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Another Water Pump Goes Down – North Kona Water Restrictions Mandated

This is an Emergency Water Restriction Notice for North Kona District customers for Monday August 14.

The Department of Water Supply reports Honokohau Deepwell located in North Kona is now out of service. Due to the loss of this pump this morning, North Kona customers in the area from Keauhou to Keahole and Honalo to Makalei must restrict water use to health and safety needs only. This means use water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes only. Cease all other water use including all irrigation and washing of vehicle and boats.

Conserve water by flushing toilets less often and taking shorter showers.
We also recommend that residents store a sufficient amount of water (5-10) gallons for basic household needs, such as flushing toilets, hygiene and consumption in the event of service disruption.

Until further notice, the Department of Water Supply is suspending temporary service accounts and irrigation accounts in North Kona.

Department of Water Supply will be monitoring water usage and wasteful water use will be subject to further water restrictions and possible water shut off.

In order to help meet general customer demand, Water Supply has established Public Potable Water Distribution Stations at the following locations:

  • Ane Keohokalole Hwy. between Kealakehe Parkway and Kealakehe High School
  • Hina Lani between Anini St. and Manu Mele St.

For after hours emergencies, or to report any observed wasteful use of water call the DWS at 961-8790. During normal business hours, call 961-8060.
This email address will be kept updated and you will be informed of any conditions that may affect your safety.

Thank you, have a safe day, this is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

East Hawaii Residents Asked to Reduce Water Usage Due to Ongoing Dry Conditions

Due to the ongoing dry conditions, the Department of Water Supply is requesting customers in the affected areas to reduce your daily water usage by 10%. Listed are some ways to conserve water to reach the 10% goal:

AFFECTED AREAS: HAKALAU-WAILEA, SOUTH HILO, HAWAI‘I NINOLE, NORTH HILO, HAWAI‘I

  • Wash only full loads of laundry or dishes at a time. 
  • Check faucets and pipes for leaks. 
  • Serve drinking water only when requested. 
  • Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Use drinking water wisely.
  • Do not let water run unnecessarily. Please shut the water off when you wash or brush your teeth. Use a glass to rinse when brushing your teeth.
  • When bathing or showering, use water only to wet and rinse off. 
  • Do not fill up the bathtub. 
  • Do not flush toilets unnecessarily. 
  • Review and reduce frequency of irrigation schedule by adjusting timers appropriately.

All irrigation and agricultural users should keep water usage to a minimum. Irrigate only at night from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. This measure will reduce water loss due to evaporation, and minimize water system usage during peak demand.For more information, please contact the Department at (808) 961-8790 or (808) 961-8060 during normal business hours or visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org.

Emergency Water Restriction Notice for North Kona District

This is an Emergency Water Restriction Notice for North Kona District customers for Sunday August 13 at 11:45 AM.

The Department of Water Supply reports Honokohau Deepwell located in North Kona is now out of service.

Due to the loss of this pump this morning, North Kona customers in the area from Keauhou to Keahole and Honalo to Makalei must restrict water use to health and safety needs only. This means use water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes only.  Cease all other water use including all irrigation and washing of vehicle and boats.

Conserve water by flushing toilets less often and taking shorter showers.

We also recommend that residents store a sufficient amount of water (5-10) gallons for basic household needs, such as flushing toilets, hygiene and consumption in the event of service disruption.

Until further notice, the Department of Water Supply is suspending temporary service accounts and irrigation accounts in North Kona.

For after hours emergencies, or to report any observed wasteful use of water call the DWS at 961-8790. During normal business hours, call 961-8060

Details On Last Nights Emergency Landing at Hilo International Airport

At 10:21 pm last night Hawaii Fire Department was dispatched to an aircraft emergency. A Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767 carrying 276 passengers and crew from Kauai to LAX experienced smoke in the cockpit and was diverted to Hilo International Airport.

The aircraft was 2 hours into their flight when diverted. All units were on scene prior to touchdown. The plane landed safely and taxied to the terminal without further incident. The cause of smoke is under investigation.

Questions and Answers: Hawaii and the Threat of a North Korean Missile Strike

Click to enlarge

1. Why now? Has the North Korea missile threat increased so much recently that you were urged to begin preparations for an attack?

Preparations for the North Korea missile and nuclear threat began in late 2016 when this assessment suggested early preparations should be initiated. Hawaii has maintained plans to cope with missile testing since 2009. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) conducts a Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) every year. This process examines potential hazards and threats to the State of Hawaii including natural (hurricane, tsunami), technological (cyberterrorism) and man-made (acts of terrorism) hazards.

2. I have heard that planning for a nuclear attack from North Korea is futile given most of the population will be killed or critically injured. Is that true?

No. Current estimates of human casualties based on the size (yield) of North Korean nuclear weapon technology strongly suggests an explosion less than 3 miles in diameter. More than 90% of the population would survive the direct effects of such an explosion. Planning and preparedness are essential to protect those survivors from delayed residual radiation (fallout) and other effects of the attack such as the loss of utilities and communication systems, structural fires, etc.

3. How will the public learn of a possible missile launch from North Korea?

Approximately 5 minutes into the launch sequence, the U.S. Pacific Command will notify the Hawaii State Warning Point (SWP) that a missile is in route from North Korea. The SWP is staffed on a 24-hour, 7 day-a-week basis by skilled emergency management professionals.
Upon receipt of the notification, the SWP will activate the ‘Attack-Warning’ signal on all outdoor sirens statewide (wailing sound) and transmit a warning advisory on radio, television and cellular telephones within 2 minutes.

4. What should Hawaii residents and visitors do when they hear the ‘Attack-Warning’ siren signal?

All residents and visitors must immediately seek shelter in a building or other substantial structure. Once the sirens sound, residents and visitors will have less than 12 to 15 minutes before missile impact.

