Puna Community Medical Center Plans for the Pele Partition

From  Renee Siracusa:

“To provide readily accessible health care to the residents of and visitors to Puna” is the mission statement of the Puna Community Medical Center (PCMC) that operates the urgent care clinic in the Pahoa Marketplace. This was put to the test when the board of directors was faced with the imminence of lava bisecting the town of Pahoa. How to ensure continued accessibility for those residents south of the flow? The “how” of the equation was especially troubling to PCMC’s accountant, but the board decided that the commitment to the community was a higher priority than fiduciary responsibility to a tight budget. Indeed, PCMC has operated on the edge with a tight budget for 5 three fourths of a year and even so has managed over 30,000 patient visits.
Clinical Programs Director Daniel DiDomizio and President René Siracusa started looking for an appropriate location to set up a south-of-the-flow annex. They investigated more than six possible sites whose owners offered either free or low rent. Finally they settled on the recently vacated space that had been occupied by Neighborhood Place of Puna. Owner Heather Hedenschau repainted, installed a new security door, and offered a reduced rental fee. The site is centrally located across from Pahoa High, Intermediate and Elementary Schools and has ample parking.
Then wonderful things started to happen. First, Dan Brinkman, CEO of Hilo Medical Center, arranged for some spare medical equipment to be loaned to PCMC for the annex; and the Lions Club volunteers helped to move it to the new site. Then councilmen Kern and Ilagan offered some financial assistance from their contingency funds. The Hilo DownTown Improvement Association., which was closing its Hilo office, donated office furniture and equipment. Cathy Emory, who was consolidating some of her vacation rentals, donated furniture for the waiting room. Clarysse Nunokawa  of the Mayor’s office contacted Diane Chadwick of Hawai‘i Community Foundation, which resulted in a $20,000 grant from its Kukio Community Fund. Also, Eileen Lovell of the Gamma Psi-at-large (Hawaii Chapter) of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing arranged for a donation of $5,000. AlohaCare sent in a $5,000 donation. And more private donations and offers of volunteer assistance started pouring in.
A huge surprise was the extremely generous donation of a 2012 Lifeline Mobile Medical Van, originally valued at $358,000, by Kona Community Hospital so that PCMC could “continue to provide the high quality, readily accessible, health care services that are much needed in the immediate Puna community,” according to CEO Jay E. Kreuzer. Kalani Honua has eagerly agreed to allow the van to use space on their property once PCMC is ready to do patient outreach to the outlying coastal communities.
Paying for the costs of operating the annex and the van in addition to the original urgent care clinic are problematic at this point, but Mayor Kenoi, Chief Darryl Oliveira and Sen. Russell Ruderman have all offered to do what they could to arrange for disaster funding to help with operational support. State Representative Elect Joy Sanbuenaventura and Council 5 Elect Daniel Paleka have also offered help. Everyone, working together, is doing their utmost to make sure that South Puna residents will not lack for medical care. Pahoa has been granted a reprieve, but that may only be temporary. If and when it is threatened again, we will be ready.
The annex will open when lava crosses Highway 130 and will be open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The current urgent care clinic will continue staying open its normal hours of Mondaythrough Saturday, with Sunday and holiday hours of 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (closed for lunch). To donate or volunteer, email renesiracusa@hotmail.com. Have a healthy holiday season. Mahalo nui loa,

René Siracusa

PCMC President

Learn to Cultivate Mushrooms (da Food Kine)

Zach Mermel will be teaching a  class on how to cultivate mushrooms tomorrow at Kumukoa House, 1314 Kumukoa St., Hilo, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Participants will gain hands-on experience inoculating mushroom kits as well as logs, which which they can take home at the end of the workshop.  The $65 fee for the course includes $25 worth of mushroom growing materials. A minimum of 8 students is required for the course to “make.” Those interested can sign up here.

Instructor Zach Mermel has been “collaborating with fungi” for nearly a decade.


Police Seek Help in Locating Advertiser Heir



Honolulu Advertiser heir and musician David Twigg-Smith has gone missing.

