Big Island Press Club Sponsors Presentation on The Transparency Initiative

The Big Island Press Club invites the public to a luncheon talk on Thursday, June 18, from noon until 1:30 p.m. at Restaurant Kenichi to hear about The Grassroot Institute’s Transparency Initiative.

The  initiative has broken new ground in shedding a light on holding government in Hawaii accountable. Grassroot has been able to uncover amazing information, which will be uploaded for journalists and the public at

Among the findings:
? The top ten highest state public pensions for retirees last year.
? The average pension and base salary for every state department.
? The salaries, overtime, and bonus pay, and other information for every county.

Through a series of open records requests, and with the help of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, and the Office of Information Practices, Grassroot President Keli’i Akina and policy analyst Joe Kent will review the work that Grassroot Institute has done for a better government, economy, and society in Hawaii.

The institute’s speakers also will share of its struggles to advance transparency in Hawaii, especially with regard to Hawaii County, which has been one of the least transparent counties in terms of salary and overtime pay. In addition, the speakers will review their transparency work with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Employee Retirement System, among other agencies.

“A society built on democracy rests on an informed public. Now more than ever, it’s important that we say “E Hana Kakou, let’s work together,” toward an open and transparent government.,” Akina said.

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit 501(c)3 public policy think tank, dedicated to advancing individual liberty, the freemarket, and limited, accountable government.

Reservations are required. The cost of the buffet lunch (chicken katsu, furikake panko salmon, yakisoba, salad, vegetable, beverage) at Restaurant Kenichi, 684 Kilauea Ave., Hilo, is $20.

Register with a credit card at ($2.09 processing fee) or contact Robert Duerr or 808-937-9104. Those interested may also send check to BIPC P. O. Box 1920, Hilo HI 96721, to arrive no later than June 16. Parking is available at Aupuni Center, across the street, for 25 cents per hour.

The Big Island Press Club has been dedicated to journalism and the public’s right to know about the workings of government, business and communities on Hawaii island since 1967.

Five Students get Press Club Scholarships

The Big Island Press Club honors five students with its annual 2015 scholarship program. The $4,600, to support students striving toward careers in journalism or communications, was awarded to Kacie LaGuire, Alex Bitter, Cashman Aiu, Britni Schock and Eli Matola. The Big Island Press Club’s annual scholarship awards dinner will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 28 at Hilo’s Seaside Restaurant and feature award-winning comedian Augie T. as the guest speaker.

This year’s $1,500 dollar Robert C. Miller Memorial Scholarship is awarded to Kacie LaGuire. A 2015 graduate of Waiakea High School she will attend University of San Francisco in the fall majoring in media studies. LaGuire has been active at Waiakea as a videographer, producing segments on student life for the PBS Hawaii student television program, Hiki No. The scholarship namesake, Robert Miller, was a Big Island newsman and UPI reporter. LaGuire says of her future: “I am enthusiastic about many aspects of media-mostly camera work and storytelling…I strongly value the importance of journalism and educating the public and I plan to get involved with journalism related to social justice issues.”

The $1,000 dollar Bill Arballo scholarship, given in honor of Bill Arballo a founder of Big island Press Club in 1967, is awarded to Alex Bitter. A 2012 graduate of Wai?kea High School, Bitter attends the University of Hawai?i at M?noa as a Regent’s Scholar, majoring in journalism and political science. At UH M?noa, he served as editor and staff writer for the school newspaper Ka Leo O Hawai?i. Bitter has interned at Honolulu Magazine, Hawaii Business Magazine and this summer will work for the Dow Jones News Fund in New York City. “In the long run I hope to work one day as a reporter covering politics or business,” Bitter says of his writing future.

Marcia Reynolds was a former Hawaii Tribune-Herald reporter, BIPC president and community leader and her memorial $1,000 scholarship is awarded to Cashman Aiu. Cashman was a 2014 graduate of Kamehameha Hawaii Campus and attends New York University. She is a media, culture and communications major. She is the Oceania Editor for NYU’s travel magazine Baedeker and a contributing writer for Fashion Week for the Washington Square News. She is the co-captain of the school’s co-ed volleyball team and is a leader in the NYU Hawaii Club. Aiu says of her career path: “In my media and culture courses at New York University I have found, while indigenous cultural studies is a thriving academic major, native authors are not a common thread amongst the discourse…and as a future broadcast journalist I hope to represent a positive example of Native Hawaiians and minorities in media.”

