Hawaii County Mayor’s Office on Japan Tsunami Debris “We are Prepared for Whatever Will Be Washed Up…”

Hawaii County Mayor’s Office on Japan Tsunami Debris “… We are Prepared for Whatever Will Be Washed Up…”

OSHIMA ISLAND, Japan (April 1, 2011) – Debris and homes lay in rubble on Oshima Island, Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Marines with the 31s Marine Expeditionary Unit and Sailors with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group are on Oshima Island to help clear a harbor and assist with cleaning debris from local schools and government buildings in support of Operation Tomodachi. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eva-Marie Ramsaran/released)

Tsunami debris from the March 11th, 8.9 earthquake that destroyed parts of Northern Japan is expected to come ashore to the Hawaii Islands according to recent studies.

Tsunami Debris

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 13, 2011) An aerial view of debris from an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck northern Japan. The debris was inspected by a helicopter-based search and rescue team from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Tidd/Released)

The following two letters were sent in to the Hawaii County Mayor’s office recently regarding the expected debris that will be washing up on Hawaii’s Islands in the next few years:

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 13, 2011) An aerial view of debris from an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck northern Japan. The debris was inspected by a helicopter-based search and rescue team from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord/Released)

Dear Troubleshooter,

Tons of debris from Japan will soon be washing up on our beaches. Literally tons of this, containing whole houses, shoes with feet in them, machines, anything and everything, will be deposited on our beaches that catch these currents. An unknown quantity of this debris will be radioactive, and will pose an attractive danger to the populace. What are you planning to do to address this problem?

Concerned about Debris

In the same mailbag:

Dear Troubleshooter,

I am 12 years old, and I am currently writing an article on the tsunami debris that is floating here from Japan. I was wondering if you have any cleanup and disposal plans in place for when it arrives at our island

Young Writer

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 29, 2011) Recovered boats and debris are on the aft deck of the Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anthony R. Hayes/Released)

The Counties response:

Aloha Concerned and Young,

Mahalo for your inquiries. Yes, we are prepared for whatever will be washed up on our shores and we already have protocols for the various items that have routinely been washing ashore for many, many years. Hawaii County Civil Defense is charged with making sure that items of danger will be cleared from our shorelines.

While we may not initially have personnel on constant lookout for debris, we are confident that those who live, work and play along the shoreline will inform us of dangerous debris, just as they do now when such items wash ashore. Should large amounts of debris begin littering our shorelines, we would likely assign county personnel to make regular inspections and, if necessary, sweeps.

That being said, no one really knows how much debris is in the ocean or how much will end up on our shorelines. While there was an estimated 20 million tons of debris that was washed into the ocean by the March 11 tsunami, it is also estimated that the debris lies in a field 2,000 miles long by 1,000 miles wide. That’s 2 million square miles, or equal to three times the size of Alaska, or roughly the size of Texas, California, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado … multiplied by two.

From what the scientists have said, this will not be the rumored field of debris that someone can walk on, but there certainly will be an increase in the amount of flotsam that comes ashore. The unknown is how much of an increase.

Whatever it is, we will be prepared to make sure our beaches are clean and safe if and when it does arrive.

Two other points:

– Coincidentally, the debris field is expected to hit the West Coast of North America as this article is published, so let’s all keep an eye out for news about the debris field.

– Should you happen to find personal items washed up on shore that may be able to be identified, there are a number of people on the Internet who have offered to try any return them to their owners. Use your discretion before handling items, and before you contact anyone on the Internet.

Hawaii Anti-Bullying Bill Becomes Law

The Human Services chair, Rep. John Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, Fort Shafter), announced today in response to President Obama’s anti-bullying message that he will introduce a bill which requires the department of education to adopt rules to prohibit school bullying and cyber bullying.

Today, President Obama provided a taped message in the wake of several recent suicides by young people who were being bullied or taunted for being gay. In the three minute-video message President Obama provides, in part, “We’ve got to dispel this myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage, that it’s some inevitable part of growing up. It’s not. As a nation we’re founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness… ”

According to Rep. Mizuno, “To denigrate another person to elevate yourself represents hatred, bigotry and bullying. Hawaii is not immune to bullying or cyber bullying and therefore I agree with the President’s anti-bullying message and will introduce model anti-bullying legislation for schools to adhere to.”

Rep. Mizuno’s bill draft provides that schools shall have a procedure for students and parents to confidentially report to school officials incidents of bullying or cyber bullying, a formal process for the documentation of reported incidents of bullying or cyber bullying, a formal investigation process, disciplinary procedures for students who committed bullying or cyber bullying and a procedure that sets forth consequences for submitting false reports of incidents of bullying or cyber bullying.

