Hawaii Island Police Investigating Officer-Involved Shooting in Puna

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred around 10 p.m. Wednesday (March 29) in Puna.
While responding to a request for assistance at a convenience store parking lot in Kurtistown, an officer observed a vehicle to strike a man who dropped toward the ground and disappeared from the officer’s view.

As the vehicle fled the scene, the officer was still unable to identify the location of the man who had been struck and felt the man’s life may have been in danger.In the process of fleeing, the suspect vehicle also struck the officer’s vehicle.

In response to the imminent danger, the officer fired two shots toward the vehicle which continued onto Highway 11 heading South in the Volcano direction. The vehicle was later located abandoned in the Glenwood area.

The male victim who had been struck by the suspect vehicle was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries and later released.

The officer who fired his weapon has just less than two years of law enforcement experience.  Police have initiated a second degree assault investigation, as well as accompanying traffic related violations.

As is standard practice in any police shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.

Police ask anyone who may have witnessed this incident or has information about it to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Dean Uyetake at 961-2379 or dean.uyetake@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Gabbard, Hanabusa, Young Introduce Bill to Exempt Hawaii, Alaska from Travel Fee Increases

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), and Don Young (AK-AL) introduced bipartisan legislation today to exempt Hawaiʻi, Alaska, and communities that rely on essential air service as subsidized by the U.S. Department of Transportation, from increases in TSA air travel fees. The Passenger Fee Restructuring Exemptions Act (H.R.1782) recognizes the unique reliance on air travel that residents of Hawaiʻi and Alaska face by lowering the states’ TSA fee to $2.50 for interstate direct flights. Congress raised the national TSA fee to $5.60 in late 2013, and could increase the fee to $6.60 in FY2018.

  “The doubling of the TSA fee since 2013 has had a disproportionate, negative impact on Hawaiʻi residents and businesses who rely on air travel as the only available mode of transportation for everyday necessities like commerce, healthcare, education, and more. As Congress considers raising the TSA fee again, our bipartisan legislation will help relieve this cost burden by exempting Hawaiʻi and Alaska, and other communities who rely solely on essential air service, from this tax,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“Hawaiʻi and Alaska share unique geographic challenges that make our dependence on air travel a necessity.  As such, any increase in TSA fees disproportionately hurts our residents, tourists and businesses alike. This bill redresses that wrong by exempting Hawaiʻi and Alaska from the disparate impact of these fee increases,” said Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

“Simply put, current aviation security fees disproportionately affect the residents of my state due to our unique reliance on air travel. I have opposed fee hikes in the past and have consistently worked with my Hawaiian colleagues to alleviate the hardships placed on those without transportation alternatives. This bipartisan legislation will address this inequity and allow our residents, who depend on air travel, to access and grow their economies without being overburdened by the growth of government fees,” said Rep. Don Young.

Kona Brewing Company and Lavaman Triathlon Celebrate 20 Years of Aloha – Traffic Advisory

Kona Brewing Co. will celebrate a twenty-year partnership with Lavaman Triathlon on Sunday, April 2, 2017.  Starting as a founding partner of the Lavaman Triathlon in 1997, Kona Brewing Company’s partnership with the local event has continued and evolved — the Lavaman Triathlon has grown more than 20-fold, from 83 participants to more than 1,800, and Kona Brewing Co. has become a fan favorite and the #11 craft beer sold in the U.S., growing 3x faster than other beers in the craft beer category. (source Nielsen, Total US xAOC FY 2016)

“Both brands started with big dreams and we’re now making big waves in our respective industries. We attribute this lasting partnership to our common goal of giving back to our community and are proud to have kept our joint slogan ‘Celebrate the Sprit’ alive for two decades,” said Gerry Rott, Lavaman Race Director.

The 51.5k mile race kicks off at the Waikoloa Beach Resort and ends with the annual Lavaman Awards Beach Party, where competitors and more than 600 volunteers celebrate the day by toasting with Kona Brewing Co.’s liquid aloha.

In addition to its support of the Lavaman Triathlon, Kona Brewing Co. is committed to social responsibility and donates more than $120,000 annually to a variety of local non-profit organizations which range from environmental protection, to cultural and community organizations.

“Giving back to our local community is in Kona Brewing Company’s DNA and we will continue to support the islands for years to come” said Eric Chang, Kona Brewing Co. Senior Market Manager. “Our roots and respect for the Islands run deep with two brew pubs and a 22 year history brewing beers in Hawai‘i.”

April 2, 2017 also marks the one-year anniversary of bottling Lavaman Red Ale, Kona Brewing Co.’s malty brew with caramel notes.

For more information, visit KonaBrewingCo.com and Lavamantriathlon.com.

TODAY – Meeting Regarding Commercial Air Tour Noise Issues in East Hawaii

A meeting regarding commercial air tour noise issues in East Hawaii is being held today, Thursday, March 30, 2017, 1:00 – 3:30 pm at the Hilo Airport Conference Room 216 (above Blue Hawaiian offices, main terminal).

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Park Service (NPS) work together to address noise associated with air tours operations over national parks, including Haleakala National Park and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Recently, concerns have been raised about noise from helicopter operations in Hawai’i outside of park boundaries, particularly on the Big Island. FAA and NPS are visiting Hawai’i to better identify specific concerns with helicopter operations within and outside of national parks.

These meetings are an informal opportunity to share information and perspectives on helicopter operations, including safety, economic and noise impacts. Please note that these are not public hearings and are not associated with previous planning exercises for air tour management plans at national parks.

Following a welcome and introductions by FAA & NPS and comments from representatives of the Hawaii congressional delegation, state and local governments, other participants will be invited to share their concerns and views with the federal agencies.

We ask that all participants afford one another respect and the opportunity to be heard without interruption or debate. In order to make sure that each interested attendee has an opportunity to be heard, we may need to establish a designated time allotment that will be determined based on the number of participants in attendance.

While the agencies may have follow up questions for stakeholders regarding their specific comments or concerns, the main purpose of the meetings is to allow the agencies to listen to the views of different stakeholders.