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Mayor Kenoi’s Statement On Naniloa Resort

Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi issued the following statement today regarding the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort:

“We strongly agree with the decision by the Board of Land and Natural Resources to enforce the terms of its lease with Hawai‘i Outdoor Tours, and we think that decision should stand.

The view from a Naniloa Balcony

The view from a Naniloa Balcony

“No special consideration should be given to lessee Hawai‘i Outdoor Tours or to First Citizens Bank & Trust, which is the lien holder in this case. This lessee failed to maintain the $1 million performance bond required by the lease. This lessee previously failed to stay current on the lease rent, and was issued notices of default. This lessee filed for bankruptcy protection a year ago, yet the lease specifically allows for termination if the lessee goes bankrupt.

“While all of this was going on, this lessee allowed the historic Naniloa property to dramatically deteriorate. That in itself is a violation of the lease, which requires that this important state asset be properly maintained. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

“Now the trustee and the bank are asking for special permission to continue to operate the Naniloa. There is no reason for the state or the court to agree to this. It is not in the best interest of our state or our community, and we hope the court will reject this proposal.

“It is time to cancel this lease and start over. It is time for us to start fresh with a new, responsible partner who will operate this facility properly. It is time for the restoration of the Naniloa to finally begin.”

Mayor Billy Kenoi

District 5 Community Meeting With Councilman Zendo Kern

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Senator Hirono Announces Nearly $3 Million for Native Hawaiian Education Programs

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced seven Hawaii educational and community institutions will receive nearly $3 million for Native Hawaiian career and technical education programs from the U.S. Department of Education. These projects will be directed by Alu Like, Inc., a private, non-profit service organization that assists Native Hawaiians in their efforts to achieve social and economic self-sufficiency.

“This critical education funding demonstrates our nation’s commitment to the Native Hawaiian community,” Hirono said. “These career and technical education programs will help empower Native Hawaiian students with the skills they need to succeed professionally during these difficult economic times. Our state’s economy as a whole benefits when dedicated men and women can access quality jobs and greater opportunities.”

Alu Like
Alu Like, Inc. is a private, non-profit service organization that has assisted Native Hawaiians in their efforts to achieve social and economic self-sufficiency since 1975. The organization offers a comprehensive range of services and activities to fill needs in the Native Hawaiian community, such as early childhood development, job training and assistance for seniors. Its education programs include a maritime stewardship program, summer school scholarships, and scholarships for vocational education.

$413,677 for Honolulu Community College
Honolulu Community College is part of the UH system and offers a wide range of certificates and associate degrees. Honolulu Community College, through its Transitions, Poina Nalu Project, will provide direct Career and Technical Education (CTE) services to Native Hawaiian students.

$423,636 for Leeward Community College
Leeward Community College is a two-year degree institution that is part of the UH system. It offers two year degrees in both technical degrees and opportunity to transfer to a four year institution. Leeward Community College, through its Transitions, Hooulu Project, will provide direct Career and Technical Education (CTE) services to Native Hawaiian students.

$386,741 for Kapiolani Community College

Kapiolani Community College, part of the UH system, is home to a wide range of technical programs, including the renowned Culinary Institute of the Pacific. Nearly 10,000 students are currently enrolled. Kapiolani Community College, through its Health Careers and Work Experience, Kulia ma Kapiolani Project, will provide direct Career and Technical Education (CTE) services to Native Hawaiian students.

$354,207 for James B. Castle High School

James B. Castle High School on Oahu serves a student body of over 1,500 in a socio-economically diverse community from suburban Kaneohe to rural Kualoa. The Castle Complex consists of Castle High School, King Intermediate School and eight elementary feeder schools. Castle High School, through its Health Careers Academy, E Ola Pono Project, will provide direct Career and Technical Education (CTE) services to Native Hawaiian students.

$485,795 for Hawaii Technical Institute
The Hawaii Technical Institute (HTI) was formed in 1986 through a partnership between Alu Like, Inc. and IBM Corporation to develop a job-training center in Honolulu. HTI offers vocational training programs in technology and medicine. Hawaii Technology Institute, through its Health Careers Project, will provide direct Career and Technical Education (CTE) services to Native Hawaiian students.

$378,260 for Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission
The Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) was created by the Hawaii State Legislature to manage the Kahoolawe Island Reserve while it is held in a trust. The KIRC is part of the state DLNR and uses the federal funds designated to restore the island. Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC,) through its Hui Kapehe Project, will provide direct Career and Technical Education (CTE) services to Native Hawaiian students.

$360,360 for Marimed Foundation
Marimed Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that owns and operates the sailing school vessel Makani Olu (Gracious Wind), which offers programs for at-risk youth to promote personal growth. Marimed Foundation, through its Maritime Careers and Technical Training Program, will provide direct Career and Technical Education (CTE) services to Native Hawaiian students.

Commentary – Video of Shark Being Caught “Has Brought Shame To Our Island”

Recently, a video filmed at Honokohau Harbor has brought shame to our island. The video depicts some young people landing a large Tiger shark on the rocks at the harbor entrance. The tackle used is ropes tied to the land. This was neither fishing for food or sport-fishing where the animal is fought with a rod. It was simply disrespect.

Still shot from the video

Still shot from the video

The shark is an important part of the Hawaiian culture. For some, the shark is ‘aumakua. But for all, the shark was respected, not a plaything: “(In old Hawai’i, catching the niuhi was the game of the chiefs, a dangerous sport for which special techniques were developed, according to historian Mary Kawena Pukui. Eating niuhi flesh was also taboo to women.) [http://www.moolelo.com/shark-respected.html]”

Today, sharks are globally threatened by the finning industry, which wastes the life of the shark for a few pounds of fin. Meanwhile, live sharks are an economic benefit to the dive industry. Shark dives bring in at least $125,000,000 per year globally and any Big Island dive operator can attest to the enthusiasm that’s generated even by a small reef shark.

Further, the sharks at Honokohau are well known to the community. Everyone knows Laverne, the largest resident female, but the shark in the video is Tony. (Tony survived: He was filmed by some divers two weeks after the video was shot.) You can see photos of Tony and the other tiger sharks of Honokohau at (http://milisenphotography.yolasite.com/tiger-shark-id.php)[http://milisenphotography.yolasite.com/tiger-shark-id.php].

When the young men in the video returned the shark to the water, they were putting a large injured predator back into an area where dozens of people swim every day. Alua Beach, a popular place for families to bring keiki, is only a few hundred yards from where the shark was landed. There are multiple dive sites within a quarter mile to either side of the boat channel.

As with most regular divers at Honokohau, I’ve watched the sharks and the sharks have watched me. I’ve never forgotten that these are apex predators and need to be treated with respect (and watched from a distance). The sharks are there because it’s their natural territory and, probably, because of scraps from fisherman. There’s never been a shark attack reported at Honokohau.


Sharks are important and culturally respected by native Hawaiians; and – Sharks are not targeted by shore-fisherman for either sport or food; and – The area is frequented by swimmers, SCUBA divers, and free divers:

I would ask that the County of Hawai’i and/or DNLR to declare the area near the entrance of Honokohau Harbor as a “niuhi conservation zone” and forbid the intentional targeting by fisherman of large sharks within that area. The ban should forbid the use of hooks larger than those used for commonly-targeted sports and food fish and the use of anchored ropes or chains for fishing.

Larry O’Brien, Kailua-Kona