthy of celebration as paragons of educational excellence and achievements.”

The Honorees 

  • Karen Kutsunai, 2013 Teacher of the Year, is a social studies teacher at Kailua Intermediate School. She brings an innovative, student-based inquiry approach to secondary education, setting high expectations that have yielded exceptional results. Her genuine care for students extends to the entire school community through her establishment of monthly Ohana club socials for faculty to discuss issues and improve relationships.
  • Marcus Pottenger, a social studies teacher at Hokulani Elementary School, is the 2013 Honolulu District Teacher of the Year.
  • Tracie Higashi, an art teacher at Hickam Elementary School, is the 2013 Central District Teacher of the Year.
  • Victoria Coffin, a teacher at Keoneula Elementary School is the 2013 Leeward District Teacher of the Year.
  • Amoreena Nestman, an English teacher at Kealakehe Elementary School, is the 2013 Hawaii District Teacher of the Year.
  • Aaron Locque, a social studies teacher at Maui Waena Intermediate School, is the 2013 Maui District Teacher of the Year.
  • Paul Holwegner, a science teacher at Chieftess Kamakahelei Middle School, is the 2013 Kauai District Teacher of the Year.
  • Julia Segawa a science teacher at R.L. Stevenson Middle School, and Charles Souza Jr., a former teacher at Stevenson Middle School are recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

School administrators and librarians were also recognized for their outstanding accomplishments:

  • Debra Lindsey, currently the principal of Kauai High School, was the recipient of the 2012 Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award as the principal of Koloa Elementary School for her leadership, hard work and vision in transforming Koloa Elementary School into a model learning institution.
  • Randiann Porras-Tang, the principal at Waialua High and Intermediate School, is the 2012 National Association of Secondary School Principals Hawaii High School Principal of the Year.
  • Frank Fernandes, the principal at Kaimuki Middle School has been selected as the 2012 National Association of Secondary School Principals Hawaii Middle School Principal of the Year.
  • Kenneth Lee, the principal at Nimitz Elementary School, has been named Hawaii’s 2012 National Distinguished Principal.
  • Stacey Makanoe Kawasaki was named Hawaii’s 2012 Outstanding Assistant Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
  • Patrick McNally, a librarian at the Hawaii State Library, is the recipient of Hawaii’s 2012 Librarian of the Year Award.
  • Berry Andelin, the Circulation Department Support Staff Supervisor at the Manoa Public Library, is the recipient of Hawaii’s 2012 Excellence in Service Award.

Three elementary schools have been designated as 2012-2013 Blue Ribbon Schools in the State of Hawaii thereby earning nominations at the national level. They are:

  • Nuuanu Elementary School
  • Blanche Pope Elementary School
  • Waikiki Elementary School

Big Island Police Investigating Theft of John Deere Front End Loader

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating the theft of a tractor over the past weekend along the Hāmākua Coast.

HPDBadgeSometime between 4:30 p.m. Friday (March 22) and 8:20 a.m. Monday (March 25), a green John Deere front end loader was removed from property just mauka of the 20-mile marker on Route 19 in Ninole. The machine was equipped with a yellow Gearmore grass cutter. The items were valued at $39,000.

Anyone with information on the location of the equipment or with any other information about this case is asked to call Officer Agitau Faanunu at 962-2120.

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.


42nd Annual Queen Lili’uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races August 30 through September 2, 2013

The 42nd Annual Queen Lili’uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races starts Labor Day holiday weekend, Friday August 30 through Monday September 2, 2013. The world’s largest long distance canoe race is organized and hosted by Kai Opua Canoe Club, started 1929 in Kona. The Queen’s Race attracts 6-person crews from Hawaii, all throughout the U.S. and international crews from as far away as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cook Islands, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Tahiti and United Kingdom.

Kai Opua Header

The 2013 Queen Lili’uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races include the signature 18-mile long distance single hull 6-person canoe race for men and women crews; 6-mile men and women Wa‘a kaulua (double hull canoes) races;  stand-up paddleboard races including a stock 3.5 mile course and an unlimited 4.5 course sponsored by Hulakai, surfing Hawaii since 1963, OC1-man, OC2-man and Teen long distance canoe races.

Back for its fourth year is the Ali’i Challenge, blend of Survivor and Amazing Race, that includes a paddling distance of almost 17.5 miles followed by each crew of 12 negotiating a land course. Other Queen’s Race events include Walking Tour of Historic Kailua Village, International Paddlers Night, Torch Light Parade through Historic Kailua Village, Ocean lifestyle street fair, Queen Lili’uokalani Awards Ceremonies and a traditional Hawaiian Luau.

