Hawaii Island

Reports from Sherry Bracken

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

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.

George / Wikimedia Commons

Vivid images of volcanic eruptions captured the world’s attention this year, but frightened off visitors. 

Rick©Kent / Wikimedia Commons

Hawai'i Island and Kona are well known for the Ironman Triathlon, a 140 mile swim, bike run event that takes place each October.  But starting tomorrow, an even more grueling endurance event will begin.

Pixabay

The State Department of Health is holding a public hearing in Hilo on Wednesday regarding the future of a new power plant. The Hu Honua Bioenergy facility on the Hamakua Coast would burn eucalyptus trees to generate electricity. Some say that its clean, renewable energy, but other community members have serious environmental concerns.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrea Anderson / U.S. Coast Guard

Hawai'i Island has had housing shortages for years.  When hundreds of homes were destroyed in the lava flow this spring and summer, that problem got worse. The county government has been taking steps to help — including a housing fair later this month.

U.S. Geological Survey

The United States Geological Survey recently released its “Volcanic Threat Assessment.” That’s an indicator of the potential severity of impacts that could result from future eruptions at various volcanoes. Hawai'i Island’s Kīlauea Volcano was number one on the list – with the greatest potential impact. But that does not mean a new eruption is imminent, even though the volcano erupted continuously from 1983 until early August of this year.

U.S. Geological Survey

The eruption of Kīlauea earlier this year destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes. Lava also swept through more than a thousand acres of farmland. 

Sherry Bracken

One of the world's most grueling athletic events is in Kona this weekend. It also brings a boost to tourism. That's something the Big Island can use, after visitors have slumped following May's lava flow.

Pixabay

The Environmental Protection Agency recently released an environmental assessment of a major project: the replacement of a large cesspool on the Big Island that serves thousands of people in the Pahala area. 

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