Today in West Hawaii history | March 29


March 29, 1984: A lava flow form Mauna Loa reaches the 3,600-foot elevation, reportedly about six miles from the outskirts of Hilo, prompting some residents in the Kaumana area to voluntarily evacuate. Officials, however, continued to stress there is no threat to populated areas or private property and it is still to early to tell well the flow will travel.

March 29, 1994: A county attempt to lessen driver confusion by installing red arrows at major intersections is being re-evaluated after generating complaints from puzzled motorists and police, a senior traffic administrator says. The county recently initiated an islandwide program to standardize approximately 35 intersections with exclusive left- and right-turn lanes.

Kona Hospital is just a signature away from being renamed Kona Community Hospital. The state House and Senate passed the bill, which was awaiting the signature of Gov. John Waihee. Adding community to the name.

March 29, 1999: A pair of proposals which would lead to the set aside of vast areas of public lands in West Hawaii have been placed on hold by the state following cancellation of the monthly Board of Land and Natural Resources meeting. Included on the agenda were items that would have approved public hearings for the proposed West Hawaii Regional Fisheries Management Area, and set aside 63,817 acres in Puuwaawaa for “game management.”

March 29, 2004: Hawi resident Joseph Fiasca receives a Purple Heart 52 years after he was wounded in the Korean War. The Purple Heart, a heart-shaped gold medal depicting George Washington, is said to be the oldest military decoration offered to wounded common soldiers ever since then-General Washington started the practice during the American Revolution in 1872 with the “Badge of Military Merit.”

Jason Nixon wins the annual Manna Man Eco-Biathlon. The free, annual event involves a 3.75-mile run from Puu Honua O Honaunau to Napoopoo. Competitors then cross Kealakekua Bay for a 1-mile swim to the Captain Cook monument. Once out of the water, participants run 2 miles up to Napoopoo Road — for an elevation gain of 1,288 feet.

March 29, 2009: The grande dame of the Island of Hawaii celebrates a new beginning after being closed for two years while undergoing $150 million in repairs and renovations. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel closed Dec. 2, 2006, about two months after earthquakes struck off the Kohala Coast, causing structural damage to part of the hotel.

March 29, 2013: The state should maintain control of the Banyan Drive hotel properties and the Hapuna Beach and Mauna Kea parks, lawmakers have decided. Hawaii County had sought to own, or at least control, those lands through legislation. Mayor Billy Kenoi has said the county could better manage them.

Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille backs away from a resolution in support of a state bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, but not before getting some of the discussion she she said she set out to start. Wille said the bill was intended to get people talking about controversial issues, which she said local governments often avoid.

State parks officials make the case for charging parking fees at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area — but not without a barrage of questions and concerns being raised. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has contracted with a private company to assess vehicle entry fees for nonresidents and tour vehicles. The fees go into effect April 1.