Gov. Abercrombie Signs Formal Request for Presidential Disaster Declaration

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed a request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration asking for federal assistance to help pay for damage caused by Tropical Storm Iselle, which impacted Hawaii from Aug. 7 to 9, 2014.

Shaka For HELCOThe request seeks Individual Assistance for Hawaii County. Individual Assistance would make additional funding, loans and services available to affected residents.

For updates on Iselle recovery efforts, visit the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency website at: scd.hawaii.gov

Video – Hurricane Iselle Damage & Recovery in Puna, Hawaii

Two weeks ago, Hurricane Iselle devastated Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii on August 7, 2014.

Fragile invasive albizia trees shattered, downing utility lines and blocking major roads.

Falling Branches

The storm surge at Kapoho flooded and demolished homes. The community immediately started to pitch in with food, water, and ice. The government efficiently organized resources, and cleared roads and beach parks and HELCO is working overtime to get electricity back to folks systematically.

Much mahalos to everyone for your aloha spirit during this challenging time. Imua!

Congresswoman Gabbard Releases Details on Steps to Get Federal Aid for Puna

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released details on the next steps that must be taken to quickly and effectively bring federal aid to Puna residents on Hawaiʻi Island whose homes and property were damaged by Hurricane Iselle.

Hayden and Tulsi Squatting

The congresswoman spent Friday with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials and employees of the Hawaiʻi County Office of Housing visiting people’s homes and meeting with residents, as FEMA assessed the cost of damages and gathered information for a detailed report that will be submitted to Governor Abercrombie. The governor will then be able to request federal aid from President Obama through a disaster declaration.

“I’m urging FEMA, Hawaiʻi County, the governor, and President Obama to expedite the process of declaring Iselle’s devastation a natural disaster so that the people of Puna can receive immediate help,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, whose congressional district includes all of Hawaiʻi Island. “I’ve met with residents who have lost everything, and though they’ve shown strength, resiliency, and compassion for their neighbors, many families in Puna are looking for federal assistance to start putting their lives back together after this overwhelming storm.”

FEMA assessments have been finalized except for a small category to be completed today. Although homes and residential area assessments are complete, the infrastructure damage evaluation will take another two to three more days. The governor and his staff are working through all of the assessment details now and will request federal aid from President Obama when they’re confident they have all of the pertinent data; they expect to have a timeline by this evening.

On Friday, Rep. Gabbard was briefed by Hawaiʻi Army National Guard Colonel Moses Kaoiwi at Keaukaha Military Reserve’s Emergency Operations Center in Hilo. He showed an overview of the damage caused by Hurricane Iselle on Hawaiʻi Island, and they discussed the progress of relief efforts and plans to move forward.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard continues to work with federal, state, and county officials to ensure that every available resource is being utilized to expedite recovery efforts and provide the services, supplies, and tools that are needed to guarantee the safety, health, and wellbeing of all those affected by Hurricane Iselle. The Disaster Assistance Recovery Centers (DARC) are still operating and federal, state, and local agencies are there to continue assisting people in need. As of this morning, water service has been restored to all areas of Hawaiʻi Island affected by Iselle, while approximately 1,500 customers are still without electricity.

Medical Marijuana Policy Advocates Announce Series of August Events on Oahu, Hawai‘i Island

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i and the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i (co-founders of the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii) have announced three free, public events on medical marijuana policy in August.

Medical Marijuana Meetings

Light refreshments will be served. RSVPs are requested by 8/20, walk ins welcome, space permitting. RSVP for any event to: office@acluhawaii.org or call (808) 522-5906. Neighbor Islands call toll free, 1-877-544-5906. All venues ADA-accessible, request special accommodation by 8/18.

