Officer Shot at Hawaiian Beaches Subdivision

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an attempted murder after a police officer was shot in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision in Lower Puna.

At 10:22 p.m., Wednesday evening, Feb. 21, officers were called to a reported assault on Oio Street.

As officers approached the suspect’s residence, a man at the residence fired a single gunshot at police, striking an officer in the lower extremities.

The officer, a two-year member of the department, was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where he remains in stable condition.

The department’s Special Response Team was on scene along with Crisis Negotiators who were attempting to communicate with the suspect.

The suspect was taken into custody at 7 a.m.

Police ask that the public avoid North Puni Makai Loop which is closed between Ono and Ohiki Streets as the investigation continues.

As is standard practice in any police-involved shooting, the police department’s Criminal Investigations Section will investigate the shooting, and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.

Senate Honors Hawaiian Language Leaders

The Hawai‘i Senate Majority announces that the Hawai‘i State Senate honored five Hawaiian language kumu for their leadership in reviving and teaching ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i in our schools statewide.  These ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i kumu are Dr. Larry Lindsey Kimura, Dr. Ku‘uipolani “Ipo” Kanahele Wong, Dr. Papaikanī‘au Kai‘anui, Kananinohea Kawai‘ae‘a Māka‘imoku and Lolena Nicholas.

Courtesy of Hawai‘i Senate Majority office.

Dr. Larry Lindsey Kimura is a pioneer of the ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i movement and he has worked tirelessly for its revitalization for almost 50 years. Dr. Kimura is an Associate Professor of Hawaiian language and Hawaiian Studies at Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College at UH Hilo.

Courtesy of Hawai‘i Senate Majority office.

Dr. Kimura founded the Ka Leo Hawai‘i Hawaiian language radio talk show in the 1970s and 80s, during which time he also co-founded ‘Aha Pūnana Leo and wrote curriculum for Papahana Kaiapuni Hawai‘i (the Hawaiian Immersion Program) in the public schools.  Here he developed the course material and trained teachers to teach their subjects in Hawaiian language statewide.  Dr. Kimura is also a well-known songwriter and ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i activist.

Dr. Ku‘uipolani “Ipo” Kanahele Wong is born and raised on Ni‘ihau and she was the mānaleo (native Hawaiian language speaker) resource kumu at the Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language at UH Mānoa.  She is the first person from Ni‘ihau to receive her doctorate degree in education and she currently serves as an Associate Professor at UH Mānoa and as the Director of Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language.

Lolena Nicholas is also a native speaker from Ni‘ihau.  She was a co-host for the radio talk show Ka Leo Hawai‘i, and she has also served as the mānaleo at Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language.  Known fondly as “Auty Lolena” to thousands of ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i students statewide, Kumu Nicholas is an icon in the Hawaiian language revitalization movement.  A film was produced in 2014 about her life’s work.

Courtesy of Hawai‘i Senate Majority office.

Dr. Papaikanī‘au Kai‘anui graduated with the first Hawaiian immersion class on Maui in 2001, and she is the first immersion student to complete a doctoral degree.  Today she is an instructor of Hawaiian at Maui College.

Kananinohea Kawai‘ae‘a Māka‘imoku is the first immersion graduate to return as a Hawaiian immersion teacher and she is now helping to prepare new immersion teachers across the state.  She also sits on the faculty of Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language.

DOH Cites Water Company for HI-5 Violations

Screen shot of website

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has cited Hawaiian Isles Water Company for delinquent reports and payments to the Deposit Beverage Container (DBC) program from August through November 2017. The company has complied with the department’s enforcement order and paid a $14,400 administrative penalty fee and the monthly amounts owed to the state.

Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §342G-105 requires beverage distributors to submit monthly distributor reports and payments to the DOH no later than the 15th calendar day of the month following the end of the payment period. Hawaiian Isles Water Company received multiple written notices reminding them of reporting and payment requirements prior to being assessed a penalty.

“Distributors can avoid serious penalties by responding to reminders from the state and submitting their payments and reports on time,” said DBC Program Manager Darren Park. “Late distributor payments and reports affect program funds and our ability to reimburse recycling companies for containers redeemed and recycled each year.”

