• 14 Nov 2014 /  Education, Elections, news, politics

    From Noelie Rodriguez:

    A panel will discuss Clean Elections and Transparency in a forum on
    Thursday November 20 at 6:30 p.m.  in UCB 100 on the University of Hawaii
    Hilo (UHH) campus.  The featured speaker will be Carmille Lim the
    Director of Hawai’i Common Cause.  Also speaking will be Susan Dursin
    from The League of Women Voters and Chris Yuen, attorney, former board
    member of The Hawaii Elections Project.

    In 2008, UHH students played a leading role in the Legislature to pass
    the  Big Island Clean Elections Pilot Program passed, which allowed
    Council candidates who qualified to campaign with public funding
    instead of depending on campaign contributions from special interest
    donors.  The Pilot ran successfully in the 2010 and 2012 County
    Council races but has since ended.  (The public program was funded by
    the $3 voluntary check off on our tax forms, which does not reduce an
    individual’s filed personal income tax.)

    Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, big,
    special-interest money has been flooding into political campaigns.
    According to the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, in 2012, over $4
    million was spent on Hawaii campaigns by independent groups. In the
    2014 election , a single “independent” group, funded almost entirely
    by Monsanto and Dow Chemical spent $8 million on a ballot initiative
    campaign.

    Nationwide, many Americans believe that the influx of special interest
    money in elections threatens the integrity of our democracy.  As an
    antidote to big money funding their bid for office, with Clean
    Elections, candidates have the option of running on public funding so
    that they will be more likely to be answerable to their constituents
    rather than to their rich campaign donors.

    The 2014 Legislature failed to continue the funding of the Big Island
    Clean Elections Pilot Program and ultimately killed a bill which
    promoted a statewide Clean Elections program.  However, in 2013, the
    Legislature passed a bill which would require stronger disclosures for
    independent groups seeking to influence our elections. The forum will
    discuss how the 2015 legislature can continue to combat the corrosive
    effects of outside money in Hawaii’s elections.

    The event is sponsored by Common Cause Hawaii, Global HOPE, and the
    nationwide student group, Democracy Matters.

    The panel discussion is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
    Parking on the UHH campus is free in the evening.

    For more information phone Noelie Rodriguez, 934-2635 or 963-6966.

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  • 13 Nov 2014 /  BULLETINS

    From Hawaii Police Department:

    A  22-year-old man faces enhanced penalties for allegedly committing crimes during an emergency declaration.

    At 6:50 a.m. Wednesday (November 12), police responded to a report of a burglary in progress in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision in Puna.

    A 60-year-old woman reported that she saw a woman on her property on 3rd Avenue off Kaloli Street and then saw a man attempting to steal her pickup truck. When she confronted them, they fled on foot before officers arrived. Police determined that the man had attempted to break into the house before being confronted by the victim.

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/nixle/uploads/pub_media/user5252-1415915158-media1

    Hernandez

    A short time later, police located the man on 1st Avenue and the woman on 2nd Avenue. They were identified as 22-year-old Sebastian Hernandez of Kea’au and 25-year-old Olivia Medeiros of Mountain View. Both were arrested and taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

    Wednesday afternoon, Medeiros was released pending further investigation. Hernandez was charged with unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle and attempted burglary of a dwelling during an emergency declaration, which enhances the attempted burglary from a B felony to an A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison with no possibility of probation. He was also charged with contempt of court for an unrelated matter. His bail was set at $12,300. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance on Thursday (November 13).

    On September 4, Mayor Billy Kenoi proclaimed a state of emergency for the Puna District under Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature. As a result, the classifications of certain crimes are elevated while the emergency proclamation is in effect. Other crimes, including unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, carry enhanced sentencing.

     

     

  • 13 Nov 2014 /  commentary, letters

    Dear Editor,

    Whose cruel and dangerous idea was it to not allow the Public Bus on the streets of Pahoa where the Road is open to traffic and all stops can still be serviced along the OPEN route.  Now the Powers-That-Be make mothers with children and babies in strollers walk and wait in the rain along with seniors and everyone else who can’t afford or choose not to own an automobile because the designated Bus Stop shelters in Pahoa that are on open routes through Pahoa have inexplicably been abandoned in exchange for walking and/or being dropped off on highway with traffic whizzing by at 45-60 mph.  Then you must cross the highway on foot to get to Pahoa but there is not one crosswalk anywhere on the whole bypass and the speed limit sign says 45.  Where is the logic in this?  Our Public Servants have cut Pahoa in half in their panic causing undue hardships for people instead of helping.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Bailey

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  • 13 Nov 2014 /  BULLETINS, Closures, Lava Reports, news

    Police announced this morning that Post Office Road in Pahoa, which had been closed to ingressing traffic in order to facilitate evacuations since  lava first approached Pahoa, has been reopened to two-way traffic.  The leading edge of the flow remains stalled about 170 yards north of Pahoa Village Road, though active lava outbreaks continue upslope, one of which continues to slowly fill in the lower truck road at the former transfer station/recycling/reuse center. Smoke from burning asphalt and vegetation continue to be “moderate to heavy,” and a light south wind may be pushing it toward the Ainaloa, Hawaiian Paradise Park and Keaau, according to Civil Defense, which advises those with respiratory problems and smoke sensitivity to observe precautions and stay indoors.

