Governor Ige Travels to Okinawa for Energy Symposium, Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival

Gov. David Ige is traveling in Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan from Oct. 24 through Nov. 2.

In Okinawa, the governor will join the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBEDT) at the International Energy Symposium in Urasoe City. The symposium will feature worldwide viewpoints on energy from Okinawa, Hawai‘i, Brazil, Peru and the Philippines, and will provide the opportunity for a free exchange of information, ideas and technology in the quest for 100 percent renewable energy.

Last year, Okinawa Prefecture and the State of Hawai‘i signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on Clean and Efficient Energy Development and Deployment to mark the 30th anniversary of sister-state/province relations. The collaboration aims to advance clean energy technologies and promote renewable energy.

uchinanchu-festivalWhile in Okinawa, the governor will also participate in the 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival which is held every 5 years and offers a rare opportunity for Uchinanchu from all over the world to return to the islands and reconnect with their heritage and culture. Gov. Ige aims to expand Hawai‘i ties with Okinawa in energy, education and cultural exchange.

The governor and DBEDT officials are also scheduled to visit an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) facility on Kumejima Island, as well as a deep seawater research center and an on-site company that is utilizing deep seawater.

In Tokyo, Gov. Ige will meet with government and business officials on energy, tourism, pre-clearance and expanding routes between Japan and Hawai‘i.

Chief of Staff Mike McCartney will join the governor for the Tokyo portion of this trip. First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige is joining the governor for both the Okinawa and Tokyo portions of the trip, at her own expense.

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui will serve as acting governor until Gov. Ige returns on Nov. 2.

Judge Dismisses Records Tampering Counts Against Mayor Kenoi, Felony Theft Counts Remain

State circuit court judge Dexter D. Del Rosario dismissed today three of eight counts against Hawaii County Mayor William P. Kenoi based upon insufficient evidence after the State of Hawaii rested its case.

Mayor Kenoi in court during a recess.

Mayor Kenoi in court during a recess.

The three counts were for tampering with a government record; each was a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

On March 23, 2016, a Hawaii Island grand jury indicted Mayor Kenoi for two counts of felony theft, two additional counts of misdemeanor theft, and one count of false swearing, in addition to the three counts dismissed today. The charges arose from alleged conduct taking place from 2011 through 2015. Mayor Kenoi is presumed innocent of the remaining five counts unless and until a trial jury finds him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvahlo was one of the witnesses called to the stand today by the defense.

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvahlo was one of the witnesses called to the stand today by the defense.

Closing arguments and the conclusion of the trial are expected to occur on October 31.

Pahoa District Park Grand Opening is THIS WEEKEND!

An official opening and blessing ceremony for the Pahoa District Park will be held at 9 am  Saturday, Oct. 29.

pahoa-park-flyerKeiki athletic contests, sports clinics, jumping castle and a HI-PAL basketball tournament will be among the featured activities slated to start at 10 am. and continue until late afternoon.

Hospice of Hilo Seeking Volunteers for “Light Up a Life” Events

Hospice of Hilo invites individuals and groups to provide volunteer support for its 27th annual “Light Up a Life” event hosted at the two Prince Kuhio Plaza Macy’s from November 25th to December 24th.

Rotary Club of South Hilo Members, Jim Nakagawa and Rosemary Linden, Volunteer for the 2015 Hospice of Hilo Light Up a Life event at the Prince Kuhio Mall Macy’s.

Rotary Club of South Hilo Members, Jim Nakagawa and Rosemary Linden, Volunteer for the 2015 Hospice of Hilo Light Up a Life event at the Prince Kuhio Mall Macy’s.

Each year, during the holiday season, Hospice of Hilo sets up a Tree of Remembrance at each of the two Macy’s entrances in the mall allowing the community to honor loved ones by hanging a personalized commemorative ornament on the tree.  For many, the ornaments are a symbolic connection with loved ones and a reminder that they remain alive in our hearts.

Community volunteers are needed to provide support at the tables from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and are scheduled to provide service in 2-3 hour shifts.  Volunteers are asked to provide a loving presence for those shoppers who wish to decorate and hang an ornament.  Donations are accepted for the ornaments, but are not required.  Volunteers are requested to assist any person who chooses to donate by accepting cash, check or credit card on behalf of Hospice of Hilo.

“Volunteers are vital to the annual ʻLight Up a Lifeʻ, helping with ornaments, being caring hearts, listening to stories and honoring the memories of loved ones in our community. We couldn’t do it without their support,” said Volunteer Manager Jeanette Mochida.

