Senator Mazie Hirono Unveils “Virtual Office” to Communicate with Constituents

Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono unveiled her new virtual office to better serve the constituents of Hawaii. The new permanent website offers an online space for constituents to request important assistance from Hirono’s office. It also provides an easy and convenient way for families to get in touch with Hirono and have their voice heard on key issues facing the state and the nation. You can navigate to the website by clicking here: http://www.hirono.senate.gov/.

Click to see Mazie's Virtual Office.

Click to see Senator Hirano’s virtual office.

“With our beautiful chain of islands stretching more than 1,500 miles from Niihau to Hawaii Island and nearly 5,000 miles separating our state from the nation’s capital, this new virtual office allows me to serve Hawaii residents across this great state no matter where I may be. The new website is the easiest and fastest way for Hawaii residents to get in touch with me and make their voices heard on critical issues facing the state and nation. Constituents can also request help from me and my office in a number of areas – from information on internships to help with a federal agency.”

Under the “How Can I Help?” tab, constituents can request help with navigating a federal agency, obtain internship information, make flag requests, nominate a young person to be a Senate Page, request help with dealing with the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs and request to schedule a meeting with Hirono or a member of her office.

By clicking the “Contact” tab, Hawaii constituents can send Hirono a message detailing their views on issues facing the state and the country. With standard security measures in place for postal mail sent to Hirono’s office, this online portal is the fastest way for constituents to be heard or request assistance from Hirono. Here, anyone can also sign-up to receive e-newsletters from Hirono.

Senator Hirono remains active on YouTube.  Click to view her YouTube Channel.

Senator Hirono remains active on YouTube. Click to view her YouTube Channel.

The new website also provides a place where the Hawaii residents can also learn more about Hirono, her life and what motivates her to fight for the state. They can also read about how she is fighting in the Senate on issues critical for Hawaii and keep abreast of her legislative work. Users can also navigate to Hirono’s Twitter and YouTube pages and view exclusive photo and video content.

 

Police Investigating Bottle Bombs Found at Big Island Intermediate School

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a felony investigation in connection with bottle bombs found at Waiākea Intermediate School on Monday (July 8).

Bottle bombs were found at Waiakea Intermediate School today.

Bottle bombs were found at Waiakea Intermediate School today.

South Hilo patrol officers responded to a call shortly after 8 a.m. reporting that several homemade explosives had been found on campus. Responding officers learned that an employee had found two exploded bottles and another that was ready to explode near the “Q” building. The bottle that had not yet exploded was safely discharged for the public’s protection.

Police have classified the case as a possession of prohibited weapons case, which is a Class C felony.

Police urge the public not to touch or shake any plastic bottle they find, as bottle bombs—which are typically made of plastic bottles filled with ordinary household products—explode when shaken.

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 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.

 

FEMA Changing South Kona Floodplain – Questions and Answers for Residents

Why is FEMA changing the South Kona Floodplain?

The purpose of the Preliminary Flood Insurance Study (FIS) is to identify changes to flood hazards in the South Kona district.  This area has undergone an increase in residential and agricultural development since 1977.

FEMA

There are two phases to the study. Phase 1 is for watercourses 13-20, in Hōnaunau, Keōkea and a small section of Kiilae affecting property owners with tax map keys 8-4-004, 8-4-006, 8-4-008, 8-4-011, 8-4-012, 8-4-014, and 8-4-015.  Residents along watercourses 1-12 and 21-25 in phase 2 will receive notices before the end of summer.

The preliminary FIS analyzed the 10% (10-year), 4% (25-year), 2% (50-year), 1% (100-year), and 0.2% (500-year) chance of flooding events, the floodplain or Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) boundaries, and the Base Flood Elevations (BFE).

The benefits of an updated Flood Insurance Study are:

  • Hydraulic modeling, hydrologic methodology and topographic maps are updated.
  • A 100-year base flood elevation (BEF) established.
  • Community planners and local officials gain an understanding of the flood hazards and public health and safety affecting the community and,
  • Home and business owners can make informed decisions about their insurance policy.

How does the new map affect me financially?

For structures in a Zone AE Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), flood insurance is mandatory for buildings with mortgages back by the federal government.  For structures in Zone X (outside of the SFHA), flood insurance is suggested but is not mandatory.

FEMA is offering a “Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension,” a lower cost insurance rate for properties recently mapped into high-risk flood zones on or after October 1, 2008.  Http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/prp_extension_information.jsp

What is the next step?

FEMA will begin its statutory 90-day appeal period allowing property owners the opportunity to submit appeals and protests on the preliminary FIS.  FEMA will issue in the local newspapers an advisory of its statutory 90-day appeal period with contact information for submitting appeals.

After the review and appeal periods have ended and all comments/appeals addressed, FEMA will begin final preparation of the FIS, which will both become effective six months later. For detailed information on appeals process, cut and paste in the browser http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=4935

How do I submit an appeal or protest?

A property owner must submit technical and/or scientific data to file a protest regarding the accuracy of the flood study for their property to the County of Hawai‘i Floodplain Manager, Frank DeMarco fdemarco@hawaiicounty.gov  Supporting data will be reviewed if it constitutes a valid appeal or protest. 

