• 06 Jan 2015 /  BULLETINS, Lava Reports, news

    Both Hawaii Volcano Observatory and Civil Defense reported this morning that the lava flow’s leading edge remained “stalled” half a mile north of the Highway 130/Pahoa Village Road intersection.  But they also reported activity upslope. HVO, for instance, noted  that “breakouts along the north margin of the flow approximately 1.5 – 2.5 km (1.0 – 1.5 miles) upslope of the flow front continue to advance.”

    That advance was made much clearer by the satellite-based map released this afternoon (below), showing new lava breakouts as of 11:30 a.m today.  That map shows a large new tongue of lava  headed almost due north. If that tongue joins up with the nearest matked “path of steepest descent,”  continues along that path, doesn’t stall out again, and the marked path, based on 1983 measurements, is accurate–four big “ifs”–then it could miss Pahoa completely, cut Highway 130 in the Maku`u area and then threaten parts of Hawaii Paradise Park (See small-scale map, bottom).

    “The most active parts of the flow were in an area 400 to 900 m (440 to 980 yards) behind the stalled tip of the flow above Pahoa Marketplace, and at the front of a flow lobe that branches off to the north about 3 km (2 miles) behind the stalled flow tip,” noted the text accompanying the new map.” Other active breakouts on the distal part of the flow were scattered between these two areas.”

    But the map also showed that one of those “other breakouts” was  a much smaller tongue that appears to be reaching toward another path of steepest descent that would take it straight through Pahoa Market Place.



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  • 05 Jan 2015 /  BULLETINS, news

    Power remains out for about 900 Big Island households and businesses in the wake of the Jan. 3 storm  According to HELCO, “crews will be working in Ahualoa, Ainaloa, Fern Acres, Hawaiian Acres, Honokaa, Kalopa Mauka, Kapoho, Kau, Nanawale, North Kohala, Orchidland, Paauilo, and Volcano” today. The company says repairs have been completed in Aloha Estates , Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, Hawi, Kamuela, Kaloko, Captain Cook, Keauhou, Holualoa, Kurtistown area, Leilani Estates, Lorenzo Road (Kau), Mountain View area, Royal Hawaiian Subdivision, and Waiohinu.

    “At this time, it is estimated that customers in the hardest hit areas will have service restored by midnight Tuesday,” according to the company’s morning press release.


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  • 05 Jan 2015 /  Uncategorized


    1.  Water service has been restored to Waimea customers located in the Pu’unani Subdivision.  However, customers along Mana Road do not have water service due to ongoing power issues.

    The emergency drinking water spigot remains open at the Waimea Baseball Park on Spencer Road near the restrooms while HELCO completes repairs.
    All other Waimea area customers are advised to continue conserving water:

    ·  Keep water use to an absolute minimum.

    ·  Water should be used for essentials only (cooking, drinking and sanitation.)

    ·  Do not wash cars or water lawns.

    ·  Turn off or disconnect any devices or fixtures that regularly draw water.  Such devices include automatic icemakers and irrigation systems.

    2.  At this time, Kohala customers located above Hawi Road including Beers Road, Maliu Ridge, and Ka’ahuhu Road area do not have water service due to power issues in the area.

    The emergency drinking water spigot is now located in the senior housing subdivision to accommodate the mauka area customers without water.
    3.  A water restriction advisory is in effect for Pa’auilo area customers.  Due to ongoing power issues, water hauling for the Pa’auilo water system has begun.  Until further notice, Pa’auilo customers are advised to restrict water use to essential needs only:
    Keep water use to an absolute minimum.


    ·          Water should be used for essentials only (cooking, drinking and sanitation.)


    ·          Do not wash cars or water lawns.


    ·          Turn off or disconnect any devices or fixtures that regularly draw water.  Such devices include automatic icemakers and irrigation systems.


    4.  A water restriction advisory is now in effect for Waiohinu area customers.  Due to a main break on South Point Road and reduced source water output, customers in Waiohinu mauka, Discovery Harbor mauka, and along South Point Road have no water service.


    Until further notice, Waiohinu area customers are advised to restrict water use to essential needs only:


    ·          Keep water use to an absolute minimum.


    ·          Water should be used for essentials only (cooking, drinking and sanitation.)


    ·          Do not wash cars or water lawns.


