$500,000 for Master Plan for Pāhoa Elementary School

Pahoa Elementary School.

Rep. Joy San Buenaventura received a letter from Hawai‘i Gov. David Ige announcing that the state has released $500,000 in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding to finance a master plan for Pāhoa Elementary School.

Gov. Ige said:

Aloha Representative San Buenaventura:

I am pleased to let you know that my administration has released funding for the following Capital Improvement Project(s) (CIP):

Name: Pāhoa Elementary School, Master Plan, Hawai‘i

Description: To finance a master plan for Pāhoa Elementary School.

Amount Released: $500,000

Mahalo for your work on behalf of the residents of your district to secure these funds.
Projects such as these are critical components of the public infrastructure and
contribute to building a better home for our kupuna, keiki, and all the residents of
Hawai‘i.

A list of released CIP and CIP Grants-In-Aid (GIA) will be emailed once a month.

By working collaboratively, we can climb the mountains of challenges that face Hawai‘i.

With warmest regards,

David Y. Ige
Governor, State of Hawai‘i

Rep. Sanbuenventura said:

“Pāhoa Elementary School is the oldest elementary school in Puna. Despite its continued growth, Pāhoa Elementary School has had only one building and had been operating mostly from portable classrooms, a sub-standard administration building and no cafeteria. In fact, part of its playground has been coopted by the county for a baseball field.

Little children walk a careful line with escorts to cross the street to Pāhoa Intermediate/High school to eat. Thus, it is a long time coming that a master plan to design the school is finally coming to fruition instead of the hodgepodge portables connected by sometimes-covered walkways that the teachers and children have had to endure.”

Big Island Has State’s Highest Renewable Energy Percentage

The Hawai‘i Electric Light Company announces that the companies achieved a consolidated 27% renewable portfolio standard in 2017, up from 26% the year before. The increase was achieved primarily by the addition of new grid-scale and private rooftop solar systems.

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light are well on their way to achieving the next mandated RPS milestone, 30% by 2020.

RPS represents the renewable energy used by customers as a percentage of total utility sales. Hawai‘i Island, with a mix of geothermal, solar, wind and hydroelectricity, had the highest renewable percentage at 57%, up from 54% in 2016. Maui County was at 34%, compared with 37% in 2016, and O‘ahu was 21%, up from 19% in 2016.

Maui saw a decline due to a decrease in the available wind energy. Maui Electric used 95% of the total wind power available, the highest percentage ever accepted from the island’s three wind farms.

The three companies also track the peak renewable energy production for the year. These peaks are typically achieved on sunny, windy days when demand for electricity is low and renewable production is high. The peak on Hawai‘i Island was reached on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017 when 83% of electricity demand was met by renewables. The peak was 77% on Maui on Sunday, June 4, 2017 and 53% on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 on O‘ahu.

On O‘ahu, the 27.6-megawatt Waianae Solar project began operation in early 2017 and is the largest solar installation in the state. Private rooftop solar accounted for more than 70% of the 109 megawatts of new PV generation that came online on the five islands of the companies’ service territory last year. Annually, those new resources will displace more than 350,000 barrels of oil used for power generation.

The next milestone on Hawai‘i’s path to 100%, renewable energy will be in 2020 when the renewable portfolio standard requirement is 30%. The companies expect to integrate hundreds of megawatts of new renewable generation by mid-2019. There are four grid-scale solar projects and a biofuel-capable power plant under construction on O‘ahu and two grid-scale solar projects close to completion on Maui. Continued growth of private rooftop solar is expected on all islands.

In addition, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light intend to issue requests for proposals in two stages over the next two years for renewable resources planned through 2022. Those include:

  • 220 megawatts (MW) of renewable generation for O‘ahu
  • 100 MW for the island of Maui
  • 50 MW for Hawaii Island

HDOT Announces Restriction to Improve Hwy 130 Traffic Flow

The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) announces a “no outlet” restriction from 29th Avenue (also known as Poni Moi Avenue) onto Kea‘au Pāhoa Road (Highway 130) Monday through Friday, between the hours of 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., excluding weekends and state holidays. This restriction is effective Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, and will be conducted on a trial basis through the morning of Monday, March 5, 2018.

Uncontrolled access along Highway 130 was identified as a safety concern in the Final Environmental Assessment for the Kea‘au Pāhoa Road Improvements. HDOT will consider limiting the number of access points to the highway in portions of the corridor in accordance with the recommendations from the Environmental Assessment.

“We are constantly exploring cost-efficient and effective ways to improve our highways system,” said HDOT Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen. “Hawai‘i District crews have observed A.M. traffic building in this area due in part to multiple side street connections to the highway. We are limiting access from 29th Avenue as a test to evaluate the benefits and impacts of the restriction.”

Signage to notify motorists of the “no outlet” restriction, as well as traffic control devices, will be placed at the intersection to alert motorists to the trial.

HDOT would appreciate any comments on this pilot from the community. Please send comments to DOTPAO@hawaii.gov or call the HDOT Hawai‘i District at (808) 933-8866 prior to the end of the trial on Monday, March 5, 2018.

Civil Defense Accountability Bill Following Hawai‘i False Missile Alert

Many folks in Hawai‘i were terrified following the false alert that a ballistic missile was inbound.  In response to that false alert sent out to Hawai‘i residents on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard today introduced the Civil Defense Accountability Act of 2018 to:

  • Address the vulnerabilities that allowed the false alert to go out to more than a million people across the state and go uncorrected for 38 minutes;
  • Ensure transparent investigations into the incident through online public disclosure requirements;
  • Establish best practices to strengthen state and national preparedness and disaster communications plans; and
  • Evaluate and strengthen preparedness nationwide to respond to biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear attacks to the United States.

Reps. Colleen Hanabusa and Don Young are original cosponsors of the bipartisan legislation.

The Civil Defense Accountability Act of 2018 would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Defense (DoD), and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to publicly disclose incident and recommendation reports about the Saturday, Jan. 13, false alert. It would also compel ballistic missile civil defense agencies to review the current notification protocols for ballistic missile threats and study the best practices regarding civil defense emergencies to prevent a similar catastrophic mistake. In addition, the bill would instruct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to publicly detail the ability of HHS and health care providers to respond to a biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear weapons attack.

Rep. Gabbard said: “The false ballistic missile alert sent out across Hawai‘i corroded public trust and revealed gaps in preparedness measures at every level of government. Given the threats we face and the vulnerabilities that have been exposed, there are serious changes that need to take place at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure this kind of colossal failure never happens again. Along with providing Hawaii’s people with timely answers into what went wrong and why, we also need to investigate the gaps that exist at home and across the country that could trigger or perpetuate future emergencies. Our legislation will ensure the lessons learned from Hawaii’s false alert are used to identify and fix preparedness gaps nationwide.”

