Hawaii Island

Reports from Sherry Bracken

Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi

A lot has changed in astronomy since Hawaiʻi astronomer Doug Simons began his career more than 30 ago. And a lot has changed on the mountain. Now he’s working to ensure the next generation has the same opportunities that he had. 

TheMacadamia

Macadamia nuts are one of Hawaii’s most valuable agricultural products. This year’s harvest is estimated at more than 42 million dollars,  a 22 percent decline from the previous year.

Boone Morrison

Hawaii Island has more public charter schools than any other island in the state. Most charter schools do not get funding from the state for physical facilities. But as the new school year gets underway, students and faculty at one Big Island charter school are looking forward to getting brand new facilities. And in this case, those are paid for by the state.

USGS

HONOLULU — Federal officials are expected to meet with Kīlauea disaster aid recipients who have been told to return the relief funds, a report said.

Radspunk / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

One consistent challenge across all islands in the state is drug abuse. Treatment centers are in short supply and opioid abuse has been on the rise. But local law enforcement officials agree with a finding from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency last year that a particularly severe problem for Hawaiʻi remains crystal methamphetamine.

niksnut / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

Mauna Loa Volcano last erupted in 1984.  Since then, it’s had some restless times, but for the past year, has been at the normal, lowest, alert level. But recently things have been changing. 

prayitno.hadinata / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

A panel of Big Island business leaders recently talked about challenges and transitions across multiple industries. One of the key sectors: the hospitality business.

daveynin / Flickr

In discussions about homelessness in Hawai’i, much of the attention is often focused on O’ahu. But it’s a statewide issue — with different situations on each island. That includes Hawai’i Island.

www.hawaiicounty.gov

When you think of elections in 2020, you might think first of the presidential election. But there are others — including a number of important county races across the islands. One of them is Hawaii County — where the mayor’s race is drawing interest from someone who’s already a public official.

Wikimedia Commons

Disaster Recovery and Spending; Diversifying Hawaii Island’s Economy; Governor Ige Mulls Bills for Signature

AP Photo/Caleb Jones

Two former Hawaiʻi County police officers have been indicted on a variety of charges involving cases from drugs to gambling.

U.S. Navy / U.S. Navy

Hawaii County is part of a nation- and state-wide effort to keep opioids and other powerful pain medications from being misused. 

USGS

It's been nearly a year since Kīlauea erupted on the Big Island's lower East Rift Zone. The event destroyed more than 700 structures and displaced hundreds, if not thousands, of residents. Scientists are still studying the eruption, but they think they know what did, and didn't, cause it.

J.D.Griggs / USGS

HILO, Hawaii — Scientists in Hawaii are monitoring increasing activity surrounding one of the Big Island's volcanoes.

Ed Dunens / Flickr / CC By 2.0

State officials say a 75-year-old man sustained an apparent shark bite on his leg while paddling an outrigger canoe in an isolated area off Hawaiʻi's Big Island.

Sherry Bracken

On Hawai‘i Island, the County Charter serves as the local “constitution” — setting the basic framework for how Hawaii County operates.  Once every ten years, it’s reviewed, and the Charter Commission members are now asking for public input.

HeungSoon / Pixabay

A Big Island composer has created several musical works highlighting events and people in Hawaiian history. This weekend, he is premiering a symphonic suite that recalls one of the most significant battles in Hawaiian history.

U.S. Geological Survey

It’s been more than ten months since a lava flow devastated parts of lower Puna on Hawaiʻi Island. More than 700 structures were lost, and the event disrupted other parts of life for many residents. And that includes small businesses in the area – which are now getting some help from a unique combination of organizations.

U.S. Geological Survey

A new webpage will connect Big Island residents affected by last year's Kīlauea eruption with recovery resources.

USGS

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recently put out a preliminary lava thickness map, based on last summer’s Kilauea lava flow. They’ve created similar maps before, but mostly for official publications. Now this map is on the HVO web site.

Travisthurston / Creative Commons / Wikimedia Commons

Some Big Island residents are asking how they will be able to afford sewer systems connections after large-capacity cesspools are shut down.

Senior Master Sgt. Burke Baker / U.S. Air Force

Garbage disposal is a huge issue for our entire state. On Hawai’i Island there are two landfills, and one is running out of space. Recycling has become more complicated with China’s decision to stop accepting recycled materials. And that’s left many community members wondering what’s happening with their trash.

Marlena Dixon / Department of Health

The State Department of Health has confirmed a visitor and a resident have contracted rat lungworm disease on Hawaiʻi Island.

Courtesy of Alaska Aerospace

An Alaska-based company wants to build a spaceport in East Hawaii Island. As it turns out, Puna is one of the best locations in the United States from which to launch rockets. But local residents are not so enthusiastic about the idea. Residents and officials in the company's hometown reported a complex relationship with Alaska Aerospace.

Denise Emsley | NAVFAC / Flickr

Hawai‘i Electric Light crews have been scrambling to restore power to customers hit by the weekend wind storms. And while that work continues on the ground, there is change at the management level. Earlier this month, the president of Hawaiʻi Electric Light retired. And the new president of Hawaiʻi Island's electric utility is Sharon Suzuki — who is also president of Maui Electric. That's led to questions about how the needs of the state's largest yet least populated island will be handled.

Big Island Video News

Hawaiʻi County is facing a number of significant challenges this year. That includes recovery from the summer 2018 lava flow and the 50 inches of rain from Hurricane Lane. Another challenge is figuring out how to manage the budget in a period with many competing financial demands.

Casey Harlow

Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim has set up a task force to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on the island.  With 32 traffic fatalities in 2018, and two so far this year, Hawaiʻi County has the highest per capita death rate from car crashes in the state. And another 1,200 people have suffered serious injuries. 

David Slater / The Nature Conservancy

Coral reefs in West Hawaiʻi are showing signs of recovery from the global El Niño event in 2015.

Sherry Bracken

Hawaii Island’s electric utility, HELCO, has had a year of challenges.  In the 2018 lava flow, HELCO lost lines and poles that served more than 940 structures. The company lost the 30 megawatts of power being supplied by Puna Geothermal. But as HELCO deals with this work, it will do so under new leadership.

U.S. Geological Survey

As Hawaiʻi’s state legislature prepares to open its session next week, counties are weighing in with some of their priorities.

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