5. Was the recent public messaging recommending that each individual/family maintain a 14-day survival kit made because of the North Korea threat?

The 14-day recommendation was made following an intensive analysis suggesting that Hawaii could experience a major disruption to maritime transportation (shipping and ports) in the event of a major hurricane. This recommendation does however complement the potential need for 14 days of sheltering following a nuclear attack.

6. When will schools begin nuclear drills?

Schools are not expected to conduct drills specific to a nuclear attack. Existing drills known as ‘lock down’ drills serve the same purpose. These drills are regularly conducted at all schools statewide and are considered more than adequate in terms of protecting students and staff.

7. When will the new ‘Attack-Warning’ siren signal will available and how will it be tested?

The new (second) ‘Attack-Warning’ siren signal (wailing sound) will be available for use beginning in November 2017. The signal will be tested on the first working day of every month thereafter together with the existing ‘Attention-Alert’ signal (steady sound) used for other emergencies.

8. Are there public shelters (blast or fallout) designated in our communities?

No. There are currently no designated shelters in the State of Hawaii at this time. The short warning time (12 to 15 minutes) would not allow for residents or visitors to locate such a shelter in advance of missile impact.

9. How long will residents and visitors need to remain sheltered following a nuclear detonation?

In most cases, only until the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has assessed residual radiation and fallout. This could be as little as a few hours or as long as 14 days.

10.  What is fallout?

Debris including soil, fragments of destroyed buildings and other material will be drawn into the cloud of a nuclear detonation and propelled into the sky. This debris will begin to settle back to earth within hours. This debris includes residual radiation that poses a significant health risk to humans and animals.

11. How can I tell if nuclear radiation is present?

Nuclear radiation cannot be perceived by the human senses (sight, smell, etc.). Specialized instruments are needed to detect its presence and intensity. Those instruments are available for use by public safety agencies across the State of Hawaii.

12. How long will nuclear radiation persist after a nuclear detonation?

A: Radiation from nuclear detonation in the form of fallout decays very rapidly. Days to weeks in most situations.

13. Are the neighbor island safe?

We do not know. North Korean missile technology may not be adequately advanced to accurately target a specific island or location. Although most analysts believe the desired target will be Oahu given the concentration of military and government facilities, a missile may stray and impact the open ocean or even a neighbor island. All areas of the State of Hawaii must consider the possibility of missile impact.

14. How will the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency communicate with the public post-impact? I have heard that most broadcast stations and other forms of electronic communications (cellular telephones, radio, television) will be damaged or destroyed.

When a nuclear weapon detonates, one of the direct effects produced is called an Electromagnetic Pulse (or EMP). EMP has the potential of destroying electrical devices and telecommunications systems. It may also disrupt electrical power and other essential utilities. Broadcast stations many miles distant from the explosion (such as on another island) will survive EMP effects. Our current plans are to utilize AM and FM broadcast radio stations on unaffected islands to provide essential information to the public. This means residents and visitors should include a battery-powered AM-FM radio in their 14-day survival kit.

15. How can I learn more about the nuclear threat and preparedness?

Public outreach and online information is available to all Hawaii residents.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Email: HawaiiEma@hawaii.gov Web: http://dod.hawaii.gov/hiema/ Telephone: 808 -733-4300 or contact your county emergency management agency:

  • Kauai Emergency Management Agency 808-241-1800
  • Honolulu Department of Emergency Management 808-723-8960
  • Maui Emergency management Agency 808-270-7285
  • Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency 808-935-0031

Ready.Gov website https://www.ready.gov/nuclear-blast

Two People Treading Water Rescued Off Capsized Vessel Off Kaloli Point

Two people were rescued off a capsized vessel off Kaloli Point this morning around 11:00.

Location: Open Ocean Quarter Mile off Shore area of Kaloli Point

Found at Scene: Ocean Rescue

Cause: Capsized Boat

Remarks: Responded to report of capsized vessel in the area of either Hilo Bay or Kaloli Point. Company 1 and Chopper 1 unable to locate vessel in Hilo Bay. Chopper 1 was able to locate a 20 foot Bayliner partially submerged in ocean ~ 1/4 mile from shoreline in the area of Kaloli Point with 2 occupants treading water beside it.  Both parties safely rescued from the ocean by Chopper 1 and rescue personnel, assisted to safe area by Engine 18. No injuries reported. US Coast Guard to arrange salvage of boat with owner. No further assistance needed.

Hawaii Anti-Bullying Campaign Marks Its 10th Year

The E Ola Pono campaign celebrated its 10th year, and was created as a cultural response to bullying in the schools. Student groups are encouraged to actively Grow Pono – to foster respect and harmony. Six schools in three divisions received recognition and monetary awards for their campaigns.

The E Ola Pono campaign encourages youth groups to promote peace, pono and respect at their schools and communities through student–led campaigns.  Photo Credit: E Ola Pono

The E Ola Pono campaign, which encourages youth groups to promote peace, pono and respect at their schools and communities through student–led campaigns, celebrated its 10th year with winning projects from across the state. The campaign was created as a cultural response to bullying in the schools. Student groups are encouraged to actively Grow Pono – to foster respect and harmony.

“This campaign is an excellent example of showcasing student voice and leadership,” said Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. “Congratulations to the winning schools and all of the entrants who put a lot of thought and time into these projects that promote positivity within our schools and communities.”

Six schools in three divisions received recognition and monetary awards for their campaigns.

