Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Feb. 10, 2017

Hawai`i's Navy Shipyard hosts tens of millions of dollars in jobs for local people, such as the $18 million restoration and maintenance
of the battleship USS Missouri years ago. Senators Hirono and Schatz are calling for an end to Pres. Trump's freeze on Navy
shipyard hiring. See story below.  Photo from U.S. Navy
JAPAN'S PRIME MINISTER Shinzo Abe met with President Donald Trump today and following their joint press conference, Sen. Mazie Hirono, herself an immigrant from Japan, joined CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to discuss the U.S. alliance with Japan and U.S. strategic interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
     She said that she was very pleased that  "President Trump made very clear how important our friendship and alliance is with Japan and to acknowledge that peace and stability in the Pacific area is critical to our national security. Of course, Hawai`i has a big role to play with our bases, etc.  in the Indo-Asia-Pacific arena. So that was really good news."
     She said she and other Senators met with the Japanese Prime Minister this morning and that she mentioned that General James Mattis chose Japan and South Korea to make his first diplomatic trip as Secretary of Defense. She said the Prime Minister said that it was very important to the Japanese people "that someone with that kind of support that General Mattis had in his confirmation would come to Japan and reaffirm the importance of this part of the world and our alliance with them."
      Hirono said she "pays attention to what President Trump does as opposed to what he says. It is what he does that will get implemented."
      Hirono said that Trump "says a lot of things. He tweets a lot." She noted "he had earlier criticized Japan for not doing enough for our mutual defense, but today he made it very plain that we will go forward and work very closely and there was no criticism of Japan.”  She said that was "really reassuring to me."
    Hirono said that it is very important for Trump to listen to people "like General Mattis who brings a lot of foreign policy experience and maturity to the table so that he doesn't have to walk back earlier comments" that "lead to consternation."
     She said it was also very important that Trump, after creating uncertainty in talking with the leader of Taiwan, talked to the President of China to reaffirm the one China policy.

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FAMILY AND MEDICAL INSURANCE LEAVE legislation has been reintroduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Rep. Rosa DeLauro and fellow lawmakers to help protect working families and provide paid family and medical leave. Gabbard is an original cosponsor of the bill.
      “While the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has empowered millions over the past two decades, we must do more. Only 39 percent of working parents and 35 percent of working mothers are eligible for and can afford to take unpaid family and medical leave through the FMLA,” said Gabbard.  “Our current family leave policies fall behind every other industrialized nation, and leave millions of people choosing between their family’s health and financial stability. Congress must take the next step forward by passing the FAMILY Act to better protect and empower working parents and families in Hawaiʻi and across the country.”
      The Family and Medical Leave Act, which passed in 1993 provides unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health related events. However, only about half of the workforce qualifies for this unpaid leave, and many more simply cannot afford to take it because it is unpaid. The FAMILY Act (H.R.947) would establish a medical leave insurance program in the U.S. and allow workers to make 60 percent of their pay for up to 12 weeks to care for a serious personal health condition; a family member with a serious health condition; a newborn, newly-adopted child, or a newly-placed foster child; and an injured servicemember arising from deployment.

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NAVY SHIPYARD WORKERS IN HAWAI`I are receiving lobbying support from Sen. Mazie Hirono, Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.). Today, they called on the Acting Secretary of Navy to clarify the exemption from President Trump’s federal hiring freeze for shipyard workers. Recently, the Defense Department announced that employees of Navy shipyards and other employees that directly support the shipyards would be exempt. But the process for requesting exemptions at the shipyards would still leave positions open for weeks, if not longer.
The Navy Shipyard works on submarines to battleships and Hawai`i Senators
are urging the Trump administration to lift a hiring freeze. Photo from U.S. Navy
     According to Hirono, the hiring freeze is impacting Navy shipyards despite the Department of Defense providing an exemption for certain workers. "The freeze continues to prevent shipyards across the country from hiring personnel who directly impact the readiness of the fleet such as engineers, acquisition workforce personnel, trade mechanics, radiological and emergency personnel, regulatory compliance and other support personnel that are necessary to maintaining the Navy’s surface and submarine fleets," said a statement from Hirono's office.
     Last month, Hirono and a bipartisan group of seven Senators wrote to Secretary of Defense James Mattis to call for exempting Department of Navy shipyard civilian employees from the recent executive order signed by President Trump that freezes federal hiring.
    While the President’s executive order states that it does not apply to military personnel or positions considered essential to meet national security responsibilities, the uncertainty had caused shipyards across the country to suspend hiring.
     The letter sent today urges the Navy to allow workers to be hired and promoted as soon as openings become available, as would have happened before the freeze:
     “In our opinion, it would be easier, less expensive, and further in-line with the intent of the Department of Defense’s exemption authority to establish an automatic exemption process that clearing a class of positions based on occupation code and command. Furthermore, pushing the decision down one or more levels would be more responsive to the needs of Combatant Commanders while providing the due diligence required to ensure that all hiring and promotion actions are executed appropriately. Given these concerns, we urge you to retract the policy and issue guidance that offers immediate exemption authority for those federal civilians working at the public shipyards and depots that keep our ships and submarines ready.”

