Hawaii County Announces Web Based Puna Traffic Cameras

The County is pleased to announce the launch of punatraffic.com, a publicly available web based traffic monitoring service for the lower Puna to Kea`au area.

Click to view current conditions

Click to view current conditions

Traffic conditions along several transportation corridors that may be affected by the June 27th Lava Flow, including HWY 130, will be monitored with thirty cameras. The images are available for public viewing at punatraffic.com.

The camera images refresh every three to five minutes and are meant to assist the public in making their travel plans. The website also provides estimated drive times based on current traffic conditions.

The traffic monitoring system is a part of the County’s overall plan to monitor traffic flow that may have to be re-routed as a result of the June 27 Lava Flow.

The cameras were installed by ICX Transportation Group. The service went live on March 25, 2015.

The cameras are government property and specifically programmed to only work with government equipment. Please kokua and respect this public benefit and service.

The website also provides social media links to Civil Defense and the County of Hawai`i and can be updated to inform the public about road incidents.

USGS – Active Breakouts Near Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Breakouts are active in three general areas near Puʻu ʻŌʻō: at the northern base of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, north Kahaualeʻa, and about 6 km (4 mi) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The distal breakout and the breakout north of Kahaualeʻa are both burning forest. There is no eruptive activity downslope from the distal breakout (nothing active near Pāhoa).

Recent flows from the hornito appear black.  (Click to enlarge)

Recent flows from the hornito appear black. (Click to enlarge)

There are several incandescent and outgassing hornitos on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater, including the one shown here, which is at the northeast edge of the crater. Recent flows from the hornito appear black.

Two Men Arrested on Burglary, Police Still Looking for Bike Used in Ironman

Two men have been charged with an assortment of offenses related to a burglary investigation.

The burglary was reported Monday (March 9) after a 35-year-old Keaʻau man returned to his Hawaiian Paradise Park home and discovered evidence of a break-in. He reported that a racing bicycle, electronics, checks and jewelry, including a wedding ring, had been removed from the home on Paradise Drive between 20th Avenue and 21st Avenue.

On Tuesday (March 10) 19-year-old Bruce Rogee of Hilo reportedly attempted to cash one of the victim’s checks at a bank in Hilo. Rogee and 23-year-old Taylor Kalawe of Keaʻau were arrested and taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

Search warrants were executed at Kalawe’s home on 19th Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park and on a vehicle. Police recovered the wedding ring and several other items stolen in Monday’s burglary.

After conferring with prosecutors, Kalawe was charged Thursday (March 12) with second-degree theft, attempted second-degree theft and forgery. He was also charged with contempt of court for an unrelated case. His bail was set at $30,150. Rogee was charged with second-degree forgery, second-degree theft and two counts of unauthorized possession of confidential personal information. His bail was set at $8,000.

Police ask anyone with information about the burglary or the location of the bicycle to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. The bicycle is described as a 2012 Orbea Triathlon bike with a 2014 Ironman race sticker, number 1565.

Colby's BikeTipsters 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Rep. San Buenaventura Bills Pass House, Advances to Senate

As the 2015 Legislature reached its midway point this week, a number of bills introduced by Puna Representative Joy San Buenaventura are now up for consideration by the Senate after being passed by the full House of Representatives.

Reps. Joy San Buenaventura and Richard Creagan on the House floor.

Reps. Joy San Buenaventura and Richard Creagan on the House floor.

“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to keep these bills alive halfway through the very rigorous process of creating legislation,” Rep. Buenaventura said.  “They represent real solutions to everyday issues and problems faced by the people of Puna in the aftermath of life changing natural disasters, and I will continue to push for them even as they move to the Senate chambers.”

Among the bills are several measures that seek to address concerns raised by residents affected by the recent natural disasters that have impacted the Puna region.

