Hawaii Island

Reports from Sherry Bracken

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.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory of USGS / Wikimedia Commons

A total of 22 fissures have appeared since May 3rd in Leilani Estates. The eruption has destroyed at least 29 homes, and lava has covered more than 150 acres of land. 

A community meeting is being held tomorrow at 5:30 PM at the Pahoa High School Cafeteria.

USGS Volcanoes / Facebook

Since May 3, Hawaiʻi’s Kīlauea volcano destroyed more than 35 structures, 26 of which were homes, and displaced an estimated 2,000 residents.  HPR Reporter Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi has been on the ground in Puna talking to local residents about their experience.

TeroVesalainen / Pixabay

Hawaiʻi County is the only county in the state without some form of restriction on temporary vacation rentals. Last week, County Councilmembers introduced Bill 108 – a measure that would regulate how and where properties can be rented short term.

Pixabay

Legislative Session Wrap Up; Hawaii Island Moves to Regulate Short Term Rentals; Containing Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death

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.

Images of Money / Flickr

The Hawaiʻi County Council is considering a ballot initiative to make government salary adjustments more transparent.

Wikimedia Commons

Community meetings on Hawaiʻi County's General Excise Tax bill are set for this week.

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.

Pinterest

Republican Tax Plan Advances; Johnson Amendment Repeal; Prosecuting Agricultural Theft on Hawaii Island; Habitat Zone for False Killer Whales

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.

Nathan Fitch/Island Soldier

Aquarium Fish Permits; North Kona Water; Micronesian Veterans of U.S. Military

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.

Governor David Y. Ige / Flickr
Governor David Y. Ige / Flickr

This week, we’ve been looking at the tourism industry throughout the state, in our series “Traveling Money: Managing Hawai‘i’s Tourism Future.”  Today we get an update about Hawai'i Island, where tourism is the best it’s been in a decade. HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken has more from Kona. 

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

If you live on Hawaiʻi Island, your property insurance may be changing, and very soon.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has taken a new look at the island’s flood zone maps and that could have an impact on your flood insurance.  We get an update from HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken in Kona.  

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

It’s been 33 years since Mauna Loa last erupted, but an alert level remains in place at the world’s largest active volcano. Scientists at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory raised the alert level two years ago. HPR Contributing Reporter Sherry Bracken says that although scientists say no eruption is imminent, they want Hawai'i Island residents to be aware of the likelihood of a future eruption.

Ken Lund / Flickr
Ken Lund / Flickr

Just over a month ago, Hawai'i County Mayor Harry Kim and his team moved most of the homeless out of Old Airport Park on the west side of the island. That meant around 68 people who had been living in the park had to leave. About half of them are now living in the County’s new tent city. HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken has an update.

624rsg.afrc.af.mil
624rsg.afrc.af.mil

As many as five thousand people are expected to descend on Kona this week. They'll be there to watch or to paddle in what organizers call the largest outrigger canoe race in the world. HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken got details from officials of the sponsoring canoe club and has this report.

Kona Wells Update

Aug 17, 2017
R/DV/RS / Flickr
R/DV/RS / Flickr

Hawai'i County water users in North Kona have been under tight restrictions since January. Nearly 40 percent of the wells serving that area are currently out of service.  HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken talked to county officials about plans for a short-term fix as well as a long-term solution.

lawdawg1 / Flickr
lawdawg1 / Flickr

A memorial service will take place tomorrow on Hawai'i Island for a person who changed the way people look at local sport fishing. Jim Rizzuto passed away last month, but left a legacy that lives on well beyond the waters of Hawai'i. We get more from HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken.

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