Kona News — A Grand Reopening For Sheraton Kona

Lily Dudoit, Sheraton Kona director of culture and leisure activities (L), Schack Von Rumohr, Sheraton Kona director of operations, Steve Lindburg, Sheraton Kona general managr, Lily Kong, a kupuna from the area, Sig Zane, Kyle Chock, Kamehameha Investment Corporation president, Angelina Preza, Sheraton Kona director of sales and marketing, and Michaela Larson, Kona Sheraton concierge, pose for a photo following the rebirth ceremony Friday, Aug. 31. Photo by Tiffany Edwards Hunt. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

(Media release) —Following a traditional Hawaiian blessing at noon, today, Friday, Aug. 31, Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa, a 22-acre oceanfront resort on Hawaii, the Big Island, was renamed Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.
Keauhou means “new beginning” in the Hawaiian language and the Kona Coast’s most iconic resort has concluded an extensive $16-million renewal which will reestablish Sheraton Kona as the crown jewel of the community. Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa will have its own singular identity and be recognized for its unique geographical location and sense of place on the Kona Coast at Keauhou Bay.
Considerable resources went into not only revitalization of the resort’s physical plant but also into efforts to better connect guests with the area’s rich history to share more meaningful, authentic experiences with them. Significant enhancements to guestrooms, public areas and meeting spaces were guided by culturally-based designs by renowned Hawaii designer Sig Zane.  New oceanfront dining concepts include Rays on the Bay, which opens Sept. 9. Other renewal highlights:
Enhanced arrival experience, lush landscaping, refurbished port cochere, and the Silversword lobby bar now hosting daily Sheraton Social Hour wine tastings
Flying Fish – retail and guest activity center – the portal for access to experiential island activities
Ainakai – bay view breakfast service daily. The improved space available for afternoon and evening social gatherings, wedding receptions, meetings and group functions
Paakai Point – the ideal spot for leisure, relaxation, and elegant sunset events and weddings
Guestrooms – new paint, carpeting, flat-screen TVs. Suites, ocean and partial ocean rooms brightened with the addition of Sig Zane’s visual art inspired by the ulu, or breadfruit tree, which is also represented throughout the resort and woven into team member’s attire
Suites – Addition of 10 for a total of 24
Meeting space enlivened with colorful Zane-designed carpeting, state-of-the-arts Audio Visual equipment and new seating
Fitness Center now boasts Sheraton’s Core Performance® brand standard equipment.
Extensive cultural offerings include complimentary historical and cultural tours and daily activities
Visit SheratonKona.com.
(Submitted by Laura Aquino.)

Waimea News — Kanu o ka ‘Aina Celebrates Building Completions; U.S. Senators Inouye And Akaka To Attend Celebration Tuesday

(Media release) — Kanu o ka ‘?ina (KANU) New Century Public Charter School, with its nonprofit partner Kanu o ka ‘?ina Learning ´Ohana (KALO)  in Waimea, will celebrate the completion of two new buildings, H?lau Poki´i and H?lau Puke, on Tuesday, Sept. 4.  U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka will be among the dignitaries attending the celebration.

“We couldn’t be happier right now,” said Pat Bergin, KANU co-administrator. “It means so much to everyone involved – teachers, parents, volunteers and particularly our more than 250 students, to be together in such a special place in these beautiful new buildings.”

The two buildings, completed in time for the new school year, allow all KANU students to be accommodated together at Kauhale ‘?iwi O Pu‘ukapu.  The buildings occupy a site on Department of Hawaiian Homes Land and are part of KALO’s womb-to-tomb community based initiatives to support culture based education and the community.  Read more

Hilo News — Hilo Medical Center Gathering On Monday To Commemorate ‘National Rally For Change On Labor Day’

(Media release) —  A monumental uprising is on the horizon. Thousands of men, women and children will gather on Sept. 3 as part of a national movement. These rallies are being hosted in over 100 major cities, coast to coast, for Improving Birth’s “National Rally for Change on Labor Day.”

In Hilo, the rally will take place outside the Hilo Medical Center, at 1190 Waianuenue Ave., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3.

