***Commentary*** And The Most Intriguing Person In Hawaii County In 2010 Is…

… Brittany Smart.  I put out a call for nominations for the Big Island Chronicle’s award of the most intriguing person in Hawaii County in 2010, and most people agreed with the thought that I had before putting out the call.  When Smart first told me that she was running for Hawaii County Council against incumbent Guy Enriques for the District 6 seat that stretches from Upper Puna, Ka’u and South Kona, I have to tell you honestly, I was skeptical.  I did not imagine that she would do as well as she did in the Primary, beating Enriques, and, when she won the General Election in November, I was floored.  I thought for sure that Enriques had all the political backing he needed to when a second term on the Council.  I took for granted the power of the people.  The people of District 6 decided that they wanted a 27-year-old University of Hawaii political science graduate with an idealism we should all strive to have.

Yes, sure, I do agree with those of you who suggested that 104-year-old Saramae Landers, said to be the oldest woman in Hawaii County, is quite intriguing.  I am in awe of Landers and try to give kudos to her on this blog as often as I can.  I will be celebrating with the rest of you when she turns 105 this spring.  I just think that Smart is worthy of the “most intriguing person” title this year for the fact that she took us all by such surprise in surfacing the way she did in Hawaii County politics.  I mean, here is this office manager for EKO Systems, the company with the contract for handling the county’s greenwaste program, taking on the County Council incumbent who is personal friends with the mayor and had U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye attend one of his campaign rallies in Pahala.  It was fascinating to watch, whether you were a political pundit or a junkie.  And the mystery and intrigue of it all between the Primary and General Elections kept us all quite captivated.  That to me qualifies as intriguing.

I am relieved to know that someone like her, who worked as an office manager for EKO Systems, and as intern for Department of Environmental Management before that, is in public office at a time when our elected officials really do need to be taking on the task of figuring out what to do with the unlined South Hilo Sanitary Landfill, amongst other solid waste and wastewater issues.  I think Smart has the energy, passion and drive to actually take up the bigger issues that need to be addressed.  I also think she is already proving to be quite responsive, having her staff follow up with folks like me who are interested in the more mundane, but still important, issues like posted speed limits along commuter routes.

Best of luck to Brittany and the rest of the County Council this term.  And best of luck to Saramae Landers, who, we can refer to as the runner-up for most intriguing person in Hawaii County in 2010.  She may very well be the most intriguing person of 2011 if she continues to defy the odds of aging and impresses us with her stamina and good genes.

***Commentary*** Former Councilwoman’s Staffers’ Attempted Obama Interview In Kailua Goes Bad

Image courtesy of VisionwidGet

Sorry, folks, I’ve been so wiped out from retail sales, gift wrapping, holiday gatherings and child rearing, I haven’t felt too creative to write.
Then a story like this comes along. I am moved to pull out my new iPad from Santa Claus and finger-peck details of our former Puna Councilwoman’s legislative aide, Roxanne “RJ” Hampton, former District 5 volunteer Sheryle “Sativa” Sulton and a third woman involved in their public access television crew who are on the cusp of making national news.
You really have to check out this story posted on KITV news’ website. It might actually be on the 10 o’clock news tonight. Watch and see.
I can only imagine that the story is going to spread like wildfire. These three idealists showing up in Kailua, hoping for some airtime with President Obama.  There are so many elements to this story, I don’t know where to begin. First off, it’s interesting that Hampton is called BJ and Sulton’s last name is reported to be Jones. As far as I know, it’s Sulton. Not sure what is the true identity of the third woman. But I don’t need to see the footage to know that this describes the Hampton and Sulton we know from the last couple of years in County of Hawaii politics.
Remember, this is the same duo that convinced our former Puna Councilwoman to go to the president’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.  Also, recall that Hampton was made fun of by a Washington, D.C. blogger when she sang for an inaugural ball “We’re off to see Obama” to the tune of Wizard of Oz. Read more

Guest Column — Religious Or Not, We All Die Of Something

By Patrick Walsh

On his return to work President Obama has a stack of documents that will require his signature to be law. The ‘lame’ session agreed to most everything on the president’s desk. Anything that the president wants to add can be simply done with his signature. One law that Congress took out will be slipped back in by the president. It gives doctors pay to help poor folks choose their suicide cocktail.

