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Thursday, October 05, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023

Color photograph of volcanic plume and moon
Kīlauea summit was erupting during October 2021, when this photo was taken. A lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu at that time gave the plume of volcanic gas above the eruption site an orange glow, as the moon rising to the east further illuminated the scene. See more below. USGS photo by J. Schmith
COFFEE, TEA & WATER EXPO is coming up at Nāʻālehu Park on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The website https://stargazerindustriesinc.com/events says, “This is the first large event in decades for the District of Ka‘ū.” 
    Organized by Stargazer Industries and Christine Kaehuaea, admission is free. The website says that 75 percent of the proceeds “go to the public schools & educators in Nāʻālehu and Pāhala, in District of Ka‘ū, Hawai‘i + 25% of Proceeds go directly into the hands of teachers in Lāhainā through the Hawai‘i Teacher's Association of Lāhainā.” 
    The website offers a QR Code, inviting people to donate to the event's Ka‘ū Wish List Fund, for Ka‘ū public schools and educators, and “on-the-ground educators in the District of Lāhainā to support teachers and students directly.” 
    Coffee Tea & Water “celebrates the elements that we all cherish: Coffee, Tea & Water...Music & Food. From Ka‘ū Coffee & Tea farmers, and Hawai‘i Island Bottled Water to Food & Retail vendors from around Hawai‘i island, including live musical performances by artists from across the state.” 
    Live performers are Shootz Band, Ho‘aikane, Tualia Lave, Kalae & Kalena, Keaiwa and Maka Gallinger. 
    Participants listed among coffee entities are: Ka‘ū Coffee Growers Cooperative, Ka‘ū Royal Coffee, Ka‘ū Coffee Mill, Rusty’s Hawaiian, Pohaku Coffee, Silver Cloud Coffee Farm, Hawaiian Monarch Coffee, The Rising Sun, Ka‘ū Coffee & Tea Company and Kealaka‘ikoa Coffee Co. 
    Tea farm participants listed are Mo‘La‘Ea Mountain Farm Hawaiian Grown Produce in Nā‘ālehu, Ancient Valley Growers in Wood Valley, and HI Five Farms in Volcano. 
    The water company listed is Wai‘akea Hawaiian Volcanic Water. Retail vendors, including food trucks are Duck Fat, Any Kine Wontons, Good to Go Grindz, Honuas Coffee House, Thai Smile, Lock Jaw Lemon Peel, Poi Dog Deli, Lavaloha, Graby & Go, 50 designz, Ka‘ū Coffee & Tea Co., Sunset Party Rentals, Big Island Produce, Sunbelt Rentals, Event Medics Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Wholesale Fencing, Show Systems Hawai‘i and Brandon Makano. 
    Top Shelf sponsors listed are KTA Super Stores, Paradise Helicopters, Whisky, Steak & Wine Steakhouse in Hilo, Hawai‘i MedSpa in Kona and Lion Energy. The website says there are 30-second commercials on TV in Hawai‘i and the mainland West Coast, plus ads on Hawaiian Airlines and presence on Hawai‘i News Now, KHNL and KHON2 and in “Seattle, down to San Diego and over to Las Vegas.”

Seismicity reached more than 300 earthquakes per day by Thursday evening at Kīlauea, mostly
south of the crater and toward Pahala. Graph from USGS

