Tonight’s Civil Defense Meeting Has Been Cancelled

The civil defense meeting scheduled for this evening at Pahoa High School has been cancelled.

Civildefense

Good morning,
I apologize for the late notice however we will be postponing the Pahoa Community Meeting scheduled for tonight at 6:30 at the Pahoa High School cafeteria. The County and our partner agencies are meeting with FEMA this morning to discuss the closing of the lava flow incident and there will be many questions asked as to what the implications may be with regards to the various projects and expenses incurred in response to the lava flow threat. It is our goal and desire to provide the community with this information and to share how the federal reimbursement program will apply to the projects and costs. Realizing that for some questions FEMA may need to internally have further discussion as well as for some of the applicant representatives at the meeting there may be a need to provide additional information or to review with their executives; it would be prudent to obtain the final answers and outcomes and share that information at the community meeting. Therefore the meeting will be postponed pending the final outcome of the public assistance program application review and approvals. We apologize for this inconvenience and look forward to sharing all information with the community.
Thank you,
Darryl J. Oliveira
Administrator, Hawaii County Civil Defense

Hawaii County Announces Web Based Puna Traffic Cameras

The County is pleased to announce the launch of punatraffic.com, a publicly available web based traffic monitoring service for the lower Puna to Kea`au area.

Click to view current conditions

Click to view current conditions

Traffic conditions along several transportation corridors that may be affected by the June 27th Lava Flow, including HWY 130, will be monitored with thirty cameras. The images are available for public viewing at punatraffic.com.

The camera images refresh every three to five minutes and are meant to assist the public in making their travel plans. The website also provides estimated drive times based on current traffic conditions.

The traffic monitoring system is a part of the County’s overall plan to monitor traffic flow that may have to be re-routed as a result of the June 27 Lava Flow.

The cameras were installed by ICX Transportation Group. The service went live on March 25, 2015.

The cameras are government property and specifically programmed to only work with government equipment. Please kokua and respect this public benefit and service.

The website also provides social media links to Civil Defense and the County of Hawai`i and can be updated to inform the public about road incidents.

Civil Defense Brush Fire and High Surf/Beach Closure Warning

This is a brush fire information update for Wednesday January 21st at 4:00 PM.

Brush fire 12115

The Hawaii Fire Department reports that two brush fires have started as a result of the lava flow in the Pahoa area.  The fires are located to the west or mauka of Highway 130 and to the south or Pahoa side of the Ainaloa Subdivision.

Brushfire 12115

All fire activity is contained within the fire breaks and there is currently no threat to any communities or properties.  Fire department personnel and units are on scene and working to maintain control and containment of the fire.

This is a High Surf Warning and Beach Closure Information Update for Wednesday January 21st at 4:15PM.

The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Warning for the West facing shores of Hawaii Island effective through 6:00 PM tomorrow, Thursday January 22nd.  Dangerous surf is expected to start building today through this afternoon and remain at warning levels through Thursday.   Surf heights of 15 to 20 feet are forecasted for the West facing shores of Hawaii Island.  Residents along the coast and in low lying areas are advised to take precautions and boat owners are advised to secure their vessels.  Beachgoers swimmers and surfers are advised to exercise caution and to heed all advice given by Ocean Safety Officials.  Due to the current rising and anticipated dangerous surf conditions the following beaches will be closed effective 12:00noon today:

  • Laaloa or Magic Sands in Kona
  • Kahaluu Beach in Kona
  • Kohanaiki Beach in Kona
  • Ooma
  • Old Airport Park
  • Hapuna Beach
  • Kaunaoa (Mauna Kea Beach)
  • Mahukona Park

County Fines Hawaii Property Owner for Having Illegal Rave Party

Community Policing Officers are working with the Hawaiʻi County Planning Department to protect the public from illegal “rave” parties.

HPDBadgeAs a result of this partnership, the Planning Department issued a $5,000 fine to a property owner in connection with a “rave” party in Hawaiian Acres last year.

The two-day event held October 31 through November 1 was advertised on social media outlets. Community Policing Officers from the Puna District were made aware of the event and warned the property owner that he did not have the proper permit to conduct such an event on his property.

The party was held despite police warnings, and enforcement action was taken near the property on the night of the event to ensure public safety. Police conducted a follow-up investigation with the assistance of the Planning Department that resulted in the fine.

Police are reminding property owners that conducting an unpermitted non-agricultural commercial event on agricultural property is prohibited. The Hawaiʻi Police Department will continue to work with members of the public, property owners and the Planning Department to ensure compliance and enhance public safety.