    ·          Turn off or disconnect any devices or fixtures that regularly draw water.  Such devices include automatic icemakers and irrigation systems.

    An emergency water spigot is available at Waiohinu Park for customers while main repairs are completed.

    5.  Customers are requested to call the 24-hour service line at 961-8790 for water service concerns.

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  • 04 Jan 2015 /  meeting notice

    From the office of State Senator Russell Ruderman:

    The Public is Cordially Invited to a Community Town Hall Meeting with SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN – State Senate District 2 • Puna – Ka’u.

    Come join Senator Russell Ruderman to discuss the state legislative priorities for 2015 and how it will affect you and your community. Information will be provided about participating directly in legislative actions.  Light refreshments served.

     LOCATION: KEA’AU GIRL SCOUT CENTER, 16-105 Opukahaia Street, across Hwy 130 from the Humane Society.

    TIME:  TUESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2015,  6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

     For more info call Senator Ruderman’s Office @ 808-586-6890
    or Email: senruderman@capitol.hawaii.gov

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  • 04 Jan 2015 /  BULLETINS, news, storms

    On the second day after a storm that generated 140 mile-per-hour winds on Mauna Kea and sent trees and and utility poles crashing to the ground from Ocean View to North Kohala,  Hawaii Electric Light Company is still working to restore power to 5,000 customers in Kamuela, Hamaku, Ka`u, Hawi, and sections of Hilo and Puna, including much of Volcano. But customers in outlying areas may have to wait a while, since HELCO is concentrating first on restoring its overall grid.

    “Today’s priority was to stabilize the island’s transmission system which serves as the backbone of the electric grid and is essential to reliable service,” said a HELCO press release this morning.  All cross-island transmission lines were repaired and put back in service today except one section in the Puukapu area. Next, crews will focus on repairing the distribution line infrastructure and restoring pocket outages in neighborhoods.

    The saddle area between Honoka`a and Waimea was particularly hard-hit.  HELCO said that customers from Lindsey Road to Ahualoa could expect to be without power for three days.

    “Hawaii Electric Light asks customers who have not yet reported their power outage to call its trouble line at 969-6666,” stated the press release. “Due to the high call volume, customers may experience a longer wait time before speaking with a representative. The company sincerely apologizes for this inconvenience and thanks customers for their patience and understanding.”

    Those with power outages and downed power lines not previously reported can call HELCO at 969-6666.

    Hawaii County Civil Defense has also reported that water service is disrupted in “areas above Hawi Road including Beers Road, Maliu Ridge, and Ka’ahuhu Road….  An emergency water spigot has been set up at the senior housing subdivision near the Kohala Hospital.  For questions regarding water service please call the Department of Water Supply at 961-8790.”

    Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s Web site states that “Current outage information is no longer available on this Web page, and refers customers to a phone number, 643-2100. That number, today, simply stated that outages and other problems were occurring in “various areas around all islands.”

    Currently, all major roads and highways are open, but downed trees, debris and surf damage may still need to be cleared on some feeder and  subdivision roads. Coastline erosion has closed one lane of Ali`i Drive between Hualalai Road and Walua Road in Kailua-Kona.  Traffic there  is limited to north-bound traffic in one lane.

    A high wind warning is still in effect for summit areas of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.





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  • 01 Jan 2015 /  Elections, meeting notice, politics

    The invitations began appearing in e-mail boxes in mid-December, much to the surprise of some:
    “Senator Russell Ruderman extends a warm invitation to you to join him for his first ever fundraiser in Honolulu at the Mandalay Restaurant,” it read. “Come support and meet the man who represents all of the district of Puna and the town of Pahala in Ka’u at the Hawaiian State Legislature. Enjoy delicious Cantonese cuisine and the elegant atmosphere of the Mandalay…. Thursday, January 8, 2015 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM (HST).”

    The surprise came because Ruderman has been an outspoken advocate for campaign finance reform. In fact, when BIC perused the fundraiser notices at the Campaign Spending Commission’s Web site, it appeared that Ruderman was the only member of the Big Island’s state delegation who had NOT to held a fundraiser on O`ahu during the previous election cycle.

    “I introduced ‘clean elections’ bills each year so far. If/when we achieve that, I will do public financing happily. Meanwhile, raising money is part of the game.” responded Ruderman, when asked about the fundraiser.

