Letters — What’s Pono For Our Children?

I have a deep respect for professionals in the trenches assisting in combating the cruelty of child abuse in all its devastating forms. At the beginning of my teaching career, twenty some years ago at Kapiolani Elementary School, I experienced little innocent children who were gestated on crack cocaine. It’s not pretty to have to deal with child abuse, or any abuse, and the folks that work in this area deserve our greatest respect and support.

Today, a ceremony was hosted by the East Hawaii Coalition for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. The public was invited in an effort to promote community action against child abuse and neglect. After representatives of the Governor and Mayor made their proclamations of April 2013 as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month, a brief presentation was given. The presentation amounted to bringing members of the audience up to stand and represent various people in the life of an 8 year-old girl.

The scenario that begins the hypothetical young girl’s descent into a much neglected future, is her father getting into a car accident. His drug use is exposed through the drug test resulting from his crash. This leads to him being terminated from his employment. He sits around, gets worse (not specified), and the mother moves away with the child. At this point the father, willingly or otherwise, apparently has no more relationship to his daughter.

As a result of these circumstances, the erosion of the girl’s support system is portrayed through various means; such as the loss of her previously involved paternal grandparents, the mother’s new work necessity resulting in less presence in her child’s life, the emergence of a drinking/drugging “friend”, and a teacher’s disappearance from the girl’s life. Social isolation was indicated as key to this girl’s dangerously compromised future.

Given the past 15 months of the forced neglect inflicted upon my 3 1/2 year-old daughter and me, it was haunting to witness such a scenario. Furthermore, the scenario was indicated as typical of instances of dysfunction in Puna leading to child abuse and neglect.

Observing this presentation was also revealing as to the legal defense that has thus far succeeded in allowing the improper removal of my child to the mainland to persist. If this is perceived as typical of the dynamics of child abuse, it would also be the recipe for a defense lawyer advocating for a parent attempting to get away with improper treatment of a child. In my daughter’s case, I contend that this treatment is emotional neglect of our child through what is termed custodial interference. There is a very defined “affirmative defense” for this violation. An attorney hired to represent a parent not having this affirmative defense in any manner, has a template for the most typical scenario of child neglect — false allegations notwithstanding. This is an unfortunate and unintended consequence of the professional systems for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Beyond obvious concerns for my own child, as a community, it seems that we ought to consider this potential impact on our kids.

At the end of Paul Normann’s presentation, he asked the audience if anyone had any questions. One child advocate had a real nuts and bolts question, to which she was invited to inquire later. The presentation was concluded.

My experience for the past 15 months is surely not unique: A parent takes a child from her home by not returning from what was an agreed upon visit to the mainland. In Family Court, the left-behind parent, attempting to mitigate the emotional impact on the child — to have her rightfully returned — is denied this motion. The allegations made to persuade the judge are utterly false. I don’t do drugs and I have an entirely adequate home. An absurd and shameless allegation — that my child and her mother “lived separate in a one-room cabin for most of the child’s life” is disprovable on its face. However, as “social isolation” is linked to child maltreatment; such a false perjurious statement need apparently be made in the adversarial courtroom, where advocacy for contesting parties is just that and nothing more.

However, my three and a half year-old little girl is entirely innocent and deserving of continuing her completely healthy childhood here. She has been deprived of having her verifiably high-functioning father present for one-third of her life. Various research indicates profound emotional injury that may result from this broken bond with her father. She deserves to have both parents participating in her life. However, one of them chose to retain her, thousands of miles from her home and parent in Hawaii. Hawaiian law such as the UCCJEA plainly defines a role for law enforcement to remedy this violation, and with the child’s welfare at the forefront.

I was in no position to ask questions after today’s presentation. It’s a pretty heart-wrenching topic, and I do well just to be able to keep my emotions in check when discussing this with family or friends, let alone strangers. Witnessing this illustration of the typical view of a father and daughter’s dysfunctional lives was difficult, to say the least. Still, I have some questions for our East Hawaii Coalition for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. If these questions or subsequent discussion is of any benefit to other families, some good will have come from the devastation that my daughter and I have experienced thus far.

Is anybody in your coalition willing and able to assist my child in her perilous situation?

Is my daughter’s and my experience in this crisis, pono? If not, can anyone help?

For further information please see:

Mahalo to the East Hawaii Coalition for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, as well all community members committed to our children’s wellness.


