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Puna Geothermal Warning System TEST TODAY

The Puna Geothermal Venture plant will be conducting a test of their facility emergency warning system to include the sounding of the drill rig warning siren today, Wednesday April 27th at approximately 11:30 a.m.

PGV

This is only a test that is necessary to ensure the proper working order and function of their warning system.

Residents in the immediate area and communities of Leilani Estates, Nanawale Estates, and the upper Kapoho and Pohoiki areas may hear the siren and we apologize for any disruption or inconvenience this may cause.

Again, this is a test of the facility’s emergency warning systems and no action is needed.

Driver Flees Accident in Pahoa – Body Found in Bushes

Hawaii Fire Department Incident Report:

Type of Incident:

Motor Vehicle Accident fronting 14-3469 Nanawale Boulevard in Pahoa.

14-3469

Situation Found at Scene:

Found single mid-sized car involved in single vehicle accident. Vehicle with extensive left rear and top damage. Vehicle struck trees and snapped a utility pole before coming to rest in bushes ~ 5′ below the grade of the road.

Cause:

Under Investigation

Remarks:

Found 1 male passenger lying on ground next to vehicle stating driver fled scene prior to arrival and that he and driver were only occupants involved. HPD got information from witness that there may have been other parties in the vehicle.

Search of area using thermal imaging equipment revealed female in very thick brush about 10 feet from where vehicle came to rest. Female party found without signs of life. Area searched for additional occupants with negative findings.

Hawaii County Council Candidate Madeline Greene Hosting “Wing-Ding Bash” Fundraiser

Madeline (“Auntie Madie”) Greene, long-time Puna resident and business owner, will officially kick off her campaign for Hawaii County Council, District 4, at the “Wing-Ding Bash”, a fundraising event to be held at the Nanawale Estates Community Center, on April 23, 2016, from 5p.m. – 8p.m.   The event is open to the public, and will include sushi, poke, and salad bars, as well as chicken wings served with a variety of island sauces – $20 – all you can eat!

Madie Greene in Van

Auntie Madie’s run for Council continues a long-standing family commitment to public service, which began when her great grandfather, John Kepookapukamohoalii Punini, served as the first Sheriff of Puna.

Her own volunteer work in Puna includes:

  • Past President, Vice-President and Treasurer of Mainstreet Pahoa Association;
  • President of Nanawale Community AssociaM
  • Member of Pahoa Regional Town Center Plan Steering Committee, the Drug Coalition, and Puna Watch, and a founding member of the Pahoa Schools Booster Club;
  • Honorary Kupuna for the Men of Pa’a.
  • In 2009, she was selected for the Hawaii County Women’s Hall of Fame;
  • In 2010, she received the Hawaii County Achievement Award.

Issues Auntie Madie looks forward to tackling on behalf of District 4 citizens include mass transit, GMO food labeling (you have a right to know!), geothermal risks, homelessness, emergency evacuation route(s), road improvements and linkage in lower Puna, and jobs.

Come to Nanawale and meet your candidate for Puna. Tell her what is most important to you. Enjoy the food!

Wing DingsFrom Pahoa take Hwy 132 towards Kapoho at the stoplight, South 1 mile to Nanawale Blvd, Turn left and go 1 mile to the 4-way stop, take a right and you are there.

“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.

Governor Ige Releases $550,000 in CIP Funding for Puna Regional Library (PRPL)

Governor David Y. Ige has announced the release of $550,000 in Capital Improvement Project funds for the Puna Regional Public Library. In his release of funding for the library project, Governor Ige stated, “Mahalo for your work on behalf of the residents in your district to secure these funds. Projects such as this are critical components of the public infrastructure and contribute to building better a better home for our kupuna, keiki and all residents of Hawai’i.”

Senate Ways and Means Committee visited the Pahoa Library located on the Pahoa High and Intermediate campus.

Senate Ways and Means Committee visited the Pahoa Library located on the Pahoa High and Intermediate campus.

