• 03 Jun 2015 /  environment, letters

    Dear Editor,

    Why did the dolphins disappear?

    At the last Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) meeting on Hawai’i Island, economist Paul Brewbaker presented a dizzying array of charts and graphs showing the billions of dollars TMT would generate.

    Someone asked: What do you consider sacred? He paused. Then he recalled a special place where he used to see spinner dolphins—till, one day, they disappeared.

    How much money would an economist sell his mother for?

    If Mauna Kea were not here, could we imagine it, or build it?

    Can we know the right answers before we know the right questions?

     Why did the dolphins disappear?

     Cory (Martha) Harden

    Hilo, Hawaii

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  • 03 Jun 2015 /  Uncategorized


  • With news that the National Weather Service expects a more severe hurricane season than usual, Big Island residents–especially those in lover Puna–may be recalling the purgatory created by albizia trees during Tropical Storm Iselle, when the large, invasive, brittle trees fell by the thousands and isolated entire neighborhoods.

    With the prevention of similar future experiences in mind, the Big Island Invasive Species Committee is hosting a series of workshops on how to lessen the albizia menace.

    “At the workshops, we focus on providing information to teams and individuals who want to take action on a specific area of their neighborhood,” notes the BIISC announcement for the workshops.   “Working with the community organizer, these leaders will address both hazard and non-hazard trees in their selected area.  Trees that directly threaten roads, structures or utility lines should only be removed by a certified arborist.  At the workshops, you will be provided with resources to help you contact private landowners to notify them about hazard trees.  You will also learn how to safely and effectively use small amounts of herbicide to treat non-hazard trees and stop the spread of the “keiki” albizia that are popping up.”

    In addition to the informational session, the BIISC albizia  control crew will give residents hands-on training to community volunteers. Those who wish to participate in the training should wear sturdy, closed toe shoes, long pants, and a long sleeved shirt, and bring their own water bottles (Water refills will be provided).  Also recommended, in case the crew runs into little fire annts:   “a hat and towel or cloth you can use to protect your neck and collarline,”  since disturbed ants may fall out of the trees.


    May 9 Hawaiian Shores Community Center (“The Stables”) 9 a.m.-12 p. m.

    June 6 Leilani Estates 9 a.m. Community Center- Info Table / 10 a.m. – Demo & Workshop

    June 20 Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Center – 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

    June 20 Nanawale Estates – 9 a.m. The Longhouse


    Those who wish to sign up for a workshop or need more information can contact biisc@hawaii.edu.

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  • 02 Jun 2015 /  Crime, news

    From the Hawaii Police Department:

    Hawai’i Island police are investigating the theft of weed whackers over the weekend from Hawai?i County’s Pana`ewa Zoo.

    Sometime between 6:45 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Sunday (May 31), 10 red Shindaiwa model T282X weed trimmers, valued at $600 each, were removed from the zoo’s premises. One of them was later recovered from nearby bushes.

    Police ask anyone with information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

    Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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  • 01 Jun 2015 /  Uncategorized


  • The Natural Farming Hawai’i June potluck meeting will be about looking through the microscope to understand the benefits of natural farming down to their smallest detail.

    Soil isn’t just a dead medium in which crops grow; it’s a matrix of living things, some beneficial, some harmful.  In healthy soil, microorganisms interact in complimentary ways, but pesticides herbicides fertilizers can disrupt that balance.  The presentation at the meeting will cover how to use the microscope, how to identify bacteria, fungus, and nematodes, and what all this means for soil health.

    The potluck meeting takes place on the second Tuesday of each month–in this case, June 9, June 9th, 2015, at  6-8 p.m at the Komohana Ag Research Center in Hilo, Hawai’i.


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  • 31 May 2015 /  news
    From the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office:
    The Hawai’i Supreme Court today dismissed a legal challenge raised by
    four individual plaintiffs to the Hawai’i Marriage Equality Act of 2013. The 2013 law
    changed Hawaii’s statutes regarding marriage so that same-sex couples could marry.
    The Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs were not harmed or injured by the Marriage
    Equality Act and therefore did not have standing to challenge it.
    “The most important part of the Supreme Court’s ruling was its conclusion that the
    ‘legislature’s decision to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples did not, in any
    way, diminish the right to marry’ for the plaintiffs or anyone else,” said Attorney General
    Doug Chin, quoting the opinion.
    “This is an exciting time for marriage equality in our country, as we await the United States Supreme Court’s ruling that will govern so many other States,” said Deputy Attorney General Deirdre Marie-Iha, who argued on b ehalf of the defendants. “We hope that the United States Supreme Court will recognize, as our Supreme Court did today,
    that those who oppose marriage equality are ‘harmed not at all when others are given the liberty to choose their own life partners and a re shown the respect that comes with formal marriage.’ ”


  • 30 May 2015 /  Crime, news

    From Hawaii Police Department:

    A Puna man faces a felony offense after struggling with a store employee who tried to detain him for shoplifting.

