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Big Island Police Identify Man in Keaau Fatal Accident

Police have identified the man who died from injuries sustained in a single-vehicle crash Monday (May 22) on Highway 11, merging from the Keaʻau bypass (Highway 130) in Keaʻau.

He was identified as 71- year-old Ulysses Guillermo of Hilo.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Keith Nacis at 961-8119. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

Update on Today’s Fatality in Keaau

A man died following a one-vehicle crash this morning (May 22) in Keaʻau.

His name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of his family.

Responding to an 8:06 a.m. call, police determined that a 1998 Toyota truck was traveling Hilo bound, merging from the Keaʻau bypass (Highway 130) onto Highway 11 when the driver lost control, ran up an embankment and overturned.

The man died on the scene and was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 11:02 a.m.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Keith Nacis at 961-8119. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the 16th traffic fatality this year compared with 10 at this time last year.

Puna Community Meeting on Transportation Options

The public is invited to learn about new rideshare technologies using a smartphone that can provide Puna with much needed jobs and rides. Council member Jen Ruggles will be hosting a community meeting on new transportation opportunities this Thursday, May 25th at 6pm at the Keaau Community Center.

“Dependable, safe, and convenient transportation is a critical need in our district,” said Ms. Ruggles, “there is a public transportation planning process currently underway. In order for Puna’s complex needs to be met we need to improve our bus system and welcome alternative transportation methods.”

Hawaii County’s new director of Mass Transit, Curtis Sharp, will also be there to give an update on the status of the bus system, the new master plan, and to answer questions. Representatives from transportation network companies Uber and Lyft, who have already started recruiting drivers on the Big Island, will give a short presentation and answer questions.

“Considering half our bus fleet is out of service, we have an exciting new opportunity with Uber and Lyft just coming to the Big Island. I want to make sure the community has a chance to take full advantage of it.”

Snacks and refreshments will be provided. For more information contact the office of Jen Ruggles at 808-961-8263.

Man Dies in Keaau Accident

I just drove by the following scene and this is the Hawaii Fire Department press release on what happened.

Situation Found at Scene:

Found 1 male unresponsive with weak pulse and not breathing, with massive head injury. Vehicle flipped on the drivers side, with driver partially pinned in vehicle.

Photo by Craig Watanabe

Cause:
Motor Vehicle Accident

Remarks:
Upon arrival found 1 male driver unresponsive with weak pulse and massive head injury, utilized extrication and stabilization tools to safely extricate patient.  After extrication, patient examined with no signs of life, base station MD notified. Patient left on scene in HPD custody who will await body removal.

HPD and Hwy. Division on scene for clean up and traffic control.

Big Island Police Identify Man Killed in Keaau Car Crash

Police have identified the man who died from injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash Sunday night (May 14) on Highway 130, near the Shower Drive and Pōhaku Drive intersection in Keaʻau.
He was identified through fingerprints as 31-year-old Travis Serquina of Keaʻau.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Erhard Autrata at 961-8118. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion Update

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) provides the following update on the Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion, Phase 2, Shower Drive Intersection Improvements project. Work has temporarily been stopped and is anticipated to resume in early June.

Keaau to Pahoa Highway Map Plans from a few years ago.

Construction has been temporarily stopped as HDOT is in the process of obtaining a new permit for this project which is designed to improve traffic flow in Puna through the installation of a permanent north bound shoulder lane and a temporary south bound shoulder lane between mile posts 4.15 and 4.25 of Keaau-Pahoa Road (Highway 130) and installation of a traffic signal at the Keaau-Pahoa Road/Shower Drive intersection. The Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion, Phase 2, Shower Drive Intersection Improvements project also involves relocation of water system facilities and utility poles as well as installation of pavement markings, striping, and signage.

The contractor for Phase 2 began work in January 2017 using a permit that was obtained for Phase 1 of the shoulder lane conversion project. This permit expired during the Phase 2 construction. HDOT anticipates receiving the new permit within 40 days and is revising the estimated completion date for this project to mid-November.

Further updates will be available on the HDOT Highways Division website (http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/) under the Major Projects tab.

