Informational meeting for fire victims is today

Olowalu recycling center to reopen too

A disaster recovery informational meeting for people affected by the West Maui fires will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Waiola Church, and the Olowalu Recycling and Refuse Convenience Center will be reopening at 8 a.m. today.

The county Department of Environmental Management announced Friday evening that it expedited the reopening of the center to help Lahaina residents with debris cleanup from last week’s fire.

The center is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

The informational meeting will include representatives from state and county agencies and nonprofit groups, who will be available to answer questions to provide information about disaster assistance programs. For more information, contact the Maui County Emergency Management Agency at 270-7285.

Ann Nishida Fry, Hawaiian Telcom senior manager for corporate communications, said Friday that service disruptions are higher than normal post-Hurricane Lane and that the phone company is sending technicians from Oahu over to help with repairs.

The largest landline service disruptions, where customers could only call within their area, were caused by the West Maui fire, she said. Service was restored within hours.

A caller from Wailea reported being able to call out but was not receiving calls on his landline. Fry could not address the specific issue but said that there was an equipment issue affecting some Wailea customers that was resolved Thursday. The caller noted that Hawaiian Telcom representatives were giving a completion date of next Friday, “but every effort is made to restore service sooner,” she said.

Fry said that service restoration times and dates are determined based on what is known at the time. Sometimes, additional information is received that may speed up repairs and push the completion date up.

“Our technicians and first responders have worked tirelessly since effects of Lane began last week and will continue to work extended hours to restore service to our customers as soon as possible,” she said.

Maui Electric Co. alerted customers of a spike in scammers trying to take advantage of the uncertainty of storm events, said MECO spokeswoman Shayna Decker on Friday.

If someone calls and threatens immediate disconnection of power for failing to pay the utility bill, hang up and call MECO’s customer service number at 871-7777 or (877) 871-8461 from Lanai or Molokai to report the call.

It’s a scam if:

• The call is an automated recording from MECO, Hawaiian Electric or Hawaii Electric Light Co. demanding immediate payment over the phone, by prepaid debit card or bitcoin.

• The caller says your account is delinquent and threatens to shut off power immediately unless a payment is made.

There are two storm systems in the Pacific Ocean posing what are at present a distant threat to Hawaii.

Hurricane Miriam was moving far north of the islands and was 915 miles east of Hilo at 5 p.m. Friday. It had maximum wind speeds of 90 mph.

Farther away, Hurricane Norman was a Category 3 system with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph at 5 p.m. Friday. It was moving west-southwest at 8 mph.

Norman was 2,300 miles east-southeast of Kahului at 11 a.m. Friday. It was forecast to be in the neighborhood of the Hawaiian Islands by Tuesday night.

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