    –Alan McNarie

    Below: the slowly advancing flow at the recycling center.  Photo from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

    http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/multimedia/uploads/multimediaFile-977.jpg

     

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  • 12 Nov 2014 /  BULLETINS, Lava Reports, news

    Lava burned its way further into the former Pahoa transfer, recycling and reuse center today, though as of late afternoon, the center’s buildings hadn’t been hit yet. Hawaii Volcano Observatory noted that a small  tongue of lava had broken in on lower  side of the truck driveway that circled the buildings, and that “This road is quite a bit lower than the transfer station buildings, and it will likely take a few days for it to fill up, if the breakout remains active.”

    “So far damage is just the fingers of lava that have come down sides and burnt some asphalt. Well, that and the fence and drainage ditch outside the fence which is now filled with lava. So  far no damage to the buildings at [the] transfer station. Lava is like watching slow molasses and feels like Chinese water torture,” Environmental Management Department head Bobby Jean  Leithead Todd told the Chronicle.

    At 4:45 p.m., Civil Defense reported that a lobe of lava was burning asphalt in the center’s “rear driveway area,” and that all other smoke from active lava today was due to burning vegetation.   The current flows pose no immediate threat to residents, but the smoke might for those with sensitivity or respiratory conditions.   Civil Defense described smoke conditions as “moderate to heavy.”

    In addition to the lava at the transfer station, another lobe is active in the area of the cemetery and a third is pushing down to about 390 yards  upslope of Apa`a Street.  Lava is also encroaching further on the cemetery itself, approaching “right up to the edge” of a previously untouched shelter there, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (See photos below).

    According to Leithead Todd, the county was evaluating a number of possible sites for a replacement for the transfer station/recycling/reuse center, which opened in 2011 at a cost of $3,907,494, but the final site selection is being delayed by uncertainty about where, exactly, the lava will go. “Additionally construction of a permanent site and its selection would require at a minimum an EA and possibly a full-blown EIS ,which would need to evaluate the pros and cons of different sites before selection of a site could occur,’ she said.

    –Alan McNarie

     

    Above: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s map of the lava flow as of 7 a.m., this morning.  In addition to the flows near the transfer station and the cemetery, note the large finger that’s extending relatively rapidly mauka of  Apa`a Street.

    Below: photos from the HVO Web site showing lava activity at the transfer station, (below, top) seen from the east-northeast, and the cemetery (bottom): note the green-roofed shelter building, which is threatened by an inflating ridge of lava.

      

     

     

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  • 12 Nov 2014 /  Uncategorized

    imageBy Tiffany Edwards Hunt

    I cannot wrap my brain around why County of Hawaii officials insist on having Post Office Road egress only. I pass by the road every morning and see how people coming out on that road going Hilo bound risk being t-boned. To me it should be INGRESS only if it needs to be one way. If I only had a reasonable response from officials… Alas, I have nothing. So, everyday I think about how asinine the forced traffic pattern is… How unfriendly it is to businesses that are seeking whatever traffic they can get…

  • It now looks as if Pahoa’s former tranfer station and recycling/reuse center is not likely to be reoccupied. This morning, two different active tongues of  lava ware mapped on its borders.  At around noon, at least one of them broke through the transfer station fence and entered the grounds.

    Civil Defense   in their evening report, noted three active breakouts in the vicinity of the cemetery below Apa’a Street;  above Apa’a Street upslope of the transfer station; and .3 miles upslope of Apa’a Street. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported “small lava breakouts from the main lava tube … on the north side of the flow in the vicinity of the cemetery” and within about 220 yards downslope. Another breakout that started Sunday above Apa`a St. and then separated into three lobes, it noted,  was “still active as shown by inflation features and breakouts near the transfer station, downslope of the house that was destroyed on November 10, and along the north margin of the main tube upslope of the cemetery.”

    Civil defense also reported “moderate to heavy” smoke blowing  with light  towards the Leilani Subdivision  and “lower Puna areas.” It advised residents living downwind who” may be sensitive or have respiratory problems” totake necessary precautions and stay indoors.  This reporter also observed heavy vog in some mauka areas, including Volcano, last night.
     

