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Clothesline Project Comes to the Big Island

The Clothesline Project was created to bring awareness to the issue of violence against women.  In an effort to express themselves, women who were affected by violence were asked to decorate t-shirts that would later be hung on a line for public display.

Clothesline ProjectThe intent was to honor survivors while promoting awareness of these crimes.  In recognition of Victims’ Rights Week an annual commemoration to promote victims’ rights and service available to victims, the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney will be creating a clothesline project to not only bring awareness for violence against women, but awareness of victims of all crime in our community. Our clothesline will be displayed from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the following times and locations:

  • Wednesday, April 9th – UH Hilo, The NEW Student Services Center
  • Thursday, April 10th – Aupuni Center, Hilo
  • Friday, April 11th – West Hawai’i Civic Center, Kailua-Kona

Supplies will be available for anyone who wishes to make a t-shirt to display on the line.  Anyone who has been affected by crime in our community whether male or female is invited. In addition, the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney will display informational material regarding services for crime victims.  For more  information regarding this event, please free to contact the Victim Assistance Unit at (808) 934-3306.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Praises Hawaii’s Education Leadership

Hawaii’s public schools can be a model for the nation, according to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who visited two schools today before returning to Washington, D.C. Secretary Duncan, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi spoke with media in reflecting on the progress made during the last three years based on the Race to the Top (RTTT) federal education reform grant.

 Secretary Duncan with Keith Hayashi, Supt, Matayoshi, Gov. Abercrombie in Waipahu HS aquaponics lab


Secretary Duncan with Keith Hayashi, Supt, Matayoshi, Gov. Abercrombie in Waipahu HS aquaponics lab.

“When we first did the RTTT grant, there was a huge amount of skepticism in the outside world, and frankly, internally,” stated Secretary Duncan. “Hawaii initially had its challenges; they’ve shown amazing leadership, courage and vision. I can’t overstate how important the Governor’s leadership has been…the leadership of the State Superintendent…they are a profile in courage. The only way you get better is to challenge the status quo. The only way to accelerate the rate of change is to do something different. The progress has been extraordinary. Hawaii by any objective measure – is one of the fastest improving states in the nation – top five states, that’s top 10 percent in the nation.”

Ka Waihona student (newly accepted to Kamehameha) explains kalo to Secretary Duncan

Ka Waihona student (newly accepted to Kamehameha) explains kalo to Secretary Duncan

Secretary Duncan began the day at Ka Waihona o ka Naauao, a public charter school in Nanakuli, where he learned how to pound taro (paiai) and participated in a discussion about culture-based education with stakeholders and Kirin Ahuja, the U.S. DOE’s executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Secretary Duncan pounds kalo

Secretary Duncan pounds kalo

Secretary Duncan then visited Waipahu High where he participated in a Hawaii DOE and Hawaii State Teachers Association joint-committee meeting followed by a tour of the school with Gov. Abercrombie and Supt. Matayoshi.

Supt. Matayoshi and WHS students greet Secretary Duncan.

Supt. Matayoshi and WHS students greet Secretary Duncan.

Waipahu High is the second-largest high school in Hawaii with 2,450 students. About 70 percent of its students are of Filipino ancestry, while nearly 6 out of 10 students come from economically disadvantage backgrounds. Waipahu High Principal Keith Hayashi, who was appointed in 2009, has led a tremendous academic turnaround at the school. Reading proficiency among 10th graders rose to 69 percent in 2013 from 58 percent in 2011, while math proficiency jumped to 47 percent from 26 percent. College-going rate increased to 58 percent from 49 percent during the same period.

“We are proud to share the passion of what we do here at Waipahu with Secretary Duncan,” Principal Hayashi said.

Secretary Duncan with Andrea Gurado, WHS student with full ride to Columbia University, looking at her science project exploring synthesizing molecules.

Secretary Duncan with Andrea Gurado, WHS student with full ride to Columbia University, looking at her science project exploring synthesizing molecules.

One of the students who enjoyed lunch with Secretary Duncan at Waipahu was Andrea Jurado, who recently accepted a full scholarship from Columbia University. She arrived to the islands just four years ago from her native Philippines, and since then, she has taken advantage of opportunities that have helped her excel during her four years at Waipahu. She’s participated in internships with the University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories in Livermore, Calif. She will also represent Hawaii at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, Calif., which is the largest science and engineering fair for high school students from around the globe.

“Waipahu is very focused on students succeeding in post-secondary life,” said Supt. Matayoshi. “The school has a great early college program, and great opportunities for students to succeed. We’re very happy that Secretary Duncan can see the fantastic work being done here by our faculty, teachers, and students.”

“I ask anybody in the state, before you make a judgment about the public schools, see what’s been accomplished in the last three years. By any outside observation, Hawaii public schools are rising, and we’re going to keep on rising,” added Governor Abercrombie.

Principal Sheena Alaiasa of Castle High in Kaneohe was one of the educators selected to meet with Secretary Duncan during his visit. As head of King Intermediate last year, Alaiasa was named the 2014 National Middle Level Principal of the Year by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

“It’s great for Hawaii as a whole for the U.S. DOE to see what we’re doing,” said Principal Alaiasa. “It means a lot to our students for them to meet and greet someone of such importance.”

