Hawaii Bloggers and Journalists Go Down in Flames

Some of the legislators words:


Hawaii Island Hoops 3rd Annual Senior All-Star Classic Announced

Hawaii Island Hoops announces today that it will host its 3rd Annual Senior All-Star Classic on Sunday May 5th at Kekuaokalani Gym in Kailua-Kona.

Hawaii Island Hoops

Hawaii Island Hoops looks to honor the top senior players in their final send off game as an all star.  The Girls game will begin at 1:00 pm with the Boys game to follow at 2:30 pm.  There will also be a halftime 3-point shootout and slam-dunk contest.

Admission is free and there will be concessions hosted by the Stingrays organization.  Come out to support our local high school senior all-stars.  Rosters will be posted shortly.  For more information, please contact Keni Souza at (808) 960-3997 or Director Andy Smith at (808) 937-3082 or email director@hawaiiislandhoops.com

Commentary: UH Professor Gerald Kato “The Endgame of the Shield Law…”

Some thoughts on today.

The endgame for the shield law played itself out in the state Senate and House today after efforts to extend the life of the law failed.

The Senate passed a draft bill authored by Sen. Clayton Hee by a vote of 16-9. But the House hours earlier amended that bill to eliminate changes and extend the life of the shield law by two years. The net result is that there are now two different bills, and that means the bill dies Thursday.

Without legislation extending its life or making it a permanent part of Hawaii statutes, the shield law will sunset June 30, 2013. It will die a victim of Hee’s visceral disdain for the media and the failure of political will in the state Senate.

House leaders Scott Saiki and Cynthia Thielen courageously worked to amend the bill in the House to extend the existing law for two years to give parties time to take a closer look at the issues. The Senate knew of the House action but ignored pleas from shield law supporters to consider an extension amendment to reconcile the bills and keep the existing shield law alive. Instead, Hee pushed through his bill to define journalists and journalism in a narrow way, eliminate protection for non-traditional journalists and digital media publications. Hee’s bill was nothing more than an effort to replace a good law with a zombie of his own creation.

Nine senators stood against Hee’s bill. They were: Laura Thielen, Michelle Kidani, Roslyn Baker, Sam Slom, Russell Ruderman, Les Ihara, Willie Espero, Josh Green, and Clarence Nishihara.

There was a lot of fingerpointing back and forth and scratching of heads by senators about why an amendment to extend the life of the shield law never came up on the floor of the Senate. A lot of unaccountability politics in the kabuki of the Senate.

While it’s true that nothing is ever dead at the Legislature until everyone leaves the building, and maybe not even then, it is unlikely that there will be an extension to the existing shield law.

We’ll have a lot more to say about this in the days to come. But it is a shame that Hee’s antics wins out, and he kills one of the best shield laws in the country. We will have no shield law, but we must continue to have the collective will and desire to defend the First Amendment.

Gerald Kato

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Man Who Fell Overboard in North Pacific

The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a missing mariner who fell overboard from a sailing vessel in the North Pacific early Sunday.

US Coast Guard HH65 Dauphine

US Coast Guard HH65 Dauphine

The search for Luke Stimson was suspended at 9 a.m. Tuesday pending any further developments. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy crews searched approximately 2,340 square miles in a search area 575 miles west of Midway Atoll. Coast Guard and Navy crews searched a total of 50 hours over the course of three days.

Coast Guard watchstanders in Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu were notified by Marine Rescue Coordination Center Falmouth, United Kingdom, that Stimson, one of the two-person crew, had fallen overboard from the 38-foot sailing vessel Jonetsu. Stimson was reportedly wearing a yellow lifejacket and was conscious when he fell into the water. The second crewmember, Laura Vernon, incorrectly identified previously as Laura Beinon, did not have enough sailing experience to safely navigate the vessel alone.

The U.S. Navy warship Peleliu (LHA 5), a Tarawa-Class amphibious assault ship, was diverted from their homeward bound transit to assist in the search. The Peleliu deployed two MH-60 helicopters at approximately 5 a.m. Sunday to conduct search patterns. One MH-60 helicopter located the sailing vessel and conducted a basket hoist to rescue Vernon at approximately 12 p.m. Sunday. She was taken safely to the Peleliu with no reported injuries.

Two Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crews from Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu, alternated searches from Midway Atoll and Wake Island throughout Sunday, Sunday night and Monday. During Sunday night, two Navy MH-60 helicopters and two CH-46 helicopters conducted six more searches of the area.

“We offer our thoughts and prayers to the Stimson and Vernon families during this difficult time,” said Jennifer Conklin, a JRCC Honolulu search and rescue specialist. “Suspending a search is never an easy decision, nor is it one that is made quickly.”

