Commentary – Palamanui Developers Asking for Concessions From County

The developer of the Palamanui project, which is home to the future Hawaii Community College at Palamanui, is again asking for concessions from Hawaii County.

The ground breaking of Palamanui Campus

The ground breaking of Palamanui Campus

This time they’re asking for a time extension to construct the University Drive Extension between the college campus and Queen Kaahumanu Highway . In addition, they’re asking for relief from constructing a new mauka-makai roadway between the college and Mamalahoa Highway.

The developer(s) of this project have spent over 20 million dollars on infrastructure improvements for their project and the new college campus. I firmly believe they’ve gone above and beyond with their investment back into the community. This is why I believe the county, the developer and the community need to work together to find a mutually agreeable solution to this issue. It would be a real loss for the community if Palamanui’s hand is forced and they have to suspend their project. Everyone would lose in this in scenario.

Palamanui has offered to contribute 3 million dollars to start work on the next segment of the Ane Keohokalole Highway in lieu of construction of the new mauka-makai connector. The county could expedite the design and obtain the environmental clearances for this highway segment as a result.

I firmly believe extending Ane Keohokalole Highway will help with regional traffic circulation more than extending University Drive between the Mamalahoa Highway and the college campus.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Man Sentenced to Prison for Threatening Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

A New York man was sentenced on Monday to 33 months in prison for threatening Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, federal prosecutors said.

Aniruddha Sherbow

Aniruddha Sherbow

Aniruddha Sherbow, 44, whose last known address was in Poughkeepsie, New York, was sentenced in U.S. District Court. He pleaded no contest in February to two charges of transmitting threats, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement…

…Sherbow had been harassing Gabbard, a Democrat, since about February 2011, including making threats via email and telephone, prosecutors said. He was charged with two threats made in August 2013, one of them a voicemail message in which he threatened to kill her.

Full story here: New Yorker gets 33 months for threatening Hawaii congresswoman

New Fee Added to Electric Bills to Support Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) Program

A new line on electric bills starting this month will finance the State of Hawaii Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program. However, a corresponding reduction of the monthly Public Benefits Fund surcharge, collected to pay for the State’s conservation and energy efficiency programs, means most customers will likely see little net change on their electric bills. For a typical residential customer using 600 kWh a month, the green infrastructure fee will be $1.29 per month.

GEMS Office

The new line item, titled “Green Infrastructure Fee,” will appear under the listing of “Current Charges: Electric Service” beginning with December 2014 monthly bills of all Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light customers.

As required by law and authorized by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, all residential and commercial customers will pay the Green Infrastructure Fee. The new fee will enable the State of Hawaii to borrow $150 million for its GEMS program. The State Department of Business, Economic Development will initially administer GEMS. The program will make low-cost loans so green infrastructure improvements are more affordable and accessible for customers who cannot afford upfront costs or cannot qualify for other financing.

The GEMS program will initially focus on clean energy investments so customers can take advantage of green initiatives such as photovoltaic systems, energy storage, advanced inverters and energy monitoring devices.

To learn more, visit the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Energy Office website (http://energy.hawaii.gov/testbeds-initiatives/gems) or call 808.586.2407.

County Inviting Public to Two Holiday Events

The County of Hawai‘i invites the public to two special holiday events this year – the fourth annual Magic Of The Season open house at the Hawai‘i County Building in Hilo, and the inaugural A Holiday Family Affair at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center in Kona.

Hilo’s Magic Of The Season will run weeknights December 8 – 19 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at the Hawai‘i County Building.

magic of the season 2014

County volunteers will decorate dozens of trees and offer holiday cheer so families may enjoy a safe, community-oriented event. Members of the public may view the exciting decorations weekdays starting at 8 a.m. Live entertainment and holiday activities will be available weeknights between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Kuana Torres Kahele, Lehua Kalima, Henry Kapono, Cyril Pahinui, Darlene Ahuna, and Mark Yamanaka will be among the Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning performers joining local favorites, hula groups, and the Hawai‘i County Band to entertain audiences.