Hawaii Civil Defense Lava Flow Update

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) reports the active lava flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the East Rift Zone is entering the ocean at Kamokuna located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Additional surface flows are active near Puʻu ʻŌʻō and more recently moving beyond the National Park eastern boundary onto private property near the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. Bright incandescence is visible from the active lava flow field, and the lava flow does not pose a threat to any community at this time.

This image is from a research camera positioned on Holei Pali, looking east towards Lava Flow 61G and Kalapana.

To maintain public safety and to extend the use of the emergency road or Highway 130, the County of Hawai‘i opened the emergency road to lava viewing since June 30, 2016. Vehicular traffic on the emergency road is limited to local residents and emergency vehicles, and is being monitored by security guards posted along the viewing area. The road is unpaved and surrounded on all sides by rough lava flows on private property. Public access is restricted to the graded roadway and viewers are asked to please respect private property and the rights of local residents.

The “firehose flow” at Kīlauea Volcano’s Kamokuna ocean entry was clearly visible from the public lava viewing area established by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The viewing area is 800 meters (about one-half mile) from the ocean entry, but affords excellent views of the lava flow. HVO Photo

Visitors need to be aware of the following reminders:

  • Viewing area hours are from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily, with the last car allowed to park at 9:00 p.m.
  • It is about 8.5 miles round-trip from end of the pavement on Highway 130 to the ocean entry at Kamokuna and back. The flow can be seen starting from just beyond the parking lot all along the viewing area route.
  • Restroom facilities are limited and lack running water.
  • All members of your party should dress appropriately with boots or sturdy, covered shoes, long pants and a hat.
  • Be prepared for rain, wind, sun, heat and dust exposure.
  • Bring lots of water (1-2 liters per person), there is no potable water available.
  • Bring a flashlight for walking at night.

Our goal is to maintain public safety, protect the interests of Kalapana residents, and extend the use of the emergency road or Highway 130.  We ask for your patience and kokua (help).

Partial Road Closure of Highway 130 (Hilo Bound Lane) Next Week

Hawaii Electric Light announces the partial closure of the Hilo-bound lanes on Keaau-Pahoa Road from Monday, Feb. 6, to Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017.

The makai side of the road, about 1,000 feet before Shower Drive, will be closed to traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Pahoa-bound lanes on the mauka side of the road will be open for two-way traffic flow. Traffic control officers will be on site. Motorists are advised to drive with caution and plan for delays.

This week, Hawaii Electric Light crews installed four hurricane-class transmission poles ranging from 75-90 feet and weighing up to six tons. Next week, crews will complete the transfer of power lines and equipment from the existing poles to the new poles. The completion will allow the state of Hawaii to install traffic signals at the intersection of Keaau-Pahoa Road and Shower Drive as part of its road widening improvement project.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Big Island Police Identify Victim in Thursday’s Crash in Pahoa

Hawaiʻi Island police have identified the man who died from injuries sustained in a two- vehicle crash Thursday night (January 5) on Highway 130, between Leilani Avenue and Malama Street in Pāhoa.
He was identified through fingerprints as 37-year-old Michael Simmons of O’Brien, Oregon.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Erhard Autrata at 961-8118. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

Man Dies in Two-Vehicle Crash on Highway 130

An unidentified man died following a two-vehicle crash Thursday night (January 5) in Pāhoa. His name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of his family.

Responding to a 6:54 p.m. call, police determined that a 2004 Ford pickup truck had been heading Kalapana-bound on Highway 130 between Leilani Avenue and Malama Street and had been making a U-turn in the roadway when it was struck by a 1998 Ford passenger van traveling Pāhoa-bound.

The unidentified man was a back-seat passenger of the pickup. Medics took him to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 7:55 p.m.

An adult female back-seat passenger of the pickup was also taken to Hilo Medical Center by medics and was being treated for her injuries. She remains in stable condition.

The driver of the pickup, a 74-year old Pāhoa woman, was treated for her injuries at the scene.

The front-seat passenger of the van, a 7-year old Pāhoa girl, was taken to Hilo Medical Center by medics and then flown in stable condition to Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu.

The back-seat passenger of the van, a 65-year old Pāhoa woman, was taken by medics to Hilo Medical Center for treatment of her injuries. She remains in stable condition.