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NASA ER-2 aircraft is flying over Hawai`i Islands volcanoes this month. ER-2's have played an important role in Earth science research
with an ability to fly into the lower stratosphere at subsonic speeds, enabling virtual satellite simulation missions. In Hawa`ii, the
 NASA ER-2 is being used to collect high altitude scientific data that will help scientists calibrate, validate, and
simulate remote sensing data from future satellites. Photo from NASA
HIGH-FLYING NASA AIRCRAFT are used to study the volcanoes on this Island. They take off from Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base on O`aha and are the subject of this week's Volcano Watch, written by scientists at Hawai`i Volcano Observatory:
     NASA's ER-2 aircraft  is a modified U-2 reconnaissance plane designed to collect scientific data at high altitudes. These data will help scientists calibrate, validate, and simulate remote sensing data from future satellites that will eventually orbit the Earth at even higher altitudes. "Remote sensing" refers to the use of imaging technology that allows us to see the world in a new light, from a remote and unique vantage point.
      From late January through February, NASA is conducting this high-altitude airborne remote sensing data collection campaign over the State of Hawaii. Several NASA-funded, multi-year projects will use these data to study coral reefs and volcanic processes.
      The data will also be used to help develop a future Earth observing satellite instrument called the Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI). If funded, HyspIRI will be a global mission that will provide crucial information for studying the world's ecosystems, as well as natural hazard events, such as volcanic eruptions, wildfires, and drought.
NASA Dryden life support technician Jim Sokolik assists pressure-
suited pilot Dee Poerter into the cockpit of NASA's ER-2 Earth resources aircraft.
NASA Photo by Jim Ross
     To replicate the characteristics of data collected by Earth observing sensors aboard orbiting satellites, the ER-2 will cruise at an altitude of about 65,000 feet (above 95 percent of Earth's atmosphere) with a diverse suite of instruments. In its wing pods and under the fuselage, it carries the Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS), the MODIS-ASTER Airborne Simulator (MASTER), and the Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer (HyTES).
      These instruments are designed to measure reflected and emitted radiation (light) in hundreds of distinct wavelengths, from the visible through the thermal infrared parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Such data give us quantitative information about surface composition, texture, and temperature of the ground. This information, combined with field-based measurements, enables scientists to study a variety of atmospheric, geologic, and ecological processes to better understand our natural environment and how our environment responds to human activities.
      On the Island of Hawaiʻi, with the support of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and the National Park Service, research scientists from universities, NASA, and the U.S. Geological Survey are conducting field work and collecting data. They are using these data to investigate links between vegetation health and volcanic gas and thermal emissions; volcanic thermal anomalies; the composition and chemical evolution of volcanic gas plumes from Kīlauea Volcano; and active volcanic processes and hazards, such as surface lava flow activity.
     The overarching goals of this mission and the related scientific research projects are to characterize key volcanic processes, such as the rate of magma ascent to the surface, the amount of lava being erupted per day at Kīlauea, and interpretation of possible eruption precursors. Lessons learned should help scientists inform emergency response agencies and the public before, during, and after future eruptions.
      Specific questions that this mission will address include: How do volcanoes signal impending eruptions through changes in surface temperature, gas and aerosol emission rates, or health and extent of vegetation cover? How can we improve forecasts of volcanic activity? How can we mitigate the impacts of eruptions by remotely measuring surface temperature and volcanic gas emission rates?
      This research, conducted in one of the best natural volcanic laboratories on Earth, will help us answer these questions, and ultimately extend this knowledge to the monitoring of other active volcanoes around the world. 
The lava entry at Kamakuna is still entering the ocean, visible from a new
viewing area established by Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
Photo from USGS
VOLCANO ACTIVITY UPDATES: Kīlauea continues to erupt at its summit and East Rift Zone. This past week, the summit lava lake level varied between about 15 and 34 m (49–112 ft) below the vent rim. The 61g flow was still active, with lava entering the ocean near Kamokuna and surface breakouts near Pu'u 'Ō'ō. The 61g flows do not pose an immediate threat to nearby communities.
     Mauna Loa is not erupting. During the past week, small-magnitude (up to magnitude 3.0) earthquakes continued, primarily beneath the upper Southwest Rift Zone and the Northeast Rift zone at depths less than 5 km (3 miles). A small number of earthquakes also occurred on the west flank of the volcano at depths above 13 km (8 miles). Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements continue to show deformation related to inflation of a magma reservoir beneath
the summit and upper Southwest Rift Zone.
     Three earthquakes were reported felt in Hawa`ii this past week. On February 3, 2017, at 10:07 a.m., HST, a magnitude-2.8 earthquake occurred 4.8 km (3.0 mi) north of Mauna Loa's summit at a depth of 10 km (6 mi), and at 12:41 a.m., a magnitude-3.4 earthquake occurred 13.8 km (8.6 mi) southeast of Kīlauea's summit at a depth of 9 km (5 mi). On February 6, at 12:08 a.m., a magnitude-3.0 earthquake occurred 69.1 km (42.9 mi) southwest of Mākena, Maui, at a depth of 44 km (27 mi).

        Visit the HVO website (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov) for past Volcano Watch articles, Kīlauea daily eruption updates, Mauna Loa weekly updates, volcano photos, recent earthquakes info, and more; call for summary updates at 808-967-8862 (Kīlauea) or 808-967-8866 (Mauna Loa); email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.

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PANCAKE BREAKFAST, Saturday, Feb. 11 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.,  Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033

ATLAS RECYCLING AT SOUTH POINT U-CART, Saturday, Feb. 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

REALMS & DIVISIONS OF KAHUKU, Saturday, Feb. 11 from  9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Pu‘u Kahuku Trail explores realms and divisions of the traditional Hawaiian classification system at Kahuku. Free. nps.gov/havo 

HULA KAHIKO, Saturday, Feb. 11 from  10:30 – 11:30 a.m., hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Kumu hula Manaiakalani Kalua and Akaunu perform. Nā Mea Hula with Kumu Ab Valencia and Hālau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., gallery porch.

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