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Lava Flow Crosses Highway, Enters Ocean

This is a Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Message for Saturday, May 19, 2018, at 11 p.m.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to monitor active flows. Flow front #1 has crossed Highway 137 at the 13-mile marker and has entered the ocean. Flow front #2 is approximately 400 Meters from Highway 137. Highway 137 is closed between Kamali‘i Road and Pohoiki Road.  Kamali‘i Road is closed between Highway 130 and Highway 137. Residents in the area have been evacuated. All persons are asked to stay out of the area.

The lava has entered the ocean. Be aware of the laze hazard and stay away from any ocean plume.

This thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows as of 12:15 pm on Saturday, May 19. The two primary lava flows originate from the Fissure 20-22 area, and crossed Pohoiki Road over the past day. The flow front position based on a 6:40 p.m. update is shown by the red circle. The black and white area is the extent of the thermal map. Temperature in the thermal image is displayed as gray-scale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas. The thermal map was constructed by stitching many overlapping oblique thermal images collected by a handheld thermal camera during a helicopter overflight of the flow field. The base is a copyrighted color satellite image (used with permission) provided by Digital Globe. (USGS Map)

  • Laze is formed when hot lava hits the ocean sending hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air.
  • Health hazards of laze include lung, eye and skin irritation.
  • Be aware that the laze plume travels with the wind and can change direction without warning.

USGS: Threat of Even Larger Steam-Driven Violent Explosion

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announces that with ash eruptions occurring from Kīlauea’s summit this week, there is a threat of an even larger steam-driven violent explosion. Such an eruption could happen suddenly and send volcanic ash 20,000 feet into the air, threatening communities for miles. USGS and NOAA’s National Weather Service are working together to observe, model and warn the public of hazardous conditions. Here is where you can find the information you need to stay safe.

This photo was taken on Wednesday, May 15, 2018, At 11:05 a.m. Photograph from the Jaggar Museum, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, captures an ash plume rising from the Overlook crater. Ash falling from the plume can be seen just to the right side (and below) the plume. (USGS Photo)

Observations and Status of Kīlauea

While the ​USGS Hawai‘i Volcanoes Observatory​ is positioning staff to observe the volcano and best communicate its status and evolution, they rely heavily on the weather forecasts from NOAA. Wind forecasts, ​along with dispersion models such as HYSPLIT,​ are critical in understanding where sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5) will disperse from fissures and vents to ensure safety of USGS observers, emergency managers and the public.

Ashfall Advisories, Warnings and Current Weather Forecast from Honolulu

On Tuesday, May 15, 2018 the National Weather Service issued the first ever ashfall advisory for Hawai‘i. Forecasters will issue ashfall advisories and warnings when ashfall is a hazard. NOAA predicts where an ash plume will go and how much ash will accumulate using USGS’s ​Ash3d Volcanic Ash Dispersion Model​.

Volcanic Ash Advisories​ and ​Aviation Warnings

Volcanic ash clouds can threaten air traffic by sandblasting windscreens, clogging pitot tubes, and in severe cases, causing jet engines to shut down. NOAA issues volcanic ash warnings to alert pilots to potential ash in the atmosphere and will include volcanic ash in forecasts for airports.

Tips to Stay Safe

During explosive eruptions, volcanic ash can disrupt downwind populations by causing breathing problems, impacting water quality, clogging air filters, shorting out power systems and making transportation difficult.​ If your community is threatened by ash, you are advised to do the following:

  • Seal windows and doors.
  • Protect electronics and cover air intakes and open water sources.
  • Avoid driving as visibility will be reduced and roads may become slippery.
  • Remain indoors to avoid inhaling ash particles unless it’s absolutely necessary to go outside. If you have a respiratory illness, do not go outside.
  • If you must go outside, cover your mouth and nose with a mask or cloth.

No-Entry Zone Established for Hawai‘i Electric Light Crews in Leilani Estates

Hawai‘i Electric Light announces that all of Lanipuna Gardens and a portion of Leilani Estates has been designated as a no-entry zone for its crews.

Hawaiian Electric Facebook Photo.

These areas are hazardous to enter due to continued ground swelling and cracking, sudden fissure activity, and unsafe levels of SO2. Crews were working in the subdivision in the last few days and have narrowly escaped situations that could have resulted in severe injury. Hawai‘i Electric Light’s priority continues to be safety and can no longer allow its employees to enter hazardous areas.

Poles and wires continue to fall due to changes in the ground formation and seismic activity. Hawai‘i Electric Light continues to warn residents to assume that all downed lines and equipment are energized and dangerous. Stay at least three cars lengths away from downed lines and use caution around all poles and overhead lines.

The following areas are in the no-entry zone. This area may be extended.

  • Leilani Avenue from Pomaikai Street to Pohoiki Road
  • Malama Street, east from Pomaikai Street
  • Kahukai Street from Nohea Street to Leilani Avenue
  • Pomaikai, Moku, and Kupono Streets south of Leilani Avenue
  • All streets east beginning with Nohea Street
  • All of Lanipuna Gardens including Hinalo, Lauone, and Honuaula Streets, and all connector roads into Lanipuna Gardens

Check Hawai‘i Electric Light’s website (www.hawaiielectriclight.com), Twitter (@HIElectricLight), and Facebook (HawaiianElectric) accounts for updates.

BREAKING: New Crack Found on West Side of Pu‘u O‘o

The United States Geological Survey reported that starting at about 2 p.m. on Monday, April 30, 2018, marked increases in seismicity and ground deformation indicated that a change was underway at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone.

Visibility was nearly obscured due to poor weather conditions, but a brief clearing allowed Hawaiian Volocano Observatory’s webcam (POcam) to capture this image of the crater within Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō shortly before the crater floor began collapsing.

Unfortunately, due to ongoing poor weather, a clear view of the collapsed crater floor has not yet been possible. The Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater floor continued to collapse for several hours yesterday; smaller drops in the crater floor have likely continued through today (May 1) based on thermal images. PC: USGS.

A new crack about .6 miles long was found on the west (uprift) side of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō during HVO’s overflight today. The cracking appeared to be nearly continuous en echelon structures that were heavily steaming.

