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Friday, January 07, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022

Alexander  Lancaster was a famous guide to visitors of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. He was an early Hawaiian Volcano Observatory field observer and assistant, and the first Park Ranger of Hawai‘i Volcanoes Park. At top left, in 1893, he sits on the bluff below the original visitor’s shelter on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u crater. At top right, Lancaster is on Kīlauea’s Crater Trail, likely in the 1920s. In the bottom photo, he guides two visitors to the former Devil’s Kitchen area on the floor of Kīlauea caldera in 1924.
See Volcano Watch, below. Photos from National Park Service, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, James Tsuchiya family.

THE PUBLIC ACCESS ROOM AT THE HAWAI'I LEGISLATURE is gearing up to keep citizens informed of the actions of state Senators and House of Representatives members, as well as progress of bills proposed for the 2022 session. The Legislature opens on Wednesday, Jan. 19 and closes on May 5.
    Citizens can sign up for Public Access Room’s Zoom workshops by emailing par@capitol.hawaii.gov or calling 808/587-0478. Some of the upcoming workshops are:
    Your Voice: Tuesday, Jan. 11, 5 p.m. Overview of the legislature and how to add "your voice" to the process.

    The Bill to Law Process: Wednesday, Jan. 19, 5 p.m. Walk through the process with an imaginary bill
    Finding Bills: Wednesday, Jan 26, 5 p.m. Using the legislature’s website to find bills of interest.
    Understanding the Deadlines: Wednesday, Feb. 2, 5 p.m. Following the legislative calendar of deadlines
    The PAR staff is also open to groups who would like a special presentation scheduled for these and additional topics.
   This message from Public Access Room reminds of the importance of staying in touch with the Legislature virtually. "We’ve been advised by House and Senate leadership that the Capitol will continue to be closed to the public for the near future. Meanwhile, you’ll have access to all the proceedings -- info briefings, hearings, floor sessions -- on the House and Senate YouTube pages. And, when the hearings start up, you'll be able to testify remotely on Zoom (check out our “Engagement 101” page for more info). As always, let us know if you have questions!"
    PAR is funded by the Hawai'i Legislature to help ensure that the process is transparent and that the public can follow it step by step, initiating bills, reading bills by searching by subject or name, submitting testimony, attending or watching public hearings remotely and following each measure from initiation to approval, disapproval or deferral.

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Sen. Dru Mamo Kanuha
     Sen. Dru Mamo Kanuha, serving as Majority Leader and on the Senate's Committees on Housing, Education and Ways & Means.  He was elected to the Senate in 2018 after serving on the County Council since 2012 where he became its chairman. His district runs from Kona to Honu'apo. 
    Kanuha grew up in Kona and was involved in many community organizations including The Betty Kanuha Foundation, Kai ‘Ōpua Canoe Club, and Kealakehe High School Waveriders Against Drugs. He graduated from University of San Diego with a degree in Political Science, a minor in Business Administration. He worked for Kamehameha Schools and as a legislative aide. He can be reached at senkanuha@Captiol.hawaii.gov and 808-586-9391.
Sen. Joy San Buenaventura
     Sen. Joy A. San Buenaventura chairs the Senate committee on Human Services, and serves on Commerce & Consumer Protection and Health. She began serving in the Senate in 2021, taking the place of Sen. Russell Ruderman who retired. Her first elected office was to the state House of Representatives in 2014. Her Senate District runs from Puna to Honu'apo. 
    San Buenaventura grew up on O'ahu and she moved with her family to Las Vegas where she earned a degree in Mathematics at University of Las Vegas. She worked with the EPA and later received her Juris Doctorate  from University of California Hastings College of Law. She taught Business Law at U.H. Hilo and became the youngest judge in Hawai'i at age 32. She worked on geothermal cases and has practiced before the Hawai'i Supreme Court.
     San Buenaventura lives in a solar powered home in Puna. She is a volunteer attorney with the Self Help Center than assists people to gain access to the judicial system. She can be reached at sensanbuenaventura@Capitol.hawaii.gov and 808-586-6890.
      Learn about the state House of Representatives members serving Volcano and Ka'u to Miloli'i in Saturday's Ka'u News Briefs.

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HAWAI'I FARMERS UNION KAʻŪ CHAPTER meets on Saturday, July 8 at noon at the Wood Valley Mamaki Farm. 
     This first Kaʻū Chapter meeting of the year will be held to introduce new members, elect the board, discuss the speaker series and accompanying music, plan for tools share and a community garden, and a report on working with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. The meeting features a potluck luncheon. See hfuu.org

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HAWAI'I FARMERS UNION KAʻŪ CHAPTER presents a session on Raising Keiki & Home Schooling on The Farm in Kaʻū next Wednesday, Jan. 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on zoom. The featured families on Kaʻū farms are those of Annie Ridgely and Elizabeth Crook. 
A cow about to give birth at Crooked C Ranch where the four children are home
 schooled, the experience shared on a Hawai'i Farmers Union United meeting
on zoom this Wednesday. Photo from Crooked C Ranch

   Ridgely writes: "We are a family of six who grow, farm, process, and press the macadamia nuts on our 25- acre farm to make pure, premium oil for your skin. We love what we do and we enjoy doing it together. We operate our farm using solar energy and use natural farming methods to maximize sustainability. Our mission is to bring a superior quality product that is farmed naturally and sustainably, used as a pure ingredient skin care product for men and women of all ages, to Shine Naturally in their own skin.             Crook says she is a "Mom of five. Been on the Big Island for six years on our orange orchard. Sell a variety of products: beef, honey, goat milk products, oranges, produce, doTERRA,
    The online Zoom event will feature music by Gene & D of the Keaiwa Band. The session is open to the public, with priority given to Kaʻū Farmers Union members. To become a member, visit hfuu.org. Donations can be made to support family farms in Hawai'i via Hawaii Farmers Union Foundation. Register on Eventbrite. 

