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Thursday, February 01, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Feb.1, 2024

Earthquakes moving toward Pāhala from Kīlauea caldera follow a similar pattern that led to an eruption in 1974, as shown above.
It lasted less than a day. USGS photo

PULSES OF MAGMA CONTINUE TO MOVE BENEATH THE KAʻŪ DESERT SURFACE ALONG THE KO‘ALE FAULT ZONE, which connects Kīlauea’s East and Southwest Rift Zones south of the caldera, according to the Thursday morning report from USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
    Faults there appear as low cliffs, or “scarps.” Typically, when magma reaches this area in the Kaʻū Desert, earthquakes are concentrated at depths of 3-4 km (2-2.5 mi), but current activity is distributed more evenly from 1-4 km (less than a mile–2.5 mi) depth, says the USGS report. "Around 7:30 this morning, three magnitude 2.9 earthquakes occurred just south of Puʻukoʻae at very shallow depths. At the time of the morning report, activity remained elevated; periods of increased earthquake activity and rates of ground deformation were expected to continue in this region.
    "Based on past historical activity, this event is much more likely to continue as an intrusion, but there is still a possibility of it ending in an eruption," said the USGS report.
This map shows recent unrest at Kīlauea volcano. Yellow circles mark earthquake locations from January 31, 2024, through noon on February 1, 2024, as recorded by HVO seismometers. 

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Eric Tanouye of Green Point Nurseries
MAKE, WEAR AND GIFT A LEI TO PERPETUATE HAWAIIAN TRADITION.  GROW THE FLOWERS AND FOLIAGE TO MAKE THEM. That's the message from Hawai‘i's floriculture industry, partnering with Hawai‘i 
Tourism Authority to ask for local support in buying flowers and foliage.
    A headline from industry representatives says: Hawai‘i Island Floriculture Industry Reliant on Local Business. In 2022 Hawai‘i's floriculture industry was ranked as one of the top ten in the nation according to the National Agriculture Statistics Service. However, Hawai‘i's producers of flowers and foliage have faced unexpected challenges in recent years due to the 2018 Kīlauea eruption that destroyed commercial production facilities in Kapoho and the lack of business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plumeria lei from florists, nurseries and yards worn by students
of Kumu Hula Lorilei Shirakawa. Photo from  Volcano Art Center
    Second-generation nurseryman Eric Tanouye of Green Point Nurseries, a big supporter of Kaʻū Coffee Festival, and also president of the Hawai‘i Floriculture and Nursery Association, says the fallout from the pandemic "showed us how dependent we are on the hospitality industry." He adds 50 percent of industry revenue comes from exports, bringing in outside dollars into Hawai‘i's economy.
    The latest state figures from NASS report the state's $81.6 million floriculture industry suffered a five percent decrease from 2018 to 2020. It pointed out that nurseries "were hit especially hard" that were tied to tourism and other hospitality venues that were prohibited from having large gatherings.
    Add these types of unique challenges to the industry's ever-
Cymbidium orchids, crown flowers, puakenikeni, are among
 locally-grown flowers for lei. Photo from AhLanʻs Lei Stand

present hurdles of land costs, off-island competition, insect control, an aging workforce and climate change, and the future could seem daunting to the state's 291 producers of fresh flowers and foliage, garden plants and propagative materials used in floral arrangements.
    According to HFNA figures, the lion's share of these producers are on Hawai‘i Island. Tanouye says the nexus of them is in south Hilo or upper and lower Puna due to ideal weather conditions of mild temperatures with tradewinds bringing in precipitation from the Pacific.
Making lei from ti leaf grown in yards and nurseries. Photo from Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park 
    While the business from Hawai‘i's hospitality sector is important for floriculture producers, Tanouye claims it is important for island residents to support local growers by buying their products. He points out that island-grown plants are suited for island landscapes and suggests using local flowers in home and party arrangements and purchasing lei to give as gifts.
    "When possible, buy flowers grown in Hawai‘i first to support our local growers," he emphasizes. "Our floral products also promote Hawai‘i's sense of place, which indirectly helps our visitor industry."
    Ainahua Florals depends on nearby growers to provide the flowers for their lei and floral arrangements and also grows some of its own products.
    "Quality of the flower is number one important to us so we want our freshest product as possible," says Kelsi Mercado, creative director and manager of Ainahua's lei department. "Packing and shipping takes its toll on fresh flowers; they can bruise and wilt and then we have to pluck the damaged petals off the flowers."
    Also important to the Hawaiian-owned company is the availability of products. "We want to be able to pick
Making lei from native foliage. Photo from DLNR

