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.