Hawaii’s Senate Ways and Means Committee Visits Puna

Today, as part of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means‘ (WAM) two day visit to Hawai’i Island, Senator Ruderman hosted the group on a tour of sites in Puna.

Puna Community Medical Center

Puna Community Medical Center

The Senators visited the Puna Community Medical Center, Pahoa Public Library, and Pohoiki Boat Ramp. The need for emergency medical facilities, a new library and safe swim area in Puna were discussed. The Senators also experienced the drive from Hilo to Pahoa along perilous State Highway 130 and visited the site of the proposed Pahoa roundabout.

Rene Siracusa (Far Right) explains how the center is funded and talks to the Senators about getting more funding

Rene Siracusa (Far Right) explains how the center is funded and talks to the Senators about getting more funding

The purview of this committee includes those programs relating to overall state financing policies, including revenue enhancement, taxation, other revenues, and cash and debt management; statewide implementation of planning, programming, budgeting and evaluation; and government structure and finance.

Senators got a tour of the facility

Senators got a tour of the facility

Leading the group is Chairman of the committee, Senator David Ige, and Vice Chair, Senator Michelle Kidani. Senate President, Donna Mercado Kim, also joined the WAM committee on this trip.

Senate WAM

The visits on Hawai’i Island included facility tours of State facilities and briefings to update the Senators on programs, projects, and concerns on Hawai`i Island.

Only one of the events, a community information briefing on Grant in Aid funding at Waimea Middle School cafeteria was open to the public.

The itinerary for their Hawai’i Island Site Visit was:

Tuesday, August 20

8:15am ‐ 8:45am Kona Airport
9:30am ‐ 11:15am Judiciary Courthouse
11:30am ‐ 12:45pm Kona Community Hospital
1:15pm ‐ 2:15pm Palamanui Community College
4:30pm ‐ 5:30pm Waimea Middle School
5:30pm ‐ 6:30pm Community Meeting Waimea Middle School

Wednesday, August 21

9:30am ‐ 10:00am Puna Community Medical Center
10:15am ‐ 10:45am Pahoa Public Library
11:00am ‐ 11:30am Pohoiki Swim Area and Boat Ramp Isaac Hale Park
1:00pm ‐ 1:45pm Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy Research Labs
2:00pm ‐ 2:45pm Hale Ala Honua, University of Hawai`i at Hilo
3:00pm ‐ 3:15pm Old Hilo Memorial Hospital
3:30pm ‐ 5:00pm University of Hawai`i at Hilo briefing

At the Pahoa Public Library, the committee was met by Branch Manager, Gaila Vidunas, who talked about the need for more parking and the fact that the facility was used by such a wide diverse group of folks.

WAM at Pahoa Public LibrarySenator Ruderman mentioned the fact that they are looking at the possibility of creating a Puna “Regional” Library somewhere in the Puna District but thoughts are just being tossed around at the moment.
Senate WAM at Pahoa Library
After leaving the library, the Senators then cruised down to Pohoiki Bay where they checked out the harbor and talked with local residents about how things could be improved in the area.

Senate WAM

(Left to Right) Sen. Laura Thielen, Sen. Michelle Kidani, Sen. J. Kalani English, Sen. Donna Mercado-Kim, Sen. David Ige, Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, and Sen. Russell Ruderman

I reminded a couple of the Senators that this is where “Ulu Boy” got attacked by a shark a few days ago and they were kind of shocked to realize that!

Senators at Pohoiki

They were treated to a lunch down at Pohoiki by a local family and then after that they got into their cars and headed back into Hilo for the rest of their itinerary.

Federal Officer Steps on Booby Trap in Marijuana Patch Chasing Suspect in Puna

Police are investigating a case involving a Federal Task Force officer who stepped on a booby trap device in a marijuana patch while chasing a wanted suspect in Puna.

No the actual booby trap

Not the actual booby trap

At about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday (August 21), while conducting warrant sweeps in the Ainaloa subdivision, a Federal Task Force officer was attempting to apprehend a wanted individual in the area of Azure Drive. The officer ran into the brush area in a marijuana patch and stepped on a booby trap device made of nails, causing puncture injuries.

