Hazards Associated with the Kamokuna Ocean Entry an Ongoing Concern

People who venture too close to Kīlauea’s Kamokuna ocean entry—by land or by sea—are at risk from multiple hazards associated with lava flowing into the sea.


The white plume formed by the interaction of lava and seawater is a corrosive mixture of super-heated steam, hydrochloric acid, and tiny particles of volcanic glass, all of which should be avoided. Lava deltas (new land formed at the ocean entry) can collapse without warning. Should the lava delta shown here collapse, fragments of molten lava and blocks of hot rock would be thrown both inland and seaward, potentially impacting people on the cliff above the ocean entry and in the boat in front of the delta.

The beauty of Kīlauea Volcano’s eastern Kamokuna ocean entry can be enjoyed from a safe distance upwind of where lava flows into the sea.

hazards2The eastern entry site (shown here) has created a lava delta that is now about 5 acres in size; as this delta grows larger, so does the risk of a sudden collapse.

Close-up view (using a zoom lens from a safe distance) of lava streaming into the sea at the eastern Kamokuna ocean entry on Kīlauea.

Close-up view (using a zoom lens from a safe distance) of lava streaming into the sea at the eastern Kamokuna ocean entry on Kīlauea.

During a special media briefing today, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists (left) and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park rangers (right) talked about the hazards associated with Kīlauea Volcano’s active lava flow and ocean entries, the exciting scientific opportunities posed by flow 61G, and how visitors can safely hike to and view the beauty of lava flowing on land and into the sea.


NEHLA and County of Hawaii Host Energy Storage Conference

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) announced today that it is partnering with the County of Hawaii to host a conference on energy storage trends and opportunities in Kailua-Kona on Sept. 12 and 13.

The NEHLA Plant from above

The NEHLA Plant from above

”As the state works to reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045, energy storage will be necessary to address increasing amounts of variable resources brought into the grid,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This conference will bring together experts from U.S. National Laboratories, academia, government and industry to present energy storage technologies and applications and consider opportunities and challenges.”

“We are excited about the caliber of the speakers that will be presenting,” said Gregory Barbour, NELHA’s executive director. “This conference brings together experienced scientists, engineers, and policymakers to discuss energy storage and microgrid initiatives, issues and projects. This is an area that is not only at the forefront of renewable energy but also critical to widespread implementation of intermittent renewable technologies such as solar and wind technologies.”

The conference, which is supported in part by the County of Hawaii, includes presentations and panel discussions as well as visits to site demonstrations. It aims to have the latest information presented by leaders in energy storage technology, particularly on the economics of energy storage. Meeting participants will also discuss opportunities as well as regulatory and policy issues.

“We are pleased to partner with NELHA on this conference in an effort to bring leaders in the field of energy storage to the Island of Hawaii to share their insight and explore opportunities” stated Mayor Billy Kenoi. “Hawaii Island is already generating 50 percent renewable energy and grid-scale energy storage is certainly part of the equation for building towards our 100 percent goal”.

Attendance to the conference is open to the public.

Registration information is located at: nelhaenergystorage2016.hawaii-conference.com/.

Governor Ige Appoints Damien Elefante as Deputy Director of the Department of Taxation

Gov. David Ige announced the appointment of Damien Elefante to be the deputy director of the Department of Taxation (DoTax). Elefante’s appointment follows the departure of Joe Kim, who moved to the private sector in July.

Damien Elefante

Damien Elefante

Following graduation from Kailua High School, Elefante earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He went on to receive a law degree from Syracuse University College of Law.

Elefante brings to the position more than a decade of experience working on tax issues for the state. Most recently he served as the compliance coordinator in the department of taxation. Prior to that he was the deputy attorney general who represented the state’s interest in contested tax-related cases. Involved in litigating and appearing before Federal and State Courts in Hawai‘i, he collected over $50 million for the benefit of the state. Prior to joining the state, Elefante worked at Hisaka Stone Goto Yoshida Cosgrove & Ching, and served as a law clerk for Chief Judge James S. Burns at the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

“Damien will be a valuable part of the team implementing the Tax System Modernization program, which will transform the operations of the department. He understands the need to maintain the department’s consistent and fair practices on behalf of all taxpayers in the state,” said Gov. Ige.