    At 2:30 p.m. Tuesday (May 26) police responded to a home improvement store on the 300 block of Maka?ala Street in Hilo. H

    A store employee had reportedly seen a shopper attempting to leave the store without paying for items in his possession. When the employee attempted to detain the suspect, the suspect reportedly struck the employee.

    The suspect, Patrick K. Elaban of Mountain View, was arrested at the scene. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

    At 9:10 a.m. Thursday (May 28) detectives charged him with second-degree robbery. His bail was set at $5,000. He remained at the cell block until his initial court appearance on Friday (May 29).

    The employee was suffered mild injuries but did require medical attention.


  • 30 May 2015 /  earthquake, news, Uncategorized

    The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has reported that a magnitude 8.5 earthquake that occurred near the Bonin Islands.  Based on all available data, a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawai`i.

    There are no initial reports of casualties.

    The Bonin Islands are a string of subtropical atolls southeast of the main Japanese islands.  The islands are a Japanese prefecture, but have a population of only 2,440.  The closest populated island, the prefectural capitol of Chichi-Jima, is 189 kilometers (117 miles) from the earthquake epicenter.

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  • A M 7.0  earthquake hit a remote part of the Alaska Peninsula  691 miles ssouthwest of Anchorage at 8:08 p.m. HST. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center anticipates NO tsunami threat to Hawaii from this temblor.

  • 28 May 2015 /  classic cars, Energy, Island Events

    Expect to see lots vintagecars rolling along Big Island highways from June 25 to July 5.  Members of the Hawai`i Classic Cruisers (HCC) organization will be  bringing their prides and joys  from Michigan, Oregon, Texas, California, Nevada and around the globe, as well as from O’ahu and Maui,  to this island for their triennial “Cruise Paradise” happening.

    Participants pay $20 to enter one vehicle and $10 for each vehicle thereafter so that their vehicle entry into all events related to the cuise; they pay their own shipping to get their cars here.  But for spectators, “This is a free, fun, family-oriented 10-day event,” notes the press release for the cruise. “During Cruise Paradise 2012, over 400 classic vehicles geared up for car shows on the Big Island that attracted over 10,000 spectators in Hilo, Kona and Waikoloa.  On July 4, hundreds of cars participating in the cruise will be on display at Hilo’s Bayfront.

    The event will contribute to the economy, if not to local air quality;  sponsors anticipate that the cruisers will “burn over 7,500 gallons of fuel, travel over a total of 90,000 miles and spend $23,000 in fuel costs alone. Some vehicles anticipate traveling approximately 600 miles over the 10 days getting about 10-12 miles per gallon of fuel. Car enthusiasts will travel across the island, lodge at various hotels and condominiums, eat at local eateries and shop in our malls, shops and supermarkets.”
    For more information, go to  www.hawaiiclassiccruisers.com

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  • 24 May 2015 /  Uncategorized


    From the Hawaii County Police Department:

    Hawai’i Island police have charged the Puna man who was arrested for murder on Saturday (May 23).

    At 3:30 p.m. Sunday (May 24), 18-year-old Forrest Keesler of Mountain View was charged with second-degree murder. His bail was set at $250,000.

    He remains at the Hilo police cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Tuesday (May 26).

    The victim has been identified as 47-year-old Jeffrey Kelly of Mountain View.


  • 24 May 2015 /  health and wellness, news

    Just as Hawaii Health Systems, the island’s chief hospital facilities provider, announced that shortfalls would force it to cut services and lay 0ff 87 employees in East Hawaii, a prestigious nonprofit released survey findings that rank Hawaii County dead last in the state for overall health.

    Every five years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which bills itself as “the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health,” releases the results of a nationwide survey of health conditions, broken down by county. The latest survey ranks Hawaii County dead last in the state, behind Maui County, the City and County of Honolulu and Kauai County. The survey covered 32 factors that affected residents, health, and grouped those factors six general areas.  Hawaii ranked fourth out of the four counties in five of hose factors: length of life; quality of life; health behaviors such as drinking, smoking, obesity and inactivity;  clinical care, and social and economic factors. The only bright spot:  Hawaii ranked second in “Physical Environment.”

