VIDEO – Lava Lake Remains High

The lava lake in the Overlook crater, within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea’s summit, remains at a high level and close to the Overlook crater rim. Overflows onto the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater floor have built up the rim of the Overlook crater several meters, and recent overflows are visible in the right side of the photograph.

Spattering was vigorous today in the southern portion of the lake. From this view, the spattering was hidden behind a portion of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater wall, but airborne spatter can be seen in the bottom left portion of the photo. The summit of Mauna Loa can be seen in the upper right.  (Click to enlarge)

Spattering was vigorous today in the southern portion of the lake. From this view, the spattering was hidden behind a portion of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater wall, but airborne spatter can be seen in the bottom left portion of the photo. The summit of Mauna Loa can be seen in the upper right. (Click to enlarge)

The lake level this afternoon was about 7 meters (yards) above the original (pre-overflow) floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

VIDEO:

This Quicktime movie shows spattering at the margin of the summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

Click to view the Quick Time Movie

Click to view the Quick Time Movie

Spattering has been common at the lake, and when it occurs is easily visible from the public viewing area at Jaggar Museum. This video shows a closer view from the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu, which is closed to the public due to volcanic hazards.

Electric Company Responds to Recent Power Interruptions

Hawaii Electric Light reports that customers in various areas around the island experienced brief power interruptions this week.

Hawaiian Electric Company Logo

The interruptions occurred on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday evening when a unit at the company’s Keahole Power Plant tripped offline. An estimated 12,000 customers were without power for about five minutes each time until backup generators were started.

“We understand that power outages are disruptive, and we sincerely apologize to our customers who were inconvenienced by these interruptions,” said spokeswoman Kristen Okinaka.

Managing an electric utility grid is a challenging and intricate process. It requires carefully balancing generation with load. Most utility grids occasionally experience a sudden loss of generation. This could occur when a generator unexpectedly trips offline or when weather conditions significantly reduce the amount of energy produced from renewable resources.

Hawaii Electric Light’s system operators work hard to maintain the reliability of the grid. However, when generation changes very quickly, protective devices automatically disconnect loads to help maintain service for the majority of customers. This is called Under Frequency Load Shedding. Some customers will experience a temporary, short power interruption while backup generators are started.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience during the past week,” Okinaka said. “We want to assure our customers that we have sufficient generation to continue to serve our community.” Updates on power outages and restoration efforts can be found on Hawaii Electric Light’s Twitter account: @HIElectricLight. To report a power outage, please call (808) 969-6666.

Former Maui Mayoral Candidate Sentenced to 20 Years Prison for Securities Fraud

Nelson N. Waikiki, a former 2014 candidate for Maui mayor, was sentenced Friday by Maui circuit judge Rhonda I. L. Loo to 20 years in prison for securities fraud, the state attorney general’s office announced.

Nelson Waikiki

Nelson N. Waikiki

“Mr. Waikiki convinced several people to invest money in a water rights company on Maui,” said Deputy Attorney General Albert Cook. “Following an investigation by the State, it was determined that Mr. Waikiki did not have any such rights to the water, that he was not registered to sell securities in Hawaii, and that the securities he sold were not registered. In total, Mr. Waikiki’s schemes scammed up to 21 victims for more than $100,000.00.”

In addition to sentencing Waikiki to two consecutive 10-year prison terms for four counts of securities fraud, Judge Loo has ordered Waikiki to pay restitution to the victims.

Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Final Reading – Dispensaries in Hawaii Next Step

On the last day of the 2015 regular session, the House passed on final reading HB321, CD1, which creates a statewide distribution system for medical marijuana and establishes the parameters for individuals and entities to apply to set up the dispensaries. Medical Marijuana

“There are an estimated 13,000 qualifying patients throughout the state who are desperately looking to find a safe, reliable and convenient access to medical marijuana.  This bill is a reasonable and compassionate response to the needs of our citizens,” said Rep. Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully Pawaa, Manoa), who co-introduced the bill along with House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu).  Both are long-time supporters of medical marijuana dispensaries.

“While the Legislature made legal the medical use of marijuana on June 14, 2000, the law has remained silent for 15 years on how patients can obtain medical marijuana if they or their caregivers are unable to grow their own supply,” Souki added.  “There has been a desperate need for a safe and reliable dispensary system statewide for medical marijuana for a long time.  This bill finally answers that need.”

The measure follows closely the recommendations of the Task Force commissioned by the Legislature in 2013 to study the implementation of medical marijuana dispensaries.  It also provides for opportunities to improve the system and correct any shortcomings on a go-forward basis.

The bill, which also passed the Senate, now goes to the Governor for his signature, veto or passage without his signature.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BILL:

  • Allows for eight (8) dispensary licensees in the state: three (3) on Oahu, two (2) on Big Island and two (2) on Maui County; one (1) on Kauai;
  • Each licensee may own, operate or subcontract up to two production centers and up to two retail dispensing locations; prohibits dispensary from being located in same place as production center;
  • Requires the Department of Health to engage in public education and training regarding medical marijuana;
  • Requires the Department of Health to adopt interim rules by Jan. 4, 2016, for the establishment and management of the medical marijuana dispensary system;
  • Tasks the Department of Health with accepting applications for dispensary licenses from Jan. 12, 2016, to Jan. 29, 2016, and announcing licensees by April 15, 2016;
  • Tasks the Department of Health to select licensees based on minimum requirements and merit based factors including: the capacity to meet the needs of patients; ability to comply with criminal background checks, inventory controls, and security requirements; ability to operate a business; and financial stability and access to financial resources;
  • Allows the Department of Health to license additional operators after Oct. 1, 2017, based on qualifying patient need;
  • Dispensaries must comply with all zoning regulations and will not be permitted within 750 ft. of a playground, public housing or school;
  • Licensees may begin dispensing marijuana and manufactured marijuana products on July 15, 2016, with the approval of the Department of Health;
  • Licensed applicants must pay (a) $5,000 non-refundable application fee, (b) an additional $75,000 fee for each license approved, and (c) a $50,000 annual renewal fee;
  • Establishes the criteria for license applications to require that an individual applicant: be a legal resident of the State for not less than five years, be over the age of 21, and have no felony convictions;
  • Establishes the minimum criteria for license applications to require that an entity applicant: be organized under the laws of the state and have a Hawaii tax ID number, have a 51 percent or greater Hawaii based ownership stake, have at least $1,000,000 under its control for each license applied for with an additional $100,000 available for each retail dispensing location;
  • Imposes regular general excise taxes onto the sale of marijuana and manufactured products within the dispensary system and does not include any additional taxes;
  • Allows qualifying patients to obtain medical marijuana from primary caregivers who cultivate or by personally cultivating marijuana until Dec. 31, 2018;
  • Allows a primary caregiver or legal guardian to cultivate marijuana after Dec. 31, 2018, if qualifying patient is a minor or adult lacking legal capacity or who is located on any island with no dispensary;
  • Expands the definition of “debilitating medical condition” for the purpose of authorizing use to include post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • Expands the Department of Health’s authority to conduct criminal background checks;
  • Requires dispensaries to allow announced and unlimited unannounced inspections and to conduct annual financial audits; and
  • Requires the Department of Health to file annual report to Governor and Legislature on dispensaries.

Additional details of the measure can be found in the bill text and the committee report at the links below: