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Commentary: Tribute to Senator Daniel Akaka to be Held on the Big Island

“When people describe Daniel Akaka, one of the first words used to describe him is ‘humble.’ He is indeed that. He has been a dedicated and principled servant of the people of Hawaii and our nation; an unfailing ally of our veterans and their families; and a valued colleague and friend. I will miss him, and I will always remember how he taught us that gentleness and effectiveness are not mutually exclusive characteristics.”

 Sen. Akaka w/one of his 16 great-grandchildren, Kea, on the retired senator's 89th birthday on Sept. 11, 2013.

Sen. Akaka w/one of his 16 great-grandchildren, Kea, on the retired senator’s 89th birthday on Sept. 11, 2013.

Those were the words used by Michigan Sen. Carl Levin last December in an address to President Barack Obama, remarking on the pending retirement of Hawaii’s 2nd District Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka after 22 years in the U.S. Senate and 13 years as U.S. Representative for Hawaii.

At noon on Sunday, Nov. 24, the Hawaii County Democratic Party is offering a tribute to Akaka who retired from the U.S. Senate on Jan. 3 of this year. The two-hour event, to be staged at Sangha Hall, 424 Kilauea Ave. in Hilo, will feature such speakers as Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, Big Isle legislators and council members.

Tickets are $25 and proceeds from the testimonial will benefit the Hawaii County Democratic Party. HCDP Chair David Tarnas and State Rep. Richard Onishi are co-chairs of the event. Tickets are available by calling 961-3233 or 965-8945 or via the website hawaiicountydemocrats.org.

Frankie Stapelton

UH Hilo Vice Student Chancellor for Student Affairs on Attacks on Women at a UH Hilo Bathroom

UH Hilo Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Luoluo Hong, posted the following about the attacks on women at UH Hilo in the last week.

UH Hilo Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Luoluo Hong

UH Hilo Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Luoluo Hong

Yes, allegedly there has been two attacks see comments posted here regarding the first attack:

Chancelor Response


  • University of Hawaii at Hilo, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Every 2 minutes, someone in the US is sexually assaulted. We should *always* be vigilant & aware of the risk and reality of sexual assault on our campuses and in our communities. Just because you aren’t hearing about sexual assault happening every day here and elsewhere does not mean they are not happening.

Pahoa Girl Qualifies for National NFL Punt, Pass and Kick Competition

On November 2nd, 12-year-old Pahoa Intermediate 7th Grade student Staysia Hoomana won her age group bracket (12-13) of the regional NFL Punt, Pass and Kick that was held at Pana’ewa field.  This has made her eligible for the NATIONAL NFL Punt, Pass and Kick Competition that will be held on San Diego on December 2nd, 2013.

Staysia Hoomana of the Puna Panthers has qualified for the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick contest on the mainland.

Staysia Hoomana of the Puna Panthers has qualified for the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick contest that will be held in California next month.

Her family, teammates and friends will be doing fundraisers to support her and her father’s effort in being able to attend.

On Wednesday, November 27th from 8am – 4pm they will be having a car wash for $5.00 at Pahoa Auto Parts across from Longs where they will also be accepting donations and distributing smoked meat that was purchased on a presale basis.

Smoked meat will be sold for 2lbs for $25.00 and folks can pre-order and pick up at the car wash. You can pre-order smoked meat through email from Christoher Hoomana at Christopherhoomana @ gmail.com or Malia Kaawaloa at rkaawaloa @ yahoo.com (no spaces).

There is an account set up for her at Bank of Hawaii.  Donations can be made at any Bank of Hawaii under the “Staysia Hoomana Fund” and all the help is very appreciated.

I asked her father Christopher Hoomana, “How does it feel as a parent to have your daughter get so far in the competition” and he said “I’m ecstatic. ..very proud of her…she’s grown to be a tuff cookie…what I’m really proud of she can be an inspiration for other girls…GO GIRL POWER.!!  #23 puna panthers popwarner coach Like Kaipo and coach Donald La’a. I’d like to give them a much mahalo for being great coaches that instill pride dedication and discipline to our keiki and all their time. Mahalo”

Volcano Art Center’s Christmas in the Country

Volcano Art Center’s presents “Christmas in the Country”:

VAC Christmas

UH Hilo Student Attacked in Women’s Restroom

UPDATE:  This was falsely reported to the Police and the story was fabricated by the alleged victim.  More here:  Student Attack at UH Hilo Restroom Was Fabricated

I got the following report from a reliable source of an attack that occurred yesterday on the University of Hawaii Hilo Campus.

UH Hilo Moniker

Aloha Damon can you help? My niece at UH Hilo a sophomore, was attacked in the girls restroom on campus at about 4:40pm. He was a tall 6 foot white guy and put a knife to her neck. He struggled trying to get her top off than dropped the pocket knife then she started punching his face and yelling and then he picked up the knife and ran out. She ran after him and saw him get into a Red Ford Expedition and speed off. When the police interviewed her, she thought her attacker looked like Ariel Jost that guy that was just busted. Maybe he has a brother? Will forward you the info from her mom *****, my niece flew back to Honolulu today to be near her parents for the next few days.

