Big Island Police Donate 136 Boxes of Christmas Gifts for Kids Around the World

Employees from the Hawaiʻi Police Department donated 136 boxes of Christmas gifts destined for children in need around the world.

Chief Harry Kubojiri presents 136 shoeboxes full of Christmas presents donated by Police Department personnel to Nell Quay, Operation Christmas Child area coordinator of East Hawaii. To the chief's left is Steve Meek, the island's collections coordinator for the charity project.

Chief Harry Kubojiri presents 136 shoeboxes full of Christmas presents donated by Police Department personnel to Nell Quay, Operation Christmas Child area coordinator of East Hawaii. To the chief’s left is Steve Meek, the island’s collections coordinator for the charity project.

The boxes were presented to representatives of Operation Christmas Child on Thursday (November 17) at the South Hilo police station.

Operation Christmas Child is a yearly community project that reaches out to children in need who have never experienced the kindness of receiving a gift. Shoebox gifts are collected around the state in this international effort to assist those in war torn countries or suffering from famine, sickness and poverty.

Nell Quay, Operation Christmas Child’s area coordinator for East Hawaiʻi, said a shipping container carrying the gift boxes will be picked up on Tuesday to sail out of Hilo for processing in California before the presents reach their final destination. Quay said she had the privilege of going to Colombia last year to help distribute Christmas boxes at a public school in the South American nation.

Steve Meek, Operations Christmas Child’s collections coordinator, said donations on Hawaiʻi Island are being accepted through Monday, November 21. Shoeboxes full of gifts may be dropped off at Big Island Toyota from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Monday or from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. They also may be dropped off at Hilo Missionary Church from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Monday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 p.m., to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Last year Hawaiʻi Island collected more than 8,300 shoe boxes to combine with a total of more than 42,000 across the state. Internationally, 11.2 million boxes were sent to 110 countries.

Officer Baumgarner Named East Hawaii “Officer of the Month” for November

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Puna Patrol Officer Joshua Baumgarner on Thursday (November 17) as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for November.

Aloha Exchange board member Joey Estrella presents an 'Officer of the Month' award to Officer Joshua Baumgarner.

Aloha Exchange board member Joey Estrella presents an ‘Officer of the Month’ award to Officer Joshua Baumgarner.

Baumgarner, who just began solo patrol duty in April, was honored for saving the life of a woman who would have bled to death without his aid.

On September 23, Baumgarner was among the officers who responded to a home in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision to find a 29-year-old woman bleeding profusely after punching a glass window during a domestic dispute. The woman’s husband and young children were frantic at the scene, where the husband was unsuccessfully attempting to stem the bleeding.

Baumgarner quickly took action. He applied direct pressure to the woman’s affected artery, elevated her feet to concentrate remaining blood in her vital organs, and reassured her to prevent shock. He was successful in stopping the bleeding, and he continued to maintain constant pressure on the artery until Fire Department rescue personnel arrived on the scene about 8-10 minutes later. The woman was taken to the hospital and survived her injuries.

Sergeant Chris Correia, who nominated Baumbarner for the award, noted that the officer had training as a combat medic in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.

“Officer Baumgarner’s background in the medical field, as well as his calm demeanor in providing and maintaining first aid treatment saved the life of a gravely injured person,” Correia wrote in nomination papers. “His decisive action in the saving of a life truly embodies the Hawaii Police Department’s Core Values of Integrity, Professionalism, Compassion, Teamwork, and Community Satisfaction.”

As “Officer of the Month,” Baumgarner is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Offers Special Programs for Youth to Gain a Better Understanding of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

In preparation for this year’s 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor has created three specialized programs, each designed to provide Hawaii’s youth with a better understanding and appreciation for what took place at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.

pearl-harbor-youth-dayStudents, teachers and families are encouraged to participate in the following:

December 6, 2016 – Blackened Canteen Youth Symposium, 10 – 11:30 am, Pacific Aviation Museum Theater. For the last 21 years, WWII veterans from the United States and Japan have joined in silent prayer, pouring whiskey from a blackened canteen into the hallowed waters from the USS Arizona Memorial in observation of Dec 7. The annual Blackened Canteen ceremony, hosted by Pacific Aviation Museum, commemorates the friendship, honor, and reconciliation borne out of the horror of WWII. The canteen used in the ceremony was recovered from a B-29 bomber that was destroyed after colliding with another B-29 bomber over Shizuoka, Japan, in 1945.

Following the ceremony, a youth symposium will be held in the Pacific Aviation Museum Theater, from 10 – 11:30 am. The symposium will highlight the story and lessons of the Blackened

Canteen Ceremony, commemorating the friendship, honor and reconciliation borne out of the horror of WWII.