Kona’s inaugural event, A Holiday Family Affair, will take place on Friday, December 12 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the West Hawai‘i Civic Center.

holiday family affair

The program will consist of a pule by Kumu Keala Ching and performances by Ka Pā Hula Nā Wai Iwi Ola and the Kealakehe Intermediate School Chorus & ‘Ukulele Ensemble. Bring a towel or mat for seating on the courtyard lawn.

At both events, non-perishable food items will be accepted for the Hawai‘i Island Food Basket. Please kōkua. For more details on either event, please contact the Office of Mayor Billy Kenoi in Hilo at 961-8211 or Kona at 323-4444.

Hawaii Wildlife Fund Ends its 2014 Marine Debris Season

On Friday, the Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF) ended its 2014 marine debris season loading net and line into a container for shipment to Honolulu. The HWF team loaded about 4.5 tons of net into a 40’ trailer provided by Matson Navigation’s “Ka Ipu ‘Āina” program.

L to R (with affiliations): Megan Lamson/HWF, Nohealani Ka'awa/DLNR-DOFAW, Stacey Breining/HWF, Ryan Levita/HWF, and Kallie Barnes/HWF.

L to R (with affiliations): Megan Lamson/HWF, Nohealani Ka’awa/DLNR-DOFAW, Stacey Breining/HWF, Ryan Levita/HWF, and Kallie Barnes/HWF.

Megan Lamson, Marine Debris Project Coordinator for HWF, said “Most of the net and line was recovered from the southeast Kaʻū coast.” The container will be shipped to Oʻahu, where Schnitzer Steel will chop it into pieces and then it will be burned at the Covanta H-Power plant. This Nets-to-Energy partnership was arranged by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program to keep the material out of the landfill and create electricity with it. Since 2005, HWF’s tally for these net and line shipments is about 75 tons.

Ryan Levita and Stacey Breining (with HWF) hard at work during the net loading with the JD Services, LLC. skidsteer and operator in the backdrop.

Ryan Levita and Stacey Breining (with HWF) hard at work during the net loading with the JD Services, LLC. skidsteer and operator in the backdrop.

Lamson said, “This container shipment is only a fraction of the total debris we’ve collected from the Hawaiʻi Island shoreline. This year, winds and currents brought in different proportions of marine debris — less net and line, and a higher percentage of other floating debris, including fish traps, buoys, crates, tires, boat pieces, and an extensive list of normal household items.” While HWF works with other groups on the island gathering debris from multiple sites, their main focus is on the Kaʻū coast where more debris washes ashore than any other place in the main Hawaiian Islands. The organization began this work in 2003 and in recent years has been removing an annual average of 15-20 tons for a total to date of about 173 tons. The HWF marine debris cleanup work is supported with a grant from NOAA.   But, Lamson said “We have other local partners that also help with in-kind donations and funding and we have a large group of volunteers that are critical to the overall effort. The container loading, for example, would not be possible without the tractor assistance provided by JD Services, LLC.”

She said “We organize community cleanups about every other month and dozens of volunteers show up to these events. Our volunteers are an enthusiastic mix of regulars and first-time collectors and are great fun to work with; we recognize them as our most effect tool in our marine debris removal efforts.” The next large cleanup event in Kaʻū will be held on Saturday, February 7th. To volunteer or for more information on HWF’s other activities see wildhawaii.org or contact kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com or (808) 769-7629.

2014 Pahoa Holiday Parade Judging Results

Here are the results of the 2014 Pahoa Holiday Parade:

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Best Student ages K-6th grade:

1st place 2nd Place

Malamalama Waldorf School Hiccup Circus

Best Student ages 7-12th Grade:

Puna Panthers Hawaii Youth Challenge

Best Kupuna:

Ukulele Group Hawaii Horse Association

Best True To Theme:

Pahoa High & Inter Green Club Puna Canoe Club

Best Club:

Merahi Tahitian Productions

Best Community Spirit:

USO with MJ/Pahoa Propane

The 2014 Pahoa Holiday Parade

Pahoa residents have gone through a lot during the last few months with Tropical Storm Iselle devastating much of the area and now a lava flow threatening the town.