    So why the change?

    “As of now my funds have come from constituents, about 80 percent,” said Ruderman. “I planned fundraisers in district several times this summer/fall. I cancelled them as the storm and the flow caused stress and harm in my community, as it seemed insensitive at this time. I also cancelled three scheduled legislative trips…. The stakeholders and lobbyists are there [on O`ahu], not on Big Island. While “lobbyist” sounds like a dirty word there are legit ones, as well as legit groups such as environmental and good government groups….”

    Ruderman was hardly alone in the practice.  Since January 1, 2013,  State Sens. Josh Green (D-Kona, Kohala) and Gil Kahele (D-Hilo), State Senator-Elect Lorraine Inouye (D-Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Kona), State Reps. Cindy Evans (D-N. Kona, N. and S. Kohala), Richard Creagan (D.-S. Kona, Ka`u), Nicole Lowen (D-S. Kona), Mark Nakashima (D-Hamakua, N. and S. Hilo), Richard Onishi (Hilo, Kea’au, Upper Puna), Malama Solomon (D-Lower Puna) and State Representative Elect Joy SanBuenaventura (D.-Lower Puna), who defeated Solomon, have all held one or more fundraising dinners on O`ahu–m0re than half of them at the Mandalay. Apparently Big Island legislators have developed a fondness for Cantonese cuisine.

    Ruderman’s fundraising goals were relatively modest, compared to some: suggested donations were $50-100 per plate. Green, in contrast, held three O`ahu fundraisers in 2013 and 2014, with suggested donations of $500. Inouye’s O`ahu fundraiser last September asked attendees to cough up $250 apiece. Onishi’s bash at the Mandalay last March suggested donation in three categories: $50, $500 and $1000. Lowen’s two O`ahu events, April of 2013 and March of 2014, also followed the $50/$500/1000 formula. SanBuenaventura’s fundraiser last September followed a $100/$250/$500 pricing structure.

    The danger of off-island fundraising, of course, is that a legislator can develop two parallel constituencies: voters at home and special interests outside his/her district. And fundraising dinners are just the tip of the iceberg: thousands more come in through one-on-one contacts and donations.

    Ruderman says he has several strategies to avoid conflicts of interest, beginning with “holding it [the fundraiser] when we are NOT in session.” He refuses funds from opponents—he notes, for instance, that he gets “no GMO money”—and makes “no no promises or compromises based on donations, not even implied.” He’s proud of his record for “never selling a vote in any way, shape or forms; establishing and upholding my reputation for integrity in my political life.  I cannot be bought, and I’m one of approximately three legislators who have this reputation. ‘They’ don’t even try.”

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  • 31 Dec 2014 /  BULLETINS, Lava Reports, news

    After inching to within a half mile of Highway 130 on Monday, Pele appears to be backing and filling again.

    Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported at 11 a.m. yesterday that the leading tongue of lava had stalled 580 yards above Pahoa Market Place, though there were a number of breakouts “immediately” above the flow’s leading edge and at various points further upslope, including near the old True Geothermal drilling pad in the Wao Kele O Puna forest.  A Hawaii County Civil Defense report at 7:30 this morning confirmed that the front “remains active however has not advanced since yesterday.”

    In other lava news, the Postal Service disclosed its lava contingency plans at a public meeting in Pahoa yesterday afternoon. The Post Office has leased extra space in Kea’au in case it needs to evacuate its Pahoa facility.  However, it does not plan to close the Pahoa Post Office unless it’s directly threatened by the lava, and right now, that office does not appear to be in harm’s way.

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  • 31 Dec 2014 /  letters

    Dear Mayor Billy Kenoi and Governor Ige,

    As myself and several friends were reminiscing about what has happened to Pahoa since Hurricane Iselle and the approach of Pele, a little jingle came to our minds.  After reading the Hawaii Tribune Herald front page on Christmas Day,  I have modified Number 1 and 2, and the song needs to be made public, because this is the reality we live now in lower Puna.  Sorry Billy, but as the head of all emergency operations in Pahoa, you get all the credit:

    On the 12th Day of Christmas, Mayor Billy gave to Pahoa,
    12 Stinky Dumpsters
    11 Enhanced Penalties
    10 Days Between Updates
    9 Thousand Empty Houses
    8 Circling GreenHarvest Copters
    7 Weeks of Detours
    6 Evacuation Notices
    4 Schools a Movin’
    3 Wrapped Poles
    2 more Empty Marketplaces
    and 1 Puna Geothermal Venture Well…