Hilo News — Downtown Hilo Is Ready For Merrie Monarch Hula Festival

(Media release) — The Hilo Downtown Improvement Association and all the businesses in Downtown Hilo have worked hard to create an inviting and exciting venue for all participants and residents to celebrate the 50th year of Merrie Monarch Hula Festival.

To prepare for this auspicious anniversary, DIA volunteers and staff have been busy over the last month cleaning sidewalks and planted areas, painting the metal trash and recycle receptacles, and otherwise sprucing up the streets and access points.  This crew also assisted Merrie Monarch coordinators to install 28 vertical banners commemorating the 50th year on Kamehameha Avenue. For their part, over 30 businesses are decorating their windows in honor of the festival and Hawaiian Culture creating a feast for the eyes and offering some of the best shopping ideas.  Read more

Puna News — Police Special Response TeamTalks Out Barricaded Suspect

(Media release) — Hawai?i Island police are investigating an incident involving a barricaded subject in the Eden Roc subdivision in the Puna District.

Shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday (March 26), Puna officers responded to a call of an armed man in a home on Ahi Avenue. The suspect allegedly threatened the occupants of the house with a firearm. Responding officers determined that he was unwilling to voluntarily surrender.

The department’s Special Response Team tactical unit was activated and responded to the location. Police determined that a 35-year-old relative had managed to exit the house. She informed police that a 55-year-old man was preventing his wife from leaving the structure and was armed with multiple weapons.

Negotiations ensued. As a result, the suspect surrendered to police without incident, and the 55-year-old woman was found unharmed.

At 3:45 p.m., Special Response Team officers arrested 55-year old Jeffrey K. Canabantan, of Eden Roc. He is being held in the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section and Juvenile Aid Section conduct further investigation in this incident, which is classified as a first-degree unlawful imprisonment and first-degree terroristic threatening.

(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Puna News — HMSA Acquires Shipman Land For Kea’au Office Building

HMSA Kea’au rendering courtesy of Robyn Kuraoka.

(Media release) — To improve service for East Hawaii residents, the Hawai‘i Medical Service Association (HMSA) will start development of a new office building in the heart of Keaau town on two acres recently acquired from W.H. Shipman, Limited. The relationship between HMSA and Shipman began three years ago when HMSA representatives started looking for land for new customer service, sales, and call center operations.

“This is an investment in the health care infrastructure on Hawaii Island,” says Steve Van Ribbink, HMSA chief financial and services officer. “HMSA opened its first Hawaii Island office in 1946. Since then, we’ve grown our operations to include 45 employees in three separate offices.” The choice of Keaau shows a continuation and even acceleration of job growth in Puna, noted Shipman President Bill Walter.

“What we’re seeing are good quality jobs coming to Puna, which is important for Keaau and Puna,” said Walter, pointing to the Department of Education school complex and Big Island Bio Diesel as recent examples. “HMSA was looking for a location that would be readily accessible and have the convenience of a small town.”

The new two-story building will be located at the corner of Old Volcano and Keaau-Pahoa Roads. Shipman has retained the front portion of the property to provide retail services. Parking for both the HMSA office and future retail space will be accessible from both Old Volcano Road and the entrance to the Shipman gym.  The 20,000 square-foot complex is expected to be ready for business by the end of  2014 and the building’s design will be reminiscent of the plantation era, with gabled roofs, ample overhang, and breezeways.

“HMSA embraced our desire to have plantation-style buildings in the village,” Walter said. “They understand that what we’re trying to build here is something that will have a lasting and memorable character to it, something that will draw people in and create a destination,” Walter said. “We see HMSA as a company that is going to contribute to building a family-oriented, health-oriented, and friendly, livable community.”

HMSA is a nonprofit, mutual benefit society founded in Hawaii in 1938. It is governed by a community board of directors that includes representatives from health care, business, labor, government, education, clergy, and the community. HMSA is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit hmsa.com.

W.H. Shipman, Limited, is a family-owned company vested in Keaau with more than 16,000 acres and a 130-year history in Puna. Engaged in land stewardship, commercial/industrial development and leasing, including the lease of agricultural lands, W.H. Shipman, Limited’s, growth is at the pace of East Hawaii’s. Building character and quality companies are chief concerns for W.H. Shipman, Limited.

(Submitted by Robyn Kuraoka.)