The driver of the passenger van, 30-year-old Justin Clark of Pāhoa, was arrested for DUI, driving without a license and driving without insurance. Police took him to Hilo Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.

After conferring with the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, police released Clark pending further investigation.

Police have initiated a negligent homicide investigation in connection with this crash. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Police believe that alcohol and speed were factors in this crash.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Erhard Autrata at 961-8118. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the first traffic fatality this year compared with none at this time last year.

Hawaii State Highway Bonds Sale Secures $247 Million, Saves State More Than $22 Million

On Aug. 10, 2016, the State of Hawai‘i successfully sold $204.485 million in Highway Revenue Bonds at the lowest interest rate in the history of the state’s Highway Revenue Bond Program. The sale raised $247.581 million.

Highways DivisionApproximately $120 million of the bond sale proceeds will be used to fund various highway projects throughout the state and about $127 million of the proceeds will be used to refinance existing state bonds. The refinancing will reduce debt service payments and save more than $22 million in interest costs.

“This financing is a tremendous success for the state, enabling continued investment in our infrastructure at a very affordable borrowing cost,” said Gov. David Ige. The low interest rates achieved demonstrate bond investors’ confidence in Hawai‘i’s economic strength and its continued practice of sound fiscal management. This is the result of years of discipline and conservative fiscal management.”

Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service and Fitch Ratings affirmed the state’s strong bond ratings of “Aa2”, “AA+” and “AA,” respectively. Each rating agency also attached “stable” outlooks on their ratings, indicating secure future economic and financial trends for Hawai‘i. Rating agencies cited the stability and diversity of revenue streams that are pledged as security for the bonds, as one of the key strengths of the credit.  Other strengths cited include strong legal provisions, high debt service coverage, and stable revenue trends, particularly in those sectors that are less reliant on economic activity.

The marketing plan for the bonds included investor presentations, both in-person in Hawai‘i and on the mainland, as well as internet-based presentations and conference calls. The extended marketing generated strong demand for the bonds from institutional investors.

There was very strong demand for the bonds by both Hawai‘i and national investors. Orders for the bonds amounted to 4.5 times the amount available for sale. The strong demand resulted in net interest rates on the bonds that ranged from 0.50 to 2.50 percent, with the average net interest rate less than 2.25 percent. This is the lowest rate the state has achieved since starting the Highway Revenue Bond Program in 1993.

“The success of the recent bond sale and the low interest rate on the offering is due in no small part to the hard work of the Highways Division in adhering to its sound fiscal and debt management policies,” said Ford Fuchigami, director, Hawai‘i  Department of Transportation. “We are extremely pleased with the demand for the bonds and the needed infusion of capital the Highways Division will receive from the sale.”

The bonds were sold by a financing team led by Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, serving as book-running senior manager and Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo Securities, serving as co-senior managers.

Rangers Urge Park Visitors to View Latest Lava Flows from Safe Distance

The newest lava from Kīlauea volcano is drawing visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, as flows from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent in the remote east rift zone stream down the Pulama Pali, spread onto the coastal lava plain and slowly advance towards the Pacific Ocean.

Photos from the end of Chain of Craters Road within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by NPS Volunteer Eric Fandrick

Photos from the end of Chain of Craters Road within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by NPS Volunteer Eric Fandrick

Although portions of the flows are within the park, the closest viewing is from the County of Hawai‘i Kalapana Lava Viewing Area off Highway 130, near the eastern border of Hawai‘i Volcanoes. The viewing area is open daily from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

From the park side, the easiest vantage point to view the flows, dubbed “61G” by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, is at the end of Chain of Craters Road, past the Hōlei Sea Arch, where the pavement ends and the gravel emergency access road begins. The park is open 24 hours a day.

Park rangers do not encourage visitors to hike out to the lava flows from either side, but to instead view them from a safe distance. From the park side, hikers can expect a grueling 10-mile roundtrip hike over very uneven and sharp lava rock terrain riddled with earth cracks. There is no trail, and it’s easy to get lost after dark.