Residents came out in full force today support the annual holiday parade knowing that this could be one the last one for the town if the lava does cover the town.

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Lava Tree State Park to Reopen Monday

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will reopen portions of Lava Tree State Monument on a limited basis beginning Monday December 8, 2014. The public will be able to visit most of the viewable lava tree molds, the main pavilion and the informational kiosk. The parking lot, comfort station and front portion of the loop trail will also be available for public use.

Lava Tree State Park

The park has been closed due to numerous albizia trees blown down during Tropical Storm Ana in August this year, which park crews have been working to address.

Lava Tree State Park

The back portion of the park will remain closed until further notice. “We ask that the public respect the closed areas as dangerous conditions may be encountered in those areas,” said Dean Takebayashi, Hawaii district parks superintendent.

Cost of repairs and clean up in the park so far has been $88,045. Local tour companies will be notified about the opening.

Department of Health Operating Air Monitoring Stations in Response to Lava Flow Activities

The State of Hawaii Department of Health is currently operating three (3) air monitoring stations in the Pahoa and Leilani estates area in response to the current and ongoing eruption and lava flow activities.  These monitors detect the presence of air borne particles that may result from the burning materials (vegetation , grass, brush, and other materials).

air quality guide

The data and information being collected by these monitors can be viewed at the following web site:  http://emdweb.doh.hawaii.gov/air-quality/ , click on “Quick Look” then go to “Puna Special Sites”.

 

Eruption and Lava Flow Update

This is an eruption and lava flow update for Friday December 5th at 8:00 AM.

This morning’s assessment shows that the flow front continues to show signs of advancement however has slowed. The active flow front remains approximately 2.4 miles upslope of the Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road intersection. The flow had advanced approximately 145 yards since yesterday.
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Current activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities and Civil Defense and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory personnel are maintaining close observations of flow activity. Residents down slope will be kept informed of any changes in flow activity, advancement, and status.

Smoke conditions were moderate this morning in the immediate area with a light north wind blowing the smoke in a south southeast direction. Smoke conditions may increase in some areas and residents that may be sensitive or have respiratory problems are advised to take precautions and to remain indoors.

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The Pahoa Village Road remains open to all traffic and motorists are advised to exercise caution as some utility pole protection material remains in place. Everyone is asked to please respect the residents of the area who were affected by the lava flow and to not trespass on private property.

Once again we would like to thank everyone for your patience and understanding and your cooperation and assistance is greatly appreciated.

Public Invited to Live Webcast of Pearl Harbor Anniversary Commemoration

The public is welcome to join World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument this December 7th, as they bring Pearl Harbor to the public via a live webcast of the 73rd anniversary commemoration.

USS Ronald Reagan

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Aug. 31, 2011) Sailors and Marines render honors as the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) passes the USS Arizona Memorial while entering Pearl Harbor for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin B. Gray

For those who can’t attend the ceremony, registration is being accepted to view the live webcast. It’s the second consecutive year live-streaming broadcasting technology has been used for the ceremony.

This FREE live-stream broadcast will begin at 7:30 am HST and feature a 20 minute behind the scenes interviews with USS Arizona Survivors, Pearl Harbor Survivors and Civilian Witness as well as a simultaneous  interactive chat with Park Staff continuing for the duration of the Commemoration.

User Registration Link: : http://bit.ly/Dec7Broadcast

#2014PearlHarborDay

THINK Fund at HCF – Grant Opportunities Available for Big Island

The newly formed THINK (The Hawai‘i Island New Knowledge) Fund at Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) was started by the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International Observatory to better prepare Hawai‘i Island students to pursue STEM-(science, technology, engineering, and math) related professions through community grants and scholarships.