Elementary Division:

First Place: Na Wai Ola P ublic Charter School (PCS), Mountain View, Hawaiʻi Island – Na Wai Ola PCS’ māla (garden) program teaches students how to grow food, medicines and plants with aloha and respect. Shari Frias, the agricultural Science teacher and advisor for their pono campaign, observed that students who have been at their school for a few years have a personal connection and understanding of their māla, the environment and themselves. The older students have developed a strong connection to place. She tells her students that, “every plant in our māla has a place, and kulelana just like you. If we care about ourselves the way we care for our plants we will be pono, and balanced.”

Second Place: Aliʻiolani Elementary School, Honolulu, Oʻahu – The STAR Student Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) program at Aliʻiolani Elementary promoted kindness recognition. Every student at Ali’iolani wrote down a time when they were kind to someone else and the Wall of Kindness was created. Campaign advisor, Tim Hosoda, shared, “In most programs the teachers do the recognizing, but with STAR Student, the students are the ones that get to do that. We noticed that students behave better because the know their peers are always watching them.”

Middle/Intermediate Division:

First Place: Ewa Makai Middle School, Ewa Beach, Oʻahu – Ewa Makai Middle initiated a campaign to foster pono with aloha with an emphasis on morality and ethics.

Ewa Makai Middle initiated a campaign to foster pono with aloha with an emphasis on morality and ethics. Photo Credit: E Ola Pono

Through various activities like Cheer Off and No One Eats Alone Day, the students formed a strong bond. Vanessa Ching, campaign advisor, shared, “The students have embraced the true meaning of pono, which is respect for self and others, and doing what is right even when no one is around. We now realize that it is both an individual and team effort to take action and influence positive behaviors and respectful actions in our community.”

Second Place: Kailua Intermediate, Kailua, Oʻahu – Seventh and eighth grade students at Kailua Intermediate focused on how to mālama the Hamakua Marsh and the native birds in this sanctuary by watching and monitoring the birds, cleaning up trash dumped in the marsh and taking water samples. Campaign advisor Kimberly Tangaro, a science teacher at Kailua intermediate, shared, “As participants we learned how we can make small yet significant changes to help promote the health of the marsh. Our school culture was powerfully and positively impacted by learning about this unique and special place we call home or our community.”

High School Division:

First Place (tie): Farrington High School, Honolulu, Oʻahu – The Friends Program at Farrington High focused on the national “#BETHECHANGE” and “Spread the Word to End the “R” Word” initiatives because they wanted their school, students, and community to understand that they will all rise as one. Evelyn Utai, advisor of the Friends Program, shared, “The students in our Friends Program are educating their friends and classmates on what it means to be a caring individual. We promote that we are #ONEGOV” at Farrington High. It’s an amazing feeling to have my students walk through the halls and feel that they belong in the school.”

First Place (tie): Hāna High & Elementary School, Hāna, Maui – Hāna High’s ninth graders chose the topic of Environmental Sustainability. Students focused on educating the younger generation by passing down the teachings of their kupuna. Campaign advisor Angela Chronis, Hāna’s Social Studies teacher shared, “Both keiki and kupuna were excited to help take part in our campaign. After participating in E Ola Pono, students have a greater understanding and appreciation of the many steps it takes to launch a successful campaign.”

For more information about the E Ola Pono campaign and the 2016-17 winners, click here.

Coast Guard, Navy Conduct Joint Medevac of Crewman From Research Vessel Off Oahu

A 55-year-old crewman from the research vessel Kilo Moana arrived safely to Honolulu Tuesday following a joint medevac conducted by the Coast Guard and Navy 175 miles northeast of Kaneohe Bay.

“This case illustrates the importance of our partnership with the Navy and the value of hoist capable helicopters to conduct medevacs so far offshore, allowing us to deliver mariners to a higher level of medical care in the shortest amount of time possible,” said Lt. j.g. Tim Lae, of Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu.

Navy MH-60 Seahawk

A Navy MH-60 Seahawk crew from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 hoisted the crewman aboard and safely delivered him in stable condition to emergency medical personnel at Kaneohe Bay at 6:17 p.m. He was further transported by ambulance to Queens Medical Center. A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew flew cover and provided additional communications for the Seahawk crew.

The Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received a request for a medevac from the captain of the Kilo Moana Monday evening. The crewman reportedly injured his foot when a box of frozen goods fell on it and his condition had declined in the 24 hours since. The vessel was more than 500 miles offshore of Oahu at the time of the request.

Watchstanders from JRCC Honolulu consulted the vessel’s on call doctor at George Washington Medical Facility and the Coast Guard duty flight surgeon who both recommended the medevac. The captain of the vessel altered course toward Oahu to close the distance and it was determined an HSM-37 Seahawk was the safest and quickest means to transport the crewmember to higher medical care.

The Seahawk crew departed Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay around 2:15 p.m. The Hercules crew departed Air Station Barbers Point on the west side of Oahu near Kapolei, met up with the Seahawk en route and provided cover during the hoist and return transit.

The Kilo Moana is a 186-foot research vessel, based out of Honolulu, owned by the Navy and operated by the University of Hawaii Marine Center.

HSM-37 is the largest expeditionary squadron in the Navy and the Easyriders support all Pearl Harbor-based Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Ticonderoga-class cruisers with 15 Seahawks. While anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare are their primary missions, secondary missions include search and rescue and medical evacuations.