    Hawaiian Volcano Observatory photo, below: Just before noon today, lava pushed through the fence at the southwest corner of the P?hoa transfer station and moved down the slope onto the station grounds. The flames are caused by burning asphalt.

     

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  • 10 Nov 2014 /  BULLETINS, Lava Reports, news

    After burning an unoccupied house at around noon today, the lava flow remains active, though none of its current fingers have reached as far downhill as its stalled leading edge.  The nearest active lobe of the flow is currently moving down on the  Kea`au-side edge of the flow.  Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, in a report shortly before 6 p.m. today, said that lobe was about 500 yards upslope of  Pahoa Village Road.

    HVO also reported “a number” of active breakouts in the vicinity of Apa`a Street, including one that had moved to within 22 yards of the old transfer station fence and “also continued to expand through private property across the street from the station.”  This is the flow which took out the unoccupied house shortly before noon.

    Another lobe to watch is “a narrow finger of lava that has advanced downslope from the wide portion of the flow just above the narrow gulley through which lava advanced toward P?hoa more than two weeks ago. HVO described that finger as “the most significant activity of the entire flow.”

    Meanwhile, up at the summit,  “period of inflation began at about 2 p.m.,” with a corresponding rise in the lava level at Halemaumau.

    Below: HVO’s most recent map of lava activity, including the new “significant” mauka finger, which appears to be taking a somewhat different path.
    http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/maps/uploads/image-189.jpg

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  • 10 Nov 2014 /  BULLETINS, Lava Reports, news

    According to Hawaii County Civil Defense,  lava claimed a “residential structure” near Apa`a Street today at 11:55.  Other sources said that the lava moved away from the garage that it had originally appeared to threaten and hit the house instead.

    “Emergency personnel are on scene and there is not threat to any other properties at this time.  Smoke from the burning structure is currently rising and dissipating,” stated the Civil Defense update.

    In previous weeks, the flow had claimed a garden shed, a cattle feeding station and a horticultural shade house.

    Above: Helicopter view from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, showing areas of active lava on the morning of November 10. Active areas (marked by smoke from burning vegetation) include just above and below old Transfer Station and a new lobe of lava headed northeast, approximately 820 yards  above Apa?a Street (upper right)

     

    Below: GIF showing recent lava activity, courtesy of Reel Marketing

    output_EpvzRR 11_10_14

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  • 10 Nov 2014 /  BULLETINS, Lava Reports, news

    The lava flow appears to be poised to claim its first residential structure–or to have already claimed it.   At 8:36 this morning,  Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported that a lobe of lava had emerged about 82 yards above Apa`a St. on the Kea’au side of the flow, had crossed the road and was within about five yards of a residence’s garage–and was advancing  at about five  yards an hour.

    Another outbreak was also advancing at about 3 yards per hour near  the transfer station and a third is moving slowly downslope of P?hoa Cemetery.  We’ll publish more information as it becomes available.

    All of this activity is going on upslope from the leading edge, which remains stalled about 170 yards above  Old Government Road.

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  • 09 Nov 2014 /  BULLETINS, Lava Reports, news

    The leading edge of the lava flow remains stalled, but the flow is still very much alive.  It  took out another small section of Apa`a Road today.

    According to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s 6:45 p.m. report, “a breakout just above Apa?a St./Cemetery Road sent lava across the road along the north margin of the existing flow. By the afternoon, that breakout had separated into three lobes: 1) moving along the existing flow margin towards the cemetery, 2) moving down the road towards the transfer station, and 3) moving towards an abandoned set of buildings across the street from the transfer station.”  There was also some lava activity “between the cemetery and private property” and “Small, sluggish breakouts and flow inflation…in the vicinity of the cemetery.” The active lobe near the old  transfer station had come to within about 22 yards of the station fence, but was expected to pass parallel to the fence due to the shape of the land there.


    An active flow burned along Cemetery Road/Apa`a Street today. Photo: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

     

  • 09 Nov 2014 /  Elections, news, politics

    The new leadership assignments for the Hawaii State Senate are out in the wake of last week’s election, and three Big Island legislators will be in positions of power.
    Sen. Josh Green (D-Kona, Ka`u) is will serve as the Senate’s floor leader—the number four leadership position, after President Donna Mercado Kim, Vice President Will Espero, and Majority Leader J. Kalani English. Sen. Gil Kahele (D-Hilo), formerly the Senate Whip, will serve as Caucus Leader. Green will also continue to serve as chair of the Health Committee, and Kahele will continue to head the Committee on Tourism and International Affairs. In one of the more significant shifts of leadership, Sen. Russell Ruderman (D-Puna) will take over the chairmanship of the Agriculture Committee from Clarence Nishihara. Ruderman is the owner of the Island Naturals grocery chain and a staunch opponent of genetically modified foods. Without a committee to lead, for now, is the Big Island’s fourth senator, Lorraine Inouye (D-Hamakua, Kohala). Inouye is a veteran legislator, but had to sit out a term after redistricting forced her to run in the same North Hawaii district with Sen. Malama Solomon. Solomon narrowly won that contest, but lost the rematch to Inouye this year.

