Hawaii Coffee Association Crowns Champions of Hawaiian Coffee

Two Champions of Hawaiian Coffee were crowned in Commercial and Creative divisions during the annual Hawaii Coffee Association’s (HCA) 18th Conference and 5th Cupping Competition at the Kauai Beach Resort on Saturday, July 20.

Hawaii Coffee Association

Big Island Coffee Roasters of the Big Isle’s Hawai’i District was awarded the top spot in the Creative category with a score of 86.939. ‘Creative’ entries are those that had less than 300 pounds of the winning coffee available for purchase. The Creative category encourages farmers to experiment with new varietals and cultivation or processing methods without having to produce a commercial-level quantity of coffee.

Mountain Thunder Coffee from Hawai‘I Island’s Kona District received top honors in the Commercial category scoring 85.51 These entries had at least 300 pounds of the winning coffee available for purchase as of the time of entry. A full listing of all entries that received a score of 80.0 or greater is being provided on the HCA website at  hawaiicoffeeassociation.com.

The coffees were ‘cupped’ and scored from a pool of 99 premium Hawaiian coffees from eight statewide districts: Hamakua, Hawai‘i, Ka’u, Kaua‘i, Kona, Maui, Moloka‘i and O’ahu. Coffee cupping is a combination of art and science where coffees are evaluated and scored based on subtle characteristics including flavor, aroma, ”mouth-feel,” acidity, sweetness and aftertaste.

Entries were critiqued by a judging panel of esteemed coffee industry professionals using standardized blind procedures, as defined by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). Judges assigned a single numerical score to each coffee (scores provided with release).

The SCAA defines “Specialty Coffee” as a coffee that has a cupping score of 80.0 or greater. Awards were given for up to the top three eligible entries from each district, and the top 10 eligible coffees in each of the Commercial and Creative categories received awards.

Judges for this year’s cupping panel were SCAA President Paul Thornton of Coffee Bean International, SCAA Vice President Shawn Hamilton of Java City Roasters and Warren Muller of Inter-American Coffee.

The scores of entries are going up, according to David Gridley, HCA cupping competition chair. “Nearly 80 percent of the 99 entries achieved a cupping score of 80.0 or greater,” said Gridley. “At our first cupping five years ago, we had 55 to 60 percent of entries scoring 80.0 or more.”

“Constant improvement and moving forward were reoccurring themes of our 5th Annual Cupping Competition,” noted HCA President Greg Stille. “Growers are continually improving farming and processing practices that contribute to the production of high-quality coffee.”

The conference also featured an industry trade show, numerous informational speakers, growers’ reports, a hands-on cupping workshop, a silent auction and a tour of Kauai Coffee Company’s farms and facilities.

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawai‘i coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees.  A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. This annual conference continues to grow each year and is gaining increased international attention. 

For more info, visit Hawaii Coffee Association’s website at www.hawaiicoffeeassociation.com.


Big Island Police Arrest 20-Year-Old in Connection with Burglary in Puna

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a 20-year-old man in connection with a burglary in Puna earlier this month.

A home on Oahu Road in the Nanawale Estates subdivision was broken into on July 4 sometime between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Kainoa Santos

Kainoa Santos

Investigation by detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section led to the arrest Sunday (July 21) of Kainoa Santos of Hilo. Santos was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives continued the investigation.

At 10:45 a.m. Tuesday (July 23) detectives charged him with first-degree burglary and second-degree theft. His bail was set at $35,000. He remains at the cellblock pending his initial court hearing scheduled for Wednesday (July 24).


Governor’s Statement Regarding Standard & Poor’s Favorable Assessment of Hawaii’s Progress on OPEB Liability

abercrombieheaderIn a news release titled “Hawaii Moves to Tame Its OPEB Liability,” Standard and Poor’s Rating Service today acknowledged the State of Hawaii’s actions to shore up its financial position in the wake of a stronger revenue outlook. Standard & Poor’s also claimed that Hawaii’s actions will strengthen the state’s fiscal position in both the near and longer term.

The Governor stated:

“It is encouraging to hear that one of the major agencies that rates Hawaii’s credit has spoken so positively of our administration’s efforts and our state’s achievements to build and improve our financial structure. Our most significant objectives have been to build financial reserves, deal with long-term unfunded liabilities, and instill sound financial management.

“Standard & Poor’s favorable comments acknowledge Hawaii as a leader amongst states in dealing with our financial health. Upon taking office, this administration recognized what needed to be done to restore financial confidence in our state, our financial management, and our economic well-being. We have made hard decisions that have begun to put Hawaii on the right path to better financial surety.