Crooked C Ranch mom Elizabeth Crook offers her insights on Raising Keiki & Home Schooling on The Farm in Kaʻū
on Zoom this Wednesday, Jan. 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., along with macadamia nut farm mom Annie Ridgely. The
presentation and discussion is one in a series sponsored by Hawai'i Farmers Union. Photo from Crooked C Ranch

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VOLCANO WATCH FEATURES THE FIRST RANGER AT HAWAI'I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK. The weekly column is written by USGS scientists and affiliates:
    Known to many as “Pele’s Grandson,” Alexander (“Alex” or “Alec”) Lancaster guided both tourists and scientists to Hawai‘i’s volcanoes for over 40 years, from 1885 to 1928.
    Alex was born around 1861 and was likely from Virginia, with African American and Cherokee heritage. While it is unclear how and when he arrived in Hawai‘i, by 1881 he had made his way to the island, and in his own words “started watching Kīlauea.”
    By 1911 Alex was a well-known guide. In that same year, Dr. Thomas Jaggar, founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), sent Frank Perrett to Hawai‘i to establish a volcano observatory at Kīlauea. Alex’s knowledge of the trails and terrain and his first-hand experience made him invaluable to the early observatory.
    Alex assisted Perret and Dr. E.S. Shepherd in constructing an iron cable spanning 1200 feet across Halema`uma`u. An electric pyrometer, lowered into the circulating lava lake from this cable, provided the first direct measurement of molten lava temperature—1,010°C (1,850°F)—in the world.
Alexander Lancaster, the first ranger at
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. NPS photo

   Jaggar recalled, “At all times Alec was a useful camp man, a good cook, and a fearless climber of cliffs. When it came to making and using rope ladders with hickory rungs for descent down a 200-foot cliff to the edge of the lava, Alec was the first to volunteer.”
    Alex’s sketches are found throughout the early pages of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s Record Book.
    In 1915, when Companies of the 25th US Army regiment came to Hawai‘i to build the Mauna Loa trail, Alex guided them to the more adventurous sights of Kīlauea. Corporal George Schuyler recalled, “…. A half dozen of us dared the descent and stood a few feet from the boiling torrent... Alex warned us when it was time to go because a section of the crater wall was about to crash. We climbed out, and sure enough the section fell with a resounding crash.”
    In 1919, the Hawai'i Publicity Commission hired Alex to guide visitors to Kīlauea and in 1922, he was hired as the first Park Ranger of the recently established Hawai'i National Park.
    During the pause between the 1924 and 1927 eruptions of Kīlauea, Alex was commissioned by HVO to provide reports on activity at the volcano.
    While small in physical stature, he was 5-foot 1-inch in height and weighed about ninety-five pounds, he was a talkative man with a big personality and described as being “as lively as the volcanoes themselves.”
    In 1926, while accompanying a reporter from the Honolulu Advertiser to the paused Kīlauea lava lake, Alex demonstrated his expertise as an acute observer of the volcanoes.
    “You see that white spot down there. I call it a dry spot…That white spot is where the next lava flow will break out. I see a blue fume there every now and then, and that means it is firing up below. When it breaks through, there will be several fountains, like red hot water spouting into the air. It will growl and snarl, and sputter—and then it will die down and begin to flow into the crater. That’s the way it has always acted. I see no reason why it should change on this occasion.”
Alexander Lancaster, second from left,
was considered the top guide at Volcano.
NPS photo
 Alex recognized early on many of the phenomena we still discuss today.
    During his more than 40 years of observations, Alex likely witnessed up to 20 eruptions from Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. His observations between 1885–1911 were particularly important for Jaggar and the new observatory.
    In 1924, the long-lived lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u suddenly vanished, followed by a series of more than 50 explosions. Alex recounted “I have never seen an explosion like that one we had here in May, 1924…I have no sympathy with such spells as throwing 14-ton stones up here on the rim.”
    Two years later, on April 10, 1926, Mauna Loa erupted, destroying a small village on the coast at Hoʻōpūloa. With Mauna Loa erupting, and everyone wondering whether lava would return to Kīlauea, Alex provided his own insight, “No sir! There’s no mystery about this volcano. When Mauna Loa starts showing off, Kīlauea gets jealous and jumps in with a better show—and that’s what Kīlauea is preparing to do now.”
    Alex was one of the key observers documenting the behavior of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa during the beginning of the modern age of volcano monitoring.
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