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Fire and Dry Conditions Prompt Road Closures and Precautions at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Due to escalating fire danger in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, park officials have closed Hilina Pali Road from the Mauna Iki Trailhead and Mauna Loa Road at the gate past Kīpukapuaulu. Non-motorized day use such as hiking and bicycling will be permitted, and backcountry camping on Mauna Loa is allowed with a permit.

NPS Photo

In addition, ‘Āinahou Ranch access will be restricted to essential personnel and authorized vehicles only. Campfires are prohibited at Nāmakanipaio Campground and Kīpukapuaulu until further notice. The use of fuel stoves is allowed.

On Thursday afternoon, a fire burned nearly three acres of seasonally dry ‘ōhi‘a woodland and scattered koa trees, forcing park officials to close Mauna Loa Road from Highway 11 and temporarily evacuate Nāmakanipaio Campground. National Park Service and County of Hawai‘i fire crews responded to the blaze, located about ¼ mile west of Kīpukapuaulu. As of 8 a.m. Friday, the fire was 50 percent contained, and its spread had been halted.

No structures or homes were threatened. Park officials report that the fire was started unintentionally, and its cause is under investigation.

“We’ve had an extremely hot and dry summer in the park, and across the island which escalates the risk of fire,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Chief Ranger John Broward. “Hot components on motor vehicles have historically contributed to the increased risk of fire, and by reducing the number of vehicles, we can mitigate the potential for a catastrophic event,” he said.

USS John Paul Jones Intercepts Target Missile Off Coast of Hawaii

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and U.S. Navy sailors aboard USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) successfully conducted a complex missile defense flight test, resulting in the intercept of a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) target using Standard Missile (SM) 6 guided missiles during a test off the coast of Hawaii, Aug. 29.

A medium-range ballistic missile target is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, Aug. 29. (U.S. Navy/Latonja Martin)

John Paul Jones detected and tracked a target missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar and onboard SM-6 missiles executed the intercept.

“We are working closely with the fleet to develop this important new capability, and this was a key milestone in giving our Aegis BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense) ships an enhanced capability to defeat ballistic missiles in their terminal phase,” said MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves. “We will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves.”

This test, designated Flight Test Standard Missile (FTM) 27 Event 2, marks the second time that an SM-6 missile has successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target.

Aegis BMD is the naval component of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.

Officer of the Month for August: Wyatt Kaili-Leong

Officer Wyatt Kaili-Leong, a (6-year police veteran), has been named as the East Hawaiʻi Aloha Exchange Club’s August Officer of the Month.

Officer Wyatt Kaili-Leong,

On (July 14), at approximately 6:00 p.m., Officer Kaili-Leong was flagged down by a female in Keaʻau who reported the theft of a purse from her parked and unlocked vehicle. She reported that her purse contained identification cards, bank cards, a checkbook, personal items and $2,100.00 in U.S. currency generated primarily from her farmer’s market sales for the day.

Officer Kaili-Leong through his witness interviews discovered that an unidentified male wearing a baseball cap had been at the residence two days prior and sold the witness orchid plants, this same male party was seen reversing from the driveway in an older model white Saturn or Mercury just prior to the discovery of the crime.

Two days after he initiated the investigation, Officer Kaili-Leong was on patrol when observed the suspect vehicle on North Kūlani Road with an expired safety and weight tax emblem and immediately conducted a traffic stop.

Officer Kaili-Leong arrested the 38-year old male suspect and recovered numerous items taken during the theft.

He is to be commended for his work ethic and determination, keeping with the highest standards of the Hawaiʻi Police Department. Officer Kaili-Leong’s actions demonstrate his commitment to the Hawaii Police Department Core Values of Integrity, Professionalism, Compassion, Teamwork, and Community Satisfaction.

North Kona Water Restictions Update – Residents CAN Hand Water Precious Plants On Occasion

The Emergency Water Restriction for North Kona remains in effect. ALL residents and customers in North Kona must continue to restrict water use to health and safety needs (drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes).