Thanks to the intricate nature of social media, ImprovingBirth.org has been able to organize a massive movement to bring awareness to the lack of evidence-based maternity care in the US. With supporters like talk show host Ricki Lake and sponsors such as “International Cesarean Awareness Network” and the “American Association of Birth Centers,” this is sure to be an impactful event.  Read more

Letters — Regarding The Theatre Of The Absurd Here On The Big Isle

Those staging this bad election tragicomedy should cancel this awful show. It has run on for long enough and we taxpayers/voters need relief now.
We simply cannot allow Hawaii County’s election to be further spoiled by another crippled drill conducted by the tandem of Jamae Kawauchi and Dominic Yagong who already should be gone following the terrible events of Aug. 11 and all that has transpired from then to now.
The worthless county council has no clue, no sense of responsibility and zero shame.
The mayoral finalists cannot legally intervene because that office is barred from doing so by the county charter, despite contrary claims from off- island critics that the incumbent was derelict for not acting weeks or months ago.
The legislature is not in session again until January 2013 – soon enough for needed structural changes but too late to salvage our General Election. We need not to further punish a generation of college students or service people by absentee ballot failure as witnessed in August. 
Poll must open on time, not 90 minutes later after many working people have lost their chance to participate. Thirteen, almost one third of the now existing precincts, failed to open at 7 a.m. and that was just a beginning of this electoral nightmare.
State laws were violated, ballot collections hazy and counting confusing and unobserved by independents.
We have a surly county clerk who is deficient, who casts blame on others and who never owns up to her multiple failures, yet is backed by a stonewalling, lame duck chairman. Together they have responded by a raft of lies, missteps and employed dysfunction, denial and delusion to the public and baffled Honolulu critics.
How state elections chief Scott Nago, who has been repetitively deceived by Yawauchi, can say (as he did last week) that the sides are coming together is a mystery. His statewide meeting Monday ended by being stiffed yet again. Yagong tried to fabricate it as yet another misunderstanding.
He has resorted to his usual plan B that when all else fails: beat up the messenger  — a trait he well established during his first term of office.
Nago has been slow to respond, failed to be proactive and has made some silly statements that the primary mess did not affect outcomes. I am sure first-time house candidate Kalei Akaka has strong contrary thoughts.

I doubt Nago knows the difference between Waimea and Waikoloa and the likely chance the difference in precinct behavior and management contributed to the contested state senate race in northwest Hawaii.

Only the governor can avert this pending disaster by employing his emergency powers BEFORE, not during or after November 6.
There also is the oft chance that a Pro Bono, public interest attorney or two might step forward and seek legal action based on a claim of persistent malfeasance.
We otherwise are doomed as is our democracy or any hope for a free, open and fair election.
Hugh Clark 08-30-12

Politics — Proposed Charter Amendment Ballot Questions Handed Over To State Office Of Elections

(Media release) — By letter dated Aug. 22, 2012 the Office of the County Clerk transmitted the ballot language for proposed amendments to the Hawai‘i County Charter to the State of Hawai‘i, Office of Elections. Please see (the following) letter and ballot language:

Dear Mr. (Scott) Nago:

Pursuant to section 11-119, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, please find attached six (6)

ballot questions for placement on the 2012 General Election ballot. The six (6) ballot

questions are for proposed amendments to the Hawai‘i County Charter as contained in

Ordinance No. 11-85, Ordinance No. 11-94, Ordinance No. 12-16, Ordinance No. 12-21,

Ordinance No. 12-70, and Ordinance No. 12-110, all duly adopted in accordance with

article XV of the Hawai‘i County Charter.

Read more

Politics — An Election Update From The Hawaii County Clerk

(Media release) — On Aug. 24, 2012 the Hawai‘i County Clerk met with the Attorney General’s Office to discuss Hawai‘i County’s Aug. 11, 2012, Primary Election precinct record books.  Following the meeting, she and the Chief Elections Officer, Scott Nago, spoke by telephone and agreed that the State of Hawai‘i, Office of Elections would keep the original Hawai‘i County record books and the Office of the County Clerk would be provided with photocopies.  Photocopies were received on Aug. 27, 2012.  The Hawai‘i County Clerk is in the process of examining the photocopies.