The men and women of Air Station Barbers Point serve as “Guardians of the Pacific” in the largest and most culturally diverse of all Coast Guard operating areas — 12.2 million square miles of open ocean, atolls, and island nations. They enhance the readiness of the 14th District with long range patrol and logistical support capabilities, as well as quick and versatile search and rescue response using the Hercules and the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

Hawaiian Monk Seal Pup ‘Kaimana’ to be Moved to Undisclosed Location

Multi-Agency Decision Made to Protect Seal and People

The Hawaiian monk seal pup, PO3, born on O‘ahu’s Kaimana Beach in late June will be relocated to a remote, undisclosed shoreline area where she can continue her natural growth as a wild seal with less human interaction and other hazards. The decision to move the seal was made following extensive discussion and analysis by experts, managers and scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries); the DLNR Chair’s Office and its Divisions of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE). Other agencies involved in managing public and seal safety during its time at Kaimana include the City and County (C&C) of Honolulu Emergency Services Department, Division of Ocean Safety and Life Guard Services, C&C Dept. of Parks and Recreation, the Honolulu Mayor’s Office; and Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response (HMAR).

“This large and expert team of people from all levels of government, carefully considered options for this seal (now named ‘Kaimana’) after it weans from its mother (‘Rocky’),” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case. “The determination was made that the risks of leaving this now famous seal in place are too great. The team considered a number of factors and the risks of leaving ‘Kaimana’ at her natal beach outweighed the risks of relocating her,” said Chair Case.

David Schofield, NOAA Fisheries Regional Marine Mammal Response Coordinator explained, “We weighed two options with utmost consideration for safety; both for the seal and the public. One option was to simply leave the weaned seal at Kaimana Beach. The other, our chosen option, is to move the seal to a more secluded location, where she can grow up naturally in the company of other wild monk seals, without a high level of human inter-action.”

Not the least of those risks at Kaimana Beach is the seal’s propensity for swimming into the badly dilapidated Natatorium adjacent to Kaimana beach at least three times. First on Friday, July 28th, Kaimana disappeared from her mom and was then spotted in the Natatorium’s pool. NOAA staff and volunteers managed to rescue her and hand-carry her back to her mother after a forty-five-minute long separation. Then again, on Thursday, August 3rd, both ‘Kaimana’ and ‘Rocky’ found their way into the large Natatorium pool, replete with unseen, underwater hazards.

During an impromptu news conference on the beach that day, both mom and pup finally exited the Natatorium and swam a bee-line for the center of Kaimana Beach. C&C lifeguards, NOAA Marine Mammal Response Team Members, DLNR representatives, and HMAR volunteers quickly cleared the beach and the water to give the returning seals wide berth. Again last night both mom and pup swam into the Natatorium and later exited without issue.

Jim Howe of the Honolulu Emergency Services Dept. observed, “Ever since Rocky gave birth to her pup at Kaimana Beach, city lifeguards have been focused on the safety of beachgoers as well as these remarkable animals. I want to thank all of the lifeguards and our federal and state partners who remained vigilant over the past 40 days while Rocky successfully weaned her pup.”

Dr. Bruce Anderson, DAR Administrator explained, “Once a pup weans from its mom it begins exploring and learning to forage for food further away from her birth site. Young seals are extremely impressionable and if Kaimana was exposed to extensive human interaction, she will likely develop unhealthy behaviors. If a seal does become conditioned to people, as it gets older, bigger and more powerful, people in the water sought out by a seal can and have been badly hurt.” Anderson continued, “One handout from a well-intentioned human and Kaimana may become troublesome and need further relocations and controls which put her further at risk.”

DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell added, “This decision to relocate is not made lightly, as there are human-caused dangers elsewhere too, not the least of which is illegal unattended lay gill nets that have caused the sad drownings of four seals in recent years. We know lay gill nets are a real problem for monk seals, turtles and other animals that all too frequently get entangled in them and die because they can’t breathe. We ask everyone to help us be extra vigilant in reporting these dangers through our new app, DLNRtip or by calling the DOCARE hotline at 643-DLNR.”

‘Rocky’ and ‘Kaimana’s’ long stay on one of Waikiki’s most popular beaches became a tourist draw and an Internet sensation. HMAR President Jon Gelman says the non-profit’s response to this pupping event on a busy Waikiki beach was a test of the organization’s resources and commitment. “Our folks are there to conduct public outreach and help seals have a safe, quiet place to rest and care for their pups. I think our volunteers and staff have done a great job and we have had the opportunity to educate thousands of residents and visitors while at the same time managing safety perimeters, monitoring the mom and pup’s behaviors and maintaining appropriate separation between the seals and humans in an extremely challenging environment.”

“We are so thankful and blessed that ‘Rocky’ birthed ‘Kaimana’ here in our ahupua‘a. She has been a true gift from our Akua to the residents and visitors of Waikīkī who had the opportunity to learn from her, and we are honored she will now carry the name of the place where she was born,” said area descendant Trisha Kehaulani Watson. “As Hawaiians managed natural resources in a custom that ensured sustainability, we agree with NOAA, DLNR and other officials that the best management decision for ‘Kaimana’ and the 60,000 daily resource users is to relocate her as soon as she has weaned from her mother.”

All of the government partners want to ensure that both visitors and residents are informed about safe and proper seal and other wildlife viewing procedures. Several videos have been produced regarding safe wildlife viewing and the media has provided extensive coverage of ‘Kaimana’. A news conference today concluded with a blessing sending young ‘Kaimana’ to a long and wild life.

Hawaii’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Lets Survivors Know They ARE NOT Alone – The Mālama Kākou Project

Attorney General Doug Chin and the state of Hawaii’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (Hawaii SAKI) multidisciplinary team today announced the launch of a Public Service Announcement (PSA) video under Project Mālama Kākou.

Project Mālama Kākou was created as a result of Act 207 (2016), passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor David Ige, which assembled a statewide multidisciplinary team of victim services providers, crime lab personnel, police officials, and prosecutors to comprehensively reform the testing of sexual assault kits in Hawaii in a caring and victim-centered manner.

