Royal Australian Air Force to Gift an F-111C Jet To Retire at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

This week, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor will welcome the General Dynamics F-111C jet (serial number A8-130) to its collection of vintage and high performance aircraft. A gift from the Royal Australian Air Force, the jet is one of seven airframes being released to civilian institutions, the only one being gifted outright and the only one being given outside Australia. The others are on loan. Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff has made it one of his projects over the last three years to ensure that the Museum receives this famed aircraft upon its retirement.

The fifth of six Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) General Dynamics F-111 Aardvarks has landed at its new home, this time quite a bit further away from RAAF Amberly than its mates. Arriving last week after a six-day, nearly 2,000 mile overland journey from the east coast, near Brisbane, to the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre (AAHP) in Darwin. The plane which had been restored to a very high static display standard by the RAAF, was disassembled for trucking and will be reassembled by a special team from the air force in it’s new hangar.

The fifth of six Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) General Dynamics F-111 Aardvarks has landed at its new home, this time quite a bit further away from RAAF Amberly than its mates. Arriving last week after a six-day, nearly 2,000 mile overland journey from the east coast, near Brisbane, to the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre (AAHP) in Darwin. The plane which had been restored to a very high static display standard by the RAAF, was disassembled for trucking and will be reassembled by a special team from the air force in it’s new hangar.

Arriving at Hickam Air Field of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in three shipments, the final shipment is planned for Wednesday September 4, arriving at Hickam about 10 p.m. and moving to Pacific Aviation Museum about 1 a.m. Thursday, September 5, across Ford Island Bridge. This final shipment will include the fuselage of the plane. Members of the RAAF will accompany the fuselage on this final shipment of the aircraft to the Museum and will be at the Museum through September 12 to reassemble the aircraft, which is in pristine condition.

According to Mr. DeHoff, “This is an important acquisition for us. We honor aviation history in the Pacific as part of our Museum mission, so to receive this from the Royal Australian Air Force is particularly significant. We’ll give it a final resting place that recognizes RAAF and Australia as the allies and aviation leaders they are in the Pacific region.”

From seeing combat in Vietnam to participating in the bombing raids of Operation Desert Storm, the F-111 has had a long and storied 37-year military career.

This remarkable aircraft was the world’s first fighter with variable sweep wings, which allowed the wing configuration to be changed while in flight. With wings fully extended, the F-111 could take off and land in as little as 2,000 feet; with the wings fully swept back, it could reach supersonic speeds at high or low altitudes. Capable of attacking in all weather conditions, the F-111 was also equipped with terrain-following radar, which allowed it to hug the ground at supersonic speeds.

The F-111C that the Museum will be receiving, serial number A8-130, is being retired from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the only country outside of the United States to operate the F-111. “This gift symbolizes the close working relationship we enjoy with our American colleagues – on operations, on exercises and through airmen-to-airmen talks,” said RAAF Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown.

F-111C A8-147 offloaded after its overland arrival at the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome. (Image Credit: EHMAHAA)

F-111C A8-147 offloaded after its overland arrival at the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome.
(Image Credit: EHMAHAA)

This particular aircraft is one of only seven F-111C’s the RAAF released to civilian institutions, and the only one outside of Australia, under the F-111 Disposal Project. It is being transported to Hawaii from RAAF Base Amberley, on three flights from late August through September 4.

The F-111C was Australia’s principal strike aircraft from 1973 through 2010 and was affectionately known there as the Pig due to its ability to hunt at night with the nose of the aircraft close to the ground.

The outright gift of the F-111 to the Museum is a reminder of the F-111’s shared service between Australia and the United States and Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor plans a reception for Australian and American dignitaries and military representatives in October, to properly welcome the aircraft and honor the Royal Australian Air Force for their gift to the Museum.

 

Hawaii Island Police Searching for Armed Suspect in Old Stainback Highway Area

Hawaiʻi Island police shut down a portion of the Old Stainback Highway Thursday morning (August 29) due to a search for a suspect in a car theft case.

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Officers were attempting to stop a suspicious pickup truck just after midnight on Highway 11 in the Pana‘ewa area when the vehicle fled the area.

It was located on an unimproved side road off the Old Stainback Highway in the Panaʻewa Rainforest. As the driver attempted to flee from police again, the truck became lodged in the brush. The suspect then exited the truck and fled on foot.

While officers were securing the vehicle—a black Toyota Tacoma that had been reported stolen from Hilo in July—gunshots were heard from the vicinity of the forest where it was believed the suspect had fled.

Patrol officers secured the area and conducted a further search of the forest area during daylight hours with assistance from the Police Department’s Special Response Team and Criminal Investigations Section.

Once the area was deemed safe, the Old Stainback Highway was reopened at 1 p.m.

The suspect is still at large and the investigation is continuing.

Police ask anyone with information about the identity of the suspect or his location to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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.

 

Naked Lady With Gun Puts Puna Elementary School on Lockdown

Editors Note – Reports coming in from Facebook is that the lady was naked

A Puna woman is in police custody in connection with an incident involving a report of a gun near an elementary school in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision.

