Governor Abercrombie Releases $14.3 Million for Big Island Harbors, State Highways

Continuing to invest in capital improvement projects (CIP) that further strengthen Hawaii’s economy, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $14.3 million to advance harbor improvements to two Hawaii Island harbors and various highways across the state.

“These priority investments in state infrastructure add further stimulus and jobs to the economy in order to build upon our state’s $1.1 billion turnaround,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “These CIPs will realize significant and in some cases long-awaited improvements, such as those in Hilo and Kawaihae Harbors on the Big Island. Others heighten safety, mitigate erosion, and address other needed structural enhancements along our state’s highways.”

Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by members of the state Legislature, has been approved by the Governor:


$6,000,000 – Hilo Harbor, Pier 1 Shed Modifications, Phase II, Hawaii Island – Pier improvements and modifications, including construction of a new end wall, repaving and associated utility adjustments; 40 percent of the footprint will subsequently be used for container cargo operations, which require open yard space, while the remaining 60 percent of Pier 1 will continue to serve as covered shelter for storage, administrative and passenger operations

Hilo Harbor

Hilo Harbor

$80,500 (in addition to $241,500 of federal funds) – Kawaihae Commercial Harbor, Hawaii Island – Construction for enhanced physical security measures and critical infrastructure, including security fencing; this will delineate the secured area of Kawaihae Commercial Harbor and allow recreational users greater access to the small boat harbor.


$3,055,000 (in addition to $10,200,000 in federal funds) – Farrington Highway Intersection Improvements at Nanakuli Avenue and Haleakala Avenue, Oahu – Additional design and construction for left-turn lanes in the Honolulu-bound direction at the intersections of Farrington Highway and Nanakuli Avenue as well as Farrington Highway and Haleakala Avenue; additional funds are needed due to additional design requirements resulting from environmental impact and historical preservation permitting activities

$2,200,000 – Interstate Route H-1, Pearl City Viaduct and Waimalu Viaduct Improvements, Phase I, Oahu – Additional construction to replace the deteriorated surface of the eastbound concrete deck of the Pearl City and Waimalu Viaducts; future phase(s) will include deck repair in the westbound direction (Additional funds are needed to fund major remediation work in two separate areas caused by a collapsed drainage culvert at the Waimalu Viaduct, and to install geosynthetic reinforced soil fill and concrete under the pavement in the vicinity of Radford High School to prevent erosion and reduce settlement)

$1,500,000 – Honoapiilani Highway, Shoreline Improvements for Tsunami Damage in Ukumehame, Maui – Additional construction to restore roadway shoulders along Honoapiilani Highway damaged by the March 11, 2011, tsunami including boulder revetments and the construction of retaining structures; additional funds are necessary to complete the project due to high level erosion control measures required by the EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Hawaii Department of Health Clean Water Branch

$1,500,000 – Honoapiilani Highway, Shoreline Improvements, Maui – Additional construction to restore roadway and shoulders along Honoapiilani Highway in the vicinity of Launiupoko, which have been damaged by repeated high surf and wave action; additional funds are required for a retaining structure that was redesigned to meet water quality and Army Corps of Engineers concerns

$11,000 – Farrington Highway Drainage Improvements, Oahu – Land and design for drainage improvements along Farrington Highway in the vicinity of Olohio Street to reduce flooding fronting the makai side of the highway

Farrington Hwy Nanakuli Ave Intersection

Farrington Hwy Nanakuli Ave Intersection

$4,000 (in addition to $16,000 in federal funds) – Guardrail and Shoulder Improvements at Various Locations, Kauai – Design to construct guardrail and shoulder improvements on Kuhio Highway, Route 560, at Milepost 6.25 and at Route 56 near Milepost 3.70, as part of the DOT Highways Division Guardrail and Shoulder Improvement Program; both areas have steep drop-offs that would benefit from guardrails to keep vehicles from leaving the roadway and going down the steep slopes.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Update – Kilauea Slowly Moving/Lava Lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Remains Active

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow slowly moving through forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow continues to slowly move through the forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Yesterday, the active flow front was 6.3 km (3.9 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.


