Surf — ‘No Donkeys’


As seen at the entrance to Pohoiki "Shacks" surf break. Perhaps the point that the person with the can of blue spray paint was trying to make by writing "No Donkeys" is that this Puna surf break is not for novices. Too often, those inexperienced and ignorant of the current here will paddle out and land on the reef, if not saved by more savvy surfers or the lifeguard on duty. Â Photo by Tiffany Edwards Hunt. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

***Commentary*** ‘Fat Crak’ For Those Who Deface Public Property

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

Not sure of the point this person on the “Shacks” side of Pohoiki with a can of white spray paint was trying to make.   I’m really not into non-artistic grafitti that turns a perfectly-fine rock into a message board.  If I understood the message maybe I’d be more appreciative of the effort.  To me, the person who wrote “Fat Crak” on this rock needs just that as a consequence of defacing public property.  Maybe justice will catch up to the deviant.  For now, those of us who frequent this surf break are left to clean up the ugliness. I’ve posed a similar question before for those who illegally dump their trash:  Who raises people like this?

Guest Column — On The Mangrove Eradication In Puna And EPA’s Amendment Of The HABITAT Label

Pohoiki mangrove image courtesy of Sydney Ross Singer

By Sydney Ross Singer

    Regarding the mangrove eradication on the Big Island, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has amended the label for HABITAT to prohibit its use in marine or estuarine areas.

    EPA did this in response to a risk assessment that was explicit on the need for this label change/prohibition. They informed the registrant (BASF) last August. The poisoning was done months after this prohibition on its use in marine and estuarine areas went into effect.

    Basically, this prohibition means no use of this poison is allowed below the high water mark. Mangroves at Wai Opae Marine Life conservation District, Paki Bay, Pohoiki (Isaac Kepo’okalani Hale Beach Park), and Onekahakaha Beach Park, which have all been targets for this poisoning, are below the high water mark.

    The use of poison to kill mangroves is an experiment in finding a cheaper way to eradicate than removal by hand or machinery. Once poisoned, the dead trees are left to rot in place, clearly cheaper than removal, but damaging and blighting the environment and creating a health and safety threat to the public and to endangered species known to frequent the area. Read more

Guest Column — Public Funds Used To Poison Mangroves

By Sidney Ross Singer
The mangroves at beautiful Pohoiki is now being poisoned.  Last year, these very same mangroves were used by a film crew for the movie, The Tempest.  I watched them filming this movie at that spot.  It was used for its beauty and magical ambiance.  Now, the trees have holes in them where poison was injected, and the trees are leafless and dying.  The water will get foul.  What an unnecessary waste and destruction of a healthy environment, one of the few popular surfing and boating spots on the Big Island, and one of the rare places with the necessary environment where mangroves can grow.
Here are the serious problems that have surfaced regarding this mangrove eradication:
The lead group is the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC).  All these Invasive Species Committees are public-private partnerships, and have inherent conflicts of interest.  For example, Malama o Puna, a local private non-profit group, is a partner of BIISC and is doing the poisoning.  The County of Hawaii gave the permit, and is a BIISC partner.  The US Fish and Wildlife gave a grant for this, and is a BIISC partner.  The DLNR did not require an Environmental Assessment (EA), and is a BIISC partner.  
Who is objective when these are all partners?  Notice, the organizations defining the problem, funding it, permitting it, and receiving the funds to do it are all partners.  There should be checks and balances between agencies protecting the environment.  On these committees, they work as one, so there is no longer any balance or impartial oversight.
If there was a need for mangrove removal, there should have been a competitive bidding process and an EA.  There was no public comment.  The BIISC is acting like this is their island to do with as they like.
This project involves state money, as well as Federal money.  The state funding agency  for this eradication was the Hawaii Tourism Authority. This is not a tourism issue.  There needs to be an investigation into the HTA and a reprimand, at least, to prevent them from funding invasive species control.  In fact, the mangroves can help tourism for their beauty.
The Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) has shown it is useless and powerless.  They told me to ask Malama o Puna, the offending party, why they had not done an EA. That was all the OEQC had to offer about this breach of HRS 343 law, which defines the EA process, and which the OEQC is supposed to be administering. The OEQC should be able to require EA’s and penalize those who do not do one.  As it now stands, the OEQC is impotent, and all they do is publish the Environmental Notices and watch as government agencies, corrupted by their involvement in these Invasive Species Committees, ignore the law.
Where is the oversight?  Where is the enforcement of HRS 343?  These mangroves are on public land which is also shoreline and conservation land.  The poisoning is being done with state and federal money.  And this is an irreversible eradication.  These are all triggers for an EA.   Read more

***Commentary*** Beware Of Slipper Caper

Tiffany Edwards Hunt photo

Tiffany Edwards Hunt photo

At least a dozen pairs of slippers have been stolen from the beach fronting the “Shacks” side of Pohoiki today, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009, according to lifeguard Nohea Masaoka.
My Reef rubber slippers were among those stolen. They are women’s size 9 with violet blue soles and white straps. They are valued at $17 retail. Only one pair in that color and size were ordered for Jeff Hunt Surfboards, and Reef has since discontinued those slippers. Anyone in Puna seen wearing slippers matching the above description should be considered a thief and questioned about his or her involvement in the 11 other pair of slippers stolen today.

Island News — Mounting Public Opposition To The Randrup Plea Deal


Family and friends of Chris Randrup surround supervisory deputy prosecutor Mike Kagami after the Aug. 31 change of plea hearing. Photo by Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Family and friends of Chris Randrup surround supervisory deputy prosecutor Mike Kagami after the Aug. 31 change of plea hearing. Photo by Tiffany Edwards Hunt

 (A version of this story appears in the Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009 edition of the Big Island Weekly.)

By Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Public opposition mounted in the week after Randal “Randy” Randrup offered a guilty plea for the shooting death of his son, Hans Christian “Chris” Randrup, in exchange for the prosecution’s recommendation that he serve two years in jail with credit for time served.

The word around Isaac Kepo’okalani Hale Beach Park (Pohoiki), where Chris Randrup regularly surfed, is that the plea deal sends a message that there are no consequences for murder here on the Big Island.  Residents blogged, sketched cartoons, and wrote letters to the editor to the newspapers to voice their opposition.

Francine Souza, of Pahoa, wrote (Da Kine), “When we citizens go to court, we are told ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse.’ So, tell me, what excuse have the courts, judges and attorneys? The police blame the courts, and the courts blame the police…” she wrote in questioning the Randrup plea deal and another criminal case.  Souza questioned whether the prosecution would make such a sentencing recommendation if Chris Randrup were “your son shot and then thrown off a cliff? What is your excuse? Ignorance of the law? Come on, people, this is the time when all of Hilo should protest at the courts with signs, and let our voices be heard, ‘Enough!’” Souza wrote.

Chris’ mother, Lois Randrup, meanwhile, in Cardiff By The Sea, Calif., having heard about the change-of-plea hearing from friends and relatives on the island, was in a state of shock “trying to absorb this latest blow.” Read more