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Big Island of Hawaii News, 01 June 2013 through 02 June 2013. Post #2039


The views expressed in this Hawaii news summary are mine unless otherwise stated.

Big Island of Hawaii News is following these stories through Sunday, 02 June 2013:


Hurricane season has arrived.

Moth infestation cuts into koa forests.

Depleted uranium license may be approved by this summer.

Suspected robber turns himself in to police.

Groundbreaking for new fire station at the Kona International Airport.

DETAILS (with sources cited):

(Stephens Media).  Hurricane season is here.  From now through 30 November 2013, Hawaii Island and the rest of the state are preparing for storms that could disrupt our everyday lives and damage the state’s economy.  Many of us remember the damage and loss of life produced by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, a storm that killed six people and caused almost $3 billion in damage.  Fortunately, Hawaii Island was spared , but Kauai suffered loss of life and property.

For Kauai resident and building supplies owner Jim Rosa, the experience taught him a valuable lesson in survival.  Rosa told reporter Chelsea Jensen a storm such as Iniki “is going to happen sooner or later…people need to take it seriously.”  Rosa isn’t taking any chances these days.  He’s built a storm shelter buried partly in the ground that can hold eight people.  He has stocked 400 pounds of rice, spam, 3 gallons of chili, toilet paper, seeds, medical supplies, water filters, flint, and gas on-hand year round.

As for those of us living on Hawaii Island, Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira says we should be prepared for weather extremes year round.  Oliveira told reporter Jensen that “you can never be prepared enough…and, with the events in our country, like Oklahoma’s tornadoes recently, you need to be prepared for any and all types of disasters.”

Oliveira says one way to prepare is to sign up for civil defense and police department notifications, or participate in a Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT.  When you hear sirens, it means to turn on your radio and listen for instructions.  Oliveira said “it’s a good idea to have enough supplies on hand to last longer than (three) days because it may take time for a barge to arrive with supplies after a storm.”

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  According to reporter Colin Stewart, “a voracious outbreak of koa moths has continued its spread across Hawaii Island, having now defoliated 50,000 acres of the rare native Acacia koa trees.”

Despite the devastation, scientist believe the rampage may have peaked and that the moths “could be eating so much so quickly that they will exhaust their food supply and fall back under the controls of native predators.

Will Hainea,  a UH-Manoa entomologist, who helps the state DLNR monitor the situation, tells reporter Stewart that the outbreak was first seen in January and has now “impacted every major koa forest on the island.”  While the koa damage is extensive, Hainea believes the moths “may have depleted most of its food source, effectively halting its own population explosion.”

In a recent press release from the DLNR, officials stated that “aerial spraying of insecticides would harm other forest organisms and is not feasible on a large-scale.  Biological control is not possible with a native species because its natural enemies are already present in Hawaii, and there is no outside source of predators or parasites that would be specific to the moth.”

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  Sometime this summer, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission could approve a license for the possession of depleted uranium at the Pohakuloa Training Area and Schofield Barracks.

NRC representative Maureen Conley told reporter Tom Callis that the license for the Army “could be approved around August assuming that the agency receives all the information it has requested.  During the last meeting of the NRC, the agency asked the Army for a radiation protection plan,  among other items.

The Army applied for a license in 2008 to cover contamination from the previous use of depleted uranium, but has maintained it doesn’t require a license for training purposes.

James Albertini, a long-time critic of the military, claimed that a license from the NRC would allow the Army to bomb “radiation contaminated bases.”

According to reporter Callis, the license would cover contaminated areas but not cleanup.  Clint German, the safety and occupational health manager for the Army in Hawaii, said cleanup “is in the future..we really haven’t gotten that far yet.”

(Stephens Media).  Hawaii Airports District Manager Chauncey Wong Yuen tells reporter Erin Miller that the federal government has provided the Kona International Airport’s fire department with an upgraded fire station to protect and service its fire equipment and trucks.  Groundbreaking for the new 24,000 square-foot Airport Rescue and Firefighting station was held Wednesday in conjunction with the formal dedication of the airport’s new Federal Contract Tower, the aircraft tower that replaced what was intended to be a temporary 51-foot tower built in 1970.

Those speaking at the dedication ceremony credited the late Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye for pushing the tower and fire station through Congress.  U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono said “I love infrastructure projects like this…not only do we need these upgrades for the safety of our community, but these projects create jobs.”

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  Hawaii Police have arrested the suspect in the robbery Thursday of the Hamakua Coast Community Federal Credit Union in Pepeekeo.  Investigation of the incident led to the arrest of 37-year-old Kris R. Villasista of Honomu.  While police officers were conducting a search for the suspect, Villasista surrendered to officers at the Kona police station at 6:05 p.m. Thursday.  Police arrested him on suspicion of robbery, theft, and terroristic threatening.  Villasista was taken tot he Hilo police cellblock, where he remains in custody while detectives continue their investigation.  Those with information on this incident should call Detective Joel Field at 961-2381.


Hilo and vicinity–Some sunny periods.  A chance of a few showers.

Kailua-Kona and vicinity–Partly sunny with a few upslope showers.

Highs near 84.  Lows near 65.  Winds shifting to the east northeast, 6 to 12 mph, by Sunday morning.

Sunrise Sunday–5:41 a.m.  Sunset Sunday–6:56 p.m.  Total hours of daylight Sunday–13 hours, 15 minutes, and 20 seconds.


Hilo High Tide–12:00 p.m./10:52 p.m.  Hilo Low Tide–5:00 a.m./5:41 p.m.

Kailua-Kona High Tide–12:38 p.m./11:30 p.m.  Kailua-Kona Low Tide–5:37 a.m./6:16 p.m.


Hapuna Beach breaks–flat to 1 foot.  Kona and Banyans–flat to 1 foot.  Ka’u and Pohoiki–2 to 3 feet.  Hamakua, including Kolekole Beach Park–1 to 3 feet.  Hilo and Honolii–1 to 2 feet.


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Russ Roberts, site administrator





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