A small amount of lava was apparently erupted from the crack, based on the presence of nearby tiny pads of lava and spatter, but it was no longer active when HVO geologists saw it during the overflight. This photo looks east, with Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō obscured by low clouds in the upper left corner. PC: USGS.

Telephoto view of a small lava flow (lighter in color) and spatter (blue-gray) that were erupted from a section of the crack on the west flank of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. PC: USGS.

Within hours of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater floor collapse, HVO’s monitoring instruments recorded increased seismicity and ground deformation along Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone (ERZ) that continued through the night.

These signals indicated an intrusion of magma from the Middle ERZ toward the Lower ERZ, extending from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō to at least Highway 130. This illustration shows the approximate area of Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone, which, in reality, is not defined by distinct lines. MC: USGS.

As of Tuesday, May 1, the eruption at the summit of Kīlauea has apparently not been affected by the collapse at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō or intrusion of magma along the volcano’s Lower East Rift Zone.

Following multiple overflows of the summit lava lake on April 21 and 27, which spilled lava onto the floor of Halema‘uma‘u, the lava lake level dropped over the weekend (April 28 and 29). But on the morning of April 30, the lava lake level began to rise in concert with summit inflation. This image of the summit lava lake was taken during HVO’s overflight just before 8 a.m. today, May 1, 2018. PC: USGS.

Volcano Activity Update 6: Civil Defense Message to Puna District

VIDEO UPDATE 6: May 1, 2018, 12:50 p.m.

HAWAI’I ISLAND: Hawai’i County Civil Defense talking to Big Island Now about the current lava activity. More information here: http://bigislandnow.com/2018/05/01/volcano-activity-update-puu-oo-crater-floor-collapses/#BigIslandNow

Posted by BigIslandNow.com on Tuesday, May 1, 2018

 

Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno spoke to Big Island Now about the island’s recent seismic and lava activity.

Seismicity and ground deformation started increasing at about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, May, 1, 2018, between Pu‘u ‘Ō’ō and Highway 130, and has now migrated beyond 130, he said.

The East Rift runs underground from Kīlauea Summit at Halemaumau all the way down to the ocean at Cape Kumakahi.

Magno asks Puna District residents to stay informed and encourages residents to sign up for civil defense messages and alert via text, email and RSS feed.

He advises Puna residents to prepare themselves—not just for this event—but for any natural disaster, with at least 14 days worth of supplies.

Magno warns visitors to stay off the Kalapana flow field, as a rift could open up any time above that area.

UPDATE 5, May 1, 2018, 11:05 a.m.

Area residents felt the effects of the recent seismic and lava activity.

“I got a Red Cross message this morning informing me of the deflation and saying [the quake was] 3 miles from Highway 130 and EOC (Emergency Operations Center) was activated at 5 a.m.,” said Keoni Delacruz Veloria, a Hilo resident.

“I felt a couple [tremors] around this morning and figured that is what was happening,” said Pāhoa resident Holly Povlsen Johnson. Looks like the biggest one [earthquake] is by the road that we take down toward Kalapana. Will be interesting if it keeps going to the east toward the red road along the ocean.”

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of March 14, 2018, is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of April 13 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. The yellow line is the trace of the active lava tubes. The Kamokuna ocean entry is inactive. The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the Earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m DEM.

UPDATE 4, May 1, from a report published by USGS HVO at 8:49 a.m.

Just after 2 p.m. HST today, April 30, 2018, a marked increase in seismicity and ground deformation (change in ground surface shape) began at Pu‘u ‘Ō’ō on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone. A few minutes later, a thermal webcam (PTcam) located on the rim of the Pu‘u ‘Ō’ō crater showed the first of two episodes of crater floor collapse; the second collapse began at 3:20 p.m. and lasted about an hour.

Webcam views into the crater and surrounding area were frequently obscured by poor weather conditions. However, shortly after 4 p.m., the PTcam recorded images that were likely the signature of small explosions from the western side of the crater as the floor collapsed.

Uplited Puʻu ʻŌʻō floor, April 23, 2018. PC: USGS

At the time of this update 6 p.m., April 30, there was no evidence of new lava within the crater, seismicity remained elevated in the vicinity of Pu’u ‘Ō’ō, and ground deformation at Pu’u ‘Ō’ō had significantly slowed.

Kīlauea’s summit eruption has thus far not been affected by the afternoon’s activity at Pu‘u ‘Ō’ō.

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists continue to closely monitor Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone and summit. A helicopter overflight of Pu’u ‘Ō’ō and the 61g flow field is scheduled for early Tuesday, weather permitting.

HVO webcam images are posted online.

Electronic Tilt at Kīlauea Summit and East Rift Zone, April 25 to May 1, 2018. The blue line shows the radial tilt at Uwēkahuna (UWE), on the northwest rim of Kīlauea’s caldera. The green line is radial tilt at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō (POC), on the north flank of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō cone. These are recorded by continuously operating electronic tiltmeters. Positive changes often indicate inflation of the magma storage areas beneath the caldera or Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, but may also result from heavy rainfall or, occasionally, instrumental malfunctions. USGS graphic

Activity Summary: An intrusion of magma occurred overnight in the lower East Rift Zone extending from the general area of Puʻu ʻŌʻō eastward at least as far as Highway 130. As of 8:30 this morning, the level of activity has decreased significantly, but it is too soon to know if this is merely a pause. The intrusion began yesterday afternoon (April 30) associated with collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor. The summit lava lake is unchanged and has risen overnight to just below the rim of the Overlook crater vent. Early this morning (May 1), HVO issued a Volcano Activity Notice calling attention to this intrusion and raising the possibility of a new outbreak along the rift zone if activity intensifies.

Residents of lower Puna should remain on alert and monitor Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages.

Number of earthquakes per day during the past week, April 25–May 1, 2018, indicated by (blue bars. The red line is the cumulative moment (energy) release. USGS graphic.

Summit Observations: The summit lava lake remains at a high level. Overall, the summit lava lake has shown no response to activity in the middle and lower East Rift Zone. Summit tiltmeters recorded very little change overnight. Tremor amplitude is fluctuating with lava lake spattering. Elevated summit sulfur dioxide emission rates persist.

