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Search to Resume Tomorrow for Missing Kayaker Off the Big Island

Land, Aerial and Dive searches were conducted by Fire and Rescue companies from the South Kohala and Kailua-Kona Fire Stations in hopes of locating a 66 year old male who was separated from his vessel while fishing off the Kawaihae coast.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

The victims vessel was found adrift, prompting a coordinated search utilizing resources from the Hawaii Fire Department, USCG, DLNR and Hawaii Police Department. The victim has not been found.  USCG will search through the night. HFD will resume it’s search at first light in the morning.

Situation Found at Scene:
Missing Kayaker, a 66 year old male separated from his vessel. Kayak was found adrift approximately 300 yards north of  the Kawaihae Harbor mouth and approximately 50 yards from shore.  The Kayaker was last seen on his kayak around 10:00 am by boaters in the area.


Puna Man Charged with Attempted Murder Following Spear Gun Incident

After conferring with prosecutors, Hawaiʻi Police Department detectives have charged a 49-year-old Puna man for shooting a spear gun at a 20 year old Puna man in the Leilani Estates Subdivision the night of June 25, 2013.

George Robert Curnutt

George Robert Curnutt

George Robert Curnutt of Leilani Estates was charged at 6:45 p.m. Thursday (June 27) with Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, he is being held at the Hilo police cellblock in lieu of $500,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.

Governor Abercrombie Signs Bill Advancing Hawaii’s Clean Energy Goals

As outlined in the 2013 State of the State address, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed Senate Bill 1087, which establishes a green infrastructure financing program for Hawaii. The Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program is an innovative financing model that is designed to make clean energy improvements more affordable and accessible to underserved community members.

“This new measure allows us to bring clean energy improvements within reach for a broader segment of the community,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “More of Hawaii’s residents will be able to take advantage of green devices that will ultimately lower electricity bills and contribute to the state’s clean energy growth.”

Senate Bill 1087 creates the framework for a financing structure that will fund this clean energy financing program. Under GEMS, Hawaii’s underserved markets, including low- and moderate-income homeowners, renters and non-profits will be able to finance the purchase and installation of energy saving devices without the typically high upfront costs. Payment for the devices would be made over time through one’s electricity bill and paid for with the energy savings. The state’s Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) will facilitate the GEMS financing program via the Hawaii State Energy Office.

“GEMS promotes the democratization of clean energy,” explained DBEDT Director Richard Lim, who was the legislation’s architect. “We are taking a proven rate-reduction bond structure and using it in an innovative way to provide low-cost financing to utility customers.”

The next step for GEMS is for DBEDT to file financing order and program order applications for review by the Public Utilities Commission. GEMS is targeted for implementation in 2014.


Governor Signs Healthcare Transformation Bill
Enacts Other Measures Related to Kupuna, Housing, and State Service Access

Gov. Abercrombie also signed House Bill 656, establishing the Health Care Transformation Program within the Governor’s office to advance the transformation.

“Improving health and the quality of care while bending the cost curve are among my administration’s top priorities,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Addressing these concerns requires a new systematic approach that affects health care statewide.”

HB656 (Relating to Health Care Administrative Uniformity) also sets specific responsibilities for creating a strategy and timeline for statewide healthcare transformation that includes developing standards to measure quality and costs, reducing administrative burdens for providers and insurers, and improving and expanding the use of information technology to support transformation.

The measure explicitly gives the Governor the authority to obtain information by consulting with any stakeholders, individually or in groups, as part of the foundation for transformation. This is crucial since the healthcare sector cannot make systematic, coordinated changes of its own volition because:

  • antitrust issues preclude many kinds of concerted group action that are not mandated and/or supervised by government authority;
  • while insurers, hospitals, and provider groups can all make sweeping changes within the scope of their own organizations, these changes may have little effect on the rest of the system; and
  • private sector health organizations agree on improving health, quality and cost, but implementing strategies without regulation or at least industry coordination is difficult because such organizations may have mixed motivations in a competitive environment.