Police have issued a call for information in an effort to locate 27-year-old Twigg Smith, who is described as 5-foot-11, 185 pounds with curly brown hair and brown eyes. He may have a beard. He has a physical condition that requires medication, and has often been seen at Kona area beaches. He was last seen by his family October 10 in Kailua-Kona.  Twigg-Smith grew up in Holualoa, where his family has a large house.  He’s posted a number of You Tube videos of himself playing his songs, including this one.

The Twigg-Smiths, who trace their ancestry back to missionary Asa Thurston, controlled the Advertiser until it was sold to a subsidiary of the Gannett Corporation for $250 million in 1993.


Hilo Makery Celebrates Anniversary

From Alice Moon:

HILO — The Hilo Makery celebrated its first anniversary during downtown Hilo’s Black & White Night this November and invites the public back to continue the merrymakingDecember 5th during Red & White Night’s First Friday Art Walk. The community is invited to party at the Gallery & Gift Shop Open House from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. when visitors will be treated to festive family fun including ornament making, refreshments and live music.

The Makery is a collection of tools, machines, materials, and know-how that empowers individuals to turn ideas into tangible products. It’s mission is “to empower people to create, manufacture and sell valuable products while adhering to the philosophy of made in Hawaii, by people who live in Hawaii, using environmentally responsible materials and processes.”

The Makery is becoming a model for a self-funding community-driven vocational training and incubation facility that prepares people from within the community for jobs that either already exist within the community or that need to be created to make the community more self sufficient.

The gallery gift shop has become a popular stop for strollers during Hilo’s First Friday Art Walk. “It’s a gathering place well-known for the good food, interesting art and fun people. We remind people that the gallery and gift shop are open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. so they can always come back to shop,” said volunteer marketing coordinator Alice Moon.

With special guest musicians joining in on Red & White Night Dr. Neil Scott, owner and founder of The Makery will play a Hawaiian steel guitar that he designed and manufactured. While adults mingle and enjoy the music, keiki of all ages are invited to decorate an ornament at the worktable. Koa boxes, cutting boards and jewelry, steel guitars, animal kits, puzzles, lamps, and more designed and manufactured by artists and volunteers at The Makery will be available for holiday shoppers in the gift shop.

Paintings by guest artist Joe Kalima, well-known for his work on Merrie Monarch Festival poster designs, will be featured in the gallery. Born and raised in the Keaukaha Hawaiian Homesteads, Kalima’s works are inspired by music and hula, traditions passed on to him from his large and talented family and perpetuated through his art and his four children. The community is invited to meet and talk story with Kalima during the open house, his works will be on display through the month of December.

“Downtown’s subsequent Art Walk event will be held January 2nd, the First First Friday of the New Year and a great time to come celebrate Hilo’s newest hidden treasure at The Makery,” said Moon.


For more information about The Hilo Makery call or visit the Facebook page “The Makery”.



Alternative Energy Forum Wednesday

From Robert Petricci:
The second PPA and HSCA Alternative Energy Forum is this Wednesday November 26th from 1-4pm at Kalani Honua in lower Puna, .

The panelists are Henry Curtis of Life of The Land in Honolulu, Hawaii State Senator Russell Ruderman, Mark Glick the Administrator at the State Energy Office, Will Rolston Hawaii County Energy Coordinator, Tom Travis  PPA, Lorn Douglas HSCA, Kawaiki Stevens Off Grid Solar, and HELCO’s alternative energy spokesperson. We are very grateful to have such knowledgeable experts and dedicated panelist come to Puna to discuss the future of energy in one of the most sustainably progressive communities in the state

Last year the forum was well attended and we had an informative and interesting discussion, with everything that is happening in lower Puna, in Hawaii, and around the planet at the PUC, and legislature in Honolulu, energy wise, we hope this year will be even better.

For more information call 936-5239

Hawaii Consumers Rank High on the Scrooge Index

Hawai`i is known for its high cost of living.  But its consumers are among the nation’s thriftiest. The 808 State ranked 44th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in a survey of “states with the biggest spenders” by the economic Web site Wallet Hub. The survey looked at a number of different facets of consumer spending, as well as other factors such as the number of car per household and the amount of auto and credit card debt, and then adjusted for income level and cost of living in each state. Despite the state’s high priced gas and electricity, Hawaii consumers ranked 51st in personal spending on gasoline and “other energy goods”–perhaps because it’s tough to take a long car trip on any island but the Big Island.  Hawaii residents also ranked 51st in personal spending on health care and in the “All Other Consumption” category, 50th in average home size, and 49th in auto and credit card debt.