Congress disagreed with the import and removed the language out of the final version— it can now only become law by executive order.

Essentially a trolley cart is rolled in and a clipboard with a pen is passed around the room signed witnessed and the government is billed for half an hour. If you checked in “religious” it might take longer.

Here is a quote from 12|29|10 (Wall Street Journal — edited by tceh 12/31/10)

“…..Medicare tried to prevent the change from becoming public knowledge. The provision is buried in thousands of Federal Register pages setting Medicare’s hospital and physician price controls for 2011 and concludes that such consultations count as a form of preventative care.”

“Under highly centralized national health care, the government inevitably makes cost-minded judgments about what types of care are “best” for society at large, and the standardized treatments it prescribes inevitably steal life-saving options from individual patients. This is precisely why many liberals like former White House budget director Peter Orszag support government-run health care to control costs: Technocrats in government can then decide who gets Avastin for cancer, say, and who doesn’t.”

It seems to me that if you get really sick and you run out of money and you don’t run out of hope then your only option for extended care is to adopt a Patron.

“We have turned over $2.2 trillion of our money to those who manage our health care, without holding them accountable. Not surprisingly, these folks–hospitals, insurers, governments–used the money to benefit themselves … Only two stakeholders can fix this–you and I. We must take back our money, and we must decide how to spend it … We are in a war for control of $2.2 trillion. If we do not win it, our health and economy will go down in flames.” — Regina Herzlinger Professor, Harvard Business School


(Patrick Walsh is a farmer in Puna.)

Hilo News — Drowning Victim Was Noah Jolet Konelios

(Media release) —
A Big Island man who died of an apparent drowning Monday (December 27) at Pu’u Maile Beach Park in Hilo has been identified as 28-year-old Noah Jolet Konelios of Hilo.

Police and Fire Department personnell responded to a 1:26 p.m. report Monday of a swimmer in distress. The victim was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 2:40 p.m.
(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Letters — At Our Wits End In Fern Forest

Image courtesy of Mail Online

Open letter to Councilwoman Brittany Smart:
Aloha Brittany,

Mahalo for your commitment to improving our communities and for your service.

We live in the Fern Forest subdivision.  For years we have dealt with low flying helicopters on a frequent basis, but lately their frequency has reached a critical point.  We have counted; we get at least one direct fly over hourly, and typically about 2 flyovers that are not directly overhead, but can still be heard more than well, every hour.  This starts before 7am and does not let up until around 5pm.  These are LOUD, invasive fly overs.  If we’re talking on the phone, we have to wait until they are past to resume conversation.  Even if they are at or above the 500′ mark (which they often are not, even on clear days), the noise pollution is severe.

Many people move to the country for peace and tranquility.  We didn’t move next to an airport, we moved far away from town.  There is a peace that needs to be protected for the inhabitants of these areas.  While there is a ‘disclaimer’ paper regarding helicopter flyovers that is given island-wide in property sales, it begs the question, ‘Who paid to have that piece of paper included in every property transaction?  Is it legal?  Who sold our peace and quiet?  HOW DO WE GET IT BACK?  Who is profiting from these invasive fly-overs of our homes, other than the tour companies?  If no one or no group is, then we should have no problem changing things for the better, right?

Our quality of life is being severely and unfairly compromised by loud fly-overs, and for what?  These are not DEA helicopters.  They are not search and rescue.  And they are not HELCO line checkers.  They are largely tour helicopters that are making a large profit at resident’s expense.  They fly direct routes to Halemaumau vent and back, many, many times a day.  Of course we want to allow tourists to enjoy and see our island’s beautiful scenery, but not at our island inhabitants expense.  Do you agree?

