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Two Geothermal Well Scientific Observation Holes to be Plugged and Abandoned in Puna

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has contracted with Water Resources International, Inc. to plug and abandon two geothermal scientific wells, SOH-1 and SOH-2 located in Pahoa.

SOH - 2 (Scannned by Cheryl Ishii, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics University of Hawaii at Manoa

SOH – 2 (Scannned by Cheryl Ishii, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Representatives from DLNR Engineering Division, their consultant Brown and Caldwell, and Water Resources International will attend the Puna Geothermal Ventures community meeting scheduled for Thursday, December 8, from, 6-8 p.m. at Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road, Pāhoa.  They will be available to answer any questions on the project.

Drilled in 1991 for research purposes to monitor temperature gradients down the shafts, the two wells are no longer being used by the University of Hawai‘i or DLNR for geothermal resource monitoring purposes.

Initial site clearing and preparations are now ongoing at the site of SOH-1 and by about December 12 work will begin on plugging the well and restoring the area with SOH-2 to follow in a similar manner. The project is expected to be completed in approximately 3 months. Work hours will be limited to between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

The contract award amount for the plugging and abandonment of the two wells was $2,036,000.

2017 Pahoa Holiday Parade Information and Application

Pahoa Mainstreet Association would like to cordially invite you to join them in making this year’s Pāhoa Holiday Parade our best ever.

parade-pahoa-picInstructions for the parade and below is the application for the parade.  Please complete the application and return the form and the entry fee as soon as possible.  Please keep the instructions and rules page for reference.

We are also looking for event volunteers, goodies we can hand out to the keiki, and monetary donations that will help us purchase insurance & security.  With your kokua we can create an awesome community experience that we can all be truly proud of!

This year’s Parade Celebration will include:

  • Harry Kim, Mayor Elect
  • Nancy Kramer CPA, Grand Marshall
  • Ho’olaule’a at Pāhoa High and Intermediate School
  • Crafts & Food at Sacred Heart Church
  • Judging for Awards at First Hawaiian Bank
  • Free Santa Photos at Savio Realty
  • Pāhoa Merchant Specials + More

Please have the application completed and returned as soon as possible and no later than Monday,  November 30th, 2016.  Parade Entry Fee is $25.

If you wish to volunteer on parade day, donate goodies for the keiki hand-outs, or if you have any questions, please contact MSPA secretary, Henry Brazil @ 785-5395 or hgb3LLC@gmail.com.

We are seeking donations in-kind for prizes or if you wish to make a monetary donation, please make your check out to Mainstreet Pāhoa Association and mail it to Mainstreet Pāhoa Association PO Box 1189 Pāhoa, HI 96778.

Mahalo Nui Loa from Mainstreet Pāhoa Association!