“Last month, Hawaiians experienced a terrifying false ballistic missile alert which is unacceptable,” said Congressman Young. “The chaos and uncertainty throughout that situation should not happen again which is why I’m proud to be a cosponsor of this legislation. By addressing the conditions that caused this false alarm to happen in the first place, we can establish and improve best practices for our civil defense operations. This bill will improve public outreach when real emergencies take place which is crucial for restoring people’s trust in their government’s readiness and commitment to public safety.”

“This legislation is an important part of rebuilding the public’s trust in government,” said Congresswoman Hanabusa. “One of our basic responsibilities is to provide public safety, especially in a moment of crisis. The morning of January 13th revealed an unfortunate array of issues within the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), the protocols and policies that govern the issuance of a ballistic missile alert and the community’s preparation and response. In the weeks since the false alarm, we have heard confusing, often conflicting accounts from state officials about what went wrong and who is responsible. The public deserves a transparent, accurate accounting, like the one recently completed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), so we can make corrections and move forward. This incident also highlighted the need to review HI-EMA’s Attack Warning Signal system and our community response plan in the event of a biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear attack. Mahalo to Congresswoman Gabbard and Congressman Young for their bipartisan efforts to help restore the community’s faith in government and ensure we are better prepared.”

Background: The Civil Defense Accountability Act of 2018 would:

  • Assess Current Reporting Procedures: Within 90 days, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of Federal Communications Commission, is required to submit a report to Congress regarding the current notification protocols for ballistic missile threats. This report will assess the notification protocols required under Federal Law or regulations of federal and state entities and the communications between these entities, after a ballistic missile threat is identified, during a ballistic missile threat, and regarding ballistic missile impact warnings.
  • Establish Best Practices: Within 180 days of enactment, the Secretary of Homeland Security, acting through FEMA, is required to conduct a study to identify the best practices regarding civil defense emergencies. This study will identify plans for local, state, and federal communications before, during, and after a civil defense emergency. In addition, the study will include plans for State communication with residents and local and State security and contingency plans. The initial study shall include no fewer than 13 states, including Hawaii, Alaska, California, Washington, and five states bordering an ocean including the Gulf of Mexico. Within 180 days of enactment, the Secretary of State will also submit a report to Congress regarding the 13 state study including deficiency trends, best practices, and plans to improve public outreach regarding civil defense emergencies. The unclassified portions of this report will be disseminated to states within 270 days.
  • Evaluate Federal Response: Within 60 days of enactment, the Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of FEMA, and the Director of the FCC will provide to Congress and publish an online report detailing their agencies’ actions during the ballistic missile false alarm in Hawai‘i. The report will also detail corrective actions and recommendations to prevent future false alarms.
  • Strengthen Public Health Preparedness: Within 180 days, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Office of the Assistant Secretary of for Preparedness and Response, will submit a report to Congress and publish an online report regarding the ability of HHS and health care providers to respond to biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear weapons attacks on the U.S. The Secretary is also required to submit recommendations to Congress and develop a public outreach program in coordination with local and State entities using these recommendations. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will also take into consideration the recommendations in the report when issuing grants under the Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreement and the Hospital Preparedness program.

BILL SUMMARY:

Section 1 – Short Title “Civil Defense Accountability Act of 2018”

Section 2 – Findings: Findings note the traumatizing false missile alert sent to individuals, residents, and visitors in Hawai‘i on January 13; the President’s National Security Strategy that highlights a growing nuclear threat posed by North Korea; the re-implementation of monthly outdoor warning siren system tests in Hawai‘i; a HI-EMA launch-to-landing ballistic missile estimation from North Korea to Hawai‘i; and a Missile Defense Agency assessment that sophisticated ballistic missile technology is widely available to adversary nations of U.S. and its allies.

Section 3 – Report Regarding Current Ballistic Missile Notification Protocols: Within 90 days, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of Federal Communications Commission, is required to submit a report to Congress regarding the current notification protocols for ballistic missile threats. This report will assess the notification protocols required under Federal Law or regulations to federal and state entities and the communications between these entities, after a ballistic missile threat is identified, during a ballistic missile threat, and regarding ballistic missile impact warnings.

Section 4 – Civil Defense Emergency Best Practices: Within 180 days of enactment, the Secretary of Homeland Security, acting through FEMA, is required to conduct a study to identify the best practices regarding civil defense emergencies. This study will identify plans for local, state, and federal communications before, during, and after a civil defense emergency. In addition, the study will include plans for State communication with residents and local and State security and contingency plans. The initial study shall include no fewer than 13 states, including Hawai‘i, Alaska, California, Washington, and five states bordering an ocean including the Gulf of Mexico. Within 180 days of enactment, the Secretary of State will also submit a report to Congress regarding the 13 state study including deficiency trends, best practices, and plans to improve public outreach regarding civil defense emergencies. The unclassified portions of this report will be disseminated to states within 270 days.

Section 5- Incident Report Regarding Ballistic Missile False Alarm: Within 60 days of enactment, the Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of FEMA, and the Director of the FCC will provide to Congress and publish an online report detailing their agencies’ actions during the January 13 ballistic missile false alarm in Hawai‘i. The report will also detail corrective actions and recommendations to prevent future false alarms.

Section 6 – Public Health Recommendations: Within 180 days, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Office of the Assistant Secretary of for Preparedness and Response, will submit a report to Congress and publish an online report regarding the ability of HHS and health care providers to respond to biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear weapons attacks on the U.S. The Secretary is also required to submit recommendations to Congress and develop a public outreach program in coordination with local and State entities using these recommendations. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will also take into consideration the recommendations in the report when issuing grants under the Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreement and the Hospital Preparedness program.

Puna Man Charged in Kidnapping Incident

The Hawaiʻi Island Police Department has charged a 42-year-old Puna man in connection with a domestic violence related kidnapping incident.

Timothy Wayne Torres

Timothy Wayne Torres was arrested by patrol officers on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2018, at 2:15 p.m., in Puna and later charged by detectives with two misdemeanor and one felony abuse of a family or household member, kidnapping and first degree terroristic threatening in connection with an incident reported on Saturday, January 20.

Torres is being held at the Hilo cellblock in lieu of $55,000 bail pending his initial court appearance in South Hilo District Court scheduled for this afternoon, Monday, Feb. 5.

Anyone who may have any information about this incident is asked to call Detective Matthew Kaaihue of the Juvenile Aid Section at (808) 961-8883 or Matthew.Kaaihue@hawaiicounty.gov.

UPDATE: Strong Thunderstorm to Affect Parts of Big Island

UPDATE: Feb. 5, 2018, 3:43 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has just issued a report about a strong thunderstorm that will affect Hawai‘i County.

At 3:41 p.m., a strong thunderstorm was located between Honoka‘a and Waimea—about 33 miles northwest of Hilo. This storm was moving northeast at 25 mph.

Wind gusts up to 50 mph and dime size hail are possible with this storm.

Locations that may be affected by this storm include Honoka‘a and Pa‘auilo.

ORIGINAL POST, Feb. 5, 2018, 3:17 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has just issued a Flood Advisory for Hawai‘i County until 6:15 p.m. HST.