HAWAI'I'S VOLCANOES ARE QUIET AND IT'S A BIT SPOOKY is the headline for Volcano Watch, the weekly column by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and affiliates:
    Here in Hawai‘i nei, we don't have the dramatically changing leaf colors and brisk temperatures that mark the arrival of Fall. And as October arrived this year, our night skies were dark, with no warm orange glow indicative of lava erupting on the surface.
    Kīlauea's most recent eruption stopped on Sept. 16. This was the briefest of the five eruptions that have occurred at the summit of Kīlauea since 2020. The eruption lasted about six days and, like the four eruptions before it, filled in a portion of the summit that collapsed in 2018.
A view of the inactive vents on the downdropped block of Kīlauea
 summit caldera, which erupted from Sept. 10-16, 2023. During
 the morning of Sept. 16, HVO field crews reported that active lava
 was no longer flowing onto Halemaʻumaʻu crater floor and was
restricted to a ponded area north of the vents on the downdropped
 block. They observed lava spattering at the vents cease at
approximately 11:15 a.m. Sept. 16 and webcam views show the
ponded lava stagnant by around noon. No activity was observed
 by field crews on Sept. 17. USGS photo by J. Chang 
    Though Kīlauea is one of Earth's most active volcanoes, periods of time with no eruptive activity on the surface are not uncommon. Since 2020, there have been periods lasting weeks to several months between eruptions and during which there is no active lava on the surface. Prior to the recent summit eruptions, Kīlauea didn't erupt for over two years following the large lower East Rift Zone eruption in 2018.             Looking back at Kīlauea's eruptive history over the past couple hundred years, periods of weeks to months or even sometimes years between eruptions are relatively common. The longest period without any Kīlauea eruptions over the past 200 years was abnormally long and lasted 18 years! For USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) staff, these non-eruptive periods offer a bit of respite from the flurry of activity that comes with responding to increased unrest or a new eruption. 
   However, because our volcanoes erupt so frequently, these quiet periods also come with a bit of unease. HVO staff ask themselves questions such as how long will it be until a volcano erupts again? Where and when will the next eruption take place.
    HVO's monitoring network helps us to evaluate the answers to these questions. The monitoring network continuously tracks activity beneath the surface despite the surface itself appearing still. Right now, recent ground deformation south of Kīlauea summit is beginning to slow, but an increased number of earthquakes are being detected in this region due to a seismic swarm. The rift zones of Kīlauea along with other active volcanoes in Hawai‘i, including Mauna Loa, remain quiet. We expect to see changes to these monitoring parameters when any of Hawai‘i's active volcanoes begin to show signs of unrest.
    Though Hawai‘i's volcanoes currently aren't erupting, other volcanoes around the world remain active. Here in the United States, Great Sitkin and Shishaldin are erupting in Alaska, generating lava flows and ash plumes in the remote Aleutian Islands. Multiple volcanoes are active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Indonesia, Japan, The Philippines, and Russia. Individual volcanoes are also active in Chile, Ethiopia, Italy, Mexico, and Papua New Guinea.
    Elsewhere in the world, volcanoes can also cause unease even when not erupting. In Italy, there is increased earthquake activity at Campi Flegrei, a caldera that includes part of the city of Naples. The dense population of people living in the vicinity of this volcanic center has garnered much attention and the situation is complicated by evacuations during previous periods of unrest
5,000 in the mail, 2,500 on the street.

that did not escalate to eruption. Hawai‘i over the past five years has fortunately offered safe viewing, has not required evacuations, and has only minimally impacted infrastructure. However, communities living on the flanks of Hawai‘i's active volcanoes should always be prepared for the range of activities that Hawai‘i's volcanoes can exhibit. You and your family can be better prepared for one of the many natural hazards that can impact Island of Hawaiʻi residents by taking some time now, when it is quiet, to visit the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense website on preparedness: https://www.hawaiicounty.gov/departments/civil-defense/emergency-prepar.... Though the skies above Hawaii's volcanoes are dark right now, they will certainly be lit up by the glow of eruptions in the future.

