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Safeway Sending 16 Tons of Ice to Puna District

Safeway is sending over 16 tons of ice – 32,400 pounds to the Puna District of the Big Island to help residents who are still without electricity following Tropical Storm Iselle.

The ice will be distributed through the American Red Cross aid station at the Pahoa Community Center on Thursday. The ice is expected to be available by 2 p.m.

Safeway is shipping two containers of ice from Oahu to Hilo to help meet the demand. Earlier this week, the company also trucked a container of ice from its store in Kailua-Kona to its store in Hilo.

“Many of our neighbors in the Puna area have been hit hard by Iselle and are still in need of basic supplies,” said George Glukfeld, Safeway Hawaii district manager. “This is the time for our entire community to pull together and do what we can to help in the relief effort.”

 

DHS Opens Assistance Offices for SNAP Beneficiaries on Hawaii Island

The Department of Human Services (DHS) Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD) is opening four assistance offices for current SNAP beneficiaries on the east side of Hawaii Island.

Department of Human Services

BESSD representatives will be stationed at the below locations Mondays –Fridays between 8:30 am – 3:30 pm, through August 22. These sites will be closed Friday, August 15 for the Admissions Day holiday. They are: Hawaiian Shores Community Center; Nanawale Estates Community Association; Leilani Estates Community Center Association; and Hawaiian Paradise Park – Church of the Nazarene

Lava Flow Continues to Advance Through Forest

The June 27 flow remains active, and has advanced further into the forest over the past week.

Click to Enlarge Photos

Click to Enlarge Photos

The flow front today was 8.5 km (5.3 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō (see “map” link above for current flow field map). The flow’s continued brisk advance rate is likely related, in part, to its continued confinement by local topography.

Another view of the flow front, looking east. The small bump on the horizon, near the center of the photograph, is the forested cone of Heiheiahulu. (Click to Enlarge)

Another view of the flow front, looking east. The small bump on the horizon, near the center of the photograph, is the forested cone of Heiheiahulu. (Click to Enlarge)

Yesterday, the narrow flow front was within one of the many linear depressions (grabens) on the East Rift Zone. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen in the distance.

Portions of the June 27 lava flow continue to expand and cover older flows from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. (Click to Enlarge)

Portions of the June 27 lava flow continue to expand and cover older flows from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. (Click to Enlarge)

Thick fume continues to obscure views into Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater with the naked eye.

The thermal camera has proven useful recently to see the hidden activity, which includes several small lava ponds (see thermal image from the July 29 overflight, below). Click to Enlarge

The thermal camera has proven useful recently to see the hidden activity, which includes several small lava ponds (see thermal image from the July 29 overflight, below). Click to Enlarge

A skylight reveals the fluid lava stream within the main tube on the June 27 lava flow.

The recently active perched lava pond is in the upper left portion of the photograph. (Click to Enlarge)

The recently active perched lava pond is in the upper left portion of the photograph. (Click to Enlarge)

A closer look into the skylight on the June 27 lava flow, revealing complex structure within the lava tube.

The bright incandescent area is the fluid lava stream, which was slowly but steadily flowing through the tube. (Click to enlarge)

The bright incandescent area is the fluid lava stream, which was slowly but steadily flowing through the tube. (Click to enlarge)

 

Mainland Law Firm “Fears for Their Safety in Hawaii”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brad at Capital

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker at the Capital

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

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

Puna Disaster and Recovery Assistance Centers Announced

This is a Civil Defense message.

This is a Community Assessment and Assistance information update for Tuesday August 12at 7:00PM.   

Cots were set up in various parts of the Pahoa Community Center today.

Cots were set up in various parts of the Pahoa Community Center today.

HELCO crews continue to work on restoring power in the affected areas. About 6,800 customers remain without power. Thank you for your patience and understanding with this effort. Please do not interfere with the operations of the HELCO crews.

County, National Guard, and private crews continue to clear debris from roadways. All subdivisions currently have access to highways and main roadways, however there may be debris and obstructions within the subdivision roadways. Crews report that access to Wood Valley in Pahala has been cleared. Remember that all downed power lines should be treated as energized and avoided to ensure safety.

Hawaiian Shores reports that their water system is now operational and safe to drink.

Community Assistance Centers will be open tomorrow, Wednesday from noon to 4 P.M. at Community Centers in Hawaiian Shores, Leilani Estates, and Nanawale, as well as the Kalani Retreat Center.