At 3:09 p.m., radar indicated heavy rain near Pu‘uanahulu. Rain was falling at a rate of up to 3 inches per hour.

Locations in the advisory include but are not limited to Pololu Valley, Kohala Ranch, Pu‘uanahulu, Hawi, Halaula, Kamuela, Kapa‘au, Kawaihae, Puako, Waikoloa Village, Waimanu Valley and Waipio Valley.

Stay away from streams, drainage ditches and low lying areas prone to flooding.

Rainfall and runoff will also cause hazardous driving conditions due to ponding, reduced visibility and poor braking action.

Do not cross fast flowing or rising water in your vehicle, or on foot. Turn around, don’t drown.

This advisory may need to be extended beyond 615 PM HST if heavy rain persists.

Search Called Off for Nurse Swept Down River

The search for Kelly Mrowinski, the travelling nurse that got swept down the Wailuku River after going for a swim with her boyfriend at Pi‘ihonua Falls on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, has officially ended pending any new developments. Mrowinski’s body was not found.

Kelly Mrowinski. Courtesy NBC

Hawai‘i Fire Chief Darren Rosaio said that today, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, “the helicopter was used today to do a final aerial search of the shoreline and Wailuku River.”

Hawaii Fire Department search and rescue for woman who was swept down Wailuku River.

Big Island Now asked Chief Rosario how many lives have been lost on the Wailuku River over the last decade and Chief Rosario stated that he knows of the following (incident reports) from 2011 from when he started to track incidents as a Fire Chief:

Incidents in last decade:

  • 2017 two incidents
  • 2016 one incidents
  • 2015 one incident
  • 2014 one incident
  • 2013 None
  • 2012 None
  • 2011 one incident

Chief Rosario stated, “We average one incident per year related to Wailuku River rescues.” The chief stated that he could not verify the outcomes of those incidents.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department will be releasing a formal media release on the incident soon.

Name of Tour Guide Who Passed Away Released

The Hawaiʻi Island Police Department is investigating the death of a tour guide in Puna.

At 8:16 a.m., Thursday morning, Feb. 1, 2018, police and fire department personnel responded to the Kalapana lava viewing area for a report of a man who had collapsed in the lava field while leading a hiking tour.

Investigators determined that just before 4 a.m., the group was approximately two miles inland from the 24.5-mile marker of the emergency road. Heavy steam clouds caused by the rain engulfed the group when the victim collapsed and went unconscious.

Due to limited visibility and poor cell phone reception, the remainder of the group, who were not familiar with the area, hiked for several hours before they were able to call for help.

The fire department’s helicopter located the victim’s body about 290 meters outside of the Volcanoes National Park boundary and on State land. The victim was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where the official pronouncement of death was made at 12:28 p.m.

The three visitors on the tour, a 22-year-old woman from South Carolina, a 23-year-old man from New Jersey, and a 22-year-old man from New York, were treated by medics for non-life-threatening injuries.

The victim was identified as 51-year-old Sean King of Pāhoa. No foul play is suspected and an autopsy is being ordered to determine the exact cause of death. Detectives with the Criminal Investigation Section are investigating this as an unattended death.

Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Bobbie-Jo Sagon of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2375 or Bobbie-Jo.Sagon@hawaiicounty.gov.

PHOTO UPDATE: Missing Woman’s Friends, Co-Workers Express Concern

Kelly Mrowinski. PC: NBC

Kelly Mrowinski. PC: NBC

Kelly Mrowinski. PC: NBC

Kelly Mrowinski. PC: NBC

Kelly Mrowinski. PC: NBC

Kelly Mrowinski. PC: NBC

As the Hawai‘i Fire Department continues its search for Kelly Mrowinski, the traveling nurse from Chicago who was swept down the Wailuku River during a flash flood in Hilo on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, relatives provided photos and friends and co-workers expressed heartfelt concern about the beloved nurse.

Mrowinski, in her mid-20s, went missing around 4 p.m. on Friday.

“We are deeply concerned about our travel nurse, Kelly, who is missing in Hawai‘i, and are doing everything we can to help comfort the families involved,” said an Aya Healthcare spokesperson. “We’ve reached out to Kelly’s family as well as her travel partner and roommate who is also a travel nurse with Aya Healthcare. We can only imagine what they must be feeling right now and want to make sure that they know we’re here to help. We’ve offered our support and are doing everything we can to be of assistance at such a difficult time. Kelly, her family and friends are all in our thoughts and prayers.”

“Kelly is an absolute ray of sunshine whenever we work together,” said Mrowinski’s Aya Healthcare recruiter. “She is always upbeat and has an infectious laugh and positive outlook on life. Nothing gets her down and I admire her outgoing spirit. She has the heart of a true traveler and a real zest for life.”

“Kelly is such a beautiful person inside and out and has the biggest smile,” said a childhood classmate of Mrowinski’s, who is also an Aya Healthcare employee. “She’s very outgoing, energetic and friendly—always surrounded by loved ones, laughing and having a good time.”

RELATED LINK
UPDATE: Search Continues for Woman Swept Away in Flash Flood

Guide Dies During Lava Tour

NPS File photo.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department reports that one person passed away and three others were injured in the Kalapana Chain Of Craters Road area of the Big Island near the Kalapana lava viewing area near Royal Gardens.

HFD reports that four people were overcome by a noxious steam cloud while on a guided hiking tour near the lava flow.

While on their tour, it rained, which created a noxious steam cloud that quickly surrounded them, affecting their vision and breathing.

The initial HFD call came in as four persons trapped in a noxious steam cloud.

The guide succumbed to the noxious effects of the cloud, while the other three people escaped.

The first unit on scene was Chopper 1 and they located the three people in a safe area.

Chopper 1 found the tour guide unresponsive in another location. He was air lifted to an awaiting ambulance crew.

After physical examination, it was determined that the victim was deceased.

Chopper 1 and Chopper 2 airlifted the three other people to safety; they sustained minor injuries and denied any further EMS services.

BIPC Call for Scholarship Applicants

The Big Island Press Club (BIPC) announces the availability of scholarships for students pursuing higher education in journalism and related careers. Last year, BIPC awarded a total of $4,600 to six Hawai‘i Island students at its annual scholarship dinner.

Application deadline is Monday, April 2, 2018. To qualify applicants must:

  • Have Big Island residential ties
  • Demonstrate an interest in journalism or related career
  • Be enrolled as a full-time student and show a record of academic achievement.

Annually BIPC offers scholarships honoring past Big Island journalists and advocates. The awards include the Robert C. Miller Memorial Scholarship, the Bill Arballo Scholarship, the Marcia Reynolds Scholarship, the Yukino Fukubori Memorial Scholarship, the Jack Markey Memorial Scholarship and the Hugh Clark Scholarship. Awards are determined by the BIPC Scholarship Committee to qualified applicants.

