Coast Guard Helicopter Crew Struck By Laser

A Coast Guard helicopter crew was targeted by an individual with a laser pointer while flying in the vicinity of Waimanalo Bay on Oahu, Saturday.

A green laser shining on an aircraft. Photo courtesy of Department of Transportation

A green laser shining on an aircraft. Photo courtesy of Department of Transportation

The lased MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was conducting a search in response to an uncorrelated distress call when the incident occurred. Four crewmembers observed the laser sweeping the aircraft and one of the pilots was directly struck.

This is the fifth lasing incident within the last year at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point.

The Coast Guard is working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Honolulu Police Department to investigate the incident.

“We were searching off Waimanalo following a received mayday call when we were hit by a green laser,” said Lt. Cmdr. Roger Barr, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot at Air Station Barbers Point. “We protected our eyes quickly enough to avoid being blinded, reported the incident, and were able to continue the mission. This was the air station’s first East Oahu lasing incident in recent years. The frequency of incidents locally and nationally is increasing at a dangerous rate and the public needs to know that when we are hit by a laser, we are no longer effective at finding that lost family member or friend.”

Laser pointers can cause glare, afterimage, flash blindness or temporary loss of night vision, all causing a great danger to the crew. If any aircrew member’s vision is compromised during a flight, Coast Guard flight rules dictate that the aircraft must abort their mission. If an aircrew member is lased it severely compromises their ability to fly the aircraft and complete the mission safely. In order to ensure their health, aircrew members are taken off flight duty until cleared by a flight surgeon before flying again. This hinders the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to people in distress, training, and homeland security missions.

It is a federal crime, as well as violation of most states’ laws to aim a laser pointer at an aircraft. If an individual is caught purposefully lasing an aircraft, punishment ranges from being arrested or having to pay a civil penalty of $11,000 for a single offense, to more than $30,000 if the individual has multiple offenses. People witnessing this crime are strongly encouraged to immediately call 911 to report the incident. The FAA tracks laser incidents by city, state and nationality and initiated about 95 civil penalty cases in 2011 nationwide.

For more information contact Lt. Bryan Weber, Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point public affairs officer, at (808) 682-2628.


Big Island Police Searching for Man Who Shoplifted From Mall

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man wanted for questioning in a recent theft case. On Monday (November 25), merchandise valued at $329 was stolen from a retail store located at the Prince Kuhio Plaza on East Puainako Street in Hilo.

Do you recognize this man?

Do you recognize this man?

Police ask anyone with information about the identity or whereabouts of the person pictured above to contact Officer Jon Carvalho of South Hilo Patrol at 961-2213 or 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.


Big Island Police Searching for Missing 15-Year-Old Hilo Girl

(11/27/13 UPDATE) I have heard that she is now safe at home.

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Hilo girl, who was reported missing.

Ashlyn Cruz-Labrador

Ashlyn Cruz-Labrador

Ashlyn Cruz-Labrador was last seen on Wednesday (November 20).

She is described as 5-foot-1, 115 pounds with brown eyes and long dark hair. She also has piercings in her nose, lip, tongue and belly and a tattoo on her right foot.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Vernon Ferreira at 961-2279 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.

North Hawaii Community Hospital Achieves Level III Trauma Designation

North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) has been designated as a Level III Trauma Facility by Hawaii’s Department of Health, Emergency Medical Services, and Injury Prevention Branch. This designation is a confirmation that NHCH meets standards set by the State of Hawaii for Level III Trauma Facility and is equipped to work within the State Trauma System to assist in the care of Hawaii County residents and visitors who have sustained traumatic injuries.

North Hawaii Community Hospital

North Hawaii Community Hospital

“The Level III Trauma designation is a tribute to the dedicated efforts of our trauma and medical personnel, the people most responsible for making it happen,” said Howard Wong, M.D., General Surgeon and Medical Director of NHCH’s Trauma Program. The designation was awarded after intensive inspection of the NHCH trauma team’s performance by the Department of Health. NHCH’s enhanced ability to promptly diagnose and treat trauma cases will answer a critical need in both the local and island-wide communities. The presence of a fully-equipped Level III facility in Waimea will go far in reducing delays, with the town’s central location in North Hawaii an important ingredient in streamlining emergency treatment.

The Level III designation means that NHCH offers comprehensive emergency services along with more rapid treatment of patients. In fulfilling the State Trauma System requirements, the hospital will have surgeons trained in trauma available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Injured patients will be assured 24-hour access to radiology, laboratory and anesthesia services. Howard Wong stated “the 24/7 presence of a surgeon trained in trauma is one of the most positive steps we can take to strengthen our commitment to saving patients’ lives.”