“I am honored to serve as the deputy director and grateful to Gov. Ige for giving me the opportunity to be part of his administration. I am eager to carry out his mission for the Tax Department to ‘modernize our tax system, increase efficiency for taxpayers and hold accountable those who do not pay their taxes.’ I look forward to working with the legislature and the community,” Elefante said.

Mr. Elefante’s appointment is subject to Senate approval.

Body Found in Boat Off Honoli’i Beach

A body was found in a boat floating off the waters of Honoli’i this afternoon.

Honolii incidentSituation Found at Scene: Upon arrival, .7 mi offshore of Honolii Beach RBT-2 personnel found reporting party in a 13′ Boston Whaler with body floating approximately 15′ away in the open ocean.

Remarks: Rescue Boat 2 personnel located, extricated, and transported body to Wailoa Boat Ramp.  Body turned over to HPD and is investigating.

Delta Airlines to Serve Free Alcohol on Flights Flying To or From Honolulu

Well this is a sure way to get customers back after the recent computer glitches left passengers stranded around the country:

Delta enhances its services onboard, offering complimentary meals and beer, wine and spirits for customers on all flights, in all cabins on its long-haul flights to and from Honolulu.

Mai Tai on flightThe service will initially launch on flights between Atlanta and Honolulu beginning Sept. 15, and will apply to seasonal flights to/from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport beginning Nov. 3 and John F. Kennedy International Airport to/from HNL beginning Dec. 17.

Delta inflightDelta Comfort+ and Main Cabin customers will be offered two complimentary meal services, one at the beginning of the flight and one prior to arrival, to align with the airline’s similar long-haul flights.

Snack boxMeal service enhancements include a meal service with a choice of two hot entrees, a sandwich with a brownie and a continental breakfast snack box, depending on the route, as well as complimentary beer, wine and spirits, including the airline’s signature Mai Tais.

Hawaii Department of Health Orders Embargo of Frozen Imported Scallops and Closure of Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai

Based on evidence gathered and analyzed during an extensive investigation spanning almost two months, the Hawaii State Department of Health has determined a strong association between a majority of the cases in the Hepatitis A outbreak first announced by the department on July 1, 2016. Investigation findings implicate frozen imported scallops served raw at Genki Sushi Restaurants as the likely source of Hepatitis A infection.

Genki Sushi“After determining the strong probable link between the majority of cases, the department immediately notified Genki Sushi Restaurants, ordered the embargo of the frozen scallop product, and the closure of all Oahu and Kauai facilities,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “The business has complied with all orders, contacted all of their Hawaii restaurants, and is working with the department to ensure the safety of its customers. Our staff is in the field today working with distributors to embargo the product.”

Department of Health has ordered the embargo of all frozen scallop products distributed by Koha Oriental Foods and True World Foods in Hawaii. An embargo of products restricts their use, sale or distribution. Because Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai had received, handled and served the product, the establishments were ordered to close immediately. Koha Oriental Foods had supplied the product to Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. The frozen imported scallop product recently began to be distributed also by True World to Genki Sushi restaurants on Maui and Hawaii Island. Although there have been no cases related to these recent shipments, given the uncertainty of the safety of the product, all scallop products sent to these restaurants were embargoed as the department continues its investigation.

“Genki Sushi in Hawaii has a history of good compliance with food safety regulations which includes good employee hygiene,” said Peter Oshiro, Sanitation Branch Chief. “We will continue to work with Genki Sushi Restaurants to ensure their safe operation after the investigation is completed.”

Product tracing is being conducted to locate all potentially contaminated products. DOH has also been in contact with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Hawaii office to investigate the product origin. Food products imported from outside the state are regulated by the U.S. FDA.

“We are gratified to uncover this major piece of the investigation,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park, “my staff have been persistent and tireless in their search for clues to prevent new cases and put an end to the outbreak. Our investigation continues, as we work to confirm our findings and ensure contaminated product is no longer in circulation and the risk of transmission is eliminated.”

Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai will remain closed until the Department of Health can ensure their safe operation.  All frozen scallop products from distributors Koha Oriental Foods and True World Foods are being restricted and will be destroyed to prevent any further illness.

Anyone who consumed products, specifically scallops, prepared or served at Genki Sushi on Oahu or Kauai should consider contacting their healthcare provider about the possibility of receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG). A statewide list of vaccination locations is available at www.health.hawaii.gov. Individuals who ate at these restaurants longer than two weeks ago, should monitor their health for 50 days after their exposure and consult their doctor if they develop symptoms of hepatitis. All persons should practice thorough hand washing.