up flowers and sew them in a lei within a few hours," continues Mercado, who adds sewing the lei with string and needle, called lei kui, is the most popular method used. "We do a single style where we sew right through the middle of the bloom, and a rope or double style, where we sew on the side of the bloom in a circle pattern. The double style uses triple the flowers and results in a thicker lei."
    Ainahua relies on a Waimea farm for its "tiny baby roses" as they are the right size, hardy, and can easily be mixed with other blossoms. "If we didn't have this farm we'd have to
Leimaker Lana Haasenwritter. Photo from AhLan's Lei Stand
import them from as far as South America or California and unfortunately, their roses aren't the size or in the bud stage we prefer," notes Mercado. "Our local source is a lei-making family and they know what we
    Lei product grown by Ainahua includes 'ākulikuli, a succulent also known as ice plant. "It's hard to sew as the stems are tiny so we stitch in a half-moon formation, flat on one side and round on the other," Mercado adds local tūtū say all young girls would learn how to make this lei to give to their fathers. The lei would be worn on the hats of paniolo "to help hold them down" while riding.
   'Ākulikuli grows in different places but doesn't necessarily bloom unless in a higher elevation with sunny days and really cool nights."
    Other plants to grow for lei include lehua, ti leaf, bird of paradise, hydrangea, protea and dahlias. Also used are ginger, maile, pakalana, pīkake, plumeria, tuberose, kukui, lantern ‘ilima and orchids.    
    AhLan's Lei Stand at Hilo International Airport was founded by the late Rebecca Tim Sing in 1945. She began selling lei displayed on her arms to greet passengers as they disembarked from arriving ships at Hilo Pier. Named after Rebecca's only daughter AhLan, today the stand is operated by granddaughter Lana Haasenritter and has been open for five generations.
Keana Kuluwaimaka rides as princess of Ka‘ula, an uninhabited 188-acre island west-southwest of Ni‘ihau.
She and her horse wear lei of ‘a‘ali‘i blooms. Photo by Julia Neal
   "Grandma and mom trained and taught us from a very young age to pick, prepare and grow flowers for lei with care," Haasenritter shares. "After we mastered this, we made and sold lei." She adds using
Ākulikuli, a succulent that blooms in cooler elevations, grown
by Ainahua Florals. Lei is stitched in a half-moon formation,
 flat on one side, round on the other. Photo from Ainahua Florals

    "Giving a lei is like giving someone flowers," she notes. "A lei expresses love, friendship, celebration, honor, welcome and goodbye. It is a symbol of aloha because every day is perfect for a flower lei."
    Ka‘iulani Blankenfeld, director of Hawaiian culture at Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, points out that lei making, wearing and gifting is an integral part of Hawaiian culture and presenting a lei is one of the most intimate interactions in Hawai‘i.
    Saying lei are the number one gift made, purchased, and presented in Hawai‘i, she adds, "Whether gifting, wearing or placing a lei somewhere special, the love and intentions that come with the lei is the greater significance and gift."
    According to Blankenfeld, every facet of Hawaiian culture—including the making, gifting and wearing of lei— must continue to be practiced and perpetuated for this place to truly be Hawai‘i. With May Day annually on May 1, she encourages all to make, wear and give a lei.

