Shoe Made from Fishing Debris Kicks Off “Parley for the Ocean” Talks

recycled-fish-net-ocean-trash-sneakers-adidas-4The UN-affiliated environmental organization Parley for the Ocean has teamed up with Adidas Shoe to create a prototype running shoe that it claims is made from recycled plastic ocean debris. The shoe, made from materials collected off the coast of West Africa by a Sea Shepherd expedition to shadow illegal trawling activity there, features a surface made from blue plastic monofilament used in fishing lines and netting worldwide. It made its public debut at the New York kickoff party for the UN-sponsored Parley for the Ocean talks, which bring together public and private sector participants in an effort to turn around the rapid decline of the world’s oceans.

“2048 seems to be the overall accepted deadline [according to scientists] for the collapse of all commercial fisheries, and already by 2025 all the coral reef ecosystems in the world will be gone. Leading environmentalists already see the end of most sea life happening in 6–16 years,” notes the Parley for the Oceans Web site. “Diminishment of biodiversity in our ocean is the single greatest threat to the survival of humanity. With diminishment of species in our oceans comes diminishment of the quality of life for humanity. What are the causes of this continuing mass extinction and imminent threat to our collective survival?”

The site notes several major factors in the oceans’ decline, including commercial overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution with plastic and chemicals. Plastics have become a major problem; they make up a large part of the Texas-sized “garbage patch” of floating debris that has formed in the Pacific between California and Hawaii, for instance, and local groups annually haul tons of it from remote Kamilo beach on the Big Island, where it has actually begun to form plastic sand.

“Artists, musicians, actors, directors, fashion designers, journalists, architects, product inventors, and scientists have the tools to mold the reality we live in and to develop alternative business models and ecologically sensible products to give us earthlings an alternative choice, an everyday option to change something,” it notes. “To succeed, we need to find ways to synchronize the economic system of mankind with the ecosystem of nature. And make environmental protection fiscally lucrative for pacesetting major companies. Parley has been created to accelerate a process of change that is already in progress.”

The new shoe, whose innovative design even got spread in the avante-garde art site thisiscollosalcom, is just one small example of what can be don toward that “synchronization.” A company called GStar RAW, in collaboration with musician Pharrell Williams, already produces a line of “denim” clothing made from fibers extracted from marine debris. Parley for the Ocean founder Cyrill Gutsch told the Web site takepart.com, “Realistically we will retrieve around 10,000 tons of plastic this year from shorelines and by retrieving discarded fishing nets, which we do in collaboration with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.”

Takepart.com also reported that Parley, working Sea Shepherd, has “already started collecting plastic in China, Australia, Hawaii, and the East and West Coasts of the United States. Collection will begin soon in Brazil, Mexico, the Maldives, Greece, France, and the United Kingdom.”

Daughter Carries on Mom’s Tradition of Giving

Kathleen Inouye is giving a gift of warmth.

In memory of her mother, Misao Noguchi, who passed away at the age of 93 on April 17, 2014, Inouye has donated 10 hand-made beanies to patients receiving treatment at Hilo Medical Center’s Hawaii Pacific Oncology Center.

“I am carrying on my mom’s legacy,” said Kathy. Each beanie takes six to seven hours of dedication to make.

“A lot of our patients wear beanies to keep warm,” notes Julie Leach, Nurse Manager at the Oncology Center. “Kathy’s gifts are more than a donation. They are assurances to our patients that one more person in our community cares for them.”

“My mother retired with 25 years of service as a licensed practical nurse at the Old Folks Home in Ola`a and at Hilo Medical Center’s Extended Care Facility,” said Inouye. “Upon her retirement, she was asked to crochet beanies to donate to the Hilo Medical Center’s cancer unit.” When Noguchi first started work at Hilo Medical Center, then Hilo Hospital, she was a young, single nurses who living above the hospital in a pink dormitory that is now affectionately known as “The Pink Palace.” She and her fellow nurses played volleyball in the yard by the dorms.

“People say my mother had the hands of a genius because she was so good at knitting, crocheting, sewing and crafts,” said Inouye. “She taught me how to knit when I was eight years old. She always carried her needlework and, as an avid sports fan, she did her needlework while cheering on the Vulcans, Hilo High, and attending the Haili Tournament.  I truly cherish and am grateful for all of the wonderful and precious hours spent with my mom as we knitted, talked and had fun together,” said Kathleen. “I am hoping to continue knitting beanies and donating them to the patients at Hawaii Pacific Oncology Center.”

