MacKenzie State Park Only Open to Walk-In Access Next Week

From Monday, April 8 to Friday, April 12, 2013, the DLNR will close the entry road to MacKenzie State Park for road repairs and improvements. While the roadway will be closed to vehicular traffic, walk-in access will be provided to park users during this period.

Old sign at the State Park courtesy of Hunter Bishop's Old Blog

Old sign at the State Park courtesy of Hunter Bishop’s Old Blog

The roadway repairs are part of ongoing improvements at the park that began early this year. The project is expected to be completed by June 2013 or sooner as conditions allow. This park section will be open and appropriate safety measures will be implemented.

Other improvements include a new composting comfort station and parking area near the camping sites and other park clean-up and repair work.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding of everyone using the park during this improvement project, which will enhance the park experience for the public and provides needed maintenance as part of proper stewardship of state lands,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

The contractor is Kona Kau Construction Services and Supplies, and the project cost is approximately $700,000.

MacKenzie State Recreation Area, covering 13.1 acres, is located on Kalapana-Kapono Beach Road (Highway 137), 9 miles northeast of Kaimu. It is a low-cliffed, wild volcanic coastline with picnicking and tent camping in an ironwood grove and known for good shore fishing. An old Hawaiian coastal trail traverses the park. The park has restrooms, camping area, trash cans, but no water and is open daily during daylight hours. There is no entrance fee.

Florida Man Began Downloading Child Porn While Living as Navy Member in Hawaii

New details in the arrest resulting in the biggest child porn bust in state history are upsetting.

John Shearen

John Shearen

Investigators say they found girl’s clothing and even pacifiers when they raided John Shearen’s Leesburg apartment Thursday.

Friday morning, a judge refused to give Shearen bond.  He was arrested Thursday and faces charged for possessing and distributing child pornography.  The arrest affidavit lists the disturbing names and descriptions of many of the videos authorities say they found in his home.

It was some of the other items that had people in the neighborhood even more worried.

Detectives with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are busy cataloguing the 51-year-old’s collection of child pornography.

Shearen, a retired Naval officer, said he began downloading back in 2001 while still living in Hawaii…

More here: Disturbing details in child porn arrest for John Shearen


Jet Surfing in Hawaii – The Next Big Thing?

On Wednesday, April 10th the first ever Jet Surf session in the powerful waves of Hawaii will be done by Kai Lenny & Pato Teixeira.

Jet Surfing

Discover this new motor sport on water with the most ecological engine in the world that can get up to 60 kmh thanks to the clever design by Formula 1 engineer Martin Sula!


Starring Kai Lenny, Pato Teixeira, Flavien Neyertz, Jamie O’Brien, Duane Desoto & Martin Sula

Hawaii House Bill 903 Held By Senate Ways and Means Committee

Today the Senate Committee on Ways and Means voted to hold House Bill 903, House Draft 2, Senate Draft 1, effectively killing the bill for the 2013 legislative session.

HB 903

HB903, HD2, SB1 relates to nonpoint source water pollution; fee rules; separate account – establishes a separate Water Pollution Control account and authorizes the Director of Health to prescribe fees to help fund the operations of the Department of Health in managing pollution from nonpoint sources and individual wastewater systems.

Senator Russell Ruderman supported the intent of the bill – to reduce environmental pollution, but after amendments and changes to the language of the bill, and the overwhelming number of concerns expressed by constituents that this would have a potentially negative economical impact on the Puna-Ka’u district, Sen. Ruderman could not support the existing measure.

Senator Ruderman said, “I appreciate the decision of Chair Ige and the committee and thank you for your consideration on this measure. I would also like to thank Director Gary Gill and the Department of Health for their valuable time and efforts to address this important issue. Hopefully we can find a version that will address all of the concerns of our constituents.”


State Securities Commissioner Orders Colburn Kuwata and Related Businesses to Cease and Desist

Hawaii Commissioner of Securities Tung Chan issued a Preliminary Order to Cease and Desist and Notice of Right to Hearing against former Hawaii securities salesperson, Colburn Kuwata.

