Hawaii News — No Civil Union Related Lawsuit After All

“Governor Abercrombie removed the need for the lawsuit with the stroke of a pen – approving the Legislature’s diligent work and giving thousands of Hawai‘i families badly needed protection.”  

(Honolulu, March 31, 2011) — Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i (ACLU) and Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing today announced they have dismissed their lawsuit against the state, following Governor Neil Abercrombie’s signing civil unions into law last month.  The Hawai‘i Senate gave final approval to the bill, SB232, which allows same- and different-sex unmarried couples to enter into civil unions, with an 18-5 vote on February 16, following the 31-19 approving vote by the House on February 11, 2011.  The new law takes effect on January 1, 2012.

“I can’t think of many occasions when we’ve been more delighted to dismiss a lawsuit than this,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, National Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal.  “Governor Abercrombie removed the need for the lawsuit with the stroke of a pen – approving the Legislature’s diligent work and giving thousands of Hawai‘i families badly needed protection.  We look forward to working closely with members of the legal and business communities to make sure the law is implemented smoothly and that everyone knows what their rights and responsibilities will be.  And as this new law takes effect, we’ll be watching closely for any signs of problems.” 

Civil unions will provide a full range of state law protections and duties to unmarried couples – gay and heterosexual alike – such as access to family court to resolve disputes in an orderly way, clear duties to pay child support and alimony as appropriate, and other vital family protections. The new law will also honor same-sex couples’ marriages, civil unions and broad domestic partnerships from other states and countries.

Lambda Legal, the ACLU and AHFI filed Young v. Lingle (retitled Young v. Abercrombie following last year’s election) in July 2010, after then-Governor Linda Lingle vetoed HB444, the previous civil unions bill.  The new civil unions law provides same-sex couples the full range of rights and responsibilities sought in the lawsuit, so there is no need to continue the litigation at this time. 

“As we celebrate this accomplishment, we are also reminded that full marriage equality for same-sex couples is the goal.  Civil unions are a lesser status than civil marriage, so they can never fully satisfy the government’s constitutional duty to treat everyone equally under the law,” noted Laurie Temple, ACLU staff attorney.  “The ACLU and our allies will continue to work towards marriage equality, strengthened by the knowledge that, for now, civil unions will provide much needed protection for couples and their families.  Governor Abercrombie and the Hawaii Legislature should be commended for acting proactively to ensure treatment of same-sex couples that is closer to equal.”

Clyde Wadsworth, of Alston, Hunt, Floyd & Ing added, “We are glad to see the rainbow of Hawai‘i history bend closer toward justice with the signing of the civil unions bill.”
Jennifer C. Pizer and Tara Borelli of Lambda Legal’s Western Regional Office in Los Angeles, Lois Perrin, Daniel Gluck and Laurie A. Temple of the ACLU of Hawai`i, and Paul Alston, Clyde Wadsworth, and Stephen M. Tannenbaum of the Alston, Hunt, Floyd & Ing law firm have been co-counsel in the case.  

As of this date, five states (CT, IA, MA, NH and VT) and the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples to marry.  Six states (CA, IL, NV, NJ, OR and WA) offer broad state-law protection through civil union or registered domestic partnership; Hawai‘i makes it seven.  Five more states (Hawai‘i plus CO, MD, ME and WI) offer more limited protections through a non-marriage status (enactment of SB232 does not change Hawai`i’s reciprocal beneficiaries law).  Others (including at least MD and NY, and probably NM and, for some purposes, RI) respect marriages that same-sex couples entered into in other states.  Consequently, based on population estimates from the 2010 U.S. Census, more than 40 percent of the United States population now resides in a jurisdiction offering same-sex couples at least some form of state-level legal protection.

