October 24, 2016 | 76° | Check Traffic

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Some Big Isle campers ignoring coastal evacuation orders


HILO >> About 85 families who were part of a Department of Hawaiian Home Lands-sponsored camping event at South Hilo’s Keaukaha Beach Park — many of whom have been there since the first week of June —  were told to vacate Sunday afternoon.

Johna Polino, of Panaewa, and her family had already finished cleaning up their campsite and were helping others remove their tents and pallets.

Polino said she was somewhat disappointed the outing had to end but understood fully the reason why.

“It’s fine with me,” she said. “Safety comes first.”

But not everyone was heeding the call.

Joyce Ganon, whose family has been camping at the park every summer for 15 years, said no one had come by to tell her party to leave.

“We’re going to stay,” Ganon said. “If it gets really bad, we’re gonna leave.”

She added: “My kids no like leave. They’re water babies.”

At the Target store in Hilo, a steady stream of last-minute shoppers were heading in and out with various essential supplies.

Andrew and Jolanda Rosario and their sons Austin and Aaron, picked up coolers, water and other items.

Target, Home Depot and Wal-Mart were all already out of “D” batteries by dark, said the Rosarios, residents of Mountain View in upper Puna. .

Home Depot was out of bottled water by noon, Andrew Rosario said.

Most schools in the island don’t start until later this week, but acting Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said his staff was still checking private and charter schools to learn of their plans.

Closed today are Hawaii Community College, including the University of Hawaii Center in West Hawaii, and the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

The county announced that all of its parks were closed by the end of the evening Sunday. The state made a similar announcement regarding its beach parks about 8:30 p.m.

Evacuation shelters are being opened at nine locations at 4 a.m. They are Hisaoka Gym in North Kohala, Waimea Community Center, Honokaa Community Center, Laupahoehoe Elementary School, Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale in South Hilo, Pahoa Community Center, Mountain View Elementary School, Pahala Community Center and the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona.

The Pahala, Mountain View and Kailua-Kona locations were added by Hawaii Civil Defense at 6:15 p.m. following the news that the storm was heading in a more southerly direction.

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