Past BIPC scholarship winners include Hawai‘i Tribune Herald reporter John Burnett, Waiākea High School graduate and Wall Street Journal writer Grad Alex Bitter, HMSA Senior Vice President Elisa Yadao, owner of Hiehie Communiications Ilihia Gionson, Legislative Assistant to District 3 Peter Sur and retired newspaper and radio reporter Chris Loos.

Applications must be postmarked by Monday, April 2, 2018, and announcement of winners will be at the BIPC Annual Scholarship dinner to be held in May.

Applications are available at the BIPC website. For more information email: scholarships@bigislandpressclub.org or call BIPC Treasurer, Robert Duerr (808) 937-9104.

Founded in 1967, the BIPC is the state’s oldest and most active media organization in the state of Hawai‘i.

BIPC also announces its annual the Lava Tube and the Torch of Light awards annually on Freedom of Information Day, March 16, the birthday of James Madison. For further information visit the Big Island Press Club website.

Governor Ige Delivers State of the State Address

Governor David Ige. State of Hawai’i Governor’s Office photo

Governor David Ige delivered his fourth State of the State Address today and touched on key areas including the high cost of living, homelessness, and unemployment. Gov. Ige did not speak about the false ballistic missile alert that went out to people in Hawaiʻi on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018.

“The State of our State is strong,” he said. “We are a resilient people and the future is bright.”

Gov. Ige touched on his successes as being Hawaiʻi’s governor and what improvements still need to be made.

“So many of us are living paycheck to paycheck, relying heavily on our extended family to make ends meet,” he said. “Owning a home, is out of reach for many families, with housing costs rising faster than wages.”

Gov. Ige also mentioned that traffic is affecting families and the quality of life, and that “the growing gap between those doing well and those who are not should concern all of us.”

Ige pointed to a number of his administration’s key accomplishments including:

  • Exceeding the orignal goal of adding air conditioning to 1,000 Hawai‘i classrooms; ” we exceeded our original goal, and we’re at 1,200 classrooms and counting.”
  • The state is on track to meet its goal of adding 10,000 new housing units by 2020, at least 40% of which are affordable
  • Homelessness is down 9% statewide – the first decline in eight years.

In his address, Gov. Ige recognized various Big Island community members and companies including:

  • Hawai‘i Island farmer Richard Ha (see Climate Change below)
  • Hu Honua Power Plant on the Big Island (see Climate Change below)
  • Big Island’s Tina Fitch and her start-up Switchfly (see Business Innovators below)

He also noted that “Hawai‘i will not stand for the hateful and hurtful policies of the Trump White House.” Adding that the state is doing more than any other state to stand up for what is right including DACA and the Paris Climate Accord. He said Hawai‘i is trying to stop what is wrong, “such as the travel ban and stopping transgender members of the military from defending the flag.”

Below is a text of the Governor’s address with highlights of each topic that was brought up.

Employment and Unemployment Rate

“We have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. We are strong financially. Our bond rating is the highest it’s ever been in our history, making it possible for us to get the most bang for our buck when we borrow money.

This saves the state tens of millions of dollars, allowing us to make critical investments in our schools, housing and highways.

Even though tourism is up and unemployment is low, many of our residents are living paycheck to paycheck, one health emergency or car repair away from a crisis.

Some people may have two or three jobs to make ends meet. The challenge is not just creating jobs, it’s about creating quality jobs and the training to go with them.

I’m working to transform our economy to give residents a diversity of employment opportunities that pay higher wages and lead to a better quality of life.

ʻOhana also means that you should be able to put food on the table and be home with your family to eat it. That means jobs that pay well and commutes that work.

Governor David Ige meets with community members at Thursday’s community lava meeting, held at the Pahoa High School cafeteria. Photo credit: Christopher Yoakum.

Education

“I also promised to empower our schools so they can focus on 21st century skills and critical learning. In meetings around the state, community members, teachers, staff and principals expressed frustration about top-down mandates and a one-size-fits-all approach to schools.

And so, with more than 3,000 parents, teachers and community members from around the state, we created a new Blueprint for Education.

This blueprint for change is now in the hands of new DOE leadership.

I also recognized that it is not enough just to say to our teachers, “We respect how hard you work.” That’s why, we have given our educators the pay raises they have long deserved.

My grandparents came to Hawaiʻi in search of opportunities. It is not acceptable to me that many of our kids are essentially becoming immigrants in other places because we don’t have the opportunities here.

While there is more to do, I am proud of what we have accomplished. We have more Early College programs so high school students can earn college credits, saving families money and making it easier to graduate with degrees.

We expanded campuses and offer more courses at UH West Oʻahu and Palamanui. The creation of Hawai‘i’s Promise scholarships helps to pay for the costs of attending UH community colleges.

The Entrepreneur’s Sandbox in Kaka‘ako brings start-ups together in one shared space and helps with loans and grants. We also founded the annual “hackathon” competition, which enlists hundreds of professional and amateur code writers to develop solutions for the state’s biggest information technology challenges.

We must prepare our young people for jobs in this sector and that means supporting STEM education, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math. The good news is that it is expanding at all levels.

The University of Hawaiʻi is one of the leaders in this work, with the Mānoa campus increasing its STEM graduates by more than a third in recent years and the community colleges tripling theirs.

Also helping to train students in our schools are partners like DevLeague, a computer programming and coding academy, founded by two local software engineers. They are working with the DOE and private foundations.

Together, they are teaching high school students advanced coding and cyber security. We’d like to recognize DevLeague’s founders, Jason Sewell and Russel Cheng.

To be sure that workers in Hawai‘i’s existing industries aren’t left behind, we’ve made available a wide variety of vocational training opportunities through the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

These programs match training with current job openings in fields ranging from computer science and shipyard welding to banking and food safety.

And within state government, as we ride the wave of modernization, we remain fully committed to retraining every worker to use the new computer systems and technology tools. Technology helps us be more responsive to the public we serve.

Homelessness

For those who want to live in Hawai‘i, probably no issue is more challenging than finding a decent, affordable place to live. And probably no issue challenges us as a society more than the daily sight of those who are now living on our streets and in our parks.

We have dedicated more money to mental health treatment and services, including to our homeless population.

We have initiated the largest annual increase in production of affordable housing with thousands of new units.

We’re on track to meet our goal of 10,000 new housing units by 2020, with at least 40% affordable.

I’m requesting $100 million to maintain the momentum and produce more affordable homes across the state.

Our “Housing First” policy focuses on transitional housing as a way to get people into permanent housing. The New Kaka‘ako Family Assessment Center moves families off the streets and into permanent housing in less than 90 days.

A “special team” in public housing reduced the vacant unit turnaround time from 267 days to just seven days.

And our landlord summits increased the number of landlords willing to rent to families transitioning out of homelessness.

Even in the tragedy that is homelessness, there are significant signs that these policies are starting to work. Homelessness is down 9% statewide – the first decline in eight years.

There’s more to be done for sure. We continue our efforts to offer services to those who have so far refused to leave the streets.

We have set aside monies in this year’s budget to support more progress on the homelessness front. Our budget request also includes $15 million in additional funding for Housing First initiatives, outreach services and maintaining safety in public places.

