Erin Miller, reporting for West Hawaii Today:
Overwhelming testimony supporting a resolution asking the state to abolish the Public Land Development Corp. preceded the Hawaii County Council’s Planning Committee’s unanimous favorable vote on the measure Tuesday morning.
After the tragic death of a customer, the Hawaii Island company could lose its access to the Cook Memorial
The Department of Land and Natural Resources is recommending that the commercial permit for a Big Island company be cancelled after concluding its investigation of the July 4th incident that resulted in the death of 15 year old Tyler Madoff. DLNR found that Hawaii Pack and Paddle, the company guiding the tour Madoff was on when he and another boy were swept out to sea at Kealakekua Bay had exceeded its permit by bringing 13 customers, instead of the 12 allotted. Owner and Tour Guide Bari Mims plans to challenge the revocation.
About 1,700 Hawaii prisoners are now housed in private mainland prisons. Abercrombie pledged in December to bring them back to Hawaii in the wake of a Circuit Court lawsuit on behalf of 18 Hawaii inmates who alleged they were beaten and their families threatened after a guard at Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., suffered injuries while trying to quell a fight.
One vote never made a difference?
If you ever thought your voice did not really matter in an election, consider this: during the primary election, seven races were decided by fewer than 300 votes.
In the State Senate 4th District (Kaupulehu – Waimea – North Hilo) Malama Solomon beat Lorraine Inouye by 69 votes.
In the State House 6th District (Holualoa – Kailua-Kona – Honokohau) Nicole Lowen beat Kalei Akaka by 45 votes.
In the 30th District (Sand Island – Kalihi – Airport) Romy Cachola beat Nicole Velasco by 120 votes. (NOTE: Civil Beat reports there is some concern over the extremely high amount of absentee votes for Cachola, and reports of the candidate visiting voters homes and pressuring voters to fill out absentee ballots)
In the 34th District (Pearl City – Waimalu – Pacific Palisades) Gregg Takayama beat Eloise Tungpalan by 232 votes.
In the 40th District (Ewa Beach – Iroquois Point) Chris Manabat beat Rose Martinez by 201 votes. Romy Mindo came in third 29 votes behind Martinez and Kurt Fevella only had 50 votes less than Mindo.
In the 43rd District (Kalaeloa – Ko Olina – Maili) Karen Awana beat Hanalei Aipoalani by 287 votes.
And finally in the Hawaii Council 1st District (Hamakua – North Hilo) Valerie Poindexter beat Chelsea Yagong by 93 votes.
These races display just how crucial each and every vote is.
...The proposed shopping center is intended to “reflect the history of Pahoa town,” but to accomplish that goal, Pahoa residents will be asked to submit recommendations.
In case you missed it.
John Colson, the principal of Waimea Middle School on Hawaii Island, abruptly left that position yesterday.
Students and parents were notified today in a school assembly, and an open letter was posted on the school’s website. School leadership for the remainder of the school year has not yet been announced.
Edlyn Carvalho, parent of a current 7th grader at the school, said “The staff and teachers at the school are in utter shock and our students both current and past are dumbfounded.”
Colson served as head of Waimea Middle School for the past four years. Most recently, Colson worked as middle school principal at Kamehameha School’s Kea‘au campus. Before that, he worked for 23 years at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, serving the last ten years as the school’s headmaster.
Faculty and staff are actively organizing their community for more information. A Facebook page, “Colson 4 WMS,” has been created. As of this writing, there is a single discussion thread, but there are 40 comments with effusive praise for Colson, such as this, from William N. Bergin:
“Mr Colson is the reason why my son is attending WMS. I was looking forward to my younger son having the opportunity to experience Mr. Colson’s positive influence!”
An open letter is also being circulated through the school community.
Waimea Middle School is a conversion charter school, under the management of Ho‘okako‘o, a nonprofit corporation which oversees three conversion charter schools. Ho‘okako‘o receives funding from the State of Hawaii, Kamehameha Schools, the federal government, and private corporations.
Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School has 284 students in sixth through eighth grades, and has about 80 teachers, counselors and staff. It is in its ninth year as the state’s first public conversion charter school.
This post will be updated when more information is available, including responses to requests for comment from Ho‘okako‘o.
HONOLULU—The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a Flash Flood Watch for the islands of Oahu, Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii Island through 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 13. Potential heavy rains may come from an upper level trough, which will move slowly eastward across the islands tonight, December 12.