  • Oahu, Saturday, 8/23/14: “Policy Perspectives on Medical Marijuana” featuring Robert Jacob, Mayor of Sebastopol, CA and Executive Director of Peace in Medicine, a non-profit healing center and cannabis dispensary, and James Anthony, a former Oakland City prosecutor, now a full time attorney specialized in medical cannabis dispensary land use law. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Blaisdell Center Maui Room (second floor), 777 Ward Avenue.
  • Hilo, Sunday, 8/24/14: “Policy Perspectives on Medical Marijuana” repeats. 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., Hilo YWCA, 145 Ululani Street.
  • Kona, Friday, 8/29/14: “Medical Marijuana TalkStory”. A free form conversation among patients, caregivers, doctors and advocates conducted by staff of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii. 2pm to 4pm at the Royal Kona Resort, in the Resolution Room. 75-5852 Ali‘i Drive.

Senator Schatz to Rejoin Team in Puna to Assist with Iselle Recovery Efforts

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced he will rejoin his team, who have remained on the ground in Puna, on Tuesday to assist with the recovery efforts, specifically focusing on federal funds, the mitigation of albizia trees, and disaster recovery.

Sen. Brian Schatz and Sen. Gil Kahele hep unload ice in Nanawale.

Sen. Brian Schatz and Sen. Gil Kahele help unload ice in Nanawale.

Schatz will meet with state and county officials and continue his collaboration with community members from Puna.

Schatz makes chili and rice bowls for the Puna Community

Schatz makes chili and rice bowls for the Puna Community

“I said on Friday night that my commitment to Puna’s recovery extends beyond any election or any election results, and I meant it,” Senator Schatz said. “This is going to take time and effort, and it won’t be easy, but I will continue to do everything that I can to be helpful.”

Kīpukapuaulu, Nāmakanipaio, and Mauna Loa Now Open

The popular forested trail at Kīpukapuaulu (known locally as “Bird Park”), Nāmakanipaio campground, and Mauna Loa summit and backcountry within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park are now open.

Park rangers report that the Mauna Loa Cabin and other areas in the Mauna Loa backcountry within Hawai‘i Voclanoes National Park sustained little or no damage as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle. NPS Photo/Talmadge Magno

Park rangers report that the Mauna Loa Cabin and other areas in the Mauna Loa backcountry within Hawai‘i Voclanoes National Park sustained little or no damage as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle. NPS Photo/Talmadge Magno

Mauna Loa Road is open to hikers and pedestrians, but is currently closed to vehicles.  Visitors who want to access Mauna Loa trail, the summit, and Pu‘u‘ula‘ula (Red Hill) or Mauna Loa cabins, must obtain a backcountry permit at the Visitor Emergency Operations Center. A gate code for Mauna Loa Road will be provided with the permit. Call 808-985-6178 for information.

“We’re delighted to report that most of the places visitors typically visit within the national park are now open,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Our park crews mobilized quickly, safely, and efficiently to reopen as much of the park as possible following Hurricane Iselle,” she said.

All coastal trails and coastal backcountry campsites are open within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Nāpau and Kūlanaokuaiki campsites and Pepeiao Cabin are also open. Power has been restored, and most phones are working throughout the park. Kīlauea Visitor Center and Jaggar Museum have returned to normal operating hours.

Hurricane Iselle, which was downgraded to a tropical storm, snapped trail signs off posts in some areas, and damaged park resources, including a historic home at ‘Āinahou, and a greenhouse used to propagate endangered plants. Potential damage to fencing in remote areas and the coastal nesting sites of the endangered hawksbill turtle are still being assessed.

HELCO Power Restoration Update – Estimated 3,800 Customers With No Power Still

Crews continue to make progress on restoring power, restoring electric service to approximately 2,500 customers yesterday. Currently, an estimated 3,800 customers remain without power.

iselle dlnr

More than 200 workers have mobilized to work in the field on restoring power, including 26 electrical line crews, 14 tree trimming crews, and 30 construction crews contracted to dig holes for utility poles. The combined workforce will include crews from Hawaii island, Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and contracted companies.