Attorney General Chin said: “This public service announcement is an important next step for reaching out to sexual assault survivors. We recently launched the Project Mālama Kākou website to let survivors know they are not alone and there is information and support available for them.”

The PSA will be hosted on the Attorney General’s Project Mālama Kākou website at ag.hawaii.gov/hisaki and will be distributed using social media, email and more. The video features Attorney General Chin representing law enforcement and Ms. Chelsea Crapser, Director of Crisis and Prevention Services of the YWCA of Kauai, representing victim support providers.

A joint statement from Chelsea Crapser, Director of Crisis and Prevention Services at the YWCA of Kauai and Renae Hamilton-Cambeilh, Executive Director of the YWCA of Kauai said, “As service providers, it is our sincere hope that every individual knows there are support services and resources available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Mālama Kākou Project is the result of collaboration to better serve sex assault survivors by implementing a new process for statewide testing of Sex Assault Kits. This process allows police, prosecutors, advocates and victim counselors to work together to provide comprehensive support. We are grateful for the collaborative spirit of this group, but most of all, we acknowledge the strength of every survivor who has come forward.”

Man Charged in Connection with Theft of County Mass Transit Bus

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged 21-year-old Kawelo Nakamura in connection with the theft of a county mass transit bus.

Kawelo Nakamura

On (August 6), at 3:43 p.m., police located the bus on Route 130 and was able to stop it near the intersection at Kaohuwalu Street in Pāhoa, at which time officers arrested Nakamura who was its operator.

Photo by Daichi Marquis

On (August 7), police charged Nakamura with first degree theft, accident involving vehicle/property damage, first degree criminal property damage, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and driving without a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Photo from Kawika Tokita on Facebook.

Nakamura is being held at the Hilo cellblock in lieu of $13,000 bail pending his initial appearance in South Hilo district court (August 8).

Kiki Lane stated the following on Facebook which lead to the arrest: “”The bus” just over took us on railroad and side swiped my mirror and kept driving, my kids are freaking out and this piece of shit didn’t even stop! police were called! Keep on the look out bus number 342 and license plate Ch3439″….
“Update: just spoke to the police “the bus” that hit me was a stolen bus!
bus number 342 and license plate Ch3439
Please be on the look out and stay out of his way!”

Police initially responded to a 1:47 p.m., report (August 5), of a hit-and-run traffic accident on Railroad Avenue in Hilo involving a Hawaiʻi County mass transit bus that fled the scene. No one was injured in that incident. At 2:36 p.m., police were informed that the bus was stolen from the County’s Hilo base-yard sometime early Saturday morning.

Witnesses saw him earlier down at 4-mile Beach in Keaukaha earlier in the morning. Photo from Kawika Tokita Facebook Account.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or have any other information about it is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Tuckloy Aurello of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2385 or Tuckloy.Aurello@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Coast Guard Celebrates Centennial of Diamond Head Lighthouse

The Coast Guard commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Diamond Head Lighthouse, a cultural icon and landmark.

As part of the celebration, an art contest was held over the last school year and over 70 students from around Oahu entered the contest.

During the ceremony, Rear Adm. Vince Atkins, commander of the Coast Guard’s 14th district, announced the winner, Logan Erickson, an 8th grader form Kailua Intermediate School. Erickson’s painting will be hung in the lighthouse for years to come.

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa was the guest speaker and shared what the Diamond Head Lighthouse represents to her.

This hale ipukukui harkens back to 1878 when a lookout was established on the slopes of Diamond Head. It was later determined a more substantial structure should be built to warn mariners of the dangers of the reefs. As technology advanced the original ironwork structure built in 1899 was replaced in 1917 and has since been further modernized to use LED lighting burning at 60,000 candle power and shining 18 miles out to sea.

`Iao Valley State Monument to Reopen Tomorrow

‘Iao Valley State Monument will reopen on Saturday, August 5, 2017,  at 7:00 a.m., The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is in the process of completing repairs to the areas in the park that were damaged by a massive flood event in September 2016.  Due to pending permit approvals to complete the project, the DLNR Division of State Parks, decided to re-open the park for residents and visitors during the hiatus of construction activity. It’s anticipated construction will resume sometime this fall after permits are approved.

The valley has been closed since massive flooding swept through it September 13th and 14th, 2016

State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell said, “We thank the Maui community and visitors for their patience and understanding during the park closure, but we still need to complete further safety measures later this year.  We believe these improvements and repairs will provide our park users and visitors with the assurance that their health and safety are our top priorities.”

Cottrell added, “We coordinated with the tour industry and the local community to inform them on our repair plans, and consulted with the ‘Aha Moku representatives to ensure that the mitigation work was consistent with cultural values and protocols. A private blessing with ‘Aha Moku representatives and parties involved in the restoration took place today, to ensure public safety, and that we honor the place we are reopening tomorrow.”

As a demonstration of the collaborative relationship between state parks and tour industry to benefit the community, Polynesian Adventure Tours is intentionally not scheduling its bus tours for the first week after ‘Iao opens, to allow the community to visit without the buses returning.

Contractor Maui Kupono Builders, LLC. began work on February 13, 2017 to remove green waste, concrete debris and railings, followed by interim slope stabilization in the Wailuku River (‘Iao Stream). Visitors will see a significant change to the slopes of the now wider river, which now sport a revetment of stacked rocks and 300-400 feet worth of Shotcrete slope coating to prevent loose material from falling down.

Changes to the parking lot include restriping and installation of flexible traffic delineators, as well as installation of a green security guardrail fencing at various locations to keep buses only within the upper parking area, and warning signs to prevent people from getting close to the stream’s edge.

A pedestrian corridor has been marked with striping and surface repairs to the pathways leading to the Hawaiian Garden and to the summit lookout were made. The iconic pedestrian bridge over Kinihapai Stream received a new support structure and the comfort station and upper lookout hale have been painted.