“Standard & Poor’s is the first rating agency to publicly recognize the significance of our state’s efforts and milestone legislation that will set the groundwork for future Legislatures and government leaders in Hawaii to deal with a growing burden that, if left unaddressed, will critically cripple the future financial viability of government to provide public services. Recent events nationally illustrate how significant Hawaii’s movement to deal with its liabilities is setting Hawaii apart from other jurisdictions.

“The message is clear: Hawaii takes its financial obligations seriously.”

Link to Standard & Poor’s news release here:


Senator Mazie Hirono Unveils Proposal that Help Hawaii Veterans

The day before the Veterans’ Affairs Committee considers eight bills that would have major impacts on vets across America, Senator Mazie K. Hirono filed three amendments designed to specifically help vets in Hawaii access federal veterans’ programs.

Senator Hirono

Senator Hirono

Two of Hirono’s amendments would help unemployed Native Hawaiian and Hawaii Island veterans access programs to help get jobs. Another Hirono amendment would ensure that Native Hawaiian-serving organizations are eligible to be considered for public/private partnerships to assist homeless vets.

The committee will consider eight bills tomorrow, including legislation that will help jobless vets find employment opportunities, improve assistance for homeless vets, improve care for female vets and align benefits with increases in cost of living.

“Hawaii’s veterans served and sacrificed for our freedoms, and we must provide the support they deserve. Among the eight bills my Veterans’ Affairs Committee colleagues and I will consider are proposals that would help veterans get jobs and help provide more assistance to homeless vets. Over the past weeks, I have explored ways that these programs could work better for Hawaii veterans, and today I am filing three amendments that will improve programs for Native Hawaiian and Hawaii Island vets. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee to get these measures adopted during tomorrow’s mark-up.”

Below are summaries of Hirono’s three amendments:

  • Transportation Assistance For Hawaii Island Veterans In New Jobs Programs:
    With more than 80 miles between towns like Hawi and Hilo, Hawaii Island’s geography can make transportation a challenge for some Hawaii veterans seeking to participate in new U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employment assistance programs. Hirono’s amendment would enable veterans to receive transportation subsidies for commutes up to 150 miles to and from their job site.
  • Outreach To Native Hawaiian Veterans For New Jobs Programs:
    Native Hawaiian veterans and native veterans who do not live on tribal lands are not mentioned in the bill, which potentially excludes them from targeted outreach efforts. Hirono’s amendment essentially expands the scope of native veteran outreach to include organizations that serve these populations.
  • Include Native Hawaiian Organizations For Public/Private Partnerships Providing Legal Services To Homeless Veterans:
    Hirono’s amendment includes Native Hawaiian-serving organizations among the entities the VA can consider in distributing the partnerships with public/private entities to provide legal services to homeless veterans.

Senator Mazie Hirono Announces $6.7 Million for Honolulu International Airport Upgrades

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced $6.7 million in federal funds for Honolulu International Airport. The U.S. Department of Transportation grant will fund the replacement of 12 existing passenger loading bridges in the Main Overseas Terminal that are outdated and have reached the end of their useful lives.
“Honolulu International Airport is Hawaii’s main connection to the mainland and the rest of the world,” Hirono said. “Today’s federal investment will help the airport make critical upgrades as the state continues to see growing numbers of international and domestic visitors. Since tourism is our state’s number one industry, anything we can do to promote travel to Hawaii is a step toward strengthening our economy and creating jobs.”

Built in 1927 and served by 27 international and domestic carriers, three interisland airlines and four commuter airlines, the airport is undergoing a number of modernization initiatives as visitor arrivals continue to rise. The airport hosts approximately 20 million passengers each year.

Hirono has been working closely with her Senate colleagues to get funding for major Hawaii transportation initiatives. Later this week, the Senate is expected to approve legislation that would fund many other transportation and housing initiatives – including full funding for the Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor Project for the 2014 fiscal year, support for Kalaupapa air travel and funding for Native Hawaiian Housing initiatives.


Big Island Police Catch One of Their Most Wanted

Hawaiʻi Island police have located 51-year-old Arthur Clayton of Keaʻau, who was wanted on a $40,000 bench warrant in connection with drug charges.

Arthur Clayton

Arthur Clayton

Clayton was arrested on the bench warrant Thursday (July 18). He was also charged with first-degree burglary, second-degree theft and attempted unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.