Flash floods occur during extended rainfall events or within a few hours after the rainfall, according to the Pacific Disaster Center. Generally, if rainfall is of long enough duration, it will eventually cause flooding along the rivers, creeks, and streams draining the catchment area where the rain is being collected. But if the intensity of the rain—the number of inches of rain falling in a given time frame—is too great for the stream system, including flood plains, to carry the water away, flash flooding occurs.
The words “watch” and “warning” are used for two different levels of flood alerts. A flash flood watch or flood watch means that flooding or flash flood is possible in the area. The basic message of a flood watch is exactly what it sounds like: “Watch closely, conditions suggest a high likelihood of flooding.” When the word “watch” is replaced by the word “warning,” flooding or flash flooding is imminent or already beginning to occur. If you are in a low-lying or flood-prone area, act immediately to ensure the safety of your family. When a warning is issued, it is too late to prepare property to withstand flooding. You may have only seconds to act.
The following obituary was submitted from Frankie Stapleton on behalf of family of the late Wattie Mae Hedemann.
A descendant of Hawaiian royalty and well-known Kona realtor has succumbed to heart disease. Wattie Mae Hedemann, 84, died Nov. 15 at Kona Community Hospital. One of the first flight of female attendants for Hawaiian Airlines, mother of a Vietnam War hero and widow of an award-winning paniolo, Mrs. Hedemann claimed descent to the royal chiefs of Hawaii through her mother, Annie Ilikea-a-Moana Robinson Owens of Honolulu.
Mrs. Hedemann was married for 57 years to the late Edmund Hedemann, a paniolo and polo horse trainer at Kualoa on Oahu and the Big Island who died in 2005. She is survived by a sister, Harriet (Francis) Tom of Honolulu; daughter Meta (Shane) Eckart of Keauhou, son George (Debbie) Hedemann of Honalo; stepson Edmund (Ruth) Hedemann Jr. of New York City, stepdaughter Jeremy Hedemann Heath of Canterbury, England; seven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service is planned for Saturday, December 3 at 10:00 a.m. at Christ Church in Kealakekua.
The Hedemanns lost Wattie’s first-born, son Wayne H. Hedemann, when he was shot down over Cambodia in May 1970. The couple received word of the 24-year-old Army helicopter gunner’s death the same day local newspapers published a letter from the Hedemanns supporting President Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam conflict into the neighboring country. The date also happened to be Mother’s Day that year. Wayne Hedemann was awarded two Distinguished Flying Cross medals, one posthumously, for bravery in saving lives. His military service in Vietnam lasted two months. Mrs. Hedemann was working on a book in memory of her deceased son at the time of her passing.
Mrs. Hedemann’s maternal grandmother, Heleaka Napuaenaena Kawananakoa Kahalewai Robinson—Ada, as she was familiarly known—was the grandniece of Mataio Kekuanaoa, royal governor of Oahu from 1839 to 1864 and the last kuhina nui of the Hawaiian Islands, and the niece of Kekuanaoa’s sons, Kings Kamehameha IV and Kamehameha V. Mrs. Robinson’s mother and Kamehameha IV and V shared the same grandfather, Nahiolea, brother of Kaiana and Namakeha..
Mrs. Hedemann was born May 21, 1927 to Annie and Edward G. Owens of Honolulu. Mrs. Owens was soon left a widow with five children to raise on her own and Mrs. Hedemann remembers a life of poverty, despite the family’s royal heritage. Other branches of the Hawaiian family did what they could to help the Owens children. Mrs. Hedemann said she wasn’t too proud to accept “the family hand-me-downs” and she found her first job at age 12, bringing a neighbor’s lst grader safely to and from school “so I’d make five cents every day, enough to pay for my school lunch.”
Her mother spoke only Hawaiian until she was forced to learn English when she went to Kamehameha Schools. But Mrs. Hedemann and her siblings were never allowed to speak Hawaiian and she died regretting that she had never learned her native language. She said she didn’t really take any interest in her Hawaiian heritage until her mother was dying in 1973. It was then that Mrs. Owens insisted that Mrs. Hedemann learn the family’s royal genealogy.
Wattie was a young teen when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. She was with a friend attending church when people started coming into the church, crying and gathering their children. “We just thought it was maneuvers,” Mrs. Hedemann recalled. “Then the priest told us to go home immediately because we were under attack from enemy planes. We weren’t sure who was attacking us.”
She stayed with her friend as her mother was far across town and that evening, the two girls accompanied the friend’s mother who was a midwife as she drove to deliver a baby near Fort Shafter. “We sat in the car and watched the fires at Pearl Harbor.” She said everyone was issued gas masks at the beginning of the war and they had to dig shelters in their yards.
