One Dead, Two Injured in Highway 19 Collision

A “T-bone-type” collision involving two vehicles claimed the life of one person and injured two others on Highway 19 on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department arrived on the scene at 4:20 p.m. and reported that a four-door sedan heading north hydroplaned and crossed the centerline and collided with a pick-up truck heading south around the 33 and 34 mile markers of Highway 19 in Pa‘auilo.

The occupant of the sedan was ejected and found dead approximately 25 feet from the vehicle.

The occupants of the pick up truck had minor injuries. One male party was treated and transported and the other was released at the scene.

Fire Rescue at Kona Pacific Condominiums

An elderly-disabled woman required assistance to evacuate the Kona Pacific Condominiums after a fire was reported there.

VRBO photo

Firefighter responded on the scene at 10:58 a.m. to find smoke coming from the fifth-floor corner unit.

Fire companies from Kona Station 7, Keauhou Station 12, Makalei station 21 and Battalion Chief 2 of Waikoloa responded to the fire that had originated in a dryer and spread to the apartment entryway, limiting the occupants escape routes.

Two other occupants sheltered in a safe place in the adjoining unit while fire fighters extinguished the fire.

The occupant of the unit involved in the fire, escaped without injury and another building occupant activated a pull station alarm while evacuating all others that he could notify.

The fire was doused utilizing a fire extinguisher and a wall-mounted suppression system (hose cabinet).

There were no injuries reported. The fire was out at 11:20 a.m. and the total property loss was valued at $40,000.

Hwy 130 Costs Exceeds $25 Million in 5 Years

Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road construction on Highway 130 in Puna over the last five years has cost Hawai‘i taxpayers more than $25 million.

Speed limits along the corridor have been reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph.

There is still much work to be done in the next few years and costs will be incurred as more studies and projects are funded.

The following contracts were awarded to various firms from Thursday, May 31, 2012, to Thursday, Oct. 16, 2016:

  • On Thursday, May 31, 2012, Jas. W. Glover received a contract for $492,620.00 for Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road intersection improvements at Ainaloa Boulevard. Federal-Aid Project No. HSIP-013030.
  • On Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2013, Nan Inc., received a contract for $14,988,673.00 for the Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion Phase one. Federal-Aid Project No. STP-013028.
  • On Wednesday, June 18, 2014, Isemoto Contracting received a contract for $4,819,350.00 for Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road intersection improvements at Old Government Road. Federal-Aid Project No. HSIP-0130 031.
  • On Thursday, June 20, 2016 SSFM International received a contract for $1,275,750.00 for Professional Services.
  • On Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, Jas W. Glover received another contract for $3,720,700 for Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion Phase 2 Shower Drive Intersection Improvements. Goods, Services & Construction.

Total: $25,297,093

These costs do not include previous contracts awarded for recommendations made by the Kea‘au-Pāhoa Advisory Group (KPAG).

Hawai‘i Volcano Watch: Did Aerial Bombing Stop the 1935 Mauna Loa Lava Flow?

Aerial view of a bomb detonating on Mauna Loa near the 8,500-foot elevation source of the 1935 lava flow on the morning of Dec. 27, 1935. This was one of twenty 600-pound bombs dropped on the lava flow that morning by the Army Bombing Squadron from Luke Field, O‘ahu. Photo by Army Air Corps, 11th Photo Section.

A widely-held belief is that Thomas Jaggar, founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, was able to stop a Mauna Loa lava flow in 1935. But is it true?

The eruption in question began on Nov. 21, 1935. Six days later, an unusual breakout at an elevation of 8,500 feet on the north flank of Mauna Loa sent ʻaʻā lava to the north. Pāhoehoe lava ponded at the base of Mauna Kea for two weeks before advancing toward Hilo at a rate of about one mile per day.

On Dec. 23, fearing that the flow would reach the headwaters of the Wailuku River, which supplied water for the town of Hilo, Jaggar called on the Army Air Service, based on Oʻahu, to bomb the lava flow source. His hope was that the lava tubes or channels could be destroyed, thereby robbing the advancing flow while feeding another flow that would re-cover the same area. The flow was bombed on Dec. 27, and lava stopped flowing during the night or early morning of Jan. 2, 1936.

Jaggar publicly praised the Army for its responsiveness and technical accuracy in delivering the bombs to his selected targets. In turn, Jaggar was praised for his successful experiment and for saving Hilo.

What is not widely known is that a USGS geologist, Harold Stearns, was on board the last plane to deliver bombs to Jaggar’s targeted areas. Stearns had been mapping the geology and water resources of Maui volcanoes. But when he heard about the plan to bomb the lava flow on Mauna Loa, he traveled to Hilo to see if he could fly with the Army.

Stearns got his chance. At 12:40 p.m. on Dec. 27, his plane dropped two 600-pound bombs (each with 300 pounds of TNT), but they landed a few hundred feet from their target. Jaggar himself watched the bombing through a telescope from the base of Mauna Kea.

Assessing Jaggar’s bombing goals, Stearns said, “The tube walls look 25 to 50 feet high and deep in the flow so that I think there would be no change of breaking the walls. The lava liquid is low. The damming possibility looks effective but the target is too small.”