  • HB737, HD2 helps current and future homeowners who reside in lava zone areas that has been declared to be in a state of emergency to obtain and renew property insurance policies.  This Act also enables a homeowner, in such a lava zone, who had no prior property insurance coverage to purchase insurance coverage to be effective within six months from the date of policy acceptance. (Co-introducer)
  • HB1314 HD1 establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster by providing for infrastructure development, grants, and loans. (Primary Introducer)
  • HB376 HD2 makes specific changes to the Chief Election Officer including designating the position as an at-will employee; and requires the State Elections Commission to conduct a performance evaluation and to hold a public hearing on the performance of the Chief Elections Officer. (Primary introducer)

Others bills introduced by Rep. San Buenaventura and passed by the House include:

  • HB847, HD1 appropriates funds for an Interdisciplinary Hawaii Health Systems Corp. (HHSC) Primary Care Training Program at Hilo Medical Center to address the shortage of primary care physicians—particularly on the neighbor islands and in rural communities. (Co-introducer)
  • HB851, HD1 appropriates funds to establish an advanced life support ambulance based in Puna. (Co-introducer)
  • HB1107 appropriates funds for the establishment and maintenance of a bookmobile that will serve the rural areas of the island of Hawaii. (Primary introducer)
  • HB1370, HD1 provides statutory authority for the Employees’ Retirement System Administrator to make direct payment to a former spouse of a member of benefits or portion thereof pursuant to valid court judgment, order or decree. (Primary introducer)
  • HB87 shields process servers from prosecution under criminal trespass statutes when performing their duties. (Primary introducer)

A full list of measures proposed by Rep. San Buenaventura is available at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=intro&year=2015&leg=San%20Buenaventura&rpt_type=first_pri.

Lava Tube Mapped Further – Flow Continues to Make its Way to the Front

This map shows the active lava tube system that has been mapped from Pu’u O’o vent down to Kaohe Homestead area of Puna.

The yellow line represents the active tube.  (Click to enlarge)

The yellow line represents the active tube. (Click to enlarge)

The flow travels at a faster pace underground then it does on the surface.

Today’s Hawaii County Civil Defense reported:

This is an eruption and lava flow information update for Tuesday March 10th at 8:00 AM.

Surface activity and activity along both margins extending from the west or just above the stalled flow fronts to the summit area continues with numerous small breakouts. The surface breakouts along the length of the flow pad continues to provide an indication that the tube system is being supplied and lava from the source is making its way to the down slope areas.

Full Civil Defense report here: Tuesday 3/10/2015

New Maps Released of Puna Lava Flow – Advances and Widens

This large-scale map uses a satellite image acquired in March 2014 (provided by Digital Globe) as a base to show the area around the front of Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow.

Map of distal flow field. (Click to enlarge)

Map of distal flow field. (Click to enlarge)

The area of the flow on February 27 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of March 10 is shown in red.

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (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. (see large map)

This map overlays a georegistered mosaic of thermal images collected during a helicopter overflight of the distal part of Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow on March 10 at about 10:35 AM.

Map of distal flow field with thermal overlay.  (Click to enlarge)

Map of distal flow field with thermal overlay. (Click to enlarge)

The base image is a satellite image acquired in March 2014 (provided by Digital Globe). The perimeter of the flow at the time the imagery was acquired is outlined in yellow. Temperature in the thermal image is displayed as gray-scale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas (white areas are active breakouts).

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (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. (see large map)

This map overlays a georegistered mosaic of thermal images collected during a helicopter overflight of Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow west of Kaohe Homesteads on March 10 at about 10:30 AM.

Map of flow field west of Kaohe Homesteads with thermal overlay.  (Click to enlarge)

Map of flow field west of Kaohe Homesteads with thermal overlay. (Click to enlarge)

The perimeter of the flow at the time the imagery was acquired is outlined in yellow. Temperature in the thermal image is displayed as gray-scale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas (white areas are active breakouts). (see large map)

This map overlays georegistered mosaics of thermal images collected during a helicopter overflight of Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow near Puʻu ʻŌʻō on March 10 at about 10:25 AM.

Map of proximal flow field with thermal overlays.  (Click to enlarge)

Map of proximal flow field with thermal overlays. (Click to enlarge)

The perimeter of the flow at the time the imagery was acquired is outlined in yellow. Temperature in the thermal image is displayed as gray-scale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas (white areas are active breakouts). (see large map)

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow in relation to lower Puna.

Small-scale map of flow field.  (Click to enlarge)

Small-scale map of flow field. (Click to enlarge)

The area of the flow on February 27 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of March 10 is shown in red.

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (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. All older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray; the yellow line marks the active lava tube (see large map)

Friends of HVNP & Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Earn National Award for Public Lands Partnership

The nonprofit group Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (FHVNP), and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, received the Association of Partners for Public Lands (APPL) 2015 Partnership Award for Public Lands Partners.