Hawai‘i’s DBC program funds are used to recycle more than 600 million containers redeemed in the state each year. Through recycling, consumers are helping to remove beverage containers from the waste stream and reduce litter in the community. The program certifies independent recycling companies to operate Certified Redemption Centers (CRCs) statewide. CRCs provide Hawai‘i consumers with refunds of the five-cent deposit fee that is paid for eligible containers. Beverage distributors submit payments and reports to the program for all HI-5 containers sold within the state.

Woman Dies After ‘Jumping Into Traffic’ on Hawai‘i Island Hwy

UPDATE 11:47 a.m.: An adult female pedestrian died following a vehicle/pedestrian crash Tuesday night, Feb. 20, in Pāhoa.

Her name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of her family.

Responding to a 9:40 p.m. call, police determined that a 2006 Ford sedan was traveling southbound on Highway 130 near Launahele Road when it struck the female pedestrian who was in the roadway.

The woman was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 10:31 p.m.

The driver of the Ford sedan, a 40-year-old Pāhoa woman, was not injured.

Police do not believe that speed or alcohol were factors in this crash. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Clarence Acob at (808) 961-2329.

This is the fourth traffic fatality this year compared with four at this time last year.

ORIGINAL POST: Feb. 21, 2018

The Hawai‘i Fire Department reports that a female in her late 30s died after being hit by a car on Highway 130 (Pāhoa/Kalapana Road) around the 12 mile marker around on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 around 9:42 p.m.

Upon firefighters arrival, they found the female unconscious and laying in the Hilo-bound lane and her boyfriend stated that they were both walking on the side of the road when the female launched herself into oncoming traffic.

The driver of the vehicle, who was uninjured, states she was driving at approximately 55 mph at time of impact. The sedan had moderate front end damage and a shattered windshield.

Traffic was detoured to Leilani Avenue while the investigation was ongoing.

Humpback Whale Placenta Found

The Pacific Whale Foundation’s reports that their raft the Ocean Journey, on its first whale watch of the day, came across the rarest of finds, a placenta in the water, presumed to be from a humpback whale.

A presumed humpback whale placenta. Photo courtesy of the Pacific Whale Foundation.

Further details of the time, location and circumstances surrounding the discovery are still being determined.

It is generally accepted that humpback whales migrate to Hawai‘i’s waters to breed and calve their young, however an actual birth has not yet been documented. A humpback whale placenta would perhaps be the next best evidence of the birthing process taking place.

Scientists infer that the placenta is easily dislodged after the calf is born, and then simply floats away.

UPDATE 4: Social Media Comments ‘Spiraled Out of Control’

UPDATE 4: 11:05 a.m.

Social media comments inferring the threat of gun violence at Big Island schools at the end of January “spiraled out of control, causing concern for parents,” Hawaiʻi Police Department Puna Patrol Area I Capt. Samuel Jelsma told Big Island Now this morning.

In response, additional officers were sent to the Pāhoa and Kea‘au schools indicated in the social media posts on Jan. 29.

The posts were brought to school official’s attention yesterday, Tuesday, Feb. 20, and the HPD responded “immediately and appropriately,” Capt. Jelsma said.

Capt. Jelsma said three officers were sent to Pāhoa High School, joining the schools resource officer. Four officers were sent to Kea‘au High School this morning as well, although no specific or direct threats were made.

“There were no recent threats made for either school,” said Capt. Jelsma, “only chatter on social media.”

Capt. Jelsma assured that any and all threats are taken seriously and will be handles appropriately.

In the case of the  threat made to a Pāhoa High School student, HPD initiated a harassment complaint case the 17-year-old girl. The girl is not a student at the school, said Capt. Jelsma. She was released and the case is being routed to Family Court.

UPDATE 3, 9:57 a.m.

Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi Head of School M. Kāhealani Nae‘ole-Wong sent an email to parents, telling them that the school is actively monitoring the situation in Pāhoa “and possibly other schools in the region (threats of violence.”

The Kea‘au campus will remain open at this time.