The order alleges that Kuwata induced a 70-year-old Hawaii resident to give him $60,000 to invest in a financial scheme. Kuwata allegedly told the investor that the investment, which would yield a guaranteed 20 percent return, was offered by a London-based company and involved a “medical plan” or “accounts receivable.”  Kuwata also allegedly promised the Hawaii senior that her investment would be insured and risk-free.

Upon receipt of the investor’s $60,000, Kuwata allegedly deposited it all into his own bank account and spent most of the investor’s money on a large mortgage payment and other personal expenses.

The Hawaii investor allegedly never received her $60,000 or promised interest from Kuwata, other than a single payment of $1,000 in September 2011.

Commissioner Chan alleges that Kuwata was not properly registered to transact securities, that he sold an unregistered security, and that he violated the state’s anti-fraud provisions.  Chan also alleges Kuwata violated the terms of a 2000 Consent Order barring Kuwata from the securities industry.  Because the alleged victim was a senior in this case, the Commissioner can impose additional penalties against Kuwata. The order seeks total penalties of $300,000 in addition to a permanent injunction against transacting securities in the State and rescission and restitution for the investor.

Anyone who has been similarly solicited by Colburn Kuwata, or who may have information regarding this matter is urged to contact the State Securities Enforcement Branch.

Securities Enforcement Branches

State securities laws provide anti-fraud provisions and also require securities such as investment contracts, as well as individuals or entities soliciting or transacting securities, to be registered with the state.

County of Hawaii Declares Saturday, April 13, as Hawaii Avocado Festival Day

The County of Hawai’i has declared Saturday, April 13, 2013 as Hawai‘i Avocado Festival Day. The official proclamation will be read during the 10 a.m.-5 p.m. outdoor event at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa.

7th Annual Avocado Fest

The seventh annual festival is a celebration of avocados, a locally grown fruit that packs a nutritional punch. Enjoy free entertainment, culinary and botanical-related activities on the Sheraton lawn fronting Kaleiopapa Road. Also on tap are arts, crafts and food booths; plus healing arts, alternative energy demonstrations and keiki fun.

Kumu Keala Ching opens the day with a Hawaiian pule (prayer), followed by chanting and hula. The entertainment stage lineup continues with Aunty Irma Kahekena Nahe Nahe at 11 a.m., Maka at noon, Big Island Blue Grass Band at 1 p.m., Sahra Indio at 2 p.m., Anela Strings at 3 p.m., 2 for the Show at 3:45 p.m. and Beginagain’s Wake at 4:15 p.m.

On the agriculture-culinary stage, learn how to graft avocados at 11 a.m., followed by a panel discussion on “Keeping the Culture in Agriculture.” Taste test entries of the recipe contest at 12:30 p.m. to vote for People’s Choice. Winners will be announced at 2 p.m. in entrée, dessert and guacamole categories. Recipe entry forms can be downloaded at

Also on display will be original festival art by Jean Love and event t-shirts. For information, contact Randyl Rupar at 936-5233 or visit

The 2013 Hawai‘i Avocado Festival is sponsored by Sanctuary of Mana Ke‘a Gardens, Hawai‘i Tropical Fruit Growers-West Hawai‘i and Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa.


UH Hilo Students Earn Prestigious Internships

Two University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo students pursuing double majors in Astronomy and Physics have earned prestigious and highly competitive national internships in their respective fields.

Junior Robert Pipes has been accepted to the National Undergraduate Fellowship through the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

This summer, Pipes will attend a one-week series of lectures on plasma physics at Princeton University before beginning a nine-week research project with Dr. David Pace at the General Atomics DIII-D tokamak in San Diego, California. His project will involve tracking high-energy ions to model heat loss along the walls of the reactor.