Due to a significant level of overall compliance, water levels in the tanks have remained stable. The Department appreciates the community’s efforts to restrict water use during this time. Therefore, the following is an update on irrigation under the current Emergency Water Restriction. 

  • Limited hand watering of precious plants, on occasion, is acceptable.
  • Use of sprinklers (manual or automatic) for lawns and grass areas is still prohibited.

For other unique situations, please contact the Department to discuss possible options. Suggested best practices for hand watering plants are:

  • Water at night to reduce evaporation. 
  • Use of County’s free mulch to preserve moisture around plants. Visit the County’s website at: http://www.hawaiizerowaste.org/recycle/greenwaste/ for more information. 
  • Use of recycled water from downspouts, washing machines, washing dishes, and shower “warm up” water is also encouraged. 
  • Do not over-water plants.

Without everyone’s continued cooperation, there will be areas that will experience periodic loss of water service or lower water pressures.

We also recommend that residents store a sufficient amount of water for basic household needs, such as drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes, in the event of service disruptions.

For your use, potable water can be obtained from a water tanker located on Hina Lani Street between Anini Street and Manu Mele Street as well as water spigots on a fire hydrant along Ane Keohokalole Highway, between Kealakehe Parkway and Kealakehe High School. Please bring your own drinking water containers to fill.

For more information visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org. To report any observed wasteful use of water, call 961-8060 during normal business hours or email dws@hawaiidws.org. For after hour emergencies call us at 961-8790.

North Kona Water Restiction Update – Spare Motor Defective and Cannot Be Used

This is an Emergency Water Restriction update for North Kona. The Department of Water Supply’s (DWS) Honokohau Deepwell is out of service. Therefore, ALL residents and customers in North Kona must immediately restrict water use to health and safety needs (drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes) only. Cease all landscape irrigation activities.

During today’s work, it was discovered that the spare motor is defective and cannot be used. DWS is now working on several options to obtain another spare motor before resuming the installation work. The updated repair schedule is to be determined.

DWS appreciates the community’s efforts to restrict their water use during this time. Government agencies, businesses, and other customers that use recycled wastewater or reclaimed water, in lieu of potable water, for their daily operations are to be commended. Adjustments were made to the water distribution system and a minimum level of water service is being maintained.

However, without everyone’s continued cooperation, there will be areas that will experience periodic loss of water service or lower water pressures. We also recommend that residents store a sufficient amount of water for basic household needs, such as drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes, in the event of service disruptions.

For your use, potable water can be obtained from a water tanker located on Hina Lani Street between Anini Street and Manu Mele Street as well as water spigots on a fire hydrant along Ane Keohokalole Highway, between Kealakehe Parkway and Kealakehe High School. Please bring your own drinking water containers to fill.

For more information visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org. To report any observed wasteful use of water call 961-8060 during normal business hours or email dws@hawaiidws.org. For after hour emergencies call us at 961-8790.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Addresses 25th Infantry

Today on Oʻahu, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) delivered remarks at the 25th Infantry Division Main Command Post Operational Detachment (MCP-OD) Activation Ceremony at Schofield Barracks and honored the unit’s new commander, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Gavin Tsuda, a native of Honolulu. The 25th Infantry Division MCP-OD is the only division level MCP-OD in the Army Reserve, and joins nine National Guard MCP-ODs across the country being assigned to active duty divisions in order to provide headquarters elements with the additional manpower for areas such as intelligence, operations and logistics.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “I’m grateful to have served Hawaiʻi and our country alongside LTC Tsuda, who personifies what it means to be a citizen soldier. As a soldier, he is known for his attention to detail, taking care of soldiers, upholding the highest standards, and mentoring junior soldiers to help them grow and better fulfill their own duties and assignments. As a civilian, he is committed to his community, and has dedicated much of his career to developing affordable housing for underserved communities in Hawaiʻi—a tremendous need in our state. As LTC Tsuda blazes a new trail as the first commander of the 25th Infantry Division MCP-OD, he will continue to set the bar high for this unit and its soldiers.”