The presence of a booby trap device in a marijuana patch increases the offense to first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana, a class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Lieutenant Mark Farias of the Area I Vice Section at 961-2253 or mfarias@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.

Big Island Police Arrest Two in Puna Robbery Incident that Happened in July – Seeking Third Suspect

Hawaiʻi Island police have located two 30-year-old Puna men who being sought in connection with a robbery in the Leilani Estates subdivision last month.

Mark McCurley

Mark McCurley

Mark McCurley of Hawaiian Beaches and Kawika Kahee of the Black Sand subdivision were arrested at 11 a.m. Tuesday (August 20) during a warrants sweep in Hawaiian Beaches.

Kawika Kahee

Kawika Kahee

At 11:35 a.m. Wednesday (August 21), detectives charged McCurley with second-degree robbery, second-degree theft and kidnapping. His bail set at $85,000. Kahee was charged with second-degree robbery, second-degree theft and third-degree assault. His bail was set at $37,000.

Both men are being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending their initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday.

The victim, a 56-year-old woman, reported that three individuals who were invited to her home used force against her and removed several items on July 24. The suspects left the home in a white Ford Mustang. The third suspect has not been identified.

Police ask anyone with information about the third suspect to contact Detective Derek Morimoto at 961-2380 or dmorimoto@co.hawaii.hi.us. Persons may also call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Majority of Hawaii’s Class of 2013 Did Not Meet ACT’s College-Readiness Benchmarks

The ACT early today released the results of the graduating Class of 2013’s performance on its college-readiness exam. A record 5,345 Hawaii students in both public and private schools took the ACT test in spring 2012, representing a 75 percent increase from the Class of 2010. However, results show a majority of Hawaii’s Class of 2013, similar to the rest of the nation, did not meet the test’s college-readiness benchmarks. The data reinforces the importance of the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (DOE) focus on supporting all students for success after high school.

The 5,345 Hawaii students, most of whom took the ACT as juniors in 2012 and graduated this past spring, represent about 40 percent of the Class of 2013 – the biggest group of students ever to take the ACT in Hawaii. Kaiser High graduate Jason Cheng, a Harvard University freshman this fall, was the only Hawaii student to earn a perfect score of 36 among those included in the results released today.

“The good news is the high number of students challenging themselves with the college rigor of the ACT Test,” said DOE Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “We look forward to improving our results as we continue our focus on college and career readiness.”

Acknowledging a need to boost college and career readiness among graduates, the DOE has already taken steps to better prepare students by introducing the following new initiatives in 2013:

· Strive HI Performance System: For the first time, the DOE is holding schools accountable for achievement, growth, achievement gaps, and college and career readiness. As a part of the Strive HI Performance System, the DOE administers the ACT EXPLORE exam to all students in grades 8 and 9, the ACT Plan exam in grade 10, and the ACT Test in grade 11. Based on local research, a composite score of 19 on the ACT exam indicates readiness for entry-level courses in the University of Hawaii System. The eleventh-grade results from the spring 2013 administration, included in the recently released Strive HI results, show that 34 percent of students met a composite score of 19 or higher. ACT scores being reported today are part of the last round of exams taken before the DOE began administering the ACT as part of the Strive HI Performance System.

· Common Core State Standards (CCSS): For the first time this school year, all teachers are implementing the Common Core State Standards. The new standards are a set of consistent, high-quality academic standards that clearly define the knowledge and skills all students should master by the end of each school year in order to be on track for success.
The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each exam is graded on a scale of 1-36, and a student’s single composite score is the average of the four test scores. In each of the four subjects, ACT sets a college-readiness benchmark — the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course. The benchmarks are set based on national level data. Hawaii graduates who tested as juniors in the spring of 2012 posted a statewide average composite mark of 20.1. The national average composite score was 20.9. In each benchmark area, Hawaii students also posted lower ACT scores than their national peers. The figures below represent the percentage of students who met benchmark scores by subject:

ACT Performance

“The drop in ACT scores for Hawaii students should not be interpreted as a decline in student learning or readiness,” said Jon Erickson, ACT president of education. “The state results were impacted by the change in the composition of test takers included in the report. As a result, this year’s data should be viewed as a new baseline against which future years can be compared.”

For more information about the DOE, log on to HawaiiPublicSchools.org. Additional ACT information is available at act.org/readiness/2013.