Depth of earthquakes during the past week (April 25–May 1, 2018) in the area shown on the map above. USGS graphic.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: HVO tiltmeters recorded sudden and dramatic changes accompanying the onset of crater floor collapse at Puʻu ʻŌʻō yesterday (April 30) between about 2 and 4 pm. Weather obscured web camera views of the crater, however thermal camera images showed the collapse in progress followed by emission of high temperature gases continuing into this morning. HVO field crews attempting to reach Puʻu ʻŌʻō this morning (May 1) were turned back by ash in the air above Puʻu ʻŌʻō, likely due to continuing collapse within the crater and vigorous gas emissions. Reddish ash was also noted in abundance on the ground around Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Seismicity remains elevated at Puʻu ʻŌʻō but tiltmeters near the cone show no significant deformation at this time.

Lava Flow Observations: There is no lava flow activity from the 61g lava flow on the coastal plain or pali and no lava is flowing into the ocean. Lava flow activity continues on the upper flow field, above the pali and closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and does not pose a threat to nearby communities at this time. Areas of the upper flow field with active lava flows are located within the Kahaualeʻa Natural Area Reserve, which has been closed to the public by DLNR since 2007 due to volcanic hazards.

Webcam views of the flow field are available here.

Maps of the lava flow field can be found here.

For more information about the Kahaualeʻa NAR closure, go online.

Lava Flow Field and Ocean Entry Hazards: Hazards of active or recent lava flows include, but are not limited to: hot lava surfaces that can cause serious burns upon contact with unprotected or exposed skin; rough, uneven, and sharp terrain that can lead to falls, abrasions, lacerations and other injuries; high air temperature and humidity that can lead to dehydration or heat exhaustion; and steamy ground-fog produced by heavy rain falling (sometimes with little warning) on active or recent lava flows; this steam can severely limit visibility, can be acidic and should be avoided.

UPDATE 3, May 1, 10:30 a.m.

The collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone has
triggered increases in earthquake activity and deformation along a large section of the rift zone, according to Christina Neal, scientist-in- charge at Hawai’i Volcanoes Observatory (HVO).

Neal said that seismicity was occurring as far east as Highway 130, and warned residents of lower Puna to remain alert and watch for further information about the status of the volcano at www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alert.

“An outbreak of lava in a new location is one possible outcome,” Neal said. “At this time it is not possible to say with certainty if or where such an outbreak may occur, but the area downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the most likely location, as this is where seismicity and deformation have been concentrated overnight.”

Meanwhile, Hawai‘i County has closed the Kalapana lava viewing area amid the possibility of an eruption, and security has been posted to ensure than no unauthorized persons enter the area.

“We don’t want people hiking in that area, which is downslope from the rift,” Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Maurice Messina said.

Messina said that vendors at the viewing area were told to vacate the area. He noted that the lava viewing area can draw 500 to more than 2,000 visitors, depending on the level of volcanic activity.

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake just offshore of Puʻu ʻŌʻō occurred at 2:39 a.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2018—the largest of a sequence of tremors along the rift zone.

There is no risk of tsunami at that magnitude.

Deformation is the term used to describe change in the surface of a volcano, such as swelling, sinking or cracking, which can be caused by movements in the Earth’s crust due to motion along faults, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

UPDATE 2: May 1, 2018, 9:30 a.m.

This is a Civil Defense message for Tuesday morning, May 1, 2018 at 9:30.

The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory reports increased shallow earthquake activity in the Puna District below Kīlauea Volcano in the area between Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Highway 130.

This means an outbreak of lava in a new location could occur. While it is not possible to predict where an outbreak could occur, the area east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is a possible location.

Due to the increased seismic activity, the following are issued:

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation has shut down the lava viewing area in Kalapana due to the proximity to the increased hazardous activity.

Lower Puna area residents are advised to stay informed by listening to the radio and Civil Defense text alerts and social media sites; this webpage will also be updated.

ORIGINAL POST, May 1, 7:54 a.m.

The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory reports increased shallow earthquake activity in the Puna District below Kīlauea Volcano in the area between Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Highway 130.

This means an outbreak of lava in a new location could occur.

While it is not possible to predict where an outbreak could occur, the area east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is a possible location.

Due to the increased seismic activity, lower Puna area residents are advised to stay informed. Monitor Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages here.

Just before 10 a.m. on Monday, April 30, 2018, a break in the weather allowed HVO’s webcam to capture this image of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea. Following multiple overflows of the lava lake last week, the lake level dropped over the weekend in concert with the switch to summit deflation. Early on Monday morning, the lava lake level was estimated to be about 49 feet below the vent rim, but shortly thereafter, the summit switched to inflation, with the possibility of the lake level rising in the hours/days. Instead, HVO reported the collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor Monday afternoon, April 30, 2018. PC: USGS

On Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at 4:54 a.m. HVO reported that a collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor Monday afternoon, April 30, on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone has prompted increases in seismicity and deformation along a large section of the rift zone, with seismicity currently occurring as far east as Highway 130.

A outbreak of lava in a new location is one possible outcome. At this time it is not possible to say with certainty if or where such an outbreak may occur, but the area downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the most likely location, as this is where seismicity and deformation have been concentrated overnight.

Recent Observations

Between about 2 and 4:30 p.m. on April 30, following weeks of uplift and increasing lava levels within the cone, the crater floor at Pu’u ‘Ō’ō on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone collapsed.

Poor weather prevented HVO from flying over the activity or seeing details of the activity in our web cameras on site.

Following the collapse, HVO seismometers and tiltmeters recorded an increase in seismic activity and deformation from Kīlauea Volcano’s summit to an area about 6 to 10 miles downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Overnight, this activity localized downrift of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and continued to propagate eastward along the rift zone.

The largest earthquake of this sequence so far was a magnitude 4.0 earthquake just offshore south of Pu’u ‘Ō’ō at 2:39 a.m. this mornin.

Kīlauea’s summit eruption has thus far not been affected by the change at Pu’u ‘Ō’ō.

