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Kenoi REVIVES Puna Makai Alternative Route (PMAR)

I had highlighted this in a post a few weeks ago.  I’m not sure how many people caught it.

Question: What ever happened to the new highway proposed to run through the fast-growing lower Puna area south of Hilo?

Answer: Community criticism and a vaguely worded regional traffic plan appeared to put the Puna Makai Alternate Route in limbo when the concept was approved in 2005.

But Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi kept the concept alive last month with a request for $2 million for the project as part of a $487 million wish list for federal economic stimulus funds.

The Puna Makai road would serve an area expected to be home to 53,000 people by 2030. Only one highway now leads in and out of the area, and the uncertainty of the situation was shown in 2007 when lava flows temporarily appeared to be a possible threat to the highway…

More Here

24/7 On the Scene of Pohoiki Rd. Accident Today

Hawaii 24/7 has a pictorial on an accident that happened on Pohoiki Rd. today.

The second picture is something else!  I don’t think you would ever catch a picture like that in a regular paper.  Hope the victim is alright.

Nice shot Mr. Sekiya… like trade cameras?

*update* By the way, from the map and the location of the accident, I’m pretty sure I’m familiar with this turn.  It is a dangerous turn and I wonder how many accidents have happened in this area.

The whole way down to Pohoiki can be pretty scary if you ask me.

Why Do We See So Many Motorcycle Riders in Hawaii Without Helmets

I understand that it’s not the law for motorcycle riders in Hawaii to wear a helmet, but I just think riders would due to the safety factors alone.

I was reading the law on them and then realized these laws are more then 25 years old.  Is it time to revisit the helmet law in Hawaii?  Here is the 1970 and 1973 court decisions on the laws:

“Former helmet requirement was proper exercise of police power. — Former subparagraph (1)(A), which required a safety helmet, and the regulations promulgated pursuant to it were within the proper exercise of police power. The accelerating rate of deaths and injuries due to motorcycle accidents, coupled with the increase in motorcycle registrations, had reached such proportions and the class of motorcycle users had become so large and widespread that the continued viability of society required that they protect themselves from physical injury or death.” State v. Lee, 51 Haw. 516, 465 P.2d 573 (1970).

“Former helmet requirement for motorcyclists did not violate equal protection. — In view of the underlying differences between cars and motorcycles with respect to the protection against head injuries afforded their respective users, a legislative distinction between them in terms of the mandatory wearing of helmet was reasonable and did not violate the equal protection rights of motorcyclists.” State v. Cotton, 55 Haw. 138, 516 P.2d 709 (1973).

Hawaii to Get New P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime Aircrafts in 2012

The Department of the Navy announced today its decision to provide facilities and functions to base five fleet squadrons of the P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) with a fleet replacement squadron (FRS) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Fla., four fleet squadrons at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash., and three fleet squadrons at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, with periodic squadron detachment operations at NAS North Island. This decision implements the preferred homebasing alternative 5 identified in the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the Introduction of the P-8A Multi-Mission Aircraft into the U.S. Navy Fleet (published November 2008). Introduction of the P-8A MMA squadrons is projected to begin no later than 2012 and be completed by 2019…

p8

More Here

More on the Taiping

In October I blogged about a real JUNK that was about to make it’s way across the Pacific Ocean:

“When I started my blog, I was following the “Junk” craft made of plastic bottles. They successfully made the voyage.

A new “Junk” is about to make a voyage.  This time though, it’s a real one…”

The Starbulletin has more on this JUNK today that arrived last week.

A photo gallery can be found here.

Video of New Zealand Jet Fueled by Jatropha

Jatropha is a crop that people on the Big Island have been talking about growing as an alternative energy source. Here is the just released video of the New Zealand jet that was fueled by it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nY6QK2dFSvs&hl=en&fs=1]

Poinography on Yoshimoto’s Road Rage Ordinance… Charley Foster with Answer

If you haven’t already read the article about Yoshimoto’s proposed ordinance on road rage, you can read that here.

A tougher law to deal with Big Island road rage incidents may be considered by the Hawaii County Council early next year…

But I really recommend that you read the blog at Poinography as he asks the question:

Can Hawaii County create a felony by ordinance?

Well if you read attorney Charley Foster’s comment below the thread… you get your answer:

It looks like counties are not authorized to assess felony penalties for violations of their ordinances.

Under HRS §46-1.5 General powers and limitation of the counties –
(13) Each county shall have the power to enact ordinances deemed necessary to protect health, life, and property, and to preserve the order and security of the county and its inhabitants on any subject or matter not inconsistent with, or tending to defeat, the intent of any state statute where the statute does not disclose an express or implied intent that the statute shall be exclusive or uniform throughout the State;

(14) Each county shall have the power to:
(D) Fix a penalty for the violation of any ordinance, which penalty may be a misdemeanor, petty misdemeanor, or violation as defined by general law.

