Attorney Jeff Portnoy’s Response to Senator Hee’s Comments on Floor of Senate on April 17 – Re: Hawaii Shield Law

Click to read where the bill stands

Click to read where the bill stands

Dear President Kim and Members of the Senate:

As I said in my earlier letter to you, I do not wish to engage in a pointless debate with Sen. Clayton Hee on the merits of HB622 Regarding Evidence. However, Sen. Hee’s insistence on distorting the record requires a response.

The Judiciary Evidence Committee’s Report of December 2011 states that it recommends that “the sunset provision be eliminated and that Act 210 be integrated into H.R.S. Ch. 621.” The committee says the Legislature might, “were it so inclined,” look at sections of the law. Nowhere is there any indication of a minority report or dissenting vote on the committee. Committee discussions were confidential so if Deputy Attorney General Diedre Marie-Iha wishes to cast a public dissent, that is her right. However, in testimony submitted to the House Judiciary Committee on February 2, 2012, on a matter related to the shield law, Judge Glenn Kim, chair of the Evidence Committee, said this:

The Judiciary supports making the news media privilege permanent by repealing the scheduled sunset date of Act 210, Session Laws of Hawaii 2008, as amended by Act 113, Session Laws of Hawaii, as proposed in House Bill No. 2763, which is currently pending hearing by this committee.” (Underscore added)

Nothing Judge Kim said at that time would suggest that the committee was anything but supportive of the shield law.

I should note that during the senate judiciary committee hearing on HB622 on March 28, 2013, Deputy Attorney General Marie-Iha submitted her testimony late so it was not available to the committee or the public until moments before she testified. I did not have an opportunity to read it, much less comment at length about what she had to say.

Sen. Hee contends that at that hearing the news media were unable to provide examples of how the shield law has been used over the past five years. He bases this statement on the testimony of one testifier, whom Sen. Hee badgered during questioning. Sen. Hee gave no one else an opportunity to respond to his question. If he is interested, I can cite examples where the shield law has been used to ward off problems. There are the Ka Loko Dam breach case on Kauai and the Big Island voter fraud case. The shield law was invoked in these cases to head off major problems involving confidential sources used in news gathering. And having the law deters others from trying to force disclosure because they know the law prevents going on fishing expeditions for news sources and unpublished information.

If Sen. Hee is interested in more information on this matter, I would be happy to provide it in depth and detail when I return. I offer these comments now in the interest of a clear record for you to make rational decisions involving important matters of a free press in Hawaii.


/s/ Jeffrey S. Portnoy, Esq.

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“EARTHQUAKE KURIL ISLES, 7.0 MAG @ 5:05PM HST. NO TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII” from Department of Emergency Management : Nixle

HCCDA Message: Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports 7.0 earthquake Kuril Islands. No Tsunami threat to Hawaii. More here:

Big Island Police Identify Pedestrian that Was Killed on Highway 11


Police traffic investigators have identified a man who died Wednesday (April 17) from injuries he sustained in a motor vehicle/pedestrian collision on Highway 11 in the area of the 18-mile marker in Glenwood.

The victim was identified as 21-year-old Brendan Charlie of a Mountain View address.

South Carolina Couple Heads to Hawai‘i Island to Make History Eating at All of USA Today’s “51 Great Burger Joints”

Village Burger in Waimea, was listed in USA Today’s “51 Great Burger Joints” across the country in 2010.

Village Burger

Since then, a lovely couple of retired doctors from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina have been to all but one – Village Burger!  We are working to welcome Joe and Doris Lindner (and their kids and grandchildren), on Friday, April 26th at 10:30 a.m., with a presentation by Kahu Danny Akaka & family, Senate and Mayoral proclamations, and hopefully some of the restaurant’s many local farmers, bakers, ranchers and other food providers – to show it ‘takes a village’ to make a great Village Burger.

Doris and Joe Lindner pose by the USA Today poster at the Char-Grill in Raleigh, N.C. During the past two years, the couple â€" retired doctors living on Hilton Head Island â€" have driven to all but one of America's “51 Great Burger Joint

Doris and Joe Lindner pose by the USA Today poster at the Char-Grill in Raleigh, N.C. During the past two years, the couple, retired doctors living on Hilton Head Island, have driven to all but one of America’s 51 Great Burger Joints

WHAT:  Epicurean history will be made when Joe and Doris Lindner of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, visit Village Burger Waimea on April 26 to complete their journey across America to eat at all of USA Today’s “51 Great Burger Joints.” Hawai‘i Island’s award-winning restaurant is the final stop on their delicious two-year quest.

WHO: Village Burger Waimea will welcome the Lindners with a special ceremony, including music and dance by Danny and Anna Akaka, proclamations from the offices of Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi and Senator Malama Solomon, and support from the Big Island Visitors Bureau.