Also, on August 27, 2012, the State of Hawai‘i, Office of Elections held a voting equipment debriefing in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.  The Hawai‘i County Clerk has received questions concerning why she did not attend the voting equipment debriefing on August 27, 2012.  She did not attend the voting equipment debriefing on August 27, 2012 because she met with the voting equipment vendor’s Regional Manager and Island Representative in Hilo on August 22, 2012 at her request.

The meeting was a standard debriefing on the voting machines.  It was discussed with them that the voting machines ran well during the Primary Election and that the voting equipment vendor provided and continues to provide very effective service for Hawai‘i County.

Also, on August 28, 2012, the Office of the County Clerk received inquiries about the Elections Program Administrator, and her work status.  As stated continuously, the Office of the County Clerk does not provide comment concerning personnel matters.  There is no new information to report concerning this matter.

Note, the Hawai‘i County Clerk very much wants the public to know as stated previously and continuously, throughout this election, the public is the priority and every vote counts.  In furtherance of this message, the Office of the County Clerk, Elections Division, is committed to working in partnership with the Chief Elections Officer and the State Office of Elections and the public to ensure a secure, open and honest election on November 6, 2012.

(Submitted by Jamae Kawauchi.)

Letters — Repeal The PLDC

Repeal the PLDC

Unbelievable. The State Public Land Development Corporation, under the auspices of the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources, wants to be able to invest tax dollars in private, select companies that could go belly up and have taxpayers stuck with the bill plus clean up costs. Remember the $250K DBEDT race car that blew up? This doesn’t sound like a good deal to me. So much is wrong with the PLDC, with so little public oversight and neighbor islanders shut out of the process – exempting select private companies from many zoning, cultural, land use, public access, environmental, county charter, CDP’s, and building code laws; the PLDC may be a costly travesty to every family in Hawai’i. So much for the “free market”. I received no special exemptions. This sounds like socialism for the 1% to me.

I just read two DLNR employees were caught stealing $150,000. How many more are stealing in other depts.? And they want to start selling off public land to make up the shortfall? I have zero faith that the DLNR/PLDC Is capable of handling more money and power if they don’t notice $150K missing and can’t oversee two wayward employees, not to mention, leasing twenty three thousand acres at Pohakuloa for about a penny a year to toxic polluters, which will eventually cost us billions to clean up – but that’s another story. 
William and Neil, I used to be so proud of you. Repeal the PLDC 2013 – it’s a new day, we’re broke and have no more to give you. Congress and Wall Street gangsters have devastated the world economy and the PLDC hyenas will strip what’s left of the meat off our bones.

Shannon Rudolph

Letters — Sept. 7 Reception At Waikii Ranch Club House For Hawaii Public Radio’s Kona Project

Reception for HPR’s Kona Project
Waikii Ranch Club House
Friday, Sept. 7, 2012
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Entertainment by Carly Smith
Catering by Lucky Puhi
Free Entry (suggested donation: $100)
RSVP to (808) 955-8821 (Maggie)

We are gathering folks for a special evening reception in beautiful Waikii to benefit HPR and its Kona Project.  The incomparable Carly Smith will play and sing (she closed the Waikii Music Festival this past June to rave crowds.  Some of her songs here.)   Our own ranch manager Lucky Puhi will cater.  Fine wines and beer will flow…

By now you’ve probably heard about HPR’s Hawaii Island West Transmitter Project (Kona Project for short!).  Its aim is to install a transmitter on the slopes of Hualalai that will provide a strong new HPR-2 signal for West Hawaii.  HPR’s Sherry Bracken and Gene Evans will be on hand at our reception to tell you more about the project.

Some folks in Waimea have asked if they can expect improved reception in Waimea, too and the answer is yes!  In addition to strengthening the HPR-2 signal from Captain Cook to Kona Airport, HPR expects that it will also reach up the Kohala Coast, including Kawaiahe, Waikoloa, Hawi and Waimea.  If you receive 101.5FM, you should be able to tune in to the new KHPH, 88.7FM.