For more information contact the Coast Guard’s 14th District Public Affairs Office at (808) 535-3230.

Hawaii Legislature Unanimously Passes State Budget

The Hawaii State Legislature today voted unanimously in both the House and Senate to approve the state budget for the upcoming FY2013-2015 biennium.


HB200 CD1 appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch for the biennium fiscal years FY2013-2014 and FY2014-2015.

For FY2013-2014, the bill offers $6 billion in general funds and $11.8 billion in all other means of financing.  For FY2014-2015, it appropriates $6.1 billion in general funds and $12 billion in all additional financing means. It also provides over $3 billion in funding for capital improvement projects (CIP) and $30 million Grants-In-Aid for non-profit organizations.

House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa) acknowledged that the fiscal outlook is looking positive but reiterated the importance of financial prudency, “our economy is recovering and while we have the money, it is now time to take a measured approach towards our State’s financial plan. This means passing a budget that takes care of our current needs, while also taking care of our financial obligations and reinvests in our future,” said Luke. “In this budget, we kept our promise to recapitalize the Hurricane Relief Fund and Rainy Day Funds and we have taken significant steps towards reducing our unfunded liabilities.”

The financial plan includes an addition of $160 million into the Hurricane Relief Fund and $50 million into the Rainy Day Fund. Most importantly, it includes appropriations of $217 million in the next biennium to begin payments towards the State’s unfunded liability and will continue to allocate funds every year ending in an allocation of $500 million in FY2019.

“We used the projected surplus to strengthen economic drivers to ensure increased revenue returns.  To help the construction industry, the budget bill authorizes more than $1.3 billion in general obligation bond authorization for capital improvement projects statewide.  Additionally, to support our number one industry our financial plan includes an $11 million increase to the Hawaii Tourism Authority to strengthen the marketing of Hawaii as a visitor destination.  We also appropriated $6 million to assist our growing high technology industry in investment start ups and tax credits for research and development,” said Luke.

Other funding highlights include:

 Agriculture (AGR)

·         Added $750,000 in general funds for the New Farmer Loan Program in FY14.  This funding will enhance opportunities for new farmers to grow and expand, while also supporting the State in becoming more food self-sufficient.

·         Added 10 positions and nearly $1.2 million over the biennium to the Plant, Pest, and Disease Control division to support the Apiary program on Maui, Kauai, and Kona, and various other programs aimed at protecting local agriculture from invasive species, as well as the Hawaii Queen Bee industry.

Consumer Protection and Commerce (CPC)

·         Added 2 temporary positions and over $300,000 in special funds each year for the Mortgage Foreclosure Dispute Resolution Program, which handles disputes between owner-occupants and lenders.

·         Added $190,000 in special and trust funds over the biennium to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for public service campaigns aimed at educating consumers on a broad spectrum of consumer issues, including the dangers of hiring unlicensed contractors.

Economic Development and Business (EDB )

·         Provided 3.69 temporary positions and $3 million in special funds over the biennium for the Hawaii State Energy Office Strategic Plan Programs to develop alternative energy resource related projects.

·         Added $800,000 over the biennium to the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems Program (PISCES). This supports the PISCES center on Hawaii Island to build an aerospace research and development park in cooperation with NASA and other international organizations, to be able to test aerospace robotics on a similar terrain.

·         Added $1.5 million in general funds over the biennium for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council in Forestry Resource Management and Development Division of DLNR. This restores funding to support invasive species control, bringing general funding closer to historical levels.

Education (EDN)

·         Added $12.9 million in general funds for the Weighted Student Formula. This funding will go directly to classrooms to support educational activities for students, teachers and principals.

·         Added $8.2 million in general funds in FY14 for a pilot program relating to Common Core Instructional Materials. This is the DOE’s initiative to give every child from grades 3-12 either a tablet or laptop to enhance their educational experience.

·         Added $1 million in general funds in FY14 for Common Core Standards Assessment in Hawaiian. This funding creates a Hawaiian language Common Core Standards test for 350 third and fourth grade students enrolled in 14 immersion schools.

·         Added $700,000 in FY14 in general funds for library books and materials. Includes funding for both physical books and e-books. Libraries have not received general funding for materials for 4 years.

Energy and Environmental Protection (EEP)

·         Added 13 temporary positions to Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) for Watershed Management to continue management of watershed projects.

·         Added 8 positions and $1.3 million for quality management and monitoring of environmental resources. These positions support programs for watershed and surface water quality monitoring, water reuse, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution control, federal and state clean water regulations, solid waste permitting and monitoring.