Hawaii does rank Number One, however in one unfortunate category: percentage of residents who spend more than they earn.

The top state for big-spending consumers, surprisingly, was relatively impoverished Mississippi, followed by Idaho, New Mexico, Alabama and Utah. Total consumer debt as of June, noted Wallet Hub, stood at $11.63 trillion.

The raw figures tell a different story, however.  Before being adjusted for income and cost of living, Hawaii ranks in the middle of the pack, in a four-way tie with Louisiana, Rhode Island and New Mexico for 28th place.

Wallet Hub noted that a recent spate of good economic news had enhanced what economists call the “wealth effect”: consumers spend more when they perceive that they are making more money.  Perhaps, in Hawaii, the opposite is happening: the high cost of living here leaves us with less to spend and makes us more aware that we have to spend it wisely.

Hawaii’s adjusted rankings in various categories:

  • 43rd – Personal Expenditure on Food & Beverages
  • 51st – Personal Expenditure on Gasoline & Other Energy Goods
  • 26th – Personal Expenditure on Housing & Utilities
  • 51st – Personal Expenditure on Health Care
  • 51st – Personal Expenditure on All Other Consumption
  • 33rd – Number of Cars per Household
  • 49th – Auto & Credit Card Debt
  • 47th – Annual Consumer Savings Account Averages
  • 50th – Average Home Square Footage


Two Arrested in Illegal Firearms Sale


From Hawaii Police Department:


Two Big Island men have been charged with felonies  last week after an illegal weapon was offered for sale online.

Undercover police officers responded to an ad offering a firearm for sale and were informed by the seller that the weapon was a sawed-off shotgun. The undercover officers arranged for a meeting with the seller.

On Thursday, the undercover officers met with two men in the Lakeland subdivision in Kamuela, arrested them and recovered the illegal firearm.

Arrested on suspicion of weapons offenses were 23-year-old Ryne Wamil of Kawaihae and 21-year-old Austin Silva of Kamuela. They were taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

Later Thursday, detectives charged Wamil with possession of a modified weapon, unloaded firearm and registration mandatory of a firearm. His bail was set at $4,500 [corrected amount].

Silva was charged with promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia after police found a glass smoking pipe on his person. His bail was set at $4,000. He was not charged on the weapons offenses pending further investigation.





Upcoming Events: Two Talks on Buddhism in Hawaii

From Cathey Tarleton:

Is there a new “Buddhist beat?” What can be done to keep Buddhism relevant for Hawaii today? Dr. George Tanabe, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Religion at UH Manoa will examine these issues in a two-lecture series, in North and West Hawai‘i, open to all. On Thursday, Dec. 4 at NHERC in Honokaa, 6:30-8:30 p.m. “Is Buddhism in Hawaii Headed for Extinction?” For info call Honokaa Hongwanji, 775-7232. On Friday, Dec. 5 at Kona Hongwanji, Kealakekua: “Where’s the Beat in Buddhism? New Dharma Music.” For info call Rev. Bruce, 323-2993. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served.

Lava Report: Pele Stays Away; Pahoa Road to Open in “A few days.”

The lava flow remains active, but well upslope of Pahoa, prompting the county finally to “initiate” opening the closed section of Old Government Road, a.k.a. Pahoa Village Road, that’s been closed between Apa`a Street and Post Office Road. But the the road may still be closed to through traffic for a few more days.

“The reopening of the Pahoa Village Road will be initiated starting tomorrow Monday, November 24th, and may take a few days to complete,” said County Civil Service in its morning report. “Utility crews will begin to remove the protection placed around the utility poles and this work will require the road to remain closed while equipment is operating in the area. ”    Mayor Billy Kenoi, at a lava briefing last week, expressed a belief that the road would be reopened by Thanksgiving.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Civil Defense staff reported new lava activity in the flow near Pahoa, but  breakouts continue in the mauka portion of the flow’s tube system. According to HVO, the lowermost active breakout had pushed to within about 3.6 miles mauka of Apaa`a Street, near the old True Geothermal drilling site in Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve.

