Mike McCartney, CEO of Hawai’i Tourism Authority, issued the following statement in remembrance of the
“Today is a day to remember, to be thankful, to live aloha. Two years ago today, the people of Japan were shaken by natural disasters that changed their lives forever. Many lost their homes, their way of life, their family and friends. Yet they remained strong and showed the world their resilience and calm during difficult times, and today continue to move forward boldly into the future. However, the sadness and loss they have endured can never be forgotten.
Let us never forget and always remember. We send our aloha and gratitude to the people of Japan. And let us be thankful that we live in Hawaii, where we have a special connection with the island nation of Japan. Our relationship is more than business and tourism – it is one of historical significance that runs deep within our social DNA.
On behalf of the HTA and Hawaii’s tourism industry, we want to extend our remembrances and our aloha to our family and friends in Japan on this anniversary of the March 11th natural disasters.
Earthquakes struck at opposite ends of the Pacific Ocean this morning. Neither quake generated a tsunami. A strong magnitude-6.7 earthquake has struck Papua New Guinea but there are no immediate reports of damage and no regional tsunami alert. The other quake struck Southern California
Chris McKee, the assistant director of the Geophysical Observatory in Port Moresby, said the earthquake’s epicenter was relatively deep and some way offshore so it was unlikely to have caused major problems.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck Monday morning about 198 miles north of the capital Port Moresby and was centered about 52 miles below sea level.
Papua New Guinea is on the “Ring of Fire” — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim. It’s where most of the world’s seismic activity occurs.
Across the Pacific, a moderate earthquake shook a wide area of Southern California on Monday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The temblor struck at 9:55 a.m. PT in a remote, mountainous area northeast of San Diego and was estimated to be magnitude 4.7 (earlier reports gave it a magnitude of 5.1). The quake’s center was 16 miles south of Palm Desert, Calif. There were no initial reports of damage or injuries.
Several smaller seismic events were also reported around the same time.
According to Leslie Gordon of the USGS, the initial magnitude reports are generated by computer and automatically sent out. Those reports are revised after data are reviewed by USGS seismologists.
The quake was “a little tricky to analyze” because of a small quake that preceded the larger event, said USGS seismologist Susan Hough. That threw off some of the instruments, she said, and so the depth of the quake as well as its precise epicenter and relation to known faults in the area remained unclear.
The quake was felt sharply in the local area, The Associated Press reported, and also rolled through downtown Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County.
Some Twitter users reported that they slept through the quake, while other reported being startled awake.
Kristen Nicole (@KristenNicole25) tweeted: “Apparently there was an #earthquake in #SoCal this morning. People said they felt it in #LA… Not this girl.”
Twitter user Anayeli (@iamanayeli) reported the quake woke her up in Riverside. “At least I won’t be late for class!,” she wrote.
Terry Raposa said on her Facebook account that she felt the quake in Lake Elsinore.
“Slam and then felt sea sick! LOL!,” she wrote, NBCLosAngeles.com reported.
Sunday afternoon, authorities in Alaska say, an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.0 was felt in Anchorage and areas to the northwest. No tsunami alert was issued.
The Alaska Earthquake Information Center reports that the quake struck shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday. It was centered 28 miles northwest of Anchorage.
The quake was felt throughout the Cook Inlet region. There were no reports of damage.
Honolulu, Hawaii – The House Finance Committee led by Representative Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), today passed out the proposed state budget which is scheduled for a vote next week by the full House.
HB200 HD1<http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=200&year=2013> appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch for the current biennium fiscal years FY2013-2014 and FY2014-2015.
For FY2013-2014, the bill offers $5.9 billion in general funds and $11.6 billion in all other means of financing. For FY2014-2015, it appropriates $6.1 billion in general funds and $11.7 billion in all additional financing means.
Finance Chair Luke acknowledged that the fiscal outlook is a little more positive than it has been in the past but she said, “because we have a fiscal climate that is looking up in terms of revenue, this is actually the time to take a conservative approach to our budget picture. I realize that in the last four years we have had to cut funding to our programs and agencies because of the State’s financial crisis, but simply restoring the cuts to pre recession numbers is not the approach we are taking.”
“We need to re-evaluate what government is here for, what do we need, what can we do without. The House is taking on the challenge to develop a budget that gives us the opportunity to provide structural stability to the State’s financial plan. We want to increase transparency, efficiency and accountability in government. We want to reprioritize and restructure government services and create an evolving, sustainable and robust economy for future generations,” said Luke.
“I believe expectations for complete funding restoration plus additional funds for more projects are high, as exhibited in the Executive’s budget request to us. However, indicators from various economic forecasts show an unsteady trend in revenue. For example, while the Council on Revenues (COR) projected increases based on a robust tourism industry and expansion in the rest of the economy, it remained uncertain about the impact on tax collections due to the renewable energy credit and changes in the tax laws. Meanwhile, the University of Hawaii Research Organization (UHERO) reported last month that despite the banner year for tourism, economic growth will ease over the next two years. We are also facing the unknown ramifications of the federal government’s sequestration,” concluded Luke.
Funding highlights include;
* $7.9 million in FY2013-2014 for a reasonable rollout of the State’s Information Management and Technology Transformation Plan. The Office of Information Management and Technology (OIMT) plan is to consolidate the State’s existing information-technology infrastructure, enhance security and privacy, and develop shared services functions across state departments.
* $3 million has been provided to Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) for risk management to ensure adequate insurance coverage for natural disasters.
