Commentary: We’re Back

Aloha. Our apologies for the lack of posts this week. It’s been a lonnnnng four days.

On April 20, our Web site crashed. Bruce, our Webmaster, has been working tirelessly since then but with only glacial cooperation from our Web host, a company called hostgator.com. At the end, we solved the problem and then dumped the ‘gator. Now we’re back with a new, local host–and a new sponsor.  Say hello to Netcom Enterprises.

Now, if we have a problem, we can just call Jeff Gray in Kea’au–and we always like to support local businesses anyway, so it’s great to have found an alternative so close to home.

Thanks for getting us up, Jeff.

We haven’t been idle in the mean time.  Look for a new print edition of the Chronicle out soon, with a long piece about the mess on Mauna Kea–it’s NOT just about science vs. religion–and lots of other good stuff.

–Alan McNarie

Administrative Notes — Site Unavailable

Hi folks,

As some of you noticed, the Big Island Chronicle was offline  for a number of hours yesterday. After investigation, it was determined that the site was the subject of a malicious “POST” attack. As such, our web host had to take the site down until we could pinpoint and block the source of the attack.  I apologize for any inconvenience this action may have caused to our faithful readers. Let’s hope the incident was an isolated one.

Your BIC Administrator.

Administrative Notes — Acknowledgements For BIC’s Premiere Print Edition

(Big Island Chronicle has gone to print.  Following is the editor’s note that appears in the premiere BIC edition. The BIC newspaper can be found at the following confirmed distribution points to date:  all four Island Naturals stores islandwide; Jeff Hunt Surfboards; Pahoa Cash and Carry; Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant; Uncle Robert’s Awa Club in Kalapana; Basically Books; Full Moon Cafe.; Bear’s Coffee; Books, Nookie and Crannies; Cronie’s Bar and Grill; Hilo Downtown Improvement Association’s Information Center and Mooheau Bus Shelter; Back To The 50’s Cafe; Hamakua Sports Bar, Tex’s Drive In; Waimea Coffee Company; Kawaihae Market and Deli; Takata’s Store in Kapa’au, Bamboo, Kava Coffee in Hawaii; Shaka’s Restaurant and Punalu’u Bakery in Na’alehu;  Hilo Coffee Mill in Mountain View. (If your business would like to be a BIC distributor, email newswoman@me.com or call (808) 938-8592. Tiffany Edwards Hunt will be traveling around the island throughout the week. Please call (808) 938-8592 to be a distributor.)
The list is long of people to thank for helping me get the premiere print version of Big Island Chronicle put to bed. Since December 2008, I have maintained Big Island Chronicle on the internet.  But my dream since I first started out in journalism in high school in the early 1990s has been to start a real-life newspaper.  That’s the thing.  I’ve been practicing online for three and a half years, but the public, even myself, doesn’t really consider it newspapering until it is something tangible I suppose. Read more

Administrative Notes — Big Island Chronicle To Print Publication In July

Big Island Chronicle will be going to print in July and, thanks to Island Naturals offering space for BIC in all its stores, will be available islandwide.  The premiere print edition will largely be comprised of a comprehensive voter’s guide, but will offer a sample of the edgy and provocative alternative publication for which BIC has become known.

Heartfelt thanks to all BIC readers, advertisers, and contributors who have remained loyal and supportive since the website launched in December 2008.  A celebration of the launch of the BIC print publication will be held at Akebono Theater on Saturday, July 28, following an all-day candidate forum.*

If you would like to advertise here on the website or pre-book an advertisement in the print publication, contact Leah Gouker, who is heading advertising sales and design.  She can be reached at (808) 747-5605 or via email at BIC_ads@yahoo.com.  The more advertising that is sold, the more pages that can be printed, the more articles that can be presented by talented writers throughout the island who intend to contribute.

(*BIC reserves the right to refuse entry to the candidate forum and launch party.)

***Commentary*** Regarding ‘Media’ Handouts

Here is what one of my one of main online antagonists, Damon Tucker, had to say on a message board about my experience with Pahoa Athletic Director Ron Tomosada yesterday:
“I had the privilege of covering the Opening of the New Pahoa Gym today…. and it looks like Tiff had problems with the Athletic Director: Read more

***Commentary*** An Apology To My Former Editor

Yesterday I called my former boss, Reed Flickinger, editor of the West Hawaii Today, after not speaking to him for several years.  “I’ve decided you’re pretty low on the Richter scale of assholes,” I told him.  Publishing on my own and dealing with the perils of being a so-called public figure in doing so, I actually am really starting to appreciate Reed and his difficult position as newspaper editor.  Having encountered some genuinely mean-spirited and miserable people out here in the blogosphere and continually being harassed by at least one of them, I can see now that Reed is clearly not a bad person. It was time to bury the hatchet.   I told him on the phone and I say it publicly here, I am sorry for calling Reed names, including a scandal monger and an asshole, in conversations and in previous posts.  I recognize that he has the public good in mind, and I actually appreciate how tough-skinned he is about this profession.  Five years after I resigned as one of his writers, I can tell you that I have learned from him.  And I truly respect him for being among my teachers.