Achieving the Level III status solidifies NHCH staff’s maintenance of high-quality, precise injury assessment, emergency services, stabilization, resuscitation, and patient transfer services. According to hospital Trauma Coordinator, Jeff Castillo, “By using a multidisciplinary approach to trauma cases, team members from different departments immediately report to our Emergency Department. This measure will strongly add to the efficiency of our initial assessment and stabilization of the patient.” He noted that this “team orientation” produces a more rapid transfer of patients to other care facilities when necessary.

NHCH invites the public to attend a celebration in honor of our Level III trauma designation on Thursday, December 12th at 2:00 p.m. on the hospital’s front lawn. For more information about this event or NHCH’s Trauma Program, please call 881-4820.

Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission Launches a New Data Visualization App

The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission (Commission) launched a new data visualization application on its website, which will permit anyone to see how candidates running for state and county offices are spending their campaign funds and who is contributing to their campaign.

Click to view Mayor Kenoi's Data

Click to view Mayor Kenoi’s Data

In partnership with the state’s Office of Information Management and Technology, the state’s Information & Communication Services Division, and Socrata, the Commission unveiled its newest tool today at the 2013 Hawaii Digital Government Summit at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

This new application is available on the Commission’s website at Highlights of the new application include a pie chart with detailed information on:

  • Candidate contributions and expenditures
  • Percentage of how contributions are funded (by individuals, non-candidate committees, political parties, immediate family members, etc)
  • Percentage of candidate contributions received from in-state versus out-of-state
  • Percentage with states and zip codes, as well as by geographical location.
  • A visual chart showing how amount and percentage of candidate contributions that are more or less than $1,000. 

The data is derived from the candidates’ reports, which are filed electronically with the Commission from the last 6-years.

This application was conceived to provide greater transparency and accountability in government and enable the public to follow the financial transactions of candidates running for state and county offices in Hawaii.  “We are very excited to offer this application to the public and hope that it will generate interest and citizen engagement especially as we enter into the 2014 election,” said the Commission’s Executive Director Kristin Izumi-Nitao.


UH Hilo Student Wins National Contest

A University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo student is the winner of the nationwide Sodexo University Dining Services “Share That U Care” contest. The promotion encouraged students to spread the word about their favorite charities and to help to make a difference through charitable contributions.

Cody Fred

Cody Fred

Cody Fred, a sophomore majoring in computer science, was selected from thousands of contestants. He chose the Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kurtistown, Hawaiʻi as his charity because of his love for animals and his support of the humane mission of the organization.

The Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary is a non-profit organization dedicated to the well being of Hawaiʻi’s unwanted, abandoned, abused or otherwise neglected animals, especially companion animals. Fred volunteered at the sanctuary while a high school student at the Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“We are a no-kill sanctuary whose goal is to help alleviate the animal abandonment and overpopulation issues facing our island,” explained Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary founder Mary Rose Krijgsman. “We take in any dog and cat that needs new homes and adopt them to loving families. If the animals are not adopted, they have a permanent home at our sanctuary.”

Fred will be honored at an awards ceremony on Wednesday, December 4 at noon in the UH Hilo Campus Center Dining Room. A representative from the Rainbow Friends will also be present to accept their charitable donation of $2500 on behalf of Fred and Sodexo Campus Services.

Commemorating the 72nd Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

A series of events will be held on December 7, 2013 to commemorate the 72nd Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Listings are below.

USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial

December 5th – 7th Anniversary Dinner Gala: “Some Enchanted Evening,” 5:30 to 9:30pm at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. A fundraiser for the Museum.

December 7th Events at World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

USS Arizona Ceremony, 7:45am, Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, free admission. Attendees should arrive at World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument by 6:30am at the latest. This year’s keynote is Secretary Max Cleland of the American Battle Monuments Commission. Parking is available at WWII National Monument/Arizona Memorial or at Richardson Field near Aloha Stadium with free shuttles to Pearl Harbor. Visit for more information.