Funds raised by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park support many park programs, including the youth ranger internship program. Shown here, Youth Ranger Fernando Ramangmou trains for search and rescue missions in the park. NPS Photo/David Boyle.

Funds raised by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park support many park programs, including the youth ranger internship program. Shown here, Youth Ranger Fernando Ramangmou trains for search and rescue missions in the park. NPS Photo/David Boyle.

According to the APPL, the Public Lands Partners Award recognizes “an exemplary partnership for a stunning achievement to protect and preserve our public lands and enhance the experiences of their visitors and users.” The award is presented in tandem to both the nonprofit and agency partners for their shared achievements.

“We rely on the support of our Friends group, which is vital to the success of many park programs, including the Youth Ranger Internship Program, now in its sixth year, and the upcoming BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival in May,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “It is wonderful to be recognized for such a positive and essential partnership,” she said.

Because of the partnership, nearly 140 high school students in Ka‘ū and Puna have landed paid internships in the park since 2010, and thousands of island residents, visitors, and schoolchildren will be able to participate with scientists in discovering the unique biodiversity of the park.

The organization’s mission is to support the park in the protection, preservation, and interpretation of the natural and cultural resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations. It has raised more than $700,000 for the national park since 2009.

“We are honored to share this award with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National park,” said Elizabeth Fien, Executive Director of the FHVNP. “We have a very collaborative partnership that exemplifies the way nonprofits should work with public land agencies,” she said.

The APPL Partnership Awards celebrate the best in public lands partnerships, recognizing individuals, organizations, publications, products, programs and services that embody leading edge achievements in the preservation of public lands and the enrichment of visitors.

For over 35 years, APPL has served as the national voice for nonprofit public lands partners and has strengthened its membership through education, information sharing and representation. Its membership is comprised of nonprofit organizations whose missions embrace a vibrant future for the nation’s natural and cultural heritage.

Puna Lava Flow Creeps Towards Pahoa – Flow Still Advancing

The June 27 Lava Flow remains very active and has advanced over 240 yards in the last few days.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

There were two breakouts from the upper tube system on and at the foot of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Cone (right center). The largest and most active was the breakout nearest Puʻu Kahaualeʻa in the left center of the photograph.

Closeup of the new breakout near Puʻu Kahaualeʻa.  Click to enlarge

Closeup of the new breakout near Puʻu Kahaualeʻa. Click to enlarge

The leading edge of the lobe nearest Pahoa Marketplace is still stalled but, for the past few days, a new breakout has been advancing along its southern margin and is approaching the Apaʻa St. firebreak.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Several breakouts were active upslope of the stalled front. This breakout issued from an inflated tumulus along the north margin of the June 27th flow.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The thin crust over the lava lake within the Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook crater was moving slowly to the southeast.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

During the USGS overflight, there was no spattering and wispy gas emissions allowed clear views.

Early Morning Photo Shows Lava Flow Still Creeping Towards Pahoa

Yesterday’s Hawaii County Civil Defense reported, “The small breakout along the south margin of the flow to the west or upslope of the stalled front remains active and has advanced approximately 200 yards since yesterday morning.

Pahoa at the top left of this picture about 0.8 miles away.

Pahoa at the top left of this picture about 0.8 miles away.

The leading edge of this breakout is approximately .8 miles to the west or mauka and upslope of Highway 130.”

You can view the time stamp on the picture by clicking on it.

You can view the time stamp on the picture by clicking on it.

The USGS pictures tonight confirms that the lava flow is active behind the Pahoa Marketplace and appears to be advancing.

Puna Man in Custody on $1 Million Bail for Meth Trafficking & Other Offenses

A 31-year-old Puna man is in police custody on $1 million bail for meth trafficking and other drug and weapons charges.

Richard Theodore Frias

Richard Theodore Frias

Richard Theodore Frias of Mountain View was one of three men arrested Friday afternoon (February 20) during the execution of a search warrant at a home on the 200 block of Alaloa Road in the Waiākea Ūka area of Hilo.

Police recovered 7.75 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, paraphernalia associated with the distribution of “ice,” an unregistered handgun, two unregistered rifles and $5,700 in cash.

