A family of five lost their home to a fire in Haiku Saturday. Maui Fire Department crews from Pa’ia and Makawao responded to an alarm at 2:37 p.m., Saturday, arriving to a fully engulfed 400 square-foot structure in the gulch on Hahana Road. The family – two adults and three children – were safe outside. Volunteers from the American Red Cross came to the scene to assist with lodging and accommodations.
Fire investigators were not able to immediately determine the cause of the fire – which was brought under control at 3:30 p.m. Estimated losses are $60,000 to the building and $50,000 for the contents. MFD’s investigation continues.
By Jeff King
Maui Police say the man driving the car that crashed, resulting in the death of a young Kihei woman, have determined alcohol and speed were factors in the crash. It happened on the Lahaina Bypass road near mile marker 2.1 shortly before 1 a.m. yesterday.
The passenger in a 2009 Toyota has been identified as 23 year-old Taryn Kiyota of Kihei. She was killed when, at about 12:45 a.m. Saturday, the car she was a passenger in slammed into a guardrail. The 24 year-old man driving the car was uninjured. Police arrested the man on a charge of manslaughter. He was subsequently released while Police complete their investigation and forward the case to the Maui County prosecutor’s office for action.
According to the Maui Police Department report by Sgt. William Hankins of the Cehicular Homicide Unit, the car was travelling southbound on the Lahaina Bypass road when he apparently lost control of the car. The Toyota travelled off the roadway on the makai grassy shoulder while continuing to spin. Still out of control, the Toyota slid back onto the roadway before impacting the guardrail. The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. Kiyota was wearing her seat belt. The driver was not. The vehicle airbags did deploy.
The involvement of drugs will be determined by lab tests.
Taryn Kiyota is the 18th person to die on Maui roads this year, compared with 11 at this time in 2013.
A small brush fire in Waikapu today scorched only about a quarter-acre, but it happened in some of the hottest and most humid conditions of the year. Temperatures at the time were over 90 degrees and humidity was extremely high, making the “feels like” temperature closer to 100.
At 12:22 this afternoon, Fire Fighters from Wailuku and Kahului were dispatched to a brush fire just off of Waiko Road in Waikapu, at the end of the old rubbish dump road. Crews arrived to a quarter acre area of brush and trash involved. The fire was called under control by 12:40 p.m. and extinguished at 1:27 p.m. The cause of the fire was undetermined. No monetary losses or injuries were reported.
As part of the new Commercial Service Plan, five commercial-free days have been determined for Haleakalā National Park, beginning in July 2015. As specified in the plan, these days are intended to provide opportunities for Native Hawaiians to conduct traditional cultural practices in the park without any impacts from commercial tours. Although commercial tours will not be permitted during commercial-free days, the park will remain open to all visitors.
Park officials sought input from Native Hawaiian Staff, community members, and the park’s kūpuna group in determining the following dates:
Notice of the commercial-free days is being given now to allow sufficient time for the park’s commercial tour operators to adjust their reservation schedules and operations. “We will be very interested to see how the community responds to these commercial free days during the first year of their implementation, said Superintendent Natalie Gates. “We will be open to comments and may change the dates in future years if the community response warrants.” For more information on the park’s commercial services plan please visit http://www.nps.gov/hale/parkmgmt/csp.htm.
HONOLULU- Hawaii Ecotourism Association (HEA) announced the winners of environmentally-friendly tourism awards at a luncheon today in Waikiki. Seventeen tour operators were honored by HEA, a local nonprofit organization that protects Hawaii’s unique natural environment and host culture by promoting responsible travel. The event marked HEA’s 20th Anniversary.
Hawaiian Legacy Tours, a company known for sustaining the environment by planting native Koa forests on Hawaii Island, was awarded with the coveted 2014 Certified Sustainable Tour Operator Award. “This outstanding example of a sustainable tour operation far exceeds HEA’s mission and goal of protecting the unique natural and cultural resources of Hawaii nei,” said Aaron Lowe, President of the Board of Directors of HEA.
