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Sophie Cocke

Sophie Cocke is a reporter for Civil Beat. You can reach her by email at or follow her on twitter at @sophiecocke.
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PF Bentley/Civil Beat

With Hurricane Iselle on track to hit the Hawaiian Islands later this week and another tropical storm on its way, Hawaiian Electric Co. has issued safety tips to help residents avoid fires, electrocution and other electrical hazards.

Hurricane Iselle is expected to weaken into a tropical storm before reaching the Big Island on Thursday and then traveling on to the other islands.

HECO’s safety tips:

Before a storm hits or if there is a power outage, unplug all unnecessary electric equipment and appliances until the storm has passed or until power is restored.
Stay away

Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell will be returning from his diplomatic and trade mission in Japan two days early because of Hurricane Iselle, which is projected to hit the Hawaiian islands as a tropical storm later this week.

Caldwell is scheduled to arrive back in Honolulu on Wednesday, according to a press release from the mayor’s office.

He will continue with his scheduled activities today (Tuesday).

Kirk Caldwell, 2012

Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

At 1 p.m., he will participate in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, marking the anniversary of the 1945 U.S. atomic


Trace levels of the chemicals bromacil and boron have been detected in Oahu water supplies, but are not considered a threat to human health, according to a Hawaii Department of Health press release.

Bromacil, a herbicide used for weed control in pineapple fields and on citrus plants, was detected at pumps in Waipahu and Mililani.

Boron, which naturally occurs in rocks and soils, was found at several treatment facilities in Waipahu and Waialua.

The contaminants registered at levels well below safety thresholds established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to the health department.



Honolulu City Council members are seeking to provide relief to Oahu property owners caught off-guard by a hike in property taxes this year.

In June, the City Council approved Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposal to increase the tax rate for non-owner occupied properties worth $1 million or more from $3.50 to $6 per $1,000 valuation.

A home in Kahala.

The measure was aimed at increasing taxes for people with investment properties, or second and third homes on Oahu.

But some owners who live in their homes have complained that they missed the deadline for filing