Higher Education (HED)

·         Added nearly $1.2 Million over the biennium for The Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

·         Added 10 positions and $3 million in general funds in each year of the biennium to support activities and growth at the University of Hawaii at West Oahu campus.

·         Added 9 positions and $3 million in general funds over the biennium for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Initiatives. This program enhances the professional development of middle school teachers in STEM subject matter areas.

Health (HLT)

·         Added $1.4 million general funds each year for Aging and Disability Resource Centers.

·         Added 1 position and $95,000 in the Children and Youth Services section to re-establish the Violence Prevention Coordinator position, which is responsible for statewide Domestic Violence program planning.

Human Services (HUS)

·         Added $3.1 million for various social service programs including those to expand voluntary foster care to 21, increasing the clothing allowance for foster children, and developing Neighborhood drop-in Centers on Kauai.

·         Added $750,000 in general funds in FY14 to expand the Housing First program to the Leeward coast of Oahu. This helps transition chronically homeless into affordable housing situations.

·         Added 5 Counselors and nearly $875,000 over the biennium for the Office of Veterans Services.

Public Safety (PSD) & Judiciary (JUD)

·         Added $327,000 in general funds over the biennium for the Automated Fingerprint Identification system maintenance. The system is used by the Honolulu Police Department and State Sheriffs in the field to check a suspect’s criminal history. This also includes facial recognition software which allows field officers to also check a suspect’s criminal records through photographs.

·         Added 94 positions for the re-opening of the Kulani Facility on Hawaii Island, as part of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative to bring prisoners home.

·         Added 10 Positions and $850,000 in general funds over each year of the biennium for additional security at courthouses statewide. These deputy sheriffs would provide additional security to courthouses on Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui.

Transportation (TRN)

·         Added $161,886,000 in special funds over the biennium to highways division for special repairs and maintenance of roads statewide.

·         Added 33 positions and over $2.3 million in special funds over each year of the biennium for additional janitorial support. Positions include: 32 janitors for Honolulu International Airport and 1 janitor supervisor for Kona International Airport, who will be tasked with improving the first and last impressions and overall experience of visitors by improving the quality of services and facilities at State airports.

Also approved today were the budgets for the Judiciary Branch and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

HB197 appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Judicial Branch for the next biennium. The bill offers in general funding $145 million for FY2013-FY2014 and $144 million for FY2014-FY2015.

HB222 appropriates $3.1 million in FY2014 and $2.7 million in FY2015 in operating funds for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Hollywood Screenwriter Ron Osborn to Teach Big Island Film Festival Workshops

Veteran screenwriter Ron Osborn shares his tried and true techniques and insider tips to create winning screenplays, in Big Island Film Festival workshops, Saturday, May 25, 2013.  Two screenwriting workshops, “What’s So Funny?” and “Ripped from the Newspapers,” will be held at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i Promenade Ballroom.  Limited space is available at $50 per session, with advance registration required (www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com).

Ron Osborn

Ron Osborn

Ron Osborn’s wonderful words have been making us smile for over 35 years in favorite TV comedies like “Mork & Mindy,” “Night Court” and “Moonlighting” and feature films like “Duckman.”  His “What’s So Funny?” class, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon explores the fine line that separates comedy from drama, along with today’s current comedy market, and how to approach just about any subject from a comedic standpoint.  “What’s So Funny?” promises to be an entertaining and energizing way to kick off the day with Ron Osborn.

In the afternoon, from 1 to 3:30 p.m., “Ripped from the Newspapers” is all about the art of adaptation.  With the mastery that created award-winning dramas like “West Wing,” Osborn shares his approach to finding inspiration in existing news stories or events, classic stories or previously filmed stories, and then making them your own. Using proven strategies that earned him Emmy, Humanitas and Writer’s Guild Award nominations, Osborn will provide valuable insight and perspective to screenwriters at any level.

Osborn has over 35 years of experience in the film industry and presently teaches for Dreamworks.  He also has a consulting website, NoBSscreenwriting.com, where he welcomes questions from writers.  His spec feature “Visitation” has been optioned, and he has just adapted the supernatural novel “The Elementals” for The Orphanage Animation Studios.  He also currently has three features being sent out by his reps, plus an hour-long pilot and a half-hour show that was developed with John Cleese.

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 23-27, 2013.  A total of 54 free Family Films (up to PG13) and ‘Festival Films’ (up to R) are screened in three different venues during the five-day festival, which also includes celebrity receptions and salutes, social and networking events and “Best of the Fest” event with concert by HAPA and silent auction to benefit Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center. 

