Community Opens Waimea District Park

Mayor Billy Kenoi, Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter, and Councilman-Elect Tim Richards joined the Waimea community today to celebrate the completion of the 24-acre Waimea District Park, offering new, diversified indoor and outdoor recreational facilities for keiki, kupuna, and families in North Hawaiʻi.

waimea-park-1The first phase includes a covered play court building with three courts, a multi‐purpose field with spectator seating and lighting for nighttime use, a playground, and parking. The park is adjacent to the Parker Ranch rodeo arena, accessed off Ala ʻŌhiʻa.

“These facilities are the heart of our communities. This is where are kids come and grow up. This is where families build relationships,” said Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter.

waimea-park-2Land for the project was provided by Parker Ranch to fulfill prior rezoning commitments made to the County. Through the efforts of the Legislature spearheaded by Senator Mālama Solomon, the State provided $5.5 million toward the project. The County provided the remaining $18.5 million of the $24 million project.

waimea-park-3Mel Macy of the Waimea District Park Builders, a community group that advocated for the construction of the park, credited Mayor Kenoi with pushing the project to the finish line. “From the time he took office, we had his full support. Not only was he responsible for the majority of the funding, but his get-it-done attitude helped keep things moving forward.”

In the park’s environmental documents, the first phase of the park was contemplated to be completed in 2020. By working in concert with Parker Ranch and the Waimea community, ground was broken for the park in November 2015. General contractor Nan, Inc. and a number of sub-contractors completed the work in a year.

waimea-park-4“We all know we live in a special place, and it isn’t just about facilities,” said Mayor Kenoi. “This is for family. This isn’t only for our kids. Our kūpuna will have yoga and Zumba in here. When we adults stand on the sideline to wait for our kids to finish a game or practice, that’s when we strengthen our community.”

The next planned phase will include a community center, a comfort station, and a baseball field.

VIDEO: Rockfall Triggers an Explosive Event in Summit Lava Lake

Video clip captured by HVO webcam on Monday, November 28, 2016 at 11:59 a.m. shows a rockfall from the south wall of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater triggering a small explosive event in the summit lava lake.

The explosion threw spatter (fragments of molten lava) onto the rim of the crater, mostly to the west of the former visitor overlook.

hvo-112816

This area has been closed to the public since 2008 due to ongoing volcanic hazards, including explosive events like the one that happened today.

Senate Sends Thune-Schatz Legislation Protecting Consumer Reviews to President

Bipartisan Proposal Put Forward by Thune, Schatz, and Moran Outlaws Abusive “Gag Clauses”

yelp-advisorThe U.S. Senate today, by unanimous consent, sent bicameral legislation to the White House for the President’s signature that will outlaw the use of “gag clauses” in non-negotiable form contracts. Some businesses have attracted national scrutiny for using gag clauses to punish or silence honest criticism of products and services. The sponsors of the Senate version released the following statements:

“Reviews on where to shop, eat, or stay on websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor help consumers make informed choices about where to spend their money. Every consumer has the right to share their honest experiences and opinions of any business without the fear of legal retaliation, and the passage of our bill brings us one step closer to protecting that right,” said Internet Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i).

“By ending gag clauses, this legislation supports consumer rights and the integrity of critical feedback about products and services sold online. I appreciate the bipartisan efforts of my Senate and House colleagues to get this legislation over the finish line,” said Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.).

“Just as word of mouth is used by family and friends to share experiences with particular brands or businesses, online reviews have significant benefits to consumers in their purchasing decisions. I’m pleased this legislation will now be sent to the president’s desk. It will help make certain consumers in Kansas and across the country are able to make their voices heard without fear of lawsuits or financial repercussions for honest feedback,” said Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

The Commerce Committee held a hearing on gag clauses on November 4, 2015, featuring testimony from Ms. Jen Palmer, a plaintiff in Palmer v. KlearGear, where a company demanded the removal of a negative online review or payment of $3,500 in fines because the online merchant’s terms of service included a non-disparagement clause. When the review was not taken down, the company reported the unpaid $3,500 to a credit reporting agency as an outstanding debt, which negatively impacted the Palmers’ credit.

Thune, Schatz, and Moran introduced S. 2044, the Consumer Review Freedom Act, in September 2015, and the Senate passed the measure unanimously last year. The Senate today approved the companion House version, H.R. 5111, introduced by Rep. Lance Leonard (R-N.J.) and Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) earlier this year. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) also sponsored an earlier House companion version of the legislation, H.R. 2110, to outlaw gag clauses.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 17-Year-Old Hilo Boy

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Hilo boy who was reported missing.

George Price-Apo

George Price-Apo

George Price-Apo was last seen in Hilo on October 19.

He is described as Hawaiian, 6-foot-1, 140 pounds with brown eyes and short black hair.

