Hawaii Island

Reports from Sherry Bracken

New Big Island Lava Map

Mar 4, 2019
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.

Hawai‘i Island Grapples with Garbage

Feb 19, 2019
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.

Vision Zero for Hawai‘i Island

Feb 6, 2019
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.

Change at the Top of HELCO

Jan 22, 2019
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.

Weighing Priorities on Hawaiʻi Island

Jan 11, 2019
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. 

Ultraman Comes to the Big Island

Nov 22, 2018
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.

Hawai'i County Sets Housing Fair

Nov 12, 2018
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.

Kīlauea’s Complexities

Oct 31, 2018
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. 

Ironman Triathlon Hits Kona

Oct 11, 2018
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. 

Puna’s New Planned Development

Sep 21, 2018
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.

Hawai'i Youth Vape More Than National Average

Sep 17, 2018

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.

Federal Support Critical to Kilauea Recovery Effort

Sep 7, 2018
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.



Post Lane Recovery Begins on Hawaii Island

Sep 4, 2018
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.

Exporting Movies from the Big Island

Aug 20, 2018
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.

Mark Wasser / National Park Service

A brushfire continues to burn inside Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and now threatens critical habitat for the endangered ʻiʻiwi birds.

Clock Ticking on Big Island Lava Damages

Aug 6, 2018
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 eruption at Kilauea has been disrupting life in Puna for almost 3 months. At present, over 700 homes have been destroyed. Many more have been abandoned due to unsafe conditions and lack of access.

Some residents have been receiving payouts from their homeowners insurance to cover the damage. But others are not so lucky. One Big Island couple is suing their insurer over the company's lack of response.

Navin75 / Flickr

An unknown disease is killing wild horses in Waipiʻo Valley on Hawaiʻi Island.

Lava’s Real Estate Impact

Jul 24, 2018
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.

Lava Maps Key to Future Development

Jul 11, 2018
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.

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