Ainahua Florals sews orchids and ʻilima into a lei using a string and needle that goes right through the center of the blossoms.
Photo from Ainahua Florals

MINDFULNESS IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION is the non-profit Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center's free talk
on Feb. 15 as part of Finding Solutions, Growing Peace Brown Bag Lunch Series. Talks are on third Thursdays from 12 noon to 1 pm via Zoom.
    This month's speaker is Jill Raznov on the topic Mindfulness in Conflict Resolution: Awareness, Creativity & Openness.
    "Mindfulness is an oft-overused word," says Raznov. "Some describe it as being in the moment or peaceful, but is that all? And how can conflict resolvers increase mindfulness to help everyone, including ourselves, feel more relaxed and less anxious during tense situations?"
    In this talk, participants can engage in exercises to increase self- and other-awareness, foster creativity when facilitating agreements, and stay open to differing perspectives.
    Raznov is principal in A Bridge to Communication, LLC, providing mediator, facilitator, and neutral services. She holds a J.D. from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law and practiced law in Hawai‘i since 2003. Trained at the Mediation Center of the Pacific, she is a volunteer mediator with Kuikahi Mediation Center. In her spare time, she surfs, practices yoga, bakes, and cares for her 3-acre homestead with her family.
    Ku‘ikahi's Brown Bag Lunch Series is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to enjoy an informal and educational talk-story session and connect with others interested in Finding Solutions, Growing Peace.
    To get the Zoom link, register online at https://freebrownbagtalk.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center at (808) 935-7844 or info@hawaiimediation.org. Or visit www.hawaiimediation.org.
    This lunch-and-learn series is made possible thanks in part to funding from the County of Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i Island United Way.

Kaʻū News Briefs Jan. 31, 2024

Dietrich Varez pig hunting art. An exhibit of his unpublished works opens at Volcano Art Center Feb. 17. 

Dietrich Varez, 1939 - 2018. Photo from Volcano Art Center
DIETRICH VAREZ ART EXHIBITION WILL SHOW UNPUBLISHED WORKS. Volcano Art Center announces an exhibit opening on Saturday, Feb. 17, honoring life, art and legacy of the artist and author Dietrich Varez. The print-maker painter created scenes of Hawaiian mythology and traditional Hawaiian life and stylized designs from nature.
    Of Polish-Swedish and Lithuanian parents, he was born in Germany in 1939 and came to Hawai‘i with his mom, brother and stepfather, Army Sgt. Manuel Varez.         
    The exhibition titled Dietrich Varez Legacy: The Expanded Collection features unpublished works of the artist which have recently been made available through the Varez Family Estate and a donation from Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, through support from National Endowment for the Humanities.
The exhibit opens daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and will be on display through May 26.
    For more information call (808) 967-7565 or visit www.volcanoartcenter.org.

Earthquakes between Jan. 25 and the end of January. Map from USGS
OVER 700 EARTHQUAKES OCCURRED AT KĪLAUEA ON WEDNESDAY. U.S. Geological Service upped the alert from Advisory to Watch on Wednesday morning and its Summit Observations said:  "Seismicity began to increase just before midnight. Since 3 a.m. HST, 25-30 locatable earthquakes have occurred per hour at depths of 1.5–3 km (1–2 mi) below the surface. Earthquake clusters have migrated between the area just south of Halemaʻumaʻu and the region southwest of the outer caldera boundary. The most intense activity occurred between 6 and 8 a.m., when earthquakes were clustering just south of Halemaʻumaʻu. There have been over 180 locatable earthquakes in this region in the past 6 hours, with magnitudes ranging from a maximum of 3.4 to less than 1. Several of these earthquakes were large enough to be felt by HVO staff in the field, who also reported rockfalls on the south side of Halemaʻumaʻu.
This bar graph shows about 750 earthquakes on Wednesday. Image from USGS
    "At the time of this report, earthquake activity remains elevated, and the overall number and intensity of earthquakes is fluctuating with time. Periods of increased seismicity can be expected to continue during pressurization of the summit magma reservoir, which has been ongoing since the end of the September 2023 eruption.
    "Kīlauea’s summit region remains at a high level of inflation. Nearly 10 microradians of change have been recorded since 4:00 a.m. HST at tiltmeters near Sand Hill and Uēkahuna Bluff. Both of these tiltmeters have shown highly variable directions and rates of tilt, typical of shallow crack growth that can precede either an eruption or shallow intrusion. Step-wise changes in the tilt signal are likely due to the instrument being shaken by nearby earthquakes or rockfalls."
    After the report was issued Wednesday morning, earthquakes continued to increase in number reaching
about 750 for the day.