Hazard Analysis

The migration of seismicity and deformation downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone following Monday’s collapse indicates that a large area along the East Rift Zone is potentially at risk for a new outbreak.

The location of any future outbreak will determine what areas are in the path of new lava flows.

The situation is rapidly evolving and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists continue to closely monitor Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone and summit.

Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatories and Hawai‘i County Civil Defense are continuing to monitor the situation. More updates will be posted at BigIslandNow.com as information becomes available.

For more information, email askHVO@usgs.gov.

UPDATE: Mayor Kim Hawai’i County Mayor Harry Kim in Stable Condition, Weighing Options

Mayor Harry Kim. Courtesy photo.

UPDATE: April 26, 2018, 4:10 p.m.

 

Hawai’i County Mayor Harry Kim is in stable condition at The Queens Medical Center in
Honolulu, as he weighs options regarding a procedure after being medevaced after
experiencing chest pains early today.

As of late afternoon on Thursday, April 26, there was no diagnosis, said Wil Okabe, the county’s managing director, who is serving as acting mayor while the mayor is on sick leave.

“Harry’s in stable condition and they’re looking at a procedure,” Okabe said. “They’ll give him some options later on today or tomorrow.”

The mayor has been undergoing tests, and was not accepting visits for the time being.

“We want to respect his privacy and let him rest as we wait for the doctor’s determination on what the next steps are,” Okabe said.

The 78-year- old mayor drove himself to Hilo Medical Center around 4:30 a.m. and proceeded to call Okabe and other staff to notify them of the situation. He was medevaced to O‘ahu around 6:45 a.m.

The mayor has had three previous heart attacks, and underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2008.

“We’ve had an outpouring of people calling, emailing and on social media telling us how much Harry means to them,” Okabe said. “Harry is very grateful for all of the good wishes and prayers, and so are we.”

“Mayor Kim has a fighting spirit and I know he’ll want to be back at work serving the people of Hawai‘i County as quickly as possible,” said Gov. David Ige. “I wish him a speedy and complete recovery.”

ORIGINAL POST: April 26, 10:18 a.m.

Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim has been medevaced to The Queens Medical Center in Honolulu as a precautionary measure after experiencing chest pains early Thursday morning, April 26, 2018, according to a press release from his office.

The 78-year-old mayor drove himself to Hilo Medical Center around 4:30 a.m. and called Managing Director Wil Okabe and other staff to notify them of the situation.

He was medevaced to O‘ahu around 6:45 a.m.

The mayor has had three previous heart attacks, and underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2008.

“He knows the symptoms, and he knows what to do,” Director Okabe said. “We’re offering prayers for Harry, knowing that he’ll be back very shortly.”

Okabe will serve as acting mayor while the Mayor Kim is on sick leave.

An emergency meeting of the county department heads and executive staff was held to inform everyone of the situation.

“We’re going to continue to do the work; everyone assured me that they’re committed to carrying out the mission we always have—of making this a better place to live,” Okabe said. “Harry has confidence in everybody that they’ll continue the mission.”

VIDEO: Monk Seal with Knife in Mouth

The Hawai‘i Department of Land and Resources reported that had it been something other than a sharp fishing knife, the video below may have been endearing.

Screen shot from DOCARE video of Hawaiian monk seal pup Manu‘iwa with knife.

A Hawaiian monk seal pup named Manu‘iwa had recently weaned from its mother on a Hawai‘i Island beach. Staff from Ke Kai Ola, a hospital operated by The Marine Mammal Center at Kailua-Kona, and officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) have been monitoring the pup’s health and growth.

On Sunday, April 15, 2018, the seal was spotted playing with a bright orange object in its mouth. As they watched the seal dive beneath near-shore rocks and come back up, they realized Manu‘iwa was holding a knife in its mouth by its handle.

The DOCARE officer who captured the incident on video tape commented, “There was real concern that the seal pup might swallow the knife. It’s a reminder to all of us to properly dispose of our trash and not to leave it on Hawai‘i’s beaches or in the ocean.”

At one point, the seal dropped the knife under the rocks and it was later retrieved.

Animal experts say that it’s critical for young seals not to have human interactions so they can learn to be wild animals, especially after they’ve weaned from their mothers and are on their own.

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Fisheries asks people to report all monk seal sightings to your island’s Marine Mammal Response Coordinator:

Hawai‘i Island – East: (808) 756-5961
Hawai‘i Island – West: (808) 987-0765

O‘ahu: (808) 220-7802
Kaua‘i: (808) 651-7668
Moloka‘i: (808) 553-5555
Maui / Lāna‘i: (808) 292-2372

Mayor Kim Responds to Hilo Farmers Market Closure

Tarps removed from the Hilo Farmers Market.

Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim released the following statement on Thursday, March 29, 2018, regarding the county’s order removing the tarps and tents from the Hilo Farmers Market:

“The information out there regarding the closure of the Farmer’s Market in Hilo is so wrong and misleading that it prompts this open response,” said Mayor Kim. “The public should know of truth that their government has sincerely tried to help Mr. De La Cruz comply with the county, state and federal laws to keep the market in operation. A commitment was made and kept by the county to help keep it open and develop a place to be proud of. The choices made that caused this closure and hardships imposed on the tenants were not made by your government.

“I will be more than willing to meet with anyone to discuss the history of this closure.”

Hawai‘i County:

Farmers Market Background

The Hilo Farmers Market is an important part of downtown Hilo. It has been successful due to the diversity and freshness of the offerings of its vendors. The county has tried to work with the owner for years to bring the properties into compliance with building, fire, and zoning codes. The conditions were allowed to persist for all these years in deference to constantly changing plans proposed by the owner. Continuous efforts over the past year by the county to guide the owner into compliance were unsuccessful due to delay or no action on the owner’s part.

The only way to finally achieve results was to enforce the notice of violation that the owner received in June of 2017 which clearly stated the consequences if the proper permits were not acquired in a timely fashion. This enforcement was done in fairness and responsibility to all others who follow county, state, and federal requirements.