Photo of the Week — Shaka And A Smile For Pohoiki’s Solar Farm

Electrical engineer Raj Budhabhatti of Greenpower Solutions gives a shaka today to Big Island Chronicle, at the blessing of a solar farm in Puna today. Greenpower Solutions LLC designed the solar farm to produce energy, food, and employment — three priorities for the state of Hawai`i. The plant located on Pohoiki Road, a stone’s throw away from Puna Geothermal Venture, is composed of 400 solar panels mounted on 9-foot tall structures. The structures act as a frame for a greenhouse and aquaponic food growing system. Electricity is produced from the plant and is sold to HELCO under a 20 year feed-in-tariff contract. The plant will produce enough energy to supply about 25 homes in Puna. (Photo by Tiffany Edwards Hunt. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.)

Letters — On A Mission To Drive Down Electricity Costs


I attended the recent Senate hearing where HB106, and HB932, were defeated. I thought the whole point was “Home Rule.” Both bills were very similar and the Big Island Community Coalition supported both.
Here is testimony I submitted re: HB106:

Aloha Chair Gabbard and Vice Chair Ruderman:

The Big Island Community Coalition (BICC) is strongly in favor of HB106 HD2, SD1. 

The BICC steering committee members are Dave DeLuz, Jr., President of Big Island Toyota; John E. K. Dill, Chair of the Ethics Commissions; Rockne Freitas, former Chancellor, Hawai‘i Community College; Michelle Galimba, Rancher and Board of Agriculture member; Richard Ha, farmer, Hamakua Springs; Wallace Ishibashi, Royal Order of Kamehameha; Ku‘ulei Kealoha Cooper, Trustee, Kealoha Estate;  D. Noelani Kalipi, who helped write the Akaka Bill; Ka‘iu Kimura, Director of Imiloa Astronomy Center; Robert Lindsey, OHA; H. M. (Monty) Richards, Rancher; Marcia Sakai, Vice Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo; Kumu Lehua Veincent, Principal, Kamehameha High School, Kea‘au; William Walter, President, Shipman Estate. All speak here in their private capacity.

Our mission is to drive down the cost of electricity on the Big Island. The cost of the Big Island’s electricity has been 25 percent higher than O‘ahu’s for as long as we can remember. Yet the Big Island has the lowest median family income in the state. Three school complexes in East Hawai‘i lead the state in free and subsidized school lunches: Pahoa at 89 percent, Ka‘u at 87 percent and Kea‘au at 86 percent.

Education is the best predictor of family income. But because the Big Island’s electricity rate is 25 percent higher than O‘ahu’s, we waste more than $250,000 annually in some of our school complexes. 

The cost to generate electricity from geothermal is less than half that of oil. And because the Big Island will be over the hot spot for more than 500,000 years, that cost will be relatively stable – unlike the cost of oil, which will rise in the not-too-distant future.

I asked Carl Bonham, Executive Director of the UH Economic Research Organization, if it is fair to conclude that if geothermal were the primary base power for the Big Island, then the Big Island would become more competitive to the rest of the world as oil prices rise? He said, Yes, we would become more competitive. I concluded, and he agreed, that our standard of living would then rise. And that our working homeless could get off the streets.

We all need to work together to make things work. Get thousand reasons why no can! We only looking for the one reason why CAN!

Richard Ha

BICC Steering Committee Representative

Puna News — Governor Neil Abercrombie To Attend Blessing Of Pohoiki Photovoltaic Solar Farm

Date: Saturday, March 23, 2013

Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
(Governor Abercrombie will be in attendance from 11:15 a.m.)

Location: 13-808 Pohoiki Road, Pahoa, HI 96778 (please park on street)

This Saturday Governor Neil Abercrombie will be in attendance to oversee the initial launch and blessing of the Pohoiki PV Solar Farm in Puna. Aunty Mahealani Henry will conduct the blessing, and music will be provided by Dewi Maile Lim and Friends.

Greenpower Solutions LLC designed the solar farm to produce energy, food, and employment-  three priorities for the state of Hawai`i. The plant is composed of 400 solar panels mounted on 9′ tall structures. Read more

Hawaii News — Police Warn Against Car Break-ins

(Media release) —  Hawai?i Island police are warning the public about a recent rash of car break-ins.

During the months of January and February, 35 cars were entered illegally at parks, shopping centers and homes in the South Hilo District. Of those, 27 auto break-ins involved cars or trucks that had been left unlocked. The remaining eight involved locked vehicles that had been forced open after valuable items had been left in plain view.