Suggested minimum donation amount is $100 ( the entire amount is tax deductible – and if less is more do-able for you that’s fine.  Your presence is the main thing!)

Please join us in support of the HPR Kona Project! We look forward to seeing you.

With Aloha,

Tim Bostock, Melanie Holt and Heather Mueller

Hawaii News — Support Hawaii County Fire Department By Bidding On Sayre Foundation Online Auction Sept. 8

(Media release) — The Daniel R. Sayre Foundation is taking its fundraiser online. This year, instead of its gala dinner and silent auction, the community is asked to support the Hawaii County Fire Department by visiting the foundation’s website and bidding on a variety of items.

The online auction will be held on Saturday, Sept. 8, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time at www.DanielSayreFoundation.com.

In addition to the auction, supporters can go online and pledge financial support for the purchase of equipment and training items needed by the island’s fire and rescue personnel.

Due to professional commitments, Dr. Frank Sayre and Laura Mallery-Sayre, the founders of the Foundation, decided to hold a letter donation campaign and a virtual auction via the web site this year instead of a fundraising dinner.  The couple plan to resume the awards dinners and auctions August 31st, 2013. — Sharon Sakai

Hawaii News — Agricultural Use Dedication Program Deadline Is Sept. 4

The County Real Property Tax office would like to remind property owners that the deadline to petition the County of Hawai‘i for participation in the Agricultural Use Dedication program is Sept. 4, 2012 for the 2013-2014 tax year. For more details about the program or to obtain an application form, go to www.hawaiipropertytax.com or contact the Real Property Tax Office at 961-8201. — T. Ilihia Gionson

Puna News — Kapoho Beach Cleanup Is Friday

Friday 10 a.m., beach clean up out in Kapoho (near Champagne Ponds). This will be the first of 24 clean ups as the Hilo chapter of Surfrider Foundation teams up with NOAA to do a two-year survey/clean up of the beach looking for Japanese Tsunami Debris. The beach cleanups will be once a month. Free food and drinks will be served. Take KBC Road (off Red Road, near the Green Lake market/entrance) . — James Kuriyama

Hilo News — Hospice Of Hilo Seeks Volunteers For 23rd Annual ‘Light Up A Life’ In November And December

Hospice of Hi1o is looking for volunteers to help with its 23rd annual Light Up a Life hosted by Macy’s at the Prince Kuhio Plaza from November 23 to December 24.  “Each year, during the holiday season, we set up a Tree of Remembrance at each of the two Macy’s entrances in the mall to allow the community to honor loved ones by hanging a personalized commemorative ornament on the tree,” said Hospice of Hilo Volunteer Manager, Pearl Lyman.  She continues, “The ornaments are a symbolic connection with our loved ones and a reminder that they  remain alive in our hearts.”

Community volunteers are needed to provide support at the tables from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  and are scheduled to provide service in 2-3 hour shifts. “Volunteers are a vital to the Annual Light Up a Life, for over 22 years they have been at the tables helping with ornaments, being caring hearts, listening to stories and honoring the memories of loved ones in our community.  We couldn’t do it without these wonderful people,” said Lyman.

Please call Pearl Lyman at 969-1733 to volunteer your time at any one of the Trees of Remembrance. — Kim Arakawa

Politics — Dominic Yagong: Setting The Record Straight On The Elections Saga

Following is a correction box that appeared on the back page of today’s Hawaii Tribune-Herald. Among the corrections is the one Dominic Yagong referred to in an interview with Big Island Chronicle on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012.

Hawaii County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong confirmed Monday what state Office of Elections’ Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago said Sunday:  Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi did not meet with the State Office of the Elections on Friday; the Hawaii Tribune-Herald had got it wrong in a report on Saturday quoting Yagong.

