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 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, or as a Facebook message to

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, 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 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

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., 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 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.