This morning’s Volcano Watch column, written by HVO staff, noted such interruptions were “typical” of pahoehoe flows, and that while the current stalling of the flow near Pahoa was “good news in the short term,” the flow still represented “a potential hazard to downslope communities. ”  The column also noted that it was “unclear how far lava will be able to reoccuyp the tube or where renewed surface flows might head.”

Below: false-color image from NASA’s Earth Observing 1 satellite shows high-temperature areas indicating active lava breakouts in red.  Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.


Hawaii News: Task Force to Hold Hearings on Land Use Planning


The Hawaii State Land Use Review Task Force is preparing to hold a series of meetings throughout the state to gather public input on the state’s land use regulations and process. The Hawaii County meetings will be held, Tuesday, December 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the county’s Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo and Wednesday, December 3, from 6 to 8 p.m at the Kona Natural Energy Lab Conference Room.“These meetings may be of particular interest to land owners, developers, farmers, conservation groups, planners and others who have had or will have experience with State land use, district boundary amendments, and special permit matters,” notes the Hawaii Office of Planning’s Web site.But some conservationists worry that the hearings may be the beginning of another attempt to abolish or defang the state’s Land Use Commission. Public testimony and contested case hearings before the Commission have played key roles in stopping development projects at O‘oma, Pohue Bay, Keopuka and other areas on this island.
“I hear this ‘review’ of land use laws is supposed to happen every 5 years but hasn’t happened in decades – some people think this is yet another attempt to do away with the Land Use Commission/LUC – which would be a bad deal if you have a bad council and county administration,” noted Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation attorney David Kimo Frankel, in a widely-circulated e-mail.
Conservation groups are heavily outvoted on the Commission, and Native Hawaiians are represented only by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs member; farmers are represented only by Farm Bureau. Consumer groups, homeowners, community associations and organic farmers have no representatives on the task force, which consists of representatives from twelve state and county agencies, the State Senate and House of Representatives, the Waikiki Improvement Association, Farm Bureau, the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, the Hawaii Chapters of the American Planning Association and the American Institution of Architects, the Building Industry Association of Hawaii, The Hawaii Sierra Club, the Outdoor Circle, OHA, and the Land Use Research Foundation, or LURF, which represents 21 large landowning and development corporations.
Among the things that Frankel says the Task Force is “pushing” are the conversion of the LUC from “quasi-judicial” to “quasi-legislative”–which could eliminate contested case hearings; the conversion of “non-productive” ag lands to easier-to-develop “rural” or “urban” categories, and the idea that the LUC may not be needed at all.


Letter (and a cartoon): Splitting Puna


As Pahoa languishes under the auspices of protection from the lava, I would like to make the people aware of the tragedy that is happening now that our precious town has been severed in half.

Businesses on the lower east side of Pahoa are dying.  Tourists don’t know that Pahoa is not Malama and Longs Marketplaces, so they do not go there.  We want to see the lava.  Elected Officials do not respond to [the] multitude of safety, dead business, other complaints.  Mothers and babies now walk in dark on [the] highway to find nonexistent bus stops…  Even police and national guard at roadblocks admit [the] problem.

–Sara Steiner



Sports Commentary: “Love+Pride=Puna Strong!”: How the Panthers Won their Pop Warner Championship

