Big Island Police Searching for Missing 72-Year-Old Woman

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 72-year-old woman who was reported missing.

HPDBadgeCarol Westbrook, who has no permanent address, was last heard from by her family during the first week of February.

She is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-3, 120 pounds with gray or graying hair.  She may be in Hilo or Puna and she may be operating a white Subaru Legacy with front-end damage.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

(No photo is immediately available.)

Advertisements

State and County Team-Up to Tackle Hazardous Albizia Trees

The State’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and the County of Hawai’i’s Department of Public Works are teaming up February 26-28 to remove invasive albizia trees along Upper Puna Road.

Albizia

State and County crews are working in coordination with the Big Island Invasive Species Committee’s (BIISC) Albizia Demonstration Project in Keau’ohana State Forest Reserve and Black Sands Subdivision, of lower Puna. Albizia trees within 100 ft. of the road, endangering motorists, will be cut down, then chipped and returned to the forest or, for larger trees, removed. BIISC will follow-up by applying herbicide to stumps and nonhazardous trees using methods developed with the University of Hawai’i extension program and the US Forest Service.

By teaming up, crews will be able to cover both County and State right-of-ways and synchronize their efforts. “This project demonstrates how all stakeholders, government, private sector, and residents, can work together to manage the albizia problem in more cost effective ways,” said BIISC Manager Springer Kaye.

The State and County tree work will be done from 8:00am-2:00pm, starting from the intersection of Upper Puna Road and Highway 130, extending 0.3 miles along Upper Puna Road. Motorists are advised to expect intermittent delays on Upper Puna Road during these times and to take the alternate route of One`Ele`Ele Road to access Black Sands Subdivision.

According to Ecologist Flint Hughes, with the U.S. Forest Service, ”Albizia, or Falcataria moluccana, is a statewide ecological and public safety problem. Albizia’s rapid and pervasive growth destroys native forests by shading out native plants and improving conditions other invasive flora, such as strawberry guava. On top of that, the tree’s brittle branches and shallow roots easily break in wind or rain, then fall on homes, roads, and power lines.”

The 500-acre Albizia Demonstration Project area in Puna includes trees overhanging homes and roads, as well as in native lowland forest. Kaye explains “Stakeholders identified this area of Puna as a case study to showcase the wide range of issues in albizia control, develop best management practices, and empower communities to limit the spread of these menacing trees in their own neighborhoods.”

Since December, BIISC has held three Community Training Workshops, where the public learned how to safely and effectively use herbicide to kill albizia trees not threatening infrastructure. The next Community Training Workshops will be held during the Hawai’i Invasive Species Awareness Week, from 9:00am-2:00pm, at various locations in East Hawai’i.

Albizia Clean-ups

For more information on Community Training Workshops, please contact BIISC at 933-3340.

 

Senator Malama Solomon on the Hawaii Business News “Geothermal Article”

Senator Malama Solomon responded to the following Hawaii Business News article:

Click to read article

Click to read article

Your report on geothermal energy (HB November 2013, “Geothermal is a Red-Hot Topic”) failed to make some very important points about why geothermal would improve the quality of life for all of us in Hawaii.

• Geothermal is used worldwide and can be applied to Hawaii. According to the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, there are several regions worldwide with geothermal and geologic conditions very similar to Hawaii, such as Iceland and New Zealand. Both nations benefit from electrical rates of up to 12 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to Hawaii’s average of 32 cents/kwh. DLNR also points out that these two countries, plus Japan and Indonesia, have seen decades of safe and economical use of geothermal energy.

• Safeguards are already in place. “The State of Hawaii has developed a thorough series of procedures to review, regulate and oversee the development of geothermal resources,” says DLNR Chair William Aila. “This includes the drilling of all geothermal wells, the protection of underground sources of drinking water, safe well construction techniques, and seismic monitoring.”

Also, geothermal development projects are required by Chapter 343, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to develop an Environmental Impact Statement, which includes public disclosure of potential impacts and proposed mitigations measures that are subject to public hearings and a public comment period before any project can proceed forward. “These processes are already in place ensure the protection of the environment, natural and cultural resources, and the public’s health and safety,” Alia says.

• Geothermal has Hawaiian support. “Hawaiians have supported and continue to support geothermal development on Hawaii Island,” says Mililani Trask of the Innovations Development Group. She points out geothermal development has received support by the largest Hawaiian organization, the Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Hawaiian energy producers and land owners, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, who has also invested in a Hawaiian company seeking to develop the resource on Hawaii Island.