During the war years, anyone aged 16 and older had to have some sort of occupation, either a job or picking pineapples, or if nothing else, rolling bandages at the Red Cross. Her first real job was at the YMCA where she was a waitress for a month before getting a job at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. “I had to go on the ferry to work and we could see the graveyards of the ships.”
She and her sister soon were assigned to the USO (United Service Organizations Inc.) where they performed dance for two shows a day, six days a week at military camps around Oahu. The assignment helped them survive the war years because they were chaperoned and had dinners at the officers’ clubs “every single night…we could give away our rationing.”
On their days off, they went to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel to dance with the officers. She met Wayne’s father at one of those dances when his date didn’t show and he talked her into going to dinner with him “since he’d made all these dinner arrangements.” They were married six weeks when he was shipped off to Saipan. “I felt he married me because he felt so sorry for my family’s circumstances.” Presuming he’d die in the war, Wattie said, “He figured I could use the $10,000 life insurance to better myself.”
The couple divorced shortly after the war and Wattie was in the offices of Hawaiian Airlines within two months of her son’s birth seeking a job. Her charm and personality skills first developed as an entertainer and supporter of the military through her years with the USO served her throughout her professional life, first with Hawaiian Airlines, then in advertising and insurance sales, a stint with the Hawaii Visitors Bureau and travel consulting before moving to Kona in 1961 and becoming a realtor. In 1965, she established her own realty business, West Hawaii Realty Inc.,
It was while working with Hawaiian Airlines that she met her second husband, Edmund Hedemann, a U.S. Marine during the war, and gave birth to her daughter, Meta, and second son, George.
Hired by Ruby Pua, Hawaiian Airlines’ chief hostess when the airliner had three planes, DC3s carrying 21 passengers each, she thoroughly enjoyed being one of the first female flight attendants. Soon pushing her developing interests in education and the preservation of Hawaiian culture, it was Mrs. Hedemann who created an unofficial dictionary of Hawaiian place names and their meanings that flight attendants and the HVB used for many years. Taking her young son with her to the library on her days off to do the necessary research, she eventually spent half a century researching Hawaiian history.
She said she completed her family genealogy back to 190 A.D., corrected and confirmed by the Hawaii State Archives. As a result of her research, Mrs. Hedemann became obsessed in her later years with what she termed “setting the record straight” regarding Hawaiian history. It was a cause promoted initially by her maternal grandfather, George D. Robinson, who challenged historical accounts of royal paternity and documented collusion by Hawaii’s 19th Century business community leading to Hawaiian disinheritance through flawed land titles.
Wattie said her studies of the Hawaiian monarchy and subsequent research into land titles immediately preceding and as a result of the Great Mahele led her to see the irony of her family’s marriages with plantation owners and other foreign-born businessmen of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In a meeting held with representatives of state agencies and Hawaiian organizations at the Royal Mausoleum in the 1990s, Mrs. Hedemann pushed for the disinterment of the bodies of Princess Ruth Keelikolani and Kekuanao’a for DNA testing to prove Princess Ruth’s paternity. A Sept. 14, 1999 letter from the state attorney general suggested Mrs. Hedemann hire a private attorney to pursue DNA testing of the royal bones, citing “the special status of bones in Hawaiian belief and tradition.”
According to Mrs. Hedemann, she thought she had standing as an ancestor of the royal line to seek DNA testing but didn’t have necessary financial resources to do so and Hawaii media at the time were dominated by news of the scandal involving Bishop Estate trustees which led to the removal of all but one of the trustees.
Mrs. Hedemann kept up her quest for correcting history until her final days in 2011. In addition to working on a book giving her version of Hawaiian history, she continued her commitment to the perpetuation of her native culture. “I had a vision about a year ago,” she said, and organized a meeting with a representative of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, with the goal of getting OHA to put all Hawaiian Crown lands into food production.
Mrs. Hedemann was a past member of Daughters of Hawaii, the Kona Hawaiian Civic Club, Kona Historical Society, Kona Outdoor Circle, Kona Salvation Army, Kona Soroptimist International Club, Kona Christian Women’s Club and the American Association of Retired Persons’ Chapter 3475. She was a founding member and officer of the Hawaii Island Board of Realtors, the Kona Board of Realtors and the dissolved Kona Local Development Corp. She also initiated real estate classes in Kona.