Obesity in Hawaii Rising Alongside National Trends

According to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2013, a new report released yesterday by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), obesity in Hawaii continues to increase rapidly consistent with national trends and, without effective interventions, more than half of Hawaii’s adults will be obese by 2030.

F as in Fat

The report summarizes obesity rates in the United States and identifies 13 states with obesity rates above 30 percent and 41 states with rates of at least 25 percent. Every state is above 20 percent. “While Hawaii has a lower obesity and chronic disease rate relative to many other jurisdictions, our state is following the same troubling path as the rest of the nation,” said Director of Health Loretta J. Fuddy. “Nearly one-quarter of Hawaii adults are obese, and some population groups have much higher rates. Obesity is an epidemic, and we cannot afford to sit back idly on this issue.”

The TFAH report ranks Hawaii 47th among all states for adult obesity, with 23.6 percent of Hawaii adults currently obese. According to the report, adult obesity in Hawaii has increased nearly three times from what it was a little over 20 years ago. In the past year alone, obesity has risen more than seven percent and childhood obesity has also remained high (13.2 percent in 2011).

Hawaii’s ethnic diversity also masks significant disparities in obesity that exist in our state with higher rates among native Hawaiians and Pacific Islander populations. While adult obesity in 2011 was 21.9 percent for the overall state, rates ranged from 6.8 percent among Chinese, to 20.6 percent among Filipinos, to 40.8 percent among Native Hawaiians.

Not only is obesity in general increasing in Hawaii, but the proportion of adults who are morbidly or excessively obese in Hawaii is also increasing. In 2011, there were 30,000 morbidly obese adults in Hawaii—roughly 3 percent of the population.

Increases in obesity are attributed in-part to physical inactivity and unhealthy eating. Among high school students, only 21 percent met the national recommendations for physical activity. Fruit and vegetable consumption in Hawaii also remains low; the percentage of adults who reported eating more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day is only 11.4 percent.  Among high school students, it was 17.5 percent.

Obesity is costly to our state and can lead to diabetes and other chronic conditions later in life. Eighty-two percent of adults in Hawaii have at least one chronic disease, over half have two or more, and 31.5 percent have three or more chronic diseases. Hawaii spends an estimated $470 million annually on obesity-related medical costs, and $770 million on diabetes-related medical costs.

“We need to move forward policy, systems and environmental changes to curb rising obesity rates and costs,” said Director Fuddy. “We must continue to work together across diverse public and private organizations, governmental agencies, and communities so healthy choices are the desirable easy decisions.”

The Department of Health recently released the Hawaii Physical Activity and Nutrition Plan 2013-2020 a comprehensive set of Hawaii-specific strategies designed to curb the obesity epidemic. The Plan represents the work of community members and stakeholders in obesity prevention from across the state. The plan is available on the Department of Health’s website under “Publications and Campaigns” or via the following direct link: http://health.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/DOH_PAN2020_LO.pdf.


Ohana Shoreline Fishing Tournament Results Announced

More than 400 keiki, adults and kupuna anglers competed in the Department of Parks and Recreation’s 17th Annual Ohana Shoreline Fishing Tournament held August 16-18.

Fishing poles, reels, coolers and other fishing-related prizes were awarded to the top finishers in each division, including the Ohana team division.

Men’s Division winner Kahana Itozaki is shown with his 53-pound ulua.

Men’s Division winner Kahana Itozaki is shown with his 53-pound ulua.

Kahana Itozaki landed the largest fish of the tournament, an ulua that weighed 53 pounds 4.8 ounces, to win the Men’s Division. Other species measured during Sunday’s weigh-in included papio, nenue and omilu fishes.