* Restored services and positions cut by the Department of Agriculture (DOA) by funding positions that support our local food sustainability and agricultural health. This includes 19 critical specialist and inspector positions to help control the spread of invasive species, 5 engineers for irrigation systems, and additional personnel that provide specialized testing for livestock.
* Additional support for law enforcement agencies through funding for data systems such as the Juvenile Justice Information system (JJIS), Automated Fingerprint Recognition System (AFIS), and Facial Recognition System (FRS).
* $1.1 million for the State Library System to purchase additional books and e-books.
* A total of almost $2 million to support for the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative to meet the State’s goal of using 70% clean energy by the year 2030.
* To address the issues that encompass the State’s growing Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF) unfunded liability, $205.5 million over the next two years has been infused into Other Post Employment Benefits (OPED).
* $306,461 in additional support for the Mortgage Foreclosure Dispute Resolution Program to reflect the increase in mortgage fraud and other disputes between lenders and owners.
* $650,000 to update and address issues with the State’s tsunami warning siren system.
* Support for our local students by providing to the Department of Education (DOE) an additional $12.9 million for the Weighted Student Formula and $1 million for the development of a Common Core assessment test in the Hawaiian language to serve students enrolled at 14 Hawaiian immersion schools across the state.
* $155.75 million in general obligation bond (GO) appropriations for public school improvements that include health and safety and electrical upgrades.
* Restored public health service positions within the Department of Health (DOH) including 8 vector control workers and $443,520 of funds to increase surveillance at our airports, 8 food safety inspectors, and 7 environmental health specialists and engineers to administer programs on environmental protection regulations. $800,000 in general funds for both fiscal years for Hale Makemae and Kula Hospital.
* $10 million annual funding for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) to carry out its duties of planning and developing Hawaiian Homelands across Hawaii.
* Significant support for the State’s largest department, the Department of Human Services (DHS), with $98 million to cover increasing Medicare costs, $1.9 million for youth and juvenile services, and 10 personnel to focus on homelessness project management.
* Provides 9 additional positions to provide security and intake services for inmates returning from out of state facilities and appropriates $8.7 million in additional funding for the Department of Public Safety (PSD) to maintain essential functions.
* A total of $3.8 million in general funds and $32 million in GO funding to the Department of Taxation (DoTAX) to upgrade its current tax system with the Tax System Modernization Project, a five-year program that will result in the increased efficiency of electronically filed taxes and tax processing.
* Funding to the Department of Transportation (DOT) for various vehicles and equipment to upkeep our airports and harbors. Most importantly, approval of all special and regular maintenance requests submitted by the Department.
* Continued support of our higher education systems with $780,000 for distance learning courses, $1 million for operating costs at the West Oahu Campus and $2 million to support the community college system in each fiscal year, and $100 million in GO appropriations for repair and maintenance of our campuses.
* A Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget of $1,707,274,000 for FY2013-2014 and $912,851,000 for FY2014-2015 in all means of financing to address repair and maintenance backlogs and to develop “shovel ready” projects.
A 6.9-magnitude earthquake that struck in Colombia early this morning poses no tsunami threat to Hawaii, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
The temblor struck at at 4:16 a.m. Hawaii time, centered 3 miles northeast of Yacuanquer, Colombia at a depth of 95.6 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
The temblor sent frightened people fleeing into the streets, but no serious injuries or major damage were reported.
The quake was felt in the Colombian capital of Bogota, some 340 miles to the northeast, and across much of neighboring Ecuador.
In the province of Narino, where the quake hit, secretary of government Jaime Rodriguez said officials had reports of three people hurt when roof tiles fell in the town of El Charco along the Pacific Coast. Officials in Ecuador also reported no significant damage.
Colombian television showed people fleeing into the streets of southwestern cities such as Cali, and small cracks in the walls of some buildings.
Mayor Paulo Cesar Rodriguez of the town of Tuquerres near the epicenter said the quake was “very strong and felt for a long time” but that there were no reports of injuries in the town of 42,300.
Another strong earthquake has struck Santa Cruz Islands this morning, but authorities say there is no danger of a tsunami.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach says the quake had a magnitude of 7.0 an hit at around 5:27 a.m. HST on Friday. A destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is NOT expected and there is NO tsunami threat to Hawaii.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center posted warnings and watches for several South Pacific islands after a magnitude 8.0 earthquake near the Santa Cruz islands. The Santa Cruz Islands are a cluster of land blips that are home to about6 25,000 residents. No evacuations have been ordered – partially because there are no airports.
There is no tsunami threat for Hawaii at this time. However, warning center scientists say there is a possibility Hawaii could be included in an expanding tsunami watch or warning. Scientists are evaluating the potential threat to the state. Go to www.pdc.org for the latest in real-time information and interactive visual maps.
The warning is posted for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna, Marshall Islands, Howland and Baker, Pohnpei and Tokelau.
A tsunami watch is in effect for Samoa, Kermadec Islands, New Zealand, American Samoa, Tonga, Australia, Niue, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Wake Island, Chuuk, Jarvis Island, Guam, Northern Marianas, Palmyra Island, Yap, Johnston Island, Minamitorishima, Belau and Midway Island.
The earthquake struck at 3:12 p.m. Hawaii time. The U.S. Geological Survey said the 8.0-magnitude quake struck 50 miles west of Lata, in the Solomon Islands, at a depth of 3.6 miles. There were no immediate reports of damage. The warning center said it is not known yet if a tsunami was generated, but an earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsuanmi.
The warning center is monitoring gauges near the earthquake to determine if a tsunami was generated and to estimate the severity of the threat.
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