Joe and Doris will be joined by their daughters and sons-in-law Karen and Tom Pappas, Laura and Kevin Sankey; and grandchildren, Logan, Nolan, Colton, Teddy and Charlotte as they make history.

WHEN:  FRIDAY, APRIL 26 – 10:30 A.M.


Waimea Village Burger

Parker Ranch Center, 67-1185 Hawai‘i Belt Road, Kamuela, HI 96743

WHY: In October 2010, Chef/Owner Edwin Goto’s popular eatery Village Burger Waimea was named one of USA Today’s “51 Great Burger Joints” as part of the national newspaper’s “Great American Bites” series. Hawai‘i food writer Joan Namkoong provided the recommendation noting the restaurant as
“A locavore’s delight, with a grass-fed, pasture-raised, ground-fresh-daily Big Island beef burger, thick and grilled to order, topped with just-picked, Waimea-grown veggies in a brioche bun from nearby Hawi town.”

The Lindners were visiting a daughter in Colorado when the list was published and paid a visit to Colorado’s top pick Park Burger in Denver. On their drive home to South Carolina, they visited three more burger joints on the list and that’s when Joe and Doris made the decision to set out to eat at all the restaurants on the list. Click here to read more about their journey.

NOTE:  The public is invited to attend this special ceremony and celebration.


Ka‘u Coffee Attracts Industry Experts for Third Reverse Trade Mission

Leaders of the specialty coffee industry are traveling to the state’s largest agricultural district in early May to learn about award-winning Ka‘u coffee.

Kau Coffee FestivalThey include Po-Jung “Simon” Hsieh, founder of Soaring Phoenix Trading Company, a green bean coffee importer; and Jim Munson, president of Brooklyn Roasting Company, a wholesale and retail roastery “committed to superb and socially responsible coffee.”

The notable coffee experts are participating in Ka‘u coffee’s annual reverse trade mission as part of the fifth Ka‘u Coffee Festival May 4-5 at the Pahala Community Center. They will learn first-hand about Ka‘u coffee during Saturday festival activities, including guided tastings and farm tours. On Sunday, the men will give guest lectures to local coffee farmers at the Ka‘u Coffee College.

This is the festival’s third reverse trade mission. Other coffee specialty experts who have traveled to Ka‘u to learn about its special brew include coffee guru George Howell of Terroir Coffee, Skip Fay of Dunn Bros Coffee, James Freeman of Blue Bottle Coffee, Anthony Carroll of Starbucks and Jeff Taylor of PT’s Coffee Roasting Company.

In addition to importing coffee, Hsieh is one of Taiwan’s most accomplished specialty roasters. “Coffee Review” published 18 reviews of his coffees that scored 90 points or higher. He offers professional training in hand-pour and siphon brewing, as well as roasting, plus serves as a quality control advisor for Taiwanese coffee farmers. Hsieh is the author of “Coffee Extraction: All About Brewing.”

Munson is president of Brooklyn Roasting Company; the international brand has cafes in the U.S. and Japan. Munson has served on the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Conference Committee and the National Coffee Associations Information and Education Committee, plus is the former chairman of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food. Before launching his coffee career at Dallis Bros. Coffee, Munson worked as a GM/partner at The Brooklyn Brewery.

“We’re pleased and proud that notable industry leaders come to Ka‘u to share in our community,” says Chris Manfredi who serves as lead festival organizer. “This strategic initiative to create collaborative relationships benefits Ka‘u growers and moves us another step forward on the path toward establishing Ka‘u as a premium coffee growing origin.”

All coffee-industry related activities at the Ka‘u Coffee Festival are open to the general public; some require a fee. The April 26-May 5 festival has expanded to include three new activities: The Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike on May 1, Coffee & Cattle Day on May 3 and Ka‘u Star Gazing on May 3. Other fun includes the Miss Ka’u Coffee Pageant on April 26, the Simply Elegant: the Ka‘u Farmers Table on April 27 and the Triple C Recipe Contest on April 28. Details on these events can be found at

Java-jumping festival fun culminates the weekend of May 4-5 at the Pahala Community Center. On Saturday, enjoy the Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of music, hula, food, local crafts, coffee tastings and farm tours. Festival entry is free; Ka‘u Coffee Experience coffee tasting is $5; farm tours are $20. On Sunday, learn about the coffee industry at the annual Ka’u Coffee College. Admission is free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or visit

Student Rates Announced for the 2013 Hawaii Conservation Conference

The Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance in partnership with Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation proudly announces the 2013 Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference Student Rate Program.

2013 Conservation Conference

Under this program, Hawaiʻi high school students, college students, and emerging professionals may be qualified to attend this yearʻs Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference at a special rate of $50.