pahoa-santa


  • Date and Time- Saturday, December 3, 2016, 9:30 am. SHARP!  Line-up begins promptly at 9 am. In the event of SEVERE rain, thunder, lightning, etc., the parade will be canceled and will not be rescheduled. Please try and be there at least 30 minutes earlier (8:45) so that your group can get organized.
  • Parade Route-The parade will begin at Pāhoa High School Parking Lot and end at Apaa Street.
  • Staging Area-Parade participants need to begin lining up near the beginning of the parade route by the Pāhoa  High School  They will be directed to their order in the Parade by volunteers who will use their discretion based on all of this year’s entrants.
  • Placement in the Parade-Entrants will be placed in order at the discretion of the Parade Director (Committee).  This decision will be based on type of entry, whether an animal is part of the entry, noise level, age of entrants and primarily safety.
  • Entrants-The Pāhoa  Holiday Parade is open to many different units including Color Guards, floats, marching units, emergency vehicles, equine or animal entries, car clubs, novelty units, commercial or business entries and political units.  We welcome all groups and individuals to participate as entrants so long as they conform to the Parade Instructions and Rules.  In the interest of presenting the finest entertainment value to the spectators, all groups are encouraged to enter decorated floats, music units and themed entries.
  • All parade entries must be in good taste and contribute entertainment value to the Holiday Parade theme, “Go Pāhoa ”   Participants should be dressed in uniform/costume or ride in a decorated vehicle, float or bicycle.
  • At check-in, you will be provided a number, please place your parade number in the left front windshield of the vehicle (or as close to the front left of your entry as possible) for proper identification at the judges stand.
  • All entries must keep moving and in the line of march at all times.  Units must not stop along the parade route at any time.  No driver or parade participant shall consume, possess or be under the influence of intoxicating or controlled substances during this event.
  • No “For Sale” signs on any vehicles.
  • Mainstreet Pāhoa Association will provide the only Santa in the Parade.
  • Candy Distribution-In the interest of safety, there will be absolutely NO CANDY THROWING from parade entries. However we encourage individuals in your entry to walk to the curb and distribute candy. This can really get the crowds excited.
  • Entries with Animals-You are responsible for all animals in the staging area and throughout the parade route.  Horses should be calm and comfortable in the excitement of a parade setting.  All animal entrants should have adequate drinking water provided for the animals and clean-up details.
  • Equine Safety-Unless involved with an entry including horses, all participants will refrain from entering the equine staging area.  The Parade Director will make every effort to space out the horse entries.  If you are placed after a horse entry, take care not to approach horses from behind, as that is a horse “strike zone”.  Do not crowd or push them forward, remember that they are animals not cars and need their space to feel comfortable. If you need to approach a horseback rider, the best approach is toward the shoulder, without making eye-contact with the horse.
  • All entries will be considered for Awards- Awards to be determined by Mainstreet Pāhoa  Association.
  • We reserve the right to restrict, content, signage and refuse access to the parade route for any unregistered, non-complying and/or inappropriate entry.  Unacceptable entries will be directed to leave the parade staging area.  Pre-registration required.

Continue reading

Ormat and Puna Geothermal Agree to Pay the United States $5.5 Million to Resolve Civil Fraud Allegations

Several Reno companies that operate geothermal power plants in Nevada, California, Hawaii, and elsewhere, have agreed to pay the United States $5.5 million to resolve civil fraud allegations that they unlawfully applied for and received millions in federal clean energy grants, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.

“The False Claims Act is an effective civil tool to ferret out fraud in federal taxpayer-funded programs,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “The settlement monies announced today will be deposited into a federal fund used to help crime victims and for a variety of other law enforcement purposes.”

Ormat Technologies, Inc., Ormat Nevada, Inc., Puna Geothermal Venture II, L.P., ORNI 18, LLC, and Puna Geothermal Venture, G.P. (hereinafter referred to as Ormat), and the United States entered into the agreement to avoid the delay, uncertainty and expense of protracted litigation. The agreement states that it is neither an admission of liability by the defendants nor a concession by the United States that its claims are not well founded.

The settlement agreement, effective this week, arises out of a civil lawsuit filed on Feb. 4, 2013, by Tina Calilung and Jamie Kell against Ormat alleging that they violated the civil False Claims Act by submitting false applications for federal clean energy grants to which they were not entitled. The defendant companies are based in Reno, Nev. Calilung and Kell are former employees of Ormat Technologies.

The lawsuit alleged that the federal government had claims against the defendant arising from the submission of applications for and receipt of grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009, related to the 8MW Puna Geothermal Power Plant and Puna KS-14 Well, both on the island of Hawaii, and the North Brawley Geothermal Power Plant in Imperial County, Calif.

puna-geothermal-venture-signSince January 2009 and through the end of federal fiscal year 2015, the Justice Department has recovered a total of more than $26.4 billion from cases involving fraud and false claims against the government. The False Claims Act is the government’s primary civil remedy to redress false claims for government funds and property under government contracts, including national security and defense contracts, as well as under government programs as varied as Medicare, veterans’ benefits, federally insured loans and mortgages, highway funds, research grants, agricultural supports, school lunches, and disaster assistance. In 1986, Congress strengthened the Act by amending it to increase incentives for whistleblowers to file lawsuits on behalf of the government.

