Phantom Missile Alert in Hawaii

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So what’s up with the missile attack warning that was sounded early this morning at the 8 o clock hour? Many Hawaii residents statewide got cell phone text messages that read:

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT DRILL.”

Several of my friends got the message by cell phone text alert. I did not.

The first I heard about this was a text that I got from my friend Daniel which read: “Did you just get an emergency text????” I answered in the negative. No text message for me. He followed up, “I am not joking.” He attached the screen shot from his phone as shown below:

Emergency Text Message
The emergency text that came to many cell phone early this morning (Jan. 13).

A few moments later, my friend Lisa called. She was in a state of panic. It was aggravating to her since she is also down and out with a viral strain of influenza. She also got the emergency text message.

Talking to her on the phone, I told her that it was probably a false alarm, but also to listen to the radio. I began to think it was a false alarm even if I was worried for a few minutes after the initial call.

What prompted me to this was the fact that when I turned the radio to KSSK AM & FM (where they have in the past did outstanding broadcasts of local emergencies) there was nothing to be found except for a re-run of a previous Perry & Price radio program.

Nothing there. This is likely a false alarm.

While talking to Lisa on my landline phone, I called Daniel on the cell phone. He told me his wife Emma had called the 911 emergency number who told her that it was, indeed a false alarm.

Just to make doubly sure, I called 911 after I got off the phone with Daniel. By then everyone else was probably in a panic as the 911 number was busy. Pity the poor soul who had to call if it was an actual emergency. Goes to show that in a massive alert scenario, that calling 911 will likely yield a busy signal unless you get in early.

Soon I took to Facebook where my friends and others were commenting on the situation. In about a half hour it was agreed and known among many that the emergency texts were a false  alarm.

Surely someone at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has to take responsibility for this major false alarm. A breaking news article published at the Honolulu Star Advertiser website stated that an “employee pushed the wrong button,” during a shift change.

An investigation is likely pending. Governor David Ige had a few words to say at this press conference today (KHON TV video):

Vern T. Miyagi, Administrator for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency says they are investigating the incident and procedures. He did not or was not able to answer questions as to who specifically pressed the button at the agency and why not all cell phone users got the emergency text message.

The Governor and  agency have stated that they will not let this type of false alarm happen again.

There likely will be further news, discussion and legislative hearings on this in the coming days and weeks.

Hawaii can rest assured, that despite the dire warning and short term panic, that today’s “missile attack” was not the real thing. Perhaps it is a wake-up call to bring this issue to the forefront and help us be prepared for the next time.

 

 

 

 

SINKHOLE!

Sinkhole!

Sinkhole in the RoadSo what’s up with this large sinkhole crater at the Diamond Head end of the Ala Moana Beach Park access road? The hole manifested itself as a shallow pothole on September 13. City & County of Honolulu officials closed the Diamond Head end of the access room late that afternoon to motorists. The road has been closed ever since. No one with a motorized vehicle can access this stretch of roadway. Entry and exit into Ala Moana Beach Park by motor vehicle can only be gained from the Ewa end of the access road.

The access road’s sidewalk is still accessible by bicyclists and pedestrians. Good for the walkers and runners who frequent one of Honolulu’s most popular parks.

As these photos show, the sinkhole started as a small depression. City engineers decided the depression was a larger problem. So they decided to dig in and today this is what we have. A large rectangular shaped hole in the middle of the road filled with stagnant water.

I’ve heard guesstimations that the city will take at least a month to get the hole filled and the roadway repaired. Hopefully the process can be accelerated. We’ll see. No one is holding their breath on when the city will fix the hole. Most government projects take longer than anticipated. Furthermore no one knows how much will it cost to fix the hole. We’ll see.

Until then, happy walking in through the Diamond Head end. Your vehicle is not welcomed.

UPDATE: As of 9:30 am this morning the water in the hole has been filled up with new gravel. It is quite possible the whole thing will be fixed by Monday if not earlier.

Sinkhole In the RoadThe less than humble beginning of the Ala Moana Beach Park access road sinkhole.

Sinkhole in the RoadAs of September 21 the sinkhole was huge and filled with stagnant water.

Sinkhole In the RoadThe first roadblock on the access road just outside the Waikiki Yacht Club. Perhaps the rich people who go there may push the city into completing the repairs sooner rather than later.

Sinkhole in the RoadThis detour sign is not for motorists as the roadway is blocked several yards away from this area.

Sinkhole in the RoadThe road is closed from the Diamond Head entry of the Magic Island parking lot to the Diamond Head entryway on Ala Moana Boulevard.

We’ll follow up with progress and more photos of the sinkhole. Hopefully it will be gone soon.

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Marco Polo Condo Fire Residents

Burned Out Marco Polo Condo

PRESS RELEASE

Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to Hawaii businesses and residents affected by the Marco Polo Fire that occurred July 14, 2017, U.S. Small Business Administration’s Administrator Linda McMahon announced on Wednesday. SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster in response to a request SBA received from Gov. David Ige on Sept. 8, 2017.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Honolulu County.

“SBA is strongly committed to providing Hawaii with the most effective and customer-focused response possible, and we will be there to provide access to federal disaster loans to help finance recovery for businesses and residents affected by the disaster,” said McMahon. “Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

“Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to homeowners and renters whose property was damaged or destroyed by this disaster,” said SBA’s Hawaii District Director Jane Sawyer. “Beginning Thursday, Sept. 14, SBA representatives will be on hand at the following Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each individual complete their application,” Sawyer continued. The center will be open on the days and times indicated below. No appointment is necessary.

HONOLULU COUNTY
Disaster Loan Outreach Center
A.O.A.O. Marco Polo Apartments
2333 Kapiolani Blvd.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826
Opens 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 14
Mondays – Fridays, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Closes 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28

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

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov 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 Nov. 13, 2017. The deadline to apply for economic injury is June 11, 2018.

Legislature Votes on Rail Tax Extension & Increase – Hawaii Political Platter

Hawaii State Capitol

Saving rail is more important than saving the taxpayers.

This is the conclusion that I have come to at the close of this week’s “special session” in which legislators chose to extend the General Excise Tax surcharge to fund rail by another 3 years to 2030 and levy an increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) charged statewide on all hotel and travel accommodations. The result of the tax increase and extension will be far reaching into peoples’ pocketbooks for years and decades to come.

Read my commentary at the Hawaii Political Platter Blog.

Source: Legislature Votes on Rail Tax Extension & Increase – Hawaii Political Platter

The Hard Reality Of Honolulu Rail Costs – Honolulu Civil Beat

On the eve of a special legislative session, University of Hawaii Professor of Engineering Panos Prevedouros calls for a forensic audit of the gigantic and expensive rail mistake before more damage is done by taking the train to its current, intended end at Ala Moana Center.

Read the article on Honolulu Civil Beat:

Only a forensic audit can explain how an all-inclusive $4 billion cost for completing 16 miles and 14 stations has ballooned to more than $10 billion for 20 miles and 21 stations.

Source: The Hard Reality Of Honolulu Rail Costs – Honolulu Civil Beat

Big Ugly EXPENSIVE RailRail construction, last year, near Pearlridge Center.

Editor’s Note: I have been an opponent of rail for more than 30 years.