by J. D. Wacker

“Once you’re a champion, you’re a champion forever,” Mayor Billy Kenoi addressed the Puna Panthers Pop Warner Midget Team prior to their championship game Saturday, November 1. His words became reality that night as the Panthers brought down the undefeated Westside Eagles, 20-18, on the wet and muddy field at Wong Stadium. However, as they raised their trophy high, and the rain continued to fall, they all knew that their recent victory was only a peak of what was a turbulent season for these young men, one young lady, their coaches, their families, and their community.
Registrations, fee collections, the beginning of school, medical exams, league requirements, report cards, fundraising, birth certificates, scheduling, age and weight restrictions, transportation, etc., etc. are all part of organizing a team and can take its toll on any team. The Puna Panthers endured much more.
Struggling economically, the Puna District is not exactly a Dallas suburb with multi-million dollar sports complexes where youth and high school football stadiums are more plush than most universities and rival some professional fields. Assembling a competitive team from an area of low incomes and population is no easy task in itself. This task was initiated five years ago by Keven Lee and is carried today by his father, Kel Lee, the team’s head coach and association president. He has the support of his wife Jackie, daughter Dayna, and his grandson Randen (his defensive coach). Also, he has devoted assistant coaches Kaipo Like and Jimmy and JayDeen Brown and medical assistant Ariel Brown at his side along with many others. Working a table on the corner in Pahoa, and working the phone and internet, Dayna worked tirelessly in the summer months to greet and welcome young athletes with dreams of putting on their cleats and pads and becoming Puna Panthers. Many had played together before, either in Pop Warner or flag football or both, but some new faces joined the team and were quickly made part of the family.
Practices started on the hot afternoons in early August at the field at Hawaiian Beaches Park. Heads-Up training, initiated by the NFL, was the first step in the program, as it was with all Pop Warner teams. Immediately, it was clear there was a generous supply of young talent on the midget squad (ages 12-15). But, then everything changed August 7th with the arrival of Hurricane Iselle. With trees and power lines down and heavy traffic made it difficult for the players who reside primarily in the worst hit neighborhoods from HPP to Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Nanawale and Leilani Estates, and Kapoho to get rides to practice, but they did. Lack of power for up to three weeks meant getting home quickly after practice to bathe in makeshift showers and do their homework before dark. Their field suffered some damage to its fences and driveways which all needed to be repaired prior to their upcoming games. Routine maintenance to the fields had to wait for weeks until cleanup from the storm was under control. The grass grew a little longer than normal as the team and its leaders continued to balance rebuilding their lives and building a team for the next several weeks.
Sunday, September 7, brought their first challenge on the field from the Champion Panaewa Ali’i. In front of a large crowd of excited fans, the Panthers started their season right with a 38-14 victory with an impressive mix of running and passing attacks. The Panthers followed that more wins, travelling to an all-out war on the field with the Wailoa Razorbacks, a rainy day battle with the Keaukaha Warriors, and a visit to the Ali’i, emerging with an undefeated 4-0 record. During this period, another foe began marching its way toward their town, their homes, and their field: the June 27th lava flow.
It was decided early that in order to avoid potential problems posed by the lava flow to reschedule all remaining games away from the Panthers’ Hawaiian Beaches field. So, their first game with the Ali’i became their only home game of the season and the Panthers would play the remainder of their games on the road. Throughout the season, the players and their families, coaches and staff faced the endless stay-or-go decision. Some moved and some stayed, but most faced hours of sorting and packing in preparation for moving. A few packed, moved their belongings to storage, and then moved back when the front stalled as rents on top of house payments became more than they could bare. Many have found themselves making payments on two homes as they wait for the lava to decide how they will proceed with their lives. But yet, somehow the Panther Nation prevailed and began to grow stronger. Maybe it was, in part, from Auntie Doreen’s (Coach Brown’s wife’s) cooking for concessions. Certainly, questions and predictions about the flow were heard off the field between parents and friends, but there was always an underlying source of energy that was drawing the Panthers closer together.
At 4-0, the Panthers were on top of their Big Island Eastern Division. The other teams shared wins and losses and it looked as if the team would cruise to a division title. That was not how the fierce Wailoa Razorbacks saw the future, however. They clawed and scratched, but the Panthers were not up to the challenge from the Razorbacks and suffered their first loss of the season, 27-18. At the end of what was another war on the field, the Panthers were tired and dejected. They felt as if they had let their coaches and their Puna community down, and most of all themselves down. Tears fell, but they knew that they could do better. After a few days of practice, they realized that the loss was a learning experience and would only make them stronger. They returned to the field the following week to start a new winning streak with a convincing 41-21 win over Keaukaha.