“We take all threats very seriously, and have asked our security team which protects our campus 24/7 to be on high alert,” said Nae‘ole-Wong. “Should there be any changes to this I will let you know, but please know that nothing is more important than the protection of your keiki.”

UPDATE 2, 9:10 a.m.

The Hawai‘i Police Department reports that there is no active shooter situation at either Pāhoa High School or Kea‘au High School.

Big Island Now found two HPD officers at Kea‘au High School, but the officers did not share any information about their investigation.

UPDATE 1: Feb. 21, 2018, 8:46 a.m.

Big Island police are on high alert after threats were made at three schools on the island.

In response, police have temporarily increased presence at the two public high schools in the Puna District—Pāhoa and Kea‘au High School—along with Konawainea High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018.

Police have been meeting with school officials.

In response to social media posts on, Jan. 29, which were brought to school official’s attention yesterday, Tuesday, Feb. 20, police were summoned to the Pāhoa High School campus.

It was reported that during a back and forth Instagram text between two female teenagers in which insults were exchanged, a 16-year-old female made a comment referencing bringing a firearm to school.

Police generated a harassment case and located and interviewed the 16-year-old suspect on Tuesday. She was later released and the case is being routed to Family Court.

Although the posting didn’t specify a school, investigation revealed that one of the suspects was connected with Konawaena High School.

A 17-year-old male was subsequently arrested and charged with second-degree terroristic threatening. He was later released to his parents.

Later social media posts began discussing that a shooting would take place at a Keaʻau school as well.

It is a felony to threaten to shoot a gun at school and is punishable by up to five years in prison.

In the back of everyone’s mind is the spate of deadly shootings at schools, including one last week at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead.

Konawaena High School. File photo.

The shooting has prompted several “copycat threats” at other schools across the country, putting authorities on extra high alert.

ORIGINAL POST: Feb. 20, 2018, 11:36 p.m.

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, at about 11:30 a.m., police received a report of a social media posting from a male party that referenced to “shooting up local schools.”

Investigation into this posting reveals it was posted by a 17-year-old-male juvenile.

At about 7 p.m., the suspect was taken into custody and charged with Terroristic Threatening in the Second Degree.

The juvenile was subsequently released to his parent due to not qualifying for further detention.

Although the posting did not contain a specific school, the juvenile was found to be connected with Konawaena High School.

As a result police will have a greater presence at Konawaena School tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018.

Navy Rescues 8 Fishermen Lost at Sea in South Pacific

Crew members assigned to the “Fighting Tigers” of Patrol Squadron Eight (VP) 8 rescued three fishermen Feb. 20 whose vessel was adrift in the South Pacific for eight days.

A P-8A Poseidon assigned to the Fighting Tigers of Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 takes off from a runway at Kadena Air Base, Japan. VP-8 is currently deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations conducting missions and providing Maritime Domain Awareness to supported units throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jerome Johnson)

The 19-foot skiff was first reported missing Feb. 12 after it failed to return from a fishing expedition near Chuuk Lagoon in the Federated States of Micronesia. According to the report, the boat carried food and water, but no safety equipment or radios. Assets from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam searched for the vessel for several days before requesting assistance from the U.S. Navy.

The VP-8 aircrew and maintenance team were tasked to support the search and rescue (SAR) operation, repositioning on short notice from Kadena Air Base, Japan, to Andersen Air Force Base.

The crew flew the Navy’s newest maritime patrol aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, which is equipped with an advanced APY-10 multifunction radar and MX-20 camera system, ideal for searching the 2,100-square-mile area. The vessel was located after only three hours and the aircrew deployed a UNI-PAC II search and rescue (SAR) kit, a new addition to the maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA) fleet and the first time the kit had been successfully deployed by a P-8A in real-world SAR operations.

SAR kits are deployed at approximately 500 feet with a 150 yard trailing lanyard to deliver equipment as accurately as possible to survivors in the water. Kits generally include medical supplies, food, water, communications, and signaling equipment, but can be configured with additional supplies depending on the mission type.

The three survivors were picked up by a nearby police vessel a few hours after being located by VP-8.