Tickets are available for individual events, or a variety of passes.  New this year, designed with food and wine lovers in mind, the “Reception Pass” admits attendance at four ultra-delicious celebrity soirees, including the invitation-only Mayor’s Welcome Reception on Thursday.  With VIP hors d’oeuvres luxuriously catered by The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i chefs, and a different upscale menu every night, the Reception Pass is a good value and great opportunity to mingle with the filmmakers and stars, enjoy stellar cuisine and savor fine wines by Kenwood Vineyards.

Big Island Film Festival’s major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawaii Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP.  For complete schedule information and tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call (808) 883-0394.

Puna Man Charged With Arson

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 26-year-old Puna man who was arrested Monday (April 29) in connection with a suspicious fire on Friday (April 26).

Justin James Clark

Justin James Clark

Justin James Clark of Kurtistown is charged with first-degree arson.

At 10:48 a.m. Friday, patrol officers and Fire Department personnel responded to a structure fire at Alulu Road and Oʻoaʻa Road in Hawaiian Acres. The fire was extinguished, but not before causing extensive damage to the structure. A Fire Department investigator determined that the fire was suspicious.

Police learned that a sports-utility vehicle had been seen speeding away from the scene shortly before witnesses heard popping sounds and saw the house in flames. Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation and developed a suspect based on descriptions of the SUV and its occupant.

Clark was arrested Monday at 1:30 p.m. and held at the Hilo police cellblock on suspicion of arson while detectives continued the investigation with the assistance of a fire inspector and a dog from the Hawaiʻi Fire Department’s Arson Canine Team.

Detectives executed a search warrant on the SUV. The Fire Department’s canine was instrumental in helping detectives recover a flammable substance during the search.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday (April 30), detectives charged Clark with first-degree arson. His bail was set at $50,000. He remains at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Wednesday (May 1).

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard to Deliver UH Hilo Spring Commencement Address

Hawaiʻi Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard will address the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo spring commencement as keynote speaker on Saturday, May 11, beginning at 9 a.m. at Edith Kanaka`ole Stadium.

My son w/ Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard at the State Capital

My son w/ Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard at the State Capital

Students have petitioned for a total of 765 degrees and/or certificates from the colleges of Arts and Sciences (460), Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (27), Business and Economics (53), Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke`elikõlani College of Hawaiian Language (46) and Pharmacy (120), while 33 others are candidates for various post graduate honors, and another 26 are seeking the Teacher Education Program certificate.

Gabbard came to Hawaiʻi two years after her birth in Leloaloa, American Samoa. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in International Business from Hawaiʻi Pacific University in 2009. She was first elected in 2002 when she became the youngest person ever elected to the State Legislature by winning a seat in the House of Representatives at the age of 21. The following year, she enlisted in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard and voluntarily deployed to Iraq in 2004.

She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal during Operation Iraqi Freedom, was the first female Distinguished Honor Graduate at Fort McClellan’s Officer Candidate School, and became the first woman to receive an award of appreciation from the Kuwaiti military on her second overseas deployment. Between tours of duty, she worked as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka in Washington, DC. Today, she continues to serve as a Military Police Captain.

Her return to politics took place in 2010 when she won a seat on the Honolulu City Council. In January 2013, she was sworn into office to represent Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District.

Ashlee Kalauli, a mathematics major with a minor in chemistry, represents the Class of 2013 as student speaker. Born in San Diego, California and raised in Honoka`a, Kalauli attended Kamehameha Schools – Hawaiʻi in Kea`au where she graduated 5th out of 142 students in 2008 with a cumulative 4.0 GPA.

At UH Hilo, she has maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.87 while earning numerous academic honors and awards, including the Ke Ali`i Pauahi Foundation and Hawaiʻi Noyce Teacher’s Scholarships, the Pearson Undergraduate Mathematics Award, and the Pearson Outstanding Mathematics Senior Award. She was also among a select group of students chosen for the 2012 Pacific Undergraduate Research Experience in Mathematics (PURE Math) program.

Her extensive campus and community activities include being an Orientation Leader and a Student Coordinator for the University’s New Student Programs, math tutor, and host of the First Hawaiʻi Noyce Teacher’s Scholarship Math Day. A member of the UH Hilo women’s basketball team from 2009-2010, she also served as a referee for the 2009 Special Olympics Basketball Tournament.

Kalauli will return to the PURE Math program she excelled in last summer to resume her work as a program assistant. She has also been admitted into the University’s Master’s of Arts in teaching program, which convenes its next cohort in mid-July. After earning her masters, Kalauli plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics with the eventual goal of returning to her alma mater.

