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.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, June 2, 2017

Installing a tiltmeter on top of Mauna Loa Volcano. See Volcano Watch story below. Photo from USGS
EVICTING SQUATTERS FROM BIG ISLAND HOMES  is a difficult problem. County officials and elected representatives are working on solutions, said Maurice Messina from the prosecutor's office who addressed a community meeting in Ocean View Thursday evening.
     According to the Hawai`i Landlord Tenant Code HRS 521-43 (f), any absentee landowner, an owner living off island, must designate a representative in Hawai`i County with authority to act on behalf of the owner. Without that authority, the police are powerless to evict squatters from illegally living in homes or on vacant land.
    Messina, a legal assistant at the County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, is trying to get the word out by meeting with representatives of communities around the island. He encourages absentee property owners to appoint a person of their choosing – it could be a friend or a professional – as their “On Island Representative.” If the property is then illegally occupied by trespassers (commonly called squatters), the police can act on a complaint by that representative.
    According to Messina’s records, over 250 homes have been reported as being occupied by alleged trespassers.  Most of the reporting is done by neighbors who do not have the authority to get the squatters evicted, and if the owner cannot be found, and if there is no official “On Island Representative” of record, the police cannot act.
Houses in foreclosure are susceptible to being occupied by
squatters. Photo from Wikipedia 
    Properties that are the most vulnerable to squatting, include vacation homes where the legal owners may visit their property as little as once a year, and are unaware of the situation. Also at risk are homes owned by someone who died.
     When a residence is in foreclosure, it may be years before the bank can get legal ownership of the property. At that time the foreclosed house is "in limbo" and vulnerable to squatters. If the legal owner cannot be traced and the bank is not yet the legal owner, police cannot respond to complaints by neighbors.
     Asked by The Ka’u Calendar  what happens to trespassers who can be removed from the property – either by an owner who lives on the island, or by an “On Island Representative,” or by police– Messina explained that, depending on the circumstances, the squatters can be convicted of trespassing, burglary or criminal property damage, depending on police investigation.
    “Usually the legal owner just wants the police to get them off the property,” he said, adding, “Not all squatters are drug addicts – some are homeless families. If they are evicted from one property they have to find another place to live. In theory, this creates another homeless family.
     "We are trying to find a solution and are asking any interested party to come forward with solutions - no ideas are bad ideas at this time."
       Messina said that Mayor Harry Kim and the County Council need to find a way to alleviate the squatter problem. Meanwhile, all owners of real property on the Big Island, who do not live on the Big Island, need to appoint an “On Island Representative” as a first step towards protecting themselves, and the community, from squatters, he advised. 