Areas of work

Today, electrical line crews expect to continue making progress in the following areas: Nanawale Estates, Leilani Estates, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Paradise Park, and portions of Upper Puna. In addition, crews expect to make progress down Pahoa-Kalapana Road.

Some areas of focus today include:

  • Nanawele Estates – In Nanawale Estates, crews are working on the main power line that brings electric service to the subdivision. Contracted crews are also preparing the area by clearing and trimming trees and digging holes for new utility poles.
  • Hawaiian Paradise Park – In Hawaiian Paradise Park, crews have restored most of the main lines along Makuu and are focusing on Paradise Drive and the area between 21st and 12th Avenues, which suffered extensive damage from trees.
  • Hawaiian Beaches – In Hawaiian Beaches, crews have restored main lines along Kahakai Boulevard down to Puni Makai Loop. Crews are still addressing side streets in the vicinity of Puni Makai South.
  • Leilani Estates – In Leilani Estates, crews have restored power along Leilani Boulevard and are now working on side streets, which suffered extensive damage from fallen trees.

In addition, contracted tree trimming and construction crews are working to clear fallen trees and debris and dig utility pole holes in Nanawale Estates, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaiian Beaches, Leilani Estates, Upper Puna, Keeau Agricultural Lots, and other areas throughout the Puna District. Restoration progress may be impacted by access due to storm debris, fallen trees, or other conditions in the field.

Even if customers don’t see crews in their area, we want customers to know that work is being done to restore power to their communities. In many cases, additional work on the electric system is needed in other locations to restore service.

Although crews are making progress and restoration in many areas may be much faster, preliminary estimates indicate it could take up to three weeks – and in some cases, even longer – to restore power to the areas with the most significant damage. Actual restoration times for each location will depend on the extent of the damage.

Restoration process

The process for restoring service involves many steps that need to be coordinated to ensure public and utility workers’ safety. We also must ensure we deploy the right resources to ensure crews can restore power as quickly as possible. Here’s an overview of the restoration process:

  • Assess damage: Damage assessments by field crews identify the extent of damage and the specific materials – including poles, transformers, and power lines – that need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Clear trees and debris/dig holes: Contracted tree trimming and construction crews then need to 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 may still be damage at individual homes or pockets of homes within a neighborhood that will need to be addressed separately.

Important safety information

As the restoration work progresses, Hawaii Electric Light urges the public to remember these important safety tips:

  • Do not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment.
  • Do not approach any downed power lines, as they may have electricity running through them and can be dangerous. If you see someone injured by a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for assistance.
  • Use generators outdoors and away from flammable materials. Generators connected directly to your home may feed excess electricity back into power lines, endangering the public and utility crews. Plug appliances directly into your generator, using extension cords.
  • Unplug unnecessary and sensitive electronic equipment. Use high-quality surge suppressors for electric appliances that remain plugged in.
  • Use batteries to power flashlights and lanterns. Do not use candles or other flammable fuel sources, as they are fire hazards.
  • Be aware of trees and utility poles that were weakened by storm winds and have the potential for falling.
  • Anyone who is without power and who is dependent on electric-powered life support medical equipment should make arrangements to go to an alternate location with power. They should bring their medical equipment and medications with them. They should also stay in contact with their medical equipment supplier for any special equipment needs.

Hawaii Electric Light continues to operate its Customer Information Center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches. Several hundred people have been visiting the center daily. Company representatives are on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairing the damage. A charging station will be available at the center. Customers may bring their electronic devices to the center and get them charged there. The center will remain open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – and longer if needed – as the restoration process continues.

State of Emergency Exists on Hawaii Island for 53 More Days

State of Emergency exists on the Hawaii Island, Effective 6:00 AM   Thursday, 08/07/2014  and continuing thereon for 60 days or until further act.

Click to view full proclamation.

Click to view full proclamation.

Senator Russell Ruderman on Friday’s Historic Vote – Endorses Schatz

Senator Russell Ruderman

Senator Russell Ruderman

Aloha Puna voters,

I hope you are all safe and recovering from Iselle. Hopefully most of you have electricity, and the rest will have it soon!

