Ukes as Art at Wailoa Center

The Big Island Ukulele Guild’s annual exhibit will open Friday October 2 at Wailoa Center in Hilo at 5 p.m. The formal opening will feature live music, pupus, and a drawing for a free ukulele and will close at 8 p.m. This exhibit, which featured over 50 handmade instruments last year, will also feature other invitational pieces from Woodworkers across the Island, including furniture, sculpture, and turned bowls. Show is open Mon. -Fri. from 9am – 4:30pm. The exhibit was hailed as the best-attended show of 2013.

The public is invited to join in the fun for the formal opening, or to come see the show throughout the month, vote for their favorite ukulele for the People’s Choice Award, and join in ukulele kanikapila (jam sessions) on Saturdays October 3rd with Alan Hale, and 17th with Keoki Kahomoku, from 12 until 3 p.m. On Saturday October 10th, members of the Ukulele Guild will lead demonstrations for the public. The exhibit will close October 29th.

The Big Island Ukulele Guild was started in 2001, and is comprised of about 50 members. The primary focus of the Guild is to promote ukulele making by sharing information between builders. Many of the members build as a hobby, while about ten percent build professionally. Any interested person can become a guild member. Members meet four times a year at varying locations across the island to share food, kanikapila, and most importantly, a central presentation on some aspect of ukulele building.

For more information about the Ukulele Guild or upcoming exhibit, contact coordinator  Dave Stokes (808) 989-8890 or visit The Guild website

For more information about the Wailoa Art Center, contact (808) 933-0416.

2 AM Hilda Report: Less Wind, More Rain

The latest satellite images and forecasts on Tropical Storm Hilda show the system becoming less organized and predict a path farther south of the island, but the storm is still capable of dumping a lot of rain on the island–partly because it’s moving so slowly.  As of 2 a.m. the storm was 165 miles Southwest of Hilo and moving northwest at about 5 MPH. “This slow motion is expected to continue on Wednesday with a gradual forwad motion and a turn to he west on Wednesday night and Thursday,’ reads the Pacific Hurricane Center’s 2 a.m. public advisory. Maximum sustained winds have now dropped to 45 MPH, with “stronger gusts.”  But the storm still poses substantial dangers, especially from surf and flash flooding. “Swells associated with Tropical Storm Hiloda will produce large ad potentially life threatening surf along east and southeast facing shores of portions of the Hawaiian islands over the next day or two,” said the advisory.  “Hilda may produce 6 to 12 inches of rainfall.  Maximum values of up to 18 inches possible…. These rains could result in life threatening flash floods across portions of the Hawaiian Islands late into Saturday.”

A tropical storm watch remains in effect for Hawaii County. The storm is now expected to degrade to a tropical depression by late Wednesday evening.

Satellite Images for HILDA


Hilda Downgraded, Moving Further South

According to the latest reports of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center and County of Hawaii Civil Defense, Hurricane Hilda has been downgraded to a tropical storm, and the storm center is now predicted to pass south of the island.  But a tropical storm watch is still in effect.  The Big Island may have dodged the worst of the storm yet again, but with a weather system whose cloud canopy is far larger than the island (see satellite image below) we still could see some substantial impacts, especially in terms of rain.

According this evening’s Civil Defense bulletin,  “As of 2:00 PM this afternoon, Hurricane Hilda was downgraded to a tropical storm and is currently located approximately 265 miles southeast of Hilo and moving in a west direction at 5 miles per hour.  Currently, Tropical Storm Hilda continues to weaken and slow in its track and presently recording sustained winds of 65 miles per hour with higher gusts.  The tropical Storm Watch for Hawaii Island remains in effect. In addition,  the high surf warning issued for the east facing shores of Hawaii Island remains in effect through 6:00am Thursday morning.  Surf heights of 12 to 18 feet along the east facing shores can be expected.  A flash flood watch for Hawaii Island has been issued effective from 6:00 PM tomorrow, Wednesday August 12 through 6:00 AM Saturday. Although forecast conditions continue to show signs of weakening and a more southerly track, Hawaii Island may likely experience continued high surf as well as some gusty winds and heavy rains and thunder showers.  We encourage everyone to continue to plan and prepare early for possible storm impacts and to monitor your local radio broadcasts for additionaupdates.”