We have a great opportunity to responsibly develop geothermal to provide clean, renewable and firm power to our homes and businesses at a lower cost.

Sen. Malama Solomon

Senate District 4 (Hilo, Hāmākua, Waimea, Kohala, Waikoloa and Kona)

Puna Man Dies After Tractor Falls Off Cliff Into Stream

A Puna man died Wednesday (February 19) after a tractor he was operating fell off a cliff and into a stream.

HPDBadge

He has been identified as 25-year-old Jose Luiz Hernandez-Miranda of Keaʻau.

Shortly after 11:26 a.m., police responded to a property on Mailekea Road, which is off Kaiwiki Road in the Wainaku area of Hilo.

They learned that Hernandez-Miranda had been operating a Ford tractor on a farm when he got too close to the edge of a 12-foot cliff above a stream and fell into the stream with the tractor.

Fire/rescue personnel extricated him from the water and took him to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 12:38 p.m.

Police have initiated a coroner’s inquest case and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Because the accident happened on private property, the death is not included in the Police Department’s official fatality count.

Puna Man Charged With Five Offenses Following Gun Incident Monday Morning

A Puna man has been charged with five offenses in connection with a gun incident early Monday morning in Puna.

In response to a 2:24 a.m. call Monday (February 17), Puna patrol officers responded to 28th Avenue in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision, where it was reported that an acquaintance had brandished a rifle and threatened to shoot a 50-year-old man after the two got into an argument in the victim’s home.

 Peter Johnston-Riveira

Peter Johnston-Riveira

Police recovered the rifle at the scene and arrested the suspect, 29-year-old Peter Johnston-Riveira of Pāhoa. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, detectives charged Johnston-Riveira with first-degree terroristic threatening and four firearms offenses. His bail was set at $38,000. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance on Wednesday (February 19).

Puna Man Charged With Assault After Substantially Injuring Neighbor

A Puna man has been charged with assault after his neighbor went to the hospital with substantial injuries to his face and body.

at 2:49 a.m. Monday (February 17), South Hilo Patrol officers responded to Hilo Medical Center, where a 47-year-old man was being treated for injuries reportedly received by his neighbor at the victim’s Waa Waa home on Pakala Road shortly before midnight Sunday.

Kiel Brende

Kiel Brende

At 8:50 a.m. Monday, police arrested 28-year-old Kiel Brende of Waa Waa. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock on suspicion of assault while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 3:30 p.m. Monday, detectives charged Brende with second-degree assault. His bail was set at $10,000. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance Tuesday (February 18).

Mt. View Community Meetings Continue – Community Input Sought on Survey

Mountain View is a diverse rural community with a rich historical and agricultural heritage. It is also one of the fastest growing communities in the state. The Mountain View long range plan community volunteer group meets every second Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. in the Mountain View School Cafeteria to lay the foundation for a community based plan that will accommodate this growth. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Mountain View HawaiiOur group’s mission is to ensure that the Mountain View community has a voice in determining its own future. This process will begin when the community defines for itself its unique sense of place. Our feelings of attachment to our cherished home, our willingness to care about and to care for landmarks and landscapes where community gathers, has collective memories of and identifies as Mountain View – this is our sense of place. This sensibility will inform our community plan and allow for future growth that is compatible with our connection to our beloved home, our social values, our cultural heritage and the beauty of our natural environment.

Every resident of our community has an opportunity to share their vision for our future by taking a community survey. The survey will be available online until March 5 at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3727HK8

Hard copies of the survey are also available at the Mountain View Library and the Hilo Coffee Mill. The results of the survey will be used to draft a community plan that reflects our collective vision. Future meetings will invite the public to comment upon and contribute to the plan. Please join us in this very worthwhile effort to ensure our future community continues to be a place where we all feel lucky to live. If you have any further questions please call Susan Langer at 315-8645.

 

Mahalo to Ho’omana Tree Service for Going Above and Beyond the Duty of Call

If you live in Puna… you will constantly deal with trees and a jungle living near you.  For the last five years I’ve been so busy with things that my yard has gotten kind of crazy and a bit out of control!

Mahalo to Ho’omana Tree Service for hooking my yard up!  It looks killer!
Yard workI wasn’t even around for the final day and they did everything to specifications…. AND did even more!

Best tree service company I have ever dealt with here on the Big Island.

Big Island Police Searching for Koa Thieves

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying two men wanted for a theft in Puna last week.

On January 29 at about 11:40 p.m., police received a call from a 60-year-old homeowner reporting two suspicious vehicles and at least four male suspects who were on his property in Mountain View and allegedly stealing cut pieces of koʻa wood.

