Sherry Bracken

Hawaii Island Reporter
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.

W.H. Shipman Ltd.

On Hawaiʻi Island, Pahoa’s emergency shelter closed this week — after helping local residents since the latest lava flow broke out in May. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed in the Puna District — the fastest-growing community on the Big Island. That makes a housing shortage there even worse, but now there are plans for a new development that may include 900 homes in Puna.

VAPES / Flickr

The Food and Drug Administration has told top makers of popular vaping devices they have 60 days to come up with a plan to keep their flavored products away from teenagers or face removal from the market. In Hawai'i, the problem is even more rampant than on the mainland — especially among young people. And statistics show that Hawaii Island has the highest youth vaping rate in the state.

United States Department of Defense

Despite some glowing heat from fissure 8, the Kīlauea lava flow has slowed down, at least for the time being.  But the destruction and displacement from the flow into lower Puna which began May 3rd is still being addressed by county, state and federal agencies.  We get an update on the federal response from HPR Contributing Reporter Sherry Bracken.



Ken Lund / Flickr

It’s been a little more than a week since Hurricane Lane passed by Hawaii. The storm brought torrential rains to some parts of the state—especially certain areas of Hawaii Island. The Kona districts were fairly unscathed, while districts from South Kohala through Ka’u were hit hard--especially in East Hawaii. The recovery has begun, but it’s moving in stages.

Global Virtual Studio

This was a big weekend for a special export from Hawai‘i. A movie produced and shot on the Big Island debuted in mainland theaters. It’s the latest product from a collaboration involving state funding and private investment.

U.S. Geological Survey

If you’re facing damages from the lava flow on the Big Island, the government wants to hear from you. But the clock is ticking. Both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration have been on Hawai'i Island since shortly after the lava flow began. But authorities are concerned that not everyone eligible for help has signed up.

U.S. Geological Survey

The lava flow on Hawai'i Island continues to touch residents around the island. In the lower Puna District, many concerns center on air quality and property damage. But there's another area that's seeing an impact: real estate prices.

U.S. Geological Survey

Lava continues to flow in the east rift zone of Kīlauea volcano, and several times a week there are new explosions at the summit. While the volcanic activity continues, some are already looking ahead to future development of the area near the volcano, and whether hazard zone maps from the U.S. Geological Survey can help.

U.S. Geological Survey

One of the many impacts of the ongoing lava eruption on the Big Island is on the supply of electricity. There is less power, but the Hawaiian Electric Light Company has also lost customers. So far, there’s been no obvious impact to remaining consumers — at least in terms of turning on their lights.

U.S. Geological Survey

The eruption at Kīlauea continues to send ash plumes into the sky and push lava into the ocean. While that has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced scores of people into shelters, it is also providing an unprecedented opportunity for scientific research.

U.S. Geological Survey

The ongoing eruption at Kīlauea summit continues to produce ash and gas explosions around once a day. Each is preceded by dozens of relatively small seismic events, but they are not what you might think of as traditional earthquakes.

U.S. Geological Survey

It's now been more than a month since the most recent intense volcanic activity started on Hawaiʻi Island. The strain is showing up on many fronts: from emotional distress to trouble for local businesses. Hawaiʻi County is collecting data on the financial strain — but with a very tight deadline. 

Flickr

The lava eruption in the Leilani Estates area of the Big Island’s Puna District is affecting the lives of many.  But the financial impact of this event will also affect County finances and all who pay county taxes. HPR Contributing Reporter Sherry Bracken has more on the story.

U.S. Geological Survey

Hawaiʻi County’s Fire Department is one of the key first responder organizations working overtime in lower Puna. No firefighters have been injured, but dangers linger as crews work to deal with the impact of continuing lava flows in the lower East Rift Zone. HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken talked with the Fire Chief about the risks.

Dave Corrigan / Big Island Video News

Hawai'i County personnel are being stretched thin by the demands of the current lava eruption. Hawai'i County Police Department has 450 sworn officers. Those serving in the Puna district are working overtime to handle the demands of both the lava flow and regular duties. HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken talked with the police chief to find out how they are coping.

Sherry Bracken

Drug issues continue to contribute to crime on all islands, and that includes the Big Island. Contributing reporter Sherry Bracken talked with Hawai'i County’s Police Chief to find out what he sees as the biggest drug issues on Hawai'i Island.