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT has committed a minimum contribution of $750,000 per year to THINK Fund at HCF. This commitment is for the life of the Mauna Kea sublease with the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo.

“HCF is thankful to TMT for providing this opportunity for the community and to the dedicated volunteer advisory committee members who have worked hard to determine the best way for the fund to benefit Hawai‘i Island,” stated Kelvin Taketa, president & CEO of Hawai‘i Community Foundation. “By improving STEM education and increasing the number of students going into STEM careers, it will make a difference for our local economy and build the confidence of our youth that there is a bright future for creative and hardworking students.”

THINK Fund at HCF’s focus is to support and encourage Hawai‘i Island students to pursue STEM-related professions. These are lucrative and growing career fields where by 2017, the STEM-related jobs across all industries in Hawai‘i are estimated to increase to 63,000, which means the state needs approximately 16,500 more workers with STEM skills annually. However, Hawai‘i is not currently producing enough graduates in STEM fields locally to fill jobs.

The initial strategic goals for THINK Fund at HCF are to:

  • Increase the number of Hawai‘i Island students who are inspired to pursue postsecondary STEM fields of study
  • Increase the number of Hawai‘i Island students who complete STEM degree and training programs
  • Increase the number of effective STEM teachers on Hawai‘i Island
  • Increase the number of effective STEM programs on Hawai‘i Island that also promote cultural competency or place-based learning

HCF staff based on Hawai‘i Island will implement the strategy and grantmaking of THINK Fund at HCF, which is guided by an advisory committee of Hawai‘i Island residents. The advisory committee currently includes Laurie Ainslie, Roberta Chu, Mary Correa, Kaeo Duarte, Hiapo Perreira, Doug Simons, and Barry Taniguchi.

“As a lifelong educator, I am known to say ‘If can, can. If no can, how can?’ THINK Fund at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation provides our Hawai‘i Island students and educators with a wonderful ‘how can’ opportunity to reach to the stars, literally,” said Mary Correa, advisory committee member for THINK Fund at HCF and Complex Area Superintendent for Kau-Keaau-Pāhoa. “Through this support, our young people will have the opportunity to be inspired, be prepared to participate in the world-class discovery that occurs on our own island, and allows us to keep more of our homegrown talent on island to raise their families and contribute to the community.”

THINK Fund at HCF will support important steps for students along the “cradle-to-career” STEM education pathway. For more information on any of the grant or scholarship opportunities and to apply, visit www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/THINKFund. Grantmaking from the fund will focus in three areas:

  • Learning Grants to nonprofit organizations or schools – Grants are available for nonprofits or schools to provide in-school, intersession or afterschool STEM learning experiences for K-12 students that integrate Hawai‘i’s cultural context or promote place-based learning opportunities. Grants can also provide training or professional development for teachers to increase content knowledge and pedagogy in STEM subjects. The online THINK Fund application opened on December 1, 2014 and the deadline to apply is January 30, 2015.
  • Educator Grants for teachers – Grants are available to support Hawai‘i Island public and charter school teachers of grades 6 through 12 who have projects that encourage STEM learning. Teachers who submit proposals to DonorsChoose.org and are eligible to receive support for classroom materials, supplies, guest speaker expenses, or on-island field trips for their students. THINK Fund at HCF will provide grants for all but $100 for qualified projects that are less than $2,500. The application opened on November 24, and in just one week, the program funded nine projects at five Hawai‘i Island schools with over $11,187, that will impact over 1,100 students. A completed list of projects can be found at http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/matching.html?id=20516351&historical=true
  • College Scholarships for students – Hawai‘i Island students interested in pursuing a STEM career with the intention of working or teaching on the island are encouraged to apply. The online application for scholarships opened on December 1, 2014, and closes on February 19, 2015. By completing the application, students will be matched to multiple scholarship opportunities. THINK Fund at HCF will award scholarships in two areas:
  • Undergraduates or graduate level degrees, certificates or other professional development coursework to become a STEM educator on Hawai‘i Island.  Current educators or students working to towards a teaching degree that want to teach STEM subjects or professionals in a STEM-related field that would like to teach are encouraged to apply.
  • Degrees or certificates in STEM-related fields being completed by students from Hawai‘i Island. There is a wide range of STEM-related studies students can pursue that will qualify for these scholarships.

