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Hilo Municipal Golf Course to be Shortened, Remain Open During Renovation Project

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces it will shorten the Hilo Municipal Golf Course and open temporary greens so golfers may continue using portions of the links while it is undergoing major renovation.

Hilo Golf Course

Starting Monday, February 8, play will be limited to the front 9 holes and a temporary 9th green opened to accommodate construction work. When renovation of the back 9 holes is completed, they will be opened for play and the front 9 holes closed so renovation work may shift to that section of the course. Temporary greens will be opened at the 17th and 18th holes until new grass is established on the reconstructed greens. Also, temporary tee boxes will be opened at the 15th hole to allow for construction access.

These rotating partial closures are expected to continue through mid-May. During that period, tee times will be modified to allow golfers to play two rounds and create the equivalent of an 18-hole golfing experience.

Course renovation work will include the following upgrades:

  • Reconstructing the 9th, 17th and 18th greens
  • Constructing a new 14th green and using the existing green as a temporary green
  • Replacing all course waterlines
  • Installing new accessible drinking fountains throughout the course
  • Constructing new accessible shelters at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 13th and 18th tees
  • Constructing new accessible restrooms at the 4th and 12th tees
  • Performing structural and safety repairs to the course bridges
  • Tree removal

The Department of Parks and Recreation understands the inconvenience the ongoing construction work will cause, and sincerely appreciates patrons’ patience and understanding.

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

Appeal Period for the Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps Begins on Feb. 9th

The 90-day appeal period for the Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) issued last August by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) officially begins February 9, 2016.  Any owner or lessee of real property on Hawai‘i Island who believes his or her property rights will be adversely affected by the proposed flood hazard determinations may appeal to the County.

Flood MapThe preliminary maps are not just a digital version of the existing paper maps, but include new flood zones and changes to existing flood zones along the entire island coastal area, as well as the upper Waiākea area of Hilo, certain parts of Waimea and North and South Kona.  Hāmākua and Kohala remain largely unchanged.

The sole basis for such appeals is based on information from a certified survey done by a licensed surveyor or a drainage study done by a licensed civil engineer showing that the proposed flood hazard determinations are scientifically or technically incorrect.  All appeals should be submitted to the County Department of Public Works (DPW) Engineering Division by April 26, 2016 to be included in the Appeal Package the County will forward to FEMA for review.

DPW offices are located in Hilo at the Aupuni Center ((808) 961-8327) across from Long’s downtown and in Kona at the West Hawai‘i  Civic Center ((808) 323-4850) on the Ane Keohokālole Highway.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) have many uses, including insurance rating and regulation of development.  Use of the maps is required for the County’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, which makes the County eligible for federal disaster aid in the event of a federally declared natural disaster.  Examples are Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014 and the heavy flooding in November 2000.

The new digital maps are intended to replace the existing paper maps.  The digital format will allow the maps to be more easily accessed and viewed on the internet.

Flooding is one of the major natural disasters in the United States. These maps can help residents make informed decisions about flood insurance options and flood protection measures.

More detailed information is available on the County’s website at http://flood.hawaiicounty.gov/.

FEMA has posted digital copies of revised DFIRM and FIS report materials to the following Website:  https://hazards.fema.gov/femaportal/prelimdownload/

Hilo Trap and Skeet Range Closing February 13- 14 to Host Statewide Tournament

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation announces that the Hilo Trap and Skeet Range will be closed to public shooting on Saturday, February 13, and Sunday, February 14, to accommodate a statewide tournament.

PITA

The Pacific International Trapshooting Association (PITA) will hold its 2016 State Championship February 12 through February 15 at the Hilo Trap and Skeet Range. PITA welcomes spectators to watch the competition free of charge.

For more information about the Hilo Trap and Skeet Range, plase contact John Kushi at 961-8733.

Four Kona Parks to Close Temporarily January 29 to Conduct Dengue Mosquito Treatments

The Department of Parks and Recreation will temporarily close four Kona parks on Friday, January 29, so those facilities can be treated for mosquitoes that have the potential to spread dengue fever.

Mosquito BiteWhile there is no indication that any of these parks are sources of possible infection, this measure is being employed as a proactive and preventative strategy for reducing mosquito concentrations and thereby lowering the risk of potential exposure.

The following parks are slated for treatments expected to start, weather permitting, at approximately 7 a.m. Friday, January 29:

  • Kailua Playground, also known as “The Ghetto”
  • Kipapa Park located on the mauka side of Ali‘i Drive, across from La‘aloa Bay Beach Park
  • Harold H. Higashihara Park
  • Arthur C. Greenwell Park, including Sgt. Rodney J. Yano Memorial Hall

Unauthorized persons will not be allowed to enter the affected parks until the treatment work is completed and the parks are cleared for public use. Signs will be posted at each park informing the public of the closures, spraying activity, and when the parks are reopened.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks park patrons and the general public for their understanding while it assists in the efforts to control the spread of dengue fever.

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

 

 

Public Invited to February 5 Groundbreaking for Hōnaunau Rodeo Arena Reconstruction

Please join Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, County Councilwoman Maile David and other dignitaries for a public groundbreaking ceremony that will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, February 5, to commemorate the start of reconstructing the Hōnaunau Rodeo Arena.