Tropical Storm Watch Declared for Hilda

A tropical storm watch has now been declared for the Big Island because of Hurricane Hilda.  The latest maps for the storm have shifted its projected path a little north again, but it still has the eye crossing Ka’u and South Kona between 2 a.m. Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday.

According to the latest County of Hawaii Civil Defense Bulletin, “A tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours and include high surf and surge, strong winds, and heavy rains.  As of 5:00 Hurricane Hilda was located approximately 290 miles east southeast of Hilo and moving in a northwest direction at 7 miles per hour.  Currently, Hilda continues to weaken however presently recording sustained winds of 85 miles per hour with higher gusts.  Hurricane force winds currently extend outward 25 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 70 miles. A high surf warning has been issued for the east facing shores of Hawaii Island remains in effect through 6:00am Wednesday morning.  Surf heights of 10 to 15 feet along the east facing shores can be expected.  Boat owners and residents in coastal areas are advised to secure all vessels and to take necessary precautions.  We encourage everyone to continue to plan and prepare early for possible storm impacts and to monitor your local radio broadcasts for additional updates.”

The storm is forecast to weaken, but remains a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour.

In the hours before the storm, residents should secure loose items in garages and lanais, stock up on non-perishable groceries, board over or tape windows, make sure that flashlights and portable radios have batteries and cell phones are charged, locate emergency candles or other lighting, freeze extra ice, unplug unneeded electrical appliances  and secure pets indoors.

Satellite Images for HILDA

Hilda’s Path Creeps Southward, but Not Enough.

The latest map from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center shows the projected path of the storm has crept southward, but the eye is still projected to make landfall near South Point and pass over southern Ka’u and South Kona. Compare the map image below with the satellite image showing the actual size of the storm.  Even if it follows its current projected path, the storm could still cover the entire island.

Hilda is currently still a Category One Hurricane.  It is expected to weaken before it reaches the Big Island, but is still definitely a dangerous storm. The Center’s latest bulletin noted that “A tropical storm watch may be required for the Big Island as early as tonight.”

Hawaii Civil Defense’s latest bulletin on the storm noted that while no tropical storm watches were currently in effect, one may be issued later this evening or tomorrow morning.

“The high surf advisory issued for the east facing shores of Hawaii Island remains in effect through 6:00am Wednesday morning,” it dded. “Surf heights of 8 to 12 feet along the east facing shores can be expected.  Boat owners and residents in coastal areas are advised to secure all vessels and to take necessary precautions.  We encourage everyone to continue to plan and prepare early for possible storm impacts and to monitor your local radio broadcasts for additional updates.”


Satellite Images for HILDA

5 Day Track for HILDA

Kawaiihae Reopened; Spencer Park, Lumber Yard Reported Burned

According to a County of Hawaii news release, “fires in Kawaihae area continue to burn out of control however conditions in the immediate area have improved and allow for the opening of all roadways.  All roadways have been opened and residents in the Kawaihae Village area may return home.  The evacuation center at the Waimea Community Center will be closed as of 4:30 this afternoon.”

Residents have reported on Facebook that the fire burned Spencer Beach Park and a lumber yard near Kawaihae.


Hurricane Hilda: Let’s Hope This Forecast is Wrong, Too

The Pacific Hurricane Center has released a forecast map that appears to show Hurricane Hilda passing directly over the top of  Mauna Loa next Friday.

It’s still early in the forecast period for the storm, however, and the forecast is  likely to change  as the hurricane draws nearer. Tropical Storm Guillermo was forecast to pass just north of Hilo last week, and it ended up giving the island only some high surf. But this storm definitely bears watching.

Brush Fire Forces Evacuation of Kawaihae, Spencer Beach Park

The Hawaii Fire Department reports that the brush fires in the Kawaihae area continue to burn out of control.  Due to gusty wind conditions and heavy smoke the following area  evacuations remain as a precaution:

  • Spencer Beach Park
  • Kawaihae Village area

The Evacuation Center at the Thelma Parker Gym has been moved to the Waimea Community Center and will remain open until further notice.

In addition, the following road closure is in effect:

  • Kawaihae Road is closed from the intersection of Queen Kaahumanu Highway to the  Akoni Pule Highway Junction at the Kawaihae Harbor.  Kohala traffic on Akoni Pule is being detoured through the Kohala Ranch Subdivision.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area and to use alternate routes if possible.