“We very excited and gratified that THINK Fund at HCF has been launched,” said Sandra Dawson, TMT Manager Hawai’i Community Affairs. “It is the beginning of our many-year commitment to STEM education on Hawaii Island, and is also the culmination of years of work by a hard-working and dedicated group of local citizens who provided the philosophy and goals of THINK Fund. We are also very happy to be in partnership with HCF and the very impressive, multi-talented advisory committee who is guiding this effort.”

Initially established by TMT, THINK Fund at HCF is designed to encourage and attract other funders who align with the mission and goal to improve STEM education and strengthen Hawai‘i Island’s workforce. The vision of this collaborative approach is to bring together the island community with funders in a partnership that strives to help Hawai‘i Island students in the long term. THINK Fund is one of several funds, initiatives, partnerships, and programs at HCF dedicated to supporting students and the STEM fields in Hawai‘i.

Saturday – Pāhoa Holiday Parade and Ho’olau’lea

The Pāhoa Holiday Parade and Ho’olau’lea is this Saturday, December 6 on Pāhoa Village Road starting at Pāhoa High School at 9:30am and continuing to Post Office Road. Our theme is “Pāhoa, Center of the Punaverse”.

This year’s Grand Marshall is Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Santa at the 2013 Parade

Santa at the 2013 Parade

Road closure for the parade route will occur at 9am so people are encouraged to get their cars parked before the closure if they want to be in the heart of the action. The County will open the parking lots at the Neighborhood Facility and the Swimming Pool at 7am. There is no street parking available along the parade route.

Senator Joy Buenaventura at the 2013 Parade.

House Rep. Joy SanBuenaventura at the 2013 Parade.

Immediately following the parade, there will be a Ho’olau’lea in the heart of Pāhoa with a vendor fair, FREE Santa photos for all keiki, entertainment, the Sacred Heart Holiday Fair and merchant specials.

 

MainStreet Pāhoa Association is committed to helping our communities enhance the economic vitality and quality of life of Pāhoa and Lower Puna. We are actively involved with the Mayor’s Office, Civil Defense, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the County Council and our state legislators as well as the Visitor’s Bureau.
Come out and join us in celebration of Pāhoa, Center of the Punaverse.

Second Supplementary Proclamation Pertaining to State of Emergency in Puna Issued Today

A second supplementary proclamation pertaining to the declared state of emergency in Puna was issued today by Mayor Billy Kenoi. A PDF of the signed proclamation is available here.

Click to read

Click to read

SECOND SUPPLEMENTARY PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature, provides for the establishment of County organizations for emergency management and disaster relief with the Mayor having direct responsibility and authority over emergency management within the County; and

WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature and Chapter 7, Articles 1 and 2 of the Hawai‘i County Code, establishes a Civil Defense Agency within the County of Hawai‘i and prescribes its powers, duties, and responsibilities, and Section 13‑23 of the Hawai‘i County Charter empowers the Mayor of the County to declare emergencies; and

WHEREAS, the County of Hawai‘i on September 4, 2014, and the State of Hawai‘i on September 5, 2014, issued Proclamations declaring states of emergency due to the threat of disaster due to the June 27th lava flow in the District of Puna, County and State of Hawai‘i; and

WHEREAS, the County of Hawai‘i on October 16, 2014, issued a Supplementary Proclamation, and the State of Hawai‘i on September 22, 2014, and October 17, 2014, issued a Supplementary Proclamation and Second Supplementary Proclamation further declaring states of emergency due to the threat of disaster due to the June 27th lava flow in the District of Puna, County and State of Hawai‘i; and