Visit the websites of Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Hawai‘i for information about civil unions and Hawai‘i law:

www.lambdalegal.org/publications/factsheets/fs_hawaiis-2011-civil-unions-bills-faqs.html

www.lambdalegal.org/publications/general/pm_the-legal-rights-of-civil-union-partners-in-hi.html

www.lambdalegal.org/protecting-same-sex-relationships

www.lambdalegal.org/publications/factsheets/fs_registering-as-reciprocal-beneficiaries.html

www.lambdalegal.org/hawaii

http://www.acluhawaii.org/news.php?id=408
 
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Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

The mission of the ACLU and its Hawai‘i affiliate is to protect the fundamental freedoms contained in the state and federal constitutions through litigation, legislative and public education programs statewide.

Hawaii News — Governor Announces BOE Appointees; Hilo Attorney Brian DeLima On The List Representing Hawaii Island

(Media Release) — In another step forward to advance the state’s public school system, Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced his appointments to the new Board of Education (BOE).  The board consists of nine members – three from O’ahu, three at-large, and one each from Hawai’i Island, Maui and Kaua’i.  

“I was encouraged by the number of quality people who applied to serve on the BOE, all who were ready to commit themselves to a new day in education,” said Governor Abercrombie.  “It was important for me to find the right balance of individuals who could bring their diverse experiences to the table.  Education is one of my highest priorities.  Hawai’i depends on the success of our public schools and these individuals have stepped up to take responsibility for increasing public confidence in our schools and fundamental change to improve outcomes for children and our community.”  

Act 5, which was signed into law earlier this month, established legislation for the Governor to appoint BOE members.  His appointments require confirmation by the state Senate.

The Governor’s appointees to the BOE are:

Maui:  Wesley Lo is the Chief Executive Officer at Maui Memorial Medical Center.  He previously worked as the Maui County Finance Director and the Chief Financial Officer of Maui Memorial Medical Center.  His children attend Baldwin High School and Pomaikai Elementary.  Lo’s wife is a counselor at Maui High School.  His appointment is for a three-year term.

Hawaii:  Brian DeLima is an Attorney in Private Practice.  He is a former Hawai’i County council member.  DeLima is a graduate of Hilo High School and in 1972 he served as the first student BOE member.  His daughter, who has special needs, attends Hilo Intermediate School.  DeLima’s appointment is for a two-year term.
 

Kauai:  Nancy Budd is an Attorney in Private Practice.  Budd is a member of the Kauai Planning and Action Alliance Public Education Action Team; she serves as Director and President of the Kaua`i District Parent Teacher Student Association; and is a reading tutor at Wilcox Elementary School. Budd’s daughter graduated from Kaua’i High School. Her appointment is for a one-year term. 

O’ahu:  Jim Williams is retired Administrator and CEO of the Hawaii Employer-Union Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF). Currently, he is the Vice-chair of Voyager Public Charter School, and previously served as President and CEO of Royal State Learning Foundation; Interim Director and President of the Hawai’i State Teachers Association; and teacher at Kauanakakai Elementary School and Moloka’i High School.  Williams’ appointment is for a three-year term.

O’ahu:  Charlene Cuaresma is the Associate Director of the Graduate Professional Access Program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.  She is also the Community Director of the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training.  Cuaresma, a Waipahu High School graduate, is active in many Filipino community initiatives. Cuaresma’s appointment is for a two-year term.

O’ahu:  Cheryl Kauhane Lupenui is the Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA of Oahu.  She has served on the boards of Hawai’i Tourism Authority’s Hawaiian Resource Advisory Board; the Center for Asian Pacific American Women; and Aloha United Way.  Lupenui’s appointment is for a one-year term.

At-large:  Keith Amemiya is the Executive Administrator and Secretary of the Board of Regents at the University of Hawai’i.  He is the former Executive Director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association.  Amemiya served on a number of boards including the Honolulu Firefighters Foundation, Aloha Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Susannah Wesley Community Center, and The Learning Coalition.  His appointment is for a one-year term.