Clayton is being featured on the current episode of “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted,” which is airing this month on Na Leo O Hawaiʻi Community Television.


Three Arrested After Shots Fired From Car in Hilo – Police Looking for Witnesses

Hawaiʻi Island police are looking for witnesses to an incident involving shots being fired from a moving vehicle late Monday night (July 22).

At 11:45 p.m., officers responded to several reports that gunshots had been fired from a car traveling east on Haihai Street between Heahea Street and Kinoʻole Avenue.
Shooting Haihai
Police located the vehicle and arrested three men and two juveniles on suspicion of reckless endangering. The adults, 21-year-old Justy Kahana of Hilo, 21-year-old Kaipo Kailipaka of Hilo and 22-year-old Alfred Fuller IV of Hilo are being held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation. The juveniles were released to their parents pending further investigation.

Police have recovered the vehicle, a 1996 silver Volkswagen four-door Jetta.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed this incident contact Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2378 or wcarter@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.


PETA Asks Fisherman Who’s Boat Got Flipped by Tuna to Give Up Fishing

As Koloa, Hawaii, angler Anthony Wichman recovers from nearly drowning after a 230-pound ahi tuna he had stabbed in the eye with a fishing gaff pulled him into the water, PETA is encouraging him to make Friday’s fishing expedition his last. As the group writes in a letter sent to him today, fish experience pain and fear just as all animals—including humans—do, and as PETA’s “Silent Scream” video illustrates, fish suffer immensely when they are impaled, yanked out of the water, stabbed, and suffocated.

The fish that didn't get away!

The fish that didn’t get away!

“Mr. Wichman survived the terrifying ordeal of being caught on a line, pulled out of his natural environment, and deprived of oxygen—so we’re hoping he’ll now think of what all the fish, including his most recent victim, go through and not want to inflict that pain and fear on them,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA hopes he will make the compassionate decision to go vegan, and we’re willing to help him.” PETA is sending him a vegan starter kit and recipes for faux-fish dishes.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

Here is a copy of the letter:

July 23, 2013

Anthony Wichman
5496 Emi Rd.
Koloa, HI 96756

Dear Mr. Wichman:

I am writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Hawaii. As a former fisher myself, I urge you to use your recent brush with death as an opportunity to put yourself in the place of the living being you were trying to kill and to consider the value of her life and others like her. As terrifying as it must have been for you to be nearly drowned by a 230-pound tuna, please consider how frightening and painful the experience must have been for the animal who was killed after a struggle that you initiated by punching a gaff through her back and then her eye while she began to suffocate after having been pulled out of the water. With all due respect, I ask you to do some soul-searching and abandon fishing for good.

As this tuna demonstrated, fish, like other animals, value their lives and don’t want to be killed. Studies show that fish have complex nervous systems and feel pain in much the same way as dogs and cats and we do.

Fishing causes immense physical and psychological suffering to fish, who have particularly sensitive mouths and lips that they use like we use our hands. Impaling a fish through the mouth and then dragging him or her out of the water is the equivalent of someone driving a hook through your hand and yanking your entire body weight into the water, where you wouldn’t be able to breathe. As PETA’s short video “Silent Scream” shows, even though fish cannot vocalize to express their pain and fear, there is no room for doubt that they suffer greatly when they are impaled, gaffed, gutted alive, or left to suffocate slowly.

Witnessing the struggle and suffocation of a bloody founder I yanked from the waters off Catalina during a teenage fishing trip made me recognize that fishing is, quite simply, a sadistic “pleasure” derived from another’s misery, and I hung up my rod for good. I sincerely hope that you will consider this point of view in the wake of your fight to the finish with the unfortunate tuna.

Kindest regards,

Dan Mathews
Senior Vice President

Big Island Police Shoot Man Trying to Attempt Suicide

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a non-fatal officer involved shooting in Kona on Monday evening.


At 9:08 p.m., police responded to a report of an attempted suicide in progress at a home on Manu Mele Street in Kailua-Kona.

Upon arrival, officers contacted a 33-year-old man who was standing outside the house holding a rifle. Officers ordered the man to put the weapon down but he refused to follow their instructions and attempted to use the rifle to harm himself.

One officer discharged his duty weapon, striking the man in his right shoulder and causing him to drop the rifle. The man was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was treated for his injury. He is listed in stable condition.

The officer is identified as a 31-year-old eight-year veteran of the Hawaiʻi Police Department.

No officers were injured during the incident.

As is standard practice in any police involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area II Criminal Investigations Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.