Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016

David Okita pilots one of his Volcano Helicopters over eruption at Kilauea. Helicopter transport is the only way HVO scientists and
technicians can install and maintain many monitoring instruments on the Island of Hawaiʻi, conduct field experiments or map new
volcanic deposits ininaccessible areas, and make direct observations of eruptions. Pilots that fly the helicopters and mechanics
that maintain them to thehighest standards are crucial in performing work safely and to report reliably on the status and
 eruptions of Hawaiʻi’s active volcanoes See story below. USGS Photo
TODAY IS THE LAST DAY IN KA`U FOR EARLY VOTING, EVEN FOR THOSE STILL NOT REGISTERED. Voting is available until noon and again from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Pahala Community Center.
    Ka‘ū and Volcano residents can also register and vote today and tomorrow at Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; West Hawai‘i Civic Center Community Room, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Waimea Community Center, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and through noon tomorrow.
     Election Day voting locations on Tuesday, Nov. 8 are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Cooper Center in Volcano at 19-4030 Wright Rd; Ka‘ū High School Cafeteria at 96-3150 Pikake St. - turn into the school grounds; Nā‘ālehu Elementary School Cafeteria at 95-5545 Hwy 11; Ocean View Community Center at 92-5545 Mamalahoa Hwy; and Miloli‘i Halāu. See the ballots below.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

New bypass extends Ali`i Drive all the way to Napo`opo`o.
Photo from County of Hawai`i
  BEGINNING TODAY, KAʻŪ MOTORISTS can travel north on a makai, scenic route, a 7.5- mile bypass road all the way from Napoʻopʻo to Keauhou. The new 2.2 mile segment cost $28 million. It begins at the intersection of Hwy 11 and Nāpoʻopoʻo Road. It hooks up to the bypass at the bottom of Halekiʻi Street below Kealakekua’s Kona Scenic Subdivision that runs approximately 3.5 miles to Aliʻi Drive in Keauhou. The entire bypass is now called Ali`i Drive.
     Many Kaʻū residents work and shop in Kona and commute daily along Māmalahoa, Hwy 11. The two-lane bypass gives motorists an alternate, uncrowded and scenic coastal route.
Ground breaking for the southern segment
of the new bypass.
Photo from Big Island Video News
     This bypass was originally envisioned in 1960, and dubbed the Māmalahoa Relief Highway and incorporated into a document known as A Plan For Kona.
     The state began planning for the road in 1979 to relieve traffic resulting from commuters driving to Kailua-Kona from residential areas in Kainaliu and further south. In 1999 an Environmental Impact Statement for the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass was completed.
     The County proposed a number of improvements in 2008 prior to opening the northern segment of the bypass. These improvements allowed residents to use the northern stretch before the southern segment was completed. In March 2009 the northern segment opened for afternoon rush-hour traffic, and in June of 2010, it opened 12 hours a day, all week.
     Beginning in January 2013 the bypass opened for traffic 24 hours a day.
     In July 2014, public officials broke ground for the 2.2 mile southern segment of the bypass that opens today.To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
A satellite GPS station transported by helicopter.
USGS photo

A MOST DANGEROUS AND IMPORTANT WORK is covered in this week’s Volcano Watch, written by scientists of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory: “Ask almost any volcanologist and field technician what they consider to be the most important and yet potentially dangerous aspect of their work on active volcanoes and they will probably say, ‘Flying in a helicopter to remote areas to make observations or install and maintain monitoring instruments and radio systems.’
     The scientists ask readers to “Consider what it takes to land in the middle of a jagged lava flow or near the edge of a deep crater to service the monitoring network many dozens of times in a year. Or, landing at more than 30 sites on many different lava flows at least twice in the span of a week to complete an annual GPS survey to determine the way in which a volcano deforms from year to year.”
     The USGS scientists point out that “Lava flows are highly irregular with surface relief measured in meters (yards), and almost never level even over the narrow width of a small helicopter's skids. A pilot has to pick a landing spot to place the skids so they're level side-to-side and front-to-back, and with plenty of room between the tail rotor and ground. On any single flight day, the pilot might have to repeat this maneuver a few dozen times.
On land and in the air scientists take risks to study volcanoes.
USGS photo
     “One of the most challenging environments for a small helicopter‘s capability and a pilot's skill is flying at high elevation (considered above 2,440 m or 8,000 ft above sea level). The helicopter's rapidly turning rotors create lift to keep the aircraft aloft, but lift efficiency is strongly affected by air density. At high elevations, lower air density decreases lift, reducing maneuverability and the payload that a helicopter can carry.
     “The top of Mauna Loa Volcano is at 4,170 m (13,680 ft) above sea level. Since the 1984 eruption, we have installed dozens of instruments and radio hubs at high elevation, many of which have solar power and radio systems that need regular maintenance and upgrades. Just a few months ago, HVO installed new web cams on the volcano’s Southwest Rift Zone and south rim of the summit caldera as high as 4,046 m (13,275 ft).
    “These and many other monitoring stations on Kīlauea, Hualālai, and Mauna Kea volcanoes were installed, and subsequently maintained, with helicopter support. The skill and keen observational ability of pilots, and the resolve of mechanics working behind the scenes to maintain the helicopters, make it possible for us to work at remote sites again and again, and return home safely at the end of the day, every day.
USGS scientists reach remote heights of Mauna Loa
by helicopter to document volcanic activity. USGS photo
     “Pilot skill is also critical to position the helicopter at just the right distance from and height above an active lava flow so that we can take a series of photographs (hundreds!) and thermal video that allow us to create accurate maps of the flow that we routinely share with Civil Defense, post on the HVO Web site, and use for research. You can find recent examples of these on our web site: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/maps/
     “A helicopter flight may appear as routine as driving to the grocery store, but thinking so invites misfortune. The professionalism shown by pilots and mechanics and their commitment to safe flight–witnessed every time we board their aircraft–means that we can perform our mission with confidence.
     The scientists offer a “Mahalo nui loa to current and past companies, most of all to their pilots and mechanics, who, over the years, have made it possible to build and sustain one of the best volcano-monitoring networks in the world here on the Island of Hawai‘i.” To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Runners traveling to Bhutan will visit and
stay in remote locations.
VOLCANO RUNS DIRECTOR Sharron Faff, who lives in Volcano and also owns the Kona Marathon, is leading a group of runners to the Himalayas for the Bhutan International Marathon and Half Marathon. The running retreat and marathon is scheduled for March 1-7, 2017 in the Kingdom of Bhutan, often called the Land of Happiness. Faff describes the adventure as a “lifetime chance to run above the clouds in the world’s happiest country.” The event features meeting a diverse group of Bhutanese officials and spiritual leaders, and international runners, guest speakers and coaches. See more at https://sistermarathons.org/destination-marathon/bhutan-international-marathon.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

FIRST FRIDAY FLOWERS offers flower arranging techniques today from Kaipo Ah Chong,  from 2 p.m. to 4 p..m. at Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. $45. Call 967-8222.

EXPORE MAUNA LOA SOUTHWEST RIFT ZONE on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, 10:30 a.m - 12:30 p.m.. Hike Upper Palm Trail to an overlook and learn the geology and history from park rangers. Pack a lunch. Free. Entrance off mauka side of Hwy 11 between South Point Road and Ocean View.



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