Police ask anyone with information on his 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.

Search Called Off for Missing Hawaii Air National Guardsman

A Hawaii Air National Guard (HIANG) Airman who went missing at Tarague Beach, Guam, last week, has been identified as Master Sgt. Greg Ramos from the 154th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 154th Wing.

Master Sgt. Greg Ramos with his brother, Sraff Sgt. Gavin Ramos while at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia on April 14. Photo By: Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

Master Sgt. Greg Ramos with his brother, Sraff Sgt. Gavin Ramos while at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia on April 14. Photo By: Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

Ramos was temporarily assigned to Andersen Air Force Base, supporting a HIANG KC-135 tanker rotation.  Ramos was swept out to sea and search and recovery efforts were called off after five days with no evidence of death or remains being found.

In a message to HIANG Airmen this morning, Brig. Gen. Gregory Woodrow, 154th Wing Commander asked “that you keep Greg, his family, and the LRS in your thoughts and prayers”.

Information regarding memorial services will be announced at a later date.

UH Hilo Receives Smart Car Donation

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is among three local nonprofit organizations on Hawaiʻi Island recently presented with Smart electric vehicles by the Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Charitable Foundation and Hawaiʻi Electric Light Company. Vehicles and symbolic keys were also presented to the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaiʻi Island and HOPE Services Hawaiʻi.

At the Smart Car presentation. HELCo presented 3 smartcars to HOPE Services, UH-Hilo and Boys and Girls Club. — with Sen. Kaiali'i Kahele, Jerry Chang, Jennifer Zelko Schlueter and Sen. Russell Ruderman.  Photo Via Joy SanBuenaventura

At the Smart Car presentation HELCO presented 3 smart cars to HOPE Services, UH-Hilo and Boys and Girls Club. — with Sen. Kaiali’i Kahele, Jerry Chang, Jennifer Zelko Schlueter and Sen. Russell Ruderman. Photo Via Joy SanBuenaventura

The car is a lightly-used Smart for Two electric vehicle manufactured by Mercedes-Benz that is equipped with electric charging equipment. Smart electric vehicles have been rising in popularity in recent years due to their lower cost per mile than vehicles with a conventional gasoline-fueled engine, along with reduced carbon emissions and noise pollution levels.

“We are thankful and honored to have been selected as one of the recipients,” said University Relations Director Jerry Chang, who accepted the donation on behalf of UH Hilo during the November 17 presentation in Hilo. “This is another step in our goal of conservation and starting an Energy Science program at UH Hilo.”

The vehicle is presently located in the Auxiliary Services parking lot near the existing covered electrical outlet. Auxiliary Services Director Kolin Kettleson says the University’s goal is to use it when it’s practical, to increase UH Hilo’s visibility in the community.

“Because of the limited range and required charging times, this vehicle isn’t appropriate for the motor pool,” Kettleson said. “So we’re looking at assigning it to Administrative Affairs for the near future, to enable employees from the various divisions to use it for off-campus trips and meetings.”

UH Hilo was chosen as a recipient along with the UH Manoa, West O`ahu and Maui College campuses due to the integral role the University of Hawaiʻi plays in promoting Hawaiʻi’s goal to achieve a 100 percent clean, energy future.

Hawaii Bookmark’s Cyber Monday Sale

Take advantage of Hawaii Bookmark’s Cyber Monday sale. Use promo code “Weekend ” to get 30% off all items. Included with all web sales for Cyber Monday, Hawaii Bookmark is offering FREE shipping!

holiday-saleHawaii Bookmark is located at 16-175 Melekahiwa Street #1 in the Shipman Business Park, Keaau, HI.

Our Holiday Shop at the warehouse will be open from 10:00 am till 4:00 pm each Saturday and Sunday throughout December until Christmas.

Please contact us for exclusive shopping during off hours by email or FB message, email hawaiibookmark@gmail.com

Island Air Offers “Buy Three, Get One Free” Holiday Promotion

Ready to take a neighbor island vacation with the family or visit relatives and friends for the holidays? Now is the time to take that long overdue trip, and book tickets with Island Air’s limited-time holiday promotion, the Pā‘ina Pass – “buy three, get one free”.

island-airStarting today through Saturday, December 3, 2016, customers are able to make reservations utilizing the Pā‘ina Pass promotion. The travel period is Monday, November 28, 2016 through Wednesday, January 11, 2017. No blackout dates.

In order to qualify for the Pā‘ina Pass, “buy three, get one free” promotion, all travelers need to be booked on one itinerary and traveling to the same location on the same day, flight and time. This promotion cannot be combined with any other Island Air promotion, offer or deal, such as the Kūpuna & Keiki Fare, College Student Standby Program and Travel Pak.