Hawaii is the 50th and final state to welcome Secretary Duncan during his tenure. Prior to this visit, the last U.S. education secretary to visit the islands was Richard W. Riley in 1994 under President Bill Clinton. The last federal education official to visit Hawaii was Martha Kanter, U.S. Department of Education under secretary of education, who spoke at a September 2010 higher education summit in Waikiki. Also, in December 2009, Peter Cunningham, assistant secretary for communications and outreach for the U.S. Department of Education, visited several island schools.

Hawaii Wildlife Fund and State Team Up to Clean Manukā Natural Area Reserve (NAR)

Saturday marked the fifth year that Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund (HWF) has teamed up with the State’s Natural Area Reserve crew to clean up a stretch of coastline within the Manukā Natural Area Reserve (NAR), which extends from Ka‘ū into South Kona.  During this time, over 130 people have helped haul over 2,975 pounds of marine debris and shoreline rubbish off this remote stretch of coastline that extends from Humuhumu Pt. to the north.

Group photo at the end of a long, successful, cleanup day!

Group photo at the end of a long, successful, cleanup day!

This weekend was no different.  After driving over very rough roads and hiking over a mile each way, the 30 cleanup participants hauled 26 bags of debris (weighing ~430 lbs.) off the isolated shoreline.  Volunteers came from Hilo, Kona, Puna and Kaʻū and worked for hours on this collective mission to mālama ke kahakai (take care of the shoreline).

Cleanup volunteer, Joe Robinson, drives the HWF truck towards the cleanup site.

Cleanup volunteer, Joe Robinson, drives the HWF truck towards the cleanup site.

NAR Specialist, Jenn Randall, arranged to bring an all-terrain vehicle to haul debris back to the staging site where it will be removed by helicopter in the coming week.  Mike McCagh, with HI Kombucha, brought a keg of grapefruit kombucha tea to share with the hardworking participants.  Tony Villegas, with Coconut Auto Repair, provided a 4WD vehicle to transport a group of youngsters from Kaʻū.  Joe Robinson, underwater photographer from Kailua-Kona, donated his time and equipment to photo document and film the event.  Randall, added that they were quite pleased by the outcome of the day and that volunteers had removed all the debris she was hoping for with energy and enthusiasm.

Volunteers, Brian Waldo and Tony Villegas, showing off their debris finds.

Volunteers, Brian Waldo and Tony Villegas, showing off their debris finds.

HWF has been leading community-based efforts to remove marine debris from along the Ka‘ū coastline since 2003.  During this time, HWF estimates that over 90% of the 168 tons of debris removed is plastic (e.g., fishing line/nets, shampoo bottles, toothbrushes).  As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Marine Debris Program shares, “Marine debris affects everyone”.  Here locally, HWF strongly believes that the solution begins with individuals like those of who volunteered this weekend and with the small decisions that residents of Hawaiʻi Island make each day.

An assortment of interesting finds from the event … (not including one small glass float).

An assortment of interesting finds from the event … (not including one small glass float).

Examples of these choices include re-using or simply refusing single-usage plastics, bringing your own water bottle or using available drinking fountains, and carrying your own to-go ware to Styrofoam-toting restaurants.

HWF’s Project Coordinator, Megan Lamson, implores, “Do your part to help our marine and coastal wildlife: choose to re-use, remember to recycle, and limit your single-use purchases!  We live on an island, and we must be mindful of how we are treating the land, freshwater, and ocean that support us.”

Kaʻū youth group with their leader, Terry Shibuya, and NARS crew (intern Rory and Specialist Jenn Randall).

Kaʻū youth group with their leader, Terry Shibuya, and NARS crew (intern Rory and Specialist Jenn Randall).

For more info about getting involved in an upcoming cleanup event, please contact HWF at kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com, call 808-769-769 or check out their website at www.wildhawaii.org

Big Island Police Arrest 22-Year-Old Woman on Suspicion of Attempted Murder

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a 22-year-old Captain Cook woman on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with an investigation of a shooting Friday morning (March 28) in Hōlualoa. Randi-Keli K. Banagan was arrested at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday (March 29) at a residence off of Captain Cook Road.

Randi-Keli Banagan

Randi-Keli Banagan (Oct. 2013 File foto)

On Friday (March 28) at 7:47 a.m., Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of a gunshot victim on Waiono Meadows Road. They found a 26-year-old Hōlualoa man with a gunshot wound to his chest who reported that he and his girlfriend had been walking down Waiono Meadows Road when they encountered an acquaintance driving up the road. After the victim and the woman in the car got into a confrontation, the woman in the car reportedly shot him with a rifle.

The suspect fled in the car in the direction of Highway 180.

The victim was taken to the Kona Community Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and released.

Banagan is being held at the Kona cellblock while Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigating.

Another Wreck at Our Favorite Intersection

There appeared to be another wreck on Highway 130 at The Pahoa MarketPlace intersection. The round-a-bout will be installed soon.