(Note: A “violation” does not constitute a crime and conviction of a violation authorizes no other sentence than a fine, or fine and forfeiture or other civil penalty. §701-107 Grades and classes of offenses).

Department of Transportation to Enter 20 Year Agreement With Hoku Solar

…Hoku Solar will assign its power purchase agreements to the special purpose entity Hoku Solar Power I LLC, which will sell the electricity generated by the PV power systems to Hawaii Department of Transportation over a contract period of 20 years, the company said in a statement…

More Here

Rockslide Highway 19 North of Hilo

I just saw the following Twit from Hawaii 247. I guess he is on the road right now and can’t post it to the site this second. I’ll just post it here for anyone traveling in that direction anytime soon.

Rockslide continue along Hwy 19 north of Hilo. State highway crews are out clearing debris so one lane traffic at times. Drive safely.

Lightning Hits Hawaiian Flight in Air

…No one was injured when Flight 102, which left Honolulu at 5:20 a.m., was struck by lightning while in flight, said Keoni Wagner, Hawaiian’s vice president of public affairs.

He said some “superficial damage” was done to the plane…

More Here

New Puna Shopping Center Planned… Also Ulupono Shopping Center Still Going Ahead With Plans

Since I added the 4 top stories from the RSS feed from the local papers I figured there wouldn’t be much purpose in blogging about many breaking stories since the feed is right there for everyone to look at.

Aaron Stene nudged me, as he always does, anytime an article that comes up about East Hawaii.

If you haven’t heard of the proposed Puna shopping center, you can read about it here.

This one is different then the Woodland Center one that I blogged about here in November with the KFC and Burger King

———————-

Also, a few weeks ago I emailed the developers and asked them what was up with the up and coming Ulupono shopping center since the website was down at the time.  They did respond:

…We are currently working on the website, and it should be back up in the coming days…

Well the new site is now up and running and you can view it here.

It’s got a really nice overhead picture of the layout:

ulu1

This picture shows it’s relation to the schools in the area:

ulu2

You can find out the prices for these lots by clicking here.

ululots

Things are going to get mighty busy around these neck of the woods.

We need to start improving our traffic problems NOW!

Pohoiki Bypass Blessing and Opening Monday… More Puna Projects Planned

Pohoiki Bypass Blessing, Opening on Monday

The public is invited to the opening blessing of the new Pohoiki bypass road near Isaac Hale Beach Park in Puna at noon, Monday, December 29.

The three-quarters of a mile long county bypass road will allow motorists to avoid the portion of coastal Highway 137 near Isaac Hale Beach Park where it routinely floods during high tides. William C. Loeffler Construction Inc., is the contractor for the $1.8 million project.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi will participate in Monday’s blessing ceremony along with Fifth District Councilwoman Emily Naeole, which will be held at the newly renovated Isaac Hale Beach Park. Dignitaries then will take the first official ride on the new bypass road.

The project is one of several ongoing county Department of Public Works projects in the District of Puna. Other projects include:

Sight Distance and Drainage Improvements

  • $1.5 million in sight distance improvements completed on Ainaloa Drive at Puhala and Silver Oak drives, including a 2,600-foot pedestrian path
  • $2.1 million for drainage improvements on Road 8 in Hawaiian Acres, expected to be completed by October 2009.

Park Improvements, Road Realignment

  • The renovation of Isaac Hale Beach Park was completed earlier this year.
  • Realignment of Highway 137 between the 14 and 15 mile markers, avoiding a stretch where high surf threatened to collapse the road, also was completed in 2007.

Road Widening and Resurfacing

  • Resurfacing of a mile each on S. Puni Mauka, N. Puni Mauka, S. Puni Makai and N. Puni Makai, all in Hawaiian Beaches, was recently completed; resurfacing and widening of 1.5 miles of Pohoiki Road, resurfacing 1.6 miles of road in Nanawale Estates, and 1.6 miles in Hawaiian Beaches, are awaiting scheduling.

Public Safety

  • A new $4.8 million Pahoa Fire Station is nearing completion.
  • A $4.9 million police station in Pahoa is scheduled to begin construction in 2009.

Monday’s Pohoiki bypass dedication will take place at the new four-way intersection at Isaac Hale Beach Park. The public is cordially invited to attend.