Violations of County Code and Regulations

  • No building permits. The Farmers Market has been operating for over 20 years without any building permits.  Temporary structures, such as large tents greater than 120 s.f., used for commercial purposes are required to have a temporary building permit which is good for 180 days only.
  • Non-flammable tent material. Tents larger than 750 square feet are required to have non-flammable or non-combustible tent material.  The Fire Department reviewed and approved proposed tent material.  The owner just had to place the order.
  • Non-permitted electrical wiring. Electrical wiring was energized, used, and operated without required electrical inspections and approval of electrical work performed.
  • Extended hours of operation. Farmers Market operations exceeded two days a week as limited by Special Management Area Minor Permit No. 54.
  • Non-permitted sign. A large sign was installed without acquiring the required permits.
  • No setbacks between tents and property boundary. Temporary structures are required to have a 10 foot setback from the property boundaries and 10 foot spacing between tents.

Failure to Construct Permanent Structure as Required

The owner had 10 years to construct a permanent structure as required by SMA approval. The deadline of March 2018 has not been met. The farmers market owner initially received Planning Department approval for a permanent structure in 2008. A condition for approval required completion of construction within five years. In 2013, the owner requested an extension for another five years. The extension was granted with a new deadline of March 18, 2018.

County Assistance Provided

  • Meeting with the Mayor. On Jan.31, 2017, and Feb. 17, 2017, the mayor met with the owner to determine the status of plans to meet the March 2018 deadline and offered assistance to facilitate development.  The mayor assigned an executive assistant to work with the owner.
  • Issues Identified. The executive assistant coordinated with various departments to identify the types, sequence and estimated processing time of permits. Since the farmers market is located in the special flood hazard zone exposed to tsunami and high waves, one major issue was how to comply with these strict standards. Working with the Department of Public Works, a feasible solution was determined that allowed for a simplified structure.
  • Schedule and Budget. The executive assistant helped the owner to assess how much the owner could finance to design and construct a permanent structure based on the substantial total annual rent income the owner receives from the vendors. Additional help also identified steps to start construction of a permanent structure including development of a schedule to meet the March 2018 deadline. The schedule required prompt action by the owner.

Critical and Timely Actions Needed by Owner to Meet Schedule

  • Hire an architect to design a permanent structure and prepare the building permit application.
  • Secure financing for design and construction.
  • Apply for amendment to SMA permits for preferred hours of operation and revised design of structure.
  • Secure Plan Approval for commercial operations.

No Action by Owner

On May 24, 2017, the mayor and several departments met with the owner to assess his progress. Despite assurances from the owner to carry out critical tasks identified in the last meeting, it became evident that the owner made no progress. Consequently, the county issued notice of violations in June 2017 requiring the owner to obtain temporary structure permits or submit plans for a permanent structure. The assessed fines for violations and failure to meet deadlines were clearly outlined in the violation notice.

Time Extensions Granted

Three time extensions were granted over a 6-month period through Dec. 31, 2017, to provide time for the owner to comply. At the end of December 2017, the owner submitted applications for temporary structures. These permits were approved but the owner has not picked up the approved permits.

Order Issued

To motivate action, the only recourse was to issue an order imposing fines as declared in the June 2017 violation notice.

The County of Hawaiʻi has worked closely with the owner and made numerous efforts to help preserve the Hilo Farmers Market and bring it into compliance. It is incumbent upon the owner to continue to work with the county in a timely manner to secure the necessary permits to operate his business.

The county is committed to assisting the owner in developing a permanent farmers market that can be a fixture of the Hilo landscape, provide a safe environment for the community to shop and help make Hilo a beautiful and nice place to live.

UPDATE 3: Shark Attack on Hawai‘i Island’s Kona Coast

UPDATE 3 : March 31, 1:20 p.m.

25-year-old male was stand-up paddle boarding approximately 100 to 150 yards off shore when he sustained injuries from a suspected shark attack.

Upon EMS arrival at 9:45 a.m., the victim was being treated by bystanders with multiple tourniquets to his right side extremities due to extensive injuries from a suspected shark attack.

The victim was then transported by Aeromedical Helicopter to a local hospital in critical condition where he is currently being treated.

UPDATE 2: March 31, 12:35 p.m.

At about 9:30 this morning, the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources was notified by the Hawai‘i County Fire Department of a shark incident near Kikaua Point fronting Kukio Resort.

A 25-year-old man was taken by HFD helicopter to North Hawai‘i hospital with multiple injuries to his hand and leg.

Standard procedure is for beach closure signs to warn ocean goers for one mile on either side of the incident until noon the next day.

A decision will be made to reopen beaches based on observations tomorrow morning.

UPDATE 1: March 31, 12:12 p.m.

According to an unofficial report, a father and son were paddle boarding together when a shark bumped the son off his board, bit him, and proceeded to go after the father.

Updates will be provided as they become available.

ORIGINAL POST: March 31, 2018, 11:31 a.m.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department reported a shark attack on Saturday, March 31, 2018, at 11 a.m.. The attack occurred at Kukio Beach on the Kona Coast near Hualalai.

Public beach access in this area is closed and will remain closed today.

More information will be published as it becomes available.

Petco Announces Opening Date

Another major mainland chain store will open in Prince Kūhiō Plaza soon, following the TJ Maxx opening last month.

Petco Hilo.

Petco announced that it is planning a soft opening and blessing on Monday, April 9, 2018, at 9 a.m.

Customers will be able to browse and purchase items from the store beginning on that day.

Store Leader John Fernandez said that approximately 30 people will be employed at the store, which will offer everything from pet grooming, adoptions, dog training and washes, aquatic fish and general pet supplies.

Hilo services offered online.

Fernandez emphasized that everyone who is being hired by the store is a local resident and that even the grooming company that the Petco will use is a Big Island company called Shear Magic.

A grand opening is planned for Saturday, May 5, 2018. The normal store hours will be Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

County Orders Hilo Farmers Market to Take Down Tents

The County of Hawai‘i has ordered Hilo Farmers Market to remove the tarps and the tents that have been its primary structures for over 33 years or face $4,000 in fines for each day they remain in place.

Hilo Farmers Market.