Hospice of Hilo provides specialized comfort care for patients facing a life-limiting or serious illness.  Services are delivered to patients in their place of residence, or at the Pōhai Mālama a Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Care Center.  In addition to hospice services, Hospice of Hilo also provides bereavement counseling to any and all residents who have lost a loved one (regardless of whether the loved one received hospice care).

If you, or your group, is interested in supporting compassionate care in East Hawai‘i call Lisa Kwee at 969-1733, to sign up.

Free Youth Soccer Clinic November 2 in Hilo

Boys and girls age 6 to 14 years old are invited to a free soccer clinic that will be held 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 2, at Dr. Frances F.C. Wong Stadium in Hilo.

wong-stadiumHawai‘i’s Chevy dealers, in partnership with the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation, are sponsoring the Chevy Youth Soccer Instructional Clinic. Special needs participants of all ages are welcome to attend.

Players will be divided into age groups and rotate through skills stations to learn the essentials of dribbling, passing, shooting, and more. Instruction will be provided by soccer.com staff. All players will receive a T-shirt and post-clinic snack.

Clinic spots will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited.

To register, go to http://soccer.youthsportsclinics.com/, select “Hawai‘i” in the drop-down menu, enter the password “kickit” in lowercase, and click “Submit.” Then, click “Register Now” for the desired session, enter registration information, click “Add Attendee” on the next screen to add players, and click the blue “Complete Registration” button at end of the page to submit the registration. Don’t forget to download the wavier. Each keiki must have a completed waiver to participate.

Questions should be directed to Beth Heyer at 678-852-5379 or bheyer@gmdealerprograms.com.

Big Island Visitors Bureau Officially Changes Its Name

The Big Island Visitors Bureau has officially changed its name to the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB).

the-island-of-hawaii-logo
“Depicted in IHVB’s new logo, the design retains its overall elements and feel of the previous look, while aligning itself with the Hawaii Tourism Authority and Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau branding of the Hawaiian Islands,” said Ross Birch, IHVB executive director.

IHVB will continue to use the island’s name, Hawaii, to help identify the destination accurately in its marketing communications and business operations.

To avoid confusion with the state name, IHVB is encouraging the use of “island of Hawaii” when referring to the destination. For shorter references, it also suggests the use of “Hawaii Island” to identify the island.

There will be no interruption in IHVB’s operations during this naming transition.

The Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau is an Island Chapter of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB). HVCB is contracted by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the state of Hawaii’s tourism agency, for marketing management services in the United States. The HTA was established in 1998 to ensure a successful visitor industry well into the future. Its mission is to strategically manage Hawaii tourism in a sustainable manner consistent with the state of Hawaii’s economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, community desires, and visitor industry needs.

Largest Cat-Proof Fence Built in the U.S. to Protect Hawaiian Birds from Feral Cats

Work is complete on what could be the largest cat-proof fence in the United States, designed to protect the federally endangered ‘ua‘u, or Hawaiian petrel, from the birds’ primary threat: feral cats.

Park staff install the cat-proof fence in rough and rugged high-elevation lava fields on the slopes of Mauna Loa. The five-mile-long fence protects more than 600 acres of Hawaiian petrel habitat, and could be the longest of its kind in the United States. NPS Photo.

Park staff install the cat-proof fence in rough and rugged high-elevation lava fields on the slopes of Mauna Loa. The five-mile-long fence protects more than 600 acres of Hawaiian petrel habitat, and could be the longest of its kind in the United States. NPS Photo.

The seafaring ‘ua‘u nests in deep lava rock burrows on the rugged high-altitude slopes of Mauna Loa, and, despite the remote location, are not safe from cats. In order to protect the species, the National Park Service (NPS) teamed up with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, American Bird Conservatory, Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit at the University of Hawai‘i (PCSU), to build the five-mile long cat barrier fence in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The specifically designed barrier is more than six feet high, and has a curved top section that prevents cats from climbing over it.

Construction began in 2013, and was limited to January through May to avoid disturbing nesting birds. The seabirds spend most of their lives at sea, and come to land only during breeding season. ‘Ua‘u return to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park briefly in April to prepare nest sites, and return in early June to lay a single egg. The fluffy chicks hatch in August and remain in their burrows until November when they fledge or take their first flight out to sea. Adults, eggs and chicks are extremely vulnerable to predators throughout the long breeding season as all activity occurs on the ground.

Cat-proof fence aerial/Courtesy of Scott Hall/NFWF

Cat-proof fence aerial/Courtesy of Scott Hall/NFWF

The high-altitude project was grueling. NPS and PCSU fence crews worked and camped at elevations between 8,000 and 10,000 feet, in steep and loose lava rock terrain, and in weather that ranged from hail, and high wind, to extreme heat. The site is very remote and all materials, gear and staff had to be flown in and out. But the discomfort paid off: the fence now protects more than 600 acres of ‘ua‘u nesting habitat on Mauna Loa.