With renewed energy and a solid 5-1 record, the Panthers were poised to finish their regular season against Panaewa. This time, Hurricane Ana had other plans. Once again, with their lives sitting in the crosshairs of another violent storm, Pahoa and its Puna Panthers were in disbelief. They were just beginning to recover from the effects of what was technically “Tropical Storm” Iselle, and now Ana was on her way toward them. The game, whose outcome was meaningless to both teams’ post-season eligibility, was cancelled. On October 18th, Ana decided to spare Puna, for the most part, but still managed to add to what had already been a very stressful season. Starting August 1st, the Panthers’ season had experienced five wins, one loss, almost two hurricanes, and a continuing lava flow, all in the matter of a span of only a little more than two months.
From the start, the photographers from Paradise Photo and Design, Dave and J.D. Wacker of Keaau, who photograph several area events including Big Island Pop Warner football, knew the Panthers were special. They saw the talent, but they also saw the bond this team was forming. Every team has cheers and chants, but when the Panthers came together before every practice and every game and recited their prayer and chant, it was clear they meant what they said. It was more than just words. “Love on three- LOVE! Pride on three- PRIDE! PUNA STRONG! PUNA STRONG! PUNA STRONG!” ended the cheer. J.D. Wacker captured their energy on a video titled, “Puna Strong”, and shared it on Facebook. Within only a few days, the video had been seen and shared by over 6000 people from Pahoa to around the world. The Online Panther Nation had organized, and a never-ending list of shouts of encouragement began to accumulate. It was becoming more and more apparent that nothing, not hurricanes, not lava, nothing was going to take away the heart of the team and its community.
Besides its heart, the team enjoyed the talents of its players and the strength and conditioning established by their coaches. Two of its captains, brothers Kahiau and Keahi Walker, passed by oncoming blockers with their blazing speed to make an infinite number of tackles. The relentless endurance and determination of another captain, Keala Harris, troubled their opposition has he ran, took powerful hits and scored touchdowns on offense, while delivering one hit after another on defense. Finally, Captain Junior Santiago, led his team by leaving defenders in the dust and in the mud as he travelled down the field and repeatedly finding himself in the endzone. Quarterback Kaimi Like maintained control of the offense, threw several passes for long gains to several receivers, including Kepa La’a. Many opponents felt what it was like to be “hit by a girl” as defensive lineman Tiana Jones collected a long list of tackles. A strong offensive line and defensive line led the way for many others as they gained yards and gang tackled throughout the season. This combination of heart and talent plus a steady education from their coaches had prepared the Panther Midgets as they entered the 2014 Big Island Pop Warner Playoffs as East Side Champions.
The first round of playoffs meant a first seed and a longer trip for the Panthers to the Kealakehe High School Field, outside Kona, to face the Kau Lions. The Lions put up a good fight, but the talent-laden Panthers were too much for them. The Panthers returned home victorious, winning 26-15. The undefeated Westside Eagles beat the Keaukaha Warriors to earn their chance to face the Panthers in the Big Island Pop Warner Midget Championship, November 1st, at Wong Stadium in Hilo.
The lava flow made another impact on the Panthers’ season. In the week leading up to the championship game, some schools in Pahoa were closed temporarily and some were closed permanently. Some players were forced to leave their schools, and some were separated from their friends and regular teachers. All suffered from the unknown effects of what may come, but they still kept a positive attitude as they prepared for the upcoming game.
A day’s worth of rain the day before left the field at Wong Stadium saturated and slippery. Two mud pits protruded into the field as three prior championship games and the island’s punt, pass, and kick competition set the stage for the finale between the Eagles and the Panthers. Clearing skies allowed some of the muddy field to dry, but as the teams started their battle, the clouds and rain returned and stayed for most of the game. Prior to taking the field, the Panthers were inspired by a surprise guest in their locker room, Puna’s own very energetic Mayor Billy Kenoi urged the team to “Play the best game of their lives,” “win it for Puna,” and “at the end of the day, SMILE, and enjoy the moment!”
Confident, the Panthers took the field and joined together with their team prayer and Puna Jacks chant in front of the stadium crowd. Both teams were ready to play. One confrontation found a pack of Panther players on top of one Eagle in the middle of one of the pits of mud. The Eagles set the pace in the first half and led 12-8. Both teams hit hard and both teams suffered injuries, including the Panthers’ Kahiau Walker who suffered a broken wrist. As the rain continued to fall at halftime, the Panthers were visibly bothered by the loss of their teammate. As the teams returned for the second half, the weather continued to worsen and the lights were turned on to illuminate the combat which was beginning to resemble a late-season NFL game with muddied uniforms, dirty arms, hands, and legs. Eventually, injuries and time took its toll on the resilient Eagles who managed to score once more. The months of conditioning along with cheers of “Puna Strong” pushed the Panthers into the end zone twice. The extra points scored on a kick by Keahi Walker made the difference, and the Panthers held on to win, 20-18.
Candy lei adorned the Panther players along with their championship medals. An icewater bath adorned Coach Kel Lee as the rain still fell, but no spirits were dampened. Together, they received their first Big Island Pop Warner Midget Champion Trophy, which at about five feet tall was easy to see as it was raised by the team before its faithful group of Puna fans. After all they had endured, the Panthers proved that love and pride together are strong and can conquer all, and that they were truly “The Pride of Puna”.
Images from the Panthers’ Championship Season and other Big Island Pop Warner Teams may be viewed by visiting www.paradisephotoanddesign.com, and clicking the blue Facebook link. Several albums contain images from the season.