These centers will offer water, ice, and other supplies while they last. Bring a container for ice or water as bags or bottles may not be available. If you are able to get to a retail store to get your supplies, we encourage you to do so and leave these supplies for those who cannot get to a store.

Damage assessments are ongoing and being conducted by the County Office of Housing and Community Development and the Hawai‘i National Guard.

The Hawai‘i State Emergency Management Agency and the County of Hawai‘i will set up Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers on Hawai‘i Island to provide information and services to people whose property was damaged by the storm.

The schedule and location for the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers is:

  • Thursday August 14 and Friday August 15 from 8:00am to 8:00pm at the Pahoa Community Center
  • Saturday August 16 and Sunday August 17 from 8:00am to 8:00pm at the Mountain View Gym

For more information on the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers, contact the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency at (808)733-4300 or askcivildefense@scd.hawaii.gov

Puna Power Restoration Update From HELCO

Crews continue to make progress on restoring power to customers affected by Tropical Storm Iselle. An estimated 6,800 – or about eight percent – of customers remain without power, down from an estimated 8,100 on Monday.

Today's update from HELCO

Today’s update from HELCO

“We understand many of our customers are still dealing with a very difficult situation. We are devoting every available resource to this effort. We have made progress and are committed to restoring power as quickly as possible,” said Darren Pai, Hawaii Electric Light spokesman.

Electrical line crews from West Hawaii have been redeployed to assist with the restoration. They joined a workforce that includes crews, equipment, and vehicles from East Hawaii, Oahu and Maui. Additional contracted crews include electrical line workers, construction crews to dig holes for new utility poles, and tree trimmers to clear fallen trees.

Collectively, these resources are allowing Hawaii Electric Light to maximize its efforts on restoring power in neighborhoods that are still without power.

Today, electrical line crews expect to make progress in the following areas: Hamakua, Upper Puna, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, and Hawaiian Paradise Park. Contracted crews will also be working in Leilani Estates and Nanawale. In addition, contracted tree trimming and construction crews are working to clear fallen trees, debris, and dig utility pole holes. This work is needed to prepare the area for electrical line crews to set new poles and repair fallen power lines and other damaged equipment. Restoration progress may be impacted by access to due storm debris, fallen trees, or other conditions in the field.

Every community in the Puna district was impacted. There are pockets throughout the region where the damage is so severe that customers should be prepared for an extended outage. Although crews are making progress and restoration in many areas may be much faster, preliminary estimates indicate it could take up to three weeks to restore power to the areas with the most significant damage, and in some cases even longer. These estimates are still preliminary and actual restoration times for each location will depend on the extent of the damage.

As a safety precaution, customers should not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment. Customers are also reminded not to approach any downed power lines, as they may have electricity running through them and can be dangerous. If you see someone injured by a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for assistance.

Hawaii Electric Light continues to operate its Customer Information Center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches. An estimated 300 to 400 people visited the center when it opened on Monday. Company representatives will be on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairing the damage. Customers may bring their electronic devices and get them charged. A charging station will be available at the center. The center will remain open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. as the restoration process continues.

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

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

Senator Russell Ruderman

Senator Russell Ruderman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

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

Drone Footage of Hurricane Iselle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Name of the storm and dates of impact;

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

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

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

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

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

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

Postponed Elections to Be Held Friday at Keonepoko Elementary

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

Elections 2014

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

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

HELCO Update on Repairs in Puna After Hurricane Iselle

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

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

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

Snapped Pole

A snapped pole on Kahakai Drive in Hawaiian Beaches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Public Information Meeting on Planned Improvements at Hapuna Beach

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks will hold a community information meeting on its planned improvements at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area. The meeting will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in the dining hall in the mauka section of the park.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach

State Parks staff will describe and seek community input on proposed repair and renovation improvements of existing facilities in various park locations that include: roadway and pathway improvements, new foot showers, new rinsing shower, pavilion and barbecue facility improvements, comfort station repairs and renovations, improvements to picnic areas on the south end, stairway and pathway improvements at the Waialea section of the park, and related improvements to comply with current regulations and requirements, including the Americans with Disability Act.

“DLNR is committed to improve our facilities and management of Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, said State Parks Administrator Dan Quinn. “We are implementing these planned facility improvements and interested in community input to assess options to improve this park for residents and visitors.”

