Friday, September 5, 2014

Hawaii mayor signs emergency proclamation as lava advances, Mauna Loa volcano grumbles with earthquakes, Council on Revenues lowers forecast, sex ed curriculum approved, FEMA releases Maui flood maps, state Senate power struggle underway, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

USGS
Lava flow seen in deep cracks, courtesy USGS
Mayor Billy Kenoi signed an emergency proclamation Thursday as residents of Hawaii Island's Kaohe Homesteads subdivision learned that lava from Kilauea Volcano was just 0.8 of a mile away and could reach them within a week. Star-Advertiser.

With a lava flow potentially days from reaching Kaohe Homesteads, several Puna residents pressed Hawaii County officials at a meeting Thursday evening to try to divert or stop its advance. And just as many in the crowd responded — leave Pele alone. Tribune-Herald.

courtesy USGS
Lava flow, courtesy USGS
Lava from Kilauea continues to inch its way closer to homes in Puna. Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi signed Thursday an emergency proclamation for the advancing lava flow in the Wao Kele O Puna area after the flow extended to less than a mile from the edge of the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision. KHON2.

Rural Hawaii residents still recovering from a recent tropical storm are keeping a nervous eye on slowly advancing lava that may reach their community within a week. Lava from Kilauea volcano is within less than a mile of Kaohe Homesteads, authorities said. Lava could reach the community in five to seven days if it continues on its current path, geologists with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said. Associated Press.

Scientists have recently recorded increased seismic activity at Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. In their most recent monthly report, United States Geological Survey scientists noted the largest swarm of small earthquakes in almost a decade. Hawaii News Now.

The state will have at least $100 million less than expected to fund government programs and pay public workers over the next year, based on the Hawaii Council on Revenues’ latest forecast. It was the fifth quarterly meeting in a row that the council has downgraded its revenue forecast. Civil Beat.

The Council on Revenues sharply lowered its forecast for Hawaii economic growth. Hawaii News Now.

Former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona said Thursday that he supports an Early College program that would help set low-income public school students on paths toward college and business careers. Star-Advertiser.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona told a group of supporters Wednesday in Hilo that he expects a close finish in the Nov. 4 general election. Tribune-Herald.

Even with the general election still eight weeks away, maneuvering for top positions and chairmanships in the Hawaii state Senate is already under way. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is too small of a market to be a test bed for energy innovation, and the rest of the world should take the lead in this crucial area, according to an internationally-known energy expert. Pacific Business News.

The controversial Pono Choices sex education program can again be taught in public middle schools, the Department of Education announced Thursday, saying several revisions have made by the program's developers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa to improve the curriculum and address public concerns. Star-Advertiser.

A federal judge on Thursday approved $2.4 million in settlements between the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and four Hawaii farms as co-defendants in a discrimination suit filed against Global Horizons, an employment agency that managed and mistreated 500 Thai farmworkers. Garden Island.

Oahu

A scathing audit of the city Department of Customer Services' Motor Vehicle, Licensing and Permits Division found the often-criticized agency lacking -- largely in the area of customer service. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The U.S. Department of Agriculture designated Hawaii County on Wednesday as a primary natural disaster area because of damage and losses caused by Tropical Storm Iselle. Tribune-Herald.

Federal disaster loans and other assistance are available for farmers who suffered losses from the wind, rain, and flooding from Tropical Storm Iselle. Star-Advertiser.

A conflicted Windward Planning Commission, faced with two dozen speakers asking it to slow down a study of health impacts of the Puna Geothermal Venture plant, on Thursday told the county administration to seek input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. West Hawaii Today.

Four independent scientists say they see no impact from freshwater pumping on resources within Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, a former Department of Land and Natural Resources chairman said Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has released new flood insurance rate maps that have been revised for areas of Molokaʻi and Maui. Maui Now.

Kihei police Capt. Tivoli Faaumu is the top choice to be the next police chief among Maui County police officers who want to see change, a police union official said Wednesday. Maui News.

As promised, Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration submitted a proposed budget amendment Wednesday afternoon requesting four expansion positions for the Environmental Management Department that were previously denied by the Maui County Council to end the reductions in landfill and trash pickup services. Maui News.

Construction has just begun on a large sports development in central Maui. But while young athletes and their coaches may be excited about the project, a group of local homeowners in Kahului is not. And they’re suing the county and the state to stop it. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

Brigitte D’Annibale has lived in Puhi for the past 15 years and said she has seen the heavily-traveled thoroughfare in front of her home, Puhi Road, gradually fall apart. Garden Island.