Kawauchi was in Honolulu on Friday for a meeting at the Attorney General’s Office and an elections commissioner. Yagong did not which commissioner exactly.  He acknowledged that Kawauchi had not met with State Office of Elections as the Tribune-Herald reported, but she did call Nago asking for Hawaii County’s record books back.  (The State Office of Elections took Hawaii County’s poll books after a meeting with Kawauchi in Hilo on Tuesday, Aug. 14, three days after the Primary Election that Kawauchi has been accused of mismanaging — with 13 polling places opening late and precinct chairs saying this was the most “fouled up” election they have ever worked.)

Yagong, who has been acting as Kawauchi’s spokesperson in recent months, said Kawauchi is on vacation until Tuesday, Sept. 5.  She was at work on Monday, but is expected to be out this week.  Kawauchi has not responded to inquiries for comment from this reporter and others in the Big Island media.  Yagong acknowledged that that is a problem.  He said he has been her de facto spokesperson because it is his personal policy to respond to the media.

“She did definitely without a doubt meet with an election commissioner,” Yagong told BIC Monday, referring to Kawauchi.

“When I did speak with Jamae in Honolulu she said she had spoken with Scott Nago and asked about records. Scott was going to provide copies of record books.  I know he was going to make copies… Jamae said fine with that,” Yagong said.

Nago confirmed: “Neither I or anyone in the office met with Ms. Kawauchi on Friday. She did call me to request copies of her record books, but that was the extent of the phone conversation.”

As for what exactly Kawauchi discussed with the Attorney General’s Office and the unknown elections commissioner:

“Stuff came out at that meeting Monday,” Yagong said, referring to the Council’s Aug. 20 special meeting.  “She wanted to make sure she provided that information to AG.  With the irregularities right now, it was something that she wanted to give information to the AG to see if it warrants anything. She was sharing information.”

There is also a question about the poll books taken.  During the Council’s discussion Aug. 20, there was a question about who is legally entitled to the poll books.  Kawauchi wanted to offer to the AG’s office a recap of the Council’s special meeting, Yagong said.

(Big Island Chronicle expressed a desire for Yagong to speak frankly about really is going on with this continuing elections saga.) 

“What’s going on is there is a strong sincere effort by the state elections office and the county elections office to put aside differences,” Yagong said.  Yagong himself said he spoke with Nago and Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz on Tuesday, Aug. 21,  and agreed with the two of them:  “We cannot continue to have a public feud between the two offices… We have to put together a fair and honest election… It’s not going to solve anything to have both office point at each other…” Yagong said Kawauchi also spoke with Nago a week ago today, and that she expressed “no hesitation” about setting aside any differences between the two of them.

(Kawauchi, to Kona Tea Party members on Aug. 14 and to council members on Aug. 20, in offering an explanation for her mismanagement of the Primary Election, has blamed the deputy County Clerk and the State Office of Elections.)

Yagong said both Kawauchi and Nago realize that the election is “bigger than either of them… It’s bigger than any of us… It’s about voters being able to cast votes in a fair manner… We want everyone to make sure don’t lose focus on what is important. We’re getting back to ensuring we do not have problems” for the General Election.

(Yagong referred to a “fantastic” letter Nago apparently wrote recapping what they discussed last Tuesday. BIC has yet to see that letter.)

“It was a recap of what we talked about Tuesday… about personal differences being put aside and focusing on the election to come,” Yagong said.

Nago had suggested workshops for elections division workers, not just in Hawaii County but also in Kauai, Honolulu and Maui.  All the election division workers from all the different counties can get together and talk about best practices in each county.

“They really want to try to help support Hawaii County,” Yagong said. “She shared with Scott Nago the plan we have right now,” he said of Kawauchi.  That plan is, “meeting with all the different precinct chairs in districts and meeting with the distribution and collection coordinators, the warehouse people, the people in the control center… to really map out things that went wrong during Primary Election…” Yagong noted that there were a lot of workers who reported things were “smooth going” on Primary Election day.