***Commentary*** Please Stand By, Back To Regular Programming Shortly

Aloha faithful Big Island Chronicle readers,
Sorry if I have seemed distant lately — with all the blog drama, I have had very little motivation to put my thoughts into words in the limited time I have to write. Along with having a less-than-warm-and-fuzzy feeling for blogging, I have also been very busy with an extra-long list of things to do. Topping the list was my son’s first birthday, which, in true Hawaiian style, included a luau. I had to make a Costco run to prepare for the party and, since I was going to Kona, I ended up arranging for and conducting a couple of interviews for some freelance stories I have been meaning to write. That meant an overnight stay on the other side, which, inevitably made for more blog fodder. But it also made for quite a full and mentally taxing week.
I thought today was going to be the day that I sat down and cleared my inbox of all the news I have to share with you. Alas, after a day of celebrating my boy’s birthday, my daughter came down with a fever and vomited multiple times throughout the night. My Sunday list just got rearranged and nursing my child is my chief concern at this point. I also have quite a bit more laundry to do as a result of the pukefest. So, what that means for you is that you should 1. dose up on vitamin C and 2. expect to hear from me after I get our house in order. Hopefully, you all will have a great and productive week. Stay healthy, despite the odds.

***Commentary*** A Criminal Harassment Complaint — One Of The Many Perils Of Blogging

Chalk it up as one of the many perils of blogging, I suppose.

I just got off the telephone with a police officer telling me that Tom Lackey has initiated a criminal harassment complaint against me for my blog entry about his March 20 bench trial for drunk driving. This is the same man who, since November, has regularly published on his website libelous, salacious, and emotionally disturbing cartoons depicting me being raped, sodomized and committing adultery.

Suffice it to say — with two young children who I will not allow to be victimized as a course of my writing life — I truly have to wonder if this website is worth all the trouble.  I don’t make much money doing this; it has been a labor of love of writing and publishing that I embarked on this venture — and there are generally way more headaches than feelings like I’m doing any public good with this.

In recent days, there have been people justifying Lackey’s emotionally disturbing cartoons, suggesting I am a “public figure” because I regularly publish news and commentary.  Say what you will, but I don’t think the fact that I am a public personality justifies the cyber rape and ensuing distress I have had to endure the past three months.

So, now I’m off to visit with a lawyer and pay a retainer fee, which is pretty much going to wipe out all the money I have saved in my Tiffany Edwards Communications bank account. If you have any interest in this website, you might want to donate to my CU Hawaii bank account or push the “donate” button to the right. To truly resolve the Tom Lackey matter, I’m going to have to pay a good amount in legal fees.

As I have stated elsewhere, if you have seen Lackey’s cartoon depictions of me and you find them as emotionally disturbing as me, I kindly ask you to write a letter addressed to the following:

Tiffany Edwards Hunt

P.O. Box 557

Kurtistown, HI  96760

Mahalo.

Letters — About Posting Mug Shots Of Those Arrested

Hi Mrs. Hunt,

I’ve enjoyed your blog for many years, and thank you for all the work you put into it.

I’m in Massachusetts but have friends and family on the big island.

I was a little surprised to see police booking photos on BIC recently.

A long time ago, on BIC, I read a statement by you, that really made an impression on me.

As I recall, you said that you were not going to post arrest information, because if you did, you would feel compelled as a journalist to follow the story and report whether the people were in fact found guilty or innocent, and what the final disposition of the cases was.

That really made me think about this type of online arrest reports, when I saw them appearing online in my local mainland community… and read the gossipy comments people would post so quickly and anonymously…. and I found I agreed with you, and began to see the local police arrest photos appearing online in my hometown as a real sad thing… and I was happy not to see that happening on the big island.

We are supposed to presume people are innocent until proven guilty, but posting arrest photos makes people look automatically guilty.

And worse, no matter what the disposition of the case, that initial online photo and report could exist online for a lifetime.  I imagine that on an island, that online shadow could be even more difficult to shake, for a person who is later found innocent, if their innocence is not publicized as widely as their arrest.

In general, I respect the police and the difficult work they do.

In my home state, however, I’ve actually found myself the victim of small town police corruption and brutality… where the local cops let the criminals go free, in fact aided them, and instead pressed charges against my critically ill friend… I got involved to speak up for my friend’s rights when he was too sick to do so for himself…. months and months later after the case wended its way through the court system, and we finally got in front of a judge with an attorney, the charges were immediately dropped. When I then questioned the local police about returning my friend’s possessions that had been literally stolen with police protection, I was taken around the side of the police building and physically threatened by two officers.  Later, the chief of police called me and told me if I didn’t drop it, he would “make my life a living hell.”  Our attorney told me to “let it go” because this was just all too common in small town police departments.

That was a real wake-up call for me, regarding the spectrum of police behavior, and not to believe everything I read.