SIGNS OF ELEVATED UNREST JUST SOUTH OF KĪLAUEA'S SUMMIT were reported Thursday by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Rates of inflationary tilt increased two days ago in the area south of the Kīlauea summit caldera and are now leveling off. A seismic swarm in the Kīlauea summit region started Oct. 5, with over 150 earthquakes in the last 24 hours. Most of the earthquakes are occurring in a region south of the caldera at depths of around 2.5–3.5 km (1.5–2 mi) below the surface.
    The USGS Summit Observations Thursday morning stated that earthquake rates beneath Kīlauea summit region have increased overnight from less than 10 earthquakes per day to over 140 earthquakes in the last 24 hours.
    The trend of the seismic activity parallels, but is slightly south of the December 1974 eruption vents. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates remain low and were measured at a rate of about 150 tonnes per day on September 25.
    Rift Zone Observations: No unusual activity has been noted along the East Rift Zone or Southwest Rift Zone; steady rates of ground deformation and seismicity continue along both. Measurements from continuous gas monitoring stations downwind of Puʻuʻōʻō in the middle East Rift Zone—the site of 1983–2018 eruptive activity—remain below detection limits for SO2, indicating that SO2 emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō are negligible.
Ka‘ū High Cheerleaders gave up the front row to visiting Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy earlier in September.
The Trojans play HPA on the road this Saturday at 2 p.m. From left to right for the Ka‘ū Cheerleaders: Lilyana Haina, Kalia Grace, Jasmin Sanchez, Laci Ah Yee, Sky, Hokulani Carriaga Pascual, Kaydence Ebanez-Alcosiba, Janeea Bonoan, Chazlyn Mukini, Dream Moore, Ava Estabilio-Lazar, Kamalea Davis, Alexus Bivings. Photo from Ka‘ū High Cheerleaders

TROJAN CHEERLEADERS BOOST SPIRIT OF KA‘Ū. Ka‘ū Trojan cheerleaders are fully supporting the fall sports season, cheering on the football team, which won its last two games, setting such school records for the most point scored and most yards gained. The 13 freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior girls are led by coaches, Carma Hanshew and Jamie Kalua‘u.

    Trojan cheerleaders practice on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays after school from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Their uniforms and pompoms are the colors of Ka‘ū High School, maroon and white.
    Cheers include chants, dances, and jumps. The three senior captains are Lilyana Haina, Janeea Bonoan, and Chazlynn Pua-Queja. "I got into cheerleading because my sister did cheerleading in her high school years", said Haina. "I joined cheerleading in my sophomore year because my friend convinced me to and it sounded fun", said Bonoan.
    Ka‘ū cheerleaders welcome cheerleaders from visiting teams and recently hosted Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy, Honoka‘a, and Kohala.

Kaʻū News Briefs Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023

A map of the state's largest islands shows Pāhala and Volcano are areas of need for vegetative management. They
are included in a Vegetative Management Planning Area. Map from Environment Hawai‘i