Two other men, 32-year-old Christopher Manukai Mae of Hilo, and 35-year-old Waylon Thomas of Hilo, were also arrested at the scene on suspicion of drug offenses. All three were taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Vice Section continued the investigation. In addition, Mae was charged with contempt of court for an unrelated bench warrant.

At 9 p.m. Saturday, detectives charged Frias with first-degree meth trafficking, possession of drug paraphernalia and three weapons offenses. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday (February 23).

Thomas was released Saturday pending further investigation. Mae was released Sunday after posting $1,500 bail for the contempt charge. Detectives continue to investigate drug offenses in connection with Thomas and Mae.

Puna Lava Flow Reaches Fire Break

Breakouts persist upslope of stalled flow front; new breakout at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

22315pic1The leading tip of the June 27th lava flow remains stalled, but breakouts persist upslope of the stalled tip. Today, one of these breakouts (marked by the arrow) had advanced a short distance towards the north, reaching one of the fire break roads.

This comparison of a normal photograph and a thermal image shows the position of active breakouts relative to the inactive flow tip.

22315pic2

The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image on the right. In the thermal image, active breakouts are visible as white and yellow areas. Although active breakouts are absent at the inactive tip of the flow, breakouts are present roughly 450 m (490 yards) behind the tip, and are also scattered further upslope.

New breakout at Puʻu ʻŌʻō 22315pic3

This photograph looks east, and shows the breakout on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō that began over the weekend. The breakout, visible as the lighter colored region in the center of the photograph, occurred from the area of the June 27th vent (upper right portion of photograph).

22315pic4A small lobe of pāhoehoe on the new breakout on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.22315pic5A closer look at some of the activity on the new breakout on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Hawaiian Electric Power Restoration Update

Hawaii Electric Light has completed repairs to all major damage caused by a storm system that passed over the islands last Friday and Saturday. Late yesterday evening, crews restored power to the remaining 40 customers in portions of Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and a few pocket outages in the Puna area.

“We would like to thank the community for their patience and understanding as we worked to safely restore electric service as quickly as possible,” said Kristen Okinaka, Hawaii Electric Light spokesperson.

HELCO Workers

“Partnerships are critical for restoring essential services after a storm,” Okinaka said. “We would like to extend our sincere thanks to our employees, partners at the County of Hawaii Civil Defense, Department of Public Works, Police Department, Fire Department, other utilities, and contracted tree trimming and construction crews for their tremendous support and dedication to restore electric service to our community.”

Hawaii Electric Light advises the community to be cautious of trees that could be weakened by the high winds. Weakened trees or their branches can fall after a storm has passed, and this could cause new power interruptions.

Please call 969-6666 to report an outage, downed power line, or damaged utility equipment.

Satellite Image Captures Puna Lava Flow

This satellite image was captured on Saturday, February 14, by the Advanced Land Imager instrument onboard NASA’s Earth Observing 1 satellite.
21515satelliteThe 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 yellow outline is the flow margin as mapped on Tuesday, February 10.

The image above shows a close-up of the June 27th lava flow in the area of Kaohe Homesteads and Pāhoa. Although the leading tip of the flow has been stalled for several weeks, active breakouts have persisted a short distance upslope of this stalled tip. The image shows active breakouts (red pixels) roughly 400 meters (440 yards) upslope of the stalled tip, with additional breakouts scattered 2-3 km (1.2-1.9 miles) upslope. Also, several small breakouts are active in the area west of Kaohe Homesteads.

Hawaiian Electric Power Update

Hawaii Electric Light crews continue to make progress on restoring power to customers who lost electricity as a result of recent high winds.

Shaka For HELCOToday, crews restored power to 1,100 customers in portions of Kapoho, Vacationland, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Orchidland, Ainaloa, Waimea, and North Kohala.

As of 4:00 p.m., an estimated 2,900 customers were without power in portions of Leilani Estates, Nanawale, Lanipuna, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Orchidland, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, Nanawale, Tangerine Acres, Leilani Estates, Fern Forest, Fern Acres, Hawaiian Acres, Eden Roc, Wood Valley, South Point, and Ahualoa.

Due to extensive damage, customers in Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and Lanipuna are advised to prepare for the possibility of extended outages through this week.