This year’s $600 Yukino Fukabori Memorial Scholarship, given to honor one of Hawaii Island’s top woman news reporters, is bestowed on Britni Schock. Schock graduated from Canada’s Selkirk Secondary in 2008 and attends University of Hawaii Hilo where she is a communications major. She is a writer for the UHH student newspaper Ke Kalahea. She is also a student member of Big Island Press Club. “After graduation I hope to find a position as a writer somewhere on the Big Island and continue my passion for writing.”

This year’s Jack Markey Memorial Scholarship is awarded to Eli Matola. Matola is a 2011 graduate of Kapaa High School on Kauai. He attends University of Hawaii Hilo where he is a philosophy and communications major. Next semester at UHH he will be an intern at the Applied Learning Experiences Program where he will be a staff writer. His favorite news site is which often features investigative news in a narrative, documentary format. Matola says “Ever since I was young, I have always had a very special interest in the news…this passion has followed me as a young adult.”

With poor vision, unable to drive a car, and a senior citizen Jack Markey was a visible streetside Hilo fixture. Hitchhiking around town to sell radio advertising, Markey also recruited new members for BIPC in the process. Since his death in 1990, BIPC has funded a yearly $500 Markey scholarship.

The Big Island Press Club’s annual scholarship dinner will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 28 at Hilo’s Seaside Restaurant. Comedian Augie T. will be the guest speaker. Make your reservations now for $35 while at the door entry is $40. Please call BIPC scholarship committee member Tiffany Edwards Hunt at (808) 938-8592 to reserve your spot or for more information. Send check to BIPC P. O. Box 1920, Hilo HI 96721 or buy a ticket online via the Eventbrite link at

Since 1967 Big Island Press Club has been an organization of professional Hawaii communicators dedicated to skills improvement, open government, networking and education.

Big Island Press Club Offers Scholarships

Tired of being misinformed, and want to do something about it? The Big Island Press Club (BIPC) is offering five scholarships for eligible students pursuing higher education in journalism or a related field: the $1,500 Robert C. Miller Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 Bill Arballo Scholarship, $1,000 Marcia Reynolds Scholarship, $600 Yukino Fukubori Memorial Scholarship and the $500 Jack Markey Memorial Scholarship. Last year, BIPC divided $4,600 among five Hawaii Island students.

The BIPC Scholarship Committee determines who gets the money, based on the following criteria: applicant must

  • Have residential ties to the Big Island;
  • Express a clear interest in and aptitude for a career in journalism or a related field;
  • Be pursuing a degree in journalism or a related field and enrolled full time at an accredited college or university;
  • Maintain a strong record of academic achievement.

Go to or to your high school counselor for application forms and instructions. Applications for the 2015 scholarships must be postmarked by April 18.

For more information, email or phone
Phone: (747) 444-BIPC

Politics —A U.S. Court Of Appeals Ruling In Favor Of Hawaii Tribune-Herald Staff Fired Six Years Ago

(Editor’s note:  Following is the full text of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in favor of Hawaii Tribune-Herald staff Dave Smith and Hunter Bishop who were wrongly fired and other staff who were reprimanded as part of the newspaper management’s apparent effort to bust the union. Stephens Media, the parent company of Hawaii Tribune-Herald, has been in litigation with the National Labor Relations Board and the Hawaii Newspaper Guild, Local 39117,  for the past six years.)

Image courtesy of Democratic Underground

United States Court of Appeals


Argued January 10, 2012 Decided April 20, 2012

No. 11-1054










Consolidated with 11-1088

On Petition for Review and Cross-Application for

Enforcement of an Order of the National Labor Relations Board  Read more

Big Island Press Club — Who, Me? Member of The Year? A Pat On The Back For The Media Symposium

(Media release) — The Big Island Press Club on Saturday recognized Member of the Year Tiffany Edwards Hunt, publisher of the World Wide Web Log Big Island Chronicle, for her role in organizing a media symposium at the University of Hawaii at Hilo last year.

We also recognized Rod Thompson, treasurer and retired Star-Bulletin reporter, for organizing the Project of the Year, a Halloween get-together at his house at his own expense.