According to Keith Del La Cruz, owner and manager of the market, Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim ordered the removal.  When Del La Cruz was asked why the order was given, he said, “That is a good question.”

When asked if the tents would be replaced or what would happen with the vendors, Del La Cruz stated:

“We have been processing with the county for the last seven months for notices and violations. Since June of 2017, we have had our permits and are working with them [the county] in good faith to try and resolve the notices and violations…  and to submit drawings for a new farmers market roof. So just in the last several days, we have received a county order to take down the tarps or get fined each day $4,000 per day.”

Workers removed Hilo Farmers Market tarps on Sunday, March 25, 2018

The market plans to remain open; however, vendors will need to provide their own pop-up tents.

Hilo Farmers Market.

The market owner would still like to process its permits for tenants and a permanent roof. Those application processes are ongoing.

Del La Cruz remains hopeful the county will expedite the permitting process so that there is not a long-term effect on the market “being in a new mode.”

Hilo Farmers Market.

Del La Cruz has been trying to secure financing for a permanent roof; however, the economy has made it very difficult and the order to take down the tents does not include any assistance in securing funding.

Hilo Farmers Market: the end of an era.

Del La Cruz doesn’t know if any notices have been given to any other farmers markets on the island.

Brewfest Raises $100K for Local Beneficiaries

The 23rd Annual Kona Brewers Festival, also known as the Kona Brew Fest, took place this Saturday, March 10, 2018, at the Courtyard of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua-Kona.

Mugs were given to all attendees of the Kona Brewers Festival.

This year, the taps started to flow at 3 p.m. and most of the food was gone by 6 p.m. as the event raised over $100,000 for 20 local beneficiaries.

The first year of the festival was in 1996, when the event raised about $5,000 so the festival has really grown over the years.

Nearly 3,000 people attended this year’s Kona Brewers Festival, with 2,100 tickets sold.

There were over 40 breweries from all over the world on-hand for public tastings. The festival had to turn down about a dozen breweries.

Festival Executive Director Kate Jacobson said that the festival has a huge impact on the local economy and that hotel rooms are always sold out throughout the area during the weekend of the festival.

(L–R) Executive Director Kate Jacobson, Media and Marketing Coordinator Summer Carrick and Kona Brewers Festival BOD President Mattson Davis.

Summer Carrick, director of media and marketing for the festival said that the event has previously sold-out in under six minutes. Those wanting to attend next year’s festival should purchase tickets as soon as they are available.

Festival Board of Directors President Mattson Davis, the former CEO of Kona Brewing Company, stated that the initial intent of the festival was to celebrate the birthday of the Kona Brewing Company and that they weren’t interested too much in wines; however, they have had a few ciders represented at the festival.

One of the main highlights of the festivals is the “Trash Fashion Show” that showcased island models wearing costumes and outfits designed from recycled trash.

Trash Fashion Show models at the 2018 Kona Brewers Festival.

And yes, there was at least one wardrobe malfunction during the fashion show.

Ah yes, even Sesame Street Characters were involved…

 

Rooster Farmers Flock to Council Meeting, Bill Dies

Hawai’i County Council Bill 112, Relating to Rooster Farms, was heard at the Hawai’i County Building on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

Hawaii County Council Chamber.

Irate rooster farmers showed up in full force to provide their testimony against the bill presented by Puna Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara.

Overflow crowd at the Hawai‘i County Council chamber.

The bill died a short death after no other council members would second the bill.

Residents on Councilwoman O’Hara’s email list received the following email after the bill was not seconded:

Sorry to say, but the Council Chair had made up her mind on this issue long ago and today’s hearing was set up to fail. The County Clerk’s office didn’t bother to send out the 77 supportive written testimonies which were sent in on time until after the end of the business day yesterday. We only had 26 written testimonies in opposition. None of the councilmembers read them. The councilmembers already had their minds made up. Quantitatively, there were more supportive testimonies than opposed, but given the emotional pitch of the rooster farmers in the room, none of the other councilmembers showed any sympathy for the excellent testimonies provided by supporters because none were “local”. I know some locals who supported the bill, but who were afraid to testify for fear of retribution.

I got personally attacked by several testifiers because they claimed I hadn’t consulted with them even though I went to HPP with copies of the Bill fresh off the press for their Feb. 25th member meeting knowing the rooster farmers would show up. HPP staff, Ms Bronson-Crelly, put the issue last on the agenda and didn’t bother to notify my office, but I got wind of it. Waited 3.5 hours to talk with them and they just started yelling and making threatening remarks so had to leave.

Sorry, but the County prefers to ignore the problems of Puna as out of sight, out of mind. Meantime, the rooster farmers stormed into the Dem Party’s District 4 meeting last week and elected themselves to all precinct and state delegate positions. Now that they’ve defeated this bill, I don’t expect to see them again at a political caucus. Kind of like the millennials that stormed in two years ago to support Bernie, but who left the party as soon as he didn’t win the primary.

The bill died. None of the councilmembers would second a motion to pass it on. That may be best as the rooster farmers were revved up to a frenzy and if it had continued, I would have grown tired of checking in my rear view mirror to see who might be following my car home. Very intimidating.

I came home to Pāhoa to find my two banners that owner William Quinn allowed me to put up at the feed store gone…..that’s $60 I just paid to stand against the rooster farmers. I hope this attempt won’t de-rail my attempts to get re-elected, as there are other ways to tame the beast and other fish to fry to help Puna along.

Mahalo for the support provided and sorry to report such a callous shrug off by the County Council,

Eileen O’Hara, Councilmember

Hawaii County Council, Dist 4

(808) 965-2712

KTA Beer Sampling & Customer Appreciation Day

KTA Puainako Store will host “Customer Appreciation Day” on Saturday, March 10.

KTA Super Stores is offering three events this week that are open to the public.

Beer tastings will be held at KTA Keauhou on Thursday, March 8, 2018, between 3 and 6 p.m. and at KTA Kailua-Kona on Friday, March 9, 2018, from 3 to 6 p.m.

Maui Brewing Company will be sampling their handcrafted beers at these locations during that time period. Samplers need to be 21 or older and ID is required.