For more information on Commencement, call (808) 974-7555 or email commence@hawaii.edu. For disability accommodations, contact Susan Shirachi at (808) 933-0816 (V) or (808) 933-3334 (TTY). Requests should be made at least 10 business days prior to the event.


DLNR Seeking Streamlined Permitting Process to Restore Fishponds

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is taking part in a “Ho‘āla Loko I‘a” initiative with cultural practitioners in Hawaii to assist with the restoration and operation of traditional Hawaiian fishponds.


“Hawaiian fishpond systems, loko i‘a, are some of Hawai‘i’s most significant traditional cultural resources,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “To help community organizations and traditional fishpond practitioners revitalize these important resources and navigate the many government regulations approvals,” DLNR is currently pursuing a state programmatic general permit (SPGP) from the federal government,” he said.

 “This will allow the State to streamline the permitting process by utilizing a single application process for the restoration, repair, maintenance and reconstruction of loko i‘a statewide, in Hawai‘i,” Aila said.

The draft environmental assessment for the SPGP was published in the Environmental Notice on April 23, and DLNR is seeking public comments on the proposal. Copies of the Environmental Assessment, along with other related documents, are available on the websites for the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl/manuals-reports) and Honua Consulting (http://www.honuaconsulting.com/lokoia/).

Comments can be submitted via Honua’s website. The official public comment period will run through May 23, 2013.

Project representatives are also available to meet on-site with fishpond practitioners to review the proposal. Interested hui may contact Michael Cain at the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands at 808-783-2501 or by e-mail at Michael.Cain@hawaii.gov.

Big Island Police Investigating Theft of Solar Photo Voltaic System From MacKenzie State Park

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating the theft of a solar photo voltaic system from MacKenzie State Park in Puna sometime between April 26 and April 28.


One or more persons apparently climbed onto the roof of the park’s new bathrooms and removed the panels and then cut a heavy duty chain link fence, gaining access to the control box and a water pump. Total value of the items stolen and damaged was more than $5,000.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who may have information on the identity of the person or persons responsible call Officer Joseph Passmore at 965-2716.

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.


State and Counties Sign 4-Year Contract with UPW

Following the ratification of a collective bargaining agreement by members of United Public Workers (UPW) Bargaining Unit 1, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today joined Mayors Alan Arakawa, Kirk Caldwell and Bernard Carvalho; UPW State Director Dayton Nakanelua; Hawaii Health Systems Corporation President/CEO Bruce Anderson; and others to sign a four-year contract for Hawaii’s blue collar public employees.

“This agreement demonstrates the positive result of negotiating in the spirit of partnership between the state, counties and the UPW,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “This four-year contract is a good deal for BU1 members, and it’s a win for taxpayers because of its affordability, allowing for compensation over the duration of a longer termed contract.”

The Governor also acknowledged the efforts of UH Manoa Industrial Relations Center Director Joyce Najita, whose mediation services greatly contributed to achieving consensus.

Effective July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2017, the four-year agreement includes consecutive 2 percent pay raised beginning Oct. 1, 2013, and thereafter every April 1 and October 1 for the duration of the contract. The contract also stipulates that the employer will pay a dollar amount for health insurance, based on 60 percent of a Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund benchmark plan.

In addition, improvements were made in contract language concerning consecutive hours worked, stand-by pay, military leave, and consultative calls.

Bargaining Unit 1 is composed of blue collar public workers employed by the State of Hawaii, including the Department of Education, University of Hawaii, Judiciary, and Hawaii Health Care System, as well as the counties.


Safeway Settles Federal Lawsuit From Deceptive Labeling of “Safeway Select Kona Blend Coffee”

Safeway Stores has settled a federal court lawsuit brought by a California consumer alleging damages from deceptive labeling of “Safeway Select Kona Blend Coffee”.

Safeway Select

In August of 2011, California resident Chanee Thurston filed a class action complaint stating that she and other consumers had been mislead by the labeling of “Safeway Select Kona Blend Coffee ” packages which did not disclose that any of the coffee contained in the packages was grown in regions other than Kona on the Island of Hawaii.  The plaintiff alleged that, in fact, these Kona Blend packages contained only a small proportion of Kona beans, if any, and that the vast majority of the coffee was from other unidentified regions.   The complaint sought recovery of more than $5,000,000 for consumers who purchased “Safeway Select Kona Blend Coffee” after August 30, 2007.