The voting issues caused by the storm are complex and frustrating. I am doing all I can to draw attention to the need for Puna voters impacted by the storm to have a fair opportunity to vote. For those assigned to a Pahoa voting place who were unable to vote, the issue remains unresolved.

For those assigned to HPP or Keonopoko, you will vote this Friday at Keonopoko, 7 am – 6 pm.

Both HPP voters and Keonopoko voters will vote at Keonopoko!

I am writing to encourage you to vote on Friday if this includes you. Due to the delayed voting, you will be the deciding votes in at least 3 races:

U.S. Senate
State Rep. Dist. 4
County Council Dist. 4

I urge you to vote for Brian Schatz for U. S. Senate.

Brian has been helpful in our crisis. More importantly he has reached out to me long before this election, before Puna become the momentary center of attention.

Brian has an excellent understanding of Puna’s real needs, including our need for transportation improvements, medical and emergency services, communications and connectivity, and more. Brian will be taking the lead in seeking funds for albizzia control as a long term, disaster preparedness issue.

Brian is approachable, honest, sincere, humble, and cares about people.

Above all, for me, Brian is a true environmentalist. He has shown concern for global warming, getting off oil, and invasive species, among other. Such concern is exactly what we need in Washington.

So please vote on Friday if you are in this group, and vote for Brian Schatz for U.S. Senate.

Mahalo,

Russell Ruderman, Hawai‘i State Senator

Commentary – Daniel K. Inouye Extension Needs To Be Constructed

The South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee recently submitted a letter criticizing the HDOT for deleting the proposed Waimea Bypass from the FY2015-2018 +2 STIP in lieu of the Daniel K. Inouye (formerly SaddleRoad) extension.

Mrs. Irene Inouye, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi dedicate the former Saddle Road as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

Mrs. Irene Inouye, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi
dedicate the former Saddle Road as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

I agree Kawaihae Road is in dire need of safety improvements. There is no way this can be disputed. However, I don’t think it is fiscally prudent to construct a 5 mile bypass road that would benefit only a
small subset of the population. The Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension, on the other hand, will reduce the amount of traffic on both Waikoloa Road and Kawaihae Road.

Both of these substandard roadways are currently handling inbound and outbound military and commercial traffic heading back and forth from Kawaihae. It would make sense to construct a new highway between Queen Kaahumanu and Daniel K. Inouye Highway to relieve the burden on Kawaihae and Waikoloa Roads.

The United States Highway Trust Fund is practically insolvent, so I strongly believe we need to construct highway projects that will benefit the most people. I believe the Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension is the best choice in these fiscally constrained times.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Mainland Law Firm “Fears for Their Safety in Hawaii”

I mentioned a few months ago about a lawsuit that local artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker had filed against CafePress for copyright infringements.

Illegal  “knock off” Slippers with “Forbidden Island” original art by Brad Parker.

Illegal “knock off” Slippers with “Forbidden Island” original art by Brad Parker.

Looking at a motion filed in Honolulu Federal Court last month, it appears that Greenburg Traurig LLP,  one of the largest law firms on the planet “fears for their attorney’s safety due to threat of violence against them in the State of Hawaii, especially in Kona!”

What the heck… this isn’t the Christopher Deedy trial or anything like that.

With over 35 offices and employing 1700 + attorneys globally, Greenburg Traurig is a massive law firm who is currently defending the highly publicized copyright infringement lawsuit filed against their client Cafe Press by Big Island based Tiki Shark Art Inc.

“It is astonishing to see what legal maneuvers these big law firms pull out of their hats to try to outspend a small company like mine when money is no object”  Brad Parker Owner and Artist at Tiki Shark Art Inc. said.

Brad at Capital

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker at the Capital

“However, for the sake of all my fellow artists who Cafe Press has ripped off, I feel obligated to see this case to its end to the best of my company’s financial ability” Parker told me.

