Komohana St. Reconstruction Project Update

Reconstruction work will continue this week at the Komohana Street and Waiānuenue Avenue intersection between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weather and construction conditions permitting.  No work will occur on the upcoming New Year’s holiday weekend.

The intersection will remain open and the contractor will work on one approach at a time with Special off-duty police officers directing motorists around work area.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes.

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

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Yamada and Sons, Inc. at (808) 933-8434 or Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Holiday Visitation Surges at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Park visitation surges during the holiday travel season and this week is no exception with parking lots at popular destinations like Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Jaggar Museum and Kīlauea Visitor Center at capacity.

NPS Photo

And, with Kīlauea erupting from two locations, the park remains a powerful draw for visitors who want to see volcanic activity. As a result, the park is very crowded, especially during peak hours between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

“We’ve had some visitors wait up to an hour to park, and we have park rangers working in traffic control. We remind everyone to please be patient and treat rangers and other drivers with respect and aloha,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Park rangers offer these tips so all visitors have a positive and memorable time in the national park:

  • Plan to arrive early and explore Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) before 9 a.m. Not only is parking available, but the lava tube is often empty of people. Birdwatching at Nāhuku is best in the early morning.
  • Want to hike Kīlauea Iki Trail? This four-mile trek is one of the most scenic and popular trails in the park. Plan to hit the trail by 7 a.m., and be out by 10 a.m.
  • Drive and explore Chain of Craters Road. This historic and scenic road originates at the summit of Kīlauea and stretches 19 miles to Hōlei Sea Arch. Many overlooks, pullouts, and lesser-known hikes (Mauna Ulu, Pu‘uloa Petroglyphs) abound – and it’s an ideal way to avoid the crowds and see more of what the park offers. The Coastal Ranger Station at the end of Chain of Craters Road is the starting point for a 10-mile roundtrip hike to see lava enter the ocean at Kamokuna.
  • Night owl or early riser? The best time to observe the glow from Halema‘uma‘u is before sunrise, or after 9 p.m., when most visitors have left. The park is open 24 hours a day. You can see what Kīlauea is doing before you arrive by checking the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams.
  • Jaggar Museum is the closest visitors can get to the summit eruption’s glowing lava lake, and it’s the park’s most popular spot after 5 p.m. (More than 8,000 people were counted one evening at Jaggar Museum earlier this week.) If you can’t avoid peak hours, consider observing the glow from a less-crowded location, like Keanakāko‘i, ‘Akanikōlea (Steam Vents), or Kīlauea Overlook. From Kīlauea Overlook, it’s a short walk to Jaggar Museum along Crater Rim Trail, but bring a flashlight and a jacket.
  • Mauna Loa Road is well worth exploring during peak hours, especially in good weather. Kīpukapuaulu offers an easy, forested hike, and the views and birdwatching are excellent along the way to the Mauna Loa Overlook at 6,662 feet.
  • Visit Kahuku. Kahuku is free, never crowded, and is open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the month. Located on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5 in Ka‘ū.

Big Island Police Warn of Sweepstakes Scam With New Twist

Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about a new twist on a sweepstakes scam.
A 70-year-old Keaʻau woman received a phone call from someone at an 876 area code. The caller claimed the recipient had won a sweepstakes prize.

The woman was suspicious that it was a scam, so the caller asked for her credit card number and said he would pay off her credit card in an act of good faith. He told her to check with her bank for confirmation. The bank confirmed that a deposit to her account was pending, which alleviated the victim’s suspicions. It was later determined that the deposit was never completed.

Meanwhile, the suspect called the victim, claiming that tax and lottery laws require Hawaiʻi residents to pre-pay taxes before receiving prize winnings. He persuaded her to send a large sum of money to an address he provided.

Police caution the public not to fall prey to such scams and not to respond to requests for information or payment that come by telephone or through the internet.