During the same time period, police in Kona responded to 31 cases of unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, and Puna officers responded to 25.

Captain Robert Wagner urges citizens to lock their cars, even those parked at home, and to remove all valuables. “If you lock your vehicle doors and don’t leave items of value in plain view, it is highly unlikely you will be the victim of a car break-in,” Wagner said. “Also, car break-ins in many cases contribute to identity theft, as thieves often target vehicles with purses left in plain view.”

In addition to thefts of items from within vehicles, Wagner said, some thieves steal the cars when keys are left in the ignition—often when the owners make a quick stop at the store.

Police advise the public to take the extra steps of removing car keys and valuables and locking car doors.

(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Puna News — Reminder Ainaloa Informational Meeting is Friday

(Republished media release) —  Council Member Zendo Kern has scheduled a Community Informational Meeting at the Ainaloa Longhouse for Friday, March 22, 2013 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The meeting is set to discuss the proposed implementations and improvements by the Department of Public Works to the Ainaloa Longhouse parking lot to address pedestrian and vehicular safety in the area. It is open to the public.

“The Ainaloa Longhouse is a long-standing facility in the community where residents have gathered for over 30 years. Safety in and out of this area is an important priority,” said Council Member Kern. “We look forward to discussing this project with the public.”

For further information, please contact the Office of Council Member Zendo Kern at 961-8536.

 (Submitted by Dennis Kauka Jr.)

Puna News — Puna Pono Alliance Meeting Regarding PGV Blowout Is Saturday

Puna Pono Alliance is calling a community meeting this coming Saturday, March 23, 4pm at the Akebono Theatre.

We are calling this meeting as a result of the recent incident at PGV when venting occurred. We are  inviting The Civil Defense, the Mayor, PGV, Harry Kim, Senator Russell Ruderman and Representative Faye Hanohano to hear the communities concerns and hopefully to create a plan for the future.

It is our hope that we will find a way forward to ensure the community feels safe and in the case of these kinds of incidents knows what to expect and what to do.

Please come to this meeting bringing your neighbors and friends.  

We will have a table where we will be collecting information from people about their experience last Wednesday and how they were affected by this incident.
Barb Cuttance
Puna Pono Alliance
Hawaii Alliance (HA)
Working for all Hawaii

Puna News — Boy, 3, Fatally Injured After Playing In A Truck

(Media release) — A 3-year-old Hilo boy died Friday (March 15) from injuries he received
after being run over by a truck in the Eden Roc subdivision in
Mountain View.

The boy was identified as Treston S.C. Crowley, of a Hilo address.

Responding to a 3:26 p.m. call, Puna patrol officers determined that the
child was playing in a 1993 Dodge pick-up truck when he either put or
knocked the shifter into gear.

The vehicle started to roll back in the driveway at which time the boy
jumped out and was run over by the vehicle.

The child was taken to the Hilo Medical Center by Fire Rescue personnel where he was pronounced dead at 4:31 p.m.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a coroner’s inquest case and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Being that this death occurred on private property, it is not counted toward the official traffic fatality count.

(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Politics — A Questionnaire For Monsanto, The Accompaniment To A Print Column

Photo courtesy of Justin Avery

(Editor’s note: Following are questions Justin Avery posed to a representative to Monsanto this weekend, after he attended the widely attended Bayfront protest Saturday.  This questionnaire is an accompaniment to his written piece on the anti-GMO political movement, which will appear  in the upcoming print edition with Alan McNarie’s synopsis of the March Against Monsanto event. Avery is a resident of Hilo where he works as an independent writer and consultant.  He was involved in the organization of the Monsanto protest, and is generally active with Global Hope.)

Hi Carol,

Thank you for getting back in touch with me. Below are a few questions for The Big Island Chronicle. My deadline is Sunday, March 17th at 12 noon. Please call or email for any clarification on the questions.

Thank you,

With Aloha,

Justin (Avery)

Here are a few questions:

1.  What is Monsanto’s response to the March in March to Evict Monsanto, the march and rally taking part on 5 Hawaiian islands during the month of March?

Our number one concern is for the safety of everyone involved, including that of drivers passing by on the highway, pedestrians, employees and protesters. We’re cooperating with the police and doing what we can to help.

We respect everyone’s right to voice their opinion. Unfortunately, we’ve heard many misleading and factually incorrect statements made about genetically engineered foods.