Honaunau rodeo

The ceremony will be held at the rodeo arena located at 84-5134 Hōnaunau Road, which is approximately halfway between the Hōnaunau Post Office and the Pu‘uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historic Park. Refreshments and light pupu will be served.

With the strong support of Councilwoman David, Mayor Kenoi and the Department of Parks and Recreation are investing $5.1 million to rebuild the entire rodeo arena and allow for expanded public use. Plans call for constructing a new comfort station, judges’ stand, covered spectator stands, and paved parking stalls. New panels, pens, and infill material also will be installed. A new 2,000-square-foot pavilion with concession area will support rodeo events while doubling as a much-needed venue for South Kona residents to hold public meetings, private parties, and other functions. Finally, the entire facility will be made ADA-compliant, while a completely rebuilt water system will include new water spigots that will be made available for public use.

Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd. is expected to finish the arena reconstruction by October 2016.

For more information, please contact the Department at 961-8311.

Hakalau Bridge Closing for Repairs

The Hakalau Bridge located mauka of Highway 19 on Kanna Road, between Chin Chuck Road and Kaiwiki-Homestead Road will be closed for repair work starting on Monday, January 4, 2016 beginning at 7:00 a.m. and will remain closed for the duration of the project.

Hakalau Bridge

The repair work involves the rehabilitation of the existing bridge structure which includes replacing the old timber components with new wood preservative treated components.  The project is estimated to be completed by Wednesday, March 30, 2016, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Hawai‘i County Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Hawai’i County Announces New Business Resource Centers

In an effort to support local entrepreneurs forming small businesses, the County of Hawai‘i’s Department of Research and Development recently opened two Business Resource Centers, in Hilo and in Kona.

Click to see opportunities

Click to see opportunities

Located in the departmentʻs offices in the Hawaiʻi County Building in Hilo and the West Hawai‘i Civic Center in Kona, the Business Resource Center serves as a one-stop-shop for small business information. Each location is equipped with a public use computer, a collection of business registration forms, and staff to assist entrepreneurs to get started.

The Business Resource Center is pleased to partner with the Hawai‘i Small Business Development Center Network, the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, the State Departments of Commerce & Consumer Affairs and Taxation, and other County agencies on this initiative.

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., except for State Holidays. Anyone interested in this new resource is welcome to stop by or visit the department online at hawaiicounty.gov/research-and-development and download the Business Resource Center’s guide, “How to Start a Business in Hawai‘i County.”

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on Hawaii Island Rises to 112

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 5 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 112.

Mosquito Bite

As of November 30, 2015*:

Hawaii Island residents 98
Visitors 14
Confirmed cases, TOTAL 112

Of the confirmed cases, 98 are Hawaii Island residents and 14 are visitors.
86 cases have been adults; 26 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 11/20/15.

As of today, a total of 262 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated November 25, 2015)

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for New Waimea District Park

A groundbreaking and traditional Hawaiian blessing for a new 24-acre Waimea District Park were held Monday, November 16, during a public ceremony attended by Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, County Councilmembers, State lawmakers, and Parker Ranch Inc. executives.

Kahu Kealoha Sugiyama performs the blessing ceremony for a new Waimea District Park on Monday, November 16. Image provided by: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Kahu Kealoha Sugiyama performs the blessing ceremony for a new Waimea District Park on Monday, November 16.
Image provided by: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

The project’s first phase, complete with three covered play courts, lighted ball field and keiki playground, will be opened in December 2016, well ahead of the original 2020 estimate, Mayor Kenoi said while standing in front of the green pastures to be developed into active recreation.

“It’s going to be a pu‘uhonua (place of peace and safety) in beautiful Waimea,” he said.

Parker Ranch donated the land for the park site located near its former headquarters and reached via Ala ‘Ōhi‘a Road.

“This is truly an exciting day for Waimea and the Big Island,” Dutch Kuyper, Parker Ranch president and CEO, said, noting athletic fields are where children can learn good sportsmanship and humility, even in defeat.

Contractor Nan Inc. has been hired to build the project’s first phase, which also will feature accessible walkways, more than 150 paved parking spaces, landscaping, and infrastructure.

Mayor Kenoi thanked the Waimea community, including the Waimea District Park Builders, for not giving up on the dream of a new park. He also thanked State leaders for helping obtain partial funding for the park development, the County Council for approving the balance of the necessary funding, and the Department of Parks and Recreation for managing the project.

Hilo Bayfront Beach Closing to Motorized Vehicles Starting Friday

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces that it will close Hilo Bayfront Beach to all motorized vehicles starting the morning of Friday, September 25. All vehicles must be parked within designated parking stalls.

Hilo BayfrontSigns have been installed and boulders have been placed adjacent to the beach area to prevent vehicle access and make conditions safer for park patrons.  Keeping vehicles off the beach will also protect marine life from hazardous fluids that can leak from vehicles.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks park patrons and the general public for understanding the need to improve safety for users of Hilo Bayfront Beach and to protect the marine environment. The Department also reminds park users that dogs and overnight camping are not allowed at Hilo Bayfront Beach Park.

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

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.