Senator Russell Ruderman has made the Puna library project one of his top priorities. The Puna Regional Public Library will play a vital role as one of the cornerstones of our community by transforming lives through nurturing lifelong learning and promoting increased community engagement by delivering new services that connect closely with user needs. Additionally, it will improve our quality of life and provide unlimited educational opportunities.

“The Puna district has long loved and consistently made good use of its libraries. I am very happy and grateful to Governor Ige for releasing these funds for the Puna Regional Public Library in such a timely manner,” Senator Ruderman stated, “For rural and economically challenged areas like Puna, projects like the library are a much-needed and highly anticipated resource. We are excited to learn that the Public Library System is also considering a pair of libraries in both upper and lower Puna areas to serve our large district. I look forward to working for continued support and funding of key projects like the library, and these newly released funds will help bring our goal of a state of the art community gathering place to fruition.”

Jen Ruggles Files for Hawaii County Council District 5

On Monday, March 7th at 2:15pm Mountain View local Jen Ruggles filed papers to run for Hawai’i County Council District 5 covering the areas of Glenwood, Kea’au, Pahoa, Opihikao, and Kalapana.

Jen Ruggles

Jen Ruggles

“I am honored to have the opportunity to be of service to the district where I was born and raised. Our district is under served and underrepresented. I know our struggles, and I know our potential.

University of Hawai’i Professor Dr. Noelie Rodriguez says, “I’ve known Jen for over 20 years, her father was also a student of mine and helped me establish the Earth Day Fair. In my 45 years of teaching Jen Ruggles has been my best student.  I fully support her candidacy.”

Jen was the main organizer of Hilo organization Global HOPE for 5 years. In that time she organized over 50 free events open to the public. An intern for Voter Owned Hawai’i, Ruggles also helped enact Hawaii’s first clean elections program. “Making a positive impact has influenced every decision in my life,” says Ruggles. Ruggles is most recently known for her work on Kaua’i where she helped organize the largest march in Kaua’i history to pass the “Right to Know” bill, bill 2491. The bill enacted protections for schools against pesticide spray that was sending children and teachers to the hospital.

Jen has lived at her Mountain View aina since birth. She graduated Kea’au High School in 2006 and is currently pursuing her second college degree at UH Hilo’s College of Business and Economics.

Ruggles was Hawai’i State Senator Russell Ruderman’s Event Coordinator in his successful bid for office in 2012.  “Jen is one of the brightest people I have ever worked with,” Ruderman said.

For more information about Jen and the campaign visit: www.JenRuggles.com

New Satellite Image Shows Where Lava is at Now

This satellite image was captured on March 2 by the Advanced Land Imager instrument onboard NASA’s Earth Observing 1 satellite. The image is provided courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Although this is a false-color image, the color map has been chosen to mimic what the human eye would expect to see. Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds. Black lines are roads.

An HVO geologist carefully approaches a skylight on the June 27th lava tube. The skylight provided a view into the lava tube, and revealed a swiftly moving lava stream

An HVO geologist carefully approaches a skylight on the June 27th lava tube. The skylight provided a view into the lava tube, and revealed a swiftly moving lava stream

The image shows that scattered breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Many of these breakouts are active along the northern flow field margin, at the forest boundary. A small portion of these flows at the forest boundary have migrated north, slightly closer to subdivisions.

Small vents in the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater have been active recently, and erupting new lava flows onto the floor of the crater. The light-colored flow in the center of the photograph was active this morning, and slowly spreading across the crater floor.

Small vents in the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater have been active recently, and erupting new lava flows onto the floor of the crater. The light-colored flow in the center of the photograph was active this morning, and slowly spreading across the crater floor.

The overall ground slope, however, is towards the northeast, and other recent flows that have been active in this area have all eventually migrated along the direction of the arrow on the map – maintaining a safe distance from the subdivisions towards the north.

A vent in the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater contained a small lava pond and was throwing spatter a short distance. The accumulated spatter has built a small cone around the opening. A thick layer of Pele's hair covers the far side of the cone.

