Governor Abercrombie Responds to Molasses Spill in Honolulu Harbor – Matson Accepts Responsibility

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today released the following statement about the state’s response to the Honolulu Harbor molasses spill:

“The emergency response programs of the Department of Health, the aquatic resources division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the Department of Transportation Harbors staff are working as a team to respond to this spill, reduce its impact and protect the health of our people. The affected area is limited to a portion of the Honolulu Harbor channel and Keehi Lagoon.

“Matson accepts responsibility for the spill and is working directly with the state and federal agencies to respond to this unprecedented event.

“My administration will do everything needed to restore harbor channel waters to the highest quality and take all appropriate action to ensure that such a spill will not reoccur.”

Big Island Police Capture Second Correctional Center Escapee

A 23- year-old escapee from a correctional facility was captured by police Thursday morning (September 12).

Robert Garcia

Robert Garcia

At 10:25 a.m., acting on a tip, police arrested Robert Carlos Garcia for second-degree escape at a home on Ohai Street in Hilo. Garcia attempted to flee from police but was captured following a brief foot pursuit.

At 4:17 p.m., after conferring with prosecutors, detectives charged Garcia with escape and his bail was set at $10,000. He was also arrested for a drug offense but was released without charges on that offense.

Garcia was one of two inmates who escaped September 4 from the Hale Nani Correctional Center in Hilo.

On September 6, 27 year-old Andrew Marshall Wanat, who has no permanent address, was arrested in Kona for escape.

Police thank the public for their tips.


Big Island Police Searching for Man Who Robbed Kona Restaurant

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a robbery Wednesday night at a restaurant in Kailua-Kona.
Palani and Kuakini

At approximately 10:30 p.m. Wednesday (September 11), after the restaurant had closed, an unknown man entered the premises near the intersection of Palani Road and Kuakini Highway, approached a female employee from behind, threatened her with a weapon, forced her into another room and grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash. He fled on foot in an unknown direction.

He is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-8, 160 pounds and in his mid 20s to early 30s. He was wearing a dark blue hooded sweatshirt, black pants and black athletic shoes with a white “Nike” emblem. He may have had khaki shorts under his pants.

Police ask anyone with any information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Walter Ah Mow at 326-4646, extension 238, or

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 Officer of the Year – Officer Randy Morris

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Randy Morris as “Officer of the Year” in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (September 11) at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.

Officer Randy Morris

Officer Randy Morris

Morris, a HI-PAL officer in Kona, was honored for an arrest that curtailed a spike in burglaries last year in West Hawaiʻi.

During August and September of 2012, police responded to the rash of burglaries by forming a special task force to identify and locate burglary suspects. Although Morris was not a part of that task force, he made it a point to educate himself about the known suspects. One of them was a 31-year-old man who was also wanted for escape and was considered armed and dangerous.

While Morris was pulling into a gas station on his day off, he recognized the escapee at one of the pumps. He confronted the suspect, who ran away in an attempt to evade capture. Without hesitation, Morris followed and was able to apprehend the suspect after a 50-yard foot chase.

Through continued investigation and with the assistance of the Criminal Investigations Section, Morris was able to recover 22 stolen items. With the suspect in custody, the number of reported residential burglaries in the Kona District decreased by 90 percent.

Morris was named “Officer of the Year” in December for the same incident.

At the awards ceremony Wednesday, Morris thanked God, his wife, the Kona Crime Prevention Committee and his bosses. He also acknowledged his fellow nominees, whom he described as “awesome.”

“We love working in our community,” Morris said. “We love coming to work every day.”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee is an organization that encourages community involvement in aiding and supporting police in West Hawaiʻi.

Applicants Sought for Puna Community Development Plan Action Committee

The County of Hawai’i Planning Department is seeking qualified applicants to fill upcoming openings on the Puna Community Development Plan Action Committee this December due to the expiration of three of the nine seats on the committee.
The Action Committee is a working committee whose purpose is to serve as a proactive, community based steward of the plan’s implementation and update. Action Committee members are expected to attend monthly meetings, meet with supporting partners, and serve as a source for promoting and sharing information about the CDP to individuals and community groups. Members may also be asked to participate in training workshops and or retreats, help organize and attend public involvement meetings, workshops and or charettes, and to execute the duties and responsibilities prescribed in Section 16-6 of the Hawai’i County Code.
Action Committee members should be community-minded and contribute to the variety of knowledge, attitudes, skills and life experiences necessary to represent a broad cross-section of the Puna population. Qualified applicants must be residents of the Puna CDP planning area, which includes the entire district of Puna and the Volcano Golf Course community of Kaʻu. Appointments are for four-year terms.
An application form can be downloaded from the Hawaiʻi County website at or picked up at the Mayor’s Office located at 25 Aupuni Street in Hilo.
For more information contact Larry Brown at (808) 961-8135 or