    Yep, Hawaii now has the reputation of “Lava Nazi” when it comes to anyone seeing active moving lava.  We now live in a constant “State of Emergency” and the government has it’s hands tied because of “Liability.”  No new businesses can come in to replace the bailed ones – lack of insurance.  You can’t see the lava because of insurance liability, the town of Pahoa is effectively, how can I put it mildly – “shut down”  in anticipation of…… perhaps the lava is coming… no…yes… no, it stopped again… darn, now where do we shop???

    Please, Mr. Kenoi and Mr. Ige, there must be a way in the new year to change the way our government is handling lava viewing and helping preserve the business-friendly structure of Pahoa, the “Aloha”  reputation of Hawaii and the sanity of Puna residents in general!  Look what has been done to Pahoa so far, and Pele has only taken one house.

    How do other countries handle live volcanoes and the impact to surrounding communities?  How did our own Civil Defense handle the lava the last 30-40-50-100 years?  What are we doing here, because how the people are being treated, makes us believe you wish all us humans to leave the area so you can industrialize or something….  There is no doubt we can do much better in 2015!

    Sara Steiner

  • 27 Dec 2014 /  BULLETINS, Lava Reports, news

    Pele is on the move again, but not very quickly.  After over a week of spreading and back-filling, the lava is once again moving downslope on 25=yard-wide front.  But according to a Civil Defense report at 7:30 this morning, the flow has only moved 15 yards downhill. The leading edge is still .6 miles from Highway 130 and about 700 yards from Pahoa Marketplace.  The flow has been angling gradually east-northeastward from the predicted path of steepest descent, in the direction of the new Pahoa police and fire stations, but both the stations and Pahoa Market Place remain within it’s possible path.


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  • 18 Dec 2014 /  BULLETINS, Crime

    Police charged a  a 33 year-old Mountain View woman with two counts of attempted murder as well as second degree theft and contempt of court in relation to an incident in Mountain View yesterday.

    Ashley Brooks De Morales allegedly drove a stolen truck in “a threatening manner” toward police attempting to intercept her at a traffic light near the Mountain View School yesterday. An officer fired one shot in response.  Detectives acting on an anonymous tip arrested her without incident at her home today and recovered the stolen black Nissan truck.  She remains in custody while the investigation continues.

    Police are still seeking witnesses and information from the public re the incident.

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  • Hawaii County police and fire department personnel responded to reports of “hazardous odor” at Hilo’s Waiakea Intermediate School on West Puainako Street shortly after 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17.  At least one student reportedly became dizzy from the fumes, which the Fire Department’s HAZMAT team concluded had probably “originated off-site and was delivered by the wind. The smell quickly dissipated, and an “all clear” was issued for students and faculty within an hour.



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  • 17 Dec 2014 /  Closures, Lava Reports, news

    From Dan Domizio, Puna Community Medical Center:
    Yesterday, December 16th, Civil Defense walked door to door in our Pahoa Marketplace and gave us the order we all knew was coming, “Prepare to Evacuate!”. The evacuation order proper would be coming in the next few days. The gas station was pumping out the last of it’s fuel (premium only at $3.80/gal, all the rest was already gone), the supermarket is closing and packing out today, the ACE Hardware and Lex Brodie’s Tire center will be gone by tomorrow. As I pulled into gas up, I realised that I was encountering the first immediate consequences of the lava. Today, there will be no gas and the tanks will be filled with a foam and water mix to prevent explosions, and essentially make them unusable for the forseeable future.

    Today, a 40 foot shipping container donated by Matson Lines will be parked next to our “Annex”clinic. The new clinic space we have been hastily creating out of a 3 bedroom appartment about a mile away on the south end of Pahoa Village, is a day or two away from being “operational.”  We will be packing up our current clinic, and either putting the supplies and equipment to use in the annex, or storing it in the container where it will wait to see how things sort out over the next days/weeks/months. The entire transition is fearsomely complicated, involving our ability to provide services, the lives of our staff and our clients, the hemorrhaging of our financial reserves, and the threat to the very survival of this town. To be doing this at all seems surreal, to be doing under time pressure is simply nuts.

