State briefs for March 21

Honolulu to pay $5M in firefighter’s wrongful death lawsuit

HONOLULU — Honolulu officials agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of a firefighter who died after he was injured in a training exercise.


The city and attorneys for the family of Cliff Rigsbee notified the court earlier this month that they reached a settlement in the negligence and wrongful death lawsuit.

The Honolulu medical examiner determined the 63-year-old firefighter died from blunt force injury to his head and neck, which fractured vertebrae and injured his spinal cord during the June 2016 training exersize.

Rigsbee was on a sled towed by a water rescue craft off Honolulu when he went through three 8-foot or taller waves. After the third wave, the watercraft operator saw Rigsbee face down and motionless in the water, according to the lawsuit.

Firefighters took Rigsbee to shore, but he died at a hospital, officials said.

The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division determined the fire department failed to identify, evaluate or control workplace hazards and replace the ignition key lanyard to the Yamaha WaveRunner.

The lanyard is designed to shut off the engine when the operator leaves the watercraft, but it was corroded and broke during the accident, according to officials.

The occupational safety and health division issued two citations and assessed the fire department penalties totaling $15,400.

Mile-long lei dedicated to Christchurch, New Zealand

MAUI — “Some say it’s the ocean that separates us, but we in Polynesia know that it is, in fact, the ocean that connects us,” says Ron Panzo, main organizer of the Lei of Aloha for World Peace. “We have come together to weave another mile-long lei to offer to our grieving brothers and sisters across the sea in Christchurch.”

The Lei of Aloha for World Peace was created in 2015 in response to the bombing in Paris. Since then, the Maui community has woven and delivered seven other mile-long lei for those recovering from violent attacks, including in Las Vegas and Orlando and Parkland, Fla.

“Each time a Lei of Aloha begins to be woven, we have witnessed profound generosity,” says Kawika Sabado, a member of Lei of Aloha. “A tourist from Canada who saw us sitting on the ground, weaving the lei for Paris, asked what we were doing and gave us $10,000.”

Delegations traveling with the lei deliver a symbolic hug to carry aloha and good wishes from the hundreds of hands and hearts that helped weave it.

“Even though thousands of miles away, we are all connected. We are one,” Panzo says.

The Lei of Aloha for World Peace delegation flew to New Zealand Wednesday to present the lei Friday (March 22) outside the mosques where the deadly shootings happened last week.

‘Bruddahs’ to share island wisdom in 1st national TV campaign


KAILUA-KONA — Whether it’s enjoying a little vacation in every sip, rethinking your to-do list or disconnecting for a few moments, Kona Brewing Co.’s beloved “Bruddahs” will show TV viewers the way in three new national ads launching during March Madness 2019.

For Kona Brewing Co.’s first-ever national TV campaign, the “Bruddahs” — Hawaii’s own David Bell and Blake “Brutus” LaBenz — return to the screen and poke a little fun at today’s always-connected consumer with some island- and Kona-inspired solutions to bring a little more aloha into everyday life. The three new ads will air throughout the NCAA’s March Madness tournament on national and local TV in select markets, with the first national spot running today (March 21).

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