Donations to Hilo Medical Center are made through the Hilo Medical Center Foundation by contacting the office at 935-2957.

 

Ige’s March Appointments Narrow His Gender Gap

Jody Leong

While the brouhaha over Governor David Ige’s failed appointment of Carlton Ching to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources played itself out, Ige has continued to fill out his administration with other, less controversial appointments. In the process, he’s narrowed the gender gap in his administration–though he still has some distance to go.  The eleven appointments and nominations he’s announced on his Web site since the beginning of this month included seven women and four men.  Since assuming  office, his official Web site has  announced the appointments of a 34 men and 24 women.

Among his recent appointments are  two former former anchorwomen who will be joining his communications team.  Jody Leong, the Director of Communications for the University of  Hawaii and a former KITV and KHNL weekend news anchor, will become Ige’s Deputy Director of Communications and Press Secretary.  Yasmin Dar, who left a job at KITV as a traffic and social media reporter to become an evening news anchor in Eugene, Oregon, is returning  to Hawaii to serve as Ige’s Digital Media Director.

Lynn Fallin

Ige has also appointed three women to senior posts in the Department of Health  this month.  Veteran government bureaucrat Lynn Fallin, whose 25 -year career has included cabinet posts in Oregon and Hawaii,  has been appointed Director of Behavior Health.  Terry Byers has been appointed Director of Executive Office on Aging. Danette Wong Tomiyasu has will become Deputy Director for Health Resources, and Helena Manzano has been tapped as Executive Director of the Office of Language Access.

Cathy Ross, a 14-year public service veteran,  has been named  Deputy Director for Administration at the Department of Public Safety.

Audrey Hidano

Most of these women come with ample credentials and a minimum of controversy; in general, aside from the newswomen, they’ve earned their chops within the departments they’ll be leading.  But Audrey Hidano, named to serve as Deputy Director of the Department of Accounting and General Services, could be an exemplification of the notorious “revolving door” between the public and private sectors: she’s served in high state posts with departments involved in contracting and construction and is co-owner of a contracting firm and a construction firm.  Ige’s press release spins Hidano’s career as “a wealth of experience in government leadership positions and in the private sector. She has twice served as Deputy Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, and most recently she was the Deputy Director at the Department of Transportation. Hidano also co-founded Hidano Construction, Inc., a general contracting company that specializes in residential and light commercial construction, and is the co-owner of Rim-Pac, Inc. a construction company that specializes in solid surface work….”

Ulalia Woodside

Ige named Ulalia Woodside to the Board of Land and Natural Resources, where she’s already serving as an interim member. Woodside has also worked both sides of the governmental/corporate divide, though she’s served in conservation/management roles on both sides.   Shes’s currently  currently the regional asset manager for natural and cultural resources at Kamehameha Schools’ Land Assets Division. Prior to that,  she worked for  Wilson Okamoto Corporation, The Hallstrom Group and the DLNR.

Darrell T. Young

Ige also appointed two men to the BLNR: surfer Keone Downing  and former Hawaii County Planning Director Chris Yuen, who had been the Big Island’s representative on the board in the  1990s. Ige named veteran sheriff Shawn as Deputy Director for Law Enforcement at the Department of Public Safety, and veteran political bureaucrat Darrell T. Young from his post as Deputy to the Chair at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to become Deputy of the Department of Transportation’s Harbors Division.  Before his DHHL post, Young served as chief of staff to Honolulu Councilman Nestor Garcia.

Puna News — Local Girl Heads Toward Big Circus

Photo courtesy of Thula Martin. Do not duplicate. All rights reserved.

By Le’a Gleason

Locally born contortionist and aerial hoop artist Thula Martin has made it big. She’s got a worldly air about her; the wide-eyed vision of a woman who’s been on the road performing since she was 12. And amazingly, Martin is just 18.

The young lady began this year as a freshman at Ecole Nationale de Cirque (National Circus College) in Montreal, Canada, where she studies circus arts right across the street from the world famous Cirque de Soleil.

For Martin, the magic of the circus was sparked during childhood, when she studied with the HICCUP Circus on the Big Island, where Thula and her mother Shakti performed acrobatics together. As years went by, when what began as a dream was now a full-fledged passion, Thula and her mother Shakti discovered a company called Circus Smirkus.