A vent in the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater contained a small lava pond and was throwing spatter a short distance. The accumulated spatter has built a small cone around the opening. A thick layer of Pele’s hair covers the far side of the cone.

A bright thermal anomaly in Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater results from an active flow that was covering the crater floor at the time of the satellite overpass.

Monday – Puna Legislative Town Hall Meeting

Rep. Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau) will host a community town hall to provide updates on and discuss the 2016 legislative session.

pahoa town meetingAlso presenting will be Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira, who will address the County’s efforts in combating the dengue fever outbreak.

They will also honor the students and faculty who built a replica of the space shuttle Challenger in honor of Ellison Onizuka and the 30th anniversary of the tragic loss of the space shuttle and its crew.

Ellison Onizuka Kids

The Town Hall Meeting will provide updates on bills along with other issues that may be heard during this session.  Questions, concerns and/or new ideas from those in attendance will be entertained.

  • WHO: Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau)
  • WHAT: Town Hall Meeting to Discuss the 2016 Legislative Session
  • WHEN: Monday, February 29, 2016, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road Pahoa, HI, 96778

Former County Council Candidate Edwards Hunt Responds to Voter Fraud Allegation

Former Hawaii County Council Candidate Tiffany Edwards Hunt went before a grand jury yesterday and according to her Twitter feed she says “I was denied the opportunity to testify before a grand jury today, to address these false voter fraud allegations.  I am innocent”.

Tiff Tweet 1She then went on to comment on the way the Prosecuting Attorneys Office is handling her case:
Tiff Tweet2Then ends her twitter rant with a “… bright side…”  tweet:
Tiff Tweet3I can say that if she read the Hawaii Tribune… she would know already who filed the allegations against her… as that has been made public.  I can tell you that my name won’t be showing up in any of those papers… despite what some folks may think.

Commentary – Hawaii State Teachers Association Files Formal Grievance Against Pahoa High School Principal

The Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) has filed a formal grievance against our principal. The grievance meeting will be held TOMORROW at KKP Conference Room, February 12, 2016 at 3:30 pm. We are focused on working towards a safe campus and better school climate.

Pahoa High and Intermediate

Supporters (other union members, other unions, parents, community etc) of the grievance are welcome. We are asking for written testimony or face to face presence. If you want you can submit testimony “anonymously” directly to the union: ryamanaka@hsta.org

A lot of the teachers have complaints, but they are thinking it’s not worth it, she will retaliate etc. So this is dividing the teachers already. We could use your point of view from a parent. We would also like to hear from parents who have pulled their students from this school.

Please pass the word on. And if you can please submit testimony about your own experience with her.

“Concerned Pahoa Resident”

Puna Legislative Town Hall Meeting with Sen. San Buenventura and Sen. Ruderman

Rep. Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau) will host a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 at 5 p.m. at the Pahoa Community Center on Hawaii Island to discuss bills and issues for the 2016 session.

They will also honor the students and faculty who built a replica of the space shuttle Challenger in honor of Ellison Onizuka and the 30th anniversary of the tragic loss of the space shuttle and its crew.

The Keaau High School students that built the replica of the space shuttle.

The Keaau High School students that built the replica of the space shuttle.

The Town Hall Meeting will provide updates on bills along with other issues that may be heard during this session.  Questions, concerns and/or new ideas from those in attendance will be entertained.

  • WHO: Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau)
  • WHAT:  Town Hall Meeting to Discuss the 2016 Legislative Session
  • WHEN: Monday, February 29, 2016, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road, Pahoa, HI, 96778

EPA Finds Puna Geothermal Venture Violated Chemical Safety Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with Puna Geothermal Venture for Clean Air Act chemical safety violations at its geothermal energy plant in the Puna area of the Island of Hawaii. After an EPA inspection, the facility has now complied with the rules designed to minimize accidental chemical releases. The company has also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $76,500.

PGV

“The goal of EPA’s inspections is to protect the health and safety of the workers at the plant and the residents in the community,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our continued oversight will help ensure that it operates in a safe manner by complying with federal requirements.”