At-large:  Kim Gennaula is a Philanthropy Director at Kapiolani Health Foundation.  She is a former news anchor and previously worked as Communications Director for Liberty House and Sharper Image.  Her two children attend Hokulani Elementary School, and she has been a member of an advisor board to the Superintendent.  Gennaula’s appointment is for a two-year term.

At-large:  Don Horner is Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of First Hawaiian Bank.  In February, the Governor appointed him to fill the vacancy of the at-large position on the board.  (http://hawaii.gov/gov/newsroom/press-releases/governor-abercrombie-selects-community-leader-for-the-board-of-education)

The Governor has also appointed Horner as the new BOE Chairman.  

BOE members oversee the Department of Education (DOE), which has a $1.7 billion operational budget.  The DOE is one of the state’s largest organizations with more employees than the state’s five largest private sector employers combined.

Since signing Act 5 into law, the Governor’s office received more than 150 applications to the BOE.  Governor Abercrombie’s nine appointments must be confirmed by state Senate’s Education Committee as well as the confirmation of the full Senate.
(Submitted by Donalyn Dela Cruz.)

Love and the Big Island- Indoor Window (pseudo-poem)

by RJ Kaleohano Mendoza

There’s an indoor window looking outside slammed shut to the opinions that others provide.

There’s an indoor window that hosts beautiful sunny skies,cooling trade wins and the Mamo still flies.

There’s an indoor window that the four foot eleven and ninety pound woman wipes clean.

Clean from the ho’okahe koko shed from the times, clean from a language that wasn’t hers or mine.

There’s an indoor window that the ninety pound mother of twelve looks and motions hele mai.

And when I open the indoor window it’s slammed shut again by the ones who won’t let my try.

The ones who forgot the forced temptations on the plantations and apathetically give them more power.

The ones who forgot the forced conversions and the excursions away from the fire, and towards the cross where they now cower.

That indoor window, pressed against my face, showing me my own ha.

Slammed shut against my face this indoor window not because of my race, but because of my place, and circumstances in my case, reminding me of the ghosts that I chase.

But me? Iʻm lucky.

Because most others are still outside the house.

I get to see the indoor window.

(RJ Kaleohano Mendoza is a freelance writer and student at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and not necessarily anyone’s poet.)

Puna News — Police Seek Oran Kita In Sex Assault, Marijuana Growing Operations

(Media release) —
Big Island police are renewing their request for the public’s help in locating a 32-year-old Puna man wanted for questioning in connection with investigations into a reported sexual assault and a marijuana growing operation.

Oran C. Kita was last known to have lived in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision. He is described as being of Japanese-Caucasian descent, 5-foot-10, 165 pounds with black hair, brown eyes, a slim build and a fair-to-lightly-tanned complexion.

Detectives with the Juvenile Aid Section and Vice Section are continuing this investigation.

Police ask that anyone with information on Kita’s location call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or (808) 329-8181 in Kona 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.
(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department.)

Letters — Governor To Announce Board Of Education Appointees

Honolulu –  Governor Neil Abercrombie tomorrow morning will announce his appointments to the nine-member Board of Education for consideration by the State Senate.

What:    Board of Education Announcement of Appointees
When:   Wednesday, March 30, 2011;  10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Where:  State Capitol, 5th Floor, Ceremonial Room
Who:     Governor Abercrombie and BOE Appointees

###

For more information contact:  

Donalyn Dela Cruz
Press Secretary
(808) 586-0012

Letters — Regarding A YWCA Pool Closure Until June

Aloha YWCA Members,
On February 22, 2011 the YWCA swimming pool was closed due to the low chemical levels and extremely murky pool water.  After a failed attempt to improve the chemical levels and water clarity the system was backwashed and super chlorinate to remove all pool pollutants and contaminants.  Unfortunately we were unable to elevate the pool to a safe chemical level for use and were forced to close the pool.
Immediately we contacted a number of salt water pool experts to provide on-site and technical assistance in assessing the condition and status of the pool.  In addition, the filtration system sand and gravel will need to be replaced.  Finally, the salt cell panel will need to be upgraded.  The initial estimate to perform the work described above will cost $20,000 dollars. The YWCA Board of Directors has authorized to release $20,000 dollars to perform the pool repairs. We are hopeful the pool will be fully operational by Wednesday, June 1, 2011.