“There’s definitely been an increase in injuries since the 61G lava activity amplified,” said Chief Ranger John Broward. “We responded to calls about turned ankles, lacerations, dehydration, and disoriented visitors in the coastal lava plains all weekend. It’s exceedingly important to plan ahead, have proper footwear, and bring plenty of water, or better yet, enjoy the show from the end of the road on either side,” he said.

Photos from the end of Chain of Craters Road within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by NPS Volunteer Eric Fandrick

Photos from the end of Chain of Craters Road within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by NPS Volunteer Eric Fandrick

Volcanic gas is another hazard, particularly to people with heart or respiratory problems, and infants, young children and pregnant women. If air irritates smells bad or makes breathing difficult, Broward said visitors should leave the area.

Although hikers are walking along the gravel road constructed as an emergency access route to access the flows, park management does not encourage its use.

For hiking tips, visit the park website https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/Hiking-Tips.pdf. For the latest eruption updates, visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php. Monitor air quality at http://www.hawaiiso2network.com/

 

County Opening Emergency Road for Lava Viewing Tomorrow

The active lava flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō is making its way over the Pulama Pali along the western boundary of the former Royal Gardens Subdivision.  The lava flow does not pose a threat to any community.

Lava ViewingTo maintain public safety and to preserve the emergency road or Highway 130, the County of Hawai‘i will open the emergency road to lava viewing on June 30, 2016.  Lava viewing along the three mile stretch of the County’s portion of the emergency road is permitted between the hours of 3 pm to 9 pm, daily. Vehicular traffic on the emergency road will be limited to local residents and emergency vehicles.

Security guards will be posted on the emergency road or Highway 130 before the entrance to Kalapana Gardens to provide lava viewing information and to direct parking. As in previous lava viewing events, visitors will be asked to park in marked areas near the end of the paved portion of Highway 130.  Again, it is approximately three (3) miles from this parking area to the end of the County portion of the emergency road, and vehicular traffic on the emergency road will be limited to local residents and emergency vehicles.

Visitors are reminded that the emergency road is a gravel road that traverses over older lava flows and ends at the National Park Service boundary.  Visitors are also reminded to prepare for the trek with proper footwear, sun screen, warm clothing, and water.

The County has established lava flow viewing areas along Highway 130 as far back as 2001 and most recently in Pāhoa in 2014.

Our goal is to maintain public safety, protecting the interests of Kalapana residents, and the protection of the emergency road or Highway 130.  We ask for your patience and kokua.

Big Island Police Renewing Request for Information About Fatal Puna Vehicle-Pedestrian Crash

Hawaiʻi Island police are renewing their request for information about a fatal vehicle-pedestrian crash on March 28 on Route 130 near the Kaloli Drive intersection in Puna.

Skye Kahealeilani Noah, 19, of Pāhoa was walking in the Pāhoa direction on the mauka shoulder of the road when she was struck by a white 2003 Ford Ranger pickup truck traveling in the same direction sometime in the early hours of March 28.
Skye Noah
Police continue to seek motorists who may have witnessed the collision or may have seen the white Ford pickup truck on Route 130 during the evening hours of March 27 or early morning hours of March 28. Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Todd Pataray at 961-2382 or todd.pataray@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Pahoa Round-A-Bout – “Phase B” Begins, “Phase C” Still to Come

Today, “Phase B” of the Pahoa round-a-bout opened and people have already been complaining about the “wait” to get into Pahoa.  Someone on my Facebook page commented “Today it was only about a 13-15 minute “back up” getting to the roundabout…at 4 pm. It will be interesting.”

“Phase A” (April 11th – April 24th) consisted of a half a round-a-bout:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Now “Phase B” (May 2nd – May 15th) is in action, where you can go in a full circle:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

“Phase C” is expected to be worked on between May 16th and May 27th:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The entire project is scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2016:

phase date

“Aloha From Lavaland” to Premier at Hawaii International Film Festival

Hawaiian Anthropological documentary Aloha From Lavaland is set to premiere on April 7 at the Hawaii International Film Festival.

lavaland2

Produced by three Big Island-based production companies, the film follows the aftermath of the 2014 eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, which sent a flow of lava directly toward the center of Pahoa, a small rural town on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Hard to predict and impossible to stop, the flow threatened to cut off the town’s only access road, leaving the residents of this remote community to rely heavily on  one another as they prepare for possible isolation.

