About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ka'u News Briefs Jan. 11, 2011

NASA's G-III aircraft is a modified Gulf Stream jet with radar sensors on its belly. Photo from NASA
A NASA RESEARCH AIRCRAFT is flying over Ka`u this week, studying Kilauea Volcano with radar that looks beneath the surface, much like a CT scan on a person. The G-III research aircraft carries a pod on its belly with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar. Using interferometry, it sends out pulses to the ground to measure very subtle deformations in Earth’s surface. 
Radar imaging of Kilauea Volcano from some 40,000 ft in altitude
 takes place this week from a NASA aircraft. Image from NASA
      The radar is collecting data over Kilauea Volcano from an altitude of about 41,000 feet. UAVSAR gathered its first data from this area in January 2010. Assisted by a Platform Precision Autopilot designed by engineers at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, the flights were repeated in May 2011. The two sets of observations successfully imaged the surface deformation caused by the March 2011 fissure eruption in Kilauea’s east rift zone.
      Flights this month trace the same path to measure deformation of the volcano since the March 2011 eruption and as part of future studies of the volcano’s changing deformation patterns due to volcanic activity.
      The aircraft is scheduled to return home to NASA’s Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, CA on Jan. 15.

ELECTRIC RATES ROSE ON THE BIG ISLAND last month and remain the highest in the state, rising from 41.3 cents per kilowatt-hour to 42.7 cents. Hawai`i County was followed by Kaua`i, with 40.6 cents and Maui at 37.6 cents. On O`ahu, the rates just dropped from 35.1 cents to 32.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Hawaiian Electric Co. spokesman Peter Rosegg said, “Overall, rates remain high, creating a difficult burden for families and businesses.” He said that “the long-term solution is to continue to pursue local renewable electricity and fuel sources that can be purchased with long-term fixed-price contracts.” Hawai`i overall has some of the highest electric rates in the country, more than four times the cost of some places on the mainland. 

Oil tanker anchored offshore of a Tesoro refinery on O'ahu.
Photo from Berkley Engineering and Research, Inc.
OIL REFINERIES IN HAWAI`I could face financial problems and some could shut down, according to government and industry officials quoted in a Civil Beat story this morning. “Potential disruptions in the global oil supply have left Hawai`i vulnerable to major price fluctuations and the ability to ensure adequate fuel supplies,” the story reports. Writer Sophie Cocke notes that “unlike other states that have abundant coal, natural gas and nuclear energy sources, Hawai`i is nearly 90 percent dependent on oil to power its overall energy needs. The predicament has spurred a major state policy push to switch to renewable energy sources.”
      The change to renewables, however, could make electricity, gas and other energy from petroleum more vulnerable, Fereidun Fesharaki, an international oil consultant and a senior fellow at the East-West Center, told Civil Beat. As homeowners and businesses reduce their consumption from the grid by going to solar, wind and geothermal, the oil companies lose income.
      Tesoro announced yesterday it will sell its refineries in Hawai`i, and Chevron could also be impacted. Should all the refineries shut down, Hawai`i would have to import refined oil, which would make it even more vulnerable, the story says.
      Gov. Neil Abercrombie said his administration would work to ensure fuel production and distribution are not disrupted in Hawai`i. “However, we must remind ourselves that the move toward alternative or renewable energies is essential to Hawai`i’s survival,” he said.
      Both Chevron and Tesoro are looking at biofuels to replace some of their traditional oil sources.

More than 60% of coral reefs in U.S. waters are found in the
chain of Hawaiian Islands. Photo from USGS
FUNDING TO RESTORE REEFS will come from a fine levied in federal court yesterday for a ship from Korea dumping oily waste in Hawaiian waters. Keoje Marine, which owns the South Korean tanker ship, was fined $1.15 million, and $250,000 will go into the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. The money will be spent in Hawai`i.
      Federal prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Environment and Natural Resources Division prosecuted the felony case. Company representatives pled guilty to violating the Clean Water Act for dumping oily, bilgy waste in waters off Hawai`i; covering up the dumping by falsifying the vessel’s oil record book; and for obstruction of justice during a U.S. Coast Guard inspection in October 2011, according to a story in this morning’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser story by Gordon Pang.

THE FOURTH ANNUAL Keiki Fishing Tournament and Canned Food Drive at Punalu`u is coming up this Saturday. Early registration is advised, with forms available in Pahala at Mizuno Superette and Pahala Gas Station, in Na`alehu at B&E Union 76 gas station and Ace Hardware, and in Ocean View at Kahuku Mini-Mart and Ace Hardware. Sponsored by `O Ka`u Kakou, the event is a benefit for the Ka`u Family Center. Call 937-4990 or 217-2253 for more information.

KA`U FARMERS MARKET celebrates its 10th anniversary this Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. in front of Na`alehu Ace Hardware. There will be entertainment, lucky number drawings and free root beer floats while they last.