Prizes were awarded to the following competitors:



  1. Itozaki, Kahana Ulua 53 4.8
  2. Ignacio, Michael L. Ulua 44 0
  3. Cypriano, Wayne Ulua 41 0
  4. Johnathan, Kahakua Ulua 23 4.8
  5. Ogawa, Jordan Awa 11 12.8
  6. Kosinski, Chad Omilu 7 9.6
  7. Ventura, Lopaka Nenue 2 14.4
  8. Barawis, Zerek Toau 1 15.9
  9. Moniz, Justin Roi 1 14.6
  10. Rivera, Franklin Toau 1 11.9
  11. Nakamura, Kurt Mu 1 11.9
  12. Mock, Anthony Omilu 1 9.2
  13. Barawis, Zyman Papio 1 6.6
  14. Alameida, Clarence Hinalea 1 4.5
  15. Sugimoto, Aaron Nenue 0 15.7



  1. Ramos, Andylynn Ulua 12 8
  2. Leon, Monae Omilu 9 3.2
  3. Galapir, Kiry Omilu 4 14.4
  4. Kailiuli, Joymarie Ahaaha 4 1.6
  5. Franco, Shaena Aawa 2 12.4
  6. Kow, Candance Hinalea 2 2.1
  7. Tanaka, Amy Nenue 2 1.6
  8. Franco, Keani Roi 2 0.6
  9. Shiroma, Chantee Nenue 1 9
  10. Decoito, Lisa Hagi 1 5.3
  11. Yamamoto, Chelsey Hagi 1 4.7
  12. Moniz, Avlyn Alaihi 1 2.9
  13. Reyes, Kaula Hagi 1 2.8
  14. Viernes, Brendalyn Hagi 1 2.1
  15. Matsumoto, Kahea Nenue 0 15.3



  1. Llanes, Reuben Nenue 4 14.1
  2. Figueroa, Stanley Kala 3 7
  3. James, Reynolds Awa 2 15.9
  4. Kaneo, Robert Papoou 2 3.5
  5. Carvalho, Josephe Awa 2 1.2
  6. Zimdars, Susan Papoou 1 15.9
  7. Bello, Theresa Nenue 1 11.2
  8. Uehana, Eric Nenue 1 11.2
  9. Alverez, Barney Papio 1 9
  10. Sugimoto, Doris Nenue 1 7.9
  11. Barkley, William Nenue 1 6.9
  12. Toizman, Terry Toau 1 6.8



  1. Datuin, Kysen Ulua 22 14.4
  2. Alcosiba, Braven Ulua 14 14
  3. Deguchi-Kahakua, Johnathan Omilu 12 8
  4. Carvalho, Kaela Papio 4 14.4
  5. Losalio, Sam Kala 4 4.5
  6. Shigematsu, Kyler Papio 3 13.1
  7. Batin, Shyrome Papio 2 15.1
  8. Salboro, Wesley Toau 2 9.4
  9. Uehana, Riley Nenue 2 7.1
  10. Arraujo, Louis Hinalea 2 7
  11. Losalio, Johnathan Palani 2 6.4
  12. Matsuda, Keoni Nenue 2 5.8



  1. Caberto, Mikyla Ulua 10 11.2
  2. Cazimero, O’shen Omilu 7 14.2
  3. Evangelista, Zachary Omilu 5 5.3
  4. Batin, Bransyn Mu 4 5.4
  5. Roque-Lewis, Dreg’n Roi 3 7.8
  6. Batin, Shayson Omilu 3 4.2
  7. Pascual, Cameron Papio 3 1.1
  8. Holt, Jacob Table Boss 2 15.7
  9. Sue, Kalawaiakuikaika Nenue 2 7.5
  10. Barawis, Dayhtan Nenue 2 6.6
  11. Hisashima, Keahi Nenue 2 6.6
  12. Carvalho-Rivera, Hailey Roi 2 5.5
  13. Caravalho, Skyler Moana Kale 2 4.2


  1. Caberto, Shenna Lou   45 fish
  2. Kaneo, Sandra         19 fish
  3. Barawis, Zerek              15 fish



1.  Madrid, Juslynn    2          10.2

Souza, Noeau

Madrid, Magdalena

2.   Barawis, Zyman   2          9.9

Barawis, Dayhtan

3.   Matsuda, Dennis   2          9.3

Matsuda, Alakai

Tavares-Matsuda, Onipaa

4.    Aoki, Justin                      2          2.7

Aoki, Justice

5.    Arase, Danny, Sr.            2          2

Arase, Danny, Jr.