“To our knowledge, this is the largest fence of its kind in the U.S. To build such a fence is an incredible feat, and an important victory for a native species that is extremely rare on Hawai‘i Island,” said NPS biologist Kathleen Misajon. “Through the partnership of the cooperating organizations, the cat-proof fence will protect these amazing seabirds and support the expansion of this small population,” she said.

The endangered Hawaiian petrels are more typically seen on neighbor islands. The species is very rare on Hawai‘i Island, with just 75 nesting pairs in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and another small population on the slopes of Kohala. The park and cooperating partner agencies have studied this remnant population of ‘ua‘u on Mauna Loa since the early 1990s, both on the ground and more recently, through remote game cameras. The birds only come and go at night, nest in deep cracks and crevices in the lava, and are rarely seen.

Both parents take turns incubating a single egg and later, feeding the chick. They fly from high atop Mauna Loa to forage in the Pacific Ocean, ranging as far north as Washington State before returning to the nest to feed their chick.

For more information on ‘ua‘u on Mauna Loa, watch this six-minute video on the park website: https://www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=A718E6AF-B4CB-8719-5F489DE87AE57E25

‘Ohana Health Plan Donates Fans to Help Maui Kids Stay Cool in School

Although a recent addition to the Maui Waena Intermediate School includes nine air-conditioned classrooms, many of the school’s 1,100 students are still in rooms with little relief from the Maui heat. To help create a better educational environment for all students, ‘Ohana Health Plan, a WellCare Health Plans, Inc. company, today presented 40 tower and mini fans to the school.

ohana-health-plan-logo‘Ohana representatives were joined at the ceremony by Lt. Governor Shan S. Tsutsui and State Representative Justin Woodson (D-9).

“There is a significant relationship between education and health. We thank Rep. Woodson for recognizing this and connecting ‘Ohana to a school in need,” said Scott Sivik, market vice president at ‘Ohana Health Plan. “The best learning takes place in comfortable settings, and we are honored to help create an environment at Maui Waena that helps every student have the opportunity to succeed.”

“I would like to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for taking the initiative to engage with the community to help fill needs that assist students in the classroom and beyond,” said Rep. Woodson.

“A big mahalo to ‘Ohana Health Plan for its generous fan donation to Maui Waena and for recognizing that it’s important for members of the community to pitch in to help create a conducive learning environment for our students,” said Lt. Governor Tsutsui.  “I’d also like to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for becoming a partner in other initiatives that support the overall health and well-being of our keiki, such as the R.E.A.C.H. Initiative.”

“I want to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for its generous donation and really appreciate the community support of our school. It helps with student learning,” said Jamie Yap, principal at Maui Waena Intermediate School.

As of June 30, 2016, ‘Ohana Health Plan has more than 230 employees in Hawaii and serves approximately 57,000 members through its offices in Kapolei, Honolulu, Hilo and Kahului.

HCFCU Presents Hawaii Island United Way with $16,531

Through the support of donations and pledges across all of its five branches, the staff of Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union (HCFCU) is pleased to announce that they raised $16,531 during its Hawaii Island United Way (HIUW) annual employee campaign.  All monies will be donated to HIUW to support its mission “to unite people, organizations, and resources to build a healthier community.”

Bottom row, L-R;  Jessica Kaneakua, HIUW, President & CPO, Wally Lau, HIUW Board Director   Middle Row, L-R:  Steve Bader, HIUW Board Director; David Miyashita, HCFCU Marketing Coordinator, Nellie Medeiros, HCFCU Corporate Development & Marketing Manager; Tricia Buskirk, HCFCU President & CEO   Top row, L-R:  Toby Taniguchi, Board Director; Sasha Payao, HIUW Campaign & Special Events Coordinator; Dean Uemura, HCFCU Executive Vice President Support Services.  Photo credit: Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union

Bottom row, L-R; Jessica Kaneakua, HIUW, President & CPO, Wally Lau, HIUW Board Director
Middle Row, L-R: Steve Bader, HIUW Board Director; David Miyashita, HCFCU Marketing Coordinator, Nellie Medeiros, HCFCU Corporate Development & Marketing Manager; Tricia Buskirk, HCFCU President & CEO
Top row, L-R: Toby Taniguchi, Board Director; Sasha Payao, HIUW Campaign & Special Events Coordinator; Dean Uemura, HCFCU Executive Vice President Support Services. Photo credit: Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union

“Each year our staff opens their hearts—and wallets—to support those in need,” said Tricia Buskirk, President and CEO of Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union.

