Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Puna Lava flow burns first home, Abercrombie starts new business, Honolulu named best place to retire, state sues Hawaii County over hunting, raises for Kauai officials, Patsy Mink awarded posthumous Medal of Freedom, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

 courtesy Ena Media Hawaii and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
First house torched by lava courtesy Ena Media Hawaii and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

The destruction of her grandparents’ house Monday brought the reality of the June 27 lava flow home for Kanoe Pelfrey. Tribune-Herald.

First video of the house fire ignited by lava in Pahoa, filmed by Mick Kalber of Tropical Visions Video aboard Paradise Helicopters. Big Island Video News.


video 

 Lava from Kilauea Volcano's so-called June 27 flow ignited its first house in Pahoa on Monday and threatened more destruction in the days ahead. Star-Advertiser.

The slow moving lava flow on Hawaii Island has set fire to its first home, making contact with the residence just before noon.  The home’s renters had already left the residence. Hawaii Public Radio.

The first home has been claimed by the Puna lava flow, just across the street from the Pahoa Transfer Station along Cemetery Road/Apaa Street. Hawaii News Now.

A home is burning after coming into contact with the June 27 lava flow. Darryl Oliveira, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator, said he received confirmation at about 11:55 a.m. that the home off Cemetery Road had ignited after lava reached the vacant 1,152-square-foot residence. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Civil Defense says that an upslope lava breakout on Cemetery Road destroyed a home and shed at around noon Monday.  This is the first residence claimed by the June 27th lava flow. KITV4.

With just weeks left in his 44-year career of public service, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is listed as the sole officer of a new company called Pacific Strategies LLC. The business was registered with the state Oct. 3, about two months after Abercrombie’s re-election effort was derailed by state Sen. David Ige in the Democratic primary. Civil Beat.

Some 1,853 of Hawaii’s 13,505 marriages held since Dec. 2, 2013, were between same sex couples. But Hawaii’s same sex marriage law, passed by the Hawaii Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in Nov. 2013, could come to an end if the Hawaii Supreme Court rules the law invalid. On Dec. 18, the state’s high court will hear oral arguments in the challenge brought by Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican in the Hawaii Legislature. Hawaii Reporter.

The U.S.-China agreement to extend short-term visas for tourists and business travelers from one to 10 years drew applause from Hawaii business leaders and politicians, including Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Mark Dunkerley, who called it a "significant step in the right direction." Pacific Business News.

Starting today, a reciprocity agreement will extend short-term business and tourist visas to-and-from China to 10 years, and student and exchange visas to five years. The move is aimed at providing economic benefits in tourism, trade and investment. Garden Island.

President Barack Obama on Monday named Patsy Mink one of 19 people to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. Star-Advertiser.

Health insurance rates for nearly 13,000 individuals will rise Jan. 1, while close to 33,000 people may be pleasantly surprised to see premium decreases. The state Insurance Division has approved an average 9.2 percent rate hike for 9,600 individuals covered by Kaiser Permanente Hawaii and 3.8 percent increase for 3,141 members with the Hawaii Medical Service Association. Star-Advertiser.

The state Health Department says a restaurant can have roaches and rodents and still pass inspection. Hawaii News Now.

Switching from diesel oil to liquefied natural gas for electric power generation could drop Hawaii's highest-in-the-nation electric rates from 6 to 25 percent by the year 2040, according to a working paper posted online last month by the Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawaii. Maui News.

The longtime head of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly says he’ll leave the organization next August. The search is underway for a replacement for J.N. Musto, who has been with the union for more than 35 years. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Association of Independent Schools Board of Directors has named Robert Landau the organization’s new executive director, replacing longtime Executive Director Robert Witt, who is retiring. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

Livability.com has named Honolulu a Best Place to Retire, 2014. Honolulu, the website says, “offers access to affordable and quality health care, practical cost of living, retiree-friendly businesses and services, as well as several amenities to help keep residents active.” Star-Advertiser.

Luxury high-rise condominiums planned in Kakaako have been big sellers this year. Really big. So big that a single developer has sold $783 million worth of residences slated for completion in 2016 and 2017. Star-Advertiser.

Cash, cars, jewelry. All kinds of property are taken by law enforcement every year and sometimes, there are no arrest or criminal charges. But authorities get to keep the goods, and it’s legal. KHON2.

Former state prison guard Mark Damas was sentenced Monday to just shy of five years behind bars for accepting bribe money to smuggle meth­am­pheta­mine, cigarettes and other contraband into Halawa Correctional Facility and for scheming with inmates to do so. Star-Advertiser.

An additional 6,000 hatchery-raised sea urchins were recently placed in Kaneohe Bay on Oahu by Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Aquatic Invasive Species team divers in the battle against invasive seaweeds that threaten to smother coral patch reefs. West Hawaii Today.

Unanticipated costs and delays might doom Mayor Kirk Caldwell's controversial plan for a temporary transition center for up to 115 homeless people at Sand Island. Star-Advertiser.

Starting Wednesday night, state transportation officials plan to make full and partial lane closures in both directions of the H-1 freeway in Kalihi from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The state is suing the county over its aerial hunting ban. The suit, filed Thursday in Hilo Circuit Court by the Office of Attorney General David Louie, seeks to exempt state employees and private contractors hired by the state to eradicate feral sheep, goats, swine, cattle and axis deer from the 2012 county ordinance prohibiting aerial hunting. Tribune-Herald.

Kawaihae South Small Boat Harbor, the first new harbor opened in the state in 34 years, was dedicated Monday. West Hawaii Today.

New court program gives veterans a second chance. West Hawaii Today.

Maui
A standing room only crowd showed up to testify at an informational briefing and hearing on Maui focused on the state health system and district plans to address anticipated budget shortfalls. Maui Now.

It's been a week since the controversial initiative calling for a moratorium on the cultivation of all genetically engineered crops in Maui County managed to squeak by in one of the closest races of this election. Now that the campaigning is over, its passage has left residents wondering, “What now?” Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

Raises may be on the horizon for some top county officials whose salaries have been frozen for nearly five years. The county Salary Commission, by a 6-0 vote, approved a measure that would raise the maximum salary limit for 22 department heads by a total of $150,265. Garden Island.

The Missile Defense Agency released video of the Hawaii-based destroyer USS John Paul Jones shooting down a simulated ballistic missile and a "raid" of cruise missile targets Thursday off the coast of Kauai. Star-Advertiser.