Most false claims actions are filed under the Act’s whistleblower, or qui tam, provisions that allow individuals to file lawsuits alleging false claims on behalf of the government. If the government prevails in the action, the whistleblower, also known as the relator, receives up to 30 percent of the recovery. Whistleblowers filed 638 qui tam suits in fiscal year 2015 and the department recovered $2.8 billion in these and earlier filed suits this past year. Whistleblower awards during the same period totaled $597 million. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-recovers-over-35-billion-false-claims-act-cases-fiscal-year-2015.

Assistant United States Attorney Roger Wenthe handled the case on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada.

Pahoa District Park Grand Opening is THIS WEEKEND!

An official opening and blessing ceremony for the Pahoa District Park will be held at 9 am  Saturday, Oct. 29.

pahoa-park-flyerKeiki athletic contests, sports clinics, jumping castle and a HI-PAL basketball tournament will be among the featured activities slated to start at 10 am. and continue until late afternoon.

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Illinois Girl

UPDATE: Aleah March, a 17-year old female from Illinois previously reported missing has been located.

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Illinois girl who was reported missing.

Aleah March

Aleah March

Aleah March was last seen in Illinois on July. She visited Hawaiʻi and was last heard from on August 19. She was believed to have been in the Pāhoa area.

She is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-4, 115 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

All You Can Eat Tacos, Chips & Salsa Fundraiser for Madie TOMORROW!

For the safety and concern of her community due to Tropical Storm Darby, 4th District County Council Candidate Madie Greene postponed her taco fundraiser that was going to be held last weekend and has moved it to TOMORROW!

A suggested donation of $15.00 is a steal when you can eat all-the-tacos you want provided by Luquins Restaurant.

Tacos with Madie

Aloha Friends and Community Members,

We cordially invite you to attend a Mahalo Event for Madie Greene this coming Saturday at the Akebono Theater, next to Luquins, 6 pm with awesome entertainment and taco buffet.

All are welcome, so please share with your friends and neighbors.

We hope to see you all there….

Friends of Madie Greene, Candidate for County Council District 4.

HPP’s Loss is Pahoa’s Gain – $22.3 Million Dollar Pahoa Park “In a Nutshell”

Mahalo to Councilman Paleka’s Assistant Nadia Malloe for following up on my question as to why the Pahoa Park has inflated from $5 million dollars to $22.3 million dollars and she got this answer:

Pahoa Park ExpansionAfter inquiring with Hawaii County Parks and Recreation (P&R), the following was shared:

P&R designs 4 types of parks, listed by size/capacity:

  • NEIGHBORHOOD Park – typically designed to meet the needs of neighborhood, such as University Heights
  • COMMUNITY Park – typically designed for small neighborhood communities, such as Isaac Hale and Hawaiian Beaches
  • DISTRICT Park* – typically designed to meet the needs of an entire district population capable for islandwide attractions, such as Pāhoa Park
  • REGIONAL Park* – typically designed to meet the needs of a specific region, usually a larger scale in comparison to a district park, such as Old Ace Park in Kona
    *Swimming pools are only allowed in DISTRICT and REGIONAL Parks.

Approximately 10 years ago, it became very apparent that Puna is a rapidly growing community. Thus, in efforts to meet the recreational needs in this geographic area, the administration of P&R proposed building a 20-acre community park in Hawaiian Paradise Park, with an estimated cost of $5.5 million.

At the time this $5.5 million project was being proposed in 2010-2012, area residents were strongly in opposition of this project due to concerns relating to traffic, safety and privacy of area residents, fee simple ownership, etc. P&R did not want to impose this project where it was not wanted. Thus, P&R began to look at other solutions to our rapidly growing Puna community.

In Pāhoa, the geographical heart of Puna, a district park already existed with 56 acres of land not yet developed. Since County P&R already had an established district park, it would ease the process as no land acquisition nor eminent domain was necessary to move forward.