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  • The flow front remains stalled, the the flow is still active uphill.  Some small breakouts are active near the remains of the Pahoa Japanese Cemetery and just south of the old Transfer Station. A new lobe  broke out about 600 yard sbove Apa`a St. has extended approximately 175 yards downhill, burning vegetation along the way.  Another lobe is still active, extending north from Kaohe Homesteads.

    Below: an HVO photo shows the melted casing of a remote camera that got caught too near  in a breakout on the flank of Pu`u O`o yesterday.  Remarkably, the camera inside was undamaged.

    http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/multimedia/uploads/multimediaFile-956.jpg

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  • 07 Nov 2014 /  BULLETINS, Lava Reports, news

    The leading edge of the flow system remains stalled where it stopped on October 30, but there’s plenty of activity upslope.  Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory reported multiple breakouts, ranging from one below Pahoa Cemetery, about 490 yards above Old Government Road in Pahoa, to one on the flank of Pu`u O`o itself. Several breakouts are active a mile and a half upslope of Apa?a St. and Cemetery Road. One, about 165 yards above the road, has “merged with the now inactive lobe” that came to a halt at the border of the  old transfer station. More breakouts have happend “at the top of the narrow gulley that channeled lava towards P?hoa two weeks ago,” approximately 765 yards above the road. Yet another, extending north from the Kaohe Homesteads area also remains active. Still more breakouts are occurring about halfway between the lower end of the flow and P`u O`o.  A breakout on the north flank of Pu`u O`o itself damaged some of the observatory’s observational equipment.

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  • 07 Nov 2014 /  Lava Reports, news

    Ed. note: I’ve just updated this article with a working link to the Park Service’s plan for the Chain of Craters emergency access road. –AM

     

    The social media has been buzzing with various reports about who Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will allow to travel in and out of the land below the Pele Partition, if and when that should happen, via the Chain of Craters emergency road.  We contacted the park to get the latest information on what is still an evolving policy.

    According to Rainey McKenna, who’s filling in for Jessica Ferracane as the park’s information officer,

    The emergency access route, as well as connecting park roads, will be available for use by Puna area residents affected by the lava flow, their invitees and agents, and the transportation of goods and services needed to sustain the community including vendors, contractors, and service providers. Puna area residents will be able to obtain a free window decal to help expedite travel through the park’s entrance gate. Regular visitors to the park will continue to be charged an entrance fee, however those entities who are using park roads for the purpose of accessing lower Puna will not be charged an entrance fee. 

    We asked McKenna how the park would determine which “entities” were “using park roads for the purpose of accessing lower Puna.”  McKenna replied that the park is” currently working on figuring out how best to provide access to ‘other entities’  traveling to lower Puna,” but he added, “At this point, other than for the resident decals, we are not anticipating asking for documentation from “other entities.”

    Regular park visitors would still have to pay standard park admission fees, though it’s not exactly clear how the Park would tell the difference between park visitors and those headed to Puna.

    The park IS seeking input on the emergency road plan at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=307&projectID=55067&documentID=62314, although that site was down when we tried it this afternoon. When it gets back up, click on “Emergency Access Route along the Lava-Covered Section of Chain of Craters Kalapana Road,” “Document List” to review and comment on the plan.

    McKenna said plans currently call for the road to be finished with a “two lane aggregate” surface–in other words, gravel, not blacktop.

    –Alan McNarie

     

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  • 06 Nov 2014 /  Uncategorized

    Dearest Representatives,

    I haven’t had a response yet to my musings.  The Mayor, being in control of the “operation” out here needs to really know about how we are being treated.  I ran into an acquaintance (male approx 55) earlier this morning, he was soaking wet and tired.  I think hadn’t rained since last night, and he said he had caught the bus in to SouthEast Pahoa from Kalapana, walked in to eat something and check his mail at the Post Office.  He needed to shop at Malama Market so he asked at the blockade if he could walk through (since we all know the lava front has stalled) and was laughed at.  In fact, he heard them snickering as he had to walk down the post office road, out along the bypass where he got smothered by passing cars throwing dirty water from the stupid little mosquito breeding dugouts carved on purposed on the side of the road, and trudged all the way to Malama Marketplace.  This is absurd and the most blatant abuse of power.  Someone else who heard us talking said that happened to a young mother with a baby in a stroller yesterday.
    YOU ALL SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THIS, AND I AM SORRY I AM YELLING BUT THIS BLOCKADE IS OUT OF HAND.
    Please take immediate action.
    –Sara Steiner