Safeway in response asserted that use of the words “Kona Blend” did not indicate that a majority of the beans in the package were grown in Kona and that those words fairly alerted consumers that the packages contained a mix of other different types of unidentified coffees in addition to Kona beans. Safeway also contended that the relief sought by Ms. Thurston should be limited because in 2012 (in response to actions of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association) Safeway had increased the Kona coffee in the blend to a minimum of 10% and changed the labels to reflect that minimum 10% and to disclose that up to 90% of the contents was Latin American-grown coffee.

After almost two years of litigation, including extensive discovery and expenditure of considerable legal resources by both sides, the parties have reached an agreed resolution of the case.  With a hearing on potentially dispositive cross motions for summary judgment scheduled for June 7, 2013, the lawyers for Ms. Thurston and for Safeway filed an agreed stipulation for dismissal of the case on March 21, 2013.  The papers in the court file do not disclose the terms—monetary or otherwise–agreed by Safeway and Ms. Thurston in connection with the settlement of the lawsuit.

The stipulated dismissal settles only the claims between Ms. Thurston and Safeway–and prevents the court from proceeding to decide important legal issues raised by the class action allegations in the Complaint.  Dismissal of the case leaves thousands of consumers (other than Ms. Thurston) who purchased “Safeway Select Kona Blend Coffee” after August 30, 2007, with no recovery for the damages described in the Complaint.

Kona coffee growers are disappointed that the stipulated dismissal leaves unresolved what they believe is the key question raised by the lawsuit—that is, Does use of the name “Kona” on packages of coffee containing little, if any, coffee actually grown in Kona violate federal and state consumer protection and fair marketing laws?

Kona Coffee Farmers Association President Cecelia Smith observed, “Kona coffee growers had hoped that a court decision on the legal issues in the Safeway case would encourage the Hawaii Legislature and the Hawaii Attorney General to begin providing the types of protections that, for example, California provides to Napa Valley Wine, Idaho to Idaho Potatoes, and Georgia to Vidalia Onions.  We are disappointed that there was no court decision on the issues presented by this case.


Hawaii-Based Guided-Missile Cruiser USS Chosin to Depart for Western Pacific Deployment

Sailors aboard the Hawaii-based Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65) will depart April 30 for a scheduled Western Pacific deployment.

In this file photo, USS Chosin (CG 65) fires a MK 45 5-inch gun during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Raul Moreno Jr.)

In this file photo, USS Chosin (CG 65) fires a MK 45 5-inch gun during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Raul Moreno Jr.)

While deployed, Chosin will conduct theater security operations with partner nations while providing deterrence, promoting peace and security, preserving freedom of the seas and providing humanitarian assistance/disaster response.

“A little over a year ago I realized a lifelong dream when I assumed command of this mighty warship and its exceptional crew,” said Chosin Commanding Officer Capt. Patrick Kelly. “The crew of Chosin have prepared well for this deployment. We are trained, we are focused, and we are ready to operate forward.”

Kelly added, “We are privileged to be part of the Navy’s presence in the Asia-Pacific Region and to represent Surface Group MIDPAC and U.S. Pacific Fleet. We look forward to operating with our allies, partners and friends in the months ahead — wherever we are needed.”

Chosin is one of 11 surface ships of Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. USS Chosin is the first U.S. Navy warship named in commemoration of the First Marine Division’s heroism at the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War. The ship’s motto is “invictus,” Latin for invincible or unconquered.

U.S. Navy guided-missile cruisers perform primarily multi-mission [Air Warfare (AW), Undersea Warfare (USW), Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) and Surface Warfare (SUW)] surface combatants capable of supporting carrier strike groups, amphibious forces, or of operating independently and as flagships of surface action groups.

Commander, U.S. Naval Survace Group Middle Pacific leads and manages the overall warfighting capability of the Surface Combatant Force homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), HI to achieve the highest levels of combat readiness; to coordinate with external organizations for products and services to directly support Surface Combatant Force mission readiness; and to support the Type Commanders and Numbered Fleet Commanders in the development of Surface Warfare requirements, policies, programs, standards, and business practices to meet operational readiness goals.

U.S. Third Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line.


Big Island Police Arrest Puna Man in Connection With Arson in Hawaiian Acres

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a Puna man in connection with a suspicious fire Friday (April 26).

At 10:48 a.m. Friday, patrol officers and Fire Department personnel responded to a structure fire at Alulu Road and Oʻoaʻa Road in Hawaiian Acres. The fire was extinguished, but not before causing extensive damage to the structure. A Fire Department investigator determined that the fire was suspicious.

Investigation by detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section led to the arrest Monday at 1:30 p.m. of 26-year-old Justin James Clark of Kurtistown. He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock on suspicion of arson while detectives continue the investigation with the assistance of a fire inspector.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case call Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2378 or email him at wcarter@hawaiicounty.gov. Witnesses may also call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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.