This district park expansion is the most expensive project in P&R history and its being granted to not just Puna, but the geographical heart and center of Puna. There will be multiple benefits such as reducing criminal activity, promoting healthy living, creating a safer community, potential revenue for Puna, area residents and vendors.

P&R can offer more programs, engaging families, elderly, and persons with disabilities as well. In fact, according to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, in the past 4 years, juvenile crime decreased approximately 52%, thanks to the hard work and dedication from our County Parks and Recreation Dept. The projected completion of this project is as soon as next month or early September.

In a nutshell, basically the proposed project went from a small community park in HPP to a large district park in Pāhoa. For a price comparison, the amount of money the State spent to build the ONE new gym at Pāhoa High School, can build FIVE of our County gyms.

Nan Inc. provided me with the following aerial footage of the park being built:

Tacos, Chips, Salsa…. and Madie Greene for County Council District 4

UPDATE: 

Aloha to All!!! With the incoming Tropical Storm expected to arrive soon, Aunty Madie has decided to reschedule her Fundraiser until the following Saturday. Sal Luquin has already reserved the date for Madie, 6pm, Saturday, July 30th at the Akebono. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Please be safe out there and be prepared.

Mahalo for your understanding…

Folks are invited to a tacos, chips and salsa fundraiser for County Council Candidate Madie Green on Saturday, July 23rd at the Akebono Theater in Pahoa.
Madie Green FundraiserA suggested donation of $15.00 will go to her campaign funds.

Lift Off at Pahoa Park – Drone Footage of Pahoa’s New Regional Park Being Built

This is Nan, Inc.’s video of the Pahoa Park project for Hawaii County.

Pahoa Park Aerial

It’s a 40 acre site in the Puna district.

Once finished, residents will enjoy three covered basketball courts, two baseball fields, and two multi-purpose fields.
Pahoa Park Gym
It will also include a new comfort station and concession center.

According to an email sent out from the mayors office, the park is scheduled to open next month sometime.

Prosecutor, State Senate Candidates to Square Off Saturday in Lower Puna

Candidates for County Prosecutor incumbent Mitch Roth and Deputy Attorney General Michael Kagami will lead off the Public Forums being sponsored by the Dist.4 members of the Hawaii County Democratic Party. The public is invited to these free events aimed at enlightening Puna’s voters on their candidates, the issues and their visions.

Dean Kelley will moderate the forums

Dean Kelley will moderate the forums

Pahoa businessman Dean Kelley will moderate the Saturday, July 9 forum set to begin at 2 PM at Hawaiian Shores Community Center, also known as The Stables, on the corner of Kahakai Blvd. and Punawai St., just opposite Keonepoko School.

The second hour will feature the two Democrats running for State Senate Dist. 2, incumbent Russell Ruderman and challenger Greggor Ilagan, currently Dist. 4 County Councilman.

Dist. 4 Democrats are invited to send questions they would like to have the candidates answer to their precinct presidents ASAP and not later than midnight July 6. The precinct presidents are Prec. 1 (HPP) Joy SanBuenaventura joy4puna@outlook.com; Prec.2 (WaaWaa-Hwn Beaches/Shores) Thom Gagne thomgagne@hotmail.com; Prec. 3 (Ainaloa/Orchidland to Kalapana/Seaview) Greg Ward seaviewgreg@att.net; and RoxAnne Lawson paanipuppets@hotmail.com.

The following Saturday, July 16 the Dist. 4 Democratic Public Forum will move to Pahoa Community Center and will feature the Dist. 4 and Dist. 5 County Council candidates and Democratic Party mayoral candidates Pete Hoffmann, Wendell Ka’ehu’ae’a, Harry Kim, Wally Lau, and Shannon McCandless.. That forum will take place from 1 to 6 PM at the community center on Kauhale Street in Pahoa.

Lava Flow Continues Down Pali Towards Ocean

The active lava flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō was on the slope near the top of the Pūlama pali today, one of the steep escarpments on Kīlauea’s southeast flank, and had transitioned into a channelized ʻaʻā flow.