EPA conducted a chemical facility inspection in August 2013 and found that PGV had failed to take necessary steps to prevent accidental releases of hydrogen sulfide. Specifically, the company had not tested and inspected its equipment with the frequency consistent with manufacturers’ recommendations, good engineering practices, and prior operating experience.

The inspectors also found that with respect to PGV’s storage, use and handling of pentane, a flammable substance used as a working fluid in the facility’s electricity producing turbines, PGV failed to:

  • Conduct periodic compliance audits of its accident prevention program and document that identified deficiencies have been corrected.
  • Implement adequate written operating procedures that provide clear instructions for safely conducting activities.
  • Ensure that the frequency of inspections and tests of equipment is consistent with manufacturers’ recommendations, good engineering practices, and prior operating experience.
  • Analyze and report on a worst-case release scenario and estimate the population that would be affected by an accidental release of pentane.

Today’s penalty action is taken under the federal Clean Air Act’s Section 112(r) General Duty Clause and Risk Management Program requirements.

The General Duty Clause requires facilities to minimize the probability and consequences of accidental chemical releases to better protect workers, communities and the environment. The Risk Management Program requires development of a Risk Management Plan that includes: a hazard assessment detailing the potential effects of an accidental release; a chemical accident prevention program that includes process operation, maintenance, and employee training measures; and an emergency response program that spells out procedures for informing the public and local response agencies should an accident occur.

EPA’s August 2013 inspection was prompted by releases of hydrogen sulfide from the facility to the atmosphere in March and April 2013. The April 2013 release was caused by a pump failure, resulting in a leak of geothermal condensate (composed primarily of water with some contaminants, including hydrogen sulfide) for about 15 minutes before PGV personnel were able to isolate and stop the leakage. The March 2013 release was attributed to the tripping of a breaker in the local power grid, and PGV’s emergency shutdown and hydrogen sulfide abatement systems functioned as designed.

In addition to EPA’s oversight, including the Risk Management Plan updates that PGV must submit, the air permit issued to the facility by the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health requires PGV to submit regular air quality monitoring reports to the state.

For more information on EPA’s Risk Management Program, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/rmp

For more information on the Clean Air Act’s General Duty clause, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/rmp/general-duty-clause-fact-sheet

Cemetery Road Restoration Project Completed – Lava Removed From Road

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works is pleased to announce that the Cemetery Road Restoration project has been completed and the functionality of the original 12 foot one lane roadway has been restored.

Cemetery road1The reconstruction work of removing the lava associated with the October 25, 2014 Pu‘u O‘o Volcanic Eruption that crossed onto Cemetery Road and paving the 500-foot stretch of roadway was completed within the forty working day time frame.  The project also completed within the budget of $150,000 and 75 percent of the construction cost was funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Cemetery Road2

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works is continually striving to improve the quality of service for the health and safety of the people of Hawai‘i Island and would like to thank the community for their patience, understanding and support throughout the restoration project.

Castle House or Puppy Mill – Resident Threatens to Release 30 Dogs in Seaview

The “Castle House” in the Kalapana-Seaview area of the Big Island has had their share of problems in the last few years.

Many years ago I blogged about the illegal scam they were running by inviting folks to “Pay $100 to write an Essay” to possibly win a brand new house.  That scam pretty much fizzled out with no one winning a house and a bunch of folks out $100.00.

Castle House
Now a resident that is staying at the Castle House has threatened to release approximately 30 dogs that apparently are staying at the Castle House into the Seaview area if folks don’t start to adopt them.

Castle House resident Morgan Birdwell posted the following on Facebook:

“Hey want a puppy or 5 with great genetics? Come to the Castle we have about thirty of them!”

MorganThe Facebook post immediately drew the attention of one person who posted:

That is a joke right?

The post also caught Kalapana Seaview Neighborhood Watch member Mark Hinshaw’s attention and I’ll just post what was said between the two of them:

Mark Hinshaw Interesting info for the Humane Society….