Robert S. Donovan / Flickr

The State Legislature is considering a bill to ban two sunscreen ingredients over concerns they harm the state’s reefs.  But not everybody agrees that’s the right thing to do. Contributing reporter Sherry Bracken has more from Hawai‘i Island.

PPD / Pixnio

It was six months ago today that Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico. Today, there are still communities on the islands that either have no power or only intermittent electricity. One question for the state of Hawai‘i: how would our islands fare if we faced a similar situation? HPR Contributing Reporter Sherry Bracken took that question to power company officials on the Big Island to learn more.

Wikimedia Commons

Hawai‘i Public Radio has learned that the Hawai‘i County Police Department is missing some illegal drugs from its evidence room. Police Chief Paul Ferreira says the case involves cocaine and hashish. The investigation has now been referred to the county prosecutor and the case is continuing to develop. HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken has the exclusive story from Hawai‘i Island.

Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos / Puerto Rico National Guard

The island of Puerto Rico is home to more than 80 pharmaceutical manufacturing plants. Hurricane Maria, which hit late last September, devastated the island and closed those plants. The impact is still affecting the supply of pharmaceuticals and other medical products to the state. From Hawai'i Island, Sherry Bracken has more.

Free for Commercial Use / Flickr

Hawai'i County’s Mayor has about three weeks to send a budget to the County Council. Since 2000, the budget has increased more than 250 percent. That’s a concern for county property owners, who are the primary source of funds. From Hawai'i Island, Sherry Bracken has more.

Sherry Bracken

Ambulance services on every island have a number of clients who are frequent callers—some more than 50 times a year.  On Hawai'i Island, the 300 most frequent 9-1-1 callers make up eleven percent of their total calls, at a cost to the health care system of around $7 million dollars. Hawai'i County’s Fire Department is now using a new system to improve the situation. From Hawai'i Island, Sherry Bracken has more.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Mauna Loa is the largest active volcano on earth and makes up more than half of Hawai'i Island's land mass. Its last eruption was nearly 34 years ago, but over a longer time frame time. It’s erupted every 5 to 6 years with the potential to reach far flung parts of the island. As part of “Volcano Awareness Month,” scientists at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are hosting workshops to inform the community. From Hawai'i Island, contributing reporter Sherry Bracken has more.

Marlena Dixon / State Department of Health
Marlena Dixon / State Department of Health

The State Department of Health has created a Rat Lungworm Task Force to look at this daunting disease. Also known as angiostrongyliasis, it is a concern for people throughout the state.  It causes severe pain, brain swelling, and often, ongoing neurological problems. Hawai'i Island contributing reporter Sherry Bracken talked to members of the Task Force to find out what they know about some of the most frequently asked questions about the disease.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Rat lungworm disease can be devastating. The overwhelming majority of cases have been on Hawai'i Island. State legislators on that island have made several requests to fund ongoing research and outreach efforts at the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy and Hilo Medical Center. In the last legislative session, funds WERE allocated—but not to institutions on the Big Island. HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken follows the money.

Rat Lungworm Update

Nov 23, 2017
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The number of rat lungworm cases confirmed by the State Department of Health has been growing since the department began tracking them a decade ago.  For the first 8 years, there were 65 cases in the state.  But numbers are increasing – 12 last year, and 17 so far in 2017.  Most of the cases have been on the Big Island—65 out of 78. But this year there have also been 6 cases on Maui and one on O'ahu. HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken spoke with a pair of medical professionals working on the spread of rat lungworm on the Big Island, and has an update.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

Hawai'i County Water Supply has had numerous well failures in North Kona for the past year. In early October, the situation seemed to be getting better. But as HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken explains, wells continue to fail.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Waste disposal is a challenge for residents of any island. On Hawai‘i Island, county officials have been talking about the potential closure of the Hilo Landfill for more than three decades. Now, county officials say the closure will happen—and this time there’s a definite timeline. HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken has an update.

Sherry Bracken
Sherry Bracken

Hawai'i Island has the most ohia trees in the state – more than 800,000 out of 1 million trees estimated to exist in the state.  But it also is the home to a fungus that is killing the trees off.  A local artist is documenting the trees in the best way he can. HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken provides this update.

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