Following up with a letter to Jaggar in January 1936, Stearns questioned the effectiveness of the bombing.

Jaggar wrote back that later examination of the flow’s source showed that “This channel was broken up by the bombing and fresh streams poured over the side of the heap…. I have no question that this robbing of the source tunnel slowed down the movement of the front…. The average actual motion of the extreme front.… for the five days after the bombing was approximately 1,000 feet per day. For the seven days preceding the bombing the rate was one mile per day.”

Jaggar then asked the rhetorical question, “How long would the flow have lasted without bombing it?” He used the 1919-1920 Kīlauea eruption, which sent lava into the Kaʻū Desert to form Mauna Iki, as an analog. “If we had bombed Mauna Iki in February 1920, the pāhoehoe tunnel system would never have reached the lower Kaʻū desert….”

Stearns remained unconvinced. In his 1983 autobiography, he wrote about bombing the Mauna Loa flow: “I am sure it was a coincidence….”

Jaggar’s boss at the time, Hawai‘i National Park Superintendent E.G. Wingate, was also skeptical.

The day after the bombing, Wingate wrote to the Army commanders, “Though we are as yet unable to determine what effect the airplane bombardment achieved.… I feel very doubtful that it will succeed in diverting the flow. Therefore, I am.… reconnoitering the flow region and will try to locate a feasible spot on the ground where a land expedition might successfully attack the flow channel by dynamiting or other methods.”

In Wingate’s December 1935 report, he summarized the effort: “Just what part the bombardment had in stopping the lava flow the superintendent is not qualified to say. Certainly the facts are most interesting and Dr. Jaggar believes the experiment to have played a definite part.”

Modern thinking mostly supports Stearns’ conclusion. Whether or not the bombing stopped the 1935 Mauna Loa lava flow remains a controversial topic today.

Volcano Watch is a weekly article written by U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and colleagues.


Free Kalani Peʻa Show in Kailua Village

Grammy Award-Winning Singer-Songwriter Kalani Peʻa will perform a free show as part of the Kokua Kailua Village Stroll on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017. The show will be across from the Huliheʻe Palace from 5 to 6 p.m.

Peʻa’s first CD came out on Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, which hit No. 1 on iTunes on the World Music Charts and No. 11 on the Billboard Music World Charts. Most recently, Peʻa released Kanakaloka a new Christmas single that’s available on digital media platforms.

Peʻa’s debut album, E Walea, just received a coveted and honorable Grammy Award in the “Best Regional Roots Music Album Category” during the 59th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

Pe‘a composed and co-composed seven haku mele (Hawaiian music compositions) and performed five of his favorite covers on the award-winning debut album.

Peʻa is the first Native Hawaiian singer/songwriter to win a Grammy in the “Best Regional Roots Music Album Category” since the “Best Hawaiian Music Album Category” dissolved in 2011.

Learn more about Kalani Peʻa online or by email at [email protected].

Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival to Celebrate Silver Anniversary

Celebrating a quarter of a century, the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The 2018 event will mark festival’s silver anniversary, which showcases the blooming of Church Row Park’s historic cherry trees and the Japanese tradition of viewing them—hanami. Hanami celebrates the fleeting beauty of nature while heralding the arrival of spring.

Always held on the first Saturday of February, the festival is often back-dropped by a wintery white summit atop Maunakea while Church Row Park is festooned in pink blossoms.

The family festival originated in 1994 under the direction of former county Parks and Recreation Director George Yoshida.

Festivities includes a wide variety of activities at multiple venues throughout Waimea. Look for pink banners identifying site locations throughout town, sprawling from Church Row Park to the Parker Ranch Historic Homes.

Spend the day to experience an all-day lineup of Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts at several locations, plus hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami, traditional tea ceremony, fun mochi pounding, plus a host of colorful craft fairs, a quilt show and food booths.

Roberts Hawaii will provide free shuttle transportation among most venues, though walking is encouraged.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is produced by the Hawai‘i County Parks and Recreation’s Culture and Education Section. Overseen by Parks and Recreation Director Roxcie Waltjen, the festival is a community-wide effort by a dedicated team of volunteers.

For more information, call (808) 961-8706.

Feature image photo credit: Crystal Richard.

Christmas at the Hawai‘i County Building

The County of Hawai‘i invites the public to it annual holiday open house, Magic of the Season, at 25 Aupuni St. in Hilo, Monday through Friday, Dec. 11 to 15, 2017.

County workers are spending the next few days decorating trees in the county building. Each office will have it’s own tree.

From 5:30 to 8 p.m. nightly, entertainment will be provided.


Monday, Dec. 11
Christy Lassiter & Friends
Kris Fuchigami
Te Ora Nui Tahitian Halau

Tuesday, Dec. 12
Lori Lei’s Hula Studio
Darlene Ahuna
Hawai‘i County Band

Wednesday, Dec. 13
Chantell Fung
Ol’ School
Mark Yamanaka

Thursday, Dec. 14
Vaughn Valentino
Mark Yamanaka

Friday, Dec. 15
Hula Hālau O Kou Lima Nani ‘E
Ben Kaili & Friends
Times Five