The honors were presented at the Hilo Yacht Club during the Annual Dinner, which was attended by more than 30 people. Dr. John Pezzuto, founding dean of the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy, gave the keynote address, which touched on the role of the pharmacy college in the community and the results of his research regarding the compound reservatrol.

(Submitted by Peter Sur.)

Hawaii News — June 7 Is The Deadline For BIPC Scholarships

(Media release) — The Big Island Press Club (BIPC) announces the availability of scholarships for students pursuing careers in journalism.

The $1,500 Robert C. Miller Memorial Scholarship and the $500 Jack Markey Memorial Scholarship are funded entirely by donations to the nonprofit BIPC Scholarship Foundation. The $1,000 Bill Arballo Scholarship and the $500 Yukino Fukabori Memorial Scholarship are funded by endowments.

Qualified applicants must have Big Island residential ties, be pursuing a degree in journalism or a related field at an accredited institution of higher learning, and have a strong record of academic achievement.

For complete information about applying, interested students may inquire about an application from their counselor’s office or office of student financial aid. Applications and information may also be requested by e-mail at

The deadline to apply is June 7. Other requirements include an academic transcript, a personal statement, and work samples, if available. Interviews will be held in the summer for the finalists.

(Submitted by Peter Sur.)

Hawaii News — Board Of Land And Natural Resources Is This Year’s BIPC Lava Tube Recipient

(Media release) — The state Board of Land and Natural Resources is this year’s recipient of the Big Island Press Club’s negative Lava Tube Award for running afoul of the state’s open meetings law.

The state Office of Information Practices ruled late last year that the Land Board violated state law when it proposed amendments to state boating rules.

The club is also awarding its annual positive Torch of Light Award to Kona resident Chuck Flaherty and others members of Citizens for Equitable and Responsible Government for their successful  proposal of an amendment of the Hawaii County Charter requiring greater openness in the process of redistricting County Council seats.

The Big Island Press Club gives the Lava Tube and the Torch of Light awards every year on Freedom of Information Day, March 16, the birthday of James Madison. Born in 1751, Madison was author of the U.S. Constitution and the foremost advocate for openness. The Big Island Press Club was founded in 1967 and is the oldest continually active media organization in the state of Hawaii.


The Board of Land and Natural Resources receives the Lava Tube dishonor for a meeting on Aug. 14, 2009, in which proposed amendments to the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation’s administrative rules were only vaguely described in the meeting agenda. Laura Thielen was the Land Board chair at the time. Read more

East Hawaii News — Join BIPC To Raise Money For Library Books

image courtesy of Pins and Ashes

(Media release) — In a continuing effort to foster literacy, the Big Island Press Club has launched a campaign to help replenish the children’s book collections at three East Hawaii public libraries just in time for Christmas.

“Learning and loving to read is a key element to a discriminating public, and for a lot of children, the public library is their first exposure to vast choices in reading,” BIPC president Stephanie Salazar said.

BIPC board member Brandon Haleamau proposed raising the funds after learning of the need to replace worn-out books at the Hilo, Naalehu, and Pahoa public libraries.

“Librarians said many of  the books are just worn out and they need to replace them, but their funds are limited,” Haleamau said. Read more

Hawaii News — County Council Earns BIPC’s ‘Lava Tube’ Award For Running Roughshod Over Sunshine Law

Gary Varvel cartoon

(Media release) — Hawaii County Council Members, having run roughshod over the Sunshine Law in the last year, earned the Big Island PressClub’s 13th annual Lava Tube award in recognition of the year’s most notable offenses against the public’s “right to know.”

The County Council disregarded the Sunshine Law when reorganizing last June, sparking a lawsuit between the Council and West Hawaii Todaythat produced a restraining order against the Council and an order for the county to pay $23,000 in attorney’s fees to the newspaper. In the restraining order, Judge Ronald Ibarra barred any further Council action until council members reversed the reorganization and gave proper notice of the matter.

“It is clear that a quorum of councilors discussed resolutions regarding selection of board officers pending before the board, prior to and outside of, the June 16, 2009, public meeting, in violation of (the state Sunshine Law),” Ibarra said. Throughout the course of the lawsuit, council members spoke publicly of the inconvenience of the state’s Open Meetings Law. Read more

Hawaii News — Aloha Oe, Stephanie

Stephanie Salazar in her electric car

After spending the last seven years as KHBC radio news director, Stephanie Salazar bid aloha to radio audiences today.  She was heard mornings on Visionary’s KTBH-FM (The Beach) as well as on KIPA 1060AM.  She was also the voice heard in the background on the morning Mynah Bird Show, which is simulcast on KIPA, KHBC 92.7 FM and KONA FM 92.1.  “I prepped Mel’s copy, wrote news, scheduled his interviews and put up with his jokes…  But he did make good coffee most mornings!”