    The foundation estimated that approximately 6,700 every 100,000 Hawaii County residents died prematurely. About 10 percent o county residents were without health insurance.  About 25 percent of the population were considered obese, about 45 percent of deaths in traffic accidents were found to be  alcohol-related and 22 percent of island residents drank excessively. Approximately 321 out of every 100,000 island residents had a sexually transmitted disease and on average, 22 out of every 1,000 girls between the age of 15 and 19 gave birth. Twenty-six percent of children in the county live in impoverished households, compared to 14 percent statewide. But Hawaii residents were found to be slightly less likely than their counterparts statewide to be victimized by violent crime; on average, 254  such crimes were committed per 100,000 residents here, versus 263 per 100,000 statewide.

    According to the Foundation’s statistics,  there is one primary care physician for every 1,391 island residents the average statewide is one per every 1,045.


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  • 23 May 2015 /  Uncategorized

    (Media release) — Hawaii Island police have initiated a murder investigation in connection with an incident in Puna on Saturday morning involving a father and son.

    At approximately 9:15 a.m. Saturday, police officers responded to a reported domestic incident at a home in the Fern Acres subdivision. They arrived to find medics treating an unconscious 47-year-old man. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he died a short time later.

    The victim’s 18-year old son, Forrest Keesler of Mountain View, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

    Police ask anyone with information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Jefferson Grantz at 961-8810 or jefferson.grantz@hawaiicounty.gov.

    Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

  • 19 May 2015 /  letters

    Dear Editor,

    I woke up at 5 this morning, drank coffee, finished some notes and headed out to testify on the Mayor’s budget.  Of course I was a day late, so after reminiscing with another guy who had also thought Tuesday, I’m sending out some thoughts while they are fresh in mind.

    I’ll try to summarize, and am rounding off numbers and mostly going by the actual costs of 2013-14 because we don’t know the actual costs of this current fiscal year.  I believe the totality of the mayor’s budget is less than 6% increase from the previous year.  Right away I find several conflicts, mainly the projected increase of employee pensions and contributions rises from $56.5M (13-14) to 87.2M in 2017-18.  That alone is an average of 6.14M a year, more than 6% increase.

    Add to that the police budget from 121.3M in 2014-15 to 134.1M in 15-16.  That is a 12.7M increase in one year.  It is explained in the letter accompanying the budget as mostly an increase in subsidized vehicle insurance, buying 100 mobile data terminals (cell phones?) and replacing 100 guns.

    I looked into the written goals of the police department: to protect life and property, involve the community in crime prevention, gather evidence to solve crimes, return stolen property, aid in prosecutions and at the bottom of the list are enforce traffic laws and other.   

    Then I noticed further goals for the different departments, and the actual completion rates for these goals.  I was horrified, and I did mention it in my testimony last month, that the Hawaii County Police Department only has goals of 30% in solving Burglaries and Thefts, 60% Robbery and 80% Sexual Assaults?  I’m not sure what the goal of solving murders is, but I saw where they responded to 3 murders, and are giving evidence on 1 to the prosecution.  That seems about 33% to me.

    As I dug further I was wondering why they are not able to solve more crimes?  After all, we hear it is the same people in many subdivision thefts, and we hear about the same crack houses operating for years at a time in the same location, how hard can some of it be?  

    Well, I think I figured something out.  First off, there are only like 3 criminalists and 37 detectives, while there are 306 patrol officers.  And our Federal and State governments ensure that those 306 patrol officers are busy overtime performing revenue generating, seat-belt checks, DUI checks, cell phone stings, and so forth.  Don’t tell me they don’t have quotas.  The police received 16 grants this year, 9 of them are for traffic revenue compliance operations totaling almost $550K.  Additionally there were 3 grants for crimes against women for $150K, 1 Tobacco/eCig sting grant of $8K, 1 grant for Meth operations $125K, 1 grant for State Narcotics Task Force of $125K to eradicate 60,000 pot plants which is supposed to be taken of the budget as it is a mistake, and 1 Justice System Grant for technical equipment and training which perhaps will not happen now that Obama declared a stop to militarizing the police.

    I notice that there were supposed to be a number of hard drug investigations initiated, as well as attendance at some hard drug conventions, which were not attended. There seem to be no grants forthcoming and no money to be made solving actual crimes, but plenty to be made by extorting the drivers in Hawaii County, and forfeiture of real property if the opportunity presents itself.

    I think it would be nice if the County Council would decline those traffic related revenue grants, and instead have the police follow their stated goals, and see if we can actually solve more real crime in line with their stated intent.


    Sara Steiner

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