Police Seeking Armed Burglary Suspect

 Police have issued an advisory to the public to watch for James, who is wanted for burglary and terroristic threatening.  Chase is described as a 50-year-old male, 5’8″ tall, weighing about 200 lbs., with short gray hair.  He was last seen driving a Toyota pickup with license plate number KAX-877.  He’s reported to be in possession of a handgun.


Guillermo: The Latest Reports.

The National Weather Service has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for Hawaii and Maui Counties. Tropical storm conditions including high surf, strong winds, and heavy rains may occur on the Big Island and in adjacent waters within 48 hours.   As of 5:00 p.m. this afternoon, Tropical Storm Guillermo, epicenter was located approximately 515 miles east of Hilo and moving in a northwest direction at 10 miles per hour.  Currently, Guillermo has sustained winds of 65 miles per hour with higher gusts.

The high surf advisory issued for the east facing shores remains in effect and high surf conditions have been reported in the areas of Hilo, Puna and Ka`u.  Hazardous high surf conditions can coincide with the peak high tide time of 5:37 p.m. this afternoon.

The National Weather Service has noted some signs that the system will continue to weaken, but it’s still expected to retain its storm status when it reaches this island.  The latest forecast maps continue to show the storm epicenter passing just north of the island’s windward coast. Residents should be prepared for high winds, heavy rains, downed trees and possibly extensive power outages. Stock up on non-refrigerated groceries, freeze some extra ice, and make sure your pets are someplace dry and secure (one of the tragedies of Tropical Storm Iselle, the most recent storm of similar intensity to hit the island, was a number of lost cats and dogs)

This graphic from the National Weather Service shows probabilities of sustained (1-minute average) surface wind speeds equal to or exceeding 50 kt…58 mph. These wind speed probability graphics are based on the official National Hurricane Center (NHC) track, intensity, and wind radii forecasts, and on NHC forecast error statistics for those forecast variables during recent years. The purple indicates 100 percent probability of storm force winds, the green, 5 percent, at the time of the map’s creation. Those probabilities will change as the storm moves forward.

The graphic below shows the predicted path of the storm.  The shaded and white areas indicate the potential track area for the epicenter of the storm, and not the actual size of the storm, which can affect areas hundreds of miles from the epicenter.

Park to Close Campgrounds, Back Country during Tropical Storm Guillermo

In anticipation of the heavy rain and wind forecast with the arrival of Tropical Storm Guillermo, all backcountry areas in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will be closed as of 5 p.m. on Tues., Aug.? ?4, until it is safe to reopen them. No backcountry permits will be issued until park staff reassess the storm’s impact.

In addition, Mauna Loa Road from K?pukapuaulu to the Mauna Loa Lookout,and N?makanipaio Campgrounds and A-frame cabins, will close as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. The visitor centers, restrooms, lava tube, front-country trails, steam vents, and other popular features, will remain open.

Park staff will continue to monitor the storm and assess conditions in the park. The public will be kept informed via news releases, social media, and the park website,

Hurricane Guillermo’s Surf Arrives; Expect the Rest of It Soon.

Hilo high surf from Hurricane Guillermo was expected to reach the Big Island  today, and theNOAA’s National Weather Center is predicting that epicenter may pass just north of Hilo, though it’s hedging its bets.

“As of 5:00PM this afternoon, Hurricane Guillermo was located approximately 725 miles east/southeast of Hilo and moving in a west/northwest direction at 10 miles per hour,” guillermo tropical storm the latest Hawaii Civil Defense notice, posted at around 5:30 this afternoon.  “Currently, Guillermo has sustained winds of 85 miles per hour with higher gusts.  No watches or warnings are in effect at this time and the Civil Defense Agency continues to maintain close communication with the National Weather Service and monitoring the system.  A high surf advisory has been issued for east facing shores and high surf conditions are being reported in areas of Hilo, Puna, and Kau.  Surf conditions are expected to build through the night.  The high surf advisory will be in effect from noon today through 6:00 p.m. Tuesday August 4th. …. The community is encouraged to take this time to prepare for possible storm impacts that could include high surf, strong winds, and heavy rains.  Although there is some indication the system will continue to weaken, early preparations are recommended and encouraged.

