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Senator’s bills to seek Puna district lava relief

  • this year island drivers will continue to contend with lane closures and traffic delays as rail construction progresses.

PAHOA, Hawaii » A Hawaii island legislator has announced plans to seek support for proposed lava-relief measures when the Legislature convenes for its 2015 session later this month.

Sen. Russell Ruderman (D, Puna) said the aim is to provide home insurance relief for Puna homeowners as well as emergency funds for two area charter schools and a medical clinic, according to a report in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. The clinic, along with several other businesses and services, has shut down its operation in Pahoa Marketplace as a precaution. Recently stalled lava flow is situated 660 yards from the shopping area.

Ruderman’s proposed insurance bill would require companies to renew policies for properties if the owner’s payments are current. The potential loss of insurance from private providers has been an ongoing concern for Puna residents.

Ruderman told the Hawaii island newspaper that insurance moratoriums, such as the one that was introduced for Puna in September, makes it difficult for residents to sell their homes.

The senator and businessman also said he intends to introduce bills to create a harbor and airstrip that would secure access to lower Puna if the lava flow cuts off road access.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oli­veira said Friday there was little movement at the flow front, but breakout activity continued.

"It hasn’t moved for at least two days. Some parts were crusted over, very few spots of orange glow or anything this morning down at the flow front," Oli­veira said.

Currently the front remains stalled at one-half mile upslope from Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road intersection.

A breakout along the south side of the flow near a firebreak road about 150 yards behind the flow front had some activity but had not advanced since Thursday afternoon.

Since late June the current leading edge of lava has traveled more than 13 miles from the breakout near Kilauea Volcano’s Puu Oo vent, about the same distance of the flow’s initial leading edge that ignited a house, crossed a road and overtook a cemetery before stalling, cooling and inflating in October.

The public can view parts of that flow at the Pahoa Transfer Station from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Smoke conditions were moderate Friday morning with a light northwest wind blowing smoke in a south-southeast direction over the Pahoa and lower Puna areas.

Civil Defense announced Friday that the community’s next lava update meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.Thursday in the Pahoa High School cafeteria.

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