Coast Guard Responds to Vessel Taking on Water Off Maui, Death Off Big Island, Busy Weekend

Coast Guard Station Maui personnel responded to a report of a commercial vessel with 21 people aboard taking on water off Maui Sunday.

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew escorts the commercial passenger vessel Maka Koa back to port five miles south of Maalaea, Maui, Aug. 14, 2016. The Coast Guard responded to a report of the 43-foot vessel, with 21 people aboard, taking on water off Maui. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester/Released)

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew escorts the commercial passenger vessel Maka Koa back to port five miles south of Maalaea, Maui, Aug. 14, 2016. The Coast Guard responded to a report of the 43-foot vessel, with 21 people aboard, taking on water off Maui. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester/Released)

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew arrived on scene five miles south of Maalaea and verified the crew of the 43-foot Maka Koa had the situation in hand before escorting the vessel back to port.

It was determined the vessel was taking on water around their shaft and has since been removed from the water to receive repairs and inspections before returning to service.

Maka Koa

“The Maka Koa crew was very professional and effective in their casualty response,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester, a crewman aboard the Station Maui RB-M. “Upon arrival we confirmed the vessel’s installed bilge pumps were keeping up with the leak and provided a standby until they reached port. We applaud the operators quick action identifying the problem and alerting us to what could have become a more severe case.”

Coast Guard crews responded to eight search and rescue and marine safety cases between Friday and Sunday.

Friday, the Coast Guard responded to a possible hoax call resulting from an email sent by a member of the public seeking employment with the Coast Guard. The individual ultimately apologized for the action. No Coast Guard assets were launched for the case. The public is reminded that hoax calls are against the law and can divert resources from necessary search and rescue or other operations. Those found guilty of committing a hoax call may receive fines or jail time.

Also, Friday the crew of the USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349) conducted an at-sea boarding of the commercial fishing vessel Blue Sky a mile south of Honolulu.

USCGC Galveston Island

USCGC Galveston Island

As a result of extremely hazardous conditions and safety violations the Galveston Island crew terminated the crew’s voyage and escorted the vessel to Pier 38 in Honolulu where they were met by personnel from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu to address all discrepancies are ensure they are rectified prior to the vessel getting underway again.

Coast Guard marine investigators in Maui are responding to the reported death of a diver Friday. The operator of a commercial vessel notified the Coast Guard of the incident involving a middle-aged man who became distressed while conducting a night dive off Big Island. The crew of the vessel recovered the man and contacted emergency medical services who met them at Honokohau Marina. He was transferred to Kona Hospital.

Hawaii is home to 340 small passenger vessels, 139 of which support snorkel and dive operations. Such incidents are reportable marine casualties under the Code of Federal Regulations and after addressing the immediate issue the master is required to notify the Coast Guard.

Saturday crews from Station Maui and the Maui Fire Department responded to a report of an adrift pool toy 200-yards off Kaanapali. The toy was located and recovered. Maui Fire Department resources and a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin crew conducted searches in the area to ensure no one was in distress. The case was closed.

Also, Saturday the crew of the Galveston Island conducted an at-sea boarding of the commercial fishing vessel Jennifer Lynn near Honolulu. The crew’s voyage was terminated and they were escorted back to port as a result of extremely hazardous conditions and safety violations. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu personnel will address all discrepancies and ensure they are rectified prior to the vessel getting underway again.

Sunday crews in Kauai responded to a report of an overdue vessel. It was reported that a 26-yeear-old man had departed Mahaulepa Beach Saturday to fish and failed to return.

Coast Guard Station Kauai, Air Station Barbers Point and the USCGC Kiska (WPB-1336) were launched to respond. Kauai Fire Department personnel also searched. Shortly after launching assets Kauai police located the man ashore and well in Ahukini Park.

Also Sunday, the Coast Guard received notification of a 60-year-old Japanese citizen who experienced symptoms of a heart attack while snorkeling off a commercial vessel on the west side of Oahu. The man was transferred to shore and met by emergency medical personnel who took him to Queen’s Medical Center. Again, such incidents are not uncommon and the operators of commercial vessels report occurrences to the Coast Guard in line with the requirements for inspected commercial vessels. Coast Guard investigators from Sector Honolulu are reviewing the case.