The 42nd Annual Queen Lili’uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races is sponsored by Hawaii Tourism Authority, Queen K Tesoro, Steinlager, Seven Tiki Spiced Rum, OluKai and Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.

For detailed race information, course maps or to register online for the 2013 Queen Lili’uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races, log onto

Navy is Renewing Authorizations That Will Enable Them to Continue to Train and Test Live Sonar and Explosives at Sea

Rear Admiral Kevin R. Slates

Rear Admiral Kevin R. Slates

By Rear Adm. Kevin R. Slates
Director, Chief of Naval Operations Energy and Environmental Readiness Division

The Navy is renewing authorizations that will enable us to continue to train and test live sonar and explosives at sea for another five years (2019). The process of renewing authorizations involves analyzing the possible effects of training and testing and making that data publicly available in the form of the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing environmental impact statement (HSTT EIS) and the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing environmental impact statement (AFTT EIS).

Some of the information in those EISs has been misrepresented and exaggerated. Lost in the discussion during a recent meeting of the California Coastal Commission is this fact: the best available science—and the Navy’s long track record of conducting similar training and testing—indicate our proposed activities will continue to have negligible effects on marine mammal populations. For a better understanding of these issues, read what several well-respected marine scientists have to say.

Navy Seal

Each EIS includes numbers estimating marine mammal exposures to sonar or explosives training and testing. Those numbers are based on mathematical modeling that assumes the maximum exposure/worst case scenarios, and are often mistakenly cited with alarm by people who do not recognize or accept that:

  • Live sonar and explosives training prepares Sailors to succeed in combat. The threats our Sailors face in the world’s hot spots are not restricted to convenient times or places, nor can simulators or inert weapons fully prepare them for those threats. That is why our training must be both broad and realistic.
  • Exposure to sonar does not equate to injury. Laws such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) define human impacts to marine mammals in degrees, ranging from simply hearing a sound, to mild behavioral effects, to injury and mortality.  The scientific analysis indicates that while marine mammals may be exposed to sonar during Navy training and testing, the vast majority (if not all) of marine mammals that are exposed will not be injured in any way. Animals may react to the sound, or move away, but research shows that they are likely to return quickly and resume their normal activities. Claims that the Navy is harming millions of marine mammals are ignoring this fact.
  • Our analysis overestimates the impact our activities have on marine mammals. The Navy thoroughly analyzes all of the at-sea training and testing activities, we are planning for the five-year period of our permits from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). With NMFS concurrence, we use a mathematical model to estimate the total number of marine mammal exposures that may result from those activities. That model, which uses the best available science, estimates potential for injuries or mortalities in less than .05 percent (five in 10,000) of the marine mammal exposures associated with our activities. It does not account for avoidance actions that marine mammals are likely to take in response to our activities, or protective measures (see below) which lessen marine mammal exposure to potentially harmful activities. The reality is the impact of Navy training and testing activity on marine mammals is likely to be significantly less than what our permit requests capture.
  • The EIS numbers do not take into account the protective measures (mitigations) the Navy adopts whenever we conduct sonar or explosives training or testing. These measures include using trained marine mammal lookouts; employing aircraft and underwater listening systems to scan for marine mammals; establishing buffer zones to reduce or halt sonar transmissions when we detect marine mammals near our ships; and software tools that delineate what training and testing events we can undertake in areas associated with marine mammal activity. We developed these measures in conjunction with NMFS  and re-evaluate them annually.
  • These proposed activities are not new.  The Navy has trained and tested in these areas for more than six decades, and there has been no evidence of extensive impacts to marine mammal populations as a result. The EISs do account for increases in training and testing, as well as testing of new and upgraded systems, but these activities will continue to have negligible impacts. Some of the additional training and testing might not even occur, especially in light of current and future budget restrictions. But we need to plan for the possibility that they could.
  • Sonar and explosives training have been linked to only a handful of strandings, affecting a few dozen animals over the past 17 years. We learned from these incidents.  The March 2000 stranding in the Bahamas was a major factor behind the Navy’s decision to implement an at-sea environmental policy that requires comprehensive analysis and documentation for our training activities. Similarly, a March 2011 incident in which three dolphins were killed when they swam into the scene of explosives training near San Diego resulted in safer procedures for conducting such training. We sincerely regret those instances where our activities have led to marine mammal deaths, and have since made great strides in understanding how our actions affect marine mammals. Additionally, we have become a world leader in funding marine mammal research, dedicating more than $100 million to such research in the past five years.

The Navy cannot guarantee that our training and testing activities will have zero effects on marine mammals, but for that very reason, we justify our requirements to, and ultimately receive our permits from, the fisheries service. The experts at NMFS will only issue permits if they are confident our proposed activities will have a negligible impact on marine life — and that is exactly what NMFS has determined in its proposed final rule for the Hawaii-Southern California and Atlantic Coast/Gulf of Mexico areas.

Navy Tag

We strive to be responsible stewards of the environment as we support America’s security and prosperity. I sincerely hope those interested in these issues will focus on the science and the facts, and choose to ignore emotional, non-factual statements.


Public Meeting April 19 To Discuss Kuakini Highway Phase II

The County of Hawai‘i, Department of Public Works and the Federal Highway Administration are proposing improvements to Kuakini Highway between Hualālai Rd and the future intersection with the proposed Ali‘i Highway in North Kona.

Kuakini Highway Phase 2A public meeting on the project will be held April 19, at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Highway, Building A at 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM. in Kona to:

  • Present proposed improvements that would relieve existing and future traffic congestion, increase mauka to makai connection for emergency and evacuation access by widening the road from two to four lanes, and improve roadway drainage, pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
  • Present three alternatives that are being considered: widen the road without acquiring new right-of-way, widen the road with minimal acquisition of right- of- way, or maintain the existing two- lane road with some improvements to the intersections.
  • Collect comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA); and
  • Consult with Native Hawaiian Organizations and Native Hawaiian descendants with ancestral lineal or cultural ties to, cultural knowledge or concerns for, and cultural or religious attachment to the proposed project area pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (2006).

The review period for the DEA is March 22 to April 22, 2013.  A copy of the DEA may be viewed at the Kailua Library or, at the Department of Public Works at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center or, in Hilo at 101 Pauahi Street, Ste 7, or downloaded online at

If you require special accommodations or auxiliary aid/ and or services to participate in this meeting, (i.e. Sign language interpreter, large print,) please call (808) 961-8321 by April 12, 2013.

Colorado Man Died of Accidental Drowning in Puna

Preliminary results of an autopsy performed Tuesday (March 26) indicate that a 37-year-old Colorado man died of accidental drowning.

Wa Wa
At 3:38 p.m. Saturday (March 23) Puna police officers responded to a report of a swimmer in distress at Orr’s Beach in the Waʻa Waʻa area of Puna. They learned that the victim had been jumping off cliffs into the water with friends when he became caught in the current and pulled under.

Fire Department personnel retrieved him from the water and took him to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounce dead at 5:50 p.m.

The victim’s name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of his family.


Hawai‘iana Live! Honors Kupuna Saramae Landers, Celebrating 107 Years of Aloha

Born in 1906, from the early days of flight, to the Mars Mission Rover landing, Saramae Landers has seen modern history in the making and we honor her in a journey through time celebrating 107 incredible years of Aloha!

Saramae Williams Landers, of Pahoa. Hawaii Islands Oldest Resident

Saramae Williams Landers, of Pahoa. Hawaii Islands Oldest Resident

As April is Saramae’s celebration month, the festivities will begin on Kauai with a relaxing Hawaiian lunch the weekend of April 6th and will continue on the big island of Hawai‘i as we applaud Saramae’s 107th birthday with a magnificent celebration at the Palace Theater on Wednesday, April 10th, 2013!

Leilehua Yuen, the theater’s award winning storyteller, will be making full use of the theater’s perfect acoustics in sharing ancient tales and chants, bringing them to life without amplification. Manu Josiah, Leilehua’s husband and longtime companion, will share the stage playing traditional and modern Hawaiian musical instruments.

The Palace Theater’s vintage pipe-organ will be brought to life under the hands of Rick Mazurowski, hearkening back to the days of silent movies.The public is invited to attend the Palace Theater celebration.

Sen. Russell Ruderman said, “I want to congratulate Saramae Landers and wish her continued inspirational longevity. This is a celebration of someone that is loved and greatly admired. With her recent accomplishments and new hobbies, she has a busier social life than I do. Happy 107th birthday!

Tickets to the Palace Theater event are available at the box office, tickets are $5, and keiki are free.

Palace Theater Box Office hours are 10AM to 3PM Monday – Friday (except holidays).


Poll: Do You Worry About the Potential of a North Korean Missile Attack?

With all this talk about North Korea and the missiles they have on stand-by that could potentially reach Hawaii and allegedly targeting military bases here in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific… Do You Worry About the Potential of a North Korean Missile Attack?

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I also wonder what the State Civil Defense system is working on in preparation for something like this.

Missile Launch

They say that it would only take 30 minutes for a missile to arrive here from North Korea!

I still remember what I wrote back in 2009 the first time I heard about the potential threat… now it seems like they are cranking things up a bit.

Hawaii News Now reports today that:

“Raising tensions with South Korea yet again, North Korea cut its last military hotline with Seoul on Wednesday, saying there was no need to continue military communications between the countries in a situation “where a war may break out at any moment….”