KTA Super Stores also invites the public to its Customer Appreciation Day at the Puainako Store located at 50 E. Puainako St. on Saturday, March 10, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be food samples, balloons, games, prizes and more.

Free Concert: Tribute to Kamehameha III

The public is invited to free concert celebrating the 18th Annual Tribute to Kamehameha III, a celebration for Ka Lani Kauikeaouli at the place of his birth, Keauhou.

Help honor the life and legacy of a great lāhui leader who declared “He aupuni palapala—Mine is a kingdom of literacy” and whose support of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi continues to inspire us today.

The free ‘Aha Mele will be on Saturday, March 17, 2018, from 3 to 9 p.m. on the Hawai‘i Lawn at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The concert features Emcees Jaz and Ka‘ea of KAPA Radio; ‘Ekolu Mea Nui, Kainani Kahaunaele, Hammah-Jang and others will perform.

There will be a vendor marketplace showcasing crafts, apparel and local artists.

A free shuttle is available from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Keauhou Shopping Center. Mats and beach chairs welcomed. No coolers allowed.

Donations to Nā Kālai Wa‘a will be accepted.

Zonta to Honor Hirono & Community Leader with Rose Award

The Zonta Club of Hilo will honor Sen. Mazie Hirono and community leader Irene Nagao with its biennial “Rose Award of Excellence” on Monday, March 26, 2018, at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Moku Ola Ballroom. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., dinner and program starts at 5:30 p.m.

The Zonta Rose Award of Excellence recognizes women who have made a significant impact on the lives of others through their employment, volunteer activities and associations. The award is part of Zonta International’s observance of International Women’s Day and Zonta Rose Day. Zonta’s mission is to empower women through service and advocacy.

“We are proud to celebrate Sen. Hirono’s work to improve the quality of life for humanity across the globe and Irene’s efforts here at home to help those who need a second or third chance at life,” said Julie Tulang, Zonta Hilo service chair. “Both women have gone above and beyond in service to the local and global community, and truly embody Zonta’s mission to empower women.”

Sen. Hirono has led a life of public service. From working to protect victims of domestic violence to extending protections for Filipino veterans of US military, Sen. Hirono is a fierce advocate for Hawaii, women, children and immigrants in Congress. Nagao, president of Going Home Hawai‘i, has convened public and private groups to support programs for youth as well as those experiencing traumatic loss or integrating back into the community from incarceration.

A limited number of tickets, which includes dinner, are available; $55 a person, or $550 for a sponsor table of eight. Purchase tickets at ZontaRose2018.eventbrite.com by Monday, March 12, 2018. For more information email info@zontahilo.org.

Clinic Set to Spay/Neuter 500–700 Cats; Volunteers Sought

Hui Pono Holoholona is seeking volunteers on Thursday, March 8, 2018, at the Eagles Lodge from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help with preparations for the upcoming Animal Balance Mash Clinic happening Wednesday through Sunday, March 21 through 25, 2018, in Hilo.

The intent of the clinic is to spay and/or neuter 500 to 700 cats for free.

On Thursday, March 8, volunteers will be cutting and folding surgical drapes, cutting sheets to cover humane traps, and much more.

The Hui is also volunteers to please donate towels and sheets. Volunteers can help out for an hour or two or all day, however they are asked to bring their own lunch.

To find out more information, call (808) 769-1128 or go online. The Eagles Lodge is located across from Kea’au Humane Society on Highway 130.

To find out more about the Animal Balance Program, click here.

Roadway Resurfacing Work on Kamāmalu Street

The County Highway Maintenance Division will begin resurfacing work on the Kamāmalu Street roadway from the intersection with Māmalahoa Highway to the Kamanawa Street intersection on Monday, March 5, 2018, and is estimated to be completed on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. Working hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather and construction conditions permitting.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles and machinery will be in the work zone. Alternating lane closures will be in effect and at a minimum, one lane of travel (for two-way traffic) will be provided through the construction area.

The lane closures are necessary to complete the roadway resurfacing work in a timely manner and for the safety of the workers and the traveling public. Special off-duty police officers will be posted in the area to facilitate traffic movement.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist at (808) 961-8787.

Hōkūleʻa to Make Historic First Sail into Pearl Harbor

For the first time in Hōkūleʻa’s 42-year history, the legendary canoe will sail into the waters of Pearl Harbor and visit the Puʻuloa region. The crew will be welcomed at Rainbow Bay Marina on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 10 a.m. by the Puʻuloa community and US Navy who are hosting the canoe. The week-long engagement to follow will include school visits, public dockside tours and a crew talk story event. As part of the Mahalo, Hawaiʻi Sail, the purpose of Hōkūleʻa’s visit is to bring the canoe to more of Hawaiʻi’s children, honor Pearl Harbor’s ancient culture and history, and to learn about the efforts to restore the area’s cultural sites including Loko Paʻaiau Fishpond.

Hōkūleʻa entering Magic Island on Oʻahu in front of Diamond Head after a three year worldwide voyage. PC: Nikki Schenfeld

When Hōkūleʻa enters the waters of Pearl Harbor for the first time on Saturday morning, the crew will pay respects as she sails by significant cultural and historical sites including Halealoha Halemau (Fort Kamehameha Reburial Platform), USS Nevada, Arizona Memorial, Battleship Missouri, Ford Island, USS Utah, and Loko Paʻaiau Fishpond before making her arrival at Rainbow Bay Marina. The crew also will spend a day working with the restoration team at Loko Paʻaiau Fishpond on Saturday, Feb. 17.

The Loko Paʻaiau fishpond is located at McGrew Point Navy housing and is one of only three fishponds out of an original 22 in the Pu’uloa area which are still relatively intact. In September 2014, the Navy invited members of the local Hawaiian civic clubs and ʻAiea community members to begin work on restoring the historic fishpond.

“We want to celebrate this place and the movement taking place by the Puʻuloa community and the Navy to restore the Native Hawaiian history, sites and cultural identity of Pearl Harbor,” said president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society Nainoa Thompson. “We hope Hōkūleʻa’s visit will open the doors for our young people to learn about the extraordinary history and culture of this very special, sacred place,” he added.