(Luckily for my friend, this was long before the days of online arrest reports. When the charges were dismissed, it really went away and did not continue to follow him around).

So it really makes me sad to think that someone’s life could be forever shadowed by an arrest and preliminary police statement posted online, that may live on in cyberspace indefinitely, no matter whether that police report was later found to be factual or not, or with any mention of the eventual disposition of the case.  A lot of times the situation is more complicated than it first appears, and that is best determined in a court of law instead of the court of public opinion.

I think it would be a much more enlightened approach for the big island, to say that personally identifying arrest and booking information will not be released or posted online until the case is resolved… yes, then, if someone is convicted, by all means, post the information of the conviction and sentence as a deterrant to future criminals, and for the community’s knowledge.

Up until actual conviction, however, if the police simply want the community to know what they are doing, and that they are making arrests, they could certainly release information such as ” a 30 year old male was arrested doing such and such, and taken into custody” but in my opinion, the person’s name and photo should be withheld until they are actually found guilty in a court of law.

That would seem like a much fairer system for the big island police and government to adopt.

Just my 2 cents…

Thanks again for all the great work you do with BIC.

Sincerely,

(Name withheld)

***Commentary*** Nesting And Cocooning

Quilts and photo by Tiffany Edwards Hunt. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

As you know, I’m close to giving birth to my second child — it won’t be long now. I’m leaving this message to inform you that I have just gone into hibernation.  Those who have been following my pregnancy should know I have decided to give birth at the Waimea Women’s Center.  Hopefully, we will make the two-hour commute from our rural Puna home.  Maybe Hilo Medical Center will some day get the bigger picture on the need for a birth center comparable to Waimea.  I can only hope so, for the pregnant women to come.  In the meantime, I’m so grateful there is Waimea to go to, and I look forward to being there soon. There I’m going to meet my little boy.

So, with that, I want you to know that I will be back to blogging the soonest opportunity I can focus any attention beyond the nest.

Until we are back to regular programming, I’ve decided I would leave the door to this blog unlocked.  I’m suspending comment moderation and permitting you all to converse freely with each other. I’m hopeful you all will treat each other kindly and courteously — with or without pseudonyms, at least until I can step back in and be the playground monitor.

There are few confidants with access to the blog and certain regular readers who will be scrutinizing the comments for inappropriate content.  Any comments that are determined to be inflammatory or libelous in nature will be deleted by one of those trusted confidants, as soon as the comment is flagged.  If you see any comments that you think are in need of immediate attention, please make that point in a comment on the same thread as the comment at issue and/or email newswoman(at)mac.com with the subject, “COMMENT CONCERN.” Anyone who comments inappropriately and has a comment deleted during this time that I have entrusted you with the ability to freely comment will be permanently banned upon my return to blogosphere.

Thank you all for your readership and support.

With aloha,

Tiffany

***Commentary*** A New Job For Me

Many years ago when I was working full-time as a the Hilo Bureau Chief for the West Hawaii Today, I volunteered to be an advisor for Ke Kalahea, the newspaper for the University of Hawaii-Hilo.

I learned through volunteering that the job needed to be a paid position, and I made that recommendation to the Board of Student Publications (BOSP).  Ultimately, BOSP made the position a paid one and two people went on to serve as the student newspaper advisor before the opportunity came back around and presented itself to me.

It’s interesting how life has its way of unfolding.  I am now the part-time advisor for Ke Kalahea.  I’ve been unofficially working since the first week of December, and had my first real day today, when the spring semester officially started.   Read more

Your Comments Appreciated — Should I Turn Comments Off On This Blog?

I had a very compelling email from a friend suggesting I turn comments off on my blog.
“I read Big Island Chronicle every (working) day but I rarely read the reader comments and I think a lot of other people do the same,” my friend emailed. “If you eliminated reader comments, you would get to keep doing what makes you happy without all the humbug that now goes along with it.”
 
“It makes me sad and angry when those Bozos get you down and it seems to me there’s no need for it. People could still submit commentary for your regular section but you should eliminate the ‘masked men in the night’ who tarnish you work.”
Sometimes the virtual conversationscan be interesting, but oftentimes they devolve into personal conflicts and feuding.
Now that I’m doing comment moderation and not allowing a free-for-all, it has become difficult to decide what passes muster. I don’t want to protect people from themselves, and yet I also want to preserve the integrity of this blog.
This morning I approved a comment on another thread that I just found to be so ignorant and distasteful, yet I thought to myself, I can’t protect his person from himself. This person is expressing himself and looking like a total idiot, and it is not my job to control how people think. Yet, I fear by approving that man’s comment, the conversation is going to reach a point where I have to, once again, step in and play referee, maybe even turn the comments off on that thread if the dialogue gets too volatile. And so this is yet another day in the blogging life.
Before, I decide anything finally, I pose this question to readers willing to comment: Should I turn off the blog comments entirely? Feel free to email me at newswoman(at)mac.com if you aren’t comfortable publicly commenting.