The State of Hawaiʻi is proposing to settle a past-due payment of $200 million owed to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) with the transfer of about 25 acres of commercial real estate in Kakaʻako. There are a number of difficult issues involved with this transaction that really demand our attention. To begin with, all transactions involving so-called public lands by the State and any State agencies are violations of Hawaiian Kingdom law. The crown and government lands of the Hawaiian Kingdom are the property of Hawaiian nationals and the heirs to the Crown. Possession of these lands by the United States is a theft and nothing more.
However, since I do not see the United States immediately relinquishing its illegal hold on our lāhui and our ʻāina, I believe we need to look for ways to protect the lands from alienation. One approach is to place the lands under the protection of a Hawaiian agency, which hopefully would hold on to these lands for the future. The question is: Should OHA be that agency?
First, OHA has been duly constituted for this purpose by the 1978 Hawaiʻi Constitution. I doubt that the State of Hawaiʻi is willing, at this point, to turn lands over to any other agency than those recognized by State and/or federal laws. I also believe that OHA is bound by its obligations to its beneficiaries (which include those who, like me, are beneficiaries because of the absence of our legitimate government) to be sure that it gets all of the resources to which it is entitled. The State owes back revenues to OHA and it should pay, so long as OHA exists. Since those revenues are supposed to accrue to the Hawaiian beneficiaries, it makes no sense to deny this settlement simply on the grounds that OHA is not the Hawaiian Kingdom. But that leads to the second question: Is OHA capable of managing these resources?
Three years ago, when a similar proposal was made to OHA, I opposed the plan because of the specific properties that were considered for the transfer, namely some hotel properties in Hilo and Puna. Many observers including my father, a developer and realtor in Hilo, expressed concern about the financial state of those properties and that acquisition by OHA would be a disaster for the agency. I was also irritated by the public “consultation” that OHA employed—inviting a few hundred of us to the Japanese Cultural Center for a lunch and some well prepared PowerPoints on what a great deal we were getting.
This time, it would be a good idea for OHA to actually consult its constituents, and as broadly as possible.
Although the properties under consideration may be much more lucrative, it is time for OHA’s beneficiaries to weigh in about whether we think that our trustees should be getting deeper into the property management business. Hopefully our trustees will take the time to listen. One question that we should ask is whether we would prefer good agricultural lands and a program that will put some of our people back to work in cultivation and other culturally desirable ways.
But I have a deeper concern about this proposal than whether it will be remunerative. I am also worried that this is the opening the Governor is seeking to a “final settlement” of land and perhaps cash with a Hawaiian agency that will allow the State to consider a portion—perhaps a large portion—of the “ceded lands” its own property. Let us be clear that the State is seeking ways to capitalize on Hawaiian lands. Whether through outright sale, exchange, or by utilizing the Public Land Development Corporation set up last year through Legislative Act 55, the Legislature, like the Governor, is anxious to remove as many legal restraints from its use of “ceded lands” as it can.
Given that two years ago, the Legislature actually considered a bill to sell off the top of Mauna Kea for . 7 billion dollars (the approximate amount of the State budget deficit) rather than do the hard work of managing the multi-billion dollar telescope site, the public should be wary of government plans for the “ceded lands,” especially when those plans do not appear to include broad public consultation nor any kind of plan for the future of the State’s economy.
Prior experience tells us that the State will enter into partnerships with developers and will trample on environmental requirements (Superferry); labor laws (Aloun Farms); and good business sense (Act 221). I think that until the Legislature and the Governor can actually produce a sound plan for Hawaii’s economic future, it is a good idea to tie their hands as much as possible when it comes to our Kingdomʻs Crown and Government lands.
And without being over-critical of OHA, they need to be very careful about being willing to take on these assets, unless they possess the resources to manage them properly. I hope the agency understands that the best possible scenario for the Governor and the State Legislature is to configure a final settlement with a “Hawaiian governing entity” (HGE) that turns over part of the lands (20 percent?) to the HGE in return for ownership of the rest. What really frightens me is that the negotiated “settlement” with the Native Hawaiians will leave us with a fraction of the “ceded lands” and total responsibility for administering the Hawaiian Homestead Lands as well as the rehabilitation of Kahoʻolawe.
I have much less of a problem with a land settlement for the back revenues that are due to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs than I do with our leaders supporting federal recognition. But OHA must not head into these arrangements with the State without the free, prior, and informed consent of its constituents. In other words, I want to know what the agency’s plans are and I would like to see a competent, independent evaluator assess those plans.
We need to be very deliberate about what we do as a people and, like it or not, OHA has to be a part of our plans, at least for the present. How the agency deals with the proposal to settle the back payment claims will tell us beneficiaries everything we need to know about whether they can be relied upon to really manage our assets as we rebuild our nation.