Circus Smirkus is a traveling circus company that auditions children from across the country to participate in a traveling show.  Once the competition is narrowed down, children selected to participate are invited to join the company for an intense three weeks of creating a traveling circus act. Then, they take it to the road, performing 80 shows across the east coast in a circus tent that they learn to pack and unpack throughout the summer.

“My dream is to become a professional circus performer,” said twelve-year-old Thula on a video documentary called Circus Dreams, which explored Circus Smirkus.

Photo courtesy of Thula Martin. Do not duplicate. All rights reserved.

But getting accepted into Smirkus wasn’t smooth sailing for Thula who had suffered a fractured elbow from a fall from the trapeze just days before. Thula had spent years studying aerial arts, and an injury like that for someone used to hanging by their arms was devastating.

“The first thing I said in the hospital was ‘oh my god I’m not gonna be able to audition for Circus Smirkus. I would have certain teachers say ‘your arm’s never gonna straighten.’ I didn’t wanna give up so I just had to work through it,” said Thula, who was accepted into Cirus Smirkus despite her injury.

Today, she speaks to the difficulty of facing her injury.

“When I went in to that tour, I was an aerialist that couldn’t do aerial. It looks straight now but there’s definitely times that it will bother me because of how it healed. To my knowledge right now the only way to get it back…would be to re-break it. If I had been told that…maybe I would’ve done it then,” Thula said.

But according to Shakti, her daughter possessed an unbreakable spirit, one that has admirably carried her way beyond the injury to bigger and better things.

Photo courtesy of Thula Martin. Do not duplicate. All rights reserved.

“In the show there were some Mongolians….two contortionists and a coach. That’s where she learned about contortion…and she just was a natural. She continued to train and work on straightening her arm,” Shakti explained.

Thula performed with Circus Smirkus for three years and re-auditioned the fourth year but was not accepted, in a twist of fate that lead down a different path.

“You would think at that point it’s over, [but] she had hooked up with Annetta Lucero, a famous baton twirler who had moved to Hawaii. She wrote Thula a letter and said ‘Thula you have been gliding on your natural talent,’ she just laid out what it takes to be a circus performer. I just left it up to her. Basically the letter said ‘you have to change your life and commit,’ and she did. She just switched overnight,” Shakti said.

Thula has since traveled the country performing contortion and aerial hoop routines professionally throughout Hawaii, California, Nevada, Alaska. At just 17, she performed in Guam and the Phillipines with the Great American Circus.

“In retrospect that rejection from Circus Smirkus was the best thing that ever happened to her,” Shakti said.

In 2011, Thula received her GED as a result of her dedicated studies through an online high-school. She then went to Atlantic City NJ to perform in a professional circus company, and eventually moved to San Diego where she accepted jobs as an independent circus performer that took her to South America, Chicago, and even gave her the opportunity to perform at a half-time NBA show.

For Shakti, although letting go of her daughter has been hard, it has been well worth it.

Photo courtesy of Thula Martin. Do not duplicate. All rights reserved.

“I have been really clear that it’s my job to support her in her passion.  I saw my daughter’s talent and just wanted to nurture it. It’s been such a blessing. She has so much grace. If I look back on her story, doors have opened up for her. So many miracles have happened. I’m really proud and excited for her,” Shakti said.

And for Thula, the journey has been worth it as well.

“I had to learn how to take care of myself. As much as I wanted to be young, I had that opportunity. I don’t feel like I missed out on my childhood,” Thula said.

“The sky’s the limit. Anything I put my mind to, if I work hard I can do it. If I believe in it I can do it. When I was growing up I always had a goal in mind. I never didn’t know. From the time I was six, I always had circus in my mind. It wasn’t like a question,” Thula said.

Today, Thula studies the circus with an elite group of students carefully selected from around the world. They spend hours each week honing special talents, still leaving room for academic studies as well, and in Thula’s case, French class in on top of her other studies. But for Thula, the workload is welcome.

“I’m gonna train as hard as a can and get as much out of the school as I can,” Thula said.

For more information on Thula Martin, visit www.thulamoon.com

Feature — Coqui-Frog-Themed Science-Fiction Film In The Works

An out of control invasive species terrorizes the Big Island of Hawaii. A 12-year-old boy and his mome, recently arrived to the island, accidently stumble upon a solution to control the rampaging monster and millions of baby ones... saving the day, but... — so goes the storyline of "Nobody Is Immune," the science fiction film produced by Howard Wexler.