Despite several unsuccessful legal tactics used by the Mainland law firm to move some of the motions to Los Angeles – California, the case is set for a jury trial in Honolulu in February 2015.

Senator Ruderman on “Dismissive Attitude Displayed By Election Officials” in Puna District Following Hurricane Iselle

I wish to express my concern for the people of Puna and my dismay at the seemingly dismissive attitude displayed by election officials concerning the primary elections in the Puna District.

Senator Russell Ruderman

Senator Russell Ruderman

Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Iselle on Friday, August 8, election officials made the decision to close two polling stations in the Puna district: Keonepoko Elementary School and at the Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Center. The decision was logical at the time, given that major roads to these polling stations were inaccessible due to fallen trees and electrical poles.

Unfortunately, however, there appear to be systemic, troubling failures in how this and subsequent decisions were carried out.  Residents who were able to reach these two polling stations despite the hazards were turned away and told that ballots would be mailed to them. This was initially a good plan, and allowed for the voters to address their immediate needs due to Hurricane Iselle. In the aftermath, election officials changed their minds and decided, without consideration of conditions on the ground (many residents are still without power, water, or internet) to instead require walk-in voting this Friday, August 15.  I am greatly concerned that the Election Office’s plan to mail notices and post signs on the sides of highways will not suffice due to number of residents that are still trapped and without communications.

I personally tried to contact Mr. Scott Nago, Chief Elections Officer, and to notify the offices of the actual candidates numerous times during the weekend to get some kind of update on what was happening on the ground, in the district. My calls went unanswered until late Monday when Mr. Nago contacted me AFTER a decision had already been made. Even during our conversation, Mr. Nago still failed to notify me of that decision.  This is extremely troubling and unfortunate.

Furthermore, many residents were assigned polling stations that remained opened; however, they could not reach them. These residents are not being offered an alternative means at all to cast a ballot. This is unacceptable, especially in light an analysis of Election Day precinct turnout showing an 11.5 percent turnout at Keaau High School, a 12 percent turnout at Pahoa Community Center and a 12.3 percent turnout at Pahoa High and Intermediate School. Mountain View Elementary School had a 14.3 percent turnout and an overall statewide turnout of 41.4% according to data compiled by the state Office of Elections clearly illustrates that turnout was badly affected.

These low numbers are in sharp contrast to the much higher turnout in the previous two elections, and indicate to me that many people who would normally have voted, could not because of the storm. These are my constituents, whom I know to be astute, active, and vocal when it comes to the political process. They are now being effectively disenfranchised by the unwillingness of election officials to take them into account. This is one more example of the unfairness of someone in Honolulu making a decision that unnecessarily punishes the people on a neighbor island without knowing, or seemingly caring, what the real conditions are on the ground.

Hawaii Law requires that the voting process to be complete 21 days after the primary election. My question is, why was a decision so hastily made to designate Friday the 15th as the day for elections for the two affected areas, when so many residents along Red Road, in Pohoiki, and other areas of Puna are still trapped by fallen trees? Not only is it is physically impossible for these voters to get to a polling station (and there is no plan to extend voting for hundreds of people in this situation), but the majority of these voters aren’t even aware that the decision has been made to reschedule the election in the first place.

The Governor, under Hawaii Revised Statutes 128-9(60 (6) Election hours, has the authority to adjust the hours for voting to take into consideration the needs of the citizens during such emergencies.

Hawaii Revised Statutes 128-9(60 (6) Election hours. To adjust the working hours of the voters during the national emergency and other emergency conditions, and for the purpose to suspend those provisions of section 11-131 which fix the hours for voting, and fix other hours by stating the same in the election proclamation or notice, as the case may be.

It is imperative that allowances be made to address the concerns and rights of eligible voters to be allowed to participate in our elections process. We still have the time and resources necessary to make amends and avoid the inevitable lawsuits that will be forthcoming should the decision to hold the voting on Friday stand. It is incumbent on officials to take the necessary actions to guarantee that all are afforded their Constitutional rights under law to that participation.