“It was incredibly rewarding to be a part of saving lives—it’s what everyone joins the Navy to do,” said Lt. Miles Schumacher, the tactical coordinator of the VP-8 aircrew. “This aircraft allows for a massive step forward in the ability of SAR units to search large areas quickly and effectively, and we were excited to have the SAR kit loaded and be able to prove its effectiveness. We successfully demonstrated the capability of the MPRA community to react quickly and effectively to operational requirements in the farthest corners of the globe. Hopefully this is just the first of many successful rescues by P-8A Poseidon aircrews.”

VP-8 is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of area of operations conducting theater and national level tasking.

HI-SEAS Crewmember Transported to Hilo Hospital

A crewmember of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Hawaiʻi Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Mission VI was admitted this morning to Hilo Medical Center for required medical attention and was under observation for a few hours before being released.

The crewmember was taken to the hospital from the HI-SEAS dome at the 8,200-foot level of Mauna Loa at about 8 a.m. today.

Under Institutional Research Board regulations, no further medical information can be provided without the crew member’s permission.

Crew safety is the top priority and, in line with safety protocols, the mission has been postponed and the crew has left the dome, according to HI-SEAS Principal Investigator Kim Binsted.

The mission will remain suspended until an inspection of the dome and investigation are completed.

HI-SEAS Mission VI started on Feb. 15, 2018, with four crewmembers and was scheduled to last eight months.

The crewmembers are from Australia, Korea, Scotland and Slovakia.

The NASA-funded project studies human behavior and performance and aims to help determine the individual and team requirements for long-duration space exploration missions, including travel to Mars.

KSBE Boys Soccer Team Wins Div. II State Championship

Congratulations to the KSBE Hawai’i Campus Boys Soccer Team for winning the 2018 State Division II Championship defeating Kapa‘a 3-2 at the Waipio Soccer Complex on O’ahu on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018.

Jonathan DeMotta’s penalty kick in the final minute of regulation gave the Kamehameha Warriors a 3-2 win against the Garden Isle Warriors.

This is KS-Hawai‘i first HHSAA Division II state boys’ soccer crown.

Scoring Live posted the following photo on Twitter:

Twitter image via Scoring Live.

UPDATE: Flood Warning Extended for Big Island

UPDATE: 7:23 p.m.

Special Weather Statement:

The National Weather Service in Honolulu states that a strong thunderstorm will affect Hawai‘i.

At 7:20 p.m., a strong thunderstorm was located over Kukuihaele, moving northeast at five to 10 mph.

Winds in excess of 40 mph are possible with this storm.

Locations impacted include Kapa‘au, Honoka‘a, Pa‘auilo, Waipi‘o Valley, Kukuihaele, Hawi, Kamuela, Poloūu Valley, ‘O‘ōkala, Kohala Ranch, Hala‘ula, Waimanu Valley, Kawaihae and Māhukona.

Frequent cloud to ground lightning is occurring with this storm. Lightning can strike 10 miles away from a thunderstorm. Seek a safe shelter inside a building or vehicle.

UPDATE: 7:15 p.m.

The National Weather Services is extending the Flash Flood Warning for the island of Hawai‘i in Hawai‘i County until 10 p.m.

At 7:06 p.m., radar indicated heavy rain along the windward slopes of the Kohala Mountains. The most intense rainfall was from Waipi‘o Valley to Honoka‘a with rates of around 4 inches per hour.

Heavy rainfall may continue along the Hāmākua Coast for several hours.

Locations in the warning include but are not limited to Pololū Valley, Waipi‘o Valley, Kukuihaele, Kohala Ranch, Hawi, Hala‘ula, Kamuela, Kapa‘au, Waimanu Valley and Honoka‘a.

A flash flood warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring in streams, roads, and low lying areas. Move to higher ground now.

Do not cross fast flowing water in your vehicle, or on foot. Turn around, don’t drown.

This warning may need to be extended beyond 10 p.m. if heavy rain persists.

This flash flood warning replaces the previously issued flood advisory that was in effect for portions of the island of Hawai‘i in Hawai‘i County.

UPDATE: 6:00 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the island of Hawai‘i in Hawai‘i County until 6:30 p.m.

