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Monday, March 27, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Monday, March 27, 2023

USGS volcanologist Carolyn Parcheta is featured in Discover Magazine, checking on the 2018 eruption of the Lower East Rift
 Zone of Kīlauea.  Photo from USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
 INSTEAD OF VOLCANO COWBOYS DOMINATING VOLCANOLOGY, women are increasingly the scientists working at Kīlauea and other volcanoes in the U.S. The Discover Magazine story, The Changing Face of Volcanology, released on March 27, features a photo of USGS volcanologist Carolyn Parcheta at Kīlauea during a fiery eruption. It also includes a biographical piece on Tina Neal, who was Scientist in Charge of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory during the massive 2018 Kilauea eruption.    
    The story by Erik Klemetti notes that "Prior to World War 2, most women in the U.S. Geological Survey were confined to desk jobs. Even after the war, if women were permitted in the field, they were often accompanying their geologist husbands. Often, women weren’t included because it was assumed

Tina Neal giving an update on the 2018 Kilauea eruption.
Photo from Big Island Video News
that they should stay home with children, or they couldn’t carry enough weight on their backs to be useful. Field geology and volcanology were seen as the realm for the 'rough and ready,' which meant not women."
    Klemetti reports that Neal "recalled being welcomed as a junior scientist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in 1983. 'As a young, white, not-quite-out-of-the-closet gay woman, I was treated warmly with encouraging mentors and colleagues.' Some of this support could be seen as almost comical, with attempts to helicopter portable bathroom facilities to the field for Neal (she refused)."
    The story gives some history of HVO, the oldest volcano observatory in the U.S. from its founding in 1912, followed by the opening of Cascades Volcano Observatory in 1980, Alaska Volcano Observatory in 1988 and California Volcano Observatory in 2012.
    The first woman in charge of a volcano observatory in the U.S. was Terry Keith, named to lead Alaska Volcano Observatory in 1994. By 2016-2019, "three of the five USGS Volcano Observatories were led by women. This was the first time that a majority of the observatories had women as their SIC and only the second time ever that more than one observatory was led by a woman. It was a true turning point in the field," writes Klemetti. His story notes that Neal, as Scientist in Charge at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory during the 2018 eruption, "was universally praised within the Survey for her handling of the crisis (even as she and her partner searched for a new home after her old one – just 2 miles from the collapsing Halema’uma’u Crater - were evacuated when the National Park closed)." Neal is currently Director of USGS Volcano Science Center.
    See more at https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/the-changing-face-of-volcanology

THE BID TO HALT INDUSTRIAL SOLAR FARMS ON EMPTY LOTS BETWEEN HOUSES IN OCEAN VIEW NEIGHBORHOODS picked up steam last week. The Public Utilities Commission received voluminous filings, including a motion for a Protective Order. A group of OV residents opposing the project met with their County Council member Michelle Galimba who said she will study the proposal.
    At issue is whether 26 solar installations, on 26 lots owned by SPI and its companies, should be considered components of one giant project with a capacity of 6.5 megawatts, or 26 individual projects, each with a capacity of 250 kilowatts.
     Lawyers hired by members of the Ocean View community to oppose the utility-scale installations argue that it is one project that exceeds minimum threshold for Competitive Bidding and also exceeds maximum size for projects permitted under the Feed In Tariff Program (FIT), a legacy program intended to “kick start” solar installations in Hawai’i in 2011.
    As a lead up to the hearing before the PUC, scheduled for April 13, attorneys funded by Ocean View community members filed testimonies, as did HELCO and SPI. 
     A former head of the PUC, Hermina “Mina” Morita testified on behalf of the opposition, stating: “The FIT Tariff was conceived when renewable projects that were “shovel-ready” required policies to incentivize their installation. As renewable development prices have dropped significantly during the past ten years, conditions that justified this project then, if determined to be individual projects, no longer exist
County Council member Michelle Galimba flanked by OV Ranchos residents
Betsy "Sparrow" Guyre-Allen (left) and Deb Gierloff, who presented
her with a power point to oppose industrial power generation on lots
 between homes in their neighborhood. Photo by Annie Bosted
making these projects expensive and untimely for the FIT Program. If determined to be one project, the competitive bid process is the appropriate path to achieve the best purchase price to serve the ratepayer and system.
    “Also, although not in the purview of the Commission. these projects also appear to exploit land use and agricultural loopholes regarding the siting of these projects further advancing the premise that these projects may not be in the public interest in other public policy areas.
    “The Hawaiian Electric Companies failed to properly administer the FIT program. The public interest should not be diminished or suffer the consequences of that failure especially when brought to the attention of the regulator”.
    Meanwhile, HECO, the defendant in the Formal Complaint, claimed in a motion to the PUC that it
would need to submit “Confidential Information." HECO maintained that “public disclosure of such confidential and/or proprietary information in this docket would competitively disadvantage the Companies and/or other third-parties in future negotiations to the detriment of customers, and could expose customers to potential victimization, among other things.
    “In addition, if disclosed publicly, critical infrastructure information related to the security of the Companies’ facilities could increase risk to the Companies’ facilities, jeopardize its emergency and disaster preparedness plans, and/or adversely impact its ability to respond to potential terrorist threats. Such critical infrastructure information should not be disclosed publicly, pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002.”
   If HECO is allowed to present confidential testimony, then lawyers representing Ocean View residents would not be allowed to view the testimony or cross examine testifiers involved. The issue will be discussed at a pre-hearing meeting on March 29.
   Lawyers presenting concerned members of the Ocean View community filed 1,980 pages as a lead up to the hearing. This included Direct Testimony from Morita and Annie Bosted (one of the complainants) and 40 exhibits.
    HECO and HELCO defendants filed four books of testimony and exhibits numbering an estimated 3,750 pages, while SPI, the potential solar developer of the project, filed about 4,689 pages.

DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS FROM 'O KAʻŪ KAKOU is this Saturday. The applications must be postmarked by April 1. See https://www.okaukakou.org/scholarships-for-local-students
    OKK, the nonprofit service organization, is 
offering scholarships for the 2023-2024 school year to high school and home-schooled graduating seniors and to undergraduate college students. 
    Individual scholarship awards are $1,000 ($500.00 per semester) for students enrolled full-time at any accredited trade school or two-year or four-year college to assist with tuition costs. Applicant must be residents of Ka'ū district, or if attending an out-of-state college, applicant must be claimed as a dependent whose parent or legal guardian's principal residence remains in the district of Ka'ū. 
    Instructions, guidelines, and information regarding eligibility, selection criteria, and the application process are detailed in the Application for Scholarship instructions and guidelines at https://www.okaukakou.org/scholarships-for-local-students.
    OKK advises that applicants thoroughly complete the application and carefully follow all instructions. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 
    Only hard copies of applications and supporting documents will be accepted (no electronic submissions) and must be postmarked on or before April 1. Late submissions will not be considered.          
    Recipients of previous scholarships who have not submitted their mahalo letter to OKK will not be considered for further scholarship funding. Any questions regarding this application can be directed to the OKK Scholarship Committee via email: okaukakou.org.scholarship@gmail.com and expect that it may take up to 24-36 hours for the Committee to respond.

In the mail and on stands.


St. Jude's Hot Meals are free to those in need on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until food runs out, no later than noon. Volunteers from the community are welcome to help and can contact Karen at pooch53@gmail.com. Location is 96-8606 Paradise Circle Drive in Ocean View. Those in need can also take hot showers from 9 a.m. to noon and use the computer lab from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Free Meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are served from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nā'ālehu Hongwanji. Volunteers prepare the food provided by 'O Ka'ū Kākou with fresh produce from its gardens on the farm of Eva Liu, who supports the project. Other community members also make donations and approximately 150 meals are served each day.


Volcano Evening Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village, Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with live music, artisan crafts, ono grinds, and fresh produce. See facebook.com.

Volcano Swap Meet, fourth Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to noon. Large variety of vendors with numerous products. Tools, clothes, books, toys, local made healing extract and creams, antiques, jewelry, gemstones, crystals, food, music, plants, fruits, and vegetables. Also offered are cakes, coffee, and shave ice. Live music. Volcano Farmers Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village on Sundays, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with local produce, baked goods, food to go, island beef and Ka'ū Coffee. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.
O Ka'ū Kākou Market, Nā'ālehu, Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Nadine Ebert at 808-938-5124 or June Domondon 808-938-4875. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.

Ocean View Community Market, Saturdays and Wednesdays, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., corner Kona Dr. Drive and Hwy 11, near Thai Grindz. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no rez needed. Parking in the upper lot. Vendors must provide their own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling is encouraged.