Later in the day, the congresswoman kicked off the annual Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta at its opening reception and honored the 2017 recipients of the Daniel K. Inouye Leadership and Community Service Award—Assistant Race Director Natasha Haine and the late U.S. Congressman Mark Takai. The award recognizes individuals who go above and beyond the call to serve, dedicating themselves to honoring and supporting our wounded warriors, their loved ones, and our Gold Star families. Past recipients of the award include Judge Edward Kubo, Marc Haine, Gervin Miyamoto, Darryl Wong, Penny Kalua, Liz Sabog, and Race Director Matthew McCarville.

“Each year, this event harnesses the healing power of the ocean and our supportive community as our veterans and their families continue to recover from the wounds of war both visible and invisible. As we gather here tonight, the search continues for five of our own who are still missing off our shores—a heart aching reminder of the risks our servicemembers take every single day, whether in training or in combat, as they put their lives on the line for the security of our nation. Our hearts are with them, their families, and our first responders,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The congresswoman will join wounded warriors, Gold Star families, and Hawaiʻi’s veteran community in paddling in the 2017 Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta off the shores of Fort DeRussy this Saturday.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Condemns Justice Department’s Politically Motivated Search Warrant

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today warned that, in violation of First Amendment privacy protections afforded under the Constitution, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested a search warrant for IP addresses and personal information stored on the server of a private company who helped organize protests during President Trump’s inauguration. The search warrant, filed by the federal government in the D.C. Superior Court, is trying to force DreamHost to provide the DOJ with the user information for anyone who visited their site in an effort to identify anyone involved in Inauguration Day protests.

Tulsi and my son when he won an art competition at the state capitol.

“The Justice Department’s politically motivated probe to collect personal information on its own citizens exercising their legal right to express dissenting political views is nothing short of a constitutional violation and is wholly un-American. It reeks of actions that Presidents Nixon and Johnson took against Americans protesting the war in Vietnam. Our country was founded on the rule of law which protects our right to free speech and prohibits the government from violating our personal privacy with baseless warrants. These fundamental rights and protections separate our democracy from dictators around the world who seek to silence and intimidate their political opponents to maintain power. The Justice Department’s witch hunt serves as a reminder that we must take a stand to defend our constitutional rights and ensure our government is not allowed to violate our constitutional rights and civil liberties,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has long advocated for reforms that address our government’s responsibility to protect civil liberties. She is a founding member of the Fourth Amendment Caucus and has been a champion for strengthening privacy and civil liberties protections in the digital age. She has introduced legislation to strengthen the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) and cosponsored legislation like the Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act and Email Privacy Act to modernize electronic privacy laws.

Hawaii Rep. Beth Fukumoto Responds to Hate Letter, White Nationalism and Issues a Warning to the GOP

After receiving a letter from a self-proclaimed Trump supporter attacking her Japanese ancestry and her support for “illegals, black thugs, Muslims and bombs, and gays,” Rep. Beth Fukumoto released the following statement. Fukumoto, who left the Republican Party earlier this year after being removed from leadership over her participation in the Hawaii Women’s March, has spoken extensively on her experiences of racism and race politics in the GOP.

Rep. Beth Fukumoto

“This letter isn’t the first to come across my desk, but it’s so painfully relevant to everything that has unfolded in America these last few days that I believed it needed to be addressed. This individual and their list of everything they hate was inspired by President Trump and his statements.

“I worked to fight racist rhetoric when I was a member of the Republican Party, and I left when I realized I couldn’t win that fight from within. The white nationalist undercurrent of the Presidential campaign stretched far beyond Donald Trump. His success is the result of white nationalism left unchecked within the GOP for years.