Puʻu ʻŌʻō is just left of the center of the photograph in the distance, partially obscured by the smoke.

A closer view of the active flows at the forest boundary, and the numerous plumes of smoke resulting from active lava igniting ʻōhiʻa trees and other vegetation.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

This thermal image, taken from the helicopter on today’s overflight, shows the area of active pāhoehoe near the flow front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Blue and purple areas show warm but inactive areas of the flow, while the white and yellow areas are actively flowing lava. The flow surface consists of numerous scattered pāhoehoe lobes, and the advancement of the flow as a whole results from the combined, incremental movement of these individual lobes.

The black (cold) area at the top of the image is forest.  Click to Enlarge

The black (cold) area at the top of the image is forest. Click to Enlarge

Lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains active

The summit lava lake is contained within the Overlook crater, which is about 160 m (520 ft) by 210 m (690 ft) in size, and set within the larger Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

 The lava lake this week has been about 50 m (160 ft) below the rim of the Overlook crater. Click to Enlarge

The lava lake this week has been about 50 m (160 ft) below the rim of the Overlook crater. Click to Enlarge

A closer look at the summit lava lake.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Partially Clothed Man Found Assaulted and Needing Medical Assistance on Christmas Day at UH Hilo

The following assault was reported on Christmas day at UH Hilo:

UH Hilo Moniker

Report Status: Pending.

Location: Science and Tech 2nd floor stairwell.

Time Reported: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:00 PM.

Incident Occured Between: 4:02 AM and 7:30 AM on Wednesday, December 25, 2013.

Crime Details:
A partially clothed male was found unconscious and needing medical assistance on the Science and Technology 2nd floor main stairwell.

Department of Health Restricts the Use of Electronic Smoking Devices on DOH Properties

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a directive containing a policy to restrict the use of unregulated electronic smoking devices on DOH properties.  The directive is the first of its kind among Hawaii state departments.


Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the use of electronic smoking devices on all DOH properties, as well as premises occupied by DOH, is prohibited any place where smoking of tobacco products is not allowed by law. The policy applies to all DOH employees, visitors, volunteer, students, contract workers, delivery personnel, Department of Accounting and General Services workers, and all others who enter the work setting or environment which includes DOH and those premises occupied by DOH.

The unrestricted use of electronic smoking devices (such as electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes”) is potentially hazardous to health. “Using electronic smoking devices threatens our smoke-free laws designed to protect the public from the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine,” said Lola Irvin, DOH Tobacco Settlement programs manager. “While electronic smoking devices are touted for being smoke-free, they have not been proven to be safe. These devices release nicotine and other chemicals and carcinogens into the environment, leaving those around them exposed to the potentially harmful vapor just like second-hand smoke.  Electronic smoking devices also confuse the public who expect a smoke-free environment and erode the strong belief in our Hawaii Smoke-Free Workplace and Public Places Law.”

Electronic smoking devices are used by inhaling vaporized liquid nicotine created by heat through an electronic ignition system. This simulates cigarette smoking, thereby reversing the progress that has been made in establishing a social norm that smoking is not permitted in public places and places of employment.

The electronic smoking device policy was one of the last policies signed by the late Director of Health Loretta J. Fuddy, who passed away last Wednesday after the plane she was on was forced to make a water landing after taking off from Kalaupapa, Molokai. “Director Fuddy believed that as the Department of Health, it is our responsibility to set the standard for health for the people of Hawaii,” said Irvin. “Today, we are taking a stand to protect our workers and our public.  We hope to inspire others to take a similar position and join us in carrying out her legacy.”


Hawaii Attorney Issues Formal Opinion Confirming the Practice that Hawaii’s Presidential General Election Ballots include the Names of Candidates’ Affiliated Groups or Parties Regardless of whether those Groups or Parties are Recognized as Political Parties Under Hawaii Law

Attorney General David M. Louie issues Formal Opinion Confirming the Practice that Hawaii’s Presidential General Election Ballots include the Names of Candidates’ Affiliated Groups or Parties Regardless of whether those Groups or Parties are Recognized as Political Parties Under Hawaii Law

Attorney General David M. Louie has issued Formal Opinion No. 13-2 (Op. No. 13-2), in which he has confirmed that, pursuant to section 11-113, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), Hawaii’s presidential general election ballots should include the name of candidates’ affiliated groups or parties irrespective of whether those groups or parties have been qualified as political parties under Hawaii law.

