Sen. Solomon Thanks Supreme Court For Hawaii Island’s Right to Equal Representation

State Sen. Malama Solomon today issued a public “Mahalo” on behalf of all Hawai’i Island residents to both the U.S. Supreme Court and the legal team working “to protect Hawaiʻi Island’s right to equal representation as guaranteed by both the U.S. and State of Hawaiʻi Constitutions.”

Sen. Malama Solomon

Sen. Malama Solomon

Sen. Solomon’s message of gratitude comes as more than two years of intense litigation concluded Tuesday, January 21, 2014, when the U.S. Supreme Court formally resolved a case she and several Hawai’i Island residents had taken to the State Supreme Court challenging the 2011 State Reapportionment Commission’s initial plan based on the 2010 Census to count out-of-state military members and their families stationed in the islands and out-of-state students when re-drawing legislative districts.

Sen. Solomon and her legal team – working with the State Attorney General – challenged the plan on the basis that it denied Hawai’i Island residents equitable representation which they believed required adding a 4th State Senate seat for Hawaiʻi Island because of the nearly 25% increase in resident population on the island between 2000 and 2010.  During this same period of time, the island of Oahu had experienced only an 8% growth.

The addition of a 4th Senate seat to Hawaiʻi Island meant Oahu would lose a Senator.

It became a very complicated case but the heart of the issue was inequitable representation for Hawaiʻi Island residents in the first reapportionment plan.  The State Supreme Court agreed with Sen. Solomonʻs challenge and the plan was revised, adding a 4th Senate seat for Hawaiʻi Island in the 2012 elections.

In the meantime, however, opponents to the decision filed a judicial challenge to the U.S. Federal District Court (Kostick v. Nago (Case No. 13-456).  A three-judge U.S. Federal Court upheld the Hawaii Supreme Court decision.  The opposition had an automatic right to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. and did so.

“The battle is over; let us move forward working together for all the people of Hawaiʻi,” said Sen. Solomon, who added her acknowledgement of the legal team that served to protect the rights of Hawaiʻi Island residents, including Stan Roehrig of Hilo, Robert Kim of Kona and Peter Esser of Honolulu, and also State Attorney General David M. Louie and Deputy Attorney General Charleen M. Aina.

Sen. Solomon also thanked Public Utilities Commission Chair Hermina M. Morita, a former State Representative, for providing testimony for the Supreme Court docket related to her experience representing a “canoe district” – a now illegal practice of combining residents from more than one island into a representative districts of approximately the same population size.  Such districts were banned in recent years by the State legislature because they “seriously undermine equitable representation for all residents of the district,” said Sen. Solomon.  Both Hermina Morita and Sen. Solomon represented “canoe districts” before the Legislature banned this practice.

Fulbright Visiting Scholar to Speak at UH Hilo

UH Hilo Moniker

Dr. Sethuraman Paramasivan, a Fulbright Visiting Scholar from India, presents a public lecture on Functional Foods – Development, Marketing and Consumption in India at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo on Tuesday, January 28, 6:30 – 9 p.m. in University Classroom Building (UCB) Room 100.

Paramasivan is senior scientist at the Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, Indian Council of Agricultural Research in Trivandrum, India and current Fulbright-Nehru Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee. His specialty is the psychology of eating and his work focuses on how psychological and health factors influence the choice and consumption of foods.

Paramasivan’s visit is underwritten by the Outreach Lecturing Fund (OLF), which allows Fulbright Visiting Scholars who are currently in the United States to travel to other higher education institutions across the country. The event is also sponsored locally by the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM).

For more information, contact CAFNRM at 932-7691.

Big Island Police Searching for Kona Man Missing Since Thanksgiving

UPDATE 3/13/2014: The human remains found in South Kohala on Monday have been identified through dental records as 37-year-old Robert Keawe Lopaka Ryder of Kailua-Kona

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 37-year-old Kailua-Kona man, who was reported missing.

Robert Keawe Lopaka Ryder

Robert Keawe Lopaka Ryder

Robert Keawe Lopaka Ryder was last contacted on Thanksgiving Day, 2013.

He is described as 5-foot-10, 150 pounds with green eyes and short brown hair.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Officer Eric Uehana Sr. at 889-6540.

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.

Earth & Ocean Festival Coming Up

The Earth & Ocean Festival is designed to showcase and emphasize the unique treasures of Hawaii Island through active participation in educational booths and activities on coral reef, ocean stewardship and conservation practices in Hawaii.

Earth and Ocean FestivalTraditional Hawaiian cultural practices will be shared, environmental programs will be presented in the Surf & Turf Theater and educational tours will be offered throughout the day. Tours include the Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary; Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii; Historical Footsteps Along the Kona Coast; and Makaeo Walking Path. (Note: tours require online registration.) Presentations include “Climate Reality,” “The Manta Ray,” “Aloha in the Huna Way,” The DLNR Watershed Initiative,” and “Tsunami Talk.”

Enjoy locally made and sourced food. Entertainment throughout the day with hula, music and The Hiccup Circus.  A special Hawaiian music concert will close the Festival, starting at 3 pm. Funding provided by HTA and the County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development.

Bring the whole family to the festival on Saturday, April 12th from 10:00am to 4pm at Makaeo Pavilion, Old Kona Airport. Free to the public. For a complete listing of activities and presentations or for more information, call 808.329.1758, email, or visit

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce at 808.329.1758 as soon as possible, but no later than March 28, 2014.


Big Island Police Charge 24-Year-Old in Connection to a Residential Burglary in Waimea

Hawaiʻi Island police have located 24-year-old Brandon Kelii Paulino-Pawai of Kamuela, who was wanted on a bench warrant and for questioning in connection with a theft investigation.
HPDBadgePaulino-Pawai was arrested Friday night (January 17) and charged with contempt of court. He was also arrested on suspicion of theft and taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section investigated allegations that he removed jewelry during an August residential burglary in Waimea and then attempted to sell it to a merchant in Waikoloa.

On Saturday, detectives charged Paulino-Pawai with second-degree theft and attempted second-degree theft. He was released from police custody after posting $4,000 bail.

Talk Story at UH Hilo Featuring Senator Brian Schatz

The University of Hawaii Hilo Political Science Club presents a talk story session with Sen. Brian Schatz on Friday, January 24th from 12:00 to 1:00.

Schatz UHH