“The cost of health care affects every resident and business in Hawaii,” said Beth Giesting, the state’s Healthcare Transformation Coordinator. “While health insurance premiums in Hawaii are relatively modest and offer good coverage, the inflationary trend – on average about 6 percent per year – results in wage stagnation and limited opportunities for business expansion.”

More than any other entity in Hawaii, the state is directly impacted by the effectiveness of the healthcare system as it purchases coverage for nearly 40 percent of the population, and that percentage will grow when new eligibility provisions and requirements under the federal Affordable Care Act result in Medicaid expansion. Med-QUEST programs now cover more than 20 percent of the state’s population with a budget of nearly $2 billion. The Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund covers nearly 15 percent of the population (Its annual budget is $523 million and it carries an unfunded liability of $14.4 billion). The state budget also supports the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, emergency and trauma services at other facilities, behavioral health care, federally qualified health centers, and more.

In addition, Gov. Abercrombie signed the following other measures in separate bill signing ceremonies:

Kupuna Bills
Individuals 65 years or older account for 14.7 percent of Hawaii’s population, which makes Hawaii the eighth in the nation in terms of the greatest percentage of older Americans. The following bills provide protections and resources needed for Hawaii’s growing kupuna population.

  • HB529 (Relating to Care Homes)
  • HB120 (Relating to Health)
  • SB106 (Relating to Aging)
  • HB398 (Relating to Human Services)
  • SB102 (Relating to the Elderly)

SB102 specifically requires that financial institutions report instances of suspected financial abuse of an elder directly to the appropriate county police department (via 911) and the state Department of Human Services via Adult Protective Services:

Oahu – 832-5115
Kauai – 241-3337
Maui – 243-5151
East Hawaii – 933-8820
West Hawaii – 327-6280

Other Health-Related Bills
These bills protect consumers, ensure qualified professionals provide medical treatment, and help families who have loved ones suffering from a severe mental illness obtain treatment.

  • HB847 (Relating to Enforcement Tools to Improve Patient Safety)
  • SB1074 (Relating to Physical Therapy)
  • SB310 (Relating to Mental Health Treatment)

Housing Bills
The following bills address housing needs and recognize that one size does not fit all when finding a solution to end homelessness.

  • SB515 (Relating to Housing)
  • HB536 (Relating to Public Housing)

State Service Access Bills
These bills eliminate barriers to state services and assist Hawaii residents who are deaf, blind or have limited-English proficiency so they can fully participate in the community.

  • HB266 (Relating to Language Access)
  • HB1430 (Relating to Human Services)

Coast Guard and Fire Department Searching for Missing Fisherman

The Coast Guard and Hawaii County Fire Department are searching for a missing fisherman whose kayak was found adrift near Kawaihae, Hawaii Thursday morning.
A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

Coast Guard watchstanders in the Sector Honolulu command center were notified by the Hawaii County Fire Department of the situation at approximately 11 a.m. Thursday. A passing vessel noticed the unmanned green kayak floating approximately 300 yards off the Kawaihae Harbor entrance with fishing gear and a cooler still on board.

The missing man is described as being in his 60’s, 6 feet tall, 180 lbs wearing black shorts and a fishing shirt.

An MH-65 dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point was launched to the scene and continues to search in coordination with Hawaii County Fire Department helicopters and boats.  The Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake has been sent to assist with the search from Honolulu.

The Coast Guard is using Self Locating Datum Marker Buoys and the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System to coordinate the maritime searches.  SAROPS was designed to use environmental data to provide the most probable drift of a person in the water or a search object.

The Coast Guard is asking mariners in the area of the Kawaihae and the north west side of Hawaii Island to keep a sharp eye out for the man and to report any sightings to the Coast Guard over VHF marine radio channel 16 or to contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at (808) 842-2600.

For more information contact the 14th Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office at (808) 535-3230.

Kona and Kauai to Get New WestJet Flights From Canada

WestJet today announced new, daily service between Vancouver and Hawaii Island (Kona) and between Vancouver and Kauai (Lihue), starting this December.

On December 12, 2013, service between Vancouver and Hawaii Island increases to daily from four times weekly last winter. Service between Vancouver and Kauai also increases to daily, beginning December 14, 2013, from three times weekly.