We appreciate the tremendous feedback from our supportive YWCA members. This feedback has inspired us to get our pool operational as soon as possible! If you have any questions or concerns please contact Hoku Sumiki, Head Lifeguard at aquatics@ywcahawaiiisland.org or (808) 935-7141 x 111 or Andy Kahili, Community Relations Events Officer and Program Director at akahili@ywcahawaiiisland.org or (808) 961-3877 x 127.
YWCA of Hawaii Island
145 Ululani St.
Hilo, HI, US
96720

Letters — Open Letter To The Senate Ways And Means Committee, Regarding HB 1626

March 28, 2011

Chairman Ige and Ways & Means Committee Members
Hawaii State Senate

Reference: HB 1626

Aloha,

Friends of Puna’s Future asks you to support HB 1626 in committee as has the Hawaii County Council under Resolution 321.10.  We offer the following facts and reasons for doing so.

The County of Hawaii is rather unique in that 45% of it’s road system are publicly accessed private subdivision roads.   This situation goes back to statehood at which time over 80,000 residential lots were subdivided ignoring requirements for road standards. This was done with the approval of the then Board of Supervisors. It was a bad precedent and the legacy remains.  The accumulated history prevents the County of Hawaii from taking possession of the roads as they exist. 

Most of these roads at issue are in the districts of Ka`u and Puna.  We have heard the question of why don’t the owners fix the roads themselves?  The answer is that they do.  It is a formidable task.  While their fuel taxes are unavailable to them they do the best they can with what they have.  Some subdivisions basically have no funds and roads are, in too many cases, unfit for fire, police or ambulance.  Residents have been required to drive injured family members several miles to meet an ambulance on the highway.  This is serious.

For twenty years or so this was a sleeper issue.  The population was small.  Population growth has since exploded as shown by the census data from 2000 and 2010.  Puna itself is the fastest growing district in the state.  At this moment there are over 40,000 residents in Puna and they all buy fuel for their vehicles.  They all drive extensively on the publicly accessed private roads and in doing so they all contribute to the Highway Fund with their fuel taxes. In some locations the state and county actually direct heavy traffic into private subdivisions to alleviate congestion and in traffic emergencies.

None of the fuel taxes generated on publicly accessed private subdivision roads are currently available to help maintain them.  It has developed into an important issue of public safety and tax fairness.  HB 1626 does not ask the state for money.  It asks the state to empower the Hawaii County Council to find it’s own solutions.  Home Rule.

HB 1626 is before you on the advice of Hawaii County Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida. Mr. Ashida feels that clarity is needed in the HRS statutes.  Hawaii County Council Resolution 321.10 proposes a grant-in-aid program to assist private nonprofit road maintenance groups.  It is a practical proposal.

The intended grant-in-aid proposal would accomplish a number of practical things:  

1) Goals:  HB 1626 would accomplish a goal of government in facilitating the  maintenance of our roads for public safety and the movement of people, goods and services.  All residents need safe access to the outlying community, jobs, family and the benefit of police, fire and medical attention accessing the existing funding structure.

2)  Liability:  HB 1626 would help relieve the liability issue by allowing the County of Hawaii to work with private nonprofit road maintenance  corporations and groups to do the road maintenance work themselves. No county workers are asked to perform on private roads.  To a large degree what is needed is gravel and the County of Hawaii owns nine quarries. 1+1=2.  This is efficient, cost effective, smart, and an excellent example of how a public /private partnership can meet the needs of residents in tough economic times.