HPDBadgePuna patrol officers responded to a 7:18 a.m. report Thursday (August 29) that a woman at a residence near Keonepoko Elementary School was brandishing a firearm and pointing it in the direction of the school.

The school went on lockdown as a precaution. No one was injured in the incident.

Letter that went home to parents of students at Keoneopoko

Letter that went home to parents of students at Keoneopoko

Police arrested the suspect, 49-year-old Lokelani Lenore Harbrecht-Kalua on suspicion of first-degree terroristic threatening. She was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

The school lifted the lockdown after the arrest.

Hawaii Principal Named 2014 MetLife/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year

King Intermediate Principal Sheena Alaiasa is the first educator from Hawaii to be named National Middle Level Principal of the Year by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). In a surprise student assembly event this morning, Alaiasa was awarded the prestigious recognition by NASSP and MetLife representatives, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and area lawmakers.

King Intermediate Principal Sheena Alaiasa

King Intermediate Principal Sheena Alaiasa

“Changing a school’s culture is essential if any other real school improvement is going to take hold,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “Sheena Alaiasa has done remarkable work to create a safe, personalized environment in which all students feel welcome and valued.”

In her four years at King Intermediate, Alaiasa has received recognition for significant contributions toward student achievement, leading the school out of restructuring and elevating it to statewide acclaim. Alaiasa also concentrated on raising the bar for Hawaiian and special education students, incorporated parent engagement and created a personalized learning environment for each child.

MetLife Vice President Derrick Kelson said, “We applaud Sheena Alaiasa for her leadership in engaging the teachers, parents, and students at King Intermediate School.”

More than 600 students in the grades 7 and 8 attend King Intermediate. Eight elementary schools feed into King; they are Ahuimanu, Benjamin Parker, Heeia, Kahaluu, Kaneohe, Kapunahala, Puohala and Waiahole.

“On behalf of the State of Hawaii, we are very proud of Sheena and congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition,” stated Gov. Abercrombie. “Sheena’s leadership and sense of community have enriched King Intermediate, its students and the entire school system.”“Principal Alaiasa is a role model for her staff and students,” noted Superintendent Matayoshi. “She demonstrates what can be done when you believe in your school community, set high goals and put in the work to accomplish them.”

In May, Alaiasa was named Hawaii’s Middle School Principal of the Year. From the pool of nationwide winners, NASSP judges chose three finalists. Alaiasa was chosen over two other finalists from California and Mississippi after an intense round of interviews, which also included a PowerPoint presentation.

“The nation now knows what we’ve known for four years about Sheena’s extraordinary leadership,” said Lea Albert, complex area superintendent for Castle-Kahuku. “She is humble, articulate and leads by example. Sheena represents everything we look for in educators and leaders.”

As National Middle Level Principal of the Year, Alaiasa has won grants totaling $5,000 ($1,500 as a national finalist, and an additional $3,500 as the national winner). In September, she will be honored during a learning institute event in Washington, D.C., where state winners will share their knowledge and meet other education leaders and politicians.

Prior to becoming principal at King Intermediate, Alaiasa served as vice principal and principal at Heeia Elementary in Kaneohe. She holds a master’s degree in educational administration and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

For more information about the NASSP, please visit www.principals.org.

 

Hawaii County Joins McDonald’s of Hawaii in Stepping Up for Pedestrian Safety

Elementary school students will walk in the footsteps of Ronald McDonald and learn how to safely cross streets thanks to collaboration between the Traffic Division of the Hawai‘i County Department of Public Works and McDonald’s® Restaurants of Hawai‘i.

Ronald Shoes
McDonald’s of Hawai‘i is donated decals of Ronald McDonald’s bright red shoeprints imprinted with the messages “STOP” and “LOOK BOTH WAYS,” to the County of Hawai‘i The decals were installed at crosswalks fronting elementary schools around the Island. The decals, which measure approximately 30 inches wide and 22 inches long, are sure to get the attention of young pedestrians, county officials say.

“We thank McDonald’s for this great opportunity to work together and promote crosswalk safety awareness for young students with this unique pedestrian safety campaign at schools,” said Ronald Thiel, Traffic Division chief. “The colorful Ronald McDonald footprint decals on the sidewalks will remind students that crosswalks and intersections are places where they need to be especially alert to passing vehicles.”

Ronald Stop
The County of Hawai‘i Traffic Division has installed the decals at these 10 schools:

South Hilo:

  • Hilo Union Elementary School
  • Kapiolani Elementary School

Hāmākua

  • Honoka‘a Elementary School
  • Pa‘auilo Elementary and Intermediate School

Kona

  • Kahakai Elementary School
  • Hōlualoa Elementary School
  • Kealakehe Elementary School

Ka‘ū

  • Nā‘ālehu Elementary School

South Kohala

  • Waikoloa Elementary School
  • Waimea Elementary School

Ronald McDonald’s bright red shoeprints were installed at the end of one crosswalk closest to each of these schools. Public Works’ “Stop and Look” decals were installed at the remaining three corners of these intersections. The plan is to continue installing the Public Works decals at all crosswalks that the County of Hawaii maintains.  So, far they have installed it at 100 locations.