6.    Matsuda, Kenika 2          0.8

Matsuda, Keoni

Neves, Haaheo

7.    Sato, Titus                        1          14.5

Sato, Talus

Mendoza, Teodorico

8.    Perez, Ayzen        1          14.4

Perez, Ethan

Perez, Koa

Yamamoto, Chelsey

9.    Davis, Keli’i, Sr.  1          13.8

Davis, Keli’i, Jr.

Davis, Kamaile

Davis, Kaolena

10.  Reyes, Kaula       1          13.5

Akana, Kaula

Akana, Tiani

11. Santos, Laukoa     1          13.1

Nakamura, Kurt

Nakamura, Taylor

12.   Batin, Sheldon           1    12.9

Batin, Shayson

Batin, Shyrome

13.   Harrison, Adam, Jr.             1    12.5

Harrison, Briana

14.   Alameida, Clarence              1    11.8

Opamin, Toni

15.   Caberto, Shenna Lou    1           11.6

         Caberto, Mikyla                       

Happy Birthday National Park Service! Volcano Art Center Honors 97 Years this Sunday in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

In celebration of the National Park Service’s 97th birthday on Sunday, August 25, 2013, Volcano Art Center (VAC) is extending a special gift to its patrons.

Volcanoe Art House

Take advantage of free park entrance on Sunday and an extra 5% off all purchases over $97 at the VAC Gallery, located next to the Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The gallery is open from 9:00am to 6:00pm every day, but this festive promotion is only available on Sunday.

Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of over 400 federally protected lands – including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – enjoyed by more than 275 million visitors annually.

Volcano Art Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1974 to develop, promote and perpetuate the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Hawaii’s people through the arts and education.

The VAC Gallery, which will celebrate its 40th birthday next year in 2014, functions under a Cooperative Agreement with the National Park Service and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Through this unique partnership Volcano Art Center helps “Interpret the Park through Art.”

For more information, visit www.volcanoartcenter.org  or contact the VAC Gallery at (808) 967-7565 or gallery@volcanoartcenter.org.

Governor Abercrombie Names Wallace Ishibashi and Patricia Sheehan to Hawaiian Homes Commission

Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday announced the appointments of Wallace A. Ishibashi, Jr. of Hawaii Island and Patricia W. Sheehan of Kauai to the Hawaiian Homes Commission, effective immediately.

“Wally and Patsy both come to the Hawaiian Homes Commission with strong ties to their respective communities,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “I am confident about their commitment and ability to serve Native Hawaiian beneficiaries in moving the commission and department forward.”

Wallace Ishibashi

Wallace Ishibashi

Wallace A. Ishibashi, Jr. fills the East Hawaii seat on the Hawaiian Homes Commission. A retired full time officer of ILWU Local 142, Ishibashi draws from a range of experience that includes his current position as UH Hilo’s cultural monitor for the Office of Mauna Kea Management as well as time as a business agent, contract and benefits negotiator, workers compensation specialist, and youth basketball and baseball coach. He is also currently the chair of the Hawaii County Windward Planning Commission and a member of the Big Island Community Coalition, an organization that works to reduce the high cost of electricity through alternative energy.

Patricia Sheehan

Patricia Sheehan

Patricia W. Sheehan fills the Kauai seat on the Hawaiian Homes Commission. Sheehan previously served on the commission from 1993 to 1997 and has worked in fields ranging from education to real estate and successfully restarted a family business in the aftermath of Hurricane Iniki. She serves on various other boards and commissions, including Hoopulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill, Hui o Laka, Kapiolani Health Foundation, Kauai Historic Preservation Review Commission, National Tropical Botanical Garden, and The Waioli Corporation. She is a graduate of Punahou School and holds a degree in fine arts/dance from Bennett College.


Big Island Police Investigating Puna Assault and Car Robbery

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a robbery and auto theft early Tuesday morning (August 20) in the Leilani Estates subdivision in Puna.


A 41-year-old man reported that sometime between midnight and 3 a.m. he was assaulted outside his house on Maile Street and a car was stolen from the driveway.

The attacker is described as a local male, average height and weight with medium-length dark hair and a “local accent.” The car is described as a blue 2005 Kia Optima four-door sedan, license plate ZAT 755.

Police ask anyone with information about this case to contact Detective Norbert Serrao at 961-2383 or nserrao@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.


Wordless Wednesday – Husband For Sale

Classified ad in the August 13th edition of The Big Island Weekly: