State briefs for July 14

V-J Day planners say virus has not derailed schedule

HONOLULU — Officials organizing events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II say the coronavirus has not derailed plans.

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Planners expect to follow though with the schedule of Victory over Japan Day, or V-J Day, events Aug. 29-Sept. 2 as uncertainty remains about COVID-19 health restrictions.

The theme of the events is “Salute Their Service, Honor Their Hope,” and the schedule includes several warplane flyovers and a ceremony on or next to the battleship Missouri, on which the U.S. accepted Japan’s unconditional surrender Sept. 2, 1945.

Tony Vericella, executive director of the 75th World War II Commemoration Committee in Hawaii, said that as of last week more than 30 World War II veterans from outside Hawaii and their family members had committed to attending the events on Oahu.

Vericella said the participation of veterans and others from the continental U.S. relies on the state lifting a 14-day self-quarantine for out-of-state travelers. Gov. David Ige announced Monday that the mandatory quarantine will be extended through the end of August.

The quarantine requirement was initially scheduled to be loosened at the end of this month.

Vericella said if the veterans cannot attend in person, the commemoration can still be brought to them via live feeds.

A Washington, D.C., event commemorating the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day, scheduled for May 8 was postponed because of the coronavirus.

Swimming area closed by untreated sewage spill

KAILUA-KONA — Officials closed a swimming area and part of a road after a rupture released untreated sewage in West Hawaii.

The sewer line break discharged about 20,000 gallons of sewage Saturday onto Alii Drive in Kailua-Kona.

Crews quickly diverted the sewage to a different pump station, said Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management Wastewater Division Superintendent Alika DeMello.

Swimmers were told to leave the area of Niumalu Beach at Kailua Bay and signs were posted warning about contaminated water.

Alii Drive was shut down for several hours Saturday as crews cleaned up the waste and minimized the amount of sewage that entered a storm drain in front of the seawall.

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The cast iron pipes, which are nearly 60 years old, were already slated to be replaced beginning next month. Work was set to begin Monday to repair the rupture, DeMello said.

Kailua Bay will remain closed to swimmers until the state Department of Health deems the water is safe to enter.

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