At 5:57 p.m., a severe thunderstorm was located nine miles south of Pu‘uanahulu, moving northeast at 30 mph.

Radar indicated gusts up to 60 mph. Expect damage to roofs, siding and trees.

Locations impacted include Kailua-Kona, Kealakekua, Honalo, Pōhakuloa Camp, Pu‘uanahulu,
Kalaoa, Hōnaunau, Pōhakuloa Training Area, Kainaliu, Hōlualoa, Kahalu‘u-Keauhou and Captain Cook.

For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building. Stay away from windows.

Torrential rainfall is occurring with this storm, and may lead to flash flooding. Do not drive your vehicle through flooded roadways.

Due to the Severe Thunderstorm Warning, the following advisories are issued:

  • High winds are expected; take necessary precautions.
  • Be aware of lightning; the best place to be is indoors.
  • Expect possible interruptions in your utility services.
  • Be on the alert for malfunctioning traffic signals. Please treat flashing traffic lights as a four-way stop.

UPDATE: 5:10 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for The island of Hawai‘i in Hawai‘i County until 6 p.m.

At 5:01 p.m., severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from 24 miles northwest of Kona International Airport to nine miles northwest of Miloli‘i, moving northeast at 25 mph.

Radar indicated 60 mph wind gusts and residents can expect damage to roofs, siding and trees.

Locations impacted include: Kailua-Kona, Captain Cook, Pu‘uanahulu, Hōnaunau, Kawaihae, Kahalu‘u-Keauhou, Kainaliu, Waikoloa Village, Kealakekua, Honalo, Kohala Ranch and Kalaoa.

UPDATE: 2:32 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Advisory for the Island of Hawai‘i through this evening.

Heaviest rains were currently over the Saddle area and Hāmākua Districts.

Heavy showers and lightning are forecast through Monday.

Take necessary precautions when in these conditions.

UPDATE: 1:51 p.m.

A Flood Advisory for the island of Hawai‘i in Hawai‘i County is in effect until 4:45 p.m.

At 1:46 p.m., radar indicated heavy rain continuing over the Big Island.

The heaviest rain is now falling over the Saddle area and the Hāmākua District, with rainfall rates up to three inches per hour.

Locations in the advisory include but are not limited to Hilo, Na‘alehu, Pa‘auilo, Waipio Valley, Orchidland Estates, Kukuihaele, Hawi, Pepe‘ekeo, Kea‘au, Kamuela, Honoka‘a and O‘okala.

Stay away from streams, drainage ditches and low lying areas prone to flooding.

Rainfall and runoff will also cause hazardous driving conditions due to ponding, reduced visibility and poor braking action.

Do not cross fast flowing or rising water in your vehicle, or on
foot. Turn around, don’t drown.

This advisory may need to be extended beyond 4:45 p.m. if heavy rain persists.

This advisory replaces the previously issued advisory that was in effect for portions of Hawai‘i County.

A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect.

ORIGINAL POST

The National Weather Service announces a Flood Advisory for the island of Hawai‘i in Hawai‘i County until 3:30 p.m.

At 12:23 p.m., radar indicated heavy showers and thunderstorms moving over the Big Island from the southeast, affecting portions of the Ka‘ū, Puna and South Hilo districts. Rain was falling at a rate of two to three inches per hour.

Locations in the advisory include but are not limited to Hilo, Hawaiian Acres, Na‘alehu, Orchidlands Estates, Glenwood, Hakalau, Pepe‘ekeo, Kea‘au, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano, Pahala and Wood Valley.

Stay away from streams, drainage ditches and low-lying areas prone to flooding.

Rainfall and runoff will also cause hazardous driving conditions due to ponding, reduced visibility and poor braking action.

Do not cross fast flowing or rising water in your vehicle, or on foot. Turn around, don’t drown.

This advisory may need to be extended beyond 3:30 p.m. if heavy rain persists.

A Flash Flood Watch is also in effect.

Flash Flood Watch for All Hawai‘i Islands

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for all islands through Monday afternoon.