Moment of Silence, 7:55am

"Tears of the Arizona" - Oil still leaks to this day

“Tears of the Arizona” – Oil still leaks to this day

Blackened Canteen Ceremony, 1:40pm, aboard USS Arizona Memorial. Dr. Hiroya Sugano M.D., Director General of the Zero Fighter Admirers Club, will honor fallen Japanese and American soldiers with this ceremony, held annually since 1945. Two Army Air Force B-29s collided and crashed during a bombing raid over Shizuoka, Japan in June 1945. The event killed 23 Americans and over 2,000 Japanese. The canteen was pulled from the wreckage–the same canteen

Dr. Sugano uses to pour whiskey into the waters of Pearl Harbor as a symbol of peace, honor, and reconciliation. Admiral Ronald J. Hays, USN (Ret.) Chairman of the Board at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, will accompany Dr. Sugano in this commemoration ceremony.

Prior to the ceremony students from Nagaoka, Japan will meet with Pacific Aviation Museum Pear Harbor Executive Director Ken DeHoff and Dr. Sugano for a roundtable discussion at the Museum. The Japanese students, accompanied by a Nagaoka City representative, are participating in an educational and cultural exchange between Nagaoka City and Honolulu. Visit for more information.

The Museum Store and Laniakea Café restaurant are unique in their offerings and their 1940s ambiance. Laniakea Café will be open from 9am-4pm. Located in the air-conditioned Hangar 37. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and beer and wine are available. Phone (808) 441-1000 or visit for tickets and more information. Tickets and a free Flight Simulator coupon are available online.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, which depends on membership and donations for its support. A Smithsonian affiliate Museum, it is also rated one of the top 10 aviation attractions nationally by TripAdvisor. Located at 319 Lexington Boulevard, Historic Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Honolulu, Hawaii 96818.


February Youth Track and Field Meets Announced

Keiki 6 to 14 years old are invited to enter free track and field meets that the Department of Parks and Recreation will hold simultaneously in East Hawai‘i and West Hawai‘i to accommodate the large number of youth athletes.

Keiki Triathlon Kona Picture

An age-group meet will be held Saturday, February 8, at both Kea‘au High School’s track oval and Konawaena High School’s track oval. Entry deadline is January 24.

Exponent track and field meets are set for Saturday, February 22, at the schools. Entry forms are due by February 7. Exponent meets use a point system to rank competitors based on a combination of age, height and weight. Children are assigned to one of four divisions based on their composite score.

Registration forms and other event information are available online at and also at the Department’s Recreation Division office located at 799 Pi‘ilani Street in Hilo. Completed forms should be submitted to the Recreation Division office. Late registrations will be accepted only at the track meets.

There is no entry fee.

All of the track meets will start at 9 a.m. Competitors are limited to entering three events, one of which must be a field event. Only running shoes are allowed. No bare feet or spiked shoes, including football or soccer footwear designed for turf surfaces.

For more details, please contact Darrell Yamamoto, recreation specialist, at 961-8735, 938-2012 or

Hawai’i Community Foundation Offers Students Over $4 Million in Scholarships

Starting Monday, Dec. 2, Hawai’i Community Foundation (HCF) will begin accepting online scholarship applications from Hawai’i students seeking financial assistance to fund their higher education. With more than 180 scholarship opportunities and $4 million in scholarships available, Hawai’i Community Foundation is the third largest private scholarship provider in the state. HCF has provided scholarships to students to achieve higher education for over 30 years, with individuals receiving an average scholarship reward of $2,200 in 2013.

HCF Scholarships“For over 30 years, Hawai’i Community Foundation has been proud to provide students with opportunities to pursue a college education through scholarships made possible by our generous donors,” said Amy Luersen, director of philanthropic services at HCF. “As costs associated with college tuition and expenses continue to be top of mind, we hope that parents and students will take advantage of this opportunity to alleviate some of those financial pressures.”

Students can apply for scholarships at In addition to the application, students will be required to submit supporting documents, including: a full Student Aid Report (SAR) generated when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), grade transcript, and personal statement. Approximately 60 – 90 minutes should be allotted to complete the application and upload the required documents.

This year, students who submit their online application by Jan. 31, 2014, will have their applications reviewed by HCF’s scholarship team, who will verify if the SAR and transcript are acceptable. The team will notify the applicant of missing or incorrect documents so that they are able to resubmit their application for consideration by the final deadline to apply for scholarships – Feb. 20, 2014.

HCF’s scholarship program consists of more than 180 different scholarship opportunities established by generous individuals, families, businesses and organizations to assist Hawai’i’s residents in obtaining a college education. HCF also provides contract services to private foundations and organizations to administer its scholarships. Students apply online with one common application and, if eligible, can be awarded from one or more of these funds.

To submit an online application, search for a scholarship, or learn how to start a scholarship fund, please visit