(Media release) — War of the Worlds was about aliens invading earth, Attack of the Killer Zombies was about flesh eaters invading a town.

Nobody is Immune is about Coqui frogs invading the Hawaiian Islands.  A fictionalized account of what could happen should the Coqui frog grow in size and numbers.

Associated Press ran a feature story December 24, 2011 about the invasive species becoming a pest, after defeating the states attempts at eradiation.

http://www.ap.org

Big Island Film Venture LLC, Is launching a film production company with their first project, “Nobody is Immune”, an over the top sci-fi, eco-thriller that features local color, horror, humor, and a mutant monster Coqui frog.

Several recent movies have used Hawaii as a film location; Pirates of the Caribbean, Predators, Indiana Jones, The Descendants, but few stories are actually about Hawaii and it’s inhabitants.

Industry veteran, Director of Photography-Producer-Director Howard Wexler is a part time resident of The Big Island, and Nobody is Immune evolved from his personal experience watching neighbors try to “annihilate” an invading Coqui frog.

Screenwriter Marlin has over 40 years in show business and joined the project with Howard’s invitation. “Hawaii has been home for 27 years and I remember a time before the invasion when it was peaceful and serene here. The arrival of this invasive changed everything. This is a real life horror for many people.”

Hawaii Animation is a premiere visual effects facility with many top credits, and has joined the project seeing the potential for this movie. Based in Honolulu, internationally known Island Film Group is also partnering.

The film is slated to shoot in 2012 and will primarily be set on Big Island with additional footage on Maui and Oahu. Investors are encouraged to consider this opportunity.

For further information, contact Howard Wexler
310 880-2219  howwex@earthlink.net
(Submitted by Howard Wexler.)

Feature — Portrait Of Our 2011 Merrie Monarch Queen

Image courtesy of Kaleo Francisco

(Editor’s Note:  A version of this story by Tiffany Edwards Hunt appears in this week’s edition of the Big Island Weekly.)

It seems fitting that Kaleo’onalani Mei-Ling Francisco has a framed 8 x 10 portrait of Queen Liliuokalani in her dining room.

Noting what hardship Liliuokalani endured 117 years ago by being deposed, having the monarchy abrogated, then being arrested and imprisoned at Iolani Palace, Francisco says, “I figure patriotic people have pictures of their president.  I should have a picture of the queen.”

Indeed.  Francisco is this year’s Merrie Monarch queen, re-enacting the revered Hawaiian tradition of the monarchy alongside this year’s king, Aaron Ka Pomai’i Kaleo, an 11-year veteran of the Hawaii Police Department.

In real life, Francisco is married to Nick Kalamakani Francisco and the mother of four sons, Kalamakua, Aulanikailoa, Tyler Lokahi, and Kahoku’okekaihawanawana Kimo, who passed away a few years ago.

Along with being a middle-aged woman, to be Merrie Monarch queen you have to have Hawaiian ancestry.  Francisco is a descendent of Kalanikauika’aleno Keopuolani.  Her mother is Mei-Ling Manuwa Green and her father is Phil Arellano.  She is third in a line of seven children.  She, her four sisters and her two brothers grew up on Oahu.  Francisco, off an on for 30 years, has made the Big Island her home and, in the last several years, settled in Puna’s Leilani Estates.

She and her husband founded Ho’ai, a non-profit organization focused on growing dry land kalo, a dream they had since they met.  The Franciscos make a point of sharing the kalo with kupuna.

Francisco volunteers at her son’s preschool and the Hilo Grandmothers’ Club.   She is a member of ‘Ahahui Ka’ahumanu, or Ka’ahumanu Society, which is akin to a Hawaiian civic club but is actually one of four royal societies in Hawai’i.  Named after Queen Ka’ahumanu, the formal society is historic and symbolic, with a goal to perpetuate Hawaiian culture and serve as a reminder of Hawaiian nobility.

“I think if you want to be queen, you should belong to kupuna clubs,” Francisco says, grinning and laughing, before “just kidding.” Read more

Politics — ‘O’oma Victory, A Photo Story

On Friday, Nov. 5, 2010 the State of Hawaii Land Use Commission voted to keep 'O'oma in North Kona under the conservation classification. Environmentalists, conservation advocates, and residents generally fed up with coastline development are calling the LUC decision a victory. Developers have proposed "mixed-use shoreline community,” with up to 1,200 residences and 300 commercial spaces for the area near the Kona International Airport.  O’oma Beachside Village had filed Petition for District Boundary Amendment with the State Land Use Commission (LUC), in order to convert the land from conservation to urban.  The following photo story of the LUC decision to deny the petition has been shared with Big Island Chronicle by Lynn Beittel.