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Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) images of Kīlauea (left) and Mauna Loa (right) spanning the past several years.  Concentric patterns of colored fringes indicate magma accumulation centered near the summit calderas of both volcanoes.  InSAR is one of several techniques used by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory to track deformation of active Hawaiian volcanoes.  Image from HAVO
TRACKING THE LATEST MOVES OF KILAUEA AND MAUNA LOA is the title of this week's Volcano Watch, written by scientists at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory:
   A diverse array of techniques is utilized to monitor volcanoes around the world, including those in Hawaiʻi. These methods include tracking changes in the chemistry and volume of gases emitted from a volcano, recording earthquake activity, measuring changes in surface temperatures, documenting variations in eruptions, and tracking deformation of the ground surface.
     Ground deformation is especially indicative of changes in the volume of magma (subsurface molten rock) within a volcano. For example, uplift of the ground surface suggests accumulation of magma in underground storage areas, while subsidence can indicate magma drainage. Rapid changes in the rate of deformation often precede or accompany new eruptive activity.
Water-tube tiltmeter "pot" installed in 1956 
in an underground vault near Kīlauea volcano 
summit. Pots are connected by tubing and 
filled with water that flows between 
pots as wall tilts. Photo from HAVO
     On the Island of Hawaiʻi, deformation is measured primarily with three techniques: tiltmeters, GPS (Global Positioning System), and InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar).
     About 20 tiltmeters are currently installed on Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Tilt is especially helpful in tracking sudden variations in deformation, like the changes that can occur as magma begins moving toward the surface. In fact, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) has implemented automated alarms that notify HVO scientists of real-time changes in tilt that might reflect the impending onset of an eruption.
     About 70 GPS stations are spread across the Island of Hawaiʻi, but are focused on Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, currently the two most active Hawaiian volcanoes. These GPS stations continuously record motion of the ground surface in three dimensions. Precise, daily average positions of GPS sites provide an important long-term record of ground deformation that indicates the locations and conditions of magma reservoirs. Real-time GPS positioning helps track the large, rapid movements that accompany changes in eruptive activity.
     InSAR is a space-based technique that compares radar data collected from satellites at different times. Variations in the distance between the satellite and the ground are caused by surface displacements between the times of the satellite overpasses. InSAR data provide exceptionally clear “snapshots” of deformation, but only when satellites are overhead (on average, about once a week).
Bore hold tiltmeter being lowered into a hold ten feet deep.
Photo from HAVO
   Using this combination of datasets, HVO scientists have tracked inflation of both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa over the past several years.
     Mauna Loa began refilling with magma (inflating) immediately after the most recent eruption in 1984. Inflation waxed and waned over the next 30 years—the longest period between Mauna Loa eruptions in historic time. The most recent and ongoing episode of Mauna Loa inflation started in 2014. Unlike previous episodes of inflation since 1984, the current one has been accompanied by significantly increased numbers of shallow earthquakes.
     GPS and InSAR data indicate accumulation of magma in a storage system about 3 km (2 mi) beneath Mauna Loa’s summit caldera and uppermost Southwest Rift Zone (SWRZ). These are also the areas that have been the most seismically active in recent years.
A strainmeter lowered into an
underground tube  drilled
to the right depth and supported
by expansive grout and cement.
Photo form HAVO
     It’s important to note that earthquakes and inflation beneath the volcano’s uppermost SWRZ does not mean that the next Mauna Loa eruption is more likely to occur along the SWRZ. Similar patterns of seismicity prior to the 1975 and 1984 eruptions did not result in sustained activity in the SWRZ.
     Mauna Loaʻs neighbor, Kīlauea, has also been inflating in recent years. Similar to Mauna Loa, inflation of Kīlauea is mainly occurring in a magma storage system beneath the volcano’s summit caldera and upper Southwest Rift Zone. But this magma reservoir is more circular and centered beneath the south part of Kīlaueaʻs caldera. Small, cyclic variations in Kīlauea tilt that occur over a few days to a week—so-called deflation-inflation, or DI, events—are superimposed on this overall inflation and result in rather dramatic fluctuations in the summit lava lake level.
     HVO has long posted a few plots of tilt and GPS data to the World Wide Web for public viewing, but HVO’s new website includes expanded flexibility and capability for viewing deformation data. Interested users can now track changes at any of HVO’s tilt and GPS stations on the island with a few mouse clicks!
     Through the new interface, everyone can track deformation of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa as it happens and keep up to date on the latest moves of our island’s active volcanoes.
     Volcano Watch (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/) is a weekly article and activity update written by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists.

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Pu‘u o Lokuana, Sat, June 3, 9:30 – 11 a.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about formation and various uses of this grassy cinder cone and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū on this free, moderately difficult 0.4-mile hike to the top.

Ecstatic Dance, Sat, June 3, 2 – 4 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Jo Caron offers a dynamic way to both workout and meditate all in the same breath. $15, $20 at the door. 967-8222 .

Ham Radio Operators Potluck Picnic, Sun, June 4, Manukā Park. All American Radio Emergency Service members, anyone interested in learning how to operate a ham radio and families are invited to attend. Dennis Smith, 989-3028.

Volunteer Fire Department Meeting, Mon, June 5, 4 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033.