Go! Pilot… “Regularly Napped About Once a Week for About 20 Minutes at a Time While in Flight”

The Go! pilot who fell asleep during a routine flight from Honolulu to Hilo made this astonishing admission:

The captain who fell asleep on a go! Airlines flight to Hilo from Honolulu said he regularly napped about once a week for about 20 minutes at a time while in flight prior to a Feb. 13 incident when the plane overshot the Hilo airport, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report…

Still want to Fly Go?

County Response to Supreme Court Ruling on Hokulia Bypass

Attorneys for the County of Hawaii are very pleased with Wednesday’s 85-page state Supreme Court ruling on condemnation actions regarding the Hokulia bypass in West Hawaii.

The Supreme Court ruling Wednesday held that the County’s successful second condemnation of property was legal and not barred by the doctrine called “abatement.”  Had the Supreme Court ruled otherwise, there would have been significant delays in the opening of the Hokuli’a bypass.

The case has been returned by the Supreme Court to the Circuit Court in Kona for Third Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibarra to make additional findings on two other issues.  Judge Ibarra had previously ruled there was a legitimate public purpose in the County’s condemnation of this property.  One of the findings Judge Ibarra must now make is whether the County’s condemnation was a pretext to conferring a private benefit on Oceanside, the developer of the project, as alleged by the landowners.  After Judge Ibarra makes these findings, another judgment will be issued.  If this judgment is entered in favor of the County, the condemnation will stand and the project will continue to move forward as planned.

Attorneys for the County of Hawaii are currently reviewing Wednesday’s 85-page state Supreme Court ruling on condemnation actions regarding the Hokulia bypass in West Hawaii.

The Supreme Court ruling Wednesday said the case should be returned to Third Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibarra to consider the landowners’ defense that the land sought by the County through condemnation was for a purpose other than the public interest.

“The decision of the Court does not appear to be fatal as to the bypass road but will require some additional factual findings of the Court before another judgment is filed,” said deputy Corporation Counsel Michael Udovic Wednesday afternoon. “Needless to say we are carefully reading the opinion to distill salient issues.”

Deputy Corporation Counsel Joseph Kamelamela, lead counsel for the County in this case, is off island and has been notified. He will return on Monday.

“There may be additional proceedings, at this time it is too early to tell,” Udovic said. “We will be reviewing the opinion carefully in the next few days.”

Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida said only one of the three decisions by the Supreme Court Wednesday was a final decision on whether the first condemnation action in the case abated the second, and that was issued in favor of the County. On the other two, the Supreme Court simply remanded the case back to Judge Ibarra, Ashida said.

“If Judge Ibarra supplements the record with appropriate findings and the Supreme Court believes they are adequate, (and) assuming Judge Ibarra enters findings and orders consistent with what he did earlier, all three issues may be resolved in favor of the County,” Ashida said. “In sum, it is too early to tell.”

Ashida said the major story is that the County prevailed on the abatement issue. “Had we not won the abatement issue, the project would have been halted.”

“So long as Judge Ibarra enters findings consistent with what he did previously, and the Coupes’ attorneys are not able to prove to Judge Ibarra’s satisfaction that the public purpose established by the County was a pretext to give Oceanside a private benefit, the Coupes will not prevail,” Ashida said.

Pahoa’s Own Sol Kaawaloa Awarded FAA Flight Instructor of the Year

Sol Kaawaloa from Pahoa, Hawaii

My Wifes Cousin Sol Kaawaloa from Pahoa, Hawaii

Embry-Riddle’s Prescott Arizona campus was honored this past November when Solomon “Sol” Kaawaloa, ERAU graduate and eight-year flight instructor, received the prestigious Flight Instructor of the Year award. This award was presented by the Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Sol is originally from Pahoa, Hawaii on the Big Island. He began as a student at Embry-Riddle in 1995 after graduating from Kamehameha High School. He graduated with a degree in Aeronautical Science in 1999. After graduation, Sol took a one-year sabbatical to coach volleyball and be a flight attendant. He returned to Embry-Riddle in 2000 to begin his career as a flight instructor, and has been teaching the next generation of pilots ever since. When asked about future career aspirations, he said he was “committed to instructing” and that his goal was to create and inspire “the best aviators we can. Sol hopes to one day fly for an air medical evacuation business, but has remained selective about whom he is employed by. He is keeping his focus on teaching while holding out for an air evacuation position to become available in the local area. Sol and his wife, Patricia, a registered nurse, will always call Prescott home.

The coveted “Flight Instructor of the Year” award, given annually, has a tough selection process. It begins when flight-training managers across Arizona nominate instructors and submits them to the local Flight Standards District Office. There, judges endlessly sift through nominees until deciding on the most deserving flight instructor. Embry-Riddle is proud that Solomon Kaawaloa was selected from approximately 50 of Arizona’s best flight instructors and came out on top…

More on Kaawaloa here

More From the Big Island Repo Man

In November I posted a clip of a Kailua Kona Repo Man repossessing a car.