The Hawaii Island United Way invests in 54 health and human service programs that reach over 75% of Hawaii Island families and individuals each year.  All funded programs fall within the parameters of its Community Care Impact Initiatives, which include, Education (encouraging and nurturing positive values to develop skills in children, youth and adults), Income (empowering families and individuals to become financially stable; increasing self-sufficiency and independence) and Health (providing for basic needs and a safety net of services that promote prevention and encourage healing and recovery).

HCFCU branches are located in Kaloko, Kailua-Kona, Kealakekua, Kohala, and Honoka’a.  For more information, contact us at 808-930-7700, marketing@hicommfcu.com or visit www.hicommfcu.com.

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit credit union owned by its over 40,000 member/owners with branches in Honokaa, Kailua-Kona, Kaloko, Kealakekua and Kohala.  In addition to complete checking and savings services, the credit union offers credit cards, auto, mortgage, construction, small business, educational and personal loans; online and mobile banking; investment services; youth programs and supports numerous Hawaii Island programs and events.  Membership in Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is open to all Hawaii Island residents.

Kona Man Charged With Murder

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a Kailua-Kona man with murder in connection with a body found last week off Hawaiʻi Belt Road.

Gafatasi Jorden Kaipo Napoleon

Gafatasi Jorden Kaipo Napoleon

Shortly before noon Saturday (October 22), Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of criminal property damage in progress in the Oʻoma subdivision in Kailua-Kona. Officers located 29-year-old Gafatasi Jorden Kaipo Napoleon of Kailua-Kona, who was also wanted on suspicion of murder for the shooting death of 36-year-old Alanaokala Solomon Covington of Kailua-Kona. Napoleon was arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 9:55 p.m. Sunday (October 23), he was charged with second-degree murder, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, promoting a dangerous drug and criminal property damage. His bail was set at $271,000. He remained at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday (October 24).

Police ask anyone with any information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Jerome Manuel at 326-4646, extension 262, or jerome.manuel@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 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. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

92-Year-Old Woman Dies Following Two Vehicle Crash in Hilo

A 92-year-old Hilo woman died following a two vehicle crash Sunday afternoon (October 23) in Hilo.

She was identified as Masako Okano.

hpd-badgeResponding to a 12:22 p.m. call, police determined that a 2000 Ford pickup truck was traveling south on Komohana Street and starting to make a left hand turn down Ponahawai Street when it was struck by a 2012 Nissan sedan that was traveling north on Komohana Street.

Okano, who was the front seat passenger of the sedan, was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 3:54 p.m.

The driver of the sedan, a 25-year-old Pāhoa woman, was also taken to Hilo Medical Center, where she was treated for her injuries and released.

The driver of the pickup, a 28-year-old man from Hauʻula, Oahu, was not injured.

Police do not know if speed was a factor in this crash but they do not believe alcohol was a factor.

The Area I Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a negligent homicide investigation. Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to contact Officer Clarence Acob at 961-2293 clarence.acob@hawaiicounty.gov. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the 24th traffic fatality this year compared with 16 at this time last year.

Updates from Day 3 of Mayor Kenoi Trial

Today is day 3 of the Mayor Kenoi trial that is taking place at the Hilo Judiciary.

kenoi-trialHonolulu Star Advertiser reporter Dan Nakaso is in the courtroom and is live tweeting the trial.

You can follow him live here: https://twitter.com/dannakaso

LAST UPDATED 4:30 PM

http://www.staradvertiser.com/2016/10/24/breaking-news/three-tampering-with-records-charges-dismissed-against-kenoi/

Judge dismisses three counts against Mayor Kenoi. 5 charges remain.

4h4 hours ago

AG counters that Kenoi atty only focused on 5 ASB/FHB personal and joint accounts. Two additional accounts suggested debts. 4h4 hours ago

Kenoi atty said forensic accountant orig included an equity line of credit to suggest Kenoi needed $ when he had plenty of money

4h4 hours ago

Kenoi atty walking AG forensic accountant through pcard expenditures and kenoi accounts to show that mayor had money.

MT : Judge asks whether AG alleging a “cover up.” AG: “We don’t know if there was a conspiracy.” Jury not present.

AG: “We wouldn’t be here” if not for efforts of AG investigator who had to get Kenoi purchase receipts directly from merchants.

3m3 minutes ago

AG wants jury to get a transcript of Kenoi presser in which jurors will “hear a confession.”

Kenoi presser held April ’15 relates to his pCard purchases; AG wants jury to hear additional docs, evidence