Students from Nagaoka, Japan and Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu will participate in the program, along with Dr. Hiroya Sugano and Jerry Yellin, WWII pilot and author of The Blackened Canteen. Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng will serve as moderator.

This event is free and open to the public. Teachers at public, private, or charter schools who register their classes for the Youth Symposium will receive The Blackened Canteen classroom curriculum and an autographed copy of the book. Additionally, the cost of bus transportation to the event will be provided for registered school groups. Curriculum materials and a video of the symposium will also be available at PacificAviationMuseum.org.  Seating is very limited.

For more information or to register for this event, please visit www.PacificAviationMuseum.org/Events/75YouthSymposium

or call Lynda Davis at 808-445-9137.

December 8-9 – Discover Pearl Harbor Youth Program, 7:30 am on 12/8 to 4 pm on 12/9. Two-day program for teens that combines engaging, aviation-related STEM activities within the historically significant context of the Pearl Harbor sites. Open to students ages 12-15, program participants will spend two days at Pacific Aviation Museum and one night onboard the USS Missouri Battleship Memorial. The program will build upon the anticipated national and international youth participation in the 75th commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Discover Pearl Harbor provides youth with a greater appreciation for the sacrifices that brought peace, and ultimately, friendship, between two nations previously at war. The cry, “Remember Pearl Harbor,” will once again serve as a vital theme, as it is now a call to action for youth to learn these stories of courage, resiliency, and innovation, and to use the lessons of WWII to create a more peaceful world. Discover Pearl Harbor offers a cross-cultural opportunity for teens to gain greater understanding about the history of WWII while also learning about the impact of scientific and technological advancements that were introduced during that era.

Students will begin the program at the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument where history will come to life. They will hear stories of courage and sacrifice that transformed the entire world, and will visit the USS Arizona Memorial to gain a greater appreciation for the peace and friendship that has been forged between former enemies. Their experience continues at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, where skilled instructors and costumed interpreters will share the legacy of Pearl Harbor through guided tours, hands-on activities, and team assignments.

In the evening, students will stay onboard the Missouri Battleship Memorial, engaging in activities that emphasize the historical precedent for peacemaking that emerged from WWII.

Day Two brings the students to the 21st century with an array of learning challenges that spotlight the role of technology in the increasingly global culture, and emphasize the need for collaboration and critical thinking. The program ends with a closing ceremony of remembrance and honor in historic Hangar 79.

Cost is $225 per student, $202.50 for museum members and includes meals, snacks, overnight accommodations and program on the USS Missouri Battleship, program materials and souvenir T-shirt.

Registration is limited to 50 youth.

December 10, 2016 – Pearl Harbor Youth day, 9 am – 3:30 pm. Families and visitors of all ages can explore the lessons and legacy of WWII through special presentations, exhibits, and hands-on activities. Event will engage and educate youth about the history of Pearl Harbor and its impact on young people in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific.

Featured activities include:

  • Special screening of “Under the Blood Red Sun,” followed by a presentation and Q & A session with author Graham Salisbury.
  • Historical exhibits designed and created by local high school students.
  • Thematic tours of the Museum
  • Costumed interpreters and historical demonstrations

Event is free to students 18 years and younger, free with museum admission, and free to museum members. Registration required for teachers and youth organizations that are interested in bringing large groups and wish to apply for funding assistance for bus transportation.

For more information or to register for these events, please visit www.PacificAviationMuseum.org/Events/75YouthDay or call Lynda Davis at 808-445-9137.

Big Island Police Searching for 16-Year-Old Girl Missing Since August

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing.

Kailee-Ann Santiago

Kailee-Ann Santiago

Kailee-Ann Santiago was last seen in Hilo on August 22.

She is described as Puerto Rican, 5-foot, 145 pounds with brown eyes and brown shoulder-length hair.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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

‘Alalā Doing Well in Aviary in Natural Reserve Area

The five male birds living in an aviary at the Pu’u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve on Hawai‘i island are adjusting well to their new environment according to animal care staff of the San Diego Zoo Global’s Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program.  The birds were moved to the aviary in mid-October to allow them to acclimate to the sights and sounds of a Hawaiian forest.  This reserve is an area that conservationists have worked to preserve, protecting native plants and species, and represents the type of habitat ‘alalā were originally native to before they began to decline.

"Nahoa" rebuilds his perching ability in a custom-made sling.

“Nahoa” rebuilds his perching ability in a custom-made sling.

“Decades of intensive management by the State Dept. of Land and Natural Resources, in stewardship with local conservation partners, have led to the preservation of some of the most intact native-dominated wet and mesic forest on windward Hawai`i Island, known as Pu`u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve,” said Jackie Gaudioso-Levita, Project Coordinator of the ‘Alalā Project.

‘Alalā are an important part of the life of the Hawaiian forest, eating and assisting with the dispersal of native plant seeds.   The reintroduction of this species, gone from the forest for more than a decade, is expected to be an important part of the overall recovery of the ecosystem.