Still closed is the lower streamside loop trail area in the Hawaiian garden, which sustained severe damage. It was cleaned up but will remain fenced off. State Parks is considering options for ways to make it safe for people to enjoy.
Division of State Parks will hold a community meeting later this year to explain a second phase of additional streamside slope stabilization and improvements requiring park closure again. Total project cost is $1,837,341.

‘Iao Valley State Monument is among the top attractions on Maui and sees hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The flash flood in 2016 caused millions of dollars of damage to manmade structures like railings and pedestrian bridges and created serious erosion, stream channel and land movement.  State Parks obtained emergency restoration funding and began clean-up and restoration operations within weeks of the flood.

County, Social Services Agencies Move Homeless People to Temporary Shelter in Kona

The County of Hawai’i together with social services provider Hope Services have moved a group of homeless people from the Old Airport Park to temporary facilities on County property in Kona.

The one-acre property at Hale Kikaha is accommodating approximately 20 adults in facilities consisting of tents, portable toilets, a temporary water spigot and showers.

The move came as the County on Wednesday enforced a no-camping policy at the Old Airport Park, whereby all belongings and housing structures in the park were removed.  This was aimed at improving this facility as a community park.

Prior to Wednesday’s move, outreach workers from HOPE Services, Veterans Outreach, the West Hawai’i Health Clinic, Access Capabilities, County Parks and Recreation, Office of Housing and Community Development, the Mayor’s Office (Kona), and faith-based volunteers were able to find a limited number of spaces at other homeless shelters and relatives’ homes.

Available housing options were offered to the most vulnerable homeless people first, i.e., families, the elderly, chronically homeless, as well as those with substance abuse or mental health issues.

While the team of County and social services agencies tried to absorb the entire homeless population from Old Airport Park, the available housing inventory was insufficient.  Approximately 25 individuals remain without housing.  The County is working to increase the number of beds at the Hale Kikaha shelter, while exploring a permanent site to house the homeless population.

The Police Department will be monitoring to ensure that campers do not return to the park. The enforcement took place as the Department of Parks and Recreation gears up for clean-up efforts on Wednesday, August 9 and Thursday, August 10, 2017.

On Tuesday, Mayor Harry Kim issued an emergency proclamation under which zoning, building and fire codes were temporarily waived to enable the homeless people to be accommodated at the Hale Kikaha facility.

Hawaii Governor Announces Stepped Up Efforts to Prevent Rat Lungworm Disease and Expanded Role of Joint Task Force

Gov. David Y. Ige, together with the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) and the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) announced today the state’s plans to place a stronger emphasis on the prevention of rat lungworm disease.

This year, the state confirmed a total of 15 cases of the serious parasitic infection, which is the highest number of cases reported in the state over the last decade.

“We are bringing together local experts from relevant fields to increase public awareness, improve our response activities, and explore ways to control and treat the disease,” said Gov. Ige. “They will work together with the Joint Task Force we established last year to step up prevention efforts beyond Hawai‘i Island, where the first cases were reported.”Dr. Kenton Kramer, Associate Professor of the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology with the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine (UH-JABSOM), who is serving as Joint Task Force chair said, “The Joint Task Force to combat rat lungworm disease will reconvene in August. Experts from the medical, scientific, environmental, and public health communities will collaborate to develop guidelines for schools, farms, food establishments, physicians and other groups on best practices to prevent, control, and treat rat lungworm disease.”

The Joint Task Force, established in May 2016, consists of members from UH-JABSOM, Pacific Biosciences Research Center; The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at UH Hilo; HDOA’s Plant Industry and Quality Assurance Divisions; USDA Agriculture Research Service; Kaiser Permanente Hawaii; Hilo Medical Center; Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children; Hawaii County; and the DOH’s State Laboratories Division, District Health Offices of Hawaii Island, Maui, and Kaua‘i, Vector Control Branch, Safe Drinking Water Branch, Disease Outbreak Control Division, and Sanitation Branch.

Because of rising concerns over the recent increase in confirmed cases this year, the 2017 Hawai‘i State Legislature appropriated $1 million ($500,000 over two years) to the DOH to increase public education and improve control and prevention of rat lungworm disease. The funding will make possible a statewide media campaign in partnership with the Hawai‘i Association of Broadcasters to build public awareness of ways to prevent the spread of the parasitic disease.

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler said, “We appreciate the Legislature’s support in allowing the state to accelerate our efforts on this important initiative. The funds will provide much needed resources for our public health communications efforts as well as strengthen our disease investigation and vector control measures for rat lungworm disease.”

In addition to a statewide public awareness campaign, the DOH will work in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Hawai‘i, HDOA, and other agencies to conduct a targeted rat, slug and snail study to identify disease routes and provide data on disease risks from these vectors. A statewide study of this kind has never been conducted in Hawaii before because of limited resources. Findings from the study will guide vector control activities for rat lungworm prevention.

Funding from the Legislature will also support two temporary full-time staff positions to coordinate prevention efforts between county, state, federal, and private sector partners.

Currently, the DOH’s food safety inspectors and vector control staff are collaborating with HDOA to investigate any reports of produce shipments from any farmer or vendor (local or mainland) with an infestation of slugs or snails. If the shipment is traced to a local farm, inspectors work with the farmer to ensure proper pest reduction measures are implemented.

Rat lungworm disease is caused by a parasitic roundworm called Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The parasite can be passed from the feces of infected rodents to snails, slugs and certain other animals, which become intermediate hosts for the parasite. People can become infected when they consume infected raw or undercooked intermediate hosts (slugs, snails, freshwater prawns, frogs, crayfish, and crabs).