PĀHALA AND VOLCANO ARE ON A STATE MAP FOR WILDFIRE PREVENTION through vegetative management. The October edition of Environment Hawai‘i displays the map and reviews efforts to reduce fire risk. Pāhala and Volcano are shown on the map in an orange area of concern, with the rest of Kaʻū shown in yellow, a color of lesser concern in terms of the Vegetative Management Planning Area.
    The story by Patricia Tummons gives a headline with opinion: For Years, Scientists Predicted Increase in Wildfires; They were largely ignored.
    The story leads with a quote from a fire captain, Jeremie Makepa of Kaua‘i, who said, "People of
Hawai'i do a great job of coming together after these disasters." Referring to the recent Maui conflagrations, he said, "We don't do very well before them. We do a lot of stuff in defense... We don't do enough to be proactive." Makepa spoke during the recent Pacific Fire Exchange webinar, hosted by University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization. The organization helped form ‘Aina Alliance which launched a "wide-ranging fire-hazard reduction project on nearly 500 acres of Hawaiian Home Lands at Anahola, involving trash removal, fuel load reduction and building firebreaks," according to the Environment Hawai‘i story.
    The story also refers such measures on Hawai‘i Island, pointing to a two-mile firebreak along Highway 19, which links the towns of Waimea and Kawaihae. The firebreak was created by a consortium of organizations, including Forest Solutions, Queen Emma Land Co. and Parker Ranch, according to Robbie Justice who works for Forest Solutions and spoke at the webinar.    Environment Hawai‘i
reports, "The efforts of Justice and Makepa and dozens of other landowners, communities, and groups across the state owe much to Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization, which for years has found grants and fostered alliances that, it is hoped, mitigate or reduce the effects of wildfire.
    "One of the organization’s fire-pre-emptive projects is advising communities on how residents can reduce wildfire risks and earn 'Firewise' designation from the National Fire Protection Association. Across the state, 14 communities or neighborhoods have earned Firewise status, with five more either pending renewal or in still completing the process. Three of the communities are in Maui: Launiupoko (near Lahaina), Kahikinui (on the dry south side of the island), and Waiohuli (in the Kula area), all of them having earned Firewise status in 2016. 
`Aina Alliance launched a cleanup of 500 coastal acres, in
 part, to prevent wildfires. Photo from 'Aina Alliance
   "On the Big Island, several of the Hawaiʻi island Firewise communities were near the August fires, including some of those under evacuation orders. None of the homes in any of the Firewise areas were burned."
    The Environment Hawai‘i story reports that "Several years ago, Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization undertook a rapid mapping assessment of all the inhabited Hawaiian islands except Niʻihau, looking at wildfire hazards and fuel reduction efforts and developing lists of priorities to reduce the likelihood of wildfires or mitigate the damage from them. Across the board, HWMO found policies and funding related to fire infrastructure and vegetation management were insufficient. Participants in the
island-specific planning workshops 'overwhelmingly' identified as their top priority the need for the Legislature to create a program providing 'consistent funding for projects on a longer-term basis that is reflective of Hawaiʻi’s multiple growing seasons.'”    The story concludes by noting that "In the 2023 session, the Legislature failed to approve s measure that would have allowed the Division of Forestry and Wildlife to establish a community fuels reduction project." See the rest of the story with explanations on the reason for killing the funding at https://www.environment-hawaii.org/?p=15396

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park staff members help connect Kaʻū High students to science in the park. 
Photo from Kaʻū High School

SCIENCE AND JOURNALISM STUDENTS FROM KAʻŪ HIGH SCHOOL connected math, chemistry and other science with on-the-ground work and research at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. On Tuesday, they visited the Park's air quality monitoring site and interviewed staff, who work for the park. The students on the field trip are in Beatriz Ramos' Physical Science Class and Chayanee Brooks' Journalism Class.

Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund mentors work with Kaʻū High School students. The organization is offering
$500 scholarships to high school students and recent graduates in Kaʻū. Photo from HWF

for high school juniors, seniors, and recent graduates in Kaʻū. The application form is relatively simple, requiring submission of a one-page essay (400-500 words recommended) focusing on a favorite native wildlife species (plant or animal) that lives in or transits through Kaʻū. Bonus points are given for recommending how individuals can help protect favorite wildlife species, and why the plant or animal is important to Hawaiʻi.
    Applicants can be pursuing any career or college pathway they desire. It is recommended to include any connections that might exist between favored species and future career goal, according to Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund.
    Learn more about the HWF Kaʻū Wildlife Scholarship here: https://www.wildhawaii.org/kau-wildlife-scholarship/.

HPD ARRESTED 21 FOR DUI during the week of Sept. 25 through Oct. 1. Hawai‘i Island police made the arrest for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Five of the drivers were involved in a traffic collision. Three were under the age of 21.
    So far this year, there have been 725 DUI arrests compared with 746 during the same period last year, a decrease of 2.7 percent.
   Hawai‘i Police Department’s Traffic Services Section reviewed all updated crashes and found 627 major collisions so far this year compared with 619 during the same period last year, an increase of 1.3 percent.
    To date, there have been 13 fatal crashes, resulting in 14 fatalities, (one of which had multiple deaths); compared with 25 fatal crashes, resulting in 27 fatalities (one of which had multiple deaths, and one was reclassified to a medical condition) for the same time last year. This represents a decrease of 48 percent for fatal crashes, and 48.1 percent for fatalities.
    To date, the non-traffic fatality count (not on a public roadway) so far this year is one compared to zero non-traffic fatalities for the same time last year.
Police promise that DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue island-wide.