Pahoa Community Aquatic Center to Open for Nighttime Swim Sessions

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation will keep the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center open until 8 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to accommodate nighttime swim sessions.

Pahoa Pool

Swimmers of all ages are invited to the free open-swim sessions that start Wednesday, January 21. Children younger than 11 years old must be accompanied and supervised by a parent, guardian or responsible adult.

Nighttime swim sessions at the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center are being offered on a trial basis to gauge patron interest and to meet the needs of swimmers who requested extended operating hours.

Information regarding County of Hawai‘i swimming pools is available at www.hawaiicounty.gov/pr-aquatics/.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Fire at Waiakea-Uka Gym Causes Change in Venue for Winter Intersession Program

The Winter Intersession Program slated for Hilo’s Stanley Costales Waiākea-Uka Gymnasium will be held at Andrews Gym due to fire damage sustained at Waiākea-Uka Gym.

Waiakea FireOriginal program dates and times will apply to the new venue located within Waiākeawaena Park at 33 West Kawailani Street in Hilo. Open to keiki enrolled in the first through six grades, the winter Intersession classes will be held from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. weekdays starting December 22 and running through January 8, 2015.

The Department of Parks and Recreation regrets any inconvenience caused by the venue change and thanks program participants for their understanding.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Police detectives are investigating a fire at the Waiākea Uka Gym in Hilo.

The fire was reported at approximately 4:30 a.m. Wednesday (December 10). Police and firefighters responded and found the fire concentrated at the northwest corner of the building.

Fire personnel extinguished the flames and estimated the damage to the walls and roof area at $65,000.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time but is being investigated.

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Norbert at 961-2383 or nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us.

 

Ground Breaking Held for Volcano Transfer Station project

The County of Hawai‘i’s Volcano transfer station will be expanded and undergo structural repairs as part of a $1.06 million project that broke ground today.

Hawaii County Logo

The new transfer station is designed to encourage recycling, and will be able to accommodate green waste recycling, a HI-5 redemption site and reuse operations in the years ahead as the county adds those services in rural communities.

“This project is part of our continuing effort to encourage all of our communities to reuse, recycle and protect the environment,” said County of Hawai‘i’s Mayor Billy Kenoi. “We want to make recycling as convenient as possible so that more and more people will participate.”

Green Aina Engineering designed the project, which uses a design-build approach to allow the contractor to utilize lower-cost construction techniques. The contractor is William C. Loeffler Construction Inc.

The overhaul of the transfer station is necessary because the current facility was built with older construction techniques that included a wooden retaining wall. That wall has now deteriorated to the point where it is no longer structurally sound, according to the county Department of Environmental Management.

The project is scheduled for completion by early summer of 2015.

County Inviting Public to Two Holiday Events

The County of Hawai‘i invites the public to two special holiday events this year – the fourth annual Magic Of The Season open house at the Hawai‘i County Building in Hilo, and the inaugural A Holiday Family Affair at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center in Kona.

Hilo’s Magic Of The Season will run weeknights December 8 – 19 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at the Hawai‘i County Building.

magic of the season 2014

County volunteers will decorate dozens of trees and offer holiday cheer so families may enjoy a safe, community-oriented event. Members of the public may view the exciting decorations weekdays starting at 8 a.m. Live entertainment and holiday activities will be available weeknights between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Kuana Torres Kahele, Lehua Kalima, Henry Kapono, Cyril Pahinui, Darlene Ahuna, and Mark Yamanaka will be among the Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning performers joining local favorites, hula groups, and the Hawai‘i County Band to entertain audiences.

Kona’s inaugural event, A Holiday Family Affair, will take place on Friday, December 12 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the West Hawai‘i Civic Center.

holiday family affair

The program will consist of a pule by Kumu Keala Ching and performances by Ka Pā Hula Nā Wai Iwi Ola and the Kealakehe Intermediate School Chorus & ‘Ukulele Ensemble. Bring a towel or mat for seating on the courtyard lawn.

At both events, non-perishable food items will be accepted for the Hawai‘i Island Food Basket. Please kōkua. For more details on either event, please contact the Office of Mayor Billy Kenoi in Hilo at 961-8211 or Kona at 323-4444.

Puna Bus Routes Adjusted in Response to Lava

Starting Oct. 27, the bus stops fronting the Pāhoa 7-11, and at Pāhoa School will not be serviced by Hele-On. New stops have been established along Highway 130 and Highway 132 due to the Pāhoa Village Road closure because of the pending lava flows.