Jordan Bledsoe, a sophomore, has accepted an offer of a Maria Mitchell Observatory summer internship in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Maria Mitchell Observatory

Maria Mitchell Observatory

She was one of just six selected out of 180 applicants for the internship, which is part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supported by the National Science Foundation. Bledsoe leaves at the end of May for her 10-week internship. She expects to be assigned a research project on “Quasars as markers of distant galaxy clusters” or “structure and evolution of clusters of galaxies.”

Dr. Marianne Takamiya, UH Hilo assistant professor of astronomy, said both internships are highly coveted, and being among the few who are selected is a great, personal achievement that sets up future success.

“Robert is the first student from UH Hilo to be admitted to the PPPL Internship, where students typically go on to top-notch universities or companies following their undergraduate work,” Takamiya explained. “The Maria Mitchell Observatory Internship is of similar caliber and Jordan and a small, select number of students will be mentored by visiting astronomers from renowned universities like Harvard, Yale and the University of California.”


Most Recent Big Island Video News Update

Big Island Video News has taken a slight break from their website, however, it appears they are still uploading videos to YouTube:

HAUNT! Spooks UH Hilo

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Performing Arts Center features the UH Hilo Acting Troupe in HAUNT!, ghost stories from around the world, on Thursday and Friday, April 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, April 14 at 2 p.m. in the PAC.

UH Hilo

“The Troupe begins with an exorcism at Waipi’o Valley and ends with what might just be Pele disappearing from a car in a ride on the Hamakua Coast,” said Director Jackie Pualani Johnson. “In between, the raconteurs will perform eerie tales from Japan, China, Iraq, Germany, England, and Mexico. The stories, recommended for audiences nine years old and older, are staged to terrify in one moment and generate giggles in the next!”

Actors include Performing Arts majors Karla Ahn, Willyam Hodson, Alyssa Lassiter, Peter Veseskis, and Denyse Woo-Ockerman, who are joined by graduates Rob Hunt and Angela Nakamura. Blesson Allen, a political science major, auditioned and landed roles in the Troupe along with community actors Joyce Alcouloumre, Wolf Daniel Braun, Tyler Gee, Joann Hale, and Dickie Motherwell. Geoff Staton is assistant director and Apollo Harris is technical director.

Tickets are reserved seating and priced at $12 General, $7 Discount and $5 UH Hilo/HawCC students and children up to age 17, and are available by calling the UH Hilo Box Office at 974-7310 or ordering online at


Hawaii Students Visiting American Heroes Exhibit at Bishop Museum

American Heroes

Students from Hawaii Schools who will be visiting the American Heroes:  World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal exhibit at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum on April 10, 11 and 14, and will get to experience a piece of “living history” when they meet with WWII Nisei soldiers as part of their field trip, as follows:


Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Kaimuki Middle School
Session 1:  9:00-9:15 a.m.
Session 2:  9:30-9:45 a.m.
Session 3:  10:00-10:15 a.m.
Session 4:  10:30-10:45 a.m.
Session 5:  11:00-11:15 a.m.
Session 6:  11:30-11:45 a.m.

Thursday, April 11, 2013
Castle High School
Session 1:  10:30-10:45 a.m.
Session 2:  11:00-11:15 a.m.

Sunday, April 14, 2013 – FINAL DAY OF EXHIBIT
Kamakahelei Middle School (Big Island)

Date:  Sunday, 4/14/13:
Session 1:  9-9:15 a.m.
Session 2:  9:15-9:30 a.m

Herbert Yanamura, was born on 4/20/1924 in Honaunau, Kona, Hawaii

Herbert Yanamura, was born on 4/20/1924 in Honaunau, Kona, Hawaii

“We wanted to make the exhibit come alive for these students,” said Mona Wood-Sword, member of the organizing committee.  “Meeting these true American heroes, talking story with them, will make the exhibit that much more meaningful for them, and that was part of our mission when planning the exhibit:  To teach the next generation about the heroism of these brave soldiers.”

The teachers from the visiting schools have asked their students to prepare questions for the veterans, so the discussions should be lively and interesting for both the veterans and students.