I would like to propose a couple of considerations…  Preferably, the helicopter tours can be made to fly strict routes that travel along already noisy state highways, or along coastal routes.  If not, then I believe the tour companies should be made to pay impact fees to the neighborhoods their frequent flights negatively impact.  Perhaps if there wasn’t such a huge profit to be had, they would do the right thing and fly less invasive routes.

What can we do to bring this to the attention of people who can make it happen?  Enough is enough.  I can supply you with a day’s worth of video of these flights over our house and I believe I can get many others to do the same.  I don’t know a soul who wouldn’t sign a petition to these effects.

I want to emphasize, we aren’t arguing about any government, DEA, search and rescue or medical helicopters.  The sheer volume of helicopters is a very strong indicator that these are something else entirely.  Plus, when you see them as much as we do, you learn to differentiate who’s who.   I think you’ll agree, it’s past time to reign this chaos in.  Many thanks for your consideration, and we are very happy to have you representing our area!

Mahalo for your time and consideration.

Melissa Fletcher
Founder/Owner of
Yurts of Hawai’i, LLC
Office: (808)968-1483
Cell:  (808)895-8640

West Hawaii News — Police Probe Death Of Los Angeles Man; Body Discovered Christmas Day At Waikoloa Resort

(Media release) —
Big Island police are investigating the Christmas Day discovery of a body in West Hawai’i as a coroner’s inquest.

At 7:45 a.m. Saturday (December 25), police and fire personnel responded to a report of a body at a Waikoloa resort.

The body was identified as 50-year-old Aron Abrams of Los Angeles.

An autopsy to determine the exact cause of death is scheduled for Friday.

Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation.
(Submitted by the Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Kapa’au News — 72-Year-Old Man Charged With Attempted Murder After Christmas Eve Stabbing

(Media release) — A 72-year-old Kapa’au man has been charged with attempted murder and assault in connection with a stabbing in Kapa’au.

At 10:02 Friday (December 24), North Kohala patrol officers responded to a report of a stabbing at an apartment complex on Ainakea Drive.

Officers determined that the victim, a 90-year-old woman, was stabbed multiple times in her apartment. She identified her assailant as a neighbor who lives in the same complex. Officers located the neighbor and arrested 72-year-old Raymond Talisay on suspicion of attempted murder.

Fire Department rescue personnel took the victim to North Hawai’i Community Hospital, where she was confined and listed in stable condition.

At 9 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010, detectives with the Area II Criminal Investigations Section charged Talisay with one count of attempted second-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault. Talisay was held at the Kona Police Cellblock in lieu of $55,000 bail pending a court appearance scheduled for today, Monday, Dec. 27, 2010.
(Submitted by the Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Kona News — Do Yoga By Donation Or For Free On New Year’s Weekend

Image courtesy of Yoga Waves

(Media release) — You are invited to attend a special class on New Year’s Day 2011, 
Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Welcome in the New Year and support Big Island Yoga Center’s (BIYC) 
Marcia Carman Scholarship Fund 
with your donation. The Marcia Carman Scholarship Fund,
 founded in memory of BIYC Director, Marcia, provides scholarships for teacher trainings.  This will be an All-Levels class.

BIYC’s monthly free class to the community will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2010
. Come and bring a friend
. All those ages 16 and up are welcome. 
No previous experience required. BIYC teachers give their time free of charge for these classes. For any questions, please phone 329 YOGA (9642) or go to  www.bigislandyoga.com.

(Submitted by BIYC.)

Hawaii News — County To Recycle Holiday Trees

Photo by Tiffany Edwards Hunt. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

(Media release) — Keep our island green; recycle your holiday tree and greenery. Between Dec. 26, 2010 and Jan. 16, 2011, drop your trees at one of the following eight County of Hawaii Recycle and Transfer Stations: Hilo, Puakō, Kailua-Kona, Honoka‘a, Kea‘au, Keauhou, Waimea, and Wai‘ōhinu.