HPP Bus Picture

The Pāhoa-area bus stops will be as follows:

North Bound

  • Highway 132 at New Hope Church Sign
  • Highway 130 at Homestead Road (Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science)
  • Highway 130 at Pahoa Fire / Police Station

South Bound

  • Highway 130 at Malama Market
  • Highway 130 at Homestead Road (Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science)
  • Highway 132 across from the New Hope Church Sign

Riders should use the Pāhoa bus schedule, and refer to the column marked “Pāhoa” for times for north- and south-bound travel.

Please anticipate longer travel times due to additional traffic and construction related activities along Highway 130.  For further information, contact the Mass Transit Agency at 961-8343 or visit our website at www.heleonbus.org.

 

Lava Flow Update – Flow Advances About 300 Yards in About 6 Hours

The June 27th lava flow remains active. An HVO flight early in the afternoon yesterday found that the flow had advanced ~280 m (~300 yards) north since a Civil Defense flight just after sunrise that morning (a span of ~6 hours), and the flow front had reached a large crack marked on the topographic base map (but not visible from the air). There was no evidence that the flow was entering this crack, if it exists.

A steam plume as seen from my house near Pahoa High School.

A steam plume as seen from my house near Pahoa High School.

A Civil Defense overflight this morning found that the flow front had advanced an additional 370 meters (400 yards) since yesterday afternoon. This puts the tip of the flow at 14.0 km (8.7 miles) from the vent, measured in a straight line, and 1.1 km (0.7 miles) from the Forest Reserve boundary.

The actual length of the flow, measured along the lava tube axis (so that bends in the flow are considered) is 16.0 km (9.9 miles). The flow front is still in thick forest, creating smoke plumes as it engulfs trees and other vegetation, but fires are not spreading away from the flow.

Small breakouts also remain active closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, roughly midway along the length of the June 27th flow. None of these breakouts have been very vigorous recently, but are also producing smoke plumes a they creep into the adjacent forest.

TONIGHT – Hawaii County Civil Defense Meeting on Eruption and Lava Flow

Civildefense
Hawai’i County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory will hold additional community meetings TONIGHT and Thursday, Sept. 11 to update residents on the lava flow in the Wao Kele O Puna area.

The briefings will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Pahoa High School Cafeteria.

Puna Power Restoration Update From HELCO

Crews continue to make progress on restoring power to customers affected by Tropical Storm Iselle. An estimated 6,800 – or about eight percent – of customers remain without power, down from an estimated 8,100 on Monday.

Today's update from HELCO

Today’s update from HELCO

“We understand many of our customers are still dealing with a very difficult situation. We are devoting every available resource to this effort. We have made progress and are committed to restoring power as quickly as possible,” said Darren Pai, Hawaii Electric Light spokesman.

Electrical line crews from West Hawaii have been redeployed to assist with the restoration. They joined a workforce that includes crews, equipment, and vehicles from East Hawaii, Oahu and Maui. Additional contracted crews include electrical line workers, construction crews to dig holes for new utility poles, and tree trimmers to clear fallen trees.

Collectively, these resources are allowing Hawaii Electric Light to maximize its efforts on restoring power in neighborhoods that are still without power.

Today, electrical line crews expect to make progress in the following areas: Hamakua, Upper Puna, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, and Hawaiian Paradise Park. Contracted crews will also be working in Leilani Estates and Nanawale. In addition, contracted tree trimming and construction crews are working to clear fallen trees, debris, and dig utility pole holes. This work is needed to prepare the area for electrical line crews to set new poles and repair fallen power lines and other damaged equipment. Restoration progress may be impacted by access to due storm debris, fallen trees, or other conditions in the field.

Every community in the Puna district was impacted. There are pockets throughout the region where the damage is so severe that customers should be prepared for an extended outage. Although crews are making progress and restoration in many areas may be much faster, preliminary estimates indicate it could take up to three weeks to restore power to the areas with the most significant damage, and in some cases even longer. These estimates are still preliminary and actual restoration times for each location will depend on the extent of the damage.

As a safety precaution, customers should not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment. Customers are also reminded not to approach any downed power lines, as they may have electricity running through them and can be dangerous. If you see someone injured by a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for assistance.

Hawaii Electric Light continues to operate its Customer Information Center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches. An estimated 300 to 400 people visited the center when it opened on Monday. Company representatives will be on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairing the damage. Customers may bring their electronic devices and get them charged. A charging station will be available at the center. The center will remain open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. as the restoration process continues.