3)  Community Building:  Not all subdivisions were created equal.  Some are more organized than others.  HB 1626 would encourage communities to organize themselves to work together intelligently and legally if they want to participate in a grant-in-aid program.

4) Pilot Program:  HB 1626 would enable the County of Hawaii to pioneer the solutions to inherited problems.  This experience could be beneficial to all counties.  A five year minimum sunset date is desired.  An ASAP effective date is desired.

We hope that you find our testimony in a positive light in support of HB 1626.  We would appreciate hearing from you for your thoughts and wisdom from a state point of view and with any issues you feel we should address or expand on.

Mahalo for your time and consideration.

Rob Tucker, president
Friends of Puna’s Future (501c4)
www.fopf.org

P.O. Box 1959
Pahoa, HI 96778
808-965-1555

Hilo News — Police: Man Used Sledge Hammer In Attack

(Media release) — Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section have taken into custody a 19-year-old man in connection with an assault with a sledge hammer that occurred at a residence in Panaewa on March 25, 2011.

On Friday at about 4:00 pm, South Hilo patrol officers responded to a report of an unconscious male at a residence on Auwae Road in Hilo. Responding officers and Fire Department personnel discovered a 55-year-old man with a severe head injury. The victim was transported to the Hilo Medical Center by medics and was initially listed in serious condition. He was transferred to Queen’s Medial Center on Oahu via air ambulance and has since been upgraded to stable condition following surgery.

Police arrested Tevita Moala at the scene for an unrelated warrant and he was being held in the East Hawaii Detention Center while detectives conducted further investigation into this incident, which has been classified as a first degree assault.

After conferring with Big Island prosecutors, detectives charged Moala for first degree assault and his bail is set at $25,000.00. He is being held in the police cellblock pending his initial court appearance on Monday.

(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Letters — Fuel Tax Related HB 1626 Before Last Committee

Aloha Puna and Ka`u Community,

Most everyone should be aware that a bill is in the legislature which would enable funding for maintenance of private subdivision roads from taxes paid on gasoline.  HB 1626 was submitted by Faye Hanohano.

This is the last Committee hearing and it is a big one.  Ways & Means. The Senate and House count support.  It matters. Help Puna and help yourself and testify….

Please testify now.  No need to write lengthy letters, you can if you want to but at least go to this web site and click on “support” and “send”.

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/emailtestimony/?measure=HB1626

More information, including language of the bill is located here:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2011/lists/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=1626

Mahalo,

Rob Tucker
Friends of Puna’s Future
www.fopf.org
965-1555

Volcano News — Fire Is On Patrol Status

The fire has been placed in patrol status – helicopter and ground forces will observe the fire area for additional smoke over the next few days.  The fire area has received significant precipitation over the last few days.  The ground and lava has become too slippery for safe firefighter operations.  Firefighters have hiked out of the area.
 Acreage – 2,076.  The confinement strategy to hold fire within the existing fire perimeter continues to be successful, and 80% of the Napau fire is contained.  
 A transition of command and release of resources will continue in the next few days; Horseshoe Meadow Hot Shots will be released on Wednesday, March 30.  Todd Rankin, Olympic National Park, is the Napau Fire Incident Commander.
 Islands of vegetation surrounded by lava flows (Kipukas) are additional high fire risk values being protected near the southern flank of the Napau fire.  The Kealakomo SEA and Naula SEA are being scouted for spot fires by engine and hand crews.  
 An infrared mapping flight will continue over the next few days, and will provide the accurate information to firefighters as to areas retaining heat in vegetation from the wildfire.  
 Weather:  Based on fire weather instruments on the ground near the fire (RAWS), the rain fall totals are near four inches over the last week.  There is a drying trend in the forecast for the next few days.  Trade winds will continue to dominate the weather pattern.
 The soil is retaining the moisture from the rain, assisting confine and containment goals.  
 The fire is creeping and smoldering through dense ground fuels.  No flame production has been observed.
 Chain of Craters Rd remains open.  Drivers are cautioned to drive slowly and be aware of firefighters and equipment on the road.  
 The special Napau Fire information office will be closed at the end of the day, unless the fire potential increases.  All further calls are to be directed to Mardie Lane, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Public Information Officer, at (808) 985-6018.
 