“This reserve is the highest quality habitat and is the best place on the island of Hawai`i for the reintroduction of the ‘alalā,” said Donna Ball, Conservation Partnerships biologist, U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service.  “Pu’u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve has all the components for the survival of this species and soon it will also have the ‘alalā, a missing species of the ecosystem that has returned.”

The ‘alalā, or Hawaiian crow, has been extinct in the wild since 2002, preserved only at the Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation Centers managed by San Diego Zoo Global.  With more than 100 individuals of the species now preserved at the centers, conservationists are ready to put them back into their native forests.  Although it was hoped to release the birds this month, the release was unexpectedly and cautiously postponed to ensure the transmitters that will track the birds could be properly refined.

“‘Alalā are very intelligent and precocious birds and are inclined to play with and manipulate new items, so our ability to observe their behaviors closely and give them more time allows us to make adjustments to the tracking systems we will be using once they are released,” said Bryce Masuda, conservation program manager of the Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program. “It is important for us to track these birds once they go out into the forest so that we can continue to support them as they explore their new home.”

Hawai’i  Dept. of Land and Natural Resources mission statement – Enhance, protect, conserve and manage Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of the people of Hawai’i nei, and its visitors, in partnership with others from the public and private sectors.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The mission of the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office is to conserve and restore native biodiversity and ecological integrity of Pacific Island ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations through leadership, science-based management and collaborative partnerships.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

Help Celebrate the ʻAlalā on Saturday in Hilo

E Hoʻolāʻau Hou ka ʻAlalā 

‘Alala are unique treasures of our Hawaiian forests, revered in Hawaiian culture. This very intelligent native bird is found nowhere else on earth. It’s been extinct in the wild for some time and is our only native crow still surviving in captivity. The DLNR ʻAlalā Project is holding a community celebration in advance of the first release of the Native Hawaiian crow back into the wild, to be scheduled in the next few weeks.

alala-celebrationWhat:   Everyone is invited to join us for the celebration of one of Hawai‘i’s most interesting native forest birds. Learn about the ʻAlalā Project, the extraordinary efforts underway to best ensure their reintroduction and survival in their native habitats, Fun for the whole ‘ohana.  Enjoy videos, keiki activities and conservation information displays and booths.

When:  Saturday, November 19th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center, 76 Kamehameha Ave. in downtown Hilo.

Who:  The ʻAlalā Project is a partnership between the State of Hawaiʻi Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and San Diego Zoo Global.

PISCES Partners with UH Hilo and NASA for Simulated Human Mars Mission on Hawaii Island

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) is partnering with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NASA this month in a ground breaking research project to prepare for an eventual manned mission to Mars.

mars-simulationThe project, called BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains), is focused on developing operation protocols for a joint human-robotic exploration of Mars in the search for extraterrestrial life. BASALT scientists and crew members are conducting simulated missions in two locations which closely resemble the Martian landscape at different areas: Mauna Ulu at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho.

Currently, the BASALT team is investigating Mauna Ulu by traversing the rugged lava terrain to collect rock samples for both biologic and geologic analysis.

“We add a twist to our scientific fieldwork by conducting it under simulated Mars mission constraints,” said Dr. Darlene Lim, geobiologist and principal investigator for the BASALT research project. “By doing so, we can evaluate operational concepts and a variety of supporting capabilities that range from software to hardware components with respect to their anticipated value for the human exploration of Mars.”

One of their constraints is a communication time delay to simulate the latency of transmissions experienced between planets. Dr. Lim and her team are hoping to develop a tricorder-like device, as envisioned in Star Trek, to be able to identify rock samples using a hand-held instrument.

The researchers hope to better understand the habitability of Mars by studying Mauna Ulu, which is a high-fidelity analog for the landscape of early Mars when volcanism and water were common.

“No one has really worked this out yet,” said John Hamilton, PISCES test logistics and education/public outreach manager. “We want to work out the kinks during these exercises so we have it together on a real mission. By the time they go to Mars, they’ll have a rock-solid plan.”

The BASALT team consists of scientists, engineers, mission operators and active astronauts. Roughly a dozen students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo are also assisting with the project. Hamilton, who is also a faculty member with the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Department of Physics and Astronomy, is serving on the BASALT Science Team, overseeing data collection, logistics, and student assignments. The research project is central to NASA’s Journey to Mars program.

“PISCES is honored to be working together with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NASA Ames on this project,” said Rodrigo Romo, PISCES program manager. “Collaborative work with Ames has been in the frontline of applied research for PISCES recently. The fact that university students get the opportunity to participate in events like the BASALT project will help them meet the demands of a very competitive industry.”