“Repaying it Backwards” – Honoka’a Class of 2013 Thanks Teachers, Class of 1938 Honored

The Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple will host its 59th Annual Baccalaureate Service, Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 5 p.m., with a special theme: “Repaying It Backwards.”  The entire community is invited to attend services at the Social Hall, with potluck dinner to follow.

Honokaa High and Intermediate School’s first graduating seniors, the Class of 1938 (Fujie Matsunami and Florence Botelho, foreground, and Itsue Hino second row) are welcomed back to one of their classrooms by members of the Class of 2013, (front row) Monica Carlos and Amanda Agdepa, (second row) Rodel Lacanlale, Jr., Shawn Garcia, Serena Offenbacker, (back row) Jovi Valencia, William Hardisty, and Principal Glenn Gray.  Photo by Sarah Anderson

Honokaa High and Intermediate School’s first graduating seniors, the Class of 1938 (Fujie Matsunami and Florence Botelho, foreground, and Itsue Hino second row) are welcomed back to one of their classrooms by members of the Class of 2013, (front row) Monica Carlos and Amanda Agdepa, (second row) Rodel Lacanlale, Jr., Shawn Garcia, Serena Offenbacker, (back row) Jovi Valencia, William Hardisty, and Principal Glenn Gray. Photo by Sarah Anderson

This year’s graduates are encouraged to show their gratitude for teachers who helped them along the way by submitting a short statement, thanking a specific teacher.  The teacher need not be present, and the student will have the option of personally reading the statement or having it presented by the emcee.  Public, private and home school students, and all teachers are invited to participate or attend.

In addition, the Baccalaureate Service will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first graduating class of Honoka‘a High and Intermediate School, Class of 1938.  Attending alumni will be recognized as special guests and honorees.

Reverend David Fujimoto of the Puna Hongwanji Buddhist Temple will give a keynote talk and the New Dharma Band will perform.  Resident minister Reverend Kosho Yagi will officiate at the Baccalaureate service. Aloha attire is suggested.

The Baccalaureate Service is free to all students, teachers, families, friends and the general public of all faiths, creeds, and beliefs. Aloha wear suggested.

Because dinner will be served after the ceremony, please RSVP in advance to 775-0388. Inquiries regarding instructions for students, teacher nominations and statements can be sent to repayitbackwards@yahoo.com, or as a Facebook message to www.facebook.com/peacedayparade.

The event is supported by Domino’s Pizza (Waimea) and Cafe Il Mondo (Honoka‘a) who are providing incentive awards for participating students.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor to Commemorate The Battle of Midway With Shattered Sword Author Jonathan Parshall

Marking the 71st Anniversary of the “turning point in the Pacific” epic battle, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor will present a special program featuring Jonathan Parshall, co-author of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway, Tuesday, June 4.

Shattered Sword The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

The event is free to Museum Members and $25 for non-members. It will feature a Book Signing and Meet the Author at 4pm, a Reception at 5:30PM, and “The 71st Anniversary of the Battle of Midway” Presentation by Mr. Parshall at 6:30pm with a question and answer period following.

Jonathan Parshall’s interest in the Imperial Japanese Navy developed in childhood. He has written for the U.S. Naval War College Review, Naval Institute Proceedings, and World War II magazine, and has contributed to several books on the topic. In 1995 he founded www.combinedfleet.com, the foremost Internet site on the Imperial Navy. He was a member of a 1999 expedition by Nauticos Corporation and the Naval Oceanographic Office that discovered wreckage from the carrier Kaga, sunk at Midway.

According to Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff, “Author Jonathan Parshall is the foremost authority on Midway. We’re very excited to have him as our keynote speaker for this year’s Midway commemoration.”

Tickets are online at PacificAviationMuseum.org or available at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. RSVPs are required by May 28 and seating is limited. For more information, call 808-441-1007 or email Education@PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum and 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is open 9am to 5pm daily and is accessed by shuttles from the USS Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbor Visitor Center at Pearl Harbor. www.PacificAviationMuseum.org, 808-441-1000.



Hualalai Academy Appoints John Colson as Head of School

The Board of Directors of Hualalai Academy has selected Hawaii veteran educator and school administrator John Colson as its Head of School effective July 2013.

John Colson

John Colson

“We were seeking a dynamic, compassionate, forward-thinking and resourceful educational leader and we struck gold with John Colson,” stated Dr. Matt James, Hualalai Academy Search Committee Chair and incoming 2013-2014 Board Chair. “John Colson’s vision and innovative leadership will position Hualalai Academy for long-term sustainability and will continue to improve the Hualalai Academy experience.”