More than 1,000 school children are scheduled to visit Hōkūleʻa and participate in educational activities during her stop at Puʻuloa.

Hōkūleʻa will be greeted at Rainbow Bay Marina with traditional Hawaiian protocol and a military welcome. The event is open to the public and $1 parking will be available at Aloha Stadium. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and water. Hōkūleʻa will be open for public dockside canoe tours on Sunday, Feb. 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Monday through Friday, Feb. 12, through Feb. 16, 3 to 5 p.m.

On Thursday, Feb. 15, 5 to 7 p.m., the public is also welcome to attend a Hōkūleʻa talk story event featuring crew and community members who will discuss the significance of Hōkūleʻa’s visit to the Puʻuloa to Ewa region.

“We want to thank the Puʻuloa community, Aliʻi Pauahi Hawaiian Civic Club, Kapolei Hawaiian Civic Club, Pearl Harbor Hawaiian Civic Club, the US Navy and Kamehameha Schools ʻEwa Region for inviting Hōkūleʻa to visit Puʻuloa to learn more about the great work and rich history in this cultural location and allowing us the opportunity to connect with more schools in this region,” said Thompson.

“We welcome the navigators of Hōkūleʻa. Many are military veterans or have strong family ties to our armed forces,” said commander of Navy Region Hawai‘i and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Rear Adm. Brian Fort. “I have great respect for the courageous navigators of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and for the values they live by: love of the ocean, care for a sustainable environment, appreciation of history and heritage, and commitment to educating the next generation. And I join with the rest of our community in thanking the navigators for sharing their time, talents and wisdom with us and our neighbors at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.”

“Hōkūleʻa’s visit to Puʻuloa fills our hearts with profound gratitude and love,” said Winston Kalina Lum, Sr., Aliʻi Pauahi Hawaiian Civic Club board member and genealogical descendant of the early inhabitants of ʻAiea, Kalauao and Keʻehi. “It has been hundreds of years since a voyaging canoe last landed on our shores. As our community works together to preserve our cultural sites and educate our children, the canoe’s presence reminds us that we, too, can bring peace and Aloha to the planet,” he added.

Below is a schedule of events for Hōkūleʻa’s Pearl Harbor/Puʻuloa visit, an official stop on Hōkūleʻa’s Mahalo Hawaiʻi, Sail. For the most up to date information, visit online.

Mahalo Hawaiʻi, Sail, Pearl Harbor/Puʻuloa Schedule of Events (*Dates and time are dependent on safety and weather):

Hōkūleʻa Arrival Ceremony
Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, 10 a.m.
Rainbow Bay Marina
Hōkūleʻa and her crew will arrive at Rainbow Bay Marina and will be greeted with Hawaiian cultural protocol followed by a military welcome.

Public Open House Tours of Hōkūleʻa
Rainbow Bay Marina
Sunday Feb. 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Weekdays Feb. 12 to 16, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Hōkūleʻa Crew Talk Story (Sponsored by Kamehameha Schools ʻEwa Region)
Rainbow Bay Marina Pavilion
Thursday, Feb. 15, 5 to 7 p.m.
Meet crew and community members who will discuss the significance of Hōkūleʻa’s visit to the Puʻuloa to ʻEwa region.

Saturday Feb 17, 7 a.m., Hōkūleʻa departs Rainbow Bay Marina

Waimea Town Meeting to Focus on Medical Cannabis

California State University file image.

Representatives of Hawaiian Ethos have been invited to a Waimea Community Association (WCA) Town Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, at 5:15 p.m. to provide an overview of their plans to cultivate and dispense medical cannabis to Hawai‘i Island patients.

Medical cannabis has been legal in Hawai‘i since 2000, but access to medical cannabis was challenging. Initially the Hawai‘i law enabled patients and caregivers to legally grow their own plants within certain parameters. Then in 2015, the State Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law Act 241, which became codified as Chapter 329D of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, to establish a dispensary licensure program to make medicinal marijuana products readily available for registered patients while balancing the health and safety of patients and the public.

Today in Hawai‘i, eight licensees have received permission to operate dispensaries for licensed medical cannabis patients. Two such licensees have been authorized for Hawai‘i Island – including one group that will source its flower from Waimea. One of the companies, known as Hawaiian Ethos, has plans to open their first dispensary in Kona in the Spring and a second dispensary in Hilo later this year. Both dispensary locations will offer the full range of products that are allowed by Hawai‘i State regulations including flower, tinctures, tablets and capsules in a variety of dosages.

The Hawaiian Ethos team is led by Interim CEO Luis Mejia and COO Zachary Taffany.

Representatives of Hawaiian Ethos have been invited to a Waimea Community Association (WCA) Town Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, at 5:15 p.m. to provide an overview of their plans to cultivate and dispense medical cannabis to Hawaii Island patients.

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance has regulatory responsibility for Hawai‘i’s dispensary licensure program to ensure patient safety, public safety, and product safety and to ensure licensee comply with state law. This includes statewide oversight of the laboratories that test the safety and quality of the cannabis and manufactured cannabis products, and onsite inspections and monitoring of licensed dispensaries that grow, manufacture and sell medical cannabis products to qualifying patients.

There is no charge to attend the meeting although membership in the association is urged and dues for 2018 are due. Annual WCA membership is $15 for individuals and $25 for families, and because the organization is a not-for-profit, dues are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

The program will begin with Hawai‘i County council members providing an update on council business and Community Policing Officer Kelena Ho‘okano reporting on recent incidents and community safety concerns.

The spotlighted community non-profit for the evening will be North Hawai‘i Community Hospital’s much needed emergency room expansion project which seeks to raise about $1 million from the local community to be matched with $24 million from other public and private sources, including $1.5 million from the 2018 State Legislature. As has become a monthly custom at town meetings, attendees will be encouraged to make a tax deductible donation to this not-for-profit organization.

Starbucks will provide steaming hot coffee and the association board will provide cookies.

The meeting will be located at the Waimea School cafeteria, 67-1225 Mamalahoa Highway in Kamuela.

For more info see the website, Facebook, or call Patti Cook at (808) 937-2833 or email cookshi@aol.com.