Sincerely,

Senator Russell E. Ruderman, Hawaii State Senate – 2nd District

Drone Footage of Hurricane Iselle

Drone footage of some of the damage done in my community of Puna here on the Big Island:

If you are interested in donating to the people of Puna please contact the Hawaii County Civil Defense Hotline at 808-935-0031.

SNAP Hurricane Victims Eligible for Money for Food Losses Caused by Hurricane Iselle

Thousands of Hawaii households remain without electricity in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle this past weekend.  Most people affected by power outages reside on the east side of Hawaii Island. Others are scattered across Oahu and Maui County.

Senator Brian Schatz helps make chili and rice bowls at the Hawaiian Beaches Community Center in Puna, Hawaii.

Senator Brian Schatz helps make chili and rice bowls at the Hawaiian Beaches Community Center in Puna, Hawaii.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) reminds beneficiaries of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly known as Food Stamps) that beneficiary households may request reimbursement for the actual dollar value of food destroyed by storm related power outages.  The reimbursement cannot exceed the household’s current monthly allotment (HAR 17-681-31).

To qualify for reimbursement, the affected household must have been participating in the SNAP when the disaster occurred, and report the loss to the DHS Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD) within 10 business days of the severe weather event. The deadline to submit reimbursement requests for food spoiled during Tropical Storm Iselle is Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014.

To be considered for the reimbursement, the affected SNAP household must provide the DHS BESSD a signed statement that includes the following information:

1) Name of the storm and dates of impact;

2) General list of food items lost due to storm related power outage;

3) Length of time household power was out of service;

4) Statement that the household is aware of the penalties for the intentional misrepresentation of the facts; and

5) Statement that the household is aware that SNAP replacement allotment will not be issued if the required statement is not signed and returned within 10 days.

BEFORE MAILING OR DROPPING OFF the reimbursement request, SNAP beneficiaries should contact the BESSD Processing Center that maintains their case file for additional instructions. Individuals who don’t know which Processing Center maintains their file may call (808) 586-5720 to inquire.

An estimated 98,000 households currently receive SNAP benefits statewide.  There are approximately 25,000 SNAP households on Hawaii Island; 5,000 on Kauai; and 12,000 in Maui County.  To learn more about the Hawaii SNAP, visit the DHS website www.humanservices.hawaii.gov/bessd/snap.

Postponed Elections to Be Held Friday at Keonepoko Elementary

Chief Election Officer Scott Nago, in consultation with the State Attorney General, Department of Defense and the Office of the County Clerk, announced today that an election will be held on Friday, August 15th at Keonepoko Elementary School for the two polling places whose election was postponed due to Hurricane Iselle.

Elections 2014

Only voters who are assigned to Hawaiian Paradise Community Center (04-01) and Keoneopoko Elementary School (04-02), who did not previously vote by absentee mail ballot or at an early vote site will be allowed to vote.

Polling place hours will be from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Voters in line at 6:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Final results of the 2014 Primary Election will be released the same evening at www.hawaii.gov/elections.

HELCO Update on Repairs in Puna After Hurricane Iselle

Crews from Hawaii Electric Light will be joined today by Oahu crews from Hawaiian Electric as work continues on restoring power to customers affected by Tropical Storm Iselle.

Additional field crews are being brought in from the Mainland. Contract construction crews are also supplementing the restoration workforce.

“We understand this is a difficult time for our customers, so we’re essentially tripling our workforce and doing everything we can to restore power as quickly as possible,” said Darren Pai, Hawaii Electric Light spokesman.

Snapped Pole

A snapped pole on Kahakai Drive in Hawaiian Beaches.