If a property owner does not agree with FEMA’s Letter of Map Revision (LOMR)

Owners who believe their property is not in the Special Flood Hazard Area, (SFHA) may contact the County of Hawai‘i Floodplain Manager, Frank DeMarco (961-8042) or Carter Romero (961-8943) cromero@hawaiicounty.gov at the Department of Public Works Engineers’ division in Hilo, weekdays, from 7:00 AM to 4:30 PM.  Maps are also available Engineers’ office at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center.

FEMA offers an online tutorial to walk the applicant through the stages to have a property removed from a SFHA. Click on http://www.fema.gov/online-tutorials/letter-map-amendment/letter-map-revision-f-tutorial-series-choose-tutorial

Ten (10) percent discount on flood insurance

In 1968, the U.S. Congress passed the National Flood Insurance Act, which created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to reduce future flood losses through local floodplain management and provide protection for property owners against potential losses through flood insurance.  The County of Hawai‘i is responsible for submitting revised flood hazard data to FEMA to revise the FIS, and Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs).  The NFIP map revisions allow risk premium insurance rates and flood plain management requirements based on current data.

The County of Hawai‘i also participates in the NFIP’s Community Rating System (CRS) enabling people with property in designated flood zones to purchase flood insurance at a lower rate.  The County of Hawai‘i has a class 8 rating, offering a ten (10) discount on flood insurance premiums to these property owners.

The CRS objective is to reward communities that do more than meet the minimum NFIP requirements to help citizens prevent or reduce flood losses.  CRS does this by providing incentives to communities to initiate flood protection activities through floodplain management and public outreach.

South Kona Property Owners Receive Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps

Last week the County of Hawai‘i, Department of Public Works sent letters to South Kona property owners with tax map keys 8-4-004, 8-4-006, 8-4-008, 8-4-011, 8-4-012, 8-4-014, and 8-4-015 informing them of the Preliminary Flood Insurance Study (FIS).

The preliminary FIS analyzed the 10% (10-year), 4% (25-year), 2% (50-year), 1% (100-year), and 0.2% (500-year) chance of flooding events, or Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) boundaries, and the Base Flood Elevations (BFE) in Hōnaunau, Keōkea and a small section of Kiilae.

The County of Hawai‘i will use the results of the study to amend FEMA’s FIS and Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

There are two phases to the study.  Phase 1 is for watercourses 13-20 affecting property owners in the tax map keys mentioned.  Residents along watercourses 1-12 and 21-25 are in phase 2 and will receive notices before the end of summer.

For structures in a Zone AE Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), flood insurance is mandatory for buildings with mortgages back by the federal government.  For structures in Zone X (outside of the SFHA), flood insurance is suggested but is not mandatory.

Preferred Risk

FEMA is offering a “Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension,” a lower cost insurance rate for properties recently mapped into high-risk flood zones on or after October 1, 2008 information here: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/prp_extension_information.jsp

“Property owners currently paying flood insurance may find their property is no longer in a flood zone.  Others may find they are in a flood zone, “said Warren Lee, director for the Department of Public Works. “If the property is in a flood zone, we highly recommend purchasing flood insurance and taking advantage of the County’s ten percent (10) discount.

Owners who believe their property is not in the Special Flood Hazard Area, (SFHA) may contact Frank DeMarco (961-8042) the County of Hawai‘i Floodplain Manager or Carter Romero (961-8943) at the Department of Public Works Engineers’ division in Hilo, weekdays, from 7:00 AM to 4:30 PM.  Maps are also available Engineers’ office in the West Hawai‘i Civic Center.

FEMA offers an online tutorial to walk the applicant through the stages to have a property removed from a SFHA. Click http://www.fema.gov/online-tutorials/letter-map-amendment/letter-map-revision-f-tutorial-series-choose-tutorial

 

Big Island Police Identify Body That Was Found at Bottom of Cliff in North Kohala

Hawaiʻi Island police have identified a man whose body was found Friday (July 5) at the bottom of a cliff in North Kohala as 42-year-old Patrick S. Yamura of Hāwī.

HPDBadgeYamura’s body was found Friday evening at the bottom of a cliff near Kapanaia Point in North Kohala. He was officially pronounced dead at North Kohala Community Hospital.

Police do not suspect foul play. The case is being investigated as a coroner’s inquest. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Puna Chicks! Another Night of Comedy

Puna Chicks

Hawaii TechWorks to Host EasyBotics’ Robotics Workshop

EasyBotics is hosting an electronics workshop in association with Hawaii TechWorks. Participants will be assembling basic circuits using the Letry Robotics kit, which participants will be able to take home. If you like to build things or enjoy tinkering with electronics, this hands-on robotics workshop promises to be a great deal of fun!

Easybotics

The workshop will be held on Friday, 19 July 2013, from 10a.m. to 3p.m., at the Hawaii TechWorks’ Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) location, which is directly across from Rainbow Falls at 47 Rainbow Drive, Hilo, Hawaii 96720.

For more information or to register, please visit http://www.EasyBotics.com/workshop. You may also call EasyBotics at (808) 238-4338 or email at info@EasyBotics.com if you have any questions or if you would like to volunteer with EasyBotics.