The following is from her mom:

The incident occurred in the Geology building women’s bathroom at approx 4:45pm Tuesday 11/19, white male 6′ short curly blonde/brown hair followed her grabbed her, held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her if she screamed. He dropped the knife when he was trying to remove her clothes then she started punching his face, he yelled, picked up the knife and ran out of the bathroom. She saw him driving away in a red Expedition. Police report #C13031131

UH Hilo Honored for Language Revitalization

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language (KHUOK) has received the 2013 William Demmert Cultural Freedom Award from the National Indian Education Association (NIEA).
Hawaiian Language CollegeThe award was presented to Director Dr. Keiki Kawai`ae`a during the NIEA’s 44th Annual Convention & Tradeshow held earlier this month in Rapid City, South Dakota. Established in 1970, NIEA is recognized as the premiere organization for advancing comprehensive educational opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians throughout the United States.

As part of its mission, NIEA honors individuals, organizations and institutions that have made outstanding contributions to native education. The William Demmert Cultural Freedom Award recognizes KHUOK’s work in P-20 Hawaiian language revitalization and its positive impact on native student academic achievement.

“The faculty, staff and administration at Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani are totally dedicated to its mission and works tirelessly to achieve it through its degree programs and many P-20 outreach efforts,” Kawai`ae`a said. “This award is a great honor, which recognizes over a generation of work that has made the College a leader in language and cultural revitalization.”


Alexander & Baldwin to Acquire the Hawaii Commercial Portfolio of Kaneohe Ranch and Harold K.L. Castle Foundation

Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. announced today that it has agreed to acquire a portfolio of commercial properties in Hawaii from Kaneohe Ranch and the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation (“HKL Castle Foundation”) for $373 million ($260 million of Kaneohe Ranch assets and $113 million of HKL Castle Foundation assets). Due diligence was completed yesterday and, subject to the satisfaction of normal closing conditions, the transaction is anticipated to close in late December.

Kaneohe Ranch Building

Kaneohe Ranch Building

The portfolio, which encompasses grocery- and drug store-anchored shopping centers, retail strip centers, light industrial properties and ground leases, is primarily located in the Windward Oahu town of Kailua. The portfolio also includes about 585 acres of mostly preservation-zoned land in Kailua. A&B will fund the purchase with proceeds from the planned sale of several commercial properties it owns on the Mainland, along with other tax-deferred 1031 proceeds.

“With this purchase, we will be acquiring one of the state’s largest and finest retail portfolios, in an excellent market. This is an opportunity that rarely arises in Hawaii, and our decision to purchase is a reflection of our confidence in and commitment to Hawaii’s future,” said Stanley M. Kuriyama, A&B chairman and chief executive officer. “This acquisition dramatically accelerates our strategy of migrating our Mainland portfolio to Hawaii, diversifies our holdings with a major investment in the Windward side of Oahu, and improves the quality of earnings from our overall commercial portfolio. We look forward to working with the Kailua community in meeting the community’s needs and building upon the successes achieved by Kaneohe Ranch and HKL Castle Foundation.”

“We take a long-term perspective on our community development efforts and strive to work closely with communities to meet their changing needs,” said Christopher J. Benjamin, A&B president and chief operating officer. “Kailua is a thriving and vibrant community, and we intend to partner with the community in maintaining the livability, desirability and beauty of Kailua town.”

“The acquisition solidifies A&B’s position as the second largest retail owner in Hawaii,” Benjamin added. “The portfolio includes 386,000 square feet of prime retail and light industrial space in the heart of Kailua, and over 50 acres improved with retail and other commercial centers that are ground leased to third-parties in Kailua and other parts of Windward Oahu and urban Honolulu. The retail portion of the portfolio comprises the majority of the grocery-anchored centers in Kailua, and includes the only Whole Foods store in Windward Oahu.”

“When this transaction and the related Mainland property sales close, we will have shifted, in less than a year, approximately two-thirds of our Mainland net operating income to Hawaii, where we believe we are better able to leverage our local market knowledge,” continued Benjamin. “Eighty percent of our commercial portfolio net operating income will now come from Hawaii assets versus 42% at the beginning of 2013.”

The portfolio includes a diversified and well-occupied mix of fully entitled commercial properties:

  • Four grocery- and drug store-anchored centers comprising approximately 190,000 square feet of gross leasable area (GLA) on 13 acres of nearly-contiguous land in downtown Kailua. These centers are 98%  occupied and anchored by Whole Foods, Longs/CVS Drugs, and Hawaii supermarket chains Foodland and Times Supermarket.
  • Ten retail strip centers in Kailua comprising 102,000 square feet of GLA on 6 acres. These properties are 99% occupied.
  • Eight light-industrial properties totaling 94,000 square feet of GLA on 4 acres in downtown Kailua, which are 98% occupied.
  • Twenty-two properties, covering 51 acres, that are ground leased to third-parties and developed with a variety of commercial improvements.
  • Thirteen of these ground leases (15 acres) are located in downtown Kailua and improved with 260,000 square feet of GLA, including a Safeway-anchored shopping center and a Macy’s department store. The remaining nine ground leases (36 acres) are located elsewhere in Windward Oahu and urban Honolulu, and are improved with 500,000 square feet of GLA, including three grocery-anchored shopping centers, one mixed-use office and retail center, and two auto dealerships.

The portfolio also includes 76 acres of agriculture-zoned land, and 509 acres of preservation-zoned land, in Kailua.

The Company intends to fund over 70% of the purchase price with proceeds from the sale of a number of its U.S. Mainland commercial properties via tax-deferred 1031 exchanges, with the balance of the funding to come from other 1031 proceeds. The Company expects to temporarily finance the difference between cash funding needs at close and the receipt of cash from planned dispositions.