Park reopens as wind blows gas
HILO » With increasing breezes blowing noxious sulfur dioxide gas away from popular areas in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the park reopened at 1 p.m. yesterday.
"The parking lot was full in 15 minutes," said Ranger Jim Gale.
The private Volcano House hotel also reopened at 1 p.m., and the Jaggar Museum reopened at 4 p.m. Kilauea Military Camp had not closed.
The closure prompted Wednesday by a lack of tradewinds blowing the gas away was over, but release of sulfur dioxide at a vent inside Halemaumau Crater continued.
The volcanic haze shrouded the other islands for much of yesterday, but tradewinds are expected to help lift the veil of vog today.
Hawaii County Civil Defense maintained a Condition Red status yesterday for the Volcano Golf and Country Club Estates subdivision, the community closest to Halemaumau. A reassessment was planned for 6 a.m. today, the agency said.
Communities from Volcano Village to Fern Forest, eight miles away, remained in the lesser Condition Orange.
Hilo, on the northeast side of Kilauea and Halemaumau, was blanketed by volcanic fumes yesterday morning but cleared up at about noon. The Kau district, on the southwestern side of the fume vent, remained in Condition Yellow, bearable for most people but still a problem for highly sensitive individuals.
State appoints Bartholomew judge
HILO » Lawyer Anthony K. Bartholomew, a deputy public defender in Hilo, has been appointed judge of the District Family Court on the Big Island, the state Judiciary announced.
The appointment would fill a vacancy left by the retirement of Judge Terence Yoshioka.
The appointment made by Hawaii Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon is subject to confirmation by the state Senate.
The office of Sen. Brian Taniguchi, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said a hearing will be held at 2:30 p.m. Monday in state Capitol Conference Room 016.
If the committee makes a favorable recommendation, the Senate will vote on the appointment Thursday, the last day of this legislative session, Taniguchi's office said.
Bartholomew was appointed to be a District Court judge in Hilo last year, but the appointment was blocked by an opinion from Attorney General Mark Bennett that the chief justice waited longer than the permitted 30 days between receiving a list of nominees and naming an appointee.
Bartholomew also was nominated to be a Hilo District Court judge in 2004 but was not appointed at the time.
No fumes escape munitions blast
Army experts have destroyed 41 chemical munitions found at Schofield Barracks using a Transportable Detonation Chamber.
An air-monitoring process confirmed that no vapors were released in the destruction of the devices that contained phosgene, which causes choking and was used during World War I, according to an Army release. The operation will resume in two weeks to destroy the remaining 30 chemical munitions found in a Schofield training range in 2006 when it was cleared to prepare for use by the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. One of the 71 devices contained chloropicrin, a tearing agent also used in insecticides and fumigants.
Police, Fire, Courts
Fire burns home being fumigated
Firefighters contained a small fire at a Kaneohe home yesterday that was being fumigated for termites.
Firefighters responded to the blaze at the home at Pomaikai and Kokokahi places at 9:45 a.m.
The fire was under control at 10:05 a.m., according to Capt. Terry Seelig, spokesman of the Honolulu Fire Department.
The fire was contained to a corner of the roof where an individual service line is connected to a nearby utility pole. A fire investigator determined the cause of the blaze was electrical and accidental, Seelig said.
A family of three live at the home. No one was home at the time of the fire, since the house was tented for termite control. About a half-hour after crew members from Kamaaina Pest Control completed tenting the house, neighbors noticed the fire.
Damage to the home is estimated at $10,000.
/ SPECIAL TO THE STAR-BULLETIN
A fire captain directed a firefighter to check for hot spots with a thermal imager yesterday at the scene of a house fire near Kaneohe.
Small blaze hits shed at TV station
A fire occurred yesterday under a storage shed of the KGMB television station on Makaloa Street.
At 9:49 a.m., firefighters responded to the fire at the shed, where there was an accumulation of debris. The fire was under control at 10 a.m. It is not known what caused the fire, said Capt. Terry Seelig, Fire Department spokesman.
Seelig said it is believed the area adjacent to the shed is used as a smoking area for employees.
Damage to the shed and its contents is estimated at $7,500.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Police and fire personnel converged on KGMB-TV's tower at Amana and Makaloa streets yesterday to put out a fire. The only damage was to a small shed outside.
Woman dies in crash on Kauai
ELEELE, Kauai » A 19-year-old Hanapepe woman died yesterday morning after losing control of her vehicle.
Monique Place was westbound on Kaumualii Highway near the Eleele Shopping Center at 3:54 a.m. when she lost control of the vehicle she was driving, crossed the center line, hit a fire hydrant on the opposite side of the road and landed on a metal utility pole.
She died at the scene.
Police believe speed was a contributing factor in the crash.
Place is the fifth traffic fatality on Kauai this year.