We also know how important community partners have been in tackling this challenge. Take Kahauiki Village, a permanent housing project for homeless families launched by local businessman and philanthropist Duane Kurisu. Duane brought together city, state, nonprofits and businesses to make the village a reality in record time. The first 30 families recently moved in.

Hawaiian Homes

It has been my firm belief that the state must remain committed to developing and delivering Hawaiian homelands to beneficiaries. In 2016, we provided $24 million in funding to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. This was the highest level of funding in the department’s 95-year history and more than double what had been set aside previously.

For its part, Hawaiian Home Lands has been ramping up development of vacant and turn-key lots. More than 220 lots were awarded in 2017 and that number will more than double in 2018.

We’ve also worked hard with the department to spend down federal funds and identify alternative sources of revenue that can be used to sustain the agency over time.

Traffic

I have three goals: get projects done quickly, get them done inexpensively, and get them done with minimal impact to the environment.

From zipper, shoulder lanes and other contraflow lanes, to safety around our public schools and truck-only routes, we are going to where the problems are. We’re reducing back-ups and bottlenecks – in West and Windward Oʻahu, Kahului, Lahaina, Līhuʻe, Hilo, Kona and other communities across the state.

Healthiest State in the Nation

“We are one of the healthiest states in the nation. People here live longer than anywhere else in the country.

We have led the nation in health insurance for decades, and in the current chaos, we stand firm in caring for each other.

Pacific Biodiesel’s Director of Operations Jenna Long and Agricultural Program Manager James Twigg-Smith explain to Governor Ige how the crushing mill, located on the lot adjacent to the refinery, fits into the Company’s sustainability model. Pacific Biodiesel photo.

Climate Change – “We depend too heavily on imported food and fuel”

We’re also making great strides in protecting our ʻāina and ocean resources.

To date, we have protected over 40,000 acres of watershed forests on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi and Hawaiʻi islands.

We helped preserve and protect Turtle Bay lands from development.

A joint agreement with the US Navy is helping us reach our renewable energy goals. And together, we’ve established guidelines to use recycled water on food crops.

Working with all of you here in the Legislature, we were able to provide tax credits for organic farmers, which means a healthier people and healthier lands.

You passed and I signed a law to abide by the Paris Climate Accord – the first state in the nation to do so. We understand deeply and fully what the future requires of us.

I also fought to give Native Hawaiians a seat at the table when it comes to the management of Papahānaumokuakea National Marine Monument. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is now a co- trustee of the monument.

Our goal of increasing local food production is another golden opportunity for Hawaiʻi. We are blessed with four growing seasons and a land-grant university with a College of Tropical Agriculture that has a long history of cutting-edge work.

With all these factors, Hawaiʻi can and must become the premier center for new agricultural technologies.

We already have ag tech startups going strong in Hawai‘i. One company that comes to mind is Smart Yields.

They help small and medium farmers to increase their production with data analytics and other tools. The company received international attention when it was chosen to be a part of the Vatican’s first tech accelerator focused on global food production.

At this time, I’d like to recognize Smart Yields CEO Vincent Kimura and his mentor, Hawai‘i Island farmer Richard Ha.

What we now need is the driver to make greater local food production possible. There is no better way than through our schools. I applaud the new leadership in the DOE’s Farm to School program, the leadership provided by Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, and the great cooperation of the Department of Agriculture and the State’s Procurement Office.

Clean energy is not only critical to air and water quality, it is important to our economy and our wallets as we work to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels imported from the mainland.

Working with the Legislature, I was the first governor to sign into law a bill requiring 100% of Hawai‘i’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2045. Again, this demonstrates what we can accomplish when we work together.

We want hydropower, sea water air conditioning, solar and wind energy, biomass and the fullest possible use of our waste streams. We celebrate the Hu Honua Power Plant on the Big Island as well as the new solar farms on other islands.

And this week we will join NRG Energy, Hawaiian Electric and Kamehameha Schools in celebrating three utility-scale solar projects on Oʻahu.

As a next step, we will grow a carbon market in Hawaiʻi. This way carbon polluters around the world can invest in restoring Hawaiʻi’s koa and ʻōhiʻa trees to offset their carbon emissions.

We want the brainpower and the imagination of the world to continue to come here. They can help us find our way to 100% renewable energy sources for electricity, and in doing so, help the world find its way to 100%. Let us take the billions we export for fossil fuels, spend it here, and then export the energy systems we develop.

We are dreaming big and creating the promise of limitless opportunities. Anything less means we are letting down the next generation.

The Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM) is this year’s recipient of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Pualu Award for Environmental Awareness.

Business Innovators

Hawai‘i has so much potential in this new globally connected world. We are already viewed as the ideal research base and testing ground for innovative, globally significant technologies such as telemedicine, smart cities, driverless vehicles and aquaculture.

Hawai‘i is a leader in solving the issues of our time. Much of what we do here in Hawai‘i is ground-breaking.

Hawai‘i is home to many talented individuals breaking new ground every day.

Hawai‘i is full of stories of business innovators blazing the trail to create new products and services.

The Big Island’s Tina Fitch turned her start-up Switchfly into a global software platform used by almost every major travel and hospitality company. Now, she’s returned home and started a second company, HobNob. I’d like to recognize Tina, who flew in to be with us this morning.

In our own state government, employees are helping us improve our services to the public every day.

One example is a team of young millennials known as “The Three Amigos” – Jodie Nakamura, Ryan Mercado and Liam Tobin – the wait time for workers’ comp hearings has been cut in half. This 2017 Team of the Year from the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations launched a project to digitize mountains of paperwork from some 20,000 claims a year.

They’re just a sampling of our homegrown talent. We just need to do more to create the supportive environment around them that will launch and sustain their careers here in the islands.

I hope you’ll leave today knowing that we have laid important groundwork and that Hawai‘i is on the edge of something exciting.

Elderly

We have always been a state that cares about the elderly. We are making good on that.

I am proud that together we were able to pass Kupuna Caregiver legislation that provides assistance for full-time family caregivers who also have full-time jobs. This is a win for Hawaiʻi’s families.

We also worked to make sure those who have served our state get to retire with the dignity they were promised and deserve. With the Legislature’s support, we took aggressive steps that will save us $1.6 billion over the next 20 years.

As our kūpuna have taught us, paying our bills, honoring our obligations and saving for the future is how we build a brighter future. And we have done that.

One value that has guided this administration is to not simply pass on our debts to our kids and grandkids.

Together we have made tremendous strides in this task – building our Rainy Day fund to $310 million.

We have gone after the tax cheats and collected millions from those who were not paying their fair share.

And we are working to modernize our tax collection system to make it easier and fairer for the people of Hawaiʻi.

We have made needed changes to improve the system so we can collect the tax revenues we rely on for state services. I believe we’re on the right track to accomplish this major task.

Governor David Ige and wife, Dawn Ige, march in the 52nd Merrie Monarch Festival Royal Parade Saturday morning. Photo credit: Tiffany Epping.