PISCES was selected last year by NASA’s highly competitive PSTAR (Planetary Science and Technology Through Analog Research) program to participate in the four-year, $4.2 million BASALT project, which is being administered by the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The BASALT research team will be conducting their research on Hawaii Island until Nov. 18.

For more information visit PISCES’ website at www.pacificspacecenter.com.

“Hawaii: Next 50 Contest” Offers New Prize

A new prize will allow students winners of the Hawaii: Next 50 Contest to interface with innovation professionals and navigate their ideas from conception to reality.

hawaii-next-50Sultan Ventures will provide one-on-one mentorship opportunities for the winners in each contest category as well as host an innovation boot camp for the top-24 scoring participants.

The 2017 contest focuses on using technology to solve problems in affordable housing, food sustainability, or economic industries. All students in grades 4 – 12 are eligible to submit their solutions now through January 31, 2017. In addition to the mentorship, winners will be honored at the Hawaii State Capitol, attend a luncheon with key legislators, and receive a monetary prize.

“This contest hinges on the premise that the next big, great idea to help our state can come from anyone,” said Representative Takashi Ohno. “These opportunities to hone their ideas into actual solutions are a way we can show kids that it’s possible for them to make a real-world impact now.”

The Hawaii: Next 50 Contest is inspired by former Governor George Ariyoshi’s book, Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years, and students will read the book before launching their own ideas for Hawaii’s future in an essay or multimedia creation. Free copies of the book can be requested online at www.HawaiiNext50.com.

The contest is a collaboration of the Hawaii State House of Representatives, aio Foundation, Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and Sultan Ventures.

More information can be found online at www.HawaiiNext50.com or email HawaiiNext50@gmail.com.


Hawaii: Next 50 Contest

WHO:      Students enrolled in grades 4 – 12 are eligible to enter.

WHAT:     Students are asked to read Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years and respond to the question Looking ahead to the next 50 years, imagine how we can use current technology or future technology to:

  • Create more affordable housing
  • Achieve food sustainability
  • Promote new and innovative industries

Students are encouraged to get creative and find solutions using technology in one of the three topics. The technology utilized can exist currently or be an idea that might be possible in the future as long as the details are explained in the contest entry.

Submissions will be accepted in two categories: essay or multimedia (e.g. drawing, painting, other art piece, video, etc.)

Free copies of Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years are available by request at www.HawaiiNext50.com.

WHEN:    All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on January 31, 2017. Winners to be announced in March 2017.

WHY:   To challenge the up-and-coming generation to become stakeholders in shaping our future. Prizes include:

  • Floor presentation at the Hawaii State Capitol
  • Luncheon with state legislators
  • Two-hour mentorship program with Sultan Ventures
  • Monetary prize
  • Winning entry published online

The top-24 scoring entries will also be invited to an innovation boot camp hosted by Sultan Ventures.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Help Protect Customers by Joining Anti-Scam Coalition

Yesterday, the Hawaiian Electric Companies joined with fellow electric companies across the country, as well as utilities in the natural gas and water sectors, to observe the inaugural Utilities United Against Scams Day (UUAS Day). The day was supported by awareness and education activities throughout the week.

utility-scamsMost utility scams involve criminals posing as electric, natural gas, or water provider employees-either in-person, over the phone, or online-and demanding immediate payment via cash or reloadable debit cards while falsely threatening to disconnect the customer’s service. These criminals can be very convincing and often target those who are most vulnerable, including small business owners, seniors, and non-native English speakers. However, with the right information, customers can learn to avoid and report these predatory scams.

Customers who believe they have been targeted by scammers impersonating an employee of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, or Hawaii Electric Light Company should follow these tips:

  • Hang up the phone or close the door, and call our customer service center at:
    • Oahu: (808) 548-7311
    • Maui: (808) 871-9777
    • Molokai and Lanai: 1-877-871-8461
    • Hilo: (808) 969-6999
    • Kona: (808) 329-3584
    • Waimea: (808) 885-4605
  • Decline to pay any caller or visitor claiming to be a Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, or Hawaii Electric Light representative using a prepaid card, such as a Green Dot card, a wire transfer, or similar forms of payment – especially those requiring an intermediary.
  • Ignore suspicious requests for personal information such as bank account numbers,user names and passwords, credit card numbers, or Social Security numbers.
  • Delete all emails that demand immediate payment or personal information.
  • Contact local police or contact the Federal Trade Commission at: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

UUAS is a collaborative effort among the electric, gas, and water utility industries to help prevent utility service fraud through education, awareness, and customer advocacy initiatives. A primary goal of this collective effort is to help customers learn how to identify and avoid utility-related scams.

You can learn more about the Utilities United Against Scams effort at www.hawaiianelectric.com, www.mauielectric.com, www.hawaiielectriclight.com, or www.eei.org, including further tips and resources to help spot and avoid utility scams.