An Albuquerque, NM, man has died from an apparent drowning off Koki Beach in Hana. Maui Police say 59 year-old Gary Allen Norris was found unresponsive in waters near the shore at Koki Beach Wednesday afternoon. Bystanders pulled Norris to shore and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The incident was reported at 2:17 p.m.
Upon arrival, Maui Police, Fire and paramedic crews took over the CPR effort while transporting the man to the Hana Medical Clinic. By that time, Norris was deemed in critical condition. He died a short time later at the clinic.
While drowning is the likely cause of death, an autopsy will determine the official results.
This is the second ocean safety emergency at Koki Beach this month. On May 5, a 75 year-old woman was rescued clinging to rocks after rough currents made returning to shore extremely difficult. Read that report here.
WAILUKU – At 3:57 p.m. this afternoon, firefighters were called to Iao Valley State Park after reports of a female hiker who fell and injured herself.
A Wailuku fire crew located the 40-year-old female tourist from British Columbia, Canada, about a mile above the visitor lookout. The woman was hiking alone on the trail above the lookout, when she slipped and injured her ankle as she was descending. Emergency dispatchers were able to lock-in her location via GPS, when she called with her cell phone.
Conditions on the trail proved extremely hazardous to carry the woman out on foot, so a Kahului rescue crew aboard Air 1 airlifted her to the parking lot where she was treated and transported by paramedics with minor injuries.
A strong earthquake struck near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on Thursday (12:49 p.m. today, HST), the U.S. Geological Survey said, but no tsunami was expected and there were no immediate reports of damage.
The earthquake, with a magnitude 7.0, was centered near the Santa Cruz Island group between the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu at a depth of 10 km (6 miles), the USGS said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which measured the quake at magnitude 6.9, said that based in its available data, no tsunami was expected.
The South Pacific nations are still recovering from a devastating cyclone that hit the region in March. Today’s quake is at least the 10th of magnitude 4.9 or more in the last 30 days.
The Solomons are part of the “Ring of Fire”, a zone of tectonic activity around the Pacific that is subject to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
KAHULUI – The Maui County Fire and Public Safety Commission has just completed its annual evaluation of Fire Chief, Jeffrey Murray for calendar year 2014. The evaluation is mandated by the Maui County Charter.
The evaluation took into consideration Chief Murray’s demonstration of leadership; communication; the annual review and update of the MFD strategic plan; department participation in community activities; maintaining leadership, promoting a professional presence in the community; managing the department’s budget; implementation of new and progressive training programs; cooperation with other departments and agencies; and the additional challenge of supervising the transfer of the Ocean Safety Division from the Department of Parks and Recreation, to the Department of Fire and Public Safety.
This change was directed by the most recent amendment of the County Charter. The transition has been smooth and – according to members – seamless.
“Chief Murray has once again performed exceptionally well in relation to the Commission’s expectations. The Commission finds Chief Murray to be a very capable manager with the ability to lead effectively. He is progressive in his approach to the management of the Department and will continue to be a Fire Chief of which Maui County can be proud ,” said Fire and Public Safety Commission Chair, William “Butch” Soares.
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most recently asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Q: I am a property owner on Kaupakalua Road in Haiku. Kaupakalua Road between Kauhikoa and West Kuiaha roads has become almost undriveable after any kind of rainstorm. The road has become very unsafe to drive, with drivers now driving on the opposite side of the road to avoid the potholes. My wife and I have spoken numerous times with the County of Maui road staff at the Makawao office about the situation and about fixing the roads. The staff has been very professional and responsive about filling the potholes after each rainstorm, but they also express their frustration that “filling the potholes doesn’t do much and the road will not survive until it is re-paved in 2018.” My question is: What is the process for either 1) Getting the timeline for re-paving Kaupakalua Road moved up from 2018 to something that aligns with the realistic life of the road in this section, and/or 2) What is the process for getting the sections where the potholes are worst resurfaced until the road can be properly repaved? I appreciate your time and energy on addressing our neighborhood challenge.
A: Our Public Works staff as well as the Mayor’s office, have definitely been hearing about the horrible conditions of this road, and the fact that all the pothole patching our public works crews have been doing recently has been washed away by more recent rains. I was pleased to learn that Public Works will be repaving the really bad sections of Kaupakalua by the end of June, once our County paving equipment is moved out of the Kahakuloa area after the repaving of Kahekili Highway is complete. Repaving these troubled sections will eliminate most of the constant pothole patching that we have been doing on the completely failed roadway sections. The maintenance funds available to our Highways crews will be directed toward the worst areas first. However, due to the existing conditions of the road, repaving will still be a stop-gap measure that will hopefully buy us enough time until the reconstruction project can get underway. The big project to reconstruct Kaupakalua Road will take a few years to iron out all the right-of-way issues, design work and final plan approvals by State DOT according to federal guidelines. Additionally, funding must be approved by moving other projects out a year so this road will get a higher priority due to its rapidly deteriorating condition. The federal process is time-consuming, but Public Works is moving it up the list as quickly as possible. Once completed, the reconstructed roadway (similar to Kokomo Road or Haliimaile Road), is expected to last 25-30 years.
Dear Mayor Arakawa:
Q: I saw on the TV news last night that schoolchildren and residents on Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island will be making leis to place on the graves of veterans buried at Punchbowl Cemetery. However, there was no mention of Maui in the news report. Is there a way to participate in remembering our war heroes with leis on Maui?
A: Yes, the County will be hosting the annual “Blossoms for the Brave” community lei-making event here on the front lawn of the County Building this Friday, May 22, from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The public is invited to come sew leis, enjoy free entertainment and talk story with friends and neighbors. Every helping hand counts, as we will need to make 2,700 lei to be placed on each veteran’s grave on Memorial Day at the Maui Veterans Cemetery in Makawao. If you have sturdy flowers and/or foliage to share, you can bring by your floral and greenery contributions to the County Building on Friday morning starting at 8:30 a.m. Pre-sewn lei donations are also welcome; finished size should be 16 inches in length. Loose flowers are also needed for the aerial flower drop on Memorial Day; they can be dropped off at the Friday event. Blossoms for the Brave is sponsored by Kaunoa Senior Services, the County of Maui Dept. of Housing & Human Concerns, and my office. Parking in Wailuku town can be tight, so a free shuttle is available between the County Building and the Ichiro “Iron” Maehara Baseball Stadium at War Memorial. The shuttle runs every half hour from 8:30 a.m. with last return shuttle at 1:30 p.m. For more information, call Kaunoa Senior Center at 270-7308.
Q: When will the Kahului Airport Bypass Road be completed? Phase 1 & phase 2?
A: According to the State Department of Transportation, completion of the Airport Access Road, Phase I, is anticipated in July 2015 and Phase II in January 2016.
Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.
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One Marine died Sunday when an MV-22 Osprey experienced a “hard landing mishap” at Bellows Air Force Station in Hawaii.
Twenty-one other Marines were also on board the military aircraft. They were taken to area hospitals for assessment and treatment, according to a statement from the Marine Corps.
The tilt-rotor aircraft from the 15th Expeditionary Unit with 22 Marines aboard made a hard landing around 11:40 a.m. at the training area near Waimanal, Oahu.
It said the Marines were conducting “routine sustainment training” at the time.
The cause of the incident was not immediately clear. An investigation is under way.
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