Trees and greenery should be free of all decorations, lights, tinsel and ornaments.  Please do not drop off artificial or flocked trees.

The County Solid Waste Division will collect them for chipping at one of the County Greenwaste Collection Sites in Hilo or Kona.

By chipping the trees and making the material available for use in gardens, the County can divert thousands of trees from our landfills and add valuable mulch to island soils. In addition, it will help reduce the illegal dumping of holiday trees.

Also, please recycle your Kadomatsu decorations — normally a combination of bamboo, pine and flowers, a tradition that began 600 years ago in Japan as a way of offering luck in the new year.

The County’s Treecycling Program and additional recycling and solid waste programs are available on the website at www.HawaiiZeroWaste.org.  For more information, contact the County Solid Waste Division at (808) 961-8270.

(Submitted by Sharron Henry.)

Hawaii News — Shimabukuro And Solomon Appointed To The Senate

Malama Solomon

(Media release) —  Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced two appointments to the State Senate:  Rep. Maile Shimabukuro to represent Senate District 21, and Malama Solomon, Ph.D., to represent Senate District 1.

Rep. Shimabukuro fills the seat left vacant by Congresswoman-elect Colleen Hanabusa, who represented the Waianae Coast.  Dr. Solomon replaces Dwight Takamine, who represented Hilo, Hamakua, and Waimea, before he was appointed by Governor Abercrombie as Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

“Maile and Malama were selected from a group of fine candidates with outstanding credentials,” Governor Abercrombie said.  “They are dedicated public servants who will help move the state forward in these difficult economic conditions.” Read more

Chic Eco — Harmonizing Humanity, Nature and Fashion

Pope John Paul II May 1920-April 2005

By Delia Montgomery

Interdenominational patriarch Bartholomew I, and notorious Vatican Pope John Paul II, agree that protecting our planet is a moral and spiritual duty. Bartholomew I is known as a “green patriarch” for proclaiming years ago that harming the environment is a sin.

Bartholomew, who presides in Istanbul, Turkey, was elected as ecumenical patriarch in 1991. He publicly linked spirituality with ecology after his 1997 trip around the Black Sea. Before then, religious environmental ethics were uncharted moral terrains. Read more

PUNA BULLETIN — Stolen In Pahoa Village: 1984 Honda Three-Wheeler

Image courtesy of ATVriders.com

Folks in Puna and beyond,

Sometime late last night and early this morning a thief or thieves stole a 1984 Honda ATC Big Red, or Three-Wheeler, from a friend’s house in Pahoa Village.  Tire tracks in the mud indicate the thief or thieves put the three-wheeler into the back of a truck or a van.  Anyone with information should call the police at (808) 935-3311 and refer to report number C10034910, or call Scott Kranson at (808) 895-5774 and receive a monetary reward for the bike’s return or information identifying the thief or thieves and leading to his, her or their successful prosecution.

***Commentary*** Thoughts From A Libertarian Queen On ‘Contempt Of The Governed’

Image courtesy of the Tenth Amendment Center

Did you see Dr. Ed Gutteling’s viewpoint piece published in the local newspaper on Dec. 17?  At the risk of being called a “libertarian queen” or a “crippled socialist whig” or other names to insult my politics, I have to tell you honestly that I largely agreed with Gutteling.  He’s the vice president of Conservative Forum for Hawaii.  And both he and the group as a whole are taking a stand against the erosion of civil liberties.  I consider myself to be a liberal minded person, but also see myself as a civil libertarian too.  I believe in less government than more.  Gutteling points out in his viewpoint three news items that have recently struck him — making him see how eroded our civil liberties really are:

— an update on the County of Hawaii’s cell phone ban, how there have been 700 citations and $119,800 collected in fines, and how everyone is supposed to be off their cell phones driving but the police officers tasked with enforcing the ban are among those exempt

— a piece on how the state Tax Department’s Special Enforcement Unit is cracking down on farms and what a hardship that is creating for small business owners