A strong upper level trough approaching from the northwest will provide increasingly unstable conditions across the state today through Monday. This will combine with moisture pooled around a weak surface trough drifting westward from near O‘ahu to produce the threat of heavy, flooding rainfall and thunderstorms. Heavy showers and thunderstorms have already occurred across the eastern and central parts of the state, and the threat of heavy, flooding rainfall and thunderstorms will spread westward to Kaua‘i later today.

Abundant low level moisture over the eastern and central parts of the state will spread westward to Kaua‘i today. A strong upper level trough approaching the state will produce unstable conditions that will generate heavy showers and thunderstorms.

Due to increasing instability, heavy showers and thunderstorms could develop rapidly. Heavy rainfall could affect urban and leeward areas, which are more susceptible to flooding problems.

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a dangerous situation. Please monitor forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

Acting and Producing Workshop with ‘True Blood’ Star

Interested in acting or producing movies? The Hawai‘i Island Film Office and the Palace Theater is offering a workshop on acting and producing for film and television at the Palace Theater in Hilo on Saturday, March 3, 2018, from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.

Leading the class is Hilo native, Kristina Anapau, who is an actress, writer and producer with over 20 years’ experience in the motion picture and television industry.

Kristina Anapau. PC: Damon Tucker

Anapau has had leading roles in features and television including Black Swan, True Blood, Anger Management, House, Monk, CSI NY and many more. She first stepped behind the camera in 2013, co-producing the thriller, 5 Souls, and recently completed Kuleana, a mystery drama on which she served as executive producer.

Kuleana, an independent film shot in Hawai‘i, has gone on to receive audience and critical acclaim at several prestigious film festivals around the country.

Anapau is also the creator and executive producer of The John Kerwin Kids’ Show, a Tonight show for kids which airs nationwide on DirecTV.

In the acting session, Anapau will cover training, marketing, getting an agent, audition technique, working on set and will set aside some time for participant cold readings and critiques. In the producing session, she will cover selecting and developing material, packaging your project, getting financing, budgeting, physical production and distribution.

This workshop is intended for those who seek professional level training in these areas so as to pursue career opportunities in these fields, or for those seeking a broader understanding of how these skill sets and functions relate to the overall motion picture production process.

For more information, contact johnmasonkona@gmail.com or to register or call (808) 464-4379.

Information can also be found at the Hawaii Island Film Office web site

The workshop price is $15 for students, $20 for SAG members and $25 for the general public. Light breakfast refreshments and a pizza lunch is included in the price.

Live Skunk Found at Honolulu Harbor

A live skunk was captured early this morning at Pier 1 at Honolulu Harbor. Plant Quarantine inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) were called by agents of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at about 7:15 a.m. today and were informed that a skunk was captured by stevedores at the pier. The stevedores used plastic traffic barriers to contain the animal until HDOA inspectors arrived. Inspectors then transported the skunk to HDOA’s Animal Industry Division where samples are being prepared for testing for the rabies virus at a Mainland laboratory. Results will take several days.

State veterinarians tentatively identified it as a striped skunk and appears to be a young adult weighing 3.5 pounds. The gender has not yet been determined as veterinarians minimize handling of the animal until a negative rabies test result is received.

It is not known exactly when or how the skunk got onto the pier, but CBP reports that stevedores saw the animal running around in the harbor yard with its head in an empty yogurt cup.

Skunks are prohibited in Hawaii and are only allowed by permit for research and exhibition in a municipal zoo. Skunks inhabit the U.S., Canada, South America, Mexico and other parts of the world. They are also one of the four wild animals considered to be the primary carriers of the rabies virus, a fatal viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. and one of the few places in the world that is rabies free.

The Plant Quarantine Branch records indicate that this is the first skunk captured in the state.

Sightings or captures of illegal and invasive species should be reported to the state’s toll-free Pest Hotline at 643-PEST (7378).

Hakalau Stream Bridge Repairs

Repair work on the Hakalau Stream Bridge located on the road leading to Hakalau Beach Park which is currently closed, not the bridge on State Highway 19, will begin on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, and is expected to be completed by Tuesday, April 17, 2018, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company was awarded the contract to repair the northern abutment that has been undermined due to scouring from the Hakalau Stream. The bridge repairs will meet Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) standards and ensure the public’s safety at this stream crossing.