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell No this please help these puppies find a home or they will be free range puppies running around seaview

Mark Hinshaw
Mark Hinshaw Morgan, are you saying the Castle has 30 puppies that are going to be released as “free range puppies running around Seaview” if you can not adopt them out?

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell They’ll replace all your chickens

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell Dogs have more meat than chickens anyways

Mark Hinshaw
Mark Hinshaw That is about as irresponsible as one could be. Call either the humane society or the other animal shelter. I will be contacting Humane Society tomorrow morning and advising them that you intend on releasing 30 puppies that have not be fixed into our community. Thanks for the heads up.

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell You really want all these. Puppies to be crammed into one cage there I’m trying to find good homes for them and they’re free so what’s the problem

Mark Hinshaw
Mark Hinshaw Because you advised that unless these puppies are adopted that “they will be free range puppies running around seaview”

Damon Tucker
Damon Tucker Nothing like a pack of hungry dogs running around. #CujoAtTheCastle

Like · Reply · 1 · 1 hr
Damon Tucker
Damon Tucker Morgan Birdwell do you live at the castle? what’s the rent? How many folks are staying there now? How many runaways are there?

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell Like five people live there right now and no runaways

Damon Tucker
Damon Tucker What’s the rent?

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell im tired of all these questions good night

Damon Tucker
Damon Tucker Yep… people get tired of being questioned when they know that they are involved in doing something wrong. Mark Hinshaw you call the Humane Society yet?

Tomorrow – 2015 Pahoa Holiday Parade and Ho’olaule’a

Tomorrow beginning at 9:30 am in Pahoa the annual Holiday Parade will pass through town going from Pahoa High School to the Post Office.  A Ho’olaule’a will be after the parade at the school.
2015 Holiday Parade

Confirmed Dengue Cases Rises to 136 – Updated Map Details Spread of Outbreak

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 6 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 136.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

As of December 4, 2015*:

Hawaii Island residents 119
Visitors 17
Confirmed cases, TOTAL 136

Of the confirmed cases, 119 are Hawaii Island residents and 17 are visitors.
106 cases have been adults; 30 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 11/28/15.

As of today, a total of 369 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 2, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE.  (Updated December 2, 2015)

TOMORROW – Free Thanksgiving Luncheon For the People of Puna

A FREE Thanksgiving luncheon will be held for the Puna Community tomorrow at the Pahoa Community Center.

Thanksgivng 2015Sponsors and members from Hope Services Hawaii, Aloha Lehua Cafe, Kalapana Mauna Kea Church and Puna New Hope will be providing free thanksgiving dinners from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Community Meeting with Lawmakers Draws Large Attendance in Puna

Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and leaders from the Hawaii State House of Representatives held a Lawmakers Listen session at the Pahoa Community Center last night where they heard a wide range of concerns from residents in the area. Puna Meeting

Discussions at the meeting were on a number of topics including managing invasive species, the rat lungworm parasite, homelessness, medical care, the public hospital system, infrastructure concerns, and the lack of broadband internet service in the region.

Puna Meeting 3Members of the community were invited to share their questions and concerns directly with Rep. San Buenaventura, Speaker of the House Joseph M. Souki, Majority Leader Scott Saiki, and House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke. The group was also joined by Hamakua Representative Mark Nakashima. Puna Meeting 2

‘Lawmakers Listen’ is an ongoing series of community town halls across the state with district Representatives, members of the House Leadership, and Committee Chairpersons.  The purpose of the meetings is for legislators to listen to the concerns of area residents and to discuss solutions.

Shark Attacks Swimmer at Kehena Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii

Reports are now coming in that a swimmer at Kehena Beach on the East Side of the Big Island of Hawaii… was attacked by a shark today.

Kehena Beach

Kehena Beach

Kehena Beach is known to be a “clothing optional” black sand beach in the Puna District of the Big Island.

I’m still waiting for the official DLNR report to be released.