Read more

Feature — Three Dog Night At Hilton Waikoloa

Photo by Tiffany Edwards Hunt. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

The  iconic band Three Dog Night played last night, Friday, Nov. 5, 2010 at the Hilton Waikoloa. “One,” “Joy To The World” and “Mama Told Me Not To Come” were among the classic tunes reminiscent of the 60s and 70s that were played.  But there was also a remake of the 40-year-old Mama song to this Yo Mama Version” that brought plenty of laughter from the crowd packed into the resort ballroom. More details, along with additional photos and song clips, to follow.

Feature — Hilo Coffee Mill Farmers Market, A Photo Story

Photos and text by Tiffany Edwards Hunt

If you haven’t checked out the farmers market on Saturday at the Hilo Coffee Mill in Mountain View, let this be a reminder that this is a happening event, with not just your traditional fruits and vegetables for sale.  There are furniture, plants, even pets.  There is gourmet pasta, fresh breads, guacamole, coffee-flavored tapioca, Hilo Coffee Mill maple syrup… you can have breakfast, enjoy some of that maple syrup on sweet bread french toast, sip some ono coffee, and listen to live music.  It really is quite an affair in Upper Puna.  Make a point of checking it out, and tell Jeanette and Kathy I sent you.

Read more

Politics — Guy Enriques’ New Courtship With The Media

Councilman Guy Enriques poses for a photo with Big Island Chronicle editor and publisher Tiffany Edwards Hunt.

(Editor’s note:  A version of the following story about Councilman Guy Enriques appears in tomorrow’s edition of the Big Island Weekly, along with some of Enriques’ answers to questions posed to all Hawaii County Council candidates in a voters guide.)

Councilman Guy Enriques is courting the media.

Just before the Primary Election, the councilman who for the last two years has represented Upper Puna, Ka’u and South Kona, was telling reporters he didn’t want to have anything to do with them.  He refused to respond to any of the news publications’ voters guides and, to be consistently against participating in the guides, didn’t even respond to questions posed to candidates by the League of Women Voters.

Enriques explained he took that stance on principle.  In the weeks preceding the Primary, he took exception with newspaper coverage involving fellow council member Emily Naeole-Beason and involving Kamaoa Road in South Point that he has a resolution in the works proposing to make private. Enriques objected to what he believes to be biased reporting in the island newspapers. Enriques referred to the most trusted man of America, the late Walter Cronkite, who said that “good journalism” is news reports that are “fair, accurate and unbiased” and “in seeking truth you have to get both sides of the story.”

“When you read the articles,” in the island newspapers, “you already know what side the reporter is on,” Enriques said. “A lot of times I was fixing things created by the paper — because of the misinformation printed in the paper.  Enriques referred to Kamaoa Road specifically.  “People are calling me up saying by closing down Kamaoa Road I’m going to prevent access to Green Sand Beach, to hunting, to the beautiful vistas.  Department of Public Works, the Planning Commission, and the Planning Department all recommend that the road be closed because it serves no public purpose.  It deads ends onto private property.  Five landowners want to buy it.  One landowner is disgruntled about the proposed purchase.” Still, in the newspaper, the headline about Kamaoa Road read something to the effect of, “Battle Brewing In Ka’u.”

“Since then, it became a battle brewing in Ka’u,” Enriques noted.  “I spend a lot of time emailing and calling to clarify the issue.” Read more

Feature — Pahoa Postmaster Dave Kell Standing In Front Of The Newly-Improved Driveway

Relatively new Pahoa Postmaster Dave Kell stands at the recently renovated driveway on Thursday.  Stan’s Contracting was the main contractor that subcontracted to Willocks Construction the project that commenced this spring.  A meesage was left earlier today for Glen Ogawa, of Stan’s Contracting, to determine the exact cost of the post office’s driveway and parking lot renovation.

Feature — An Overview Of Uncle Boogie’s Pohoiki Bay Surfing Classic

George "Boogie" Kalama

(Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the July 7, 2010 edition of the Big Island Weekly.)

By Tiffany Edwards Hunt

To imagine what Uncle Boogie’s Pohoiki Bay Surfing Classic was like over July Fourth weekend is to envision what the surf-side village of Kalapana must have been like before the lava took it away in the early 1990s.