In addition to speaking with the visiting schools, the veterans have been busy with weekly panel discussions (see attached schedule) and other appearances.  WWII veterans from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service – all honored with the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal – have shared their stories to standing-room-only audiences at Bishop Museum’s Atherton Halau.

The final two Saturday panels will be, as follows:

April 6, 2013 • 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Hawaii’s Internment and Role in the Legislative Campaign for Redress
Presented by:  Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii
Panelists:  Ryan Kawamoto, “The Untold Story,” Brian Niiya, Former JCCH Program Director, and William Kaneko, Attorney and Former President, Honolulu JACL
Moderator:  Carole Hayashino, President and Executive Director, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

April 6, 2013 • 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
“Okage Sama De” True Stories of Japanese Americans during WWII
Presented by:  Alton Chung, Professional Storyteller

April 13, 2013 • 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Commitment to Education
Presented by:  State of Hawaii Department of Education
Panelists:  Joan Funamura, Clayton Kaninau, May Price, and Charlotte Unni
Moderator:  Ann Mahi

American Heroes:  World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal was developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in collaboration with the National Veterans Network, and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.  Accompanying educational materials were developed by the National Veterans Network in partnership with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

The national tour of seven cities – New Orleans, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, OR, Chicago, and Houston – is made possible by the support of AARP, Cole Chemical, Comcast/NBC Universal, the Japanese American Veterans Association, Pritzker Military Library, the Shiratsuki Family, and Southwest Airlines.

The 100th Infantry Battalion was a unit within the U.S. Army’s 34th Infantry Division.  Compromised mostly of Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJA) from the Hawaii Army National Guard, the 100th Infantry Battalion also included volunteers from Japanese internment camps, which were then located throughout the United States during WWII.

Battalion members’ stature, fitness levels, and unified camaraderie during training, prior to their deployment, made the 100th Infantry Battalion a strong unit heading into combat.  With the “Remember Pearl Harbor” motto, the 100th Infantry Battalion were consistently motivated to prove their loyalty to the United States.

During their 20 month combat term in Europe, the unit became known as the “Purple Heart Battalion” for the number of casualties lost.  They fought in six war campaigns in Italy and France, earning the unit four Presidential Unit Citations.

Considered to be one of the most decorated combat units in United States military history, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team consisted of a share of enlisted soldiers, as well as volunteers who fought in Europe during WWII.  Two-thirds of their original unit were Americans of Japanese Ancestry, or Nisei, from Hawaii, while the rest were Nisei soldiers from the Mainland.

The “Go For Broke” motto means to risk everything in order to win.  Activated under the command of Colonel Charles W. Pence, the 442nd worked closely with the 100th Infantry Battalion.  Intelligent and zealous in learning their military duties, the 442nd understood patience and the importance of strategy while in combat situations.  Over 14,000 men served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.  Their values of service, loyalty and sacrifice earned the unit over 9,000 Purple Hearts, eight Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, and 560 Silver Stars.

The Military Intelligence Service, or MIS, was a group of smaller units consisting of Nisei soldiers during WWII.  Their average unit size was between 10-20 men.  Playing a vital role in the U.S. military tactics during WWII, the MIS units used linguistic skills to gather intelligence, read captured enemy maps and documents, and conduct translations and interrogations.  MIS unit members were at heightened risk because they could be confused for enemy troops by their own U.S. military personnel.

MIS post-war work proved crucial for the transition during Japanese occupancy.  MIS servicemen provided indispensible assistance during Japanese war crime trials, in the repatriation of Japanese prisoners of war (POWs), and in establishing positive relations between U.S. military forces and Japanese civilians.  Working under mostly classified orders, the MIS units did not receive the recognition other units and battalions had during and post war.

The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct descendant of King Kamehameha I.  Today, the Museum is recognized as the principal museum of the Pacific, housing the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts and natural history specimens.  More than 350,000 people visit the Museum each year, including over 40,000 schoolchildren.  For more information, please call (808) 847-3511 or visit