According to Mizuno, “Bullying and cyber bullying is a problem in Hawaii. Bullying means aggressive behavior or intentional harm directed at another student and committed by an individual or group of students repeatedly over time. This includes physical abuse, harassment, intimidation, taunting, and ridicule. Cyber bullying means to communicate electronically, via computer system, blog, cellular telephone, facsimile, text message, online community website such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube or similar telecommunication mechanism for harassment, intimidation, taunting, and ridicule. We need to properly address bullying and cyber bullying in our state.”

Rep. Mizuno’s bill was introduced at the 2011 legislative session. Today it is now state law.

Videos of the Pacific Beach Hotel Fire in Waikiki

Here are a couple videos from the fire that happened at the Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki yesterday:

Part 1:


And part 2:


Stand Up Paddling World Tour Ends in Hilo Next Week – Kai Lenny Crowned Champ Already

The 2011 Hawaii Island Finals represent the prestigious close to the 2011 season for the Stand Up World Tour.

Kai Lenny shredding

Held on the beautiful east side of the Big Island, just North of Hilo, Honoli’i is a magical spot where the very best stand up paddlesurfers in the world will congregate for the closing of the 2011 World Championship Tour.

The Big Island is relatively undiscovered as far as global surf competitions are concerned, so to be able to hold our prestigious World Championship Finals on its shores, is both an honor and a pleasure. The event will start with a culturally significant Opening Ceremony on Saturday 26th September, held opposite Coconut Island in front of our host hotel, the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort, followed by a Steinlager welcome event and press conference, also at the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort.

The fiercely fought trials event will start on Sunday the 27th as local and international athletes will battle for the last 4 spots in the main event to face the Top 24 and 4 wildcards. You will find all the action and highlights here at www.standupworldtour.com as it comes down to the wire, and the 2011 World Champion will be crowned in Hilo Bay.

There are currently four folks from Hawaii in the top 10 spots on the leaderboard:

At just 19 years of age, Kai Lenny has secured his 2nd World Title in advance of the final event on the Big Island next month. With a dominating open to the season that saw two bullet wins in Hawaii and France, Kai went on to secure a 3rd place in Tahiti, a 4th place in California and now a second place here in Brazil. This means that he has been in every final this year, and has only missed one in the entire history of the Stand Up World Tour. An incredible feat by this young and exceptional athlete!

Mayor Kenoi talks about Kai Lenny

Check out this video to see these guys in action and hear what Mayor Kenoi has to say about Kai Lenny and the sport itself:


Coffee Talk With Congressional Candidate Bob Marx Tomorrow in HPP

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx (D) is hosting a Coffee Talk event for East Hawaii residents on Sunday, November 20th, 2011.

John Sucich, Jeani Withington (Campaign Manager), and Bob Marx

The event is from 2:00 to 4:30 pm at the Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Center on 17th Avenue and Maku`u Drive.

East Hawai‘i residents will be able to meet Congressional Candidate Bob Marx and discuss their concerns for their community and the upcoming November 2012 congressional election. Heavy pupus and beverages will be provided. Musical entertainment will be provided by Ibis with Dave Seawater.

This event is free and open to the public.

Highway 130 Updates With Senator Kahele

Senator Kahele will be having a Highway 130 update meeting at Pahoa Community Center on Thursday, December 1st from 6-8 pm.

Building upon the recently completed DOT forum held in September, Hawai’i Island’s District 2 State Senator is using this forum to specifically address all State Highway 130 projects in Puna and to help clarify some of the issues that were addressed in September at the DOT Town Hall held in Keaau. Sal Panem, Hawai’i Island’s District Engineer will be the featured speaker and is expected to give a comprehensive report on Highway 130 and all transportation projects associated with the Puna Highway. Mr. Panem will also give a a current status update and time line for both short term and long term projects.

“Highway 130 is my #1 priority in Puna. The feedback I received from the Transportation Town Hall I hosted in September was that those that attended felt not enough time was spent on Highway 130 and the information that was provided was not clear and concise. Several members of the community who have spent a significant amount of time on Highway 130 said they felt confused and unsure of the projects time line and specific details. I discussed this with the State DOT directors and we were all in agreement that we should go back to Puna and provide a presentation focused exclusively on Highway 130, and we are doing just that. We have decided to go into the heart of Puna and host this forum at the Pahoa Neighborhood Facility on December 1st. My one request is that the community come out and attend this important meeting and we get as much participation and attendance from the forty thousand plus residents of the Puna District. Tell your family, friends, neighbors and community associations, if Highway 130 is important to you come out and attend this meeting, I am providing you, my constituents of Puna the opportunity to be heard, I hope to see you there.

Senator Gil Kahele”