Composite drawing of driver

Composite drawing of driver

The victim initially thought a relative was on the property and approached the vehicles and the subjects, discovering that the suspects had loaded their trucks with the wood. After confronting two of the men, the victim managed to recover several pieces of his wood. While he was calling police, both trucks fled the area. The victim reported that he heard gunshots coming from the direction of the vehicles at a distance away. He discovered that a chain preventing access to his property had been cut. The victim was not injured in the encounter.

Composite drawing of passenger

Composite drawing of passenger

One truck was described as a yellow full-size truck and the other as a red-and-white full-size truck. Neither vehicle displayed any license plates.

One suspect—the passenger in the red-and-white truck—was described as a local male in his 30’s, about 5-foot-10 to 6-feet tall, about 200 pounds with a muscular build, short black hair, and possible tattoos on his neck. He was wearing a light-colored short-sleeved T-shirt.

Another suspect—the driver of the red-and-white truck—was described as in his 30’s, local, about 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10 with a lighter complexion (compared with the muscular man) with short black hair. He was not wearing a shirt.

Although the victim did not get a good look at the two remaining suspects, he could recall that one of them was taller than the others and the other was about the same height as the first two.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation, which is classified as a second-degree theft, first-degree reckless endangering, fourth-degree criminal property damage and first-degree criminal trespass.

Police ask anyone with information on this incident or may know the identities of the suspects to contact Detective Clarence Davies of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2384 or cdavies@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers 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.

Maps of Old Puna Surface Courtesy of Ho’okuleana

The following maps were posted on my Facebook site by Peter Young of  Ho’okuleana LLC after I raised a question about the Old Government Rd. that follows the coastline from Puna into Hilo.

This is a map of 1902 Puna:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

This is a map of the Puna District of Hawaii from 1875:

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Wordless Wednesday: Invasion – Little Fire Ants in Hawaii (The Movie)

Invasive species introductions to Hawaii often end in regret and a list of should-haves.

little fire antThis film, produced by the Maui Invasive Species Committee, aims to change the result of the arrival of little fire ants in Hawaii.

Featuring videography from award-winning film makers Masako Cordray and Chris Reickert, this half-hour film examines the biology, impacts, and potential solutions to the spread of little fire ants through interviews with scientists, farmers, and community on the Big Island reeling from the impacts of this minuscule, but devastating, ant.

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Viewers will learn how to identify and report new infestations, helping to protect Hawaii from this small stinging ant.

More info here: http://www.lfa-hawaii.org/

Big Island Police Searching for Man Last Seen in November in Puna

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 23-year-old Hilo man who was reported missing.

Philip Voelker

Philip Voelker

Philip Voelker was last seen near Orchidland in the Puna District sometime in November 2013.

He is described as 6-foot-4, 210 pounds with a thin build, a light complexion, brown hair, blue eyes and several tattoos. He is also wanted for several outstanding warrants.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call Officer Eddie Cardines at 965-2716 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Arrest 23-Year-Old Man Following Robbery in Pahoa on Wednesday

A 23-year-old man was arrested and charged with several offenses following a robbery in Pāhoa on Wednesday night (January 29).

Puna Patrol officers responded to a 9:09 p.m. report that a 59-year-old Pāhoa man had been walking in Pāhoa around 8:30 p.m. when an unknown man kicked him, knocked him to the ground and stole his backpack. The suspect fled on foot.

Fred I. Silva

Fred I. Silva

A short time later, police found the suspect in the vicinity. Fred I. Silva, 23, who has no permanent address, was arrested and charged with four counts of contempt of court and taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation into the robbery.

At 10:50 a.m. Thursday (January 30), detectives charged him with second-degree robbery, third-degree assault and fourth-degree theft. His bail was set at $27,000. He remained in the cellblock pending his initial court appearance on Friday (January 31).

Photography Is Not a Crime – Lawyer Threatens Me Over Today’s #WordlessWednesday Picture

Well once again I’m getting threatened by an attorney for something that seems ridiculous and I will ask this question now… Is taking photographs of cars and the signs that are on them illegal?

Earlier today, as I do on many Wednesdays, I posted a post entitled: “Wordless Wednesday – I Lost My Implants…” where I simply stated:  “I saw this truck parked at Island Naturals in Pahoa on the Big Island yesterday:” and then posted a picture of a truck that I saw parked at Island Naturals in Pahoa.