Reservations for the Pā‘ina Pass promotion must be made by calling (800) 652-6541 between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. (HST).

For more information, visit www.islandair.com.

CDC Recommends Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine Should Not Be Used – Hawaii Stop Flu at School Program

The state’s annual school-located vaccination program, Stop Flu at School, will be offering free flu vaccine to elementary and middle school children at public, private, and charter schools statewide. Vaccination clinics will be held in January and February 2017.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used during the 2016–2017 flu season because of data suggesting lower effectiveness of this vaccine. Therefore, only the flu shot will be offered through the Stop Flu at School program.

flu-shotInformation packets and vaccination consent forms are currently being distributed to parents through participating schools and are also available online. A fillable, electronic version of the consent form can be found at https://vaxonlinereg.doh.hawaii.gov. To sign up for the free vaccinations available to their children, parents or guardians should complete and sign the consent forms, and return them to schools by the deadline, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. Translated consent forms will be available online at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/flu-hawaii/sfas-parents/.

“Since Stop Flu at School clinics will not take place until January and February, we are encouraging parents of children, especially those with health conditions that place them at higher risk for serious complications from the flu (e.g., asthma or diabetes), to speak to their child’s physician about receiving the flu vaccine earlier,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “The school-located clinics are another option for children to be vaccinated.”

The Stop Flu at School program is a partnership between the Departments of Health and Education, and is made possible by the support of school administrators, health care providers, pediatric associations, health insurers, and federal partners. For more information about Stop Flu at School, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/flu-hawaii/stop-flu-at-school/ or call Aloha United Way’s information and referral service at 2-1-1.

Coast Guard Medevacs Ailing Crewman From Container Ship Off Oahu

The Coast Guard medevaced a 31-year-old crewman from the 902-foot container ship Kachidoki Bridge 35 miles off Oahu, Sunday.  The man, reportedly suffering from severe abdominal pain, was safely delivered to Queens Medical Center for further care.
Kachidochi Bridge

Kachidoki Bridge

“Our hoist capable helicopters and well trained crews make it possible to get mariners like this man to a higher level of medical care as quickly as possible,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Les Elliott, operations unit controller with Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu. “The safety and well being of mariners at seas is one of our top priorities.”
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu originally received the request for a medevac from the crew of the vessel at 8:30 p.m. Friday. The vessel was 983 miles north of Oahu at the time. A Coast Guard flight surgeon was consulted and did not recommend an immediate medevac but did recommend the vessel make best course and speed toward Oahu and to keep the crewman comfortable as they closed the distance to Oahu.
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point launched at 10 a.m. Sunday and rendezvoused with the vessel to transport the man. They successfully lowered the Coast Guard rescue swimmer to assess the man and prepare him for transport. During that time the helicopter suffered a malfunction and the crew was forced to conduct an emergency landing at Dillingham Airfield on the North Shore of Oahu where it will be assessed and any necessary repairs will be made. A second Dolphin and crew were launched from the air station and successfully completed the medevac.
Weather conditions at the time of the medevac were reportedly east winds at 29 mph gusting to 31 mph, with seas to 11 feet and showers. A small craft advisory is in effect through Monday afternoon.The Portuguese-flagged container vessel was en route to Los Angeles.

Hirono, Gabbard Announce House Vote on Filipino Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Bill

Senator Mazie Hirono and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced today the House will vote on legislation to award WWII Filipino Veterans the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill unanimously passed the Senate in July, and is scheduled for a vote in the House on Wednesday, November 30. Should the bill pass the House, it will be sent to the President to be signed in to law.

filipino-veterans“This week, Congress will take the next step to recognize the brave and courageous service of Filipino World War II veterans like Domingo Los Banos from Kauaʻi,” said Senator Mazie Hirono. “This Veterans Day, I joined Domingo aboard the USS Missouri to recount how these veterans were instrumental to our victory in the Pacific, but had to fight for decades to receive the benefits they earned. The unanimous support this bill earned in the Senate and the overwhelming backing it has in the House honors the sacrifice so many of these veterans made for our country.”

“This week, the House will take a historic vote to honor our Filipino World War II veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal—our highest civilian honor. These loyal and courageous soldiers suffered, fought, and gave up their lives alongside their American counterparts throughout the war, and have waited decades for their service to be recognized. They cannot afford to wait any longer,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “It has been an honor to personally get to know some of these veterans and their families, and to hear them humbly tell their courageous stories of service. I urge my colleagues to join me in voting to pass this timely legislation, and to honor our veterans with this long-overdue recognition.”

Background: Senator Mazie Hirono and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Filipino Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal Act in 2015, and have worked together toward the bill’s final passage. The legislation acknowledges the more than 200,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-duty and fought under the American flag against the Imperial Forces of Japan during World War II. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the U.S Congress.