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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs June 13, 2024

Hilina'i Karratti and her pig traveled last year from Kaʻū to the 4-H Livestock Show & Auction between Honoka'a and Waimea. This year's show is Friday and Saturday. See more below. Photo from 4-H
NEW INCENTIVES FOR LONG-TERM HOUSING, in two bills proposed by Kaʻū's County Councilmember Michelle Galimba and Hilo Councilmember Jenn Kagiwada, went to a public zoom meeting on Thursday for explanation and public discussion. Kagiwada and council staffer Shannon Matson led the meeting. The bills come before the County Council's Finance Committee next Tuesday, June 18 at 1 p.m. and written testimony is due Monday, noon. Email counciltestimony@hawaiicounty.gov.
    Kagiwada said the aim of these pieces of legislation is to give incentives through tax breaks for property owners to rent at long-term rates, and to encourage them to add units and restore units to rent as long-term housing.
This meeting was held Thursday and testimony to the County
Council is due Monday, with live participation allowed at
Tuesday's Council meeting.
  Bill 104 would allow stand-alone units that are not on the owners' primary property to be assessed for property taxes at a lower rate provided that they are rented for six months or longer. The bill would move these non-owner occupied units out of the current tax class that also includes vacant property, vacation homes and short term rentals. The sponsors of the bill said they envision the tax rate going down for these long-term rentals starting in January of 2026. When asked whether the tax break would only cover permitted dwellings, they said that the bill concerns taxes only, that the county already charges taxes for unpermitted buildings. Any building or zoning violation would be handled by the building or planning departments.
    Bill 174 would incentivize use of and building of long-term rental units on homeowners' primary property by placing the rental unit, whether it be a room in a home or an additional dwelling unit, into the same tax rate and tax cap as allowed for owner occupied homes. The bill would go into effect in 2025.
    When asked whether it wouldn't be too expensive to build rentals given the new building code, the proponents said that older buildings, such as those that are post and pier, single wall and otherwise not up to the new codes, would not be disallowed as long-term rentals, as proposed in their tax bill. The proposed bill does not require bringing them up to code. The proponents emphasized Bill 174 deals with taxation, not permitting, for such requirements as sewage disposal, which are handled by other county departments.
    Realtor Julie Enriques from Punalu'u praised the bills and said she also encourages more zoning for multifamily units. She cautioned that some people might take advantage of the tax breaks and throw up new structures without proper sewage disposal or permits. The proponents said they are not scaling back any fines that could be handed down by the planning and building departments, which would continue to serve as deterrents to illegal building.
    To give testimony via Zoom, email to register: councilremotetestimony@hawaiicounty.gov; or call 961-8255 by noon the day prior to the meeting.Testimony can also be in person at West Hawai'i Civic Center or remotely from Hilo Council Chambers. For live stream viewing of next Tuesday's meeting and to see the agenda go to Live Stream - Hawaii County Committee and Council Meetings.

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London Dacalio and her Reserve Champion at last year's 4-H Show & Auction. Photo from 4-H
KAʻŪ 4H MEMBERS WILL TAKE THEIR ANIMALS TO THE 2024 HAWAI'I COUNTY 4-H LIVESTOCK SHOW & AUCTION this Friday and Saturday. The location is between Honoka'a and Waimea at the Anderson's Rocking Chair Arena at 47-5124 Hawai'i Belt Road. The show starts at 4:30 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. on Saturday.
    Becky Settlage, the event coordinator, said, "This is our annual 4-H livestock show and sale where our keiki, who have been working hard (some for the past six months) raising all species, get to show their animals as well as auction them off at our live sale. They raise steer, hogs, lambs, goats, chickens and rabbits that all go to feed our local community. The keiki also learn and are tested on meat cuts as well as judging a class of animals in hope that we are training the next generation of ranchers/farmers on our island and in our state.
    "4-H is a life skills program for youth and livestock is one aspect that teaches them discipline, perseverance and self-confidence. We welcome the community to come see what our program is all about and perhaps consider becoming a buyer one day!"
    There is no charge to attend the event. Becky Settlage is Extension Agent for University of Hawai'i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Services.
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SUICIDE IS THE APPARENT CAUSE OF THE DEATH OF THE VOLCANO MAN who ran into Highway 11. Hawai‘i Island police have identified the male pedestrian involved in a fatal motor vehicle/pedestrian collision that occurred on Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Volcano as 44-year-old Collins Kaholo of Volcano.

    Responding to the 12:25 p.m. call, officers learned that a 2012 Chevy pickup truck, driven by a 52-year-old man, was traveling north on Highway 11 when it struck the pedestrian at the Ali‘i Koa intersection. Multiple witnesses confirmed the pedestrian was standing by a stop sign prior to running into the road in front of the pickup truck.
    Kaholo, who was located unresponsive at the scene, was transported to the Hilo Benioff Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 4:17 p.m.
    The operator of the 2012 Chevy pickup truck was not injured as a result of the collision. The Area I (East Hawai‘i) Traffic Enforcement Unit responded to the scene and continued the investigation. An autopsy was conducted and the pathologist ruled the manner of death to be suicide based on the totality of the circumstances surrounding this investigation.
    Due to the manner of death, this traffic fatality will not be counted toward the yearly fatality count. As a result, there have been a total of 18 traffic fatalities in 2024, compared to nine traffic fatalities this same time last year.

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THE LAVA CRISIS IN 2014 IS THE SUBJECT OF VOLCANO WATCH this week. The weekly article and activity update is written by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and affiliates:
    Over the past few years, eruptions of Kīlauea volcano on the Island of Hawai'i have happened in remote regions and lava flows have not directly threatened communities. However, the approaching anniversary of a lava flow crisis a decade ago reminds us that eruptions on Kīlauea have the potential to cause damage and island-wide disruption.