Hawaii County Operations Limited as Hurricanes Iselle, Julio Approach

Hawai‘i County offices will close at noon tomorrow, August 7, and remain closed all day Friday, August 8, because of expected weather impacts from Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio.
Hawaii County Logo

Essential employees whose work involves continuing crucial operations and services will remain on the job. These employees have been identified by their departments and are required to report to work.

Absentee walk-in voting will continue at four sites in Hawai‘i County from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. Those voting sites are Aupuni Center in Hilo, the West Hawai‘i Civic Center, Waimea Community Center and Pahala Community Center.

To provide for everyone’s safety, the following county facilities have been closed:

  • All County Parks and Beach Parks will not open on Thursday and will remain closed until further notice.
  • All County Solid Waste Transfer Stations and both the Hilo and Puuanahulu Landfills will close at noon on Thursday.

All Hele-On buses are scheduled to operate as normal on Thursday and Friday. However, due to heavy rains and potential road closures, bus routes may be canceled with little or no notice. Please prepare for alternative transportation during this hurricane event. Delays are expected.

Senior Nutrition Programs and Elderly Recreation Program activities are canceled Thursday and Friday. Van service provided by Coordinated Services for the Elderly has been suspended for Thursday and Friday.

Residents are strongly encouraged to stay off roadways and travel as little as possible to avoid wind and flooding hazards.

Pāhoa District Park Project Groundbreaking to Be Held July 31

A public groundbreaking ceremony for the Pāhoa District Park project will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 31, at the park.

Pahoa Park Rendering

Join Mayor Billy Kenoi, County Council members Greggor Ilagan and Zendo Kern, Parks Director Clayton Honma, and other dignitaries as they signify the start of the biggest recreational project in Hawai‘i County history. The $22.3 million, yearlong construction project will more than double the size of Pāhoa Park and deliver increased recreational opportunities to one of Hawai‘i Island’s fastest-growing communities.

Refreshments and light pupu will be served.

Contractor Nan, Inc. is scheduled to start clearing and grading the site on August 4. During the following 12 months, it will construct a covered play court building, two lighted baseball fields, two multipurpose fields, one of which will be lighted for nighttime use, a keiki playground, concession building, new comfort station, accessible walkways, and ample parking areas.

Totaling more than 29 acres, the improvements will complement the park’s existing 15 acres of developed recreational facilities that include a 50-meter swimming pool, community center, senior center, and skate park.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

County Assumes Management of Mauna Kea Recreation Area

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation assumed management of the Mauna Kea Recreation Area from the State of Hawai‘i  today and immediately commenced with extensive renovations.
Mauna Kea Recreation AreaCounty plumbers, electricians, tree trimmers, grounds crews and equipment operators started work today that will require closing parts of the park temporarily. When the work is completed, Mauna Kea Recreation Area will be a safe, inviting and pleasant stop for both residents and visitors to enjoy as they travel across the island.

The first improvements include lighting enhancements, removal of dead trees that posed a fire hazard, fumigation, and installation of new picnic areas. Upcoming renovations will include extensive landscaping work, improving and reopening the restrooms, improvements to the cabins, and paving the parking areas.

Temporary restrooms will be provided while the construction work is occurring. The public will be notified when Mauna Kea Recreation Area is reopened and camping reservations will be accepted for overnight use of the park’s cabins.

Located near the 34-mile marker of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, Mauna Kea Recreation Area offers spectacular views of both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, convenient access to rare plants and wildlife, and miles of hiking trails.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

County of Hawai‘i Law Raising the Age of Sale to 21 Years for All Tobacco Products – Takes Effect July 1, 2014

Last year the Hawai’i County Council unanimously approved a bill to raise the age of sale of tobacco products to 21. That measure, Hawai‘i County Ordinance 13-124, takes effect on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

Signs Required at the Point of Sale:  The law requires that signs are to be posted at the point of sale. Signs where sent out to all registered tobacco retailers in May 2014. Signs are available at the Mayors Offices in East and West Hawaii or by contacting the East Hawaii Tobacco-Free Coalition Coordinator via email at

Signs Required at the Point of Sale: The law requires that signs are to be posted at the point of sale. Signs where sent out to all registered tobacco retailers in May 2014. Signs are available at the Mayors Offices in East and West Hawaii or by contacting the East Hawaii Tobacco-Free Coalition Coordinator via email at

The law prohibits the distribution of tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, to underage customers born after June 30, 1996. Retailers need to be aware that anyone who is born after June 30, 1996 is prohibited from purchasing tobacco products or electronic smoking devices until they are 21 years of age.

