The Hawaii Files Volcano Watch

The Hawaii Files Volcano Watch


The Hawaii Files Volcano Watch


The East Rift Zone volcano eruption continues to inundate the lower Puna community. Videos appearing here are compiled from The Hawaii Files Channel on YouTube. It contains a variety of clips from local, national and international sources. As such local videos are usually the most accurate. Videos from questionable sources or publishers are not included on the playlist.

Our Hawaii Volcano Watch page contain the daily Summary Scroll to selected updates regarding the volcano eruption.

Informative Links for Up To Date News

Hawaii Volcano Observatory (USGS)
USGS: Earthquakes
USGS: Kiluaea Volcano Alerts
USGS: East Rift Zone Eruption and Summit Summary
Hawaii County Civil Defense
Puna Lava Flow 2018 website
Big Island Now
Hawaii Tribune Herald
Honolulu Star Advertiser
Honolulu Civil Beat
The Hawaii Files Video Channel (YouTube)
Apauhawaii Tours – Scott Wiggers (YouTube)
Mick Kalber – Tropical Visions Video (Vimeo)
Ikaika Marzo ( Facebook video blogger)

TV Media sites: KHON, KITVHawaii News Now, NaLeo TV

Primary Election Day in Hawaii

Election 2018


By Melvin Ah Ching

Primary election day came and went in Hawaii. The usual suspects, perennial candidates and newcomers all made a run for their party’s nomination to high profile government positions in the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Governor and Lt. Governor, seats in the Hawaii State Legislature, City Councils and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Elections are the best opportunity for the people of Hawaii (or anywhere else) to vote poorly performing incumbents out of office and give new people a chance to run the government. More often than not, the incumbent candidates usually win, especially in Hawaii.

I went to my precinct polling place and cast my ballot during the lunch hour. The polling place was not very crowded, which meant that it was easy to fill out the poll book, get my ballot and cast my vote.

Almost too easy.

First off, I walked to table A to E to sign the poll book. I told the old woman who was at the table that my last name starts with A. She gave me the book, I flipped through a few pages, found my name and affixed my signature to the space next to it.

She then gave me the red and white “Ballot Secrecy Folder” with my ballot.

I walked to an empty voting booth and once behind the striped curtain, I pulled my ballot out. To my surprise there were two ballots! The woman had given me two ballots.

The brief thought of actually casting two votes per candidate was a bit amusing for just a brief moment. But my honesty and fear of criminal prosecution kicked in. I walked out of the booth and showed the lady my two ballots and gave one of them back to her.

I went back in and spent a few minutes casting my votes, and yes, snapped pictures of my ballot. The photos were taken before I marked the ballot. I forgot to take a picture of the two ballots I briefly had. Darn.

I took a picture after I cast my votes to remember who I voted for years from now.

Regular readers of this blog probably know who I may have voted for, though I have not posted many political things here, nor to the other blog I set up to do just that. Lazy I guess, but lately I’ve too busy to keep up with my own blogs when I have other priorities.

I voted, walked out of the booth and over to the place where the machine collected the ballot. I gently nudged the ballot into the slot of the machine and like a photocopier, it slid in with no problem. The small LED screen indicated my ballot was proper and a small American flag showed up to confirm my vote.

Having worked once as a poll observer at an election several years ago, I know that when the paper ballots slide into the machine, votes are counted by the reader built in to it. The black marks made on the ballot are optically scanned and registered to a flash card mounted inside the machine. At the end of the voting day, the cards and ballots are picked up and taken back to the State Capitol for processing and counting.

I don’t think anyone counts the actual paper ballots though they are collected and put into safe boxes for transport back to the State Capitol Counting Center and later to the State Elections Office somewhere in Pearl City for storage.

I can imagine a gigantic warehouse full of old ballots that were kept from past elections that probably looks like the place where the Ark of the Covenant was stored at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie. I wonder if they keep all of the old paper ballots and for how long.

I got my voter confirmation slip. The deed was done.


The slip was handed to me by a guy who was monitoring the machine near the exit doorway. Off in a corner was one electronic voting machine which no one was using.

As I left my polling place one observation came to mind.

I was not asked to show an I.D. when I first signed the book. Did the lady at the table forget to ask me to show my I.D.? I know in the past, I had to show my I.D. before I signed the book and got a ballot.

The State of Hawaii does require voters to show an I.D.

So the question is how many people were allowed to vote without an I.D.?

Then there is that two ballot thing. How often does this occur? You know in past elections, I do recall that there were two people sitting at the sign in table. One person got you to sign the book, checked your I.D. and another person on the same table handed you the ballot in the folder.

Why the change I wonder? Did the Office of Elections not have enough workers to cover the election? Are officials from the various parties monitoring the election at each precinct?

Despite those concerns, we can generally rest assured that the process went smoothly after the polls closed.

The process will be repeated all over again for the November 6 General Election.

SBA Tops $25 Million in Disaster Assistance Loans

The Hawaii Files Volcano Watch

U.S. Small Business Administration Logo


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Director Tanya N. Garfield of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West announced today that SBA has approved more than $25 million in federal disaster loans for Hawaii businesses and residents impacted by the Kilauea volcanic eruption and earthquakes that began May 3, 2018. According to Garfield, SBA has approved $6,532,800 for businesses and $18,476,600 for residents to help rebuild and recover from this disaster.

“SBA’s disaster assistance employees are committed to helping businesses and residents rebuild as quickly as possible,” said Garfield. Businesses and residents who sustained damages are encouraged to register prior to the Aug. 13, 2018, deadline with the Federal Emergency Management Agency at “Don’t miss out on any assistance you may be entitled to by not registering for help. You don’t need to wait for your insurance to settle or obtain a contractor’s estimate,” she added.

SBA continues to provide one-on-one assistance to business owners and individuals at the following location on the days and times indicated. No appointment is necessary.

Disaster Recovery Center (DRC)
Pahoa Neighborhood Facility, Meeting Room #3
15-3022 Kauhale St.
Pahoa, HI 96778

Mondays – Fridays, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturdays, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. The SBA can also lend additional funds to help business and residents with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace their damaged or destroyed primary residence. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

These low-interest federal disaster loans are available in Hawaii County.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at

Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The deadline to apply for property damage is Aug. 13, 2018. The deadline to apply for economic injury is March 14, 2019.

Make Believe Wife? Too Funny


As I was scouring the “jobs” section of Craigslist today, I found this rather strange and funny help wanted ad:


Its a beautiful day. Seeking a faithful, reliable, hard working, educated, and professional make believe wife. Yes a make believe wife who is great in all areas domestic, home, wife duties, and pretending to love her make believe husband. Must be a decent cook, clean and tidy, smell good, no drugs, loving, caring, and have a positive aura. This is a live in position or can be a part time live in position. This is also a paying position. Not a fake ad. If interested and within the age of 35 -55 pls send a resume and tell me about yourself. Pls no girls, no games, and no lemons. Thanks Kevin

compensation: 1500 and negotiable

employment type: full-time

Are you serious Mr. Kevin? This is way too funny and a bit suspicious. What woman would be desperate enough to be your “fake wife”. Yes, we already have “fake news” but a fake wife?  Really.

By the way this is in Honolulu.

I am looking for a full time office job in the area of administration / public relations / media / and photography. Contact me if you need someone with my skill set. Aloha! Mel

June 24 – Volcano Eruption Update

The Hawaii Files Volcano Watch
Fissure 8 - Pu'u Leilani
Fissure 8 continues to fountain and spew its miles long river of lava that empties out in the ocean. The eruption is entering its eighth week.

It’s been a while since I last did a volcano update. Nothing much has changed as the Kilauea eruption goes. It is nearly eight weeks since eruptive activity started in Leilani Estates.

Fountaining and lava continues at the East Rift Zone with Fissure 8 (Pu’u Leilani — my unofficial name) building its cinder cone and sending lava downslope to Kapoho. All of the Vacationland subdivision and several others have been completely wiped. Lava has filled in the old bay with a new 300+ delta building up in its place. The lava flow continues at a steady level.

At the summit, Halemaumau crater continues to deepen and expand as its sides have fallen into the caldera.

The latest updates on Kilauea volcano’s eruption status can be found at the USGS website. Hawaii County Civil Defense continues to issue daily bulletins to keep the community informed.

Homelessness, relocation, and federal financial relief are some of the issues that former residents of the area are dealing with.

Mauna Loa
Mauna Loa volcano looms over Hilo town.

On another note the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has reduced the threat level of 13,680 foot high Mauna Loa volcano from “Advisory” (yellow) level to “Normal” (Green). The normalization of Mauna Loa’s status is attributed to seismic levels are “no longer at an elevated level of activity.” A reduced rate of earthquakes over the last six months are one of the factors contributing to the normalization.

Mauna Loa last erupted for 22 days in 1984 sending a lava flow to within 4 miles above Hilo town. Eruptions of Mauna Loa tend to produce much more lava than Kilauea and can impact many communities to the northeast, east, south and southwest of the volcano.

Continue reading “June 24 – Volcano Eruption Update”