BIG ISLAND – Nearly two miles of ungulate (hoofed animals) proof fencing, surrounding the Pu’u Maka’ ala Natural Area Reserve (NAR) on Hawai’i Island, built in the early part of this decade, was recently cut and destroyed by vandals.
Likely no coincidence, for several hours yesterday, DLNR phone lines were also out of service – having been tampered with as well.
Ungulate fencing is intended to keep feral goats, pigs and other invasive animals away from native plants. This is not the first time fencing in two units within this Hawaii Island Natural (NAR) was vandalized. A routine inspection of the fencing by NAR staff from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) revealed that vandals had cut through multiple sections of fence at intervals of 5-10 meters top to bottom.
DLNR Chairperson Suzanne Case said, “Whatever point these vandals think they’re making, they need to realize that they and every other taxpayer in Hawaii, ultimately ends up paying for the replacement of this fencing. Additionally, significant staff time will be spent to repair the damage which could take several months and takes staff away from other scheduled projects and regular duties.”
The damage has been reported to the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE). A first degree criminal property damage case has been filed. Anyone caught and convicted of vandalizing or destroying state property faces a class B felony with fines in the thousands of dollars as well as 5-10 years in jail. Risking the appearance of topical bias, we at Maui TV News hope the vandals are caught, convicted and punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Nick Agorastos, a NAR Specialist on the Big Island estimates it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the damage. He said, “This damage was done in one day and the cost estimate does not include the labor cost needed to remove ungulates that may have slipped through the damaged portions of fence. It’s unfortunate that we all end up paying for someone else’s thoughtlessness and complete disregard for the purpose of ungulate fencing.”
Hundreds of miles of fencing around the state have been constructed for the express purpose of protecting watersheds and native plants; some of which are so rare there are only a few remaining. Pu’u Maka’ ala Natural Area Reserve is a high value, native forest, containing many sensitive natural resources. It and many other state lands that are fenced continue to provide hunting and recreational access.
Anyone with information on this crime is encouraged to call the DOCARE Hotline at 643-DLNR.
Ask the Mayor
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most recently asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Dear Mr. Mayor,
Q: I live on Hui Road F and it is a mess, filled with pot holes. It is also extremely dangerous to the children and people walking this road as cars swerve all around the pot holes. After school, the buses drop the kids off at the bottom of the road and as they walk up the road there are cars swerving all around. I know there is some confusion as to who is responsible for the repairs of this road, but we ALL pay the same taxes and road fees. I would really like to see this road get repaired BEFORE we have an accident. Please get someone out here to fix this. Mahalo.
A: I checked with our Dept. of Public Works and unfortunately, Hui Road F is a private road so the owner(s) will need to make the needed repairs. We understand that this Hui Road is under the control of the Second Circuit Court as per a partition action decades ago. It may be possible for the County to accept ownership of the road, but it will take a large effort and some funds to improve it. If there is a Hui Road F association or group that could be formed to act as a single voice on this issue, we have found that type of grassroots action to be a positive way of getting complex issues such as this moving forward and resolved. We would be happy to work with such a group.
Q: I travel through Wailuku town quite frequently, and have noticed that High Street fronting One Main Plaza is in dire shape. I have to drive in the opposite lane sometimes to avoid the big bumps! Central Ave. is also pretty bad; any idea when these roads might be getting some attention? Mahalo.
A: High Street fronting One Main Plaza is part of the Wailuku/Kahului District Resurfacing project, which is scheduled to be advertised for bids by end of this summer. Construction is anticipated to begin by the end of the year. Public Works is aware of the condition of Central Avenue and is scheduling it for resurfacing in 2019.
Q: Half of the public lights at the crossroad between Baldwin Avenue and Makawao Avenue in Makawao are off. Who is responsible for changing light bulbs in the light fixtures along public streets?
A: Street lights are maintained and repaired by Maui Electric Co. (MECO). To report a street light that is out or flashing on and off, call MECO’s trouble hotline at (808) 871-7777. On Lanai, call (808) 565-6445 and on Molokai, call (808) 553-3234.
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.
Saturday was an exceptionally busy day for first responders on Maui. Two traffic accidents resulted in four fatalities. A beach rescue in Wailea resulted in a Reading, PA, woman being rushed to the hospital. At 10:37 a.m. Saturday morning, emergency crews responded to reports of an unresponsive woman in the ocean. Upon arrival, bystanders had already pulled the woman from the water at Ulua beach, in South Maui.