(To get to the dining hall, take Old Puako Road from Queen Kaahumanu Highway, then turn mauka, across from the makai entry to the beach and follow the road past the A-frame cabins to the dining hall at the top of the hill. There is a small parking lot for the facility and also ample open space parking in the unpaved areas of this section).

Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area is a beach park, with restrooms, picnic pavilions, picnic tables, lodging, trash cans, drinking water, and payphone. There is hiking along the Ala Kahakai coastal trail. It is located on Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Highway 19), 2.3 miles south of Kawaihae.

Lava Flow Reaches Forest Boundary – Lava Lake Activity Continues

The June 27 flow continues to advance at a brisk rate, and has reached the forest boundary over the past week.

HVO94

Click to enlarge

On Wednesday’s overflight, thick plumes of smoke from burning vegetation partially obscured the flow front.  See the “maps” link above for Wednesday’s flow field map.

A wider view of the flow front, looking east. The June 27 flow is the lighter-colored lava passing through the center of the photograph.  Click to Enlarge

A wider view of the flow front, looking east. The June 27 flow is the lighter-colored lava passing through the center of the photograph. Click to Enlarge

The usual lava lake activity continues in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater with no major changes related to the recent hurricane.

Hvo96

Click to Enlarge

Yesterday the lake surface was about 40 meters (130 ft) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, which has been typical over the past several weeks. Lake surface migration was from north to south (top of photo to bottom), and occasional gas bubbles were bursting through the crust.

Community Assistance Information for Tuesday 8/14/14

This is a Community Assistance information update for Monday, August 11 at 6 P.M.

Community Assistance Centers will be open tomorrow, Tuesday morning from noon to 4 P.M. at Community Centers in Hawaiian Shores, Leilani Estates, and Nanawale, as well as the Kalani Retreat Center.

Iselle 037

These centers will offer water, ice, and other supplies while they last. Bring a container for ice or water as bags or bottles may not be available. If you are able to get to a retail store to get your supplies, we encourage you to do so and leave these supplies for those who cannot get to a store.

The Pahoa Pool is open for showers and phone charging until midnight, and will reopen at 5:30 A.M. Tuesday. The pool itself will reopen for swimming during regular hours.

The Red Cross shelter at the Pahoa Community Center will remain open Monday night for those displaced by the storm, as well as for cell phone charging. No pets are allowed in the shelter.

Be advised that HELCO crews are working in Puna subdivisions and energizing lines as possible. AT&T reports that limited cellular service has been restored.

National Guard in Pahoa

Uniformed Hawai‘i National Guard personnel are patrolling the affected areas in official National Guard vehicles, along with Police and Community Emergency Response Teams to ensure public safety.

The following County parks are still closed due to storm damage: Hilo Trap & Skeet Range, Isaac Hale Beach Park, Ahalanui Park, and Kolekole Beach Park. All other County parks are open, but exercise caution as storm debris may still be in the area.

Registered voters assigned to the polling places that were cancelled on Saturday, August 9 – Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Center and Keonepoko Elementary School – will have the opportunity to vote on Friday, August 15 from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M. at Keonepoko Elementary School.

Mahalo for listening and have a safe day.This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

How to Help Puna Residents in Need After Hurricane Iselle

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

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

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

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

Powerlines in Hawaiian Beaches

Powerlines in Hawaiian Beaches

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

Residents will be without power for quite some time.

Residents will be without power for quite some time.

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

HELCO Update – 10% of Big Island Remains Without Electricity

Hawaii Electric Light crews continue to work on restoring power as quickly as possible to customers who lost electricity as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle. About 8,100 customers (approximately 10 percent of total Hawai‘i Island customers) remained without power, mostly in the Puna District but also in smaller pockets on the east side of the island. Power was restored to a portion of Hawaiian Paradise Park late Saturday afternoon.

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Crews have made significant progress repairing the main transmission lines that serve as the backbone of the island’s electric grid, making the overall system more stable. Now crews can focus their attention on restoring power to individual neighborhoods.

Customers who have not yet reported their outage should call 969-6666 to report it.

Customers who are still without power at this time should expect an extended outage into next week and, in some cases, much longer.

Hawaii Electric Light will continue to prioritize work that will bring service back to the largest number of customers while keeping the grid stable. This systematic approach will help ensure that power will stay on once restored. For example, on Saturday, crews restored power to major roads in Hawaiian Paradise Park. This work brought the power back on for customers on Kaloli, Beach Road, and parts of Paradise Drive. By fixing the lines that bring power into the neighborhood, crews can now focus on individual streets in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Hawaii Electric Light urges customers to remember downed power lines should be considered dangerous. Do not approach a downed line or attempt to move it. If you see someone injured by a downed line, call 9-1-1 for assistance.