The massive lawn of the newly renovated Isaac Kepo’okalani Hale Beach Bark was filled with families camping out under tarps and in tents.  Nevermind the occasional rain and persistent wind.  The two-to-three-foot-average waves kept the surfers in the water, from morning to night.

“Aloha kekahi i kekahi,” George “Boogie” Kalama repeatedly told participants.  Whether it was Boogie’s constant reminders or the fact that participants truly embodied the true sense of the Hawaiian term for Love One Another, the love was flowing at Pohoiki.

Those who camped out at Pohoiki and participated in Uncle Boogie’s Surfing Classic embodied not only the true meaning of aloha, but also ohana.

Whether they were related or not, they treated each other like family.

Sure, they were gathered for a surf competition, but the competitiveness appeared to be a minimum outside of the water.

Participants shared meals and tasks, like preparing the maile leaf leis that were to be given to the first through fourth place winners of each division. Read more

Feature — Results Of Uncle Boogie’s Pohoiki Bay Surfing Classic

Women’s open longboard
Manu Napeahi, first place
Tianna McGuire, second place
Alexandra Miller, third place
Cathy Wilson, fourth place
Women’s open shortboard
Shrutti Kartik, first place
Cathy Wilson, second place
Annessa Klipper, third place
Christina Wilson, fourth place
Junior men’s longboard
Kiko Napeahi, first place
Hanal’e McGuire, second place
Krispin Nakoa, third place
Akila Weber, fourth place Read more

Feature — Marijuana Community Reacts To The Hawaii Cannabis (THC) Ministry Bust

(Editor’s note:  A version of this story appeared in the July 14, 2010 edition of the Big Island Weekly.)

The indictment and arrests of 14 people said to be associated with The Hawaii Cannabis (THC) Ministry were met with mixed reactions from those in the marijuana community who believe the first amendment right ensuring freedom of religion extends to marijuana.

While there were 14 people arrested, the public’s focus seems to be largely focused on Roger Christie and his ministry, which boasts, “We use cannabis religiously, and you can too.”

The Rev. Dennis Shields, of The Religion of Jesus Church, ordained Christie as a “cannabis sacrament” minister in June of 2000. Today he views Christie as a “Jimmy Swaggart type,” referring to the former televangelist who was involved in a high-profile 1988 sex scandal, or an Elmer Gantry, the false prophet described in Sinclair Lewis’ 1920s satirical novel.

Is he persuasive enough to make people drink the Kool-Aid? “Near that,” Shields said, referring to the late Jim Jones, founder and leader of the People’s Temple, and the one responsible for more than 900 Temple members perishing in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978. “I don’t think he has much of a moral compass,” Shields said of Christie. Read more

Feature — Feds: The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry Fronted A Major-Drug Trafficking Group

(Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the July 14, 2010 edition of the Big Island Weekly.)

A Sept. 8 trial date has been set for 14 people that federal authorities say disguised a major drug-trafficking group behind a marijuana-focused ministry.

The U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Honolulu says Roger Christie, 61, with the help of his girlfriend Sherryanne St. Cyr, 58, engaged in marijuana trafficking while conducting The Hawaii Cannabis (THC) Ministry out of Hilo.

Richard Bruce Turpen, 59, Wesley Mark Sudbury, 32, Donald James Gibson, 40, Roland Gregory Ignacio, 49, Perry Emilio Policicchio, 50, John Debaptist Bouey III, 50, Michael “Dewey” Shapiro, 61, and Aaron George Zeeman, 42, are alleged to have served as marijuana suppliers and growers for THC Ministry throughout 2009. Susanne Lenore Friend, 46, and Timothy Mann, 58, were “recruited to start a marijuana cultivation operation for the ministry,” according to U.S. District attorneys in Honolulu.

The 14 individuals listed in the indictment were arrested on July 8. Six of them were released on a $25,000 unsecured signature bond, including Friend, Mann, Ignacio, Policicchio, Fiore, and Walsh. The remaining eight were incarcerated in a federal detention facility in Honolulu at press time, including Christie, St. Cyr, Turpen, Sudbury, Gibson, Bouey, Shapiro, and Zeeman.

At Christie’s leading, THC Ministry has for over a decade publicly advocated the use of “cannabis sacrament,” with the slogan, “We use cannabis religiously and you can, too.” Read more