The process for restoring service involves many steps to ensure the safety of the crews and community:

  • Assess damage: Damage assessments by field crews identify the extent of damage and the specific materials – including poles, transformers and power lines – that need repair or replacement.
  • Clear trees and debris/dig holes: Contracted tree trimming and construction crews then clear fallen trees and debris and dig holes for utility poles.
  • Install poles, restring lines, and install transformers: Electrical line crews can then be deployed to begin installing the poles, framing the cross arms on the poles, restringing lines, and installing transformers and other equipment.
  • Repair main line first before energizing: Work is first done on the main lines serving subdivisions to restore the connection into those neighborhoods. Side streets can then be restored. Even after power is restored to a neighborhood, there still may be damage at individual homes or pockets of homes within a neighborhood that will need to be addressed separately.

“We want to assure customers that our employees are committed to restoring power as safely as possible,” said Kristen Okinaka, Hawaii Electric Light spokeswoman. “Work is being done to restore power to every community even if crews are not working in your neighborhood. In many cases, crews must complete additional work on the electric system in other locations first.”

Hawaii Electric Light reminds the community to be safe and treat downed power lines as energized and dangerous. Do not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment. If someone is injured by a downed power line, do not approach them. Call 9-1-1 for assistance.

Customers who have not yet reported their power outage are asked to call 969-6666. Due to the high call volume, customers may experience a longer wait time before speaking with a representative. The company sincerely apologizes for this inconvenience and thanks customers for their patience and understanding.

DLNR Arrests Guide For Illegal Lava Tour Trespass On State Land

State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers last night arrested a tour guide involved in conducting illegal commercial tours within the Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve.  The Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve has been closed by DLNR due to hazardous conditions related to ongoing volcanic activity in the area.  

Joel D. Scharer works at Ahui Tour Company.

Joel D. Scharer works at Ahiu Tour Company.

An investigation conducted by DOCARE officers resulted in their arrest of Joel D. Scharer, Jr., age 24, of Hilo.  The investigation revealed that Scharer was a tour guide who had led a tour into the closed natural area reserve.  Scharer was transported to the Hilo Police Station for booking.  He is being charged with the following:  criminal trespass in the 2nd degree which is a petty misdemeanor, and reckless endangering in the 2nd degree, prohibited entry into a Natural area reserve and illegal commercial activities within the natural area reserve, all of which are misdemeanor offenses.  

“The safety of the public remains our top priority,” said Carty S. Chang, Interim DLNR Chairperson.   “Illegal commercial tours into areas closed by volcanic activity are dangerous to both the public as well as rescue responders. Violators will face citation or arrest,” Chang added.  

To report suspected trespass or illegal commercial activity within the closed Kahaualea NAR as well as the closed Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve call DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) at 643-DLNR.

Pahoa Lava Flow Community Meetings Suspended Until Further Notice

Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira announced the regularly scheduled Pahoa lava flow community update meetings are being suspended until further notice.

Pahoa Community Meeting on the Puna Park

“We appreciate the excellent turnout and response from the community at each of these meetings, which the county first began holding last August,” said Chief Oliveira. “We expect we will need to call additional meetings in the weeks and months ahead, but right now we want to give the community and our volunteers a break during this period while the active lava flows are some distance from populated communities.”

Chief Oliveira thanked residents for their understanding and cooperation, and said the county will resume the community meetings when additional briefings are necessary to keep the public informed.

For the latest Civil Defense message, go to http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/. For more information, contact Hawai‘i County Civil Defense at (808) 935-0031.

Puna Representative San Buenaventura Announces 2015 Package of Bills

First-term Puna Representative Joy San Buenaventura has introduced a slate of Puna related bills, in the aftermath of last summer’s Hurricane Iselle and in response to the ongoing lava flow from the Pu’u O’o vent.

Joy San Buenaventura“The residents of Puna face distinct issues that require us to take special action,” says San Buenaventura.  “By working together we can take on these problems and build a better and more vibrant community.  That’s why I’ve introduced these measures addressing a broad range of issues that Puna faces collectively and individually and will continue to face in the aftermath of this current flow activity.”

