Top Maui Headlines with Wendy Osher
As Maui gears up for the holiday weekend, we bring you information on fireworks displays and a request from authorities on how to report illegal activity. Also this week, Haleakalā National Park reports that thousands of visitors returned lava rocks this year, with many including apology letters to Pele. On the water, an entangled humpback was freed from heavy gauge line. And on the roadways, a dirt bike rider was taken to the hospital with critical injuries. These are just a few of Maui’s top headlines as we round out 2017 and head into the new year.
More than 1,200 rocks were returned to Maui’s Haleakalā National Park in 2017. That amounts to about 100 per month. National Park representatives say: “Letters of apology to Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes, often accompany these rocks. Expressions of regret over taking the rocks are common; people attribute misfortune in their lives to the taking of rocks and they apologize to Pele for their error.” Parks officials explain that the view may be rooted in the Native Hawaiian belief that plants, animals, and rocks are imbued with spiritual significance.
An entangled adult humpback whale was freed by a team of trained responders off Lahaina, Maui on Christmas Day, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. The animal was trailing approximately 400 feet of heavy gauge line from its mouth. All gear was successfully removed and recovered. The gear will be measured and analyzed towards determining its possible origins and trying to reduce entanglement threat in the future.Mariners are asked to keep a sharp lookout for whales in distress, but not to approach closely or attempt to assist them. Only trained and well-equipped responders that are authorized under NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program are permitted to assist whales and other marine mammals. If you sight any marine mammal in distress, maintain 100 yards distance and please call the NOAA 24-hour Hotline at 1-888 256-9840. If unable to call, please radio the US Coast Guard on VHF CH. 16 and they will relay the report.
Hawaiʻi Island police issued a warning, asking for the public’s assistance in reporting information about the location of illegal aerial fireworks as well as the identity of people in possession of illegal pyrotechnic devices. The department reminded the public of an incident on Oʻahu last New Year’s Day which resulted in a woman’s death and her male companion being critically injured.The import, transfer, sale, or use of aerial fireworks without a permit is a Class C Felony, resulting in a five-year prison term if convicted. Department officials on Maui advise that “the only way to stay safe is to not use fireworks in the first place,” and to “leave fireworks to the professionals.” Public displays are planned on New Year’s Eve from an offshore barge near the Grand Wailea Resort and at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai.
A 52-year-old Kula man suffered critical injuries in a dirt bike crash on Lower Kula Road on Sunday afternoon. The collision occurred as a 2005 Honda multi-purpose vehicle was traveling south-bound on Lower Kula Road and making a left turn onto Pulehuiki Road when it collided into a dirt bike that was traveling in the opposite direction down Lower Kula Road. The involvement of speed, drugs and alcohol are unknown pending further investigation.