On July 18, 2012, the Justice Party and Kristine Kubat filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii against State of Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott T. Nago, claiming that Hawaii law unconstitutionally burdened the Justice Party’s access to the presidential ballot.  See The Justice Party, et al. v. Nago, Civil No. 12-00403 JMS-BMK. An issue at the trial was whether the name of an unqualified group or party with whom the candidate is affiliated can be on the general election ballot.

Chief Election Officer Nago testified at trial that the presidential candidates and their affiliated parties and groups are named on the general election ballot regardless of whether those parties and groups are qualified as political parties under Hawaii law.  Based on the evidence presented at trial, the parties agreed to postpone the trial pending the issuance of a formal legal opinion from the Attorney General determining whether the Office of Elections’ long-standing practice of including the name of an unqualified group or party with the candidate’s name was in compliance with the law. The Attorney General determined that it was.

Attorney General Louie stated, “unlike candidates running for state and congressional offices who are determined through the primary election system, the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates are determined by their respective political parties through the caucus system. Through its election laws, Hawaii has long-recognized that presidential elections must be treated differently than all other Hawaii state elections.”

Third Annual New Year’s Sunrise Hike And Oli At Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline – Makapuu Lighthouse Trail

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) invites the public to attend the third annual New Year’s Day hike on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, along the scenic Makapuu lighthouse trail at the Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline, located in East Oahu.

Photo by Kelvin Lu with view of the 2012 sunrise from Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline

Photo by Kelvin Lu with view of the 2012 sunrise from Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline

The Makapuu lighthouse trail is the 1909 paved lighthouse management road that leads to the summit of Makapuu and is also very popular for pubic recreational walking access to the summit. On this day only, Division of State Parks staff will open the gate along Kalanianaole highway for vehicle parking in the trail parking lot at 5:30 a.m. (parking is first-come, first-served).

Last year the parking lot was full by 5:45 a.m., with the balance of cars parking along the highway. Approximately 600 people attended last year’s event and enjoyed a beautiful but somewhat cloudy sunrise over the ocean and neighbor islands. Whales may also be seen in the water below during this time of the year.

Curt Cottrell, assistant State Parks administrator, will once again go to bed early on New Year’s Eve in order to be able to be awake in time to open the gate early for parking and then be at the top to participate in the sunrise event. Everyone is invited to gather at the trail’s end and along the makai side on Makapuu ridge to watch the sun rise at 7:09 a.m. Civil twilight (when the geometric center of the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon – also known as civil dawn – ending at sunrise) starts at about 6:45 a.m., so flashlights are recommended.

Minutes before the sun comes up over the horizon between sea and sky, and as in previous years, a chanter will offer a traditional Hawaiian oli at the summit to greet the first sunrise of the 2014.

A highlight of the arriving dawn last year was a performance by the Taiko Center drummers, who have graciously consented to welcome the new year at Ka Iwi again.

The morning hike is just one of about 550 “First Day” hikes being observed in all U.S. states, an initiative of the America’s State Parks organization to promote healthy lifestyles and encourage year-round recreation at state parks. For more information, go to

Due to the lack of comfort stations at this location, Division of State Parks is providing a modest amount of portable toilets just for the event. The 1.5-mile round trip on the paved access road is considered of moderate difficulty only due to steepness, and is well suited for children of any age (strollers are welcome). Pets must remain on leash at all times and any droppings removed by owner and properly disposed of. Suggested items to bring include: windbreakers, supportive shoes, water and warm beverages, and cameras! Please pack out all of your rubbish.

For more information about the “First Day” Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline – Makapuu Lighthouse Trail hike, call the Division of State Parks at (808) 587-0300.