Well it looks like the Big Island Repo Man is back to posting his repo’s on youtube… “Hawaiian Repoman Meets Psycho Woman”:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djxdjVcfJ9k&hl=en&fs=1]

If this isn’t a way to shame people into making their payments… I don’t know what is?

20 Years Later… Still No Spaceports South of Volcanoes National Park

Spaceports and rocket ships are in the news again:

Today, the US Federal Aviation Administration has given the green light for the world’s first commercial spaceport, New Mexico authorities said Thursday…

More Here

Anyone remember the ones that were planned for Hawaii?:

THE state of Hawaii, encouraged by President Reagan’s policy to encourage the commercial space industry, is moving ahead with plans to create a private spaceport for launching commercial rockets into space...

…The site, which is just south of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, would have four launching pads…

…Jim Burnley, Secretary of Transportation, said in a statement yesterday that Hawaii’s move was ”a major step forward” for America’s commercial rocket industry. ”Today,” he said, ”private-sector companies launching telecommunications and weather satellites can only use federally owned launch facilities. The state of Hawaii’s decision both creates an alternative and sets an example. I hope we’ll see many states follow Hawaii’s lead. February 23, 1988 New York Times

And if you feel like seeing one of Lingles talks about Spaceports in Hawaii… click here.

*Updated* County Looking to Work With State on H-130 Project

*Updated for clarification

Aaron Stene emailed me some informative .pdf files regarding the State Transportation Improvement Plans (REVISONS) (STIP), and we briefly emailed each other a few thoughts on the project.  I appreciate him putting the link to the detailed break down on his blog here.

This morning I received an email from Public Relation Specialist to the Mayor, Hunter Bishop, asking me to call him regarding the STIP.

I spoke with him for a few as I looked over the .pdf files and Mr. Bishop discussed that the County is looking towards working efficiently with the State on projects that are happening that will impact the lives of County residents.

Mr. Bishop mentioned that the County is specifically interested in continuing working with the State on the Highway 130 Project as well as the overall safety and  design of the highway.  Bishop does recognize that the project is a State project, however, he reminded me that the side roads that link to H-130 are County roads.

Hunter Bishop and Mayor Kenoi, Photo By Damon Tucker

Public Relation Specialist Hunter Bishop and Hawaii Mayor Billy Kenoi at the recent PGV Anniversary, Photo By Damon Tucker

If the State and the County can work effectively together on this project, then the overall results will benefit us all.  I believe local officials know more about the needs of our community then the State Officials.

Mr. Bishop has attended past meetings, as well as other county officials. I hope there will continued to be someone from the County and Mayors offices attending future KPAG meetings currently scheduled at Keaau Elementary School.  We as a community, really need to make sure that the “County” does assist us in monitoring this project so that the long term benefits of this project do help us as a community.

I will be putting a link to the latest revision (#5) to the State Transportation Improvement Plan on the left of my blog for future reference.

Of note to Puna residents (page 3):

  • HS20. Keaau-Pahoa Road (Route 130) Improvements, Keaau to Pahoa Defer and reflect design estimate increase. Defer and inflate right of way. Schedule adjusted to reflect completion schedule for EA.
  • HS21. Keaau-Pahoa Road (Route 130) Improvements,Keaau to Pahoa, Phase 1 Defer construction. Design is delayed. See HS20.
  • HS24. Keaau-Pahoa Road (Route 130), Shoulder Lane Conversion, Keaau Bypass Road to Shower Drive Defer and inflate construction. Scope change to include PM shoulderlane. This added scope will delay design completion.

*Updated for clarification purposes

Korean Air Confirms Expanded Hawaii Service

A month ago I blogged about Korean Air possibly expanding it’s service in Hawaii.

It has now been confirmed:

Korean Air will begin flying 747s to Hawaii on March 1 in response to higher demand for nonstop service between Seoul and Honolulu.

A spokesman for Korean Air said 581 more seats will fly to Hawaii per week, a 28 percent increase over current capacity…

More Here

korean_air

Parking at WalMart

I simply hate it… I guess its god’s way of getting back at me for shopping there.

The parking lot is so poorly designed that it sucks.

I thought the one near Ala Moana was poorly designed… this Hilo one has less traffic then the Ala Moana one… but the traffic mess is just a nightmare.

You tell me… is it the parking lot… or is it the drivers?

Keep this between me and you. When leaving WalMart and heading towards Puna… it’s much easier to go out the backside and then travel down Railroad for about a mile instead of trying to deal with the Puainako/Kanoelehua traffic!