Although the rat lungworm parasite has been found in slugs and snails throughout the state, Hawai‘i Island has experienced the majority of the confirmed cases. Some infected people don’t show any symptoms or have mild symptoms. For others, the symptoms can be much more severe and debilitating, and can include headaches, stiffness of the neck, tingling or pain on the skin or in extremities, low-grade fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Sometimes, a temporary paralysis of the face may occur, as well as light sensitivity. This infection can also cause a rare and serious type of meningitis (eosinophilic meningitis).

To prevent the spread of rat lungworm infection, the public is urged to take these important steps:

  • Always practice safe eating habits by inspecting, thoroughly washing, and properly storing raw produce, especially leafy greens, regardless of where it came from, and/or cooking it properly to kill any parasites. Washing raw vegetables and fruits thoroughly under running water before eating not only prevents rat lungworm, but also rinses off other contaminants.
  • Eliminate snails, slugs and rats — all of which are potential vectors for the disease  — both around residential home gardens and agricultural operations of all scales.
  • Prevent the consumption of snails and slugs by covering all containers, from water catchment tanks to drink and food dishes. Supervise young children while playing outdoors to prevent them from putting a slug or snail in their mouths.

Watch todays video here: https://www.facebook.com/GovernorDavidIge/videos/856480491194011/

For more information on preventing rat lungworm disease, go to the DOH website at www.health.hawaii.gov

Hawaii Mayor Signs Emergency Proclamation for Homeless Folks – Suspends Some County Laws

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Him signed an emergency proclamation today due to the increasing homeless population in the Kona area of the Big Island of Hawaii:

Mayor Harry Kim

WHEREAS, Chapter 127A Hawaii Revised Statutes, provides for the establishment of County organizations for emergency management and disaster relief with the Mayor having direct responsibility and authority over emergency management within the County.

WHEREAS, Chapter 127A Hawaii Revised Statutes and Chapter 7, Articles 1
and 2 of the Hawaii County Code, establishes a Civil Defense Agency within the
County of Hawaii and prescribes its powers, duties, and responsibilities, and
Section 13- 23 of the Hawaii County Charter empowers the Mayor of the County to declare emergencies; and

WHEREAS, homeless individuals have established an encampment at the
County of Hawaii’s Old Kona Airport Park, District of South Kona, County and State of Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, the homeless individuals at the Old Kona Airport Park were removed from the park grounds; and

WHEREAS, these homeless individuals could be temporarily sheltered at the
grounds of the Hale Kikaha Project located in the District of North Kona County and State of Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, these unsheltered homeless individuals are without access to
adequate bathroom, shower and living facilities; and

WHEREAS, these unsheltered homeless individuals require health and social
services in order to maintain themselves safely and in reasonable health; and

WHEREAS, the lack of secure, safe and sanitary shelter, and adequate health
and social services for these homeless people is endangering the health, safety and welfare of these people and pose a threat to the environment and public health, and demands emergency action to prevent or mitigate suffering, injury, loss, or damage to persons and property; and County of Hawaii is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer

WHEREAS, pursuant to section 127A- 13( b)( 1) Hawaii Revised Statutes the
Mayor has the authority to relieve hardships and inequities, or obstructions to public health, safety or welfare found by the Mayor to exist in the laws of the County and to result from the operation of federal programs or measures taken under Chapter 127A Hawai’ i Revised Statutes, by suspending the county laws, in whole or in part, or by alleviating the provisions of county laws on such terms and conditions the Mayor may impose; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to section 127A- 13( b)( 2) Hawai’ i Revised Statutes the
Mayor has the authority to suspend any county law that impedes or tends to impede or to be detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of, or to conflict with emergency functions, including the laws by which Chapter 127A Hawai’ i Revised Statutes, specifically are made applicable to emergency personnel; and

WHEREAS, due to the possibility of threat to the environment and public health to residents of the District of South and North Kona, Hawaii Island, and the need for government agencies and representatives from the private sector to mobilize and provide immediate services to our island residents, a state of emergency is authorized pursuant to Chapter 127A Hawai’ i Revised Statutes, and Chapter 7, Hawaii County Code.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, HARRY KIM, Mayor of the County of Hawai’ i, do hereby proclaim and declare that an emergency contemplated by section 127A- 14, Hawaii Revised Statutes has occurred in the County of Hawai’ i and hereby proclaim an emergency for the purposes of implementing the emergency management functions as allowed by law, effective August 1, 2017, and continuing thereon for 60 days or until further act by this office.

I FURTHER DECLARE, that pursuant to sections 127A- 13( b)( 1) and ( 2) the following County laws are suspended during the emergency period as they relate to the grounds of Hale Kikaha Project located in the District of North Kona, County and State of Hawaii:

  1. Chapter 5 Building Code.
  2. Chapter 25 Zoning Code.
  3. Chapter 26 Fire Code.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the County of Hawaii to be affixed. Done this 1st day of August, 2017 in Hilo, Hawai’ i.

HARRY KIM
Mayor
County of Hawai’ i

Hawaii Department of Health Certifies Lab to Begin Testing Medical Cannabis

Steep Hill Hawaii, a private independent laboratory on Oahu, can now begin testing medical cannabis from Hawaii’s licensed medical cannabis dispensaries and registered patients and caregivers. The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) granted Steep Hill a provisional certification today after the laboratory successfully passed its final onsite inspection and met requirements that demonstrate it has the capacity and proficiency to test cannabis and manufactured cannabis in compliance with state law.

Click to visit

“We realize that registered patients and caregivers and some of the licensed dispensaries have been waiting for a laboratory to become operational to test medical cannabis prior to consumption and sale. This is a major step forward as it allows the dispensaries to now begin testing their products to sell to qualified patients,” said Keith Ridley, Chief of DOH’s Office of Health Care Assurance, who oversees the medical cannabis dispensary program.