Muralist Wyland and others at the 2012 Conservation Conference

Muralist Wyland and others at the 2012 Conservation Conference

Our neighboring island recipients will also receive at $200 travel stipend.

Hawaii Conservation Conference 2012

Please visit the following link for more details, eligibility requirements and applications (printable & fillable pdfs). Applications are due by May 30th, 2013.



Search Underway for Possible Person in Water Near Kailua-Kona

The Coast Guard is searching for a possible person in the water after a personal watercraft was found adrift near Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Thursday.

A blue wave runner was found by a commercial fishing vessel two miles west of Kailua-Kona and returned to its owner at Jet Ski Island. The watercraft was confirmed to belong to a local rental company, who suspected an attempted theft may have occurred.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was diverted to conduct a search of the area and has been on scene since approximately 10 a.m. Big Island Fire is assisting with a surface asset and shoreline search of the area.

The Coast Guard requests that anyone with information on the possible person in distress please contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at (808) 842-2600.


Pahoa Community Pool Work Progress on Schedule – Warm Water Still On the Way

A lot of folks have been asking me when the Pahoa community pool will re-open.

Pahoa Pool

I sent an email inquiry to Department of Parks & Recreation, Public Information Officer Jason Armstrong asking him the following questions and this morning I got the following response:

What is the progress with the Pahoa Pool?

Work is progressing according to schedule.

When will it officially open?

Work is scheduled to be finished by July 15, 2013, with an expected opening date of July 16, 2013.

What are all the improvements being done to it?

Work calls for expanding the pool’s equipment building; reconfiguring the pool’s pumps, circulation piping, and filtration system; and addressing leaks. Improved water quality, lower operational costs and the ability to prevent or mitigate pool closures following an electrical outage will be among the significant public benefits. Additional work will include installing roof-mounted solar heating panels to help warm the pool water, a new variable frequency drive to manage the pump motors more efficiently, and performing various repairs and safety upgrades to the facility.

What is the total cost for this project?

$1.5 million

I’ve been driving by the pool on almost a daily basis and I don’t see much activity going on at all.

Workers are at the site and are making progress.

Education Effort Aims to Improve Wildlife Viewing Experience for Public and Protect Hawaii’s Unique Marine Resources

In an effort to better educate visitors and residents about proper marine wildlife viewing, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), along with Honua Consulting and more than 20 community partners, has created a series of video public service announcements about Hawai`i’s marine resources.


“We recognize the need to be proactive in managing human-wildlife interactions in Hawai‘i,” explained William Aila, Chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources. “As part of the Governor’s New Day plan for better environmental stewardship, the more we can educate visitors and residents about proper wildlife viewing, the more we can keep both the public and marine animals safe.”

The videos also encourage the public to choose tour operators that keep their distance when viewing marine wildlife like spinner dolphins, Hawaiian monk seals, turtles, and humpback whales.

The PSAs are particularly important as incidents of both monk seal hookings and humpback whale ship strikes continue to occur. In the 2012-2013 whale season, there have been 10 confirmed whale-vessel contacts. In 2012 there were 17 confirmed monk seal hookings. This year, there have been 6 confirmed hookings so far.

The project, Respect Ocean and Aquatic Resources (ROAR) Hawai‘i, was funded by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. The videos, which were shot and produced locally by ‘Ōiwi TV, also feature the Hawaiian language. “Part of what makes the Hawaiian Islands such a unique and special destination is our rich natural environment and unique host culture,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “We are pleased to partner with DLNR and Honua Consulting to educate visitors and kama‘āina about the proper way to protect our ocean and marine life, while also highlighting the Hawaiian language.”

The videos can be viewed at the project website,

If you would like hi-resolution copies of the PSAs for use and distribution please email

ROAR Hawaii is a collection of information on Native Hawaiian ocean related practices and resources with the purpose of encouraging understanding and appreciation of our ocean through research, education, and culture.

3.1 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Waikoloa Area of the Big Island Early This Morning – No Tsunami Generated


Magnitude 3.0 3.1 (updated)
Location 19.911°N, 155.738°W
Depth 32.1 km (19.9 miles)
  • 7 km (4 miles) ESE (121°) from Waikoloa Village, HI
  • 13 km (8 miles) E (100°) from Puako, HI
  • 14 km (9 miles) SSW (209°) from Waimea, HI
  • 72 km (45 miles) WNW (289°) from Hilo, HI
  • 267 km (166 miles) SE (125°) from Honolulu, HI
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.7 km (0.4 miles); depth +/- 1.7 km (1.1 miles)
Parameters Nph= 59, Dmin=10 km, Rmss=0.1 sec, Gp=126°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=2
Event ID hv60490746