This aerial view of Kīlauea's June 27th lava flow on November 5, 2014, shows the stalled flow front, about 155 meters (170 yards) from Pāhoa Village Road (lower right corner). Clearly visible smoke plumes above and below Cemetery Road are due to burning vegetation at the sites of lava breakouts along the flow. Smaller smoke plumes (top left) caused by breakouts farther upslope are barely visible through the mist. USGS photo
     The 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea is still fresh in many of our minds, but even before then, Kīlauea lava flows entering communities was not uncommon. During the 35-year-long eruption of Puʻuʻōʻō, on the East Rift Zone of Kīlauea, lava flows caused destruction in Royal Gardens, Kalapana, and in Pāhoa. Before Puʻuʻōʻō, there were also eruptions in Kapoho Village in 1960 and on Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone in 1955.
    Ten years ago, inflation at Puʻuʻōʻō in May and June lead to a new eruptive episode on the northeast flank of the cone. It was informally named episode 61e, but more commonly referred to as the June 27th flow in reference to the start date of that episode in 2014.
    In the first few days, four fissures produced channelized flows before the eruption focused at the lowest elevation vent, where a perched pond began to form. The pond elevation continued to rise until it was about 30 meters (100 ft) higher than the vent. On July 10, pressure from the perched pond triggered the eruptive vent to shift to the next highest fissure and abandon the perched pond.
    The change in eruptive vent produced a fast-moving channelized flow that traveled up to several hundred meters (yards) per day. The flow continued to the northeast until it extended across the eastern edge of the Puʻuʻōʻō flow field by the beginning of August.

Lava from June 27th breakout flowing into deep ground crack along Kīlauea East Rift Zone, Pu'u'ō'ō, Hawai'i. USGS photo
    On August 18, the lava entered into a deep ground crack that directed the flow further to the northeast. After about a week the lava overflowed from the crack, before repeating this pattern at three additional and parallel ground cracks. The flow traveled roughly 5 km (3 mi) underground in these cracks to within about 1.2 km (0.7 mi) of Kaʻohe Homesteads subdivision where the lava exited the final crack in early September.
    The flow front advanced slow and steadily during the first few weeks of September, passing Kaʻohe Homesteads to the northwest. Then from late-September to early-October, the lava flow's rate of advance began to fluctuate as it stalled and advanced. Towards the end of October, a breakout surged through a narrow drainage and crossed Cemetery Road in Pāhoa. The flow continued through the Pāhoa Japanese Cemetery, through private property, and destroyed one structure, stalling only 155 m (510 ft) from Pāhoa Village Road.
    A large breakout on November 14 occurred roughly 6.5 km (4 mi) upslope of the flow front, and rapidly advanced along the northwest margin of the previous flow, ultimately headed towards Pāhoa Marketplace and Highway 130. The flow front again stalled on December 30 after advancing to within 530 m (0.3 mi) of the marketplace. That was the furthest the lava flow advanced, but numerous breakouts just upslope continued to threaten Pāhoa until early 2015.
    Episode 61e, or the June 27th flow, then retreated upslope and stayed within about 8 km (5 mi) of Puʻuʻōʻō. This episode continued until early June 2016, when inflation at Puʻuʻōʻō culminated in two new eruptive vents on the northeast (episode 61f) and southeast (episode 61g) flanks of the cone on May 24.
    The episode 61f flow was short-lived, lasting less than two weeks. However, the 61g flow remained active until the Puʻuʻōʻō crater floor collapsed on April 30, 2018, followed by the intrusion of magma into the lower East Rift Zone and subsequent eruption.
    Since then, eruptions from Kīlauea have fortunately been confined within Kaluapele (Kīlauea caldera)
Pahoehoe lava in the 2014 flow called Episode 61E. Photo from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

or other remote areas of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Currently, there are no signs of magma moving into the East Rift Zone but that will inevitably happen again someday. The Pāhoa lava flow crisis and other destructive East Rift Zone eruptions are reminders that communities on or near the rift zone are vulnerable. Residents and visitors should stay informed and remember that it's never too early consider how an eruption could impact you and your family.

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Volcano Activity Updates
    Kīlauea is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level is ADVISORY. Kīlauea erupted briefly on Monday, June 3, southwest of Kaluapele (Kīlauea caldera) within the closed area of Hawai'i Volcanoes
National Park. Sulfur dioxide emission rates remain elevated; an emission rate of 350 tonnes per day was measured on June 10, for the combined areas of Kīlauea summit and the recent eruption. Seismicity in the summit region, including the upper East Rift Zone, has been slightly elevated with about 550 events over the past week. Inflationary ground deformation has continued in the summit region. Additional pulses of seismicity and deformation could result in new eruptive episodes within the area or elsewhere on the Southwest Rift Zone.
    Mauna Loa is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert Level is at NORMAL. Webcams show no signs of activity on Mauna Loa. Summit seismicity has remained at low levels over the past month. Ground deformation indicates continuing slow inflation as magma replenishes the reservoir system following the 2022 eruption. SO2 emission rates are at background levels.
    One earthquake was reported felt in the Hawaiian Islands during the past week: a M3.4 earthquake 14 km (8 mi) S of Volcano at 1 km (1 mi) depth on June 6 at 12:29 p.m. HST.
    HVO continues to closely monitor Kīlauea and Mauna Loa.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. Support this news service with advertising at kaunews.com. 7,500 copies in the mail and on stands.