Maui Electric crews have been busy in Central Maui this afternoon. In a 90-minute span, a large portion of Wailuku lost electrical power not once – but twice.
The first outage was around 2:45 p.m.. MECO had everyone back on within 30 minutes. But then – more flickering and a similar-sized outage cut the lights shortly after 4 p.m. This time electric order was restored within 15 minutes.
MECO expressed thanks for the patience of powerless customers – and has not released any details of the cause of the two blackouts.
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-recently asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Dear Mr. Mayor:
Q: I heard there was a headline in the Maui News that said no more short-term [vacation rental home] licenses are being given for homes on Maui. Is this true? If so when did it become law?
A: No, that is not true, although it might be in the future if the County Council follows the Maui Planning Commission’s recommendation to call for a moratorium on all new short-term vacation rental permits. There is currently a shortage of affordable rental homes for residents, which is why the panel wants to hold off on more short-term accommodations for visitors.
Dear Mayor Arakawa:
Q: It has come to my attention that along Front Street, there are no public recycling receptacles of any kind to deposit recyclable materials in. I realize that money (or lack thereof) is the purported reason for the receptacles not being in place. Is this still the obstacle? If so, we must work around this issue. As the person stated in an “Ask the Mayor” column published early last year, I am willing to purchase receptacles and also participate in the emptying of them. I’m sure many others in the Lahaina community are willing to do so as well. Please let me know if there is any plan to put recycling receptacles on Front Street. If not, we, the community members, will have to do it ourselves. Thank you for your time.
A: Actually, there is recycling taking place along Front Street that has proven to be effective at diverting approximately 95 percent of the HI-5 recyclables by utilizing the existing trash barrels. What you may not be aware of is that each of the 35 historically appropriate wooden oak barrel trash receptacles along Front Street have signs stating “Cans Bottles OK” and the international recycling logo. These barrels are part of an effective beautification program funded by a County Parks grant and run by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation (LRF). The receptacles are “mined” daily by LRF staff and every few hours or so by individuals collecting HI-5 recyclables. Front Street sidewalks are narrow and very crowded with several sets of bike racks and hundreds if not thousands of pedestrians daily; these and other reasons would make it less than ideal to install separate recycling bins. The LRF says the current system has worked remarkably well for numerous years, maintains the visual look of the Historic Districts and requires no additional staff, transportation, funds, equipment or supplies. Once a year, as a service project, volunteers from the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise brush an oil-based finish on the oak barrel trash cans, which has significantly prolonged their life. The LRF also encourages business to “adopt a barrel” and maintain it on a regular basis.
Aloha Mayor Arakawa,
Q: The County conducted a traffic flow study on Mission Street in Wailuku a few years back and it showed an unusually high volume of vehicular traffic. There are ineffective speed bumps allowing traffic to move at a high rate of speed over this two-block stretch of road. There is a two-way stop on Vineyard where the two roads intersect. For the safety of the residents, would it be possible to make this intersection a four-way stop? This could effectively slow traffic and make this area safer for all the old folks and school children who use this street as pedestrians.
A: Based on the traffic flow study you referred to, the speed humps on Mission Street seem to be doing their job of slowing traffic. Engineering staff from the Dept. of Public Works (DPW) have noted that stop signs are not recommended as a means of speed control; they are primarily utilized because of a limited sight distance, or are used to control traffic based on traffic volumes. An unwarranted stop sign, such as in this case, typically results in non-compliance even by otherwise responsible drivers. However, DPW can check the height of the speed humps to make sure they are still within standard height, and monitor the on-street parking of vehicles that can cause unsafe situations for pedestrians when they are forced to walk in the street.
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.
UPDATE: Within the past hour, Maui Police have confirmed that Ashley Newton was located overnight by Wailuku Patrol officers. She is reported to be in good health.
For the second time today, Maui Police are reaching out to the public in hopes of finding a reported missing person on Maui. Ashley Newton is a 24 year-old woman with no known local address. She was reported missing today by her uncle, who lives in Oklahoma – after the uncle was unable to locate his niece.
The report was filed shortly after noon today, Ms. Newton, police say, has contacts in Kihei, Lahaina, and Upcountry areas, however; at this time Police say she is homeless and her whereabouts are unknown.
MPD provided this description:
If Ashley Newton is located, please contact the Maui Police Department at (808) 244-6400 or 911 if it is an emergency. Also Detective Gordon Sagun at 244-6434 (Monday through Friday 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Please reference Missing Person report #15-010602.
Earlier today, MPD released a public plea for help finding another missing person – under similar circumstances: no local address and a report filed
WAILUKU – The County of Maui’s Department of Environmental Management reports that a wastewater overflow of approximately 1,250 gallons occurred on February 14, in Wailuku.
The overflow was reported at 8:40 a.m. and was stopped by 9:20 a.m.
The overflow was caused by equipment malfunction at Waiehu Pump Station, when power was lost due to strong winds in the area. Gusts neared 50 mph Saturday morning in Central and West Maui. The wastewater flowed from a manhole fronting the Waiehu Pump Station on Akake Street, and flowed along the roadway into a storm drain.
The good news is that the overflow did not reach the ocean. The not-so-good news is that the spill was prevented from reaching the ocean because the storm drain was completely blocked with sand. The spill site was disinfected and the State Department of Health was notified.
This Sunday, January 25, the Department of Water Supply will be repairing a manhole at the intersection of Market Street and Main Street in Wailuku. The roadwork will begin at 7:30 am and end at approximately 3:30 pm. Traffic will flow in all directions at that intersection, except traffic from Main Street turning right onto Market Street will be prohibited. Motorists driving toward Happy Valley from Main Street may want to turn right onto Central Avenue as an alternate route. Motorists in that vicinity are advised to drive with caution.
We regret any inconvenience this may cause.
Maui Fire Department investigators have determined that a house fire in Wailuku Sunday afternoon was caused by a mishap with a gas generator that was providing power to the structure. The house, at 60 Wilikona Place in Wailuku, was home to two people who safely evacuated.
The call came in Sunday at 4:38 p.m. MFD crews from Wailuku and Kahului were dispatched to a reported structure fire. Upon arrival, they observed flames erupting through the roof at the center of the 2,600 square-foot residential structure. They brought the fire under control by 5:30 p.m. and it was called extinguished shortly thereafter.
The fire damage to the structure was extensive with damages estimated at $300,000 to the structure and $50,000 to its contents. There were no injuries to report.
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