End of Speech

At the beginning of my speech, I said Hawaiʻi is a beautiful and complex place. I believe that is our gift to our children and to our future.

Imagine a future economy for Hawai‘i that isn’t reliant solely on tourism and the military. Imagine a future where local entrepreneurs are inventing useful products and services that are sold across the globe.

Imagine that we use our temperate weather and four growing seasons to develop new high- tech agricultural tools that increase yields for farmers from Hawai‘i to India.

Imagine that we farm our nearshore ocean waters, too, feeding our own communities and the growing global demand for seafood. And with these new businesses, there’s new demand for scientists, technicians and marketing professionals.

And what does this mean for the people of Hawai‘i? It means a healthier economy with quality jobs that enable us to improve our schools, take care of our kūpuna and provide more affordable housing.

This future Hawai‘i isn’t as far off as it seems. We’ve already set things in motion. We’ve put stakes in the ground and we’re making progress.

To face the challenges of the future, Hawai‘i must seize opportunities, embrace change and identify the game-changing steps we need to take.

Together, the possibilities are limitless. I believe the qualities we treasure most about Hawai‘i are what will draw our children back to us.

When I ran for Governor four years ago I wanted to take my lifetime of public service and fundamentally change the path we were taking.

I have committed my life to the people of this state.

No matter what challenges we face, no matter what frustrations or issues we have with one another, I find my strength and courage in our shared sense of unity.

Mahalo and Aloha.”

HVNP: What’s Open & Closed During Government Shutdown

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park announces that due to the lapse in federal appropriations and the ongoing eruption of Kīlauea Volcano both at the summit and from the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent, portions of the park are closed for visitor safety.

PC: NPS Janice Wei.

The open areas include Highway 11 through the park and Mauna Loa Road to Kīpukapuaulu (Kīpukapuaulu Trail, the day-use area and tree molds are open). Ka‘ū Desert Trail is open to the Footprints exhibit shelter. However, access may change without notice, and there are no NPS-provided services. Backcountry permits will not be issued and overnight camping will not be permitted.

Photo courtesy of Scott Cate .

The hazardous geologic processes and the immediate threats to visitor health and safety necessitate the restriction of access to areas that are volcanically active. These closed areas include the entire summit area of Kīlauea, Crater Rim Drive, Chain of Craters Road and the active lava flow within the park boundary.

Guests at Volcano House and Kīlauea Military Camp have 48 hours to depart by Monday morning, Jan. 22, 2018. Volcano Art Center Gallery is also closed.

The park reiterates that hazards associated with the active volcano pose a significant risk to the safety of visitors in the absence of National Park Service staff.

$86 Million Sought for Puna CIP Projects

Rep. Joy San Buenventura

Hawai‘i Rep. Joy San Buenventura submitted House Bill 1617 relating to Capital Improvement Projects, seeking to appropriate more than $86 million in funds to help with the Puna District of Hawai‘i.

“Its about time that the children of Pāhoa Elementary School have their own cafeteria,” said Rep. Buenventura. “Kids should not need to cross the street and share a cafeteria with the teenagers of Pāhoa High & Intermediate. With a growing population, Pāhoa Elementary School should have its own cafeteria. Pāhoa Intermediate School needs a covered play court—separate from the older children of Pāhoa High School. The Highway 130 four-lane project has been in the books for awhile and is already in the 2019 budget. Having it in this bill is a reminder to have it funded.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2018, the bill was introduced and it passed the first reading.

The following projects were included on HB1617 that Rep. Buenventura is seeking appropriations for.

Pāhoa Elementary School:

Design and construction to renovate restrooms:

  • Design $10,000
  • Construction $50,000

Total $60,000

Design and construction for campus-wide repair and maintenance projects to reroof buildings and repaint building interiors and exteriors:

  • Design $105,000
  • Construction $440,000

Total $545,000

Also included in the elementary school appropriation, $9 million for construction for a new cafeteria and administration building.

Total funding sought for Pāhoa Elementary School: $9.605 million.

Pāhoa High and Intermediate Schools:

Plan, design, construction and equipment for a covering for the middle school play court:

  • Plans $100,000
  • Design $100,000
  • Construction $500,000
  • Equipment $300,000

Total $1 million

Plans, design, construction and equipment for a covered courtyard next to the gym:

  • Plans $10,000
  • Design $10,000
  • Construction $50,000
  • Equipment $30,000

Total $100,000

Plans, design, construction and equipment for a covered walkway from the cafeteria to the upper portables:

  • Plans $30,000
  • Design $30,000
  • Construction $150,000
  • Equipment $90,000

Total $300,000

Plans, design, construction and equipment to upgrade the track field:

  • Plans $1.5 million
  • Design $1.5 million
  • Construction $7.5 million
  • Equipment $4.5 million

Total $15 million

Total funding sought for Pāhoa High and Intermediate Schools: $16.4 million.

Highway 130 Map provided by Kea‘au-Pahoa Advisory Group (KPAG).

The bill also would appropriate $15 million for construction of a “Highway 130 Bypass Road” between Milo Street and Hawaiian Paradise Park as an alternate to Highway 130.

Also included in the initial version of the bill is $40 million for Highway 130 road improvements so  construction to expand the highway from two to four lanes or alternate alignments in that corridor between Kea‘au and Pāhoa can be completed.

Total funding sought for Highway 130 projects: $55 million.

Finally, the bill includes $5 million to plan, design, construct and for land acquisition for a wastewater treatment plant:

  • Plans $600,000
  • Design $750,000
  • Construction $1.75 million
  • Land acquisition $1.9 million

Total Funding: $5 million

Total funding requested for appropriation in HB1617: $86,005 million

Residents wishing to submit testimony, may do so online.

High Wind and High Surf Warning

The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning and Advisory for Hawai‘i Island for Thursday, Jan. 18, through tomorrow night Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.

A High Wind Warning means maximum sustained winds of up to 40 mph with higher gusts and locally damaging winds. The highest winds are expected to occur in the district of Kohala. Hāmakua, Hilo, Puna, Ka‘ū and the summit areas may also experience high winds.

Due to the warning and advisory, the following are issued:

  • Owners of small boats and aircraft should take measures to secure their crafts.
  • Exercise extreme caution with all coastal and ocean activities as winds will generate rough and choppy conditions.
  • Residents and property owners should take action to secure loose outdoor objects before winds increase.
  • If you have outdoor plans today, be prepared for very windy conditions.
  • As in all high wind conditions, do expect possibility of power, phone, and internet interruptions
  • Motorists should be on the alert for debris on the roadways caused by the winds.

In addition, the National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Advisory for the shorelines of Kohala, Hāmakua, Hilo, Puna and Ka‘ū.

A High Surf Advisory means there is a threat to life and property from the surf. Oceanfront residents, all ocean activities, and beachgoers are advised to be on the alert for possible strong currents and breaking waves.

You are urged to take precautions to prepare for these conditions.