The view is to the northwest.  (Click to enlarge)

The view is to the northwest. (Click to enlarge)

This photo shows a closer view of the front of the ʻaʻā flow.

hvo 629bAn HVO geologist photographs the front of the channelized ʻaʻā flow.

hvo 629cThis photo is a view from the edge of the ʻaʻā flow, looking up slope at the flow’s channels.

hvo 629d

Lava Flows Over the Pali – Tour Company Begins Taking Reservations

This satellite image was captured on Monday, June 27, by the Advanced Land Imager instrument onboard NASA’s Earth Observing 1 satellite.

The image is provided courtesy of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 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.

The image is provided courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 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.

The image shows continued advancement of the flow towards the southeast. The flow front is progressing down the pali, along the western portion of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision and along the eastern boundary of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Over the past few days, the flow has moved at a rate of about 300 meters per day (0.2 miles per day) – an increase over the rate last week and likely due to the steeper slope on the pali.

Back in business baby. Who wants to see Lava. Come check us out at Kalapana Cultural-Tours and we can get you there. Lava is pumping right now.  "Ikaika Marzo"

“Back in business baby. Who wants to see lava. Come check us out at Kalapana Cultural-Tours and we can get you there. Lava is pumping right now.” ~Ikaika Marzo

Kalapana Cultural-Tours is now accepting reservations to take visitors out to see the lava safely with an experienced guide.

Lava Flow Approaches Royal Gardens Subdivision

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field in relation to the southeastern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The area of the active flow field on June 16 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow field as mapped on June 23 is shown in red. The area covered by the inactive June 27th flow is shown in orange. The Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth's surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM). (Click to enlarge)

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM). (Click to enlarge)

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field. The areas covered by the recent breakouts at Puʻu ʻŌʻō as of June 16 are shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on June 23 is shown in red.

The area covered by the inactive June 27th flow is shown in orange. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. (Click to enlarge)

The area covered by the inactive June 27th flow is shown in orange. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. (Click to enlarge)

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Lava Flow “61g” Continues Advancing Downslope

The episode 61g flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō continues advancing downslope.

In this photo, the current flow is the lighter color area along the center of the image. The flow front has advanced about 770 m (0.5 miles) since the June 16 overflight, which equates to an advance rate of about 100 m per day (330 ft per day).

The flow front was roughly 100 m (330 ft) from the northern boundary of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and its plume, are visible near the top of the image.  (Click to enlarge)

The flow front was roughly 100 m (330 ft) from the northern boundary of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and its plume, are visible near the top of the image. (Click to enlarge)

The lava pond in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater remains active, and has enlarged since our last observation.

The pond today was about 50 m (160 ft) in diameter, with spattering along the western margin.  (Click to enlarge)

The pond today was about 50 m (160 ft) in diameter, with spattering along the western margin. (Click to enlarge)

An HVO geologist collects a fresh lava sample for chemical analysis.

The lobe being sampled was typical of the many scattered pāhoehoe breakouts along the flow margin today.  (Click to enlarge)

The lobe being sampled was typical of the many scattered pāhoehoe breakouts along the flow margin today. (Click to enlarge)

HVO geologists conduct a VLF (very low frequency) survey across the episode 61g lava tube to measure the depth and cross-sectional area of lava flowing within the tube.  (Click to enlarge)

HVO geologists conduct a VLF (very low frequency) survey across the episode 61g lava tube to measure the depth and cross-sectional area of lava flowing within the tube. (Click to enlarge)

Incandescent vents are still open on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

From the ground, no views of the lava were possible because the area around the vent was too unstable and dangerous to approach. (Click to enlarge)

From the ground, no views of the lava were possible because the area around the vent was too unstable and dangerous to approach. (Click to enlarge)

An aerial view of the same vent shown at left provided a look of the lava stream within the deep cavity.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Questions Answered About New Pahoa Park Plans

The new park that is being built in Pahoa is going up rather quickly and some folks in the community had some questions about the park so I emailed Department of Parks and Recreation Public Information Officer Jason Armstrong some questions and got a reply from him today on these questions.
Pahoa Regional ParkPBR Hawaii is the firm that appears to be handling most of the construction design at the park.  You can learn more about the project on their website here:  Pahoa Park Expansion Master Plan

I took this picture yesterday from the backside of the skate park:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Here are the questions and answers that I received from Armstrong:

How many people will P&R hire to maintain and operate Pahoa District Park?