The Coast Guard reminds all mariners to meet and maintain safety requirements and plan ahead for voyages. At the first sign of distress contact the Coast Guard.

Congressman Takai to Lie in State

The people of Hawaii are invited to pay their final respects to Hawaii Congressman and longtime State Legislator Mark Takai.

Mark Takai

Congressman Mark Takai

On Thursday, Aug. 18, Takai will lie in state from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the State Capitol Rotunda. A short program will begin at 10 a.m. Public viewing will begin after the program for members of the public and family and friends to pay their respects.

A book of condolence will be available for the public to sign at the ceremony.

We expect a large crowd and encourage motorists to carpool or use public transportation. There will be no public parking at the State Capitol, but the public can park at the following locations.

  • Lot G, 115 Punchbowl Street (Kalanimoku Building), enter from Beretania or Punchbowl streets
  • Lot L, 1250 Punchbowl Street (Kinau Hale), enter from Punchbowl Street, makai-bound only
  • Lot D, 465 S. King Street, enter from King or Punchbowl streets
  • City Civic Center, located a Alapai and Beretania streets
  • Alii Place, 1099 Alakea Street
  • Handicap parking will be available at Lot F, 364 S. King Street (Iolani Palace). Enter from King Street, the driveway between Iolani Palace and the Hawaii State Library.

Olelo Community Media will cablecast the event live on Channel 49 and it will be live streamed at www.youtube.com/user/olelocm .

On Friday, August 19, a Memorial Service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu at Koolau, 45-550 Kionaole Road in Kaneohe.

Visitation will begin at 9 a.m. and the service at 11 a.m.

In keeping with the late Congressman’s tradition of celebrating Aloha Friday, the family requests participants to dress in Aloha attire.

Overflow parking at Hawaii Pacific University, Hawaii Loa Campus, 45-045 Kamehameha Highway. Shuttle service will be provided.

“Active Shooter” Presentation in Kona

The Hawaiʻi Police Department will make an “active shooter” presentation in Kailua-Kona, on Tuesday, August 23.
Active ShooterThe presentation, which is open to the public, will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the West Hawaiʻi Civic Center Community Meeting Hale.

It is designed to help individuals increase their survivability should they encounter an active shooter or other type of active violent incident. Police will provide information on previous incidents of mass violence, recent events, best practices for those caught in such situations, law enforcement’s response, and how to work together as a community toward prevention. They will also provide additional resources for participants so they can continue their education on this topic, followed by a question-and answer segment.

Persons unable to attend may obtain “active shooter” information by viewing the “Active Shooter/Violence Awareness” page on the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s website (www.hawaiipolice.com) under the “Services” tab.

For more information about this event, please contact Sergeant Roylen Valera of the Kona Community Policing Section at 326-4646, extension 259, or roylen.valera@hawaiicounty.gov.

Debi Bishop Appointed Managing Director at Hilton Hawaiian Village

Hilton Worldwide announced today that Debi Bishop has been named managing director of its flagship resort in Hawai‘i, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.

Debbie Bishop

Debi Bishop

Bishop brings with her 30 years of industry experience as she takes the helm of the company’s largest hotel, which encompasses 22 beachfront acres and 2,860 guest rooms effective April 1. “I’ve been impressed watching Debi successfully develop and lead our team at Hilton Waikoloa Village over the past seven years,” said Jerry Gibson, area vice president, Hilton Hawaii.

“We’re lucky she’ll remain in our Hilton Hawaii Ohana as the new leader at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.” Bishop served as general manager of Hilton Waikoloa since 2008. During her tenure at Hilton Waikoloa Village, the resort achieved numerous awards of excellence, including the Hilton Worldwide Genius of the AND; Hilton Worldwide Sales American Summit Breakaway; Best Use of Social Media; Best Tactical Marketing Revenue Generating and Most Improved Profit.

She currently serves on the board of directors for the Big Island Visitors Bureau, Hawaii Island Chapter of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, Kohala Coast Resort Association, Waikoloa Beach Resort Conference, and Waikoloa Resort Association. She is also on the advisory board for University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Business and Economics.

Prior to joining the Hilton Waikoloa Village, Bishop served as managing director of Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Bishop also served as vice president of sales for Interstate Hotels & Resorts and worked with MeriStar Hotels & Resorts in several capacities, including vice president of operations and director of operations, Atlanta.