Crews have been able to stabilize the island’s transmission system, which serves as the backbone of the electric grid and is essential to maintaining service. Restoration efforts are now focused on neighborhoods that are still without power. Power was restored Sunday night to portions of Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Today, crews expect to make progress in the following areas: Paauilo Mauka, Orchidland, Fern Acres, and Mountain View. Electrical line crews are also working in Ainaloa and Leilani Estates subdivisions. Restoration progress may be impacted by access to due storm debris, fallen trees, or other conditions in the field.

Hawaii Electric Light expects to be able to have crews working tomorrow in Hawaiian Beaches and the remaining portions of Hawaiian Paradise Park.

In many areas, the restoration process involves three significant processes, each requiring different sets of work crews. First, in many cases tree trimming crews must clear away fallen trees and other debris so crews may access the areas. Second, excavation crews must dig new holes so replacement utility poles may be set. Depending on soil and terrain issues, this can be a time consuming process. Finally, electrical line crews will set new poles and repair downed power lines.

Some locations do not require replacement of downed utility poles. In these cases, electrical line crews are working to repair fallen power lines and other repairs needed to restore power. In these cases, restoration is faster than in areas that require pole replacements.

“Our customers will see many different crews and vehicles from different companies working in their neighborhoods. They are all part of our collective effort to restore power,” Pai said.

Customers are reminded not to approach any downed power lines, as they may have electricity running through them and can be dangerous. If you see someone injured by a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for assistance.

Hawai‘i Electric Light also today opened a Customer Information Center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches. Company representatives will be on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairing the damage caused by Tropical Storm Iselle. Customers may bring their electronic devices and get them charged. A charging station will be available at the center.

The centers will remain open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. as the restoration process continues.

In addition, Hawaiian Beaches Water Company will be on hand at the Customer Information Center to distribute water for free. Each family may receive up to five gallons of water and must bring their own containers.

How to Help Puna Residents in Need After Hurricane Iselle

Residents in the Puna District on the Big Island of Hawaii were among the hardest hit when Hurricane Iselle made landfall.

Senator Brian Schatz helping with the chili and rice give away today at Nanawale Longhouse in Puna.

Senator Brian Schatz helping with the chili and rice give away today at Nanawale Longhouse in Puna.

Work to clear roads and restore utilities continues. Some areas may still be cut off and people in these areas may need ice, coolers, propane, lanterns, canned food, blankets and clothing.

Powerlines in Hawaiian Beaches

Powerlines in Hawaiian Beaches

Hawaii Island United Way in conjunction with Hawaii County Civil Defense are coordinating relief efforts.

Residents will be without power for quite some time.

Residents will be without power for quite some time.

If you are interested in donating to the people of Puna please contact the Hawaii County Civil Defense Hotline at 808-935-0031.

HELCO Statement on Restoring Power to the Puna Areas of the Big Island

Hawaii Electric Light crews are continuing to work on restoring power to customers who lost electricity as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle.

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

An estimated 9,200 customers remain out of power in Hawaiian Paradise Park, Puna, Orchidland Estates, Leilani Estates, Nanawale, Kapoho, Kalapana, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, and Waipunahina. In addition, there are outages affecting smaller pockets of customers of customers in areas from Hamakua through Volcano. Customers who have not yet reported an outage in a location that is not listed should call 969-6666 to report the outage.

Iselle caused extensive damage to power lines and utility poles and crews are still assessing the damage. As a result, customers still without power should expect extended outages, which could last into next week and in some cases, particularly the Puna area, much longer.

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Crews are focusing their efforts on repairing damage to the island’s transmission system, which serves as the backbone of the electric grid and is essential to providing service across the island. Much of the damage is in remote areas that are difficult to access. In many cases, crews have to cut their way through fallen trees to provide access for vehicles, equipment and personnel. The Puna District, which was especially hard hit by Iselle, is also quite large; the entire island of O‘ahu can fit within the Puna District.

To assist with the restoration process, Hawaiian Electric crews from O‘ahu and Maui will be traveling to Hawai‘i Island.

All storm-related outages on Oahu and Maui County were restored on Friday.