“Today, every elected official in the GOP needs to make a choice. Be vocal, public and specific in your opposition to prejudice everywhere – especially in the Oval Office. Or, be complicit and continue to work peacefully with a party that has gained electoral wins by building coalitions of mistrust and hate.”

North Kona Emergency Water Restrictions Update

This is an Emergency Water Restriction Update for North Kona District customers for Wednesday August 16 at 3:45 PM.

The Department of Water Supply reports the North Kona emergency water restriction continues. 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.

Extraction of the Honokohau Deepwell pump and motor is now complete. After an inspection of the well, the spare pump and motor will be connected and reinstallation work will continue through the holiday weekend.

The Department of Water Supply sincerely appreciates the community’s efforts to restrict water use during this time. Adjustments have been made to the water system and a minimum level of water service is being maintained. However, without everyone’s continued cooperation, there will be areas that will experience periodic loss of water service or lower water pressures.

For your use, drinking water is available from a water tanker located on Hina Lani Street between Anini Street and Manu Mele Street as well as from a water spigot along Ane Keohokalole Highway, between Kealakehe Parkway and Kealakehe High School. Please bring your own drinking water containers to fill.

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 account will be kept updated and you will be informed of any conditions that may affect your safety.

Merrie Monarch Festival – RE: Halau Overnight Stay at Parks & Recreation Facilities

2017 Hula Kahiko from the Merrie Monarch Website

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim sent the following letter on August 9th, 2017 to the President of the Merrie Monarch Festival, Aunty Luana Kawelu:

Dear Ms. Kawelu:
RE: Halau Overnight Stay at Parks & Recreation

As you know, historically, the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has allowed overnight stays at Kawananakoa Gym, Papa`ikou Gym, Waiakea Recreation Center, and Waiakea Uka Gym by halau participating in the annual Merrie Monarch Festival (MMF). According to the MMF website, the 2017 festival included a total of 23 halau, 21 of which were not Hilo-based. The breakdown of people overnighting in the various County Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) facilities are as follows:

  • Kawananakoa Gym – 24 people housed for one night and 25 people housed for 8 nights
  • Papa`ikou Gym – 35 people housed for 4 nights
  • Waiakea Recreation Center – 25 people housed for one night
  • Waiakea Uka Gym – 51 people housed for 4 nights

This year, the Hawaii County Fire Department (HFD) alerted DPR of specific Fire and Building Codes that are being violated by allowing this practice. To immediately address these violations and allow overnight stays at this year’s MMF, DPR required, per Fire Code and exemption, an approved fire watch at each facility. Following the conclusion of this year’s MMF, at my instruction, DPR conducted an extensive study of DPR Administrative Rules, and Hawaii County Building and Fire Codes, to ascertain whether this practice should be allowed to continue.

DPR’s findings are as follows:

While there are no DPR Administrative Rules that explicitly prohibit overnight stays at DPR facilities, pertinent excerpts from Chapter 15 of the Hawaii County Code indicate/state:

  • Section 15-3 defines “Camper’— means any person who remains in a park area between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., and “Camping” – means the act of remaining in a park area between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  • Section 15-8 designates the authority of the Director to establish visiting hours and states in part: “all persons shall observe and abide by the officially -posted signs and designated closed areas and visiting hours.”
  • Article 4, beginning with Section 15-39 and continuing through Section 15-48, designates Camping and all rules associated, including the names of the parks where camping is allowed.

Based on these DPR Administrative Rules, overnight stay at the facilities listed above are prohibited.

With respect to the Hawaii County Building Code, fire sprinklers and/or alarm systems are required for any facility used for sleeping, with the R-1 designation as described below.

County gyms can possibly be evaluated as transient accommodations, but must meet the standards of this section of the code:

302.1 General. Structures or portions of structures shall be classified with respect to occupancy in one or more of the groups listed below. A room or space that is intended to be occupied at different times for different purposes shall comply with all of the requirements that are applicable to each of the purposes for which the room or space will be occupied. Structures with multiple occupancies or uses shall comply with Section 508. Where a structure is proposed for a purpose that is not specifically provided for in this code, such structure shall be classified in the group that the occupancy most nearly resembles, according to the fire safety and relative hazard involved.