Her last day at the studio began, as usual, before 5am, greeting Mynah Bird and Japanese Radio show hostess Taka Niimi.  “It is sad to leave people I have worked with so long, but I need to get back to ‘news’,” she said.  Stephanie has seen her news duties eclipsed by office duties, leaving her less and less time to devote to news gathering, news writing and reporting.

This morning listeners heard Mynah Bird announce that it was a ‘sad’ day, but Stephanie is upbeat about making this change.  “I have some prospects for news writing, but I agree that it is unfortunate that more and more news departments are shrinking.” Read more

Big Island Press Club — Former CBS News Expert To Speak On Polling Jan. 29

(Media release) — In a topic timely for the upcoming election season, CBS News Pollster Kathleen Frankovic will speak on the methods, history and the challenge of getting accurate information without slanting facts when conducting polls. Frankovic will speak at the Big Island Press Club annual dinner, Friday, January 29, 2010, at the Coconut Grill Restaurant (The former Hukilau) in Hilo.

No Host Cocktails 5:30p.m.

Dinner:  6:15 p.m.

Price $25 per person (includes tax and tip) (Menu:  Mahimahi, hibachi chicken, Kalua pork, lomi salmon, poi, rice, Pineapple upside down cake)

Reservations:  Call Rod Thompson, 982-6631 or e mail

Frankovic, one of the world’s leading experts in public opinion polling, recently retired from CBS News, where she was the network’s Director of Surveys and Producer, with major responsibility for the design, analysis and broadcasting of results from CBS News and CBS News/New York Times polls.  She remains an election and polling consultant for CBS News and other public opinion research organizations.

In 2008, Frankovic received the American Association for Public Opinion Research Association’s lifetime achievement award given for an outstanding contribution to the field of public opinion research.  Frankovic earned an A.B. from Cornell University, a Ph.D. in political science from Rutgers University.

Hugh-isms — Even The Bully Of College Sports Must Abide By The Sunshine Law


Image Courtesy of Patch Place

Image Courtesy of Patch Place

 By Hugh Clark

I feel like a kid who discovered Christmas has come four months early.

It arrived in Tallahassee, Fla., where a state judge ruled Thursday the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the big-bully sports governing agency for colleges, must disclose public information.

As best I know this is first time in nearly five decades the NCAA has been called to answer for itself.

I have had a private war with this autocratic, bureaucratic group when I called them to task for cancellation of a tiny football bowl game in northwestern California benefiting crippled kids. I testified (by letter) in the Congressional record before the late Sen. Warren Magnuson’s committee as a small town editor in Ely, Nevada, before ever arriving in Hawaii. Read more

***Commentary*** Mayor To Be Featured Speaker At Big Island Press Club Scholarship Dinner On July 31


Mayor Billy Kenoi

Mayor Billy Kenoi

Just in from Big Island Press Club (BIPC) Gleanings Editor Rod Thompson: Mayor Billy Kenoi will be the featured speaker at BIPC’s annual Scholarship Dinner in two weeks. 

I write this as a commentary because 1. I am biased in favor of BIPC being a  member myself 2. I want to complain about the cost of the event set for 5:30 p.m., Friday, July 31, 2009.

Granted, $28 accesses you to a smorgasbord of mahimahi, chicken, kalua, pork, lomi salmon, poi, rice, and cake at the Hilo Seaside Hotel’s Coconut Girl and the pleasantry of Mayor Billy Kenoi.  

Big Island Press Club has been protecting the public's right to know on this island since 1967

Big Island Press Club has been protecting the public's right to know since 1967

“Kenoi hasn’t said what his topic will be, but do we need to ask?” Rod Thompson wrote. “The mayors of all counties, plus the governor, have been deeply involved in trying to figure out how to keep the state and county governments at least partly operational, while cutting back on government employee incomes in one manner or another.  Some questioning from the audience may also be directed toward the mayor’s feelings about the recent County Council reorganization… Read more