We realize the topic is complex, and that people have questions. We are committed to transparency and are happy to have an open, respectful dialogue with anyone genuinely interesting in taking the time to learn more about who we are and what we do.

2.  I have read a 2009 report about Hawaii’s Seed Crop Industry by Thomas Loudat PhD and Prahlad Kasturi PhD.  I was wondering how many full and part time employees work for Monsanto in the State of Hawai’i?

Currently, Monsanto employs approximately full-time 680 employees on Maui, Molokai and Oahu.

3.  I read that the Seed Crop Industry brings in over $212 million dollars in sales.  How is that calculated when Hawai’i lands are mainly used for R&D and maintaining “parent lines” by the seed industry?

This figure you quote represents Hawaii seed industry’s operating expenditures.

4.  What are Monsanto’s overall contributions to Hawaii social programs?  How do you choose the correct beneficiary?

The community efforts that Monsanto’s supports are primarily at the recommendation of our employees. Occasionally Monsanto’s significant monetary contributions to charitable entities are augmented by our generous employees.

5.  Is the Seed Industry expected to grow here in the next 5-10 Years?  What is the projected rate of growth?

6.  Is Monsanto working to create proprietary seed for drought tolerant or increased nutritional profile?  How many years will it take to create these types of plants?

7.  How does Monsanto address the problem of Superweeds on Molokai and Kauai?

8.  How is Monsanto addressing the problem of soil erosion (into the reef or airborne soil dust storms) on the Island of Molokai?

Top soil is an extremely valuable resource to farmers, and Monsanto currently uses several best management practices to protect against soil loss from its fields. The company has resource conservation plans in place at all of its farms in Hawaii to help prevent soil erosion from wind (dust) or water (runoff).

Some of the company’s best management practices include: cross slope grass plantings, diversion terraces, cover crops, grass barrier strips, windbreaks, spraying water on dirt roads, and as the company is able to, laying gravel on high traffic roads. Under excessive wind conditions, Monsanto halts all tillage activity until weather conditions improve.

Monsanto has also been working to incorporate strip tilling at its local farms. Strip tilling is a soil management practice that reduces the number of passes a tractor needs to make across a field in order to prepare an area for planting. This, in turn, reduces dust and fuel consumption. When it’s time to replant a field, specialized equipment is used to till only the strips of soil where the rows of corn will be planted. The spaces in between rows are left intact.

Monsanto has planted windbreaks at its Molokai farm, including Cook pines, kukui trees and a native hardwood shrub `a`ali`i. As these plants mature, they will offer additional protection from the wind.

The severe drought, limited rainfall and very windy conditions that have impacted the islands for months have made the situation exceptionally difficult.

Monsanto is committed to addressing this issue.

9.  When does Monsanto expect to begin operations on Hawai’i Island.

At this time, Monsanto does not have plans to operate on the Hawaii Island.

 For the following questions please see this study:

and this article

 1.  Currently, Monsanto’s GMO products tested and grown in Hawaii are intended to maximize the effect of Roundup and other glyphosphate products, isn’t that correct?

2.  Isn’t it true that recent scientific studies show that glyphosphate is contaminating aquifers, wells and springs nationwide and worldwide?

3.  Isn’t it true that glyphosate actually doesn’t break down rapidly in the environment, and is continuously building up in concerning quantities?

4.  Isn’t it true that although glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we know very little about its long term effects to the environment?

Guest Column — Mililani Trask Responds To Harry Kim

By Mililani Trask

Ho’o Puni Puni Harry Kim for not telling folks the truth about HB 106 & why it is not getting a hearing in the Senate.

If you want to see what the real HB 106 said, you should go back to the beginning of the legislative session & read  it.You will see that the 2 Bills are not at all the same. After the real HB 106  passed thru two joint hearings in the House and was supported by several House Committees, it became the victim of a “gut & replace” effort that deleted the language that had been approved by the House Committee’s & replaced it with new language prepared by environmentalists & their supporters, including Harry Kim.

Read more

Politics — Testify On Legislation To Transfer Medical Marijuana Program To Department Of Health


Aloha everyone,

The Senate Health and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs (PSM) Committees have scheduled a hearing for HB 668, H.D. 2, a bill that would move the jurisdiction of the medical cannabis program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health.  You may have already testified on this bill when it was heard in the House. You can recycle your prior testimony if you like by just changing the details of the hearing (Committee, time, chairs, etc.). Read more