“WestJet is the airline of choice for Canadians who love the Hawaiian Islands,” said Chris Avery, WestJet Vice-President, Network Planning, Alliances and Corporate Development. “With seamless connections from many cities across Canada and no need to pick up your bag before you pre-clear U.S. customs in Vancouver, it’s never been easier to take that fabulous Hawaiian vacation you’ve been waiting for.”

In addition to increased service to Hawaii Island and Kauai, WestJet also offers twice-daily service from Vancouver to both Honolulu and Maui.

Flights are now available for sale at westjet.com.

WestJet Vacations has something for everyone, offering 29 hotels and condos situated on Hawaii Island from Kailua-Kona to Waikoloa, and on Kauai from Poipu to Princeville. Hawaii Island is inspirational with its diverse beauty and Kauai, the tropical island of discovery, is visually spectacular. More information on vacation packages is available at westjetvacations.com.

About WestJet
WestJet is Canada’s most preferred airline, offering scheduled service to 86 destinations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Powered by an award-winning culture of care, WestJet pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. Recognized nationally as a top employer, WestJet now has more than 9,000 WestJetters across Canada. Operating a fleet of more than 100 Boeing Next-Generation 737 and Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft, WestJet strives to be one of the five most successful international airlines in the world. This year, WestJet launched its new regional airline, WestJet Encore.


Kahilu Theatre Re-Opens Its Doors – Unveils New Membership Program with Free Family Fun Day

The Kahilu Theatre will host a Free Family Fun Day and Open House on Saturday July 6, from 11 am to 4 pm. There will be live music, circus entertainment, community performances and activities for the whole family. The Theatre will also announce highlights of its upcoming 2013 / 2014 Season, and introduce its new Membership Program.


The July 6th Open House will feature performances from award winning Aussie/English duo “Dream State Circus” who will delight and entertain with high skill Acrobalance and juggling, and the Big Island’s own Ari will entertain as Loco Moco Circus.

The event will also feature live music from Grammy Award Winner Charles Brotman, Carly Smith, Hama’jang, Gonzo & Larry Broidio, and Gary Washburn and Maelan Abran from the Honoka`a Jazz Band. The event will also feature performances by the youth from the Summer Arts program – a five-week fun-filled exploration of world dance, music, and culture directed by Michál Anna Carrillo, which has been running daily at the Theatre.

Circus 2

The event will feature delicious food for sale from The Fish and The Hog, as well as beer for sale from the Brewhaus – and free soda. Prizes, including annual Family Memberships, Kahilu Theatre t-shirts, and more will be given away every hour.

Kahilu Launches New Membership Program

After a year of hard work and community input, Kahilu will re-open its doors as a community hub. As part of this renewed community emphasis, the Theatre is inviting the Hawai`i Island community to invest in Kahilu by joining its new membership program.

“We’re so excited to launch our come-back season after a year of “intermission”, said Kahilu Board of Directors President, Mimi K. Kerley. “We have been working closely with the community for over a year now and have a good sense of what people want to see and do at the theatre. Launching our membership program is a huge step forward! We are really excited to create a Kahilu `Ohana that encourages people to become members of the Theatre and invest in community arts and education.”

Individual memberships will start at $35. The Theatre is also offering Student memberships for $25 and Family memberships for $50. All members will get discounts on Kahilu presented shows and other performances, discounts for education programs, subscriptions to the Kahilu e-newsletter, invitations to open house events and recognition in the Kahilu annual report. At the Supporting level of $100 and Contributing level of $250, other benefits include invitations to the Kahilu Theatre Season Kick-Off on August 2nd, free drink tickets to be used at the Kahilu Theatre bar, and invitations to an annual Backstage Party.

Kahilu Theatre has received a generous $50,000 matching grant to support its Membership drive. That means that for every new member Kahilu gets this year, the Theatre will receive a matching grant in the same amount. Kahilu hopes that individuals and families will join early and help make the $50K goal!