Customers are asked to check that stoves and other appliances are turned off or unplugged to avoid safety hazards or damage to their appliances as power is restored.

Hawaiian Electric and Maui Electric are sending crews, vehicles and other equipment to assist with the restoration. In addition, contracted construction and tree-trimming companies are also participating. Collectively, this will nearly triple the number of crews in the field conducting damage assessment and working to restore power to customers.

All workers participating with the restoration process will be wearing badges identifying them as employees of Hawaii Electric Light, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, or an approved utility contractor. Customers should feel free to ask for proper identification if approached by someone who says they are from Hawaii Electric Light or any other organization. Utility company vehicles are clearly marked. Approved contractors have signs for their vehicles indicating they are working on behalf of the company.

Hawai‘i Electric Light’s business offices will reopen for normal business on Monday. Some services, such as new service requests, may be delayed as work crews focus on the restoration effort. Statement from Jay Ignacio, president of Hawai‘i Electric Light:

We understand the frustration of our customers who are still without power and sincerely apologize to them. We understand that customers want estimated restoration times so they can plan. Unfortunately, the extent of damage is worse than anything we’ve ever seen here. We’re working on providing more specific, reliable estimates and hope to do so by tomorrow (Monday) morning. Customers without power should expect to remain without it well into next week, if not longer. Again, we apologize and ask for their continued patience.

“Our first priority was to repair our high–voltage transmission lines. With the backbone of the island’s electric system restored, and our grid more stable, crews can start working on restoring neighborhood circuits for customers who are still without power.”

When Iselle hit Hawai‘i Island, the wind and rain caused trees to topple and fly into power lines, breaking lines and poles. We were in a very precarious situation at the end of last week. As Iselle hit our island, we started losing our transmission lines – the backbone of our electric grid – and came very close to losing the whole island. Of the 35 transmission lines on the island, we lost more than half during the storm. Both the north and south transmission lines were lost as well as the transmission lines serving Puna Geothermal Venture. 

As soon as Iselle passed, crews began working to repair the high voltage transmission lines. Some of these lines could be restored through automatic switching. 

But others, like the line that runs from Papaikou to Kalopa Mauka/Makai, have to be partially rebuilt. Some of the broken poles were on very high embankments. Crews worked around the clock to rebuild this section of the line, only to have another tree fall onto lines in another area. 

The transmission line serving Puna Geothermal Venture goes through a forested area near Nanawale Estates, and our crews cannot reach this line because of the many fallen trees. That area has at least 19 broken poles and will take a very long time to rebuild, starting with bulldozers to clear a path for trucks and crews. We were working on an alternate transmission line in an effort to get PGV back into service, but changed our focus early Sunday to restore customers as soon as we safely can. 

We thank our customers for their efforts to reduce energy use on Friday so we could meet the energy demands of the whole island.”

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

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

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

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

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

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

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

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

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

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

Important safety information for those still without power:

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

Refrigerated foods

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

Frozen foods

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

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

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

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

Damage Claims:

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

Coast Guard Reopens All Hawaii Ports – Continue to Monitor Julio

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

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

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

Hurricane Julio

Hurricane Julio

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

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

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

DLNR Opens Some Areas After Arrival Of Iselle Storm System

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announces limited openings of its state-managed park and forest lands in the wake of the Iselle storm system.

Lava Tree State Park

Some areas will remain closed as a precautionary measure for public safety until personnel can assess the areas for damage such as downed trees and make any necessary repairs. Status updates will be provided as soon as they are available.

AREAS REMAINING CLOSED:

All areas managed by the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), including forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves, forest hiking trails, and game management areas, until further notice

  • County of Hawaii – Lava Tree State Monument and MacKenzie State Recreation Area
  • City and County of Honolulu – Aiea Loop Trail
  • County of Kauai – All state parks remain closed

ALL OTHER STATE PARKS ARE OPEN

DOFAW and the Division of State Parks continue to suspend issuance of camping permits for state forest and park campgrounds.

Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) small boat harbors remain open.

The public is asked to remain cautious. Storm impacts continue to affect the islands, including flooding, high wind, wave actions, and muddy trail conditions.

Two Puna Polling Places CLOSED, Not Relocated!

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

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

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

Senator Russell Ruderman (via Facebook)