The 2014 Ecotour Guides of the Year were announced as follows (Maui County winners are highlighted in bold type):
Seventeen tour operators were honored for having achieved HEA’s Sustainable Tourism Certification for the 2014-2016 term. They are as follows: Atlantis Adventures, Bike Hawaii, Holokai Kayak & Snorkel Adventure, Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks, Ko Olina Ocean Adventures, Kualoa Ranch, Pacific Islands Institute, Wild Side Specialty Tours, Hawaiian Paddle Sports, Maui Kayak Adventures, Pacific Whale Foundation, Trilogy Excursions, Fair Wind Cruises, Hawaii Forest & Trail, Hawaiian Legacy Tours, Big Island Divers, and Volcano Discovery Hawaii.
“As a founding member of the organization, it is really exciting to see the goal of tour operator certification finally come to fruition,” said Annette Kaohelaulii, former President on the Board of which she is currently a member. The Sustainable Tourism Certification process was developed to ensure tour operator and visitor industry accountability for the impact their business may have on the unique natural and cultural resources of Hawaii and to promote sustainable and restorative practices as part of Hawaii’s visitor industry product. In April 2013, Hawaii Tourism Authority awarded funding to HEA, to ensure implementation of the program permanently in Hawaii’s visitor industry.
The 2014 HEA Annual Awards Luncheon commemorates the 20th anniversary of the 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. HEA was formed by members of the planning committee of the Statewide Conference on Ecotourism in 1994.
HONOLULU – The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) advises Hawaii residents to exercise caution when searching for a loan through an online lender.
Consumers searching for a loan online may actually be dealing with an online lead generator that may sell the personal financial information to data brokers. Data brokers then resell the information to lenders. The lenders may use this personal information to gain access to personal checking accounts to deposit unauthorized loans and debit unauthorized fees without consent.
“Hawaii residents should be extremely cautious before giving out their personal identification or financial account information to anyone they’ve never dealt with before, whether in person, on the phone or online,” OCP Executive Director Bruce B. Kim said.
This week, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced an enforcement action against the Hydra Group (Hydra) alleging that Hydra operates through a maze of corporate entities such as SSM Group, Hydra Financial Limited Funds, PCMO Services, and Piggycash Online Holdings, created to avoid regulatory oversight. The CFPB alleges that the consumers’ trouble began after submitting sensitive, personal financial information to online lead generators that matched consumers with payday lenders. The lead generators auctioned off the consumer’s information to firms that make payday loans. In some cases, they sell large volumes of leads to data brokers that then re-sell them to lenders. The Hydra group would buy this information, use it to access consumer’s checking accounts to deposit unauthorized payday loans, and then begin debiting unauthorized fees.
When unsuspecting consumers complained about the unauthorized loans, they were presented with bogus documents allegedly justifying the withdrawals. If consumers closed their checking accounts to avoid the unauthorized withdrawals, Hydra may have sold the bogus debt to third-party debt collectors, who then pursued repayment of the bogus loans and charges.
The CFPB obtained an order from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri on Sept. 9, 2014, freezing the defendants’ assets and installing a receiver to oversee the business and ensure that any illegal conduct is stopped. The court has scheduled a hearing on the CFPB’s request for a preliminary injunction, in which the CFPB seeks to keep the relief in place while the case proceeds. A copy of the CFPB’s complaint against Hydra can be found at:http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201409_cfpb_complaint_hydra-group.pdf
Whether or not dealing with an online lender results in a loan, simply entering information on the site may result in severe unintended financial consequences. Selling personal and financial information is a big business. People who buy personal information may use it to sell unsuspecting consumers goods and services, charge them for goods and services they never agreed to buy, charge amounts other than what was authorized, or try to commit identity theft.
For information about online lenders, visit the Federal Trade Commission website at: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0249-online-payday-loans
Consumers can also contact OCP in Honolulu at 586-2630 with questions, or to file a complaint. People can also visit OCP’s website at cca.hawaii.gov/ocp for more information about filing a complaint.
The State of Hawaii’s DCCA Office of Consumer Protection educates and protects consumers from unlawful acts or practices by companies that may cause harm to consumers. If you have further questions about our services, contact the Office of Consumer Protection at (808) 586-2636.
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