The latest National Weather Service report noted that the storm’s center was becoming slightly less organized, but was still strong. It noted that the storm is “heading toward a shear environment,” which should lead to a “gradual weakening,” but it’s still expected to hit the island with tropical-storm force winds within 120 hours.  Graphics released by the center show the epicenter of the storm passing just north of the Hilo and Hamakua coasts.

The NHC said it was now handing over jurisdiction of the storm to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center on O’ahu; future reports will come from there.


Letter: Another Take on the TMT

The debate over the Thirty Meter Telescope has become extremely divisive for our community. I’ve lost several long time friends because I support this telescope project. This has spread to the community at large. These ongoing protests segued from protecting Mauna Kea to a debate over the restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom and questioning the legitimacy of the State of Hawaii. The lack of enforcement by Hawaii County and the State of Hawaii isn’t helping matters. Governor Ige’s administration is the prime culprit for the latter. His administration is afraid taking on the protesters head on and waiting for the courts to do the dirty work for them it seems like. The Hawaii Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments on August 27th, 2015 for one of these lawsuits. It’s questioning the legality of the Thirty Meter Telescope’s conservation district use permit.. In addition, the Hawaii Supreme Court has a pending decision involving the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, which may have legal ramifications for the Thirty Meter Telescope. The problem with this course of action is two-fold. The TMT has legally binding permits to start construction now. The lack of enforcement on the part of the State of Hawaii shows they’re catering to the whims of the protesters. This has given Hawaii huge black eye on the world stage. Why would anyone want to invest in Hawaii? The State of Hawaii has shown its content with siting on their hands instead of enforcing the law. This doesn’t bode well for Hawaii’s future. We need to diversify our economy away from unsustainable industries, such as tourism, real estate/construction, and the military. I strongly believe we all need to take a long hard look at what Hawaii’s future should look like. The latter is being completely ignored by the anti-TMT protesters. They’re hell-bent on stopping this telescope project, but haven’t stated any economic alternatives to improve the future of Hawaii. Aaron Stene Kailua-Kona

Renovations Close Trails in Park

From  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: 

The exit route trail leading out of Thurston Lava Tube will close starting Mon., Aug. 3, while workers replace an electrical line. The lava tube will remain open, and the trail that leads into it will be used as both exit and entry.Abstieg zur Nahuku Lavaröhre, Thurston Lava Tube, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, USA

This entry will also be the exit.

The route is scheduled to re-open Aug. 14.

The closed area extends from the far end of the lava tube towards the restrooms. The restrooms will remain open. Escape Road, from Highway 11 to Thurston Lava Tube, will also be closed during the replacement of the electrical line.

Thurston Lava Tube, or N?huku, is one of the most popular features in the national park. Visitation is heaviest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. To reduce congestion in the parking lot and lava tube, visitors are encouraged to enjoy it in the early morning or late afternoon.

The park regrets any impact to visitors and residents. Dates and times are subject to change, and the public will be notified if changes are necessary.

Letter Roundabout Runaround.

Dear Department of Transportation,Concerned Elected and Emergency Officials, News Editors,

I tried to attend the informational meeting on the Pahoa Roundabout last evening but had to leave once the announcement was made Pahoa has no choice in the matter.  Perusing the roundabout design, I fail to see how one lane circling is a safe exit for Pahoa and lower Puna in general, much less in an emergency.  To be clear, the DOT is telling us, the residents of Pahoa, that they are spending multi-millions of dollars on our safety?  

Look at what is being proposed.  As it is now, at least we have separate lanes coming and going, a turn lane, and a merge now at Malama.  In the event of a disaster you all are are expecting an orderly evacuation on that one lane cattle-chute roundabout?  Just one accident and the cars are going to be pinned in a circle, backing up very quickly, and the emergency responders won’t be able to access, they will have to walk in and no one will be able to get out of town.  Eventually the roundabout gets increased to two lanes…

Pahoa can’t wait for eventualities anymore.  It is time to help Pahoa with modernizing the entrances to Malama, Woodland Center, Hawaiian Beaches and Post Office Road immediately.  You can use the money for the roundabout to accomplish all those projects.  We have been waiting for years and years to get our fair representation and a decent road for Pahoa.  Do we have to file more civil rights complaints to get fair treatment?  I’d like an answer to this letter at your earliest convenience.

Very Sincerely,

Sara Steiner