A laboratory is restricted from handling, testing, or analyzing cannabis or manufactured cannabis products until it is certified by the state. Under the interim administrative rules governing the medical cannabis dispensary program, certification allows a laboratory to conduct specific tests required to ensure the safety of products sold to registered patients in Hawaii.

“Certification follows a rigorous scientific process that requires meticulous attention to detail and constant refining to ensure product and patient safety,” said Chris Whelen, chief of DOH’s State Laboratories Division. “Our State Laboratories Division team is currently working closely with two other private independent labs to help them obtain certification. They are continuing to submit or resubmit their validation studies for certification.”

To receive certification, a laboratory must submit validation studies to demonstrate it is capable of conducting testing with consistent and accurate results for the following areas: cannabinoid profile (including THC), compound that are considered “active ingredients,” heavy metals such as arsenic, pesticides, solvents, moisture content, microbial contaminants, intestinal bacteria and pathogens, dangerous molds that can cause infection and disease, and toxins produced by molds. In addition, a laboratory must also meet the accreditation standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii are required to have their products tested for safety by a state-certified independent laboratory prior to sale. Laboratories interested in providing testing for medical cannabis on Kauai, Hawaii Island, Maui, or Oahu may apply for state certification at http://health.hawaii.gov/statelab.

Hawaii Joins Multi-State Pledge to Strengthen Cyber Defense, Workforce

Gov. David Y. Ige today announced that Hawai‘i has joined a multi-state cybersecurity compact signed by 38 governors to enhance state cybersecurity and develop the cyber workforce.

The “Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity” is part of the National Governors Association’s “Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challenge” initiative. The compact makes recommendations to better secure states’ cyber infrastructure by building cybersecurity governance, preparing and defending the state from cybersecurity events, and growing the nation’s cybersecurity workforce.

Click to read

“The top priority of any governor is the public’s welfare and safety, which now includes protecting citizens from cyber threats,” Gov. Ige said. “I am proud to join my fellow governors in signing this compact and committing to its recommendations.”

The compact specifically recognizes that a “competent and plentiful workforce” is critical to successful cybersecurity policy.

“Hawaii has already taken proactive steps toward the compacts goals,” said state Chief Information Officer Todd Nacapuy, who leads the Office of Enterprise Technology Services, the agency responsible for securing state government information resources and infrastructure. “These include establishing a state chief information security officer, reclassifying IT security positions to align with modern industry best practices, offering cyber internship opportunities, and supporting programs such as SANS Institute’s CyberStart program that encourages high school and college students to explore careers in cybersecurity.”

Read the full Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity here:
https://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/1707CybersecurityCompact.pdf

Hawaii Electric Light Warns Customers About Impersonators on Hawaii Island

Hawaii Electric Light Company warns electric customers about an apparent telephone scam targeting business customers on Hawaii Island. Customers reported receiving calls threatening immediate disconnection unless they pay their bill by making a money transfer or cash express payment via a bill payment machine at a retail establishment. The utility does not accept bill payments via MoneyGram and Green Dot MoneyPak.“We would like to remind customers to be cautious when responding to callers who demand immediate payment of their electric bill,” said Rhea Lee-Moku, Hawaii Electric Light spokesperson. “Ask for the individual’s name and phone number and say you will call back; then call our Customer Service Center to verify the call.”

Customers wishing to pay their electric bills in person may do so at the utility’s customer service offices in Hilo and Kona. In addition, official walk-in payments may also be made at these approved locations:

  • First Hawaiian Bank
  • Foodland
  • Kmart
  • Sack-N-Save
  • Safeway
  • Wal-Mart
  • Western Union

Hawaii Electric Light offers these safety tips to protect customers from scams:

  • Your best defense is to exercise caution.
  • Don’t provide personal, confidential, or financial information—including billing information—to any unidentified individuals.
  • Ask questions. Get the caller’s name, phone number, and company name. Offer to call back after you verify the information.
  • If you have any doubt about a call, email, or visit from someone claiming to represent Hawaii Electric Light, please call our Customer Service Center in Hilo (969-6999), Kona (329-3584) or Waimea (855-4605).
  • If you made a payment, do not call an 800 number to provide the confirmation number or to report it. Instead, call our Customer Service Center.
  • Report any suspicious activity to police.

Hawaii Attorney General Leads Coalition Urging Congress to Protect Transgender Service Members

In a letter to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, Attorney General Doug Chin today led a coalition of 19 attorneys general expressing their opposition to the President’s ban on transgender people serving in the Armed Forces. The letter was joined by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C.

Attorney General Chin said, “Policies that have no factual basis and that marginalize and reject classes of people have no place in the 21st century.”

On Wednesday, the President by tweet announced a new ban on transgender service members, citing unnamed support from military leadership. In response, the attorneys general declare the ban is discriminatory and, despite the President’s claims otherwise, is actually harmful to military readiness. The letter notes that approximately 150,000 transgender service members have served in the United States Armed Forces:

“Transgender service members fill a number of critical military roles. Retaining these talented service members strengthens—not weakens— our military readiness.”

The attorneys general remind the House and Senate committees of the honorable service performed by transgender service members, writing:

“The members of our Armed Forces put their lives on the line to protect freedom for all Americans. Thousands of transgender Americans serve in uniform today. This policy tells them, ‘you are not welcome here.’ The decision to oust honorable, well-trained, and patriotic service members based on nothing more than their gender identity is undiluted discrimination and therefore indefensible. We urge that this newly announced policy be immediately reversed.”

Click to read full letter