John Colson is currently Director of Advancement and Special Projects at Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA). His storied educational career in public, private and independent charter schools on Hawaii Island began in 1979 and includes previous stints as counselor, coach, teacher and Headmaster (1991-2003) at HPA, Middle School Principal at Kamehameha Schools Hawaii and Principal at Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School.  Colson received his bachelor’s degree from Chaminade University and holds a master’s degree from Radford University.

One of Colson’s projects while Headmaster was to transition the HPA K-5 Kona Campus to an independent Hualalai Academy in 1996. As one of the early founders of Hualalai Academy, Colson’s return is a homecoming.

“Hualalai Academy has an excellent educational reputation throughout Hawaii and I am very much looking forward to working together with the students, parents, faculty and staff and Board of Directors,” said John Colson.  “With the educational mission focusing on critical thinking, problem solving and lifelong learning solidly in place, my objectives will be financial sustainability and institutional advancement in the beginning stages of my tenure at Hualalai Academy.”

Hualalai Academy, an independent and co-educational college preparatory school, serves140 students in grades K-12 with 16 faculty members on a 14-acre campus in North Kona, Hawaii. Core values are based on the Hawaiian principle of kinaole, or doing the right thing.

Hualalai Academy was one of only 16 “Schools of the Future” selected by the Hawaii Community Foundation and the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools thus benefitting from a five-year $500,000 investment.  The designation recognizes and supports Hualalai Academy’s innovative programs and statewide leadership in 21st Century Learning pedagogy and curriculum.  Hualalai Academy will celebrate its 20th anniversary during the 2015-16 school year.


Big Island Police Inviting Public to Participate in Anonymous Community Satisfaction Survey

The public is invited to participate in an anonymous Community Satisfaction Survey for the Hawaiʻi Police Department during the month of May.


Chief Harry Kubojiri said previous Community Satisfaction Surveys helped him identify actions the Police Department could take to increase community satisfaction. “Our partnership with the community is crucial,” Kubojiri said. “This survey is one of the ways we can improve that partnership by incorporating community feedback into our daily operations.”

The internet survey will be open from 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 1, until 4 p.m. Friday, May 31, at www.hawaiipolice.com. It takes about five minutes to complete and is limited to one survey per computer. Participants will be able to enter detailed comments and suggestions at the end of the survey. The respondent’s IP address will not be stored in the survey results.

The responses will be collected and compiled by an outside source. After the survey period, results will be posted on the Police Department’s website.

Coast Guard and Navy Rescue One Man – Searching for Another Who Fell Overboard

The Coast Guard and U.S. Navy have rescued one mariner from a sailboat in distress and are searching for another who fell overboard 500 miles west of Midway Atoll Sunday.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu was contacted by Marine Rescue Coordination Center Falmouth, United Kingdom, at 11:30 p.m., notifying them that one of two crewmembers had fallen overboard from a 38-foot sailing vessel. The 35 year old man overboard is wearing a yellow lifejacket with a light and was reportedly conscious when he went into the water. Both crewmembers are citizens of the United Kingdom and the remaining person aboard was described as an inexperienced sailor.

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew out of Air Station Barbers Point on the island of Oahu, Hawaii deployed at 2:15 a.m. to begin a search of the area. Due to the distance and time of travel from Honolulu, a second HC-130 crew is deploying to alternate search times as crews recover at Wake Island. The crews have the capability to deploy a life raft should they locate the missing mariner.

The U.S. Navy warship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), a Tarawa Class amphibious assault ship was diverted from their homeward bound transit to assist in the search.

The Peleliu deployed two MH-60 helicopters at approximately 5 a.m. to conduct search patterns. One MH-60 helicopter conducted a basket hoist and rescued the crewmember from the sailing vessel.

On scene weather conditions are winds of 25mph and six foot seas.


Hawaii State Website Gets New Design

The new Hawaii.gov portal just might be the coolest government website you have ever seen.


The touch-first design, Hawaiian themes, dynamic data and enhanced search represent a huge evolutionary step forward in government web sites.

[vimeo 64930119 w=500 h=281]

The New Hawaii.gov Website from ehawaii.gov on Vimeo.

Hawaii.gov is designed for mobile with a touch-first Responsive web design. Built for touch, speech, and with accessibility for all users, the new design showcases the very best in Web design thinking. Highlighting Hawaii’s diversity, native culture, and the uniqueness of each island, Hawaii.gov also provides a Web experience that truly reflects the Aloha State.