When Wailea firefighters arrived at 10:42 a.m., they found bystanders performing CPR on the woman. Beachgoers noticed the woman unresponsive and floating on the surface with snorkel gear, then brought her to shore.
Paramedics rushed her to Maui Memorial Medical Center. The woman is a 76-year-old visitor from Reading, Pennsylvania. Her condition is unavailable.
Then, at 2:05 p.m. Saturday, firefighters responded to a brush fire reported near Shaw Street, in Lahaina.
Lahaina firefighters arrived at 2:14 p.m. and found about an acre of grass and brush burning on the mauka side of the Lahaina Aquatic Center. A water tanker and heavy equipment from a nearby construction company were keeping the fire from spreading.
Three crews from Lahaina and Napili and two fire department water tankers responded. The fire was called contained at 2:43 p.m. Crews had not called it extinguished late Saturday, but monitored for areas still left smoldering. Just over an acre burned. Its still unclear what caused the fire.
By Jeff King
Three Maui men died Saturday night when the pickup bed in which they were riding was slammed by a pickup truck along Mokulele Highway near Maui Raceway Park.
At 1 p.m. today Maui Police are planning to release a brief statement about the incident.
Dead are Howard Pruse, a 25 year-old Waiehu resident, 51 year-old Eric Oguma, also from Waiehu and Tyree Kamaunu, a 27 year-old man from Waihe’e.
According to the MPD report, at 9:33 p.m. Saturday, a blue Dodge pickup truck was conducting a left turn from Mokulele Highway into the Maui Raceway Park entrance. The blue Dodge pickup truck was struck – broadside – by a white Toyota pickup truck, which was traveling northbound on Mokulele Highway.
As a result of this collision, all three passengers riding within the bed of the blue Dodge pickup truck were ejected and pronounced dead at the scene. A third vehicle, a black Toyota pickup truck, was stopped at the Maui Raceway Park exit waiting to conduct a right turn onto Mokulele Highway (northbound). This black Toyota pickup truck was struck by projectiles which were propelled as result of the white Toyota pickup truck and the blue Dodge pickup truck colliding. The front seat passenger of the Dodge pickup truck was transported to the Maui Memorial Medical Center for treatment.
Neither the driver of the Dodge nor black Toyota pickup trucks was injured. All three occupants of the white Toyota pickup truck were transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center for treatment.
The bed of the Dodge pickup truck is not equipped with any occupant protection or safety mechanisms.
Investigation into all factors including safety equipment and vehicle air bags is on going.
The involvement of speed, drugs, and alcohol has not been determined as the investigation is still ongoing.
This triple fatality motor vehicle collision brings Maui County’s total number of traffic deaths so far in 2015 to eight. Four of those deaths happened yesterday alone. Read the account of Saturday morning’s fatal crash here.
In 2014 at this time, 14 traffic fatalities had already occurred.
A Kahului man died today after the moped he was riding crashed into a Honda CRV in Kahului this morning. The deceased is 25 year-old Davin K. Ah Yen of Kahului. Maui Police say he was riding a black Vespa scooter traveling south on South Papa Street near the intersection of Maalo Street.
At around 7:19 a.m., a blue 2009 Honda CRV was traveling north on the same street, and made a left turn into a residential driveway. The moped Ah Yen was operating struck the Honda, resulting in critical injuries. He was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition. He died a short time later.
The driver of the CRV, a 23 year-old man, also from Kahului, was uninjured. He was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash. The passenger side airbags deployed. Police say Ah Yen was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
The involvement of speed, alcohol, and drugs remain under investigation.
This is Maui County’s fifth fatality for 2015 as compared to 14 at this same time last year.
According to their report, the man – dressed in a hoodie, with his face covered. He was also wearing gloves. The armed man jumped over the counter where, at gunpoint, he took an undisclosed amount of prescription medication. Several workers witnessed the crime and described the man as dark complected and about five feet, five inches tall.
The incident happened at 8:12 p.m. Wednesday. No other description of the man has been made available. Anyone with information is asked to please contact the Maui Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at 808-244-6425 or Maui Police Department Non-Emergency 808-244-6400. If it is an emergency, please contact 911.
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