For those who will be without power for an extended time, below are some food safety tips.

Important safety information for those still without power:

  • When using a portable generator, carefully read and follow instructions in the manufacturer’s manual. Do not plug the generator into your household electrical outlets. Never use a generator inside a home, basement, or garage. Only use the generator outside, away from your home’s windows, doors, and vents. Connect a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated power cord to the generator. Appliances can then be connected to the power cord. Make sure the outdoor-rated power cord is sufficient to handle the maximum electrical flow or electrical load from the generator. Check that the generator is properly grounded. Store reserve fuel in a safe place away from the generator or any other equipment that might ignite the fuel; use containers designed for fuel storage.
  • Stay away from downed power lines. Assume they are energized, or “live,” and dangerous. If you see someone injured after touching a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for help and do not approach the injured person.

Refrigerated foods

  • Discard any perishable food that has been above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of perishable foods such as meat, poultry, fish, and leftovers before you cook or eat it.
  • Always discard any items in the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.

Frozen foods

  • Foods can stay frozen in the freezer for one to three days: one day for a half-full freezer, three days for a fully stocked freezer
  • Food that has been thawed completely and has not been held at or below 41 degrees should be cooked and eaten immediately. If your food still has ice crystals, it’s safe to refreeze.

As a general rule, “when it doubt, throw it out.”

If your power is out for an extended period, consider using dry ice if available. Please remember to use gloves or tongs when handling dry ice. Dry ice can be placed directly on top of your foods, since dry ice cools things under it.

These tips have been adapted from the Hawai’i Department of Health’s “Food Safety – During and After a Power Outage” brochure and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Foodsafety.gov website. For specifics on when to save or throw out certain types of food, see pages 68 and 69 in our Handbook for Emergency Preparedness, which can be found on our website at www.hawaiielectriclight.com under the “Safety and Emergency” tab.

Damage Claims:

Customers who wish to submit damage claims can access a claim form at www.hawaiielectriclight.com under the “residential services” section.

Coast Guard Reopens All Hawaii Ports – Continue to Monitor Julio

The Coast Guard has reopened all ports in the State of Hawaii following the passing of Tropical Storm Iselle through the Hawaiian Islands.

Commercial traffic and port operations may be resumed and these ports are now in Condition V.

All Coast Guard vessels and aircraft will return to their normal safety, security and law enforcement patrols.

Hurricane Julio

Hurricane Julio

The Coast Guard will continue to monitor Hurricane Julio and heavy weather conditions for each port will be updated as information becomes available.

Although the storm has passed the public is advised to use extreme caution around the water as the lingering effects of the storms may last for several days, generating high surf, rip currents and poor water conditions. The public should heed all warnings from local lifeguards or posted placards regarding public health and safety.

  • Condition V: Seasonally readiness, 1 June – 30 November
  • Condition IV: The ALERT condition in which winds above 34 knots (39 mph) are expected within 72 hours.
  • Condition III: The READINESS condition in which winds above 34 knots (39 mph) are expected within 48 hours.
  • Condition II: The WARNING condition in which winds above 34 knots (39 mph) are expected within 24 hours.
  • Condition I: The DANGER condition in which winds above 34 knots (39 mph) are expected within 12 hours and until the storm has passed and is no longer a threat.

Two Puna Polling Places CLOSED, Not Relocated!

Two Puna polling places, Keonopoko & HPP (Paradise Park) without electricity will not receive voters today!!! Voters assigned to those places will be mailed a ballot in next couple weeks, to be mailed back in. These poll results will not be final until then.

This info is verified by Stewart Maeda, Hawaii County Clerk.

Even worse news: Many residents along Red Road and in Pohoiki are trapped by fallen trees. They cannot get to their polling station in Pahoa. At this time there is no plan to extend voting for hundreds of people in this situation. I will be urging the State Elections officer, Scott Nago, to find a solution for these constituents. I hope others will do so as well.

Senator Russell Ruderman (via Facebook)