    As I write, it seems clear that no matter how circumstances twist and turn in the immediate future, life will never be what it was before. The community will likely be dealt a serious if not fatal blow. The Clinic and the lives that have revolved around it for the past 5+ years, will survive and continue to offer services, but the fabric will be a new and unproven one. We can only be certain that our optimism and dedication will remain intact and that PCMC will continue to be an inspiration and a fine example of how a community can, in fact, organize to meet its own needs.

    Happy Holidays!

    If there is someone you know looking for an update, please share this message.

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  • 16 Dec 2014 /  BULLETINS, Crime, news

    A  police officer discharged his firearm in Mountain View this afternoon while attempting to intercept an alleged stolen pickup truck.

    At approximately 2 p.m.,  officers, who were “on Route 11 attending to an unrelated incident,” encountered the  pickup  and attempted to stop it  just south of the Kulani Road intersection in Mt. View.  According to the police press release, “The vehicle sped toward the officers in a threatening manner. In response, an officer fired one shot toward the vehicle which continued southbound on Route 11 toward the Hawai?i Volcanoes National Park.”

    The stolen vehicle is described as a black 1989 Nissan hard body single-cab pickup, License Plate No. ZBC-027.with over-sized tires, a mesh type tailgate and a red, yellow, and green sticker on the driver’s side rear window.

    Anyone with any information on the location of the stolen pickup or the identity of the suspects are asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311, or  call CrimeStoppers at 961-8300. CrimeStoppers callers can remain anonymous, but  may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

    “As is standard practice in any officer-involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigation Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation,” according to HPD.

    –Alan McNarie

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  • 16 Dec 2014 /  BULLETINS, Lava Reports, news


    Hawaii County Civil Defense reported this morning that the lava flow has closed its distance from the from the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and Highway 130 to one mile.

    “As the flow activity continues to show signs of advancement, businesses in the Pahoa Market Place may be taking necessary steps to prepare for a possible evacuation. Motorists are advised to drive with caution and to be prepared for increased traffic and large vehicles in the area,” Civil Defense’s 8 a.m. message stated.  Multiple news sources have reported that Malama Market close on Thursday, and evacuate its store’s contents and equipment. The gas station is scheduled to close on Friday.


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  • 12 Dec 2014 /  BULLETINS

    Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory has released a new map of the lava flow, with a rather grim new feature: it marks off the distance from the flow front to the edge of the Pahoa Marketplace shopping center in increments four tenths of a mile.

    The new map, the first since December 9, shows that the lava has descended about six tenths of a mile in three days since Pele definitely turned down the “steepest descent path” toward the shopping center  after pooling for a few days in a relatively flat area where it could have either gone toward Pahoa Marketplace or down another steepest-descent path toward the lower portion of Hawaiian Paradise Park. As of 2:30 p.m. the lava had advanced to to a point just above the 1.6 mile tick on the dotted blue  path.

    The map came, however, with a caution: the marked steepest-descent paths are far from infallible.

    “Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths,” note the  HVO Web site.

    Pahoa Marketplace, opened in 2004, was the first shopping center built at the crossroads where the Pahoa Bypass diverges from the former highway that runs through downtown Pahoa,.  The center houses Malama Market, the area’s largest supermarket; Lex Brody Tires, and a number of boutique shops. Across the street, a newer shopping center houses Long’s Drugs and other businesses. Since the two centers were built, a smaller downtown grocery and all of pharmacies in downtown Pahoa have closed.  The flow’s new path could also threaten Pahoa’s new police and fire stations and cut off the Hawaiian Beaches and Hawaiian Shores subdivisions.



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  • 12 Dec 2014 /  BULLETINS

    From Hawaii Island United Way, via Patty Hickey Rechtman:


    HIUW is assisting the County/Civil Defense with traffic control and parking for the Public Lava Viewing scheduled to begin on December 17th. We are looking to provide 7 volunteers per shift, two shifts per day. (Shift 1: 7:45am – 1:30pm Shift 2: 1:15pm – 6:45pm)

    Right now we are taking signups up until January 18.

    You can tell us your availability by clicking on the buttons at our disaster response portal:


    We will be scheduling soon, and hope to be able to fill the slots to help with this project. We will contact you for scheduling once we know your availability.  Mahalo in advance!