WHEREAS, the United States Geological Survey – Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on December 3, 2014, reported that the eruptive phase of the June 27th flow is continuing and show no signs of halting and that new breakouts occurring upslope of Pahoa Village have converged to create a new organized lava front; and

WHEREAS, this new upslope front has been proceeding at a rate of several hundred yards per day and is presently located 2.5 miles from State Highway 130; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM P. KENOI, Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i,

do hereby proclaim and declare that a state of emergency continues to exist due to the threat of imminent disaster on the Hawai‘i Island, District of Puna, effective December 3, 2014, and that the Proclamation of September 4, 2014, and Supplementary Proclamation of October 16, 2014, shall remain in full force and effect and are hereby included in the provisions of this Second Supplementary Proclamation and shall continue thereon for 60 days or until further act by this office.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the County of Hawai‘i to be affixed. Done this 3rd day of December, 2014, in Hilo, Hawai‘i.

WIILIAM P. KENOI
Mayor
County of Hawai‘i

Public, Private Agencies Convene to Discuss Lava, Emergency Housing

More than 45 of Hawaii Island’s top officials in government, business, construction, academia and the non-profit sector gathered last week in Hilo to discuss the Puna lava situation and its effects on the island’s housing market.
Lava Housing

The emergency housing forum, hosted by HOPE Services Hawaii, Hawaii Island Realtors, the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) and Day Lum Rentals & Management, included roundtable discussions that focused on short- and long-term housing planning, legislative policy and expanding community resources.

The November 24 forum was intended as the beginning of a larger conversation focused on building more affordable housing on Hawaii Island. An action plan that outlines next steps and leverages private and public partnerships is being created by the forum’s hosts and expected to be complete by first quarter 2015. The plan will identify short and long-term solutions, which will help inform possible legislative policies and provide the basis for maximizing community resources.

During the forum, agency heads discussed what organizations are experiencing as a result of the lava breakout, which started in late June and has travelled 13.5 miles since. Some presented ideas to alleviate the demand for housing outside of Puna, noting, however, that today’s quick fixes should complement the island’s long-term housing and development plans.

“No one is pretending to have all the answers,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “There’s no lava flow manual, so many policy decisions are being made with the best information available. What we’re facing as a community is significant, but the challenges are not insurmountable. The County has been and will continue to be all hands on deck, ready to collaborate, and to share information as it becomes available to lessen anxiety and uncertainty.”

Brandee Menino, chief executive officer for HOPE Services Hawaii, said that while HOPE primarily helps homeless and at-risk individuals and families transition off the streets and obtain stable housing, her office has been getting calls from families displaced by Tropical Storm Iselle and potentially isolated by the lava. She noted that even before this year’s natural disasters, the need for rental units had been identified.

“A 2011 Housing Planning Study prepared for the Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation revealed that Hawaii County would need 1,753 rental units by 2016 in order to meet the growing demand for housing,” said Menino. “This report was done in 2011, when lava was not a concern, so we must make a concerted effort to prioritize creating more affordable housing opportunities for Hawaii’s families.”

Paul Normann, executive director of the Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP), a resource for distressed families, said Puna has the highest rate of child abuse and neglect in the State. “Because of the disruption caused by Iselle and the active lava flow, NPP has seen a dramatic increase in the number of families seeking assistance. In the first four months of the current fiscal year, July through October, NPP has already served 106 families. To put that in context, over the course of the entire 12 months of the previous fiscal year, NPP served a total of 130 families.

Nancy Cabral of Day-Lum said that some families wanted to get ahead of the lava and moved from the area. But Cabral is concerned with who haven’t. “There are a lot of residents who have not been preparing for what’s coming. It seems they are waiting for government to step in and rescue them, so we really need to take steps to ready the housing market.”

Cabral offered solutions to stave off a potential housing crisis including working with hotels to temporarily rent out rooms, helping families uproot and move homes to vacant lots and lobbying the State to relinquish control to the County of affordable units such as Lanakila Housing, which can move faster to make the units available to those looking to relocate from Puna.