The current occupancy type of a gymnasium is Assembly Occupancy. Use of
gymnasiums for sleeping would change the occupancy type to R -I Occupancy.

  • Fire Sprinkler Requirement. R-1 Occupancy in Section 903.2.7 of the Building Code requires a fire sprinkler system; therefore, a gym or other facility used for sleeping shall have a fire sprinkler system.
  • Fire Alarm Requirement. R-1 occupancies in Section 907.2.8 of the Building Code require a Fire Alarm system and smoke alarm system.

The restriction/constraint regarding the use of a gym as a sleeping space is the need for fire sprinklers. The codes also require audio/visual fire alarms. These are not commonly present in older buildings, and therefore, upgrades would be required to accommodate sleeping.

HFD has allowed sleeping in these facilities under the exemption found in the NFPA 1, Uniform Fire Code, Hawaii 2006 Edition, regulation 20.2.3.6 Use of School Facilities for Sleeping, which reads:

“Educational occupancies that allow sleeping on a temporary basis shall prohibit smoking or open flames, and shall be provided with one of the following:

  1. Smoke alarms shall be provided in the designated sleeping area. When the facility is provided with a fire alarm system, the smoke alarms shall be connected to the fire alarm system, or
  2. An approved fire watch shall be provided.”

None of the DPR facilities above are school facilities, with the exception of perhaps Kawananakoa Gym, which is also governed by rules included in the lease agreement with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL).

DHHL lease agreement #44, amendment #2, with DPR, item #8, states in part: “it is agreed that for the health and safety of those using the facilities, and to address potential damages to the gymnasium, NO FOOD OR DRINK AND OVERNIGHT STAY at the facilities are allowed.” (Emphasis as it appears in document.)

The DHHL lease agreement would disqualify Kawananakoa Gym in any event,
regardless of any safety -protection systems that may be in place.

Based on this research, DPR has recommended against the continued practice of allowing overnight stays at DPR recreational facilities. However, DPR/Hawai’i County recognizes and fully supports the cultural and historical significance of the MMF, and is aware of the shortage of accommodations available for this important event. As such, every effort will be made to work with your organization to identify potential alternate sites.

DPR would like to offer the usage of the Mauna Kea Recreation Area cabins to visiting halau in 2018. There are two bunkhouses, capable of holding 24 people each, plus seven cabins, capable of holding six people each, for a total of 90 people. Each bunkhouse and cabin has its own bathroom with shower. There are potable water, a dining hall, and ample parking.

DPR is ready to assist the Merrie Monarch Festival in addressing any potential
concerns you may have with these suggested alternate accommodations, and looks forward to working with you.

Coast Guard, Army Responding to Report of Downed Army Helicopter Off Oahu

Coast Guard and Army personnel are responding to a report of a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with five crew aboard approximately two miles west of Kaena Point, Oahu, Wednesday.

A US Army (USA) UH-60L Black hawk Helicopter flies a low-level mission over Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

Responding are:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364) and crew, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Honolulu
  • 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu
  • UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter aircrew from Wheeler Army Airfield
  • Shore patrol and a boatcrew from Honolulu Fire Department

A debris field was spotted near Kaena Point by the Coast Guard Hercules and Army Black Hawk aircrews at 11:28 p.m. Tuesday. Responders are currently searching for the five missing aircrewmen.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Command Center in Honolulu received a call at 10:08 p.m. Tuesday from personnel at Wheeler Army Airfield stating they lost communications with one of their UH-60 Black Hawk aircrews. Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of response assets.

Two Black Hawk aircrews were reportedly conducting training between Kaena Point and Dillingham Airfield at the time communications were lost.
Weather on scene is currently 11 mph winds with 2 foot seas.

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.