J.D. Wacker
Paradise Photo and Design

Puna News: Donations Sought for Thanksgiving Dinner Effort

Aloha Lehua Café and Hui Aloha `O Puna Makai are seeking donations of food, cash and paper goods for their ongoing efforts to feed those in need in Puna. The café and the nonprofit are partnering to supply Thanksgiving dinners to the Puna community on November 26th. They’ve gotten 13 turkeys so far, and will be serving at the café from 4:30 until the food runs out, according to Luana Jones of Hui Aloha `O Puna Makai.
The partnership also providing a monthly food pantry on the last Monday of each month at 1 p.m. at the café, and have tentatively scheduled a hot soup kitchen in January of 2005. The café has also been designated an emergency food pantry.
Donations can be dropped off at the café, which is located in the Woodland Center at Kahakai Boulevard. For further information, contact Lori King at 808-313-9920.

Ocean Awareness Course Offered in Kona

Ocean Aware Hawaii, a coalition of marine conservation organizations, will offer its inaugural Ocean Awareness Training on Hawai‘i in Kailua-Kona in early December. The course, which includes three classroom sessions and a three-hour field project, will provide multi-disciplinary knowledge of Hawai‘i’s unique marine environment from instructors including university scientists, government agency staff environmental educators and conservation practitioners. In place of tuition, the organization is collecting a “suggested donation” of $10.

Participants will learn about current ocean conservation efforts and opportunities to get involved. The program is open to the public – no prior experience is required–but those who participate will be expected to attend the full course.

Classes will be held at West Hawai’i Civic Center in Kailua-Kona on Friday, December 5, Thursday, December 11 and Monday, December 15, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Register today by visiting us online at http://oceanawarehawaii.org.

Green Waste Afire at Kona Landfill

A fire that started in the green waste section of the Pu`uanahulu landfill facility on the Kona side on Saturday is “still smoking” today, according to Department of Environmental Management head Bobby Jean Leithead Todd, who noted that crews were “still spraying water on perimeter then using [bull]dozers to move away the wet greenwaste. Then we douse with more water. Then move to separate area. Then all over again until we get it all.”

“The fire activity is limited to the green waste and there is no threat of a runaway fire.  Department personnel are on scene and the fire is contained and will be allowed to burn itself out. Smoke conditions are varying and motorists in the area are advised to drive with caution,” stated County Civil Defense, in a notice yesterday. Those with respiratory conditions that could be aggravated by smoke may wish to avoid the area.

The Puuanahulu landfill is located on  the  mauka side of the Queen Kaahumanu Highwaysouth of the Waikoloa Beach Drive intersection.


United Way Surveying for Disaster Help

From Hawaii Island United Way:

Agencies, Businesses, and Organizations

Is your Agency, Business, or Organization able to help Hawai’i Island communities, even in a small way, in a disaster? If you are, please take a moment to complete our Resource Survey at this link


This survey will help us plan and moblilize responders in times of need. There are plenty of selections, from shelters to translations services, to counselling, heavy lifting, and food preparation and distribution.

Please take a moment to help us help Hawai’i Island!
This survey is a joint project of Hawaii VOAD (Volunteer Agencies Active in Disasters) and Hawai’i Island United Way. Mahalo!