Mark Kimura, an economic geography researcher at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, who conducted an informal survey of Puna residents, said almost half reported they had no one to rely on or place to go if they needed to move. 14 percent said they have already left the area or are preparing to leave and 25 percent said they could move-in with family or friends on-island. He said many don’t want to give up their homes because they are still paying a mortgage, have farms, can’t afford to move and have difficulty finding places that are pet-friendly or retrofitted for people with disabilities.

Amanda Donaldson, President of NARPM’s East Hawaii chapter, which is made up of about 20 local residential property managers, said members get nearly a dozen additional calls a day from families looking for housing outside the lava zone. She said NARPM agents are willing to add addendums that allow individuals in the lava impact zone to break their lease once lava hits.

Kehau Costa of Hawaii Island Realtors championed a “one-stop-shop” rentals website where interested renters can view available units on the island, which would speed up house hunting. Costa also suggested a “new landlord resource fair” because of the increasing number of individuals asking how they can convert part of or their entire home into a rental.

Additional ideas that came out of the forum include exploring commuter housing, house sharing, prepping lands for modular housing, fast tracking County building permit processes as well as County take over, repair and rental of foreclosure homes.

Any individuals or organizations interested in taking part in future discussions may contact Brandee Menino at bmenino@hopeserviceshawaii.org or (808) 933-6013.

DLNR Conducts Undercover Operation – Arrests Two Guides for Leading Illegal Lava Viewing Tours

Two guides who were involved in leading tours into the state Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve and Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve were arrested by Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers on Monday..  The charges were for prohibited entry into closed areas and for engaging in illegal commercial activities on DLNR-managed lands.

Matthew Hoeflinger

Matthew Hoeflinger

DOCARE officers conducted an undercover operation which resulted in the arrest of Matthew Hoeflinger, 50, of Keaau, and Christa Nicholas, 23, of Mountain View. Hoeflinger and Nicholas were charged with the following:

Reckless endangering in the 2nd degree;  conducting illegal commercial activities within a forest reserve; entering a closed area within a natural area reserve; and conducting illegal commercial activities within a natural area reserve, all of which are misdemeanor offenses. They are also being charged with trespassing in the 2nd degree; entering a closed area in a forest reserve, which area petty misdemeanor offenses. 

Hoeflinger and Nicholas were transported to the Pahoa Police Station for booking and were subsequently released on their own recognizance.

Entry into closed lands is a violation of Hawaii Administrative Rule Sec. 13-221-4 and Hawaii Revised Statute 171-6, and is subject of penalty up to $5,000 for the first offense.

“DLNR intends to prosecute any trespassers who willfully violate the closures and place enforcement officers and emergency personnel at increased risk,” said William J. Aila,Jr., DLNR chairperson.

Signs have been posted at various access points warning the public of the hazardous conditions.

Satellite Image Shows Lava Activity in Downslope Portion of Flow

This image was acquired yesterday (December 1, 2014) by the WorldView 2 satellite, and shows the activity in the downslope portion of the June 27th lava flow.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The portion of the June 27th lava flow that entered Pāhoa in October is inactive, but a new lobe is advancing downslope a short distance west of the earlier flow. The leading tip of the new lobe is evident by its long smoke plume, caused by vegetation burning. A Civil Defense overflight this morning (December 2, 2014) showed that this active tip continues to move towards the northeast.

Hawaii Lawmaker Calls In National Baby Safe Haven Cavalry

Vice Speaker John Mizuno (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, Lower Kalihi) announced today that he has contacted the Baby Safe Haven Friend to Friend national awareness campaign to promote the State’s Baby Safe Haven Law.

baby safe

Vice Speaker Mizuno has reached out and secured the assistance of the Baby Safe Haven Friend to Friend national awareness campaign, based in Boston, Massachusetts, for support of  a major youth driven, technologically enhanced campaign to inform half a million people in Hawaii of the State’s Baby Safe Haven Law.