Produced in conjunction by Gift Culture Media, Larkin Pictures and Pure Mother Love, this 52 minute documentary explores an inner community perspective of the lava flow, following residents as they ask and answer important questions about community, sustainability, harmony, and what it really means to live in such an unpredictable paradise.

lavaland

In addition to street interviews and news coverage, the documentary follows a local Hawaiian kumu (healer), a sustainability expert and the leader of a sovereign Hawaiian community over a period of seven months as they attempt to prepare for the unpreparable.
“Puna is unlike any place I’ve ever lived,” says co-director Suzenne Seradwyn, who has created films in Los Angeles, New Mexico and Hawaii. “The people here have different values because of the natural elements at play, and the rich cultural history surrounding those elements. There is a very important message to share about what happens when you allow yourself to trust these elements.”

“This film is important for anyone living in a state of change, whether it be due to external elements or an internal shift,” says the film’s co-director, Phillips Payson. “Part of what this film explores is how one’s attitude toward change can make all the difference.” Before moving to the Big Island, Payson worked in the film industry in New York and Los Angeles. This is his fourth film.

The film will premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival at the Dole Cannery on Thursday, April 7 at 6:15pm.

For more information, visit www.alohafromlavaland.com.

 

Public Information Meeting Scheduled for Pahoa Roundabout Project

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) will be holding a public information meeting in coordination with area legislators, Senator Lorraine Inouye and County Council Members Greggor Ilagan and Daniel K. Paleka, Jr., to inform the public of the anticipated opening date of the Pahoa Roundabout.

Pahoa Round-a-boutThe meeting will include information on the project schedule and remaining work. A display station demonstrating how to drive through a roundabout will also be available for public viewing.

The meeting is scheduled at the following location and time:

Thursday, April 7, 2016
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Pahoa Neighborhood Center
15-2710 Kauhale Street, Pahoa

The public information meeting is accessible for individuals with disabilities. For more information or to request an auxiliary aid or service (e.g., sign language, interpreter, specific language interpreter, designated parking, and materials in alternate format) contact J. Sonomura at (808) 933-8866 or e-mail dotpao@hawaii.gov by March 28, 2016.

HDOT thanks motorists for their patience as they work through the temporary detour and traffic signal changes in the area. Anticipated opening of the area to limited use is scheduled for mid-April. Full operation of the Pahoa Roundabout will be announced at a later date.

For the latest information on lane closures and detours, visit the HDOT website at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/roadwork/ or follow us on our Facebook (facebook.com/HawaiiDepartmentOfTransportation) or Twitter (@DOTHawaii) accounts.

Big Island Senator Urges Action on Federal Highway Fund Extension

The recently appointed Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy is expressing grave concern over the looming expiration date on federal transportation funding.

Sen. Lorraine Inouye

Sen. Lorraine Inouye

Senator Lorraine Inouye (Dist. 4 – N. Kona, Kohala, N. Hilo, Hāmākua) addressed Hawai‘i’s Congressional delegation in a letter urging action on federal funding authorization to avoid a lapse in funding that would severely impact state projects and to support the passage of a bill that will create a more sustainable funding stream for individual transportation projects on a long-term basis.

“Hawai‘i relies greatly on federal funds, as do other states, and our State’s transportation projects depend on long-term commitments from federal funding,” said Sen. Inouye. “It is imperative for Congress to continue to fund projects that have already started while looking for additional long-term solutions that continue to support Hawai‘i’s needs.”

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved HR 2353, the Highway Transportation Funding Act of 2015.  The bill extends funding for the Highway Trust Fund until July 31 through a series of “reconciliation of funds” measures amending the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014. The bill now goes on to the Senate.

Congress has until May 31 to take action on authorizing federal funding for state highway, bridge, and transit projects.  Without action prior to this date, federal aid funds for state projects would be halted. 

New Lava Flow Map Released – Flow Far From Dead

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field.

423map

The area of the flow on April 9 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of April 23 is shown in red. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

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