The County conducted an assessment of the bridge and found the bridge’s northern abutment (foundation) has been undermined due to scouring from Hakalau Stream. A plan of action is in process to repair the bridge that will meet the National Bridge Inspection standards and ensure the public’s safety at this stream crossing.
The Hakalau Beach Park will also be closed until further notice due to the closing of the bridge.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this closure has caused and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

All State and Federal approvals, certifications, and environmental permits required by the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) have been secured. 80% of the $1,644,000 project cost will be funded by federal funds and the county will contribute the remaining 20%.

If there are any questions or concerns regarding the bridge repair work, call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at (808) 961-8787.

Sen. Hirono Votes to Protect Dreamers

Sen. Mazie Hirono

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono released the following statement today, Feb. 15, 2018, after voting to protect Dreamers:

“I have consistently supported a clean DREAM Act, and voted in favor of the Coons-McCain amendment today that came very close to it. And while it earned the support of a bipartisan group of 52 senators, the vast majority of Republicans blocked this effort.

“Unfortunately, we were left with only one option to protect the 800,000 current DACA recipients and an additional one million Dreamers who the President has threatened with deportation. It’s for them that I voted for the Rounds-King amendment.

“The Rounds-King amendment included a number of provisions I strongly oppose, including $25 billion for Trump’s wall. The Republicans also sought to dismantle our legal, family-based immigration system. Democrats fought hard to limit the damage.

“President Trump created this crisis when he cancelled DACA and threw 800,000 young people under the bus. And with his recent veto threat, he has made it abundantly clear that protecting Dreamers is the farthest thing from his mind.

“With this threat, the President made it clear that he wanted all of us to stand with him against the Rounds-King amendment. That, I would not do.”

HPD Searching for Missing Man

The Hawai‘i Police Department is searching for 48-year-old Gerald Ragsdale.  He is reported to be 5-feet-1, 150 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

Gerald Ragsdale. HPD Photo.

He was last possibly seen at Walmart in Hilo on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 at 10 p.m.

Bill to Protect Homeschooled Keiki Deferred

Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele. Courtesy photo

In an effort to protect abused children, Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele had worked with the Hawai‘i County Prosecutors office to introduce Senate Bill 2323 that would have established procedures for a parent or legal guardian to obtain authorization to home school a child.

However, understanding the strong concerns about the measure, Sen. Kahele requested the bill be withdrawn during the joint hearing of the Senate Committees on Education and Human Services. In his request.

He offered this explanation:

“Senate Bill 2323 was never meant to not allow loving, caring, families from homeschooling your child and from infringing on your constitutionally protected rights. It was meant to protect children that live unimaginable lives, and are abused, neglected at the hands of the very parents and guardians that should be nurturing them and forgotten by a system that should be protecting them.

“Today is Valentine’s Day and many of us will get to share this special day with our loved ones. But that is not the case for Peter Boy Kema, Shaelyn Lehano Stone and many other children across Hawai‘i and America, who do not have a voice and live their lives in fear.

“This is a conversation we need to have. It is a conversation we need to have in other States throughout our country and it is a conversation we need to have here in Hawai‘i.

“Due to the overwhelming testimony in opposition and the overwhelming turnout today at the Capitol, as the introducer of the bill, your voices have been heard by me and my colleagues and I would like to request that this bill be withdrawn and deferred.

“In the interim, I am committed to work in collaboration with stakeholders, the Home School Network, Department of Education and other agencies to address this issue and return next Session with a bill that protects all keiki of Hawai‘i.”

The Senate Committees on Education and Human Services deferred action on SB2323.

Rock Opera Tells Story of Election Contest Between Kalākaua and Emma

Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi announces their upcoming hōʻike, Kū I Ka Mana, which will share the drama and political intrigue behind the election of 1874 between King David Kalākaua and Queen Emma Rooke, as the death of King William Charles Lunalilo left the Kingdom of Hawai‘i without an appointed successor to the throne.