Mahalo.
Gary Wuchner
Napau Fire Information Officer
808 895-6174 (office)
209 742-8990 (cell)

Letters — Regarding The Last Volcano Fire Update

Aloha to all

Attached is a mid-day report of the Napau Fire used to keep the media
informed through the mid day as to fire activity.

(See attached file: Mid.3.28.docx)

This will be the last update of the Napau fire in the capacity of specific
formal fire information operation effort.  I am being released tomorrow to
return to snow and a shovel.

In the next few days other mainland fire forces will return to there home
units and the fire will be back in the very capable Hawai’i Volcanoes
National Park firefighters.  As stated in the update,  the fire is not out,
but the recent rains have abated fire’s growth, intensity and threats.  The
fire will continued to be patrolled on a regular basis.

Thanks to all for great insight, suggestions and background information
during the incident, which made my work interesting and much easier.

Mahalo

Gary Wuchner
Fire Education and Information Manager
Yosemite National Park
PO Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389
(209) 372-0480
(209) 742-8990 (cell)
gary_wuchner@nps.gov

Hawaii News — Regarding The Recently Mailed Property Tax Assessments

Real Property Tax Assessment Notices were mailed on March 14th to all property owners.  These notices show the current year assessed valuation of land and buildings that will be the basis for taxation in the upcoming fiscal year.  The notices also contain market value and prior year value amounts for comparative purposes.  This year’s notices have a printing error in the Prior Year Totals boxes, which in some cases may result in an incorrect number that should be disregarded.  Prior Year Building and Land amounts are correct and can be added to obtain the correct totals.

Taxpayers who disagree with their assessment may file an appeal.  Appeal requirement information and application forms are available at Aupuni Center and West Hawai‘i Civic Center tax offices and at the Real Property Tax website www.hawaiipropertytax.com.  Appeals of assessed value must be submitted in person at a Real Property Tax office or postmarked on or before April 11, 2011, and must be accompanied by a $50 dollar deposit.  Information on the back of this year’s assessment notices contains an incorrect appeal deposit amount that should be disregarded.

Taxpayers with questions about their assessment notices or appeals can contact the Real Property Tax offices at 808-961-8201 or 808-323-4880, or through the Contact Us page at the website shown above.
(Submitted by Lee Lord.)

Volcano News — Fire Is 80 Percent Contained

The Napau Fire is 80% contained.  Firefighters experienced very little fire activity due to lighter than expected trade winds and 24 hours of rain; over an inch of rain has fallen on the fire area.   Approximately 2,076 acres have burned with no increases in acreage.  The Napau Fire is approximately seven miles southeast of the Kilauea Visitor Center, located on the east rift of Kilauea Volcano.  It is a lava caused wildfire resulting from the March 5, 2011, Kamoamoa Fissure Eruption.  
 
Strategy:  The continued priority is to protect the East Rift SEA, on the north perimeter of the fire and two Kipukas, islands of vegetation, have been identified as protection priorities.  The Kealakomo and Naula SEAs are on the south side of the Chain of Craters Road.  The prime objective is to confine the fire to the current perimeter and acreage.  Firefighter and visitor safety is always the number one objective.  Although rough terrain, obscure holes, standing dead trees and other hazards exist, there have been no injuries on this fire.  Due to favorable weather, firefighters were able to hold all perimeter lines of the fire and cool (cold trail) hot spots 100’ into the burn.  
 