AN OCEAN VIEW WOMAN DIED AFTER STOPPING HER DOG FROM ATTACKING HER PET GOAT. Detectives with Hawai‘i Police Department’s Area II Criminal Investigation Section (CIS) are investigating the death of the 42-year-old. "At this time, it does not appear that her injuries from breaking up the dog attack on the goat resulted in her death. The victim has been identified as Sommer Crivello of Ocean View," reports HPD.
    On Tuesday at 3:44 p.m., Kona patrol officers responded to a dog bite complaint in the 87-3400 block of Māmalahoa Highway in South Kona.
    It was initially reported that a pet dog was attacking a pet goat. After Crivello intervened she was observed to be unconscious and unresponsive on the ground. Arriving on scene, police observed Crivello in the yard not breathing. Her only visible injuries were abrasions to her left hand, consistent with a dog bite. Officers immediately began CPR until Hawai‘i Fire Department personnel arrived on scene. HFD continued CPR efforts and transported Crivello to Kona Community Hospital where she was pronounced deceased upon arrival.
    Hawai‘i County Animal Control and Protection Agency responded to the scene, securing the dog and removing it from the scene. The dog was reported to be Crivello’s family pet and was not aggressive toward officers and others at the scene.
    "It is unclear at this time what caused Crivello’s death. Area II CIS detectives have launched a coroner’s inquest investigation, which is ongoing, and an autopsy is scheduled to determine the exact cause of death" reports HPD.
    Police ask that anyone with information relative to this investigation to contact Detective Donovan Kohara at (808) 326-4646, ext. 238, or via email at donovan.kohara@hawaiicounty.gov. Also contact the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311.

A SEWER PROJECTS MEETING IS SET FOR FEB. 29. A meeting on wastewater projects for Pāhala and Nā‘ālehu will be held on Thursday, Feb. 29 at 6 p.m. at Pāhala Community Center, 96-1149 Kamani Street. The County of Hawai‘i Department of Environmental Management will hold its semi-annual
community informational meeting to give its update regarding the closures of the large capacity cesspools in Pāhala and Nā‘ālehu. The meeting is also available on zoom at www.zoomgov.com/j/16031058165
        At this meeting, Department of Environmental Management will: 
        Discuss the County’s tentative identification of the preferred option of a wastewater treatment for Pāhala and new collection system (Option 1) and will encourage public input.
        Provide an update for the large capacity cesspool closure project in Nā‘ālehu;
        Present the contents of its Semiannual Report to EPA covering activities completed in the second half of 2023; and
        Discuss next steps and deadlines.
        An updated website to track progress of this project is at www.dem.hawaiicounty.gov/projects.

School Athletics Department has opened applications seeking Head and Assistant Coaches for the 2024 football season. Athletic Director Jaime Guerpo said that anyone who is interested can pick up applications at Kaʻū High School main office.
    The football team is comprised of students from Kaʻū High and Volcano School of the Arts & Sciences.
    With any questions, call (808)313-4161. Deadline for completed applications is Feb. 29 at noon. Applications can be dropped off at the main office.

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