Yagong said there are three things got to look at it, based on what was gleaned from the Council’s special meeting: the errors that occurred Primary Election day; the need for training — “we need to give more training for elections staff,” he said; and staffing. He noted that between now and Sept. 15, “the goal is to get everyone together, the people out in field, the front line. Map out what we need to do to make sure problems don’t happen again and support better, determine if staffing is adequate…”

From Sept. 17 to Sept. 23, County of Hawaii Elections Division staff chosen by Kawauchi will go to the different workshops coordinated by the state Office of Elections, Yagong said.  Then, from Sept. 23 through the month of October, Kawauchi intends to “bring in necessary training” and “recruit adequate staff,” according to Yagong.

He noted that, at the same time as this training and staff recruitment is taking place, absentee ballots will be coming in and the staff will be “busy.”

Regarding Yagong speaking for Kawauchi, Yagong said,  “All I know is when Tiffany Hunt emails me, I will get back to her… when Sherry Bracken emails me, I will get back to her…” noting he has always been responsive to the media throughout his tenure as council member.

“I will definitely tell you there are shortcomings there.  I hope to see improvements,” Yagong said of Kawauchi’s nonresponsiveness to reporters’ inquiries.

As for his Council aide accompanying Kawauchi to the Kona Elections Office at the West Hawaii Civic Center on Saturday, Aug. 4, Yagong said:

“That night Jamae went over to Kona… My understanding is she wanted to go — there was a question about absenteee ballots… She wanted to make sure she got possession of abseenttee ballots. She lives in Waikii… She found out (absentee ballots) were dropped off at Kona Elections… On her way down, she called Lali (Leslie Robinson, the Council aide to Yagong).  (Kawauchi) said she needed to get in the elections office… She wanted to try and get a hold of Kawena (Deputy County Clerk Steve Lopez)… She asked (Robinson) to give Odetta (Shimotsu — the temporary Kona Elections Division worker who was dismissed on Monday, Aug. 6) a call if (Robinson) was not able to get a hold of Kawena. (Kawauchi) told Lali to meet her there… That’s why you see the video… She asked Lali to get a hold of Kawena.  Lali called when they were coming down coast… 8:30, 8:45 — they kept trying to get a hold of Kawena… They went home… The next morning Kawena called Jamae… He said he could bring a key to Lali’s house… that morning… Kawena left the key with Lali…”

“I’ll tell you right now, I go to my office at 9:45 p.m.,” Yagong said.  “If look at video surveillance, you will find a lot of people burning the midnight candle… In terms of people working late at night, people do it all the time… They are working on their own time, it’s part of being dedicated workers… It’ not unusual at all… There are times when I am working until 11:30 p.m. and 12 midnight at night… in Kona… For me, I don’t keep track…”

As for Kawauchi choosing to collect the absentee ballots on a Saturday night, Yagong said, “I don’t find it odd… she is very thorough in things she does…”

“Would I have done same thing?… I am not sure…I venture to say it was after a long day of working in Hilo,” he said.

“Hopefully where this goes from here, and I mean this with all sincerity, I really want to make sure we refocus on what is important is that is the general election,” Yagong said.

He reiterated his conversation with Nago and lieutenant governor and how “glad” he is he spoke with them.  “I think that is where the people want the story to go — that we have a safe, secure, fair and honest election. A lot of stuff took place that doesn’t occur… A lot of stuff is fixable… It was disorganization and human error… People were supposed to put envelopes in for the precinct chair and they didn’t go in… someone messed up there. Yeah?  Whether it was human error and I gotta believe it is… you have to go back and recheck all that stuff… You confirm it and reconfirm…”

“The DCs (distribution and collection workers) left precinct cans behind… For some reason, three cans were left behind… I gotta assume human error, and we gotta make sure that doesn’t get left behind… We gotta confirm we have the amount of cans we need. Were there new people? Yes… Committing errors, yes. We gotta make sure doesn’t happen again…” the Council Chairman said.


***Commentary*** See Hawaii Reporter For Update On Tiffany Edwards Hunt’s Civil Defamation Case Against Tom Lackey

See Hawaii Reporter’s Monday, Aug. 27 report from Jim Dooley for details on Tiffany Edwards Hunt’s civil defamation case against Tom Lackey, including Third Circuit Judge Glenn Hara’s order that Lackey stop publishing “salacious cartoons and false comments” about Edwards Hunt and her family and their businesses.