There is an exemption in the new ordinance for people who reach the age of 18 before July 1, 2014. Those who reach the age of 18 before July 1, 2014 are allowed to continue to purchase tobacco. The purpose of the exemption is to ease the transition for people who already use tobacco, and for the retailers.

The Coalition For A Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i (CTFH) and staff from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids worked closely with West Hawai‘i Councilmember Dru Mamo Kanuha and his staff to pass this bill. Hawai‘i County Council unanimously passed Bill 135 on November 20, and Mayor Kenoi signed the legislation into law in December 2013.

The Coalition For A Tobacco-Free Hawaii applauds Hawai‘i County for standing strong on tobacco control. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (www.tobaccofreekids.org), “National data show that 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21.” The ages of 18 to 21 are a critical period when many smokers move from experimental smoking to regular, daily use. Increasing the tobacco sale age to 21 will help prevent young people from ever starting to smoke.

Hawai‘i County joins New York City and Needham and Canton, Massachusetts, in raising the age of sale on tobacco products to 21.  Four states—Utah, New Jersey, Alaska and Alabama—require tobacco buyers to be 19.  Several other counties and states, including Texas, are considering similar measures.

It is important for retailers and potential buyers to know these key points for the new law:

  • Any person who sells or distributes tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, to an underage customer will be subject to a fine of up to $2,000.
  • Persons, retailers, and employees that sell or distribute tobacco products must verify proof of age of the recipient/purchaser.
  • Sale is prohibited to persons born after June 30, 1996.
  • Valid identification includes: state driver’s license, state identification card, military ID, or passport.
  • Signs are required to be posted at every point of sale.
  • From July 1, 2014 – July 30, 2017, persons who sell or display tobacco products shall post signs clearly and keep them posted at the place of business at each point of sale.
  • Failure to post this sign shall be subject to a fine of up to $500.

Signs were sent to all registered tobacco retailers in May 2014. Additional signs are available at the Mayor’s Offices in East and West Hawai‘i or by contacting the East Hawai‘i Tobacco-Free Coalition Coordinator via email at sally@tobaccofreehawaii.org.

For more information please visit the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i website at: http://www.tobaccofreehawaii.org/community-coalitions/tobacco-free-big-island/hawaii-county-new-law-raising-the-age-of-purchase-for-tobacco-products-to-21/

Keiki Volleyball Players Sought for Hilo Teams

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation invites keiki to sign up for youth volleyball programs offered at Hilo’s Waiākea-Uka Gymnasium.

HI PAL Volleyball players

HI PAL Volleyball players

Boys 7 to 14 years old and girls 7 to 10 years old can play in the Department of Parks and Recreation’s youth volleyball league that starts in September.

Registration opens July 22 at Waiākea-Uka Gymnasium. Space is limited to two teams. A modest fee will be collected to pay for uniforms, awards and other program expenses.

To register or learn more about the upcoming keiki volleyball programs at Waiākea-Uka Gymnasium, please call Coach Mark Osorio at 959-9474.

Operating Hours at Big Island HI5 Redemption Sites to Change

Effective July 1, 2014, the hours of operation at all ten (10) HI-5 Certified Redemption Centers at Hawai‘i County recycling and transfer stations will change.

Please see the new schedule of days and hours below:Transfer DaysAll sites will remain open from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM. For the convenience of the public, all sites will remain open during this time, and will not close for lunch.

Due to site preparations for transition for a new contract to operate the redemption centers, all ten (10) County HI-5 Certified Redemption centers will be closed for two (2) days on Monday, June 30, 2014 and Tuesday, July 1, 2014.  Additionally, all ten (10) County HI-5 Certified Redemption Centers will be closed Friday, July 4, 2014 in observance of the holiday.

The Department of Environmental Management thanks the public for your cooperation and understanding as we work with our contractors to make the HI-5 program as convenient as possible.

For more information or copies of the new schedule, please visit www.hawaiizerowaste.org or contact Chris Thayer at cthayer@co.hawaii.hi.us.

2014 Summer Fun Programs Announced on the Big Island

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation is announcing the 2014 Summer Fun Program.

Fun program will start on June 9, 2014 at the following location and hours:

summer fun

For safety reasons, use of the facilities will be limited to Summer Fun participants during program hours.

If you are interested in registering a child please call 961-8740 or 938-2012 to find out which sites are available. Program guides can also be found at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation.

Malama O’oma Day

ooma day