Two shows are open to the public—Thursday and Friday, March 15 and 16, 2018, at 6 p.m. in Koaiʻa Gymnasium on the KS Hawaiʻi campus. Tickets are $5 and available for purchase online, at the door on the night of the performance, or at the high school office or Student Activities Center after school from 3 to 4 p.m. on school days.

Funds raised from hōʻike assist students with travel costs for participation in worldwide events, including performances at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Kū I Ka Mana dramatizes in music and dance the events leading up to the election of 1874 after the death of William Charles Lunalilo left the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi without an appointed successor to the throne.

In the running are Queen Emma, beloved by the people, and the charismatic David Kalākaua. In this telling, Bernice Pauahi Bishop also considers being part of the election, having second thoughts about having refused the crown when offered to her by Lot (Kamehameha V) before his death. The results of the election would have lasting repercussions on the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, setting the stage for many of the events that have shaped the history of the state.

Kū I Ka Mana will be presented as a rock opera in two acts with libretto by theater Kumu Eric Stack and music by Choir Director Herb Mahelona. The entire production is designed around a Steampunk theme in keeping with the genre of music. The production will be presented in English and Hawaiian.

Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i High School presents its hōʻike annually in the spring as an all-school event. All high school students participate in the production as actors, dancers, musicians or crew. This year, the production will also feature the KSH Elementary School Keiki Choir and the Mamalahoe Chapter of the Kamehameha Alumni Chorus.

All hōʻike productions focus on some aspect of Hawaiian history or culture presented to the public with the goal to educate our haumāna and to share with the community. It is a unique opportunity to celebrate Hawaiian culture, history and language and to instill pride and appreciation for things Hawaiian.

Senators Call on Senate Appropriators to Respect State Marijuana Laws

Sens. Mazie K. Hirono and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) urged Senate Committee on Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to include provisions that require the federal government respect states’ laws regarding the regulation of marijuana when finalizing fiscal year 2018 appropriations. Congress has until Friday, March 23, 2018, to craft final fiscal year 2018 appropriations bills.

The majority of states, including Hawai‘i, have some form of reduced restrictions on marijuana. Recognizing this, under President Obama the Department of Justice has issued a series of guidance memoranda over the last several years outlining a federal law enforcement priorities that provided state and local governments and citizens a framework upon which citizens rely to establish legitimate businesses. However, on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, the Attorney General rescinded this guidance.

The Senators wrote that rescinding years of guidance has created “disruption, confusion, and uncertainty throughout the country. Citizens who have been acting in good faith based on federal and state assurances now feel exposed. This disruption may deny medications to the sick, push individuals back into illicit markets, and nullify the previously-effective regulations – all while thwarting the democratically-expressed will of the states.”

“It is our hope that the fiscal year 2018 appropriations will alleviate the turbulence the Attorney General’s abrupt decision has caused and that the appropriations will help preserve the strong regulatory frameworks the states have created,” the Senators continued. “Doing so will provide the opportunity to pursue federal legislation that both protects the legitimate federal interests at stake and respects the will of the states – both those that have liberalized their marijuana laws and those that have not.”

The letter was also signed by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Edward Markey (D-Mass.).

Onishi Appointed to Serve as Governor’s Rep. for East Hawai‘i

Dennis “Fresh” Onishi. File photo.

Gov. David Ige announced that he has appointed Dennis “Fresh” Onishi to serve as the governor’s representative for East Hawai‘i.

Onishi has worked for the County of Hawai‘i for 29 years, including eight years on the Hawai‘i County Council. From 2008 to 2016, Onishi served as chair of the council’s committee on Environmental Management; chair of the committee on Governmental Relations and Economic Development and; vice chair of the Committee on Public Works and Parks and Recreation.

Onishi has also worked for the Hawai‘i State Association of Counties, and most recently as interim president and chief professional officer of the Hawai‘i Island United Way.

“Fresh was born and raised in Hilo and has spent most of his life serving the people of Hawai‘i Island. I know that he will continue his exemplary service through the Office of the Governor,” said Gov. Ige.

“I will always work hard for the people to make the Big Island a better place to live,” Onishi said.

Onishi is a graduate of Hilo High School and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

He starts his new position on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018.