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Tsunami 2011: Updates for Wednesday (March 16)

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Repairs are well under way on Alii Drive. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

* County crew continued clean up and repair work on Alii Drive near the pier and seawall.

Work to reconstruct the sidewalk is well underway, the road has been patched and the seawall looks good, even though much of the lava rock facade still is missing.

County officials estimate the damage at $300,000-$500,000.

* Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America has the all-clear for its regular Wednesday stop in Kona starting next week. Kailua Pier is safe for pedestrian and vehicular use by engineers who assessed damage above and below water to ensure it was structurally sound.
However, the pier’s office and restroom remain closed.

Damage at Kahaluu Beach Park. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

* Kahaluu Beach Park was mostly open to swimmers and surfers Wednesday, although parts are cordoned off with yellow caution tape.

A community volunteer clean up is scheduled for Thursday. KTA Superstores for generously donating 2 large meat and cheese platters and 2 large fruit platters and to Starbucks for donating coffee and pastries for tomorrow’s work day at Kahaluu Beach Park. Work starts at 8 a.m. – everyone is welcome! Call Caroline at 345-0238 or Cindi at 895-1010 if you can help.

Much of Kahaluu Beach Park is open after heavy equipment worked to restore the sandy beach. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

And because it concerned so many of our readers - the Little Blue Church is just fine. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Mike Anthony, owner of Kona Mike’s Surf Adventure, was kicking back Wednesday afternoon at Kahaluu Beach Park, watching the waves.

“The ocean is such a powerful force and you have to respect it,” he said. “We got a reminder of that, for sure. I was concerned about my office right down here on Alii Drive, but more concerned for my tenant. We got her and went back up to the house at 800 feet, so I wasn’t so worried. If she was OK, then I was gonna be OK too.”

Anthony said he knew as soon as he heard about the 9.0 earthquake off Japan that Hawaii could be in trouble.

“It seems like it’s so far away, but it just felt like we’d see some action,” he said. “I was just really surprised by how selective it was. The surges come in one way, but leave other areas untouched.”

Anthony, who spends his life watching waves, said he’s not sure what the floor of the ocean might look like now, but it certainly has shifted how the waves behave.

“See that right there,” he said, pointing to the break off Kahaluu. “It didn’t used to do it like that. There are definite changes in the wave action and that’ll be permanent.”

Anthony said his business is running as usual, despite a winter swell.

“We had some visitors from Japan earlier today. When the lesson was done, they tried to tip us,” he said. “Unbelievable. I couldn’t take their money. Can you imagine that? People from Japan were trying to tip us?”

www.konasurfadventures.com

This building has been red tagged. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

* Keauhou Bay

By Wednesday afternoon, Keauhou Bay was once again dotted with boats, paddlers were arriving for practice and keiki poked about in the rocks.

The volleyball court held up OK and the restroom looks fine, although one resident reported seeing water reach the roof line of the brick building on the north side of the bay.

Over on the south side of the bay, the yacht club and Fairwinds building are cordoned off. Beside the boat ramp, the building that used to house Sea Quest Rafting and Snorkeling Adventures, Sea Paradise and a kayak rental business did not fare so well.

It has the only red tag I have seen since the tsunami. A red tag means the building inspectors have deemed the building unsafe.

Sea Quest co-owner Pat Fields spent a sixth day cleaning up and salvaging what she could, but stopped long enough to inquire about the rest of West Hawaii.

“How is everyone else doing? I’ve been so busy here, I haven’t had a chance to catch up on anything,” she said. “We are back in business, running it from our house. So it’s been difficult, running the day-to-day operations and also dealing with this …”

Fields ducked inside the building to point out the water line, which reached almost to the ceiling of her storefront.

“We lost a lot. All the computers and office equipment is ruined,” Fields said. “And I had hundreds of T-shirts and hats. They are just gone. I have no idea where they went. But we were all able to save our vessels, so that’s good.”

Fields said she was struck by a comment from a customer this week.

“She said she was so impressed by the way they were taken care of, from the hotel staff to everyone they meet,” she said. “They were just amazed by how everything was organized and was taken care of so smoothly.”

Fields also had a message for people who might be vacillating over whether to visit the Big Island.

“Kona is not devastated,” she said. “We’re all moving along and I’d say it’s almost business as usual.”

www.seaquesthawaii.com

* From Sen. Josh Green, who is also an emergency room physician:

“According to information given to the state Department of Health by U.S. federal authorities, Hawaii is at no immediate risk for radiation exposure from nuclear reactors damaged in the recent earthquake in Japan. I have requested daily briefings from the state Department of Health to keep the people of Hawaii up to date.”

Hotels and Resorts

* King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel reports the following stores are open: Dollar Rent a Car Desk; Rumley Art & Frame; ABC Store; Hawaiian Craft Consignment; and Pack, Ship & Copy Depot.

Luau will resume Sunday, March 20 in the formal gardens.

* The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and Golf Course, the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and Golf Course, and the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club are in full operation, doing business as usual and in pristine condition. We are very fortunate to not have had any impact during the recent tsunami.

You may be assured that we are welcoming guests with our high quality of services and amenities. In preparation of the tsunami, our emergency procedures were fully deployed by our entire team primarily to insure safety for our guests and staff. We appreciate the tremendous cooperation from our guests during this time.

We would like to express our heartfelt concern and deepest sympathies for the people in Japan who have been affected by the tragedies of March 11. The majority of our operations in Japan continue to operate and are doing all they can to provide support to those in need. Prince Resorts Hawaii is contributing to the Japan disaster relief fund and also to the Japan Red Cross.

* Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu will reopen April 30, 2011. The reopening follows a six-week closure caused by the earthquake-generated tsunami resulting from the recent earthquake in Japan.

The Resort sustained damage from the storm surge, bringing water, sand and debris onto the grounds, mainly affecting pool areas, landscaping, a restaurant and 12 guest rooms and suites.

Resort staff has been instrumental in the early clean-up efforts, and will remain so throughout the restoration. The Resort intends to keep all staff employed in various capacities wherever possible.

“We had planned on opening the Resort earlier, however upon further inspection and damage assessment, we determined it best to sustain the closure until April 30, in order to limit impact on the guest experience,” said Robert Whitfield, general manager of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. “While there is no significant structural damage, we are well aware of what our guests desire and our need to provide that experience at the highest level possible. This additional time will allow us to polish the property in the fashion it is known for. We’d like to thank our guests for their understanding and outpouring of support, as we bring this place back to perfect form. Our thoughts continue to be with those directly affected by this tragedy.”

All guests with reservations prior to April 30 are being contacted by the reservations team to make alternate arrangements, which include re-booking at a later date, or staying at the Resort’s sister properties on Lāna‘i and Maui, and other Four Seasons properties around the world.

For more information and reservations, call (800) 332-3442 or visit www.fourseasons.com/hualalai

* No official statement from Kona Village Resort on when it might reopen. However, earlier reports indicate at least 20 of the resort’s 125 hale, or cottages, have been severely damaged. Other hale and public areas also sustained damage.

How to help

* Foodland and Sack N Save stores statewide are accepting donations at checkout to support the American Red Cross disaster relief efforts in Japan.

Foodland’s “Kokua Japan” program will run through Sunday, April 3.

“We are deeply saddened by the recent tragedy in Japan,” said Jenai S. Wall, Foodland chairman and CEO. “Like many of our customers, we want to do what we can to help the thousands of victims of this disaster. Our hope is to provide an easy and convenient way for our community to give and provide much needed assistance to all those affected by the earthquake and tsunami if they so desire. All donations will be sent to the American Red Cross to support their relief efforts in Japan on behalf of Foodland and our customers.”

Customers are invited to make a $5, $10 or $20 donation at any Foodland or Sack N Save checkout through April 3. The donation amount will be added to the customer’s grocery purchase total.

Customers are also invited to donate their spare change in the coin canisters at checkout to help.

For more information about Foodland’s “Kokua Japan” program, call Foodland at (808) 732-0791.

* ‘Aloha for Japan’ — Hawaii business leaders, members of the Japanese American community, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz and Japan Consul General Yoshihiko Kamo convened to organize a coordinated, statewide effort to collect donations for victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan. Schatz also consulted all four county mayors by telephone.

Hawaii’s largest banking institutions, including American Savings Bank, Bank of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank, Finance Factors, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaii National Bank, HomeStreet Bank, Pacific Rim Bank, and Territorial Savings Bank, have all agreed to serve as collection points for monetary donations.

This coordinated, statewide effort, entitled “Aloha for Japan,” builds upon programs already initiated by individual banks to accept donations.

Gary Fujitani, Executive Vice President of the Hawaii Bankers Association, said, “The Hawaii banks are pleased to support this humanitarian effort to assist the people of Japan. Hopefully, the public will find it convenient to be able to make a donation at almost 275 bank branches statewide. We are asking customers to make a contribution in any amount to help Japan recover from this tragic disaster.”

Those wishing to contribute to this relief effort can make donations directly with branch tellers at participating banks. Checks should be made payable to “Aloha for Japan.”

This is the first of many initiatives being launched by the Aloha for Japan committee. Musical concerts and TV programs are also being developed.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims. We stand in support and solidarity with Japan as they begin to recover from this tragedy,” Schatz said. “I am so pleased with the generosity, cooperation and compassion of so many people throughout Hawaii. In this time of great crisis across the Pacific, it’s time for all of us to show our aloha for Japan.”

Donation checks can also be mailed to: Aloha for Japan, 2454 South Beretania Street, Suite 201, Honolulu, HI 96826.

The Aloha for Japan committee was inspired in part by the collaborative efforts of local designers who formed a joint venture, GRP (pronounced “group”) HOME Company. This group designed an “ALOHA” T-shirt, incorporating the rising sun, emblematic of the Japanese flag.

These “ALOHA” t-shirts, which are already in high demand, can be purchased at the following stores: Hi-Life/Buti-Groove Hawaii, Fitted Hawaii, In4Mation, Aloha Army, and Barefoot League. All proceeds will go towards relief efforts in Japan.

For more information, visit www.AlohaforJapan.com

A community volunteer clean up is scheduled for Thursday.

* From Sen. Josh Green, who is also an emergency room physician:

According to information given to the state Department of Health by U.S. federal authorities, Hawaii is at no immediate risk for radiation exposure from nuclear reactors damaged in the recent earthquake in Japan. I have requested daily briefings from the state Department of Health to keep the people of Hawaii up to date.

One Response to “Tsunami 2011: Updates for Wednesday (March 16)”

  1. phil says:

    thanks, i dont feel like the truth is being fully spoken about the damage to the areas that were hit. I have been reading reports of people calling their hotels and resorts, being told everything is fine. Then getting there and haveing no snorkel, dirty pools, and dead fish on the grounds. I just wish you could trust everyone to tell the truth instead of just wanting the $$$$ from tourist.

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