Values to be protected: All fires pose significant threats to the ecological health of the park, which are not fire adaptive, and will be put out.  A high priority fire protection goal is the east rift Special Ecological Area (SEA), an intact lowland rain forest, which has been intensively managed to exclude invasive species and protect and restore highly valued native plant and animal communities.   Protected over decades by Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, the rain and mesic forests threatened by the spread of the Napau Fire are home to plants, birds, bugs, spiders, and bats found only in Hawai’i.  They include the endangered Hawaiian  bat (`ope`ape`a)  Hawaiian hawk,(`io) and other uniquely Hawaiian plants and animals such as Hawaiian thrush, (`oma`o),  lama and sandalwood trees, happyface spiders, carnivorous caterpillars, and Hawaiian honeycreepers (`apapane and `amakihi).  National park and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) infrastructures, monitoring equipment, and other visitor features near the fire are also being protected.
 
Fire Resources:  Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park firefighters are being augmented with NPS fire crews from Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Olympic and Yosemite National Parks (NPS), the Pacific West Regional Office of NPS, National NPS Fire Office in Boise and the USDA Forest Service (Eldorado, Sequoia, Stanislaus and Los Padres National Forests in CA.); 50 firefighters, fire management staff and park resource advisors are committed. Fire managers will begin to release fire resources in the next few days as containment nears 100%.  
 
Air and Smoke:  There were no smoke impacts in the last 24 hours.  In addition to smoke, air quality is constantly monitored in regards to sulfur dioxide emissions from volcanic activity. Fire managers will continue to coordinate fire efforts with USGS HVO scientists regarding eruption activity and air quality.  
 
Closures:  The Chain of Craters Road is re-opened.  Drivers are urged to be diligent while driving, particularly near the hair-pin turn, as firefighters and fire engines are on the road.  
 
Partners Involved:  US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and USDA Forest Service.
 
Additional Information and Contacts:  
Hawai’i Volcanoes Webpage:   http://www.nps.gov/havo
Gary Wuchner, Napau Fire Information Officer
(808) 985-6174 or (209) 742-8990 (cell)
gary_wuchner@nps.gov

Kona News — State Civil Defense Opens Disaster Assistance Recovery Center

 (Media release) —
Hawai‘i State Civil Defense will establish a Community Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center (DARC) at Old Kona Airport Events Pavilion Tuesday, March 29 and Wednesday, March 30 to offer assistance to people affected by the tsunami.
 
The center will be staffed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by state, county and private sector crews ready to provide help and information to residents and businesses affected by the March 11 disaster.
 
“I want to thank State Civil Defense for moving quickly to establish this center to assist people who suffered damage in the tsunami,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “This cooperative government and private-sector effort will efficiently deliver the information and assistance that our residents need for the most rapid recovery possible.”    
 
The County will provide representatives from the Office of the Mayor in Kona, the Department of Environmental Management and the Department of Public Works. A variety of state agencies have also been asked to attend, along with private organizations such as American Red Cross and Catholic Charities Hawai‘i.
 
State Civil Defense officials are contacting all of the people who called Aloha United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline for assistance in connection with the tsunami to invite them to visit the Disaster Assistance Recovery Center for additional information and assistance.
 
Mayor Kenoi and Gov. Neil Abercrombie have issued emergency proclamations in connection with the tsunami, and Gov. Abercrombie has requested that President Obama issue a presidential disaster declaration.
 
The last state-county Disaster Assistance Recovery Center established in Kailua-Kona was set up about two weeks after the Kiholo earthquake in 2006.
 (Submitted by Kevin Dayton.)

Chíc Eco — Make Noise For Precious Water Before Tuesday

By Delia Montgomery

Do you wish to help stop Monsanto, BASF, and other chemical giants from pushing their poisons on the public?

House Bill HR 872, also called the “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act” proposes to exempt all pesticide and herbicide use in and near waterways from requiring a permit under the Clean Water Act, (NPDES or National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit).

This is a House vote, no public hearings, and tentatively scheduled this Tuesday. So what can anyone do? Read more