Legislators are Inviting Big Island Residents to a Town Meeting

Hawai‘i Island legislators are inviting residents to a town meeting from 6-7 p.m., Thurs., June 6, 2013 at UH-Hilo, UCB 127.

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Senators Malama Solomon and Gilbert Kahele, along with Representatives Mark Nakashima and Clift Tsuji, will share a post 2013 Legislative session update, including a discussion on district Capital Improvement Projects (CIP).

“The 2013 Legislative Session was very productive. Through working together, the Hawai‘i Island delegation was able to secure project funds that will help improve the quality of life in our districts,” said Sen. Gilbert Kahele (District 1, Hilo). “This meeting provides the public with an opportunity to hear from and talk story with their elected representatives.”

“Through legislative teamwork and community input, many of our Districts goals were met because of our collective lobbying efforts and because so many residents on Hawai‘i Island called, emailed or sent testimony to help their elected representatives secure the support of legislators from other islands,” said Sen. Malama Solomon (District 4, Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa and Kona).

“In fact, collectively, we brought home $380+ million.  This represents new jobs and job training, education and healthcare, roads, airports and harbor improvements, and vital “safety net” services for our keiki, kupuna and less fortunate,” said Sen. Solomon.

Rep. Mark Nakashima (District 1, Hamakua, Hilo) and Rep. Clift Tsuji (District 2, Keaukaha, Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea) noted that the legislature passed several bills and CIP addressing issues and concerns of Hawai‘i Island.

Rep. Nakashima said, “We are very pleased that the legislature focused on measures to support food sustainability and agriculture as these issues are particularly important to our island.  For example, we have incentives for our younger generation to take up farming by offering farm innovation loans. We have also expanded our livestock subsidies to allow our local industry to stabilize operations and compete with mainland suppliers.”

Rep. Tsuji added, “We focused on promoting investment, workforce development and financial stability by working with our colleagues to secure millions of dollars in CIP and federal funding for our airports, harbors and highways.  I am also pleased that working with the community we were able to secure a million dollars in Grant in Aid CIP funding for the Hawai‘i Adult Care Center.”

The general public will have the chance to ask questions about legislative issues and topics being discussed.

 

State Closely Monitoring Continued Koa Moth Outbreak on the Big Island

Signs of Natural Recovery Seen in Areas Impacted Earlier

First detected in January, an outbreak of the native koa moth and the resulting defoliation of koa forests on Hawai‘i Island are continuing to be observed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), which is closely monitoring the outbreak with aerial and ground surveys performed in collaboration with the University of Hawai‘i and U.S. Geological Survey.

 Koa Moth (Scotorythra paludicola) The koa moth (or koa looper ) is an endemic (native to a particular place and found nowhere else on earth) insect on the islands of Hawai‘i, Maui, and O‘ahu. The caterpillars feed only on koa leaves and are capable of defoliating mature koa trees. Population explosions have been documented historically on Maui and Hawai‘i islands, where large areas of koa forest have been defoliated. An outbreak was recently detected in the Hilo and Hāmākua regions of the Hawai‘i Island. D escription : The wingspan of the koa moth is roughly 1.5 – 2 inches and wing color varies from pale to dark brown. Some may feature bands across the wings with small dark dots or crescents on each wing. The larvae are referred to as “looper” caterpillars, referring to their typical “inchworm” movement. The caterpillars start out tiny and black, but grow to about 1 inch long, and can vary in color and pattern, from grey, to brown, to green.

Koa Moth
(Scotorythra paludicola)
The koa moth (or koa looper) is an endemic (native to a particular place and found nowhere else on earth) insect on the islands of Hawai‘i, Maui, and O‘ahu. The caterpillars feed only on koa leaves and are capable of defoliating mature koa trees. Population explosions have been documented historically on Maui and Hawai‘i islands, where large areas of koa forest have been defoliated. An outbreak was recently detected in the Hilo and Hāmākua regions of the Hawai‘i Island.

“The department is closely monitoring the moth outbreak and the recovery of koa forests and will use the information gathered to determine whether future management actions are needed,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “Although recovery of most koa forests is expected, the opening of the forest canopy could hasten the spread of introduced plants in our native forests.”

The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) has mapped the defoliated area on East Hawai‘i, which spans from Laupahoehoe to Upper Waiakea and covers over 50,000 acres.

Moths and caterpillars, and initial signs of defoliation, have also been reported in the Kilauea, Keauhou and Ka‘u regions, and the Pu‘u Wa‘a Wa‘a area of West Hawai‘i.

Fortunately, trees defoliated earlier in the outbreak have already been observed sprouting new leaves, indicating that the forest is recovering.

Outbreaks of this native insect are a natural phenomenon, as indicated by oral accounts by Hawaiians describing similar outbreaks before the first documented outbreak in 1892. Researchers believe these disturbances likely play an important ecological role by eliminating unhealthy trees, thinning dense young koa stands, and providing an influx of nutrients into the forest ecosystem.

However, little is known about the causes and full natural cycle of this phenomenon. Additionally, an invasive psyllid insect that was first detected in Hawai‘i in 1966 – and was not present during previous outbreaks – could damage new shoots of recovering trees.

There are currently no tools for slowing or stopping the infestation. Aerial spraying of insecticides would harm other forest organisms and is not feasible on a large scale. Biological control is not possible with a native species because its natural enemies are already present in Hawai‘i, and there is no outside source for predators or parasites that would be specific to the moth.

In addition to monitoring the spread of the outbreak, DLNR is seeking funds to investigate natural controls of the moths using traps or baits, and monitor recovery of the forests and the response of invasive plant populations. This information will be useful for managing future outbreaks if they are determined to harm the forest.

2013 Big Island Film Festival Day 2 – “Meet the Stars: Aloha Hollywood”

Last week at the Fairmont Orchid over on the Kohala Coast, the 2013 Big Island Film Festival took place.

The South Tower at the Fairmont Orchid

The South Tower at the Fairmont Orchid

On the second day of the festival the morning began with a “Filmmaker Orientation and Talk Story” held with Big Island Film Commissioner John Mason and Big Island Film Festival Director and Founder Leo Sears.

Filmmakers talk to to John Mason and Leo Sears

Filmmakers talk to to John Mason and Leo Sears

Sears and Mason talked about how the Big Island was an ideal place to make movies and how the festival was run amongst other things.  After the orientation and talk story, the daytime films that were scheduled were shown.

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Films shown were “Coffee, God & Gasoline” “Caterpillar’s Kimono” “Hangdog” “Last Call” “Shoot the Moon” “Stigma” and “If I Were a Bell”.

One of the many waterfalls at the Fairmont

One of the many waterfalls at the Fairmont

I went back to my room and relaxed for a bit before the evening events began.  They added a day to the festival this year and with that came a new event.

A chocolate film reel

A chocolate film reel

At 5:00 in one of the Fairmont’s Ballrooms, the public was invited to meet and take pictures with celebrities and filmmakers on hand at an event dubbed “Meet the Stars:  Aloha Hollywood”.

The Paparazzi!

The Paparazzi!

Some of the celebrities that were on hand were Brad Turell from Paradigm Agency, Kate McKinnon from Saturday Night Live and Hollywood Story Consultant Jennifer Grisanti among others.

Brad Turell, Kate McKinnon and Jennifer Grisanti

Brad Turell, Kate McKinnon and Jennifer Grisanti

Screenwriter Ron Osborn (Night Court, The West Wing, Duckman, Meet Joe Black, etc.) and Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men, Little Big League, Iron Will, Indian in the Cupboard, etc) were also was on hand to take pictures and talk to the general  public.

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Veteran Screenwriter Ron Osborn, Vincent Kartheiser and Jennifer Grisanti.

And of course there was food and wine provided by Kenwood Vineyards.

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Fried Ahi Panko Rolls

Lobster Rolls

Lobster Rolls

Dessert Bar

Dessert Bar

After the event, folks headed to either the Shops at Mauna Lani for free family films that included “The Invention” and “Upside Down, or folks headed to the Plantation Estate for the Festival films where folks watched “Home”, “A Perfect Day” and “The Land of Eb”.

The "hidden" hot tub

The “hidden” hot tub

I myself ended up taking a late night soak in the Fairmont’s “Hidden” hot tub.

Big Island Police Searching for Alaska Man Last Seen in Puna

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 22-year-old Alaska man who was reported missing.

Boaz D. Johnson

Boaz D. Johnson

Boaz D. Johnson of Petersburg, Alaska, last spoke to his family at noon Monday (May 27). He was reportedly in Puna.

He is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-6 or 5-foot-7, 145 pounds with short brown hair and blue eyes.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts contact Detective Fetuutuunai Amuimuia at 961-2278 or famuimuia@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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.

 

Pālamanui the Planned Kona Campus of Hawaiʻi Community College Has Groundbreaking Ceremony

Pālamanui, the planned Kona campus of Hawaiʻi Community College, has taken a giant step towards becoming a reality. A kīpaepae ʻeli honua, or groundbreaking ceremony for the new campus, was held in May 2013. Welcome news considering Pālamanui was first conceived of more than two decades ago, and had been in the planning stages since 2004.

Palamanui Ground Breaking

“We are graduating from planning to doing,” said University of Hawaiʻi System President M.R.C. Greenwood. “And that is a very important beginning.”

West Hawaiʻi is the only major geographic region and population center in Hawaiʻi without a permanent higher education facility. That will change in 2015 when the first phase of Pālamanui is scheduled for completion.

“The community colleges open the doors for our kamaliʻi, our children, for haumana, our students to dream,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Palamanui Blessing

The state-of-the-art, energy-independent campus is expected to serve as a model for other state projects.

The $25 million first phase includes a structure with 24,000 square feet of classrooms, science labs, learning kitchens, library, learning commons area and a large photovoltaic system.

It fits in perfectly with Hawaiʻi Community College’s mission of E ʻImi Pono, or seeking excellence.

“It is the same spirit that will guide us into the future and the endless possibilities this new campus will provide,” said Noreen Yamane, chancellor of Hawaiʻi Community College.

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The groundbreaking ceremony prepared the land in a traditional Hawaiian way, and included Hānai ʻAwa, feeding ʻawa to the land; Kanu Iʻa, burying fish; Kanu Lāʻau, planting Lāʻau; and hula, with a mele or song for the spirit of the land, ocean and sky.

Then with ōʻō, or digging sticks, in hand; state, county and UH dignitaries dug into the earth, marking the start of the creation of a new home.

Palamanui Digging Stick

“We pledge all that we have, all that we are, to Hawaiʻi’s and its future,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “Pālamanui, is the future of Hawaiʻi.”

Classes Begin at Hawaii Youth Business Center in Pahoa

A class designed to help you feel secure and comfortable working on a computer, accessing the Internet, and creating a video project for posterity is being offered in Pahoa. Community members of any age are welcome to register.

Natec Penn

Natec Penn

The 8-session class will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from June 11 to July 4, 9am to 10:30am, at the Hawaii Youth Business Center in Woodland Center off Highway 130 (Pahoa Bypass). Natec Penn, HYBCʻs staff instructor and a professional videographer who specializes in short documentaries, will lead the class.

Each session will offer student information and practice opportunities with topics starting from computer and internet basics, social media, to understanding camera, sound and lighting techniques so you can create your own video projects. A class show to view the projects is planned for the last session with a potluck celebrating the Independence Day.

Computers are available on site, or you can bring your own laptop. Video equipment will be available for use.

Cost for each session is $15, or enjoy a 20% discount with pre-payment of $96 for the full 8-sessions. Pre-registration is required.

For inquiries or registration, please call Natec @ 937-8252.

Idaho Couple Who Was Found Safe… Mother Received Disturbing Mysterious Call in Middle of Night

According to AP Reports:

…Kevin Butler, 21, and Kimberly Linder, 18, contacted their parents Wednesday evening, hours after police asked for help locating them, Linder’s mother, Christine Cearley, told The Associated Press Thursday. 

Hawaii County police previously said both from McCall, Idaho, but Linder’s mother said she is from Oakdale, Calif.The couple had checked out of their Kona hotel on Friday and told their families they planned to a camp in a tent in a valley, part of a backpacking adventure exploring Hawaii’s Big Island.”Everything was great,” Cearley said. “Except that a couple of days ago, Kevin’s mom received a call in the middle of the night basically saying someone had her kid.  “Their families weren’t able to reach them and saw that Butler’s bank account was overdrawn, Cearley said, so they contacted police. When police began investigating, they told Cearley there was an unidentified body matching her daughter’s description.

Meanwhile, Linder’s relatives were making plans to travel to Hawaii to search for them. That’s when Cearley got a text message from Linder saying they were OK, followed by a phone call, saying they didn’t have any cellphone reception while camping in Waipio Valley and had no idea anyone was looking for them until they later retrieved frantic phone messages.”‘We came down from the mountain and our cellphones were blowing up,'” Cearley recalled her daughter saying.

People in the Honokaa area spotted the couple and notified police, who met with them and checked their identification.The couple doesn’t know anything about the disturbing call from a man’s voice using a blocked number, claiming to have Butler, Cearley said…

Full article here:  Big Island Campers Found Safe, Unaware of Search

Body Found in Water Off Kalapana Reclassified to Murder

Hawaiʻi Island police have reclassified a coroner’s inquest case to a murder in connection with the discovery of a body Tuesday (May 28) in waters off Kalapana in the Puna District.

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An autopsy conducted Wednesday (May 29) determined that the female victim died of strangulation and that the manner of death was homicide.

Police have not yet identified the body, described as that of a Caucasian woman possibly in her late 20s or early 30s, about 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-8 with a slim build, short brown hair and a tattoo of “Veritas” on her lower back.

Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation.

Police ask that anyone who may know the victim or have information on this case contact Detective Robert Almeida at 961-2386or ralmeida@co.hawaii.hi.us or Detective Fetuutuunai Amuimuia at 961-2278 or famuimuia@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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.