Gov. Ige: False Alert ‘Will Never Happen Again’

Hawai‘i Gov. David Ige issued a message to residents and visitors of Hawai‘i on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 1:07 p.m., the day after an erroneous message was sent by the state’s emergency management agency, warning of an incoming ballistic missile.

“On Saturday, Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors experienced an unfortunate situation that has never happened before and will never happen again—a false alert issued by the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency that a ballistic missile was on its way to the Hawaiian Islands.

“On behalf of the State of Hawai‘i, I deeply apologize for this false alert that created stress, anxiety and fear of a crisis in our residents and guests.

“I can personally assure each and every resident and visitor that steps have already been taken by the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency to ensure that a situation of this type never happens again.

“The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency is committed to protecting the people of Hawai‘i, and over the past year it has been taking responsible measures to prepare for the highly unlikely event of a missile attack. As a state government, we must learn from this unfortunate error and continue to prepare for any safety threat to Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors—whether it is a man-made threat or a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tsunami.

“In the next few days, I will continue meeting with our emergency preparedness team and personally talking with families, individuals and leaders from around our state to ensure we reach every household. We must also do what we can to demand peace and a de-escalation of tensions with North Korea.

“Again, on behalf of the State of Hawai‘i, I apologize for yesterday’s events and any hardship and inconvenience this created for you, your family and loved ones.”

During a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 13, 2018, Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige said he is “angry and disappointed” following a false alarm notification issued by the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), warning the public of an incoming ballistic missile.

HI-EMA confirmed that there was no ballistic missile and that there were no computer hacks to its system. The message was sent out due to human error, according to authorities.

HI-EMA Administrator Vern Miyagi said he “deeply apologizes” for the incident, adding that he accepts responsibility because it was “his team” that was involved.

HI-EMA officials said they have already taken measures to ensure that an incident such as the one that occurred this morning does not happen again. HI-EMA has also started a review of cancellation procedures to inform the public immediately if a cancellation is warranted.

“We understand that false alarms such as this can erode public confidence in our emergency notification systems,” HI-EMA officials said. “We understand the serious nature of the warning alert systems and the need to get this right 100% of the time.”

“I know first-hand how today’s false alarm affected all of us here in Hawaiʻi, and I am sorry for the pain and confusion it caused,” said Gov. Ige. “I, too, am extremely upset about this and am doing everything I can do to immediately improve our emergency management systems, procedures and staffing,”

On the recommendations of Miyagi, the governor has suspended all future drills until HI-EMA has completed a full analysis of the event.

HI-EMA has already instituted a two-person activation/verification rule for tests as well as actual missile launch notifications.

An automatic cancellation command that that can be triggered within seconds of an error has been put in place.

This is the process that HI-EMA is currently reviewing:

Expanding notification processes for Hawaiʻi’s Congressional delegations, county mayors and key staff.

A formal preliminary report of findings and corrective actions will be issued next week.

According to HI-EMA officials, in the case of an actual event, it would take 20 minutes from launch to impact for a missile from North Korea to reach Hawaiʻi.

Authorities would spend the first five minutes characterizing the launch to determine the missile’s path. Once it is determined that is incoming to Hawaiʻi, the warning point person has the authority to press the button to initiate public notification.

If an actual threat exists and the public notification has been issued, residents and visitors of Hawai‘i would have an estimated 11 to 13 minutes to get inside, stay inside and stay informed.

The federal government’s Ready.org website offers guidelines on what to do before, during and after a nuclear blast.

RELATED LINKS

NO INCOMING BALLISTIC MISSILE: FALSE ALARM
Gov. Ige Statement on False Alarm
Hawai‘i Reacts to Ballistic Missile False Alarm
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority on Ballistic Missile False Alarm
Hawai‘i Emergency Management Attributes False Alarm to Human Error

Gov. Ige Statement on Today’s False Alarm

Hawai‘i Gov. Ige released the following statement after meetings and debriefings with leaders at the Department of Defense and Hawai‘i Emergency Management after today’s false alarm to an incoming ballistic missile:

Today is a day most of us will never forget. A terrifying day when our worst nightmares appeared to become a reality. A day where we frantically grabbed what we could, tried to figure out how and where to shelter and protect ourselves and our ‘ohana, said our “I love yous,” and prayed for peace.

I know firsthand how today’s false notification affected all of us here in Hawai‘i, and I am sorry for the pain and confusion it caused. I, too, am extremely upset about this and am doing everything I can to immediately improve our emergency management systems, procedures and staffing.

I have spent the morning with Gen. Logan, Hi-EMA Administrator Vern Miayagi and their teams and have directed that they make immediate changes. We are doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from happening again.

I encourage all of us to take stock, determine what we all can do better to be prepared in the future – as a state, county and in our own households. We must also do what we can to demand peace and a de-escalation with North Korea, so that warnings and sirens can become a thing of the past.

Governor David Ige

NO INCOMING BALLISTIC MISSILE: FALSE ALARM

VIDEO: Damon Tucker interviews Mayor Harry Kim.

UPDATE: Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, 11:13 a.m.

Maui County Emergency Management Agency Officer Herman Andaya told Big Island Now just before 11 a.m. today that the incident occurred during a shift change at the State of Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency in Honolulu.

It is the State of Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency that sounds these alerts, Andaya said.

There are three shift changes throughout day at HEMA, operating 24/7, he said.

“They have procedures in place,” Andaya said. “They go through a drill of what to do at every shift change.”

“It is our understanding that at the 8 a.m. shift change, someone ‘hit the wrong button’—erroneously sounding the alert,” he said.

“The false alarm is still under investigation by the State of Hawaii,” Andaya said. “Although it was a false alarm, we should take this opportunity to prepare ourselves for such emergencies. Our residents should remember that if this was an actual ballistic missile attack, the public is advised to get inside, stay inside and stay informed.”

The public should also be reminded that prior to an emergency, make a plan, create an emergency kit and stay informed (see “EMERGENCY KIT RECOMMENDATIONS” below).

A guidance summary of what to do in the event of an actual attack can be found online.

UPDATE: 10:43 a.m.

The following is a statement by Sen. J. Kalani English, Senate Majority Leader, on today’s false ballistic threat alarm:

“The events surrounding this morning’s false alarm regarding a “ballistic missile threat to Hawaiʻi” is both unfortunate and very unacceptable. The Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (Civil Defense) and the United States Pacific Command Center have confirmed that there is no threat to our islands.

“I am outraged that a mistake of this magnitude occurred. The initial alert was sent out via Civil Defense at 8:15am HST and it took the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency over 38 minutes to clarify that the “alarm” was inadvertent and indeed a mistake. The panic and pandemonium that many in Hawaiʻi experienced was unwarranted and completely unnecessary.

“I will be working with my colleagues in the Legislature to investigate into this matter and to provide the proper oversight to ensure that our state emergency alert system is properly functioning. We need to ensure that this never happens again and I am committed to doing so.”

UPDATE: 9:28 a.m.