This afternoon I received an email from Honolulu Law firm WILLIAM J. NAGLE III, ESQ., Roeca Luria & Hiraoka LLP stating:

Mr. Tucker:

This firm represents Dr. ***********  in the matter of the photograph of the sign displayed on your blog dated 1/29/14.  We request that the photograph be removed from your blog (damontucker.com) as the contents of the sign are offensive to our client.  Because your blog is widely read on the Big Island, the photograph of the sign has disappointed and upset Dr. *********.
Mahalo for your kokua in this matter.

Well I don’t know what I should do really and feel that I have every right to post pictures I take in public.  I was just posting an observation I saw and really wasn’t making any statement other then it was “Wordless” in a sense.

I’ve left the blog post up… but have now removed the Doctors name from the picture.

IS PHOTOGRAPHY A CRIME?  Here is the incriminating photograph… minus the doctors name:

Dr. Who?

Dr. Who?

Wordless Wednesday – “I Lost My Implants…”

I saw this truck parked at Island Naturals in Pahoa on the Big Island yesterday:

Implants

 

Big Island Police Arrest 38-Year-Old Man in Connection with 2011 Death of 19-Month-Old

Police have arrested a 38-year-old Mountain View man for a 2011 murder in Hilo.

Xavier J. Cortez Jr., also known as Pee Wee Cortez

Xavier J. Cortez Jr., also known as Pee Wee Cortez

At 9:40 a.m. Tuesday (January 28), acting on a tip, police arrested Xavier J. Cortez Jr., also known as Pee Wee Cortez, on the strength of a sealed arrest warrant for second-degree murder. He was located at a home in the Livingston subdivision in Mountain View and taken into custody without incident.

On January 22, the case was presented to a grand jury, which returned an indictment for second-degree murder. At the request of police and the prosecutor, the indictment was sealed while police actively searched for Cortez.

Cortez was held without bail until he made his initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

On January 2, 2011, police received a report that 19-month-old Pomaikai Ferreira had been taken to Hilo Medical Center and was experiencing difficulties breathing. She was transferred by air ambulance to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu, where she died on January 9, 2011.

Cortez was initially arrested for first-degree assault on the day of the incident. He was later released pending further investigation by detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Ferreira ruled the death a homicide as a result of crainiocerebral injuries due to, or as a consequence of, abusive head trauma.

Big Island Police Still Conducting Marijuana Raids in Puna

One man has been charged and another released following their arrests during the execution of a marijuana search warrant last week in the Hawaiian Acres subdivision in Puna.

1/28/14 UPDATE: Vice officers served the search warrant Friday morning (January 24) at a home on Road 1 and recovered 51 marijuana plants [corrected number] (ranging in height from 1 to 3 feet), 168.5 grams of dried processed marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Raymond Eastridge

Raymond Eastridge

Two 45-year-old residents, Raymond Eastridge and John Holloway, were arrested at the scene and taken to the South Hilo police cellblock while Vice detectives continued the investigation.

After conferring with prosecutors, Holloway was released without charges. Eastridge was charged with second-degree promoting marijuana, second-degree promoting a detrimental drug, third degree promoting a detrimental drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

His bail was set at $7,250. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance Monday afternoon (January 27).

3.2 Magnitude Earthquake Struck the Big Island This Morning

A 3.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Fern Acres area of the Big Island this morning around 2:23 this morning.  It initially registered 3.0 on the Richter scale but has been upgraded to a 3.2 magnitude.

32Fernacres127

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 72-Year-Old Puna Man Who Requires Medication

1/28/14 UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have located 72-year-old Yukiwo Tara, who was reported missing from Hawaiian Paradise Park.  He was found unharmed Monday afternoon in Hilo.

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 72-year-old Puna man who was reported missing.

Yukiwo Tara

Yukiwo Tara

Yukiwo Tara was last seen at his Hawaiian Paradise Park home on Friday (January 24).

He is described as Micronesian, 5-foot-4, 200 pounds with brown eyes and salt-and-pepper hair. He was last seen wearing blue pants, a T-shirt and white shoes and was using a cane.

He has a medical condition that requires medication.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 77-Year-Old Puna Man

1/27/14 UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have located 77-year-old Johannen Poche of Pāhoa, who was reported missing.   He returned home Friday afternoon.

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 77-year-old Puna man who was reported missing.

Johannen Poche

Johannen Poche

Johannen Poche of Hawaiian Beaches was last seen in Pāhoa town at 8 a.m. Friday (January 24).

He is described as 5-foot-9, 150 pounds with white-silver hair and brown eyes. He walks hunched over and was last seen wearing a red long-sleeved sweater, dark blue sweat pants and a hat.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.