Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mauna Loa Volcano may be stirring to life after a 30-year repose, reports Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
 Photo from HVO
MAUNA LOA MAY BE SLOWLY STIRRING TO LIFE after a 30-year repose, reports Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in the current issue of Volcano Watch. While there are no signs of impending eruption, HVO has recorded an increased level of seismic activity on the flanks and summit of Mauna Loa over the past 13 months. 
      The issue compares recent seismic activity with activity prior to the mountain’s 1984 eruption.
      “Four distinct earthquake swarms — clusters of earthquakes occurring closely in time and location — have occurred since March 2013. Each swarm began with earthquakes northwest of the summit (Moku`aweoweo Crater) at 2.5 – nine miles deep, followed by shallow earthquakes at the summit from several days to one month later,” according to HVO.
HVO maps compare recent earthquake swarms with those
prior to Mauna Loa's 1984 eruption.
      “The recent swarms have not been associated with deformation of the ground surface we would expect from intrusion of significant amounts of magma into shallow levels beneath Mauna Loa. However, ground deformation indicating shallow magma accumulation has been measured during many of the past 30 years, including two episodes of very rapid inflation immediately following the most recent eruption in 1984.
      “Prior to the 1984 eruption, seismicity was elevated for at least three years, with 28 earthquakes greater than magnitude three, and two earthquakes greater than magnitude four. The magnitude-6.7 earthquake on Nov. 16, 1983 may also have been triggered by the pressurizing magma system of Mauna Loa. Earthquakes prior to the 1984 eruption were typically located northwest of the summit at depths greater than three miles and on the upper Southwest Rift Zone at depths less than three miles.
      “Though the size and number of earthquakes observed over the past 13 months have been significantly smaller than those observed in the three years prior to the 1984 eruption, they have been occurring in the same general areas of the volcano. The swarm in Sept. – Oct. 2013 occurred on the northwest flank, the same location as one of the swarms that occurred prior to the 1984 eruption. The May 9, 2014 magnitude-3.5 earthquake occurred in the same area of the upper Southwest Rift Zone as many magnitude three or greater earthquakes prior to the 1984 eruption.
      “The likelihood of detecting a short-term change in activity that would lead to a successful eruption forecast is enhanced with a quality geophysical network that can monitor changes in earthquake occurrence, ground deformation and gas chemistry both in the summit and rift zones of Mauna Loa.”
      For more information, see hvo.wr.usgs.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u's public school teachers will see changes to the state's Educator
Effectiveness System beginning in August. Photo by Julia Neal
HAWAI`I DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IS REDUCING the requirements in its teacher evaluation system. Based on feedback from five working groups and lessons learned during the previous school year, the department is implementing 18 changes for the school year beginning in August. According to DOE, these changes are designed to simplify the system to make it clearer and easier to understand, streamline its components to eliminate redundancies and differentiate the approach for teachers based on performance and need to ensure administrators can spend more time with teachers who need and want it most. 
      “These changes will serve to improve the quality of the feedback and coaching teachers receive and reduce burden on teachers and administrators,” says a DOE statement. 
      The DOE states that teachers at different performance levels “deserve and require different types of feedback, support and opportunities to grow as professionals. The Educator Effectiveness System implemented in SY 2013-14 is too complicated in some areas and too one-size-fits-all in others. Certain components need to be adjusted to provide more flexibility and options to reflect different teachers’ job duties. And the system of support for all educators needs to be improved.”
Kathryn Matayoshi
      Among the changes for SY2014-15 are:
  • Differentiating the number of required classroom observations based on need from twice annually to zero for highly effective teachers; one or more for effective teachers; and two or more for marginal, unsatisfactory or beginning teachers. 
  • Overall this amounts to about 9,000 fewer classroom observations, reducing observation workload by almost 50 percent. 
  • Providing the approximately 1,800 teachers rated highly effective in SY13-14 the option to carryover their rating. 
  • Reducing administration of student surveys from twice to once annually, eliminating the survey for grades K-2, and eliminating the demographic questions from the survey. Overall this means approximately 11,700 fewer surveys, a 63 percent reduction. 
  • Reducing, for most teachers, the number of required Student Learning Objectives from two to one annually. Overall, this means approximately 12,400 fewer required SLOs. 
  • Removing the student survey as an independent component with a stand-alone rating and embedding it as subcomponent under Core Professionalism. 
  • Providing flexibility within Working Portfolio and SLOs, particularly for non-classroom teachers, to reflect job duties. 
  • Improving Student Growth Percentiles to replace a percentile ranking of teachers with anchors in criterion and building in a margin of error