Gov. David Ige is meeting this morning with top officials of the State Department of Defense and the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency to determine what caused this morning’s false alarm and to prevent it from happening again.

“While I am thankful this morning’s alert was a false alarm, the public must have confidence in our emergency alert system. I am working to get to the bottom of this so we can prevent an error of this type in the future,” said Gov. Ige.

House of Representatives Speaker Scott K. Saiki released the following statement after the false missile alarm:

“This system we have been told to rely upon failed and failed miserably today. I am deeply troubled by this misstep that could have had dire consequences. Measures must be taken to avoid further incidents that caused wholesale alarm and chaos today.

“Clearly, government agencies are not prepared and lack the capacity to deal with emergency situations. Apparently, the wrong button was pushed and it took over 30 minutes for a correction to be announced. Parents and children panicked during those 30 minutes.

“The Hawai‘i House of Representatives will immediately investigate what happened and there be consequences. This cannot happen again.”

News sources have simply reported that “the wrong button was pushed.”

ORIGINAL POST: Saturday, Jan. 13, 8:10 a.m.

The alert sent out at 8:07 a.m. is an official false alarm, according to Hawai‘i County Civil Defense.

According to a police officer interviewed by Big Island Now Reporter Damon Tucker in front of Hawai‘i County Civil Defense headquarters, the alarm was sent in error. It was supposed to be a scheduled test.

At 8:36 a.m., the COUNTY OF HAWAI‘I Civil Defense issued this information: “Please disregard message of nuclear attack. There is NO THREAT of Missile Launch at this time.”

The alert said, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawai‘i. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”

A disaster alert was sent out at 8:07 a.m. About 30 minutes later, officials released information about the false alarm.

In the meantime, there was no additional information available on radio or TV, and none was provided to the media by official outlets.

No warning sirens were sounded throughout the state.

It has been reported that an incoming missile from North Korea could reach Hawai‘i in 15 to 20 minutes. The state has no nuclear shelters.
As tensions between the US and North Korea continue to escalate, Hawai‘i has resumed the monthly tests at 11:45 a.m. on the first business day of every month to inform its residents of an impending nuclear attack.
The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency said that the monthly tests are intended to update the population on what the agency is doing to “prepare our state for a nuclear threat.”

However, authorities say the possibility of a North Korean nuclear strike is unlikely.

In response to BigIslandNow.com’s disaster alert post, Facebook post and video post, Big Islanders expressed their concerns along with gratitude for the information—especially the false alarm notice:
The frightening part… we believed it, because our leadership has been so incredibly poor.
The concern here is that citizens will now be conditioned to respond ineffectively in the event of a true emergency. Major fail.
Sounds like some emergency official types need to be sent packing.
If Trump pushes the big red button on this mishap, there’s no turning back. We want PEACE.
No the statement they MEANT to issue was, “We cannot apologize enough for the costly mistake of issuing a false nuclear missile alarm to the citizens of Hawaii. We are looking into this matter and will ensure it will not repeat in the future.” You don’t just tell people to DISREGARD after all that mayhem. An apology is due IMMEDIATELY!
I called my sis right away crying scared. I still cannot breathe have a knot on my entire body. This is totally unacceptable. They need to take this seriously.
I hope they will track ER visits for cardiac events this week. Spoken from a 9/11 mental health provider, cortisol levels for the entire state just sky-rocketed. There will certainly be medical fallout that should be documented.
I am extremely surprised how sporadic coverage was on the local radio and tv during the alert! In such circumstances, black out all programmed shows and set alert message(s) on repeat or switch to local news reporter!
Sounds like a scare tactic. Someone’s head should roll.
Wow that’s a big mistake!
Appreciate you reporting the news as I couldn’t find it anywhere and no other messages came over our phone.
Radio stations need a live body to make intercede recorded programming.
 It shows how many people are not prepared.
Someone needs to be fired!
FALSE ALARM=HEART ATTACK
Prayers.
Thank God!

If this was an actual warning, not a false alarm, Hawai‘i residents and visitors should immediately seek shelter. Again, the state has no nuclear fallout shelters.

EMERGENCY KIT RECOMMENDATIONS

  • 14 days of food, water and medications:
  • One gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation.
  • Nonperishable food.
  • Manual can opener.
  • Battery-powered or solar-powered radio with extra batteries.
  • Important documents in a sealed plastic bag:
  • Identification.
  • Debit and credit card information.
  • Banking information.
  • All insurance information.
  • Healthcare directives.
  • Copy of property title/deeds.
  • Copy of prescriptions and dosages.
  • Phone list of family and important numbers.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Plastic bag and ties for personal sanitation.
  • Matches, blankets and tarps.
  • First-aid kit.
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Personal hygiene items:
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Soap and shampoo.
  • Antibacterial hand wipes.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Deodorant.
  • Eyecare (if needed).
  • Moisturizing lotion.
  • Extra cash in small bills.

Contact your emergency management/county civil defense agency to report siren operation issues:

Hawai‘i County: (808) 935-0031
Maui County: (808) 270-7285
City and County of Honolulu: (808) 723-8960
Kaua‘i County: (808) 241-1800

RELATED LINK
Hawai‘i Completes First Attack Warning Test Since Cold War

Almost Half in Hawai‘i Unable to Pay for Basic Necessities

The Aloha United Way, with the help of sponsors, Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Bank of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Community Foundation and Kamehameha Schools, released its United Way Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) Report – Hawai‘i, during a press conference at the state Capitol on O‘ahu. The press conference was attended by top business executives and state Department of Health Director Virginia Pressler.

The ALICE report press conference was attended by top business executives and state Department of Health Director Virginia Pressler. Courtesy photo.

ALICE represents hardworking people that interact with others every day, the report disclosed. They are the people of our community who are child care providers, wait staff, cashiers, teaching assistants and others that work one, two or even three jobs yet still remain only one crisis away from being at greater risk of chronic health issues or loss of housing.

ALICE have income above the federal poverty level, but not enough to afford basic necessities including housing, child care, food, transportation and health care.

In Hawai‘i, there are 165,013 ALICE households (37% of total households) while another 47,066 households, (11% of total households), live below the federal poverty level. In total, 48% of Hawai‘i households are ALICE and below.

Everyone was ALICE, is ALICE, or knows ALICE. ALICE is a vital part of our community. When ALICE struggles we are all impacted, the report said. The consequences to the community are increased healthcare and infrastructure costs, increased employee absenteeism, higher insurance premiums, reduced economic productivity and much more.

“ALICE individuals and families constitute over one-third of Hawai’i’s population, and it is essential to the well-being of our state that we recognize their presence, acknowledge their struggles, and offer support and services that will help,” said Aloha United Way President and CEO Cindy Adams. “The report allows us to identify their challenges and, through cross-sector coalition-building, work toward solutions that are effective, sustainable and long-lasting.”

This report is a call to action to inform statewide policy, philanthropy and allocation of resources.

For more information and to view of a copy of the full report, visit Aloha United Way.