According to Mizuno, “I contacted Jean and Mike Morrisey, the Directors of the Baby Safe Haven national campaign. We have an excellent relationship and they helped us pass our Baby Safe Haven law back in 2007. In the wake of a newborn baby found dead in a Waikiki hotel, could we have saved the life of that innocent newborn and kept the Mom from prosecution?”

The Baby Safe Haven Friend to Friend campaign concurred with Vice Speaker Mizuno on an ambitious, coordinated campaign lead by their over a dozen professional young spokespeople is what it will take to get our message to radio stations of all genres, news stations, and newspapers from high school publications to the major daily press.  With heightened awareness of the Hawaii Baby Safe Haven Law the message will carry over to the tourism sector, as well military families and incoming students. “Our goal is to inform a half a million people in the State of Hawaii, within weeks, of the Baby Safe Haven Law” said Mizuno. “We don’t want to have another baby abandoned again.”

In 2007, Rep. Mizuno’s first year in office, he introduced HB1830 (passed into law as Act 7), to save the lives of newborn babies from abandonment and ultimately death. Act 7 provides immunity from prosecution for leaving an unharmed newborn baby at certain baby safe havens, such as a hospital, fire station, police station, or with emergency medical services personnel (EMS), within 72 hours of birth.  The measure also provides immunity from liability for personnel at the safe havens receiving a newborn baby.

Vice Speaker John Mizuno has received the personal video messages of several of the nation’s top Baby Safe Haven spokespeople/advocates who have made hundreds of media appearances in several regions across the country. The following are links to videos by Viennie V and Despina Drougas in response to the recent tragedy at a Waikiki hotel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEhIupI9sVg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LZiZZ0IYyU

Mizuno provided the following statement, “Government has a responsibility to ensure the safety of every single citizen and person in Hawaii and it is absolutely crucial for our government to do everything in its power to save and preserve their lives.  This law is targeted at saving our newborn babies, the most vulnerable and innocent among us.” Mizuno added “Abandoned babies are a worldwide issue, and I am grateful for all the support we received in Hawaii from baby safe haven advocates from across the country. I am especially grateful for the Baby Safe Haven Friend to Friend national awareness campaign’s assistance, as well as his youthful and talented team of spokespersons who have been so willing to donate their time and talent to save the lives of newborn babies, and help their peers to make proper decisions in a time of crisis.”

Information Sought in Hurricane Burglary

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in providing information about a burglary at the Hawaiian Shores Community Association’s warehouse in August.

Civildefense
On August 22, unknown persons removed a yellow Durostar Generator model DS4000S and a Stihl 14-inch chainsaw. The generator belonged to the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency and was on loan during the Hurricane Iselle emergency.

Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the burglary or who has information about any suspects to call the Police Department’s non-emergency number at 935-3311 or Officer Daniel Murray at 965-2716.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Lava Flow Advances Another 400 Yards Since Yesterday

This is an eruption and lava flow update for Tuesday December 2nd at 8:45AM.

This morning’s helicopter assessment shows that the new flow front continues to show signs of advancement and widening.   The active flow front is located approximately 2.7 miles upslope of the Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road intersection.

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The flow had advanced approximately 400 yards since yesterday.  Current activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities and Civil Defense and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory personnel are maintaining close observations of flow activity. Residents down slope will be kept informed of any changes in flow activity, advancement, and status.

Smoke conditions were light this morning in the immediate area with all smoke from burning vegetation being blown in a southeast direction.  Smoke conditions may increase in some areas and residents that may be sensitive or have respiratory problems are advised to take precautions and to remain indoors.

The Pahoa Village Road remains open to all traffic and motorists are advised to exercise caution as some utility pole protection material remains in place.  Everyone is asked to please respect the residents of the area who were affected by the lava flow and to not trespass on private property.

Once again we would like to thank everyone for your patience and understanding and your cooperation and assistance is greatly appreciated.