The following bills relate to the Puu Oo lava flow:

  • HB1314 Emergency Home Relocation Special Fund; Appropriation.  Establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster. Appropriates funds.
  • HB1369 CIP; County of Hawaii; Road Repair and Maintenance; GO Bonds; Appropriation.  Authorizes general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to the county of Hawaii for the repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for highway 130 and any portion of highway 130 under the jurisdiction of the county.
  • HB1106 CIP; 4th Representative District.  Authorizes issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates moneys for capital improvement projects in the 4th representative district.
  • HB737 Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund; Hawaii Property Insurance Association.  Authorizes the Hawaii property insurance association to spend funds in the Hawaii hurricane relief fund to pay for extraordinary losses caused by the flow of lava or other volcanic activity.
  • HB1320 Emergency Management; Tree Maintenance.  Authorizes entry into private property to mitigate hazards posed by trees to utility and communications lines and roadways. Assesses a fine of $150 per day against a landowner whose property must be entered for this purpose.
  • HB383 Emergency Medical Services; Advanced Life Support Ambulance.  Makes an appropriation for one advanced life support ambulance to be based in Puna on the island of Hawaii and to be used from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and to include a vehicle, equipment, and personnel costs.
  • HB377 Mobile Health Unit; Appropriation.  Appropriates a grant to the Bay Clinic, Inc., for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.
  • HB374 Transportation; Harbors; Kapoho Bay; Feasibility Study.  Requires DOT to contract for a study on the feasibility of establishing a harbor or port at Kapoho bay.
  • HB370 HPIA; Policy Renewals; Continued Coverage.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to renew policies that were in effect as of 1/1/2014. Provides for continued coverage under an existing HPIA policy upon a transfer in ownership of the property.
  • HB380 HPIA; Mandatory Issuance of Policies; Removal of Moratorium.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to offer a minimum number of policies proportionate to their market share on properties that are situated in the areas designated for coverage by the insurance commissioner and that have been previously and continuously insured since 06/01/2014. Prohibits HPIA from issuing or continuing a moratorium on issuing policies on those same properties.

 The following bills relate to Puna and the Big Island in general:

  • HB1107 Bookmobile; Big Island; Educational Materials; Department of Education; Appropriation.  Appropriates funds for the establishment and maintenance of a bookmobile that shall serve the rural areas of the island of Hawaii.
  • HR6 Cellular; Broadband; Rural Communities. Requests reports regarding state agency action to ensure access by rural communities to cellular and broadband services.
  • HB376 Chief Election Officer; Elections Commission; Evaluation; Term Length.  Changes the term of the chief election officer to 2 years. Requires the elections commission to conduct a performance evaluation of the chief election officer within 2 months of certifying election results, and hold a public hearing relating to the performance evaluation.
  • HB378 After School Bus Program; Island of Hawaii; Appropriation.  Restores funding for the after school bus program on the island of Hawaii that was excluded from the 2015-2017 executive biennium budget. Appropriates moneys.
  • HB1155 Albizia Trees; Conservation and Resources Enforcement Special Fund; Appropriation.  Makes an appropriation from the conservation and resources enforcement special fund to DLNR for the removal of albizia trees on public and private land.
  • HB1134 Judiciary; Third Circuit; Ho‘okele; Appropriations.  Appropriates moneys for equipment, supplies, and salaries for Ho‘okele legal self-help service centers in Hilo and Kona.
  • HB88 County Fuel Tax; Hawaii County.  Permit’s Hawaii County to expend its share of fuel tax revenues for maintenance of private subdivision roads. Specifies that public entities are not required to install infrastructure on these roads upon a private sale.

 The following bills relate to overall state issues:

