Today in West Hawaii history | March 30


March 30, 1984: People living near the massive lava flow oozing from Mauna Loa toward Hilo have been told to “begin preparing mentally” to evacuate. Officials say it might be several days before the lava threatens the nearest homes on the outskirts of Hilo. The 15-mile long flow was within four miles of the nearest homes and 12 miles from Hilo.

March 30, 1994: Developer Kealakekua Development Corp. is granted intervenor status in the state’s request to down zone more than 10,800 acres of land in South Kona being considered for a golf course subdivision. The Office of State Planning wants the Land Use Commission to reclassify most of the former Kealakekua Ranch property now owned by KDC from the state agricultural district to the conservation district. The request was made to protect groundwater resources, native forests and habitat of endemic and indigenous wildlife.

March 30, 1999: Vacant but funded county positions were the focal point of council member discussions in the annual departmental budget review currently underway. The special Finance Committee meetings allow council members to question department heads about expenditures. Council members have discovered a number of unfilled positions, and say they want to use the money elsewhere.

State officials say an eradication effort to eliminate the banana bunchy top virus has been met with near unanimous cooperation by North Kona residents. Called “Project Eradication,” the program started Jan. 15 and consists of destroying all banana plants in the quarantine area between Keauhou Mauka and the junction of Palani Road and highways 180 and 190.

A bill in Congress would designate the Ala Kahakai trail on the Big Island as a National Historic Trail, which would then incorporate it into the U.S. National Trails System. Introduced by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, the bill would implement measures contained in a Park Service trail study completed in 1992 and proposed by Akaka.

March 30, 2004: Hawaii County has delayed until August the collection of second-half 2003 property taxes from owners of lots in the stalled Hokulia luxury subdivision. The properties at Hokulia were assessed before a September Circuit Court decision that halted home building in the subdivision makai of Kealakekua. Since the hearing, says William Takaba, county finance director, lot owners have been given extensions and have had penalties forgiven.

Corporation Counsel attorneys have sent four men who unsuccessfully challenged the 2001 Reapportionment Plan a bill for $5,200, reflecting costs associated with defending the county.

March 30, 2009: Competing just one week after finishing Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore and the Ochsner Ironman 70.3 in New Orleans, Chris McCormack wins the annual Lavaman Triathlon in Waikoloa. The 2007 Ironman champion also set a course record by finishing in 1 hour, 50 minutes and 29 seconds.

March 30, 2013: A proposal to widen Kuakini Highway to a planned intersection with Alii Parkway is drawing questions from residents about why the county is spending money to connect to a road that is unlikely to be constructed anytime soon. The planned parkway has been halted because of archaeological finds in the area, but the highway could be expanded to four lanes south of Hualalai to the nonexistent parkway in 2017l.

A Department of Public Safety master plan calls for a 359-bed prison to open somewhere in West Hawaii sometime this year. A state House bill includes a line item for design and construction of a new correctional facility adjacent to the new judiciary complex at Kona, but no funding was attached to the line item.

A wrongful death and negligence lawsuit filed by the family of a New York teen swept to sea during an excursion at Kealakekiua Bay will stay in Hawaii, a federal judge in Honolulu rules. The companies being sued in connection with Tyler Madoff’s death pushed for a change of venue to Colorado because of an online agreement signed by the victim’s mother when the trip to the island with Colorado-based Bold Earth Teen Adventures was setup.