— an article on how the Homeland Security’s implementation of whole-body enhanced scanners at airports nationwide is creating unrest

“What’s the common theme here?” Gutteling asked.  “It’s not criminal selfish scoff-law behavior, it is the widespread and correct perception that our laws are increasingly both unjust, illogical, and harmful. A very large number of rational citizens view cell phone use in cars as both a safe and productive use of their time. When the ban is supposed to prevent dangerously inattentive driving, but scientific studies show no difference between using hand-held and hands-free cellphones, or a claim is made that each is as dangerous as drunk driving, all credibility is lost. Will the state ban conversation in vehicles next?

“When taxes get too high and too pervasive, wide spread cheating becomes the norm. The tax Special Enforcement Unit has gone to restaurants, gas stations, contractors, farmers’ markets, florists, shopping centers, and next to bed & breakfasts. The dirty little secret lately is that nearly every business that deals in a cash transaction now hides their receipts. It’s not greed, it’s survival.
“When the public correctly see the US “security theater” approach as both an ineffective way to keep them safe, and needlessly compromising personal dignity, an ’emperor has no clothes’ moment arrives. Read more

***Commentary*** The Best And Worst Of 2010 — Personally, Locally, Statewide And Nationally

I’d like to recap 2010, from a personal vantage point, looking at Hawaii County, at the State of Hawaii and at the national level.  I, of course, got pregnant with our second child, a boy, so that has to rank pretty high on my Best of 2010 list.  Worst of 2010, well, it’s difficult to think what has been really bad for me this year — I guess dealing with the Bay Clinic obstetrician and administration, and having the letdown that I couldn’t affect change with the Hilo obstetrician good old boy club and at the Hilo Medical Center in time to give birth at that hospital with the assistance of a midwife.  It’s been pretty inconvenient traveling from Pahoa to Waimea and back for prenatal appointments, but I’m pretty adaptable.  I love the Waimea Women’s Center staff and will be happy to give birth at the Full Birthing Unit of the North Hawaii Community Hospital if I decide against the home birth option.  I also had a puppy die on me.  That was pretty bad.

Worst of 2010 in the county, that’s a difficult one.  Nothing that devastating has happened.  Of course, we have seen a bad economy this year. I know plenty of people who are without jobs and who are wondering how they are going to put toys under the tree for their keiki — that’s pretty bad.  Also, if you were one of those people whose homes were overtaken by the lava flow in Kalapana, 2010 was not a good one.  People we know have died — personally I can think of Paul Courier who died body boarding at the New Beach in Kalapana and Marcia Reynolds who passed away after complications with heart surgery.  Regardless of your thoughts about the afterlife or lack thereof, death can be difficult for those who remain.  Countywide, it really is hard to say what has been the worst of 2010.  Japan Airlines deciding it wasn’t going to offer direct flights into and out of Kona — that was a pretty big blow here. With local politics, the shenanigans of our then-Council majority — that had to have been the worst.

As for the Best of 2010 in Hawaii County, in my mind, it was the elections we just saw in November.  We saw some great, big changes with our County Council; you could call it a redemption song for some wrongs that occurred in 2009 and in 2010 up until the election.  Statewide, at the risk of the inciting the conservatives who read my blog, I have to say that the election of Neil Abercrombie was pretty thrilling.  I was not at all enthralled by Mufi Hannemann or James “Duke” Aiona.  Best of 2010 for the State of Hawaii, in my mind, had to be the elections, too.  I was so glad when Abercrombie made ending those hideous school furloughs among his very first orders of business. Worst of 2010, well, I would have to say the economy tops the list for the state.

Nationally, regarding the worst of 2010, hands down, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill tops my list. So far, that actually qualifies for the worst of this decade.  Best of 2010, well, I guess, with my liberal tendencies, I would have say the health care reform legislation that was passed in March.

I honestly would love for this to be an exercise that we complete together.  In your mind, what was the best and worst of 2010, for you personally and for us as a county, state and nation?