  • HB87 Process Server; Criminal Trespass.  Shields process servers from prosecution under criminal trespass statutes when performing their duties.
  • HB371 Foreclosures; Asset.  Prohibits a mortgage creditor from executing on any asset of the debtor beyond the asset that is secured by the mortgage.
  • HB372 Marijuana; Civil Penalties for Possession of One Ounce or Less.  Establishes a civil violation for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana that is subject to fines.
  • HB373 Transient Accommodations Tax.  Amends amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated to the counties from a specified sum to an unspecified percentage of the revenues collected.
  • HB375 Attachment or Execution of Property; Exemptions.  Amends the thresholds for the exemption of real property from attachment or execution to be based upon the most recent real property tax assessment, regardless of value and for all types of property owners. Clarifies that attachment or execution does not apply to a debtor who is not delinquent in payment of income taxes, real property taxes, or mortgages. Bases the value threshold of certain personal property exempted from attachment and execution on the fair market value as adjusted by the consumer price index. Exempts child support moneys and tax refunds from the federal earned income tax credit and federal or state child support tax credit from attachment and execution.
  • HB381 Homeowners’ Associations; Planned Community Associations.  Expands the law on planned community associations to apply to homeowners’ associations so that all disputes are mediated instead of going to court.
  • HB382 Employees’ Retirement System; Division of Pension.  Requires the Employees’ Retirement System to divide pensions between a retired employee and non-employee former spouse or civil union partner, upon application and pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order. This has the effect of ensuring that employees for the full pension benefits and in the event of domestic violence spouse, victim need not ask for their share of pension.
  • HB833 Transient Accommodations Tax; Counties; Revenues.  Makes permanent the current amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated for distribution to the counties. This allows the county of Hawaii to file and the State cannot lessen the county’s share of the annual hotel room tax
  • HB834 Check Cashing; Deferred Deposits.  Requires the written agreement for the deferred deposit of checks to also state that all cumulative fees charged for deferred deposit transactions shall not exceed an annual percentage rate of 39%.
  • HB1204 Procurement; Sustainable Procurements Manager; Appropriation.  Appropriates funds for a new position within the state procurement office tasked with facilitating the development and implementation of procurement processes for public agencies and private organizations for the purpose of food sustainability in Hawaii.
  • HB1205 Hawaii-grown Food Procurement Task Force; Procurement; Appropriation.  Establishes and appropriates funds for the Hawaii-grown food procurement task force for the purpose of creating recommendations for increasing procurement of food grown in Hawaii by State departments and agencies.
  • HB1206 University of Hawaii Sustainability Office; Appropriation.  Establishes the University of Hawaii sustainability office.  Appropriates funds.

The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by logging onto the Capitol website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

A full list of measures proposed by Rep. San Buenaventura is available at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=intro&year=2015&leg=San%20Buenaventura&rpt_type=first_pri.

 The public is also invited to a community meeting later this month at the Pahoa Community Center on Feb. 27, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. The community is welcomed to stop by to voice their concerns and to receive a legislative update from Rep. San Buenaventura.

Anyone wishing to receive information and updates via email can join Rep. San Buenaventura’s email list by sending a request to sanbuenaventura1@Capitol.hawaii.gov.

Two 3.3 Magnitude Earthquakes Rattle Volcano Area of Big Island

Two earthquakes registering 3.3 magnitude (UPDATE: one of them has been updated to a 3.4 magnitude quake) on the Richter Scale were registered in the Volcano area of the Big Island this evening.

33 x 2 VolcanoHere is a close up of where they were located:
33 x 3

Here are the links to the latest earthquake reports:

Men Get Lost Trying to View Lava – Fire Department Helicopter Saves the Day

Two male newcomers to the Big Island got lost in a heavily forested area of the Big Island in what appears to be an attempt to see the lava flow.

Hawaii Fire Department reports that the party was lost on their way coming out of the “pristine rainforest” Thursday, January 29, 2015.  On the way out of the forest they couldn’t find the trail they came in and called a friend on their cell phones to report that they were lost.

They stayed overnight in the forest and Hawaii County Fire Department’s Chopper One assisted in rescuing them this morning.

Here is the Fire Departments incident report:

Stupid Lava Hikers

New USGS Pictures Shows Puna Lava Flow Still Active

The leading tip of the June 27th flow has not advanced significantly over the past week, and remains roughly 500 meters (550 yards) upslope of Highway 130, west of the fire and police station.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Breakouts persist upslope, however, and these areas of activity can be spotted in this photograph by small smoke plumes where the lava is burning vegetation on the flow margins.

This comparison of a normal photograph and a thermal image shows the position of active breakouts relative to the inactive flow tip. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image on the right.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

In the thermal image, active breakouts are visible as white and yellow areas. Although active breakouts are absent at the inactive tip of the flow, breakouts are present just a short distance behind the tip, and are also scattered further upslope.

This photograph looks downslope, and shows the proximity of the flow front to the highway.  Click to enlarge

This photograph looks downslope, and shows the proximity of the flow front to the highway. Click to enlarge

A small breakout from the lava tube is burning forest just left of the center of the photograph. In the upper left, thick fume is emitted from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Near the top of the photograph, the snow-covered peak of Mauna Loa can be seen.

This photograph looks upslope along the ground crack system of Kīlauea's East Rift Zone.  Click to enlarge

This photograph looks upslope along the ground crack system of Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone. Click to enlarge