Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lava enters farmland -- schools, roads, polling places threatened, Health Department mum on Ebola hospitals, Schatz lobbies for less ahi protections, record big bucks in GMO fight, tourism up, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Courtesy Ena Media Hawaii & Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
Lava flow Tuesday Oct. 28 Courtesy Ena Media Hawaii & Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
Kilauea’s June 27 lava flow claimed its first structure Tuesday morning as it continued to carve a jagged black scar through the green Pahoa landscape, set on a collision course with Pahoa Village Road. Tribune-Herald.

After traveling a circuitous 13.5-mile route over four months from Kilauea Volcano, the threat from a river of lava suddenly became real Tuesday when it destroyed its first structure on Hawaii island, took on a utility pole wrapped in untested, anti-lava technology, blackened the sky after setting tires on fire and led Hawaii County police to abandon their Pahoa substation. Star-Advertiser.

Lava ignites tire fire, while Governor Abercrombie tours the flow front. Big Island Video News.

Lava flow advances; 40-50 homes in projected impact path. Hawaii News Now.

courtesy Hawaii Volcano Observatory
courtesy Hawaii Volcano Observatory
One structure has been destroyed as the July 27th lava flow picked up speed, moving through private property. As of 5:30 p.m., scientists say the flow was 340 yards from Pahoa Village Road and about 985 yards from Highway 130. KITV4.

Lava is expected to slither past properties across the street from Jeff and Denise Lagrimas' home on Hawaii's Big Island as it works its way to the ocean. Associated Press.

Hawaii County Civil Defense eruption and lava flow information Update for Tuesday, October 28 at 6:15 p.m. The flow continues to remain active and has advanced approximately 45 yards since this 1:30 this afternoon and is currently approximately 370 yards from Pāhoa Village Road. KHON2.

Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott Nago said today that voters assigned to Pahoa Community Center (district and precinct 04-03) who live north of the lava flow are instructed to vote at Hawaiian Paradise Community Center (district and precinct 04-01) on general election day. Civil Beat.

The state is asking Pahoa voters who could be impacted by the June 27 lava flow to plan on casting their votes at an alternate site. Tribune-Herald.

Keonepoko Elementary became the first public school to close as a result of the June 27 lava flow. As the flow continued its advance, students and staff gathered for one final assembly Tuesday to bid farewell to the 23-year-old school and help keiki with the transition, said Principal Brandon Gallagher. Tribune-Herald.

Teachers' and students' laughter, tears and aloha marked the last day before the approaching lava flow breaks up Keonepoko Elementary School. Star-Advertiser.

As lava continues to snake through the Pāhoa area,  most local residents are feeling anxious.   And the adults in a family need to address not only their own concerns but also the fears of their keiki. Hawaii Public Radio.

Health officials have reversed course and won't be identifying the hospitals they have designated as Ebola facilities due to fears of stigmatizing the medical centers. Officials said last week that they had designated four Oahu hospitals whose staff will receive intensive training to handle the disease that has killed thousands in West Africa. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii will not impose mandatory quarantines for returning healthcare workers who have treated Ebola patients in West Africa. Hawaii News Now.

The latest Hawai’i Campaign Spending Commission report is out. And the leading candidates running for Governor are expressing mixed feelings about so-called Super Political Action Committees or PACs spending millions on local campaign ads. Hawaii Public Radio.

“No” on No. 4. That is the consensus of 50 percent of voters surveyed in a new Civil Beat poll. Only 34 percent are in favor of amending the state constitution to allow the state to use public funds to help pay for privately run early education programs.

Early learning advocate The Good Beginnings Alliance has spent more than a half-million dollars on television ads to lobby support for a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow spending public funds on private preschool programs, according to the latest round of campaign-finance reports. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary:  A last-minute debate has flared up in recent weeks over one of five proposed constitutional amendments on the general election ballot. Amendment 2, if approved by voters, would authorize the state “to issue special purpose revenue bonds and use the proceeds from the bonds to assist agricultural enterprises on any type of land.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii High School Confidential: Where All Politics Is Truly Local. Civil Beat asked the 2014 candidates why their schooling plays such a part in their campaigns and what kind of kids they were.

Sashimi or sustainability. Which is more important? For U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, it appears to be sashimi, especially if it means fresh ahi for the holidays. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s longline fleet may be rejoicing over a new opportunity to catch ahi, but a coalition of environmental groups are not on board with the increased catch. West Hawaii Today.

A record 57 tons of marine debris was captured by this year's annual National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cleanup expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, including the largest net ever removed from the area, an 11.5-ton monster large enough to fill up a 20-foot shipping container. Star-Advertiser.

The global system of submarine telecommunication cables that support our connected world is deaf, dumb and blind to the external ocean environment and represents a major missed opportunity for tsunami warning and global climate monitoring, according to University of Hawaii scientists and a United Nations task force. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii visitor spending for the month of September reached $1.08 billion, a 1.4 percent increase from the same month a year ago, and visitor arrivals reached 622,163, a 4.1 percent increase, according to the latest statistics released Tuesday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Spending and arrivals rose in September as Hawaii tourism remained slightly ahead of the three-quarters pace set during the record years of 2012 and 2013. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu
A Japanese deputy mayor died this weekend after being pulled from the water in Waikiki, one day after accomplishing his task of establishing a sister-city relationship in the islands, Honolulu officials said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

An award-winning educator known as "Mr. Pearl City" will be honored Wednesday for his volunteerism and community leadership with the renaming of a site as the Shigeo Ushiro Neighborhood Park. Star-Advertiser.

Residents of Honolulu have been engaging in extra-marital affairs in record numbers according to new data from AshleyMadison.com. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii

Forward Progress, a Honolulu-based political action committee allowed by law to raise and spend unlimited amounts, has pumped more than $100,000 into a campaign to elect Ron Gonzales for County Council District 9, eclipsing threefold the money he raised on his own. West Hawaii Today.

Opinion: Media reports about the health study commissioned by Mayor Billy Kenoi remind us that advancing geothermal energy must go hand in hand with public safety and well-being. Civil Beat.

Maui

Seed companies and their allies have raised nearly $8 million to defeat a Maui County voter initiative that seeks to temporarily ban GMO farming, according to reports filed with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission on Monday. Civil Beat.

Kauai

So far this year, incumbent Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. outraised his challenger Dustin Barca by more than $10,000 and outspent him by more than $100,000, according to the latest round of campaign reports released Monday. Garden Island.

Residents living along the island’s Royal Coconut Coast say they are wary of recent changes to current plans for a large timeshare resort near Coconut MarketPlace in Waipouli. Garden Island.

Visitors to Kauai are in the mood to spend money. Lots of money. Through the first nine months of the year, visitors spent around $1.1 billion on The Garden Isle, a 5.8 percent increase over the same time frame last year. And that was despite fewer people — 844,814, a drop of 1.1 percent from 2013 — coming to Kauai through September. Garden Island.