Blue Jay Wireless Receives Approval as Eligible Telecommunications Carrier from Hawaii Public Utilities Commission

The approval from the state Hawaii Public Utilities Commission allows Blue Jay Wireless to provide discounted cellphone service to eligible residents of Hawaii under the federal Lifeline Program.

The Public Utilities Commission of the State of Hawaii has granted approval to the Blue Jay Wireless, LLC petition for designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier within the state. The approval from Hawaii allows Blue Jay Wireless to provide discounted cellphone service to eligible residents of Hawaii under the federal Lifeline Program.

BlueJay

“The approval in Hawaii is great and exciting news for us,” states Blue Jay president and CEO, David Wareikis. “Hawaii has one of the lowest program participation rates in the U.S. due largely to its very limited availability, which we fully intend to bring to the eligible residents of this beautiful state.”

Blue Jay Wireless is committed to the high level of integrity and responsibility required of the Lifeline program and remains focused in providing the same high quality of support and awareness to the eligible residents Hawaii. Blue Jay Wireless strongly employs and enforces the strict rules set forth by the FCC in determining qualified consumers for the Lifeline program across the country.

Created in 1985 under the Reagan administration, the Lifeline Program was designed to ensure all low-income Americans have phone access to connect to jobs, family and emergency services. In 2005, as the proliferation of cellphones had increasingly replaced landlines, the Lifeline Program was expanded to include wireless service in addition to traditional landline service.

Available in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands, the Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers, and allows for only one Lifeline phone per household. Eligibility criteria may vary by state.

 

Hawaii Island Police Renewing Request for Information About a Puna Robbery Last Week

Hawaiʻi Island police are renewing their request for information about a robbery and auto theft last week in the Leilani Estates subdivision in Puna.

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A 41-year-old man reported that sometime between midnight and 3 a.m. on August 20, 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.

Highway 130 Shoulder Conversion Project – Clarifications

I posted the following comment on the Facebook group “Bike Commuter of Hilo“:

As a former member of the Keaau Pahoa Advisory Group (KPAG) on Highway 130… I can tell folks that the last drawing I saw on this Highway widening plan that is starting now is supposed to have a Bike lane.

Whether it will have one or not is yet to be seen. I don’t have much confidence that the State really listened to us KPAG Members to well as they are installing the Pahoa Round-a-bout at a location we didn’t want!

The intent of the project is to improve safety and traffic flow by converting the existing T-intersection into a single-lane modern roundabout. Construction work time is estimated at approximately 12 months.

The intent of the project is to improve safety and traffic flow by converting the existing T-intersection into a single-lane modern roundabout. Construction work time is estimated at approximately 12 months.

Doug Zang (not speaking on behalf of the DOT or SSFM) weighed in on my comment and stated the following:

Damon, some clarification is needed. As you know, I was actively involved in that project as well. The DOT has a very complicated and confusing way of implementing and funding the projects along that road, and given how long things take, I can understand the confusion.

The project that is being started this week is the “Shoulder Conversion Project.” It is NOT the same thing as the project you were involved with as a KPAG member. Yes, same highway. Yes, construction. NOT the same project.

The Shoulder Conversion Project is a short-term modification to ONLY the segment of highway between the Humane Society and Shower Drive. The only thing it will do is improve the shoulder on the mauka side of the highway so that people can drive on the mauka shoulder during the PM rush hour much as they drive on the makai shoulder during the AM rush hour today. All other hours of the day, the highway will STILL be only 2 lanes wide, and motorists will NOT be using the shoulder.

In essence, HDOT needs to widen the Waipahoehoe Bridge so that the shoulder extends at a full width across that bridge. (That is the reason the shoulder is not already being used today for that purpose in the afternoon.) So you can think of this as strictly a short-term fix until the full widening of the highway, all the way from Keaau to Pahoa, takes place.

HDOT did a *totally separate* environmental assessment for that shoulder conversion project, and it was always on a timeline ahead of the long-term widening of the highway (which is what you and I were both involved with, and the different environmental assessment that I wrote). The reason for this has to do with getting available funding. It was easier for HDOT to get funding for the shoulder conversion and make things somewhat better in the short-term. KPAG *was* told about that project, repeatedly, and told that THAT project was on a faster timeline than ours. You may not have been around for that discussion as I recall you were not present for probably the last three KPAG meetings.

In the long term, the project that both you and I were involved with WILL INDEED be wider (4 lanes, not two) and have shoulders that WILL serve bicyclists and pedestrians. THAT project, by the way, is still being designed, so it is some time off in the future before that design gets finalized and constructed.

The contact over at the HDOT office in Hilo that is involved with the Shoulder Conversion is named Julann Sonomura. If you call her (feel free to tell her I referred you) she can explain all this to you in greater detail.

Sorry for the novel, everyone, but I felt this needs to be made clear so the public understands. From the standpoint of bicyclists in East Hawaii, the Shoulder Conversion is good news but also not-so-good news. During the PM rush hour, the shoulder heading towards Pahoa will be filled with cars (much as it is in the AM heading the other way), so it will not be a place bicyclists want to be. All the OTHER hours of the day, the shoulder will be much better than now.