Bus Fares Increases on Monday

Effective Monday, July 1, 2013, bus fares will increase on all Hele-On bus routes.

HPP Bus Picture
The increases will be as follows:

  • Cash fare for all rides will be $2.00
  • Cash fares for students, individuals 60 years and older, and certified disabled individuals will be $1.00 with proper identification.
  • No charge for children under five years old.

Monthly passes will be $45 for seniors, students and disabled individuals. Monthly passes will be $60 for all others.

For more detailed information on the new fare structure please contact:

Hawaii County Transit Agency
1266 Kamehameha Avenue, Room A-2
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
Phone:  (808) 961-8744
Website:  www.heleonbus.org

Celebrate Amelia Earhart’s 116th Birthday at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Visitors are invited to bring the family and celebrate the famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart’s 116th birthday at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, Wednesday, July 24, 11 am to 1 pm.


Goodie bags for the first 40 in costume (ages 18 and younger), plus free admission for families with at least one member dressed in Amelia Earhart and historic aviator costumes will happen 9am to 1pm. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded in the “Dress Like Amelia Earhart” costume contest at 1pm.

Families with those in costume are invited to board the Ford Island shuttle and come to the Museum, free, from 9am to 1pm. Park free at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. No bags are allowed inside the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center or on the shuttle. Cell phone, wallet/small clutch, and camera are allowed but no purses or bags. There is secure baggage storage for $3 per bag at the shuttle area.

At the Museum, guests will view the Museum’s unique “Amelia Earhart in Hawaii” photo exhibit, enjoy the festivities with cake and refreshments, and meet members of The Aloha Chapter of the Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women Pilots, of which Earhart was the first president. They’ll also meet members of Women in Aviation International. Bring cameras to take pictures with the period re-enactors and Amelia Earhart re-enactor who will also be on hand to help instruct the Museum’s “Flight School for Girls” that is in progress through the summer.

“This is a family event that brings the pioneers and heroes who have paved the way for women in aviation to our guests. We’re honored to have Hawaii’s women aviators participate and we’re honored to celebrate Amelia Earhart and her accomplishments,” said Museum Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff. “She has a very special connection with us here at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.”

Before her disappearance, Earhart set numerous aviation records, including being the first person to fly solo across both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Born July 24, 1897, she has a special connection with the Museum as she ground-looped her plane on takeoff on the historic Ford Island Runway, preventing her initial round-the-world flight attempt. Seventy-six years ago, Earhart took a leave of absence from her Purdue University job, hopped in her Purdue-funded “Flying Laboratory” and flew around the globe. Then she disappeared.

The latest 2012 expedition to recover her plane by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) claims to yield new sonar images that reveal what appears to be the wing or fuselage of an aircraft matching the dimensions of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra, underwater off the coast of remote Nikumaroro Island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The tiny atoll is believed by some to be her final resting place.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization that depends on memberships and donations for its Restoration and Education projects. It is open 9am to 5pm daily, located at 319 Lexington Boulevard, Historic Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Honolulu, Hawaii 96818. Named “one of the top 10 aviation attractions” nationally by TripAdvisor, it is a Smithsonian affiliate museum.

For more information on this event, call 808-441-1004 or email SpecialEvents@PacificAviationMuseum.org. Information is also online at www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.



Applications for Property Tax Exemptions Due July 1

July 1, 2013 is the due date for exemption applications for the Homeowner’s, Homes of Totally Disabled Veterans, Properties of Persons Affected by Hansen’s Disease and Properties of Persons who are Blind, Deaf and/or Totally Disabled programs.


If you feel that any of these programs apply to you, applications must be submitted by that July 1, 2013 deadline for the Homeowner Exemption to be effective January 1, 2014 while all the other programs mentioned are effective immediately.

If you are already enrolled in these programs you need not apply again as they renew automatically. However, if your address, personal status or other qualifying circumstance changes you must inform us in 30 days after that change as these are personal exemptions and do not run with the parcel they are applied to.

You may visit our Real Property Tax Offices in Hilo or Kona, or access the website at www.hawaiipropertytax.com to download an application or for further information.