Three; two park  caretakers (who mostly likely will be existing employees transferred from other sites) and one recreation technician. P&R is now in the recruiting phase for the rec. tech. position. We anticipate filling this position by August 1, 2016.

What will be the park hours?

Operating hours will be set by the Director. Typically, park hours are 6 am – 11 pm daily. The pool, senior center, skate park,  community center and new covered play courts (gym) likely will have different hours, however, based on patron demand and the need to have personnel onsite to operate those facilities.

Will the park have a security gate?

Yes

How many new parking stalls are being added?

373 new stalls, including 21 ADA-compliant stalls

What is the expected opening date?

No specific date has been set; we estimate opening in late August or early September of this year

Is the skate park part of the park?

Yes

If anyone is really interested in looking at all the documents related to this new park you can click here to read the 641 page Environmental Assessment that was put together in 2013 before the June 27th Lava Flow almost took out the whole project all together.

Click to read

Click to read

Highway 11 Wreck Claims 32-Year-Old Pahoa Woman

A 32-year-old Pāhoa woman died Friday (June 17) from injuries she received after being involved in a two-vehicle crash on Route 11 at the 21-mile marker in Glenwood.

The victim was identified as Crystal M. Mercado-Lopez of a Pāhoa address.

A crowdfunding site has been set up to offset her funeral costs.  Click on picture to read more.

A crowdfunding site has been set up to help offset the “Celebration of Life” costs. Click on picture to read more.

Responding to a 5 p.m. call, Puna Patrol officers determined that Mercado-Lopez was operating a 2001 Plymouth four-door sedan and traveling south on Route 11 when she crossed the centerline and sideswiped a 1997 Ford pickup truck traveling north and being operated by a 48-year-old Mountain View man, who was not injured in the crash.

Fire Rescue personnel took Mercado-Lopez and her passenger, an 8-month-old girl, to Hilo Medical Center.

Mercado-Lopez was pronounced dead at 5:56 p.m.

The child was not injured.

Police do not believe that speed, alcohol or drugs were factors in this crash.

Both drivers were wearing their seat belts and the child was in a child restraint seat.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police are looking for a female witness who talked to a fire fighter at the scene.

Anyone with information about this crash is asked to call Officer Erhard Autrata at 961-8118.

This is the 11th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared with 12 at this time last year.

Another Victim Comes Forward Against Lava Shack Manager

Recently a lot of negative attention has been bestowed upon the Lava Shack in Pahoa following an incident where the owner, Christopher Mohrlang (CJ), assaulted a one-legged homeless man.

Chris Mohrlang

On March 24th of this year I received the following personal message from 50-year-old Dan Vargas:

Hi Damon, I came across your article covering Lava Lounge in Pahoa. I had an altercation at the First Hawaiian Bank ATM with the manager and his buddy. Do you have any idea how to contact the owner who I believe is on another Island. Your help will be appreciated (Pahoa PD Chavez pending charges) Mahalo Dan Vargas (925) ***-****

Well this recent incident with the homeless man getting assaulted had Vargas sending me the following private message yesterday:

I’m sorry I didn’t press charges against CJ and the other guy who assaulted me at the First Hawaiian Bank ATM in March after leaving Lava Shack. I went to the police station that night with my cab driver who helped me fend off CJ and his buddy. My eye was scratched, shirt ripped and pushed over railing onto the sidewalk, defended myself until my cabbie arrived. CJ is a punk and the police have the video of him assaulting me. I am new to town and didn’t want to pursue charges but I wish I did. Apparently CJ has a history of violence.

I asked Vargas if I could publish this on my site and he replied:

Sure, I’m 50 years old and fended off two 30 year-old drunk-high-on-meth guys that night. CJ was on meth in a rage and kept coming at me. Pahoa PD have First Hawaiian Bank video so if it helps establish John’s case I’ll show up and testify.

Pahoa Man Charged With Two Offenses in Connection to Assault of Homeless One-Legged Man

A Pāhoa man has been charged with two offenses in connection with an assault on a man in a wheelchair.

Chris Mohrlang

Chris Mohrlang

In response to a 10:46 a.m. call on June 7, police determined that a 57-year-old man had been assaulted in Pāhoa Town at 1:16 a.m. The victim, who uses a wheelchair, has no permanent address but frequents the Pāhoa Town area.

Investigation led to the identity of the suspect as 35-year-old Christopher Mohrlang of Pāhoa.

Friday morning (June 17), Mohrlang turned himself in to police at the Pāhoa police station. He was charged with two counts of third-degree assault and then released from police custody after posting $1,000 bail.

Temporary Closure of Pahoa Village Road

Hawaii Electric Light announces a temporary closure of Pahoa Village Road between Apaa Street and Post Office Road in Pahoa.Pahoa Road ClosureThe road will be partially closed on June 20-21, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and completely closed on June 22-24, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to relocate utility infrastructure and remove five utility pole protection measures that were installed in response to the June 27, 2014 lava flow.

Motorists are asked to slow down and drive with caution in the construction area. During complete closures, access will be provided to local traffic only. Motorists are advised to use the Pahoa Bypass Road as an alternate route during this period.

To ensure the safety of the crews, temporary power interruptions may be necessary while the work is being performed.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding. For questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Family Donates Prosthetic Leg to Homeless Man Assaulted in Pahoa

A Pahoa family that wishes to remain anonymous, has stepped up to the plate and donated a prosthetic leg to assist John Hartley, the one-legged homeless man that was attacked by Lava Shack manager Chris Mohr.

John Hartley. (Photo via Hawaii News Now)

John Hartley. (Photo via Hawaii News Now)

In a video that has gone viral on social media, John Hartley and his dog are seen getting splashed with water, then sprayed with something that may be mace or pepper spray and then punched in the head a few times.

Pahoa community member Mark Hinshaw posted the following on the Big Island Thieves Facebook page where folks were obviously very upset about the video:

Hate crime in the 808!!! This just reported to us.

Allegedly, the manager of the Lava Shack in Pahoa has used mace and violence against many people, in this case a well liked homeless man in Pahoa for over 30 years, named John. Now bear in mind, John only has one leg and is wheelchair bound. This must stop. If this manager of Lava Shack has assaulted you please let the prosecutors office know.

As is clearly shown, John’s dog was hit by the mace as well…

No hate in the 808!!!

Police and Prosecutors are aware of the situation and are in possession of the full length video.

If you have any information and/or further details about this situation, please contact the Pahoa Police Station at 965-2716.

We must NOT allow this kind of behavior to continue in Pahoa Town!!!

According to Hawaii News Now:

“Victim John Hartley, who has been homeless for eight years, said the attack was unprovoked.

“I was blinded that night for five hours,” Hartley said. “The next day, I didn’t realize, I had the oils in my hands and I rubbed my face and I was blinded for three more hours.”

Hartley, who lost his right leg in 2015, is something of a fixture in Pahoa. He’s always got his dog right beside him.”

The donors family reached out to me last night and wanted to know how I could get them in touch with Hartley and I was able to make the connections and today the family was able to meet with Hartley in person.

“Our meeting (with Hartley) went well.  I saw Aunty Madie Greene outside of Luquins just as I got there. We fitted John with the prosthetic leg. Some minor adjustments need to be made but he was able to stand on it and is hopeful that in time he will be mobile again.  He’s an amazing man. It was nice to talk story and find out more about him.”

John Hartley gets fitted with his new leg.  Photo by Sara Williams of the Pahoa Village Museum.

John Hartley gets fitted with his new leg. Photo by Sara Williams of the Pahoa Village Museum.

Hartley has filed a police report and does plan to pursue charges.