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.

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

Mayor Signs Bill to Ban Plastic Bags

Honolulu Hale (City Hall)

Among the 4 bills signed into law this month, the mayor decided to ban plastic bags. Ordinance 17-37 (Bill 59) will put a permanent ban on plastic bags given or sold to customers at the check-out line at business establishments.

There will be exemptions on plastic bag use within a store or other business for specific uses:

  • Bags used by customers inside a business to package loose items,
    such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, ground coffee, grains, candies, or
    small hardware items:
  • Bags used to contain or wrap frozen foods, meat or fish, flowers or
    potted plants, or other items to contain dampness;
  • Bags used to protect or transport prepared foods, beverages, or
    bakery goods;
  • Bags provided by pharmacists to contain prescription medications;
  • Newspaper bags for home newspaper delivery:

Read the bill to get the entire list of plastic bag exemptions.

This is the latest law signed by the mayor that is anti-business and anti-consumer.

Another bill signed by the mayor into law is one that bans the use of electronic devices (Ordinance 17-39 / Bill 6 – 2017) by pedestrians while in a crosswalk. It is similar to a law that bans motorists from using a device while driving.

The latest list of bills signed into law by the mayor is listed below:

2017 Ordinances

Ordinance 17-37 – Relating to bags provided to customers.

Ordinance 17-38 – Relating the maintenance of channels, streambeds, streambanks and drainageways.

Ordinance 17-39 – Relating to mobile electronic devices.

Ordinance 17-40 – Relating to the Land Use Ordinance.

Ordinance 17-40 [Bill 79 (2015), CD2] – To amend Chapter 21, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990, as amended (The Land Use Ordinance), relating to the Land Use Ordinance.

Short Takes on Hawaii News, Events and Announcements

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa’s Town Meeting

Public Meeting with Congresswoman Hanabusa
U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa held a town meeting yesterday (May 9) at McKinley High School in Honolulu where she answered mostly partisan questions regarding issues effecting Hawaii and the nation. During the Q & A Rep. Hanabusa addressed a number of issues including federal budgeting items for the military, social services, rail and more. She also touched upon the Hawaii marine preserve, Hawaiian governance, sanctuary cities, education and the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Approximately 60 people attended the meeting.

Photo: Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa poses for pictures with two of her supporters.

More @ The Hawaii Political Platter Blog

Honolulu International Airport Renamed The Daniel K.  Inouye International Airport

Take Off The Honolulu International Airport has recently undergone a name change. The airport is now called the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. The State of Hawaii airport website for the airport has changed to reflect the new name, as well as the signage on the premises. The airport will retain the PHNL and HNL airline codes.

Daniel K. Inouye was Hawaii’s longtime Senator serving in Washington DC from 1963 to 2012. While naming the airport is an honor for the Senator, it certainly does not say “Hawaii” as the old name, Honolulu International Airport.

Photo: Airliner taking off from airport’s reef runway.

Additional News Links

The Hawaii Republican Party will be holding its annual convention this weekend, May 12 and 13 on the island of Kauai at the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort. New state officers are to be elected and party rules updated.

Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may run for President of the United States. At this early stage nothing can be discounted, though it would seem that Hollywood Celebrities such as Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sonny Bono turned their celebrity status and name recognition into political success. It certainly takes a lot of money and name recognition to be elected. Hawaii connection for Mr. Johnson? He lived in Hawaii when he was a teenager.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) in Hawaii is having two “resource day” events on May 11 and 17. The May 11 event will be at the Ewa Beach Location of American Savings Bank. The one on May 17 will be at the Kaimuki Branch of The Bank of Hawaii. More details and registration at this link: SBA – Hawaii.

Hawaiian Airlines is having another one of their monthly ticket sales for inter-island flights for as low as $68 each way (depending on distance to destination). The deadline for reservations is tomorrow, May 11. The price for inter-island tickets have certainly rose in recent years when most flights sell for nearly $100 each way.

Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday, May 14. Don’t forget to honor your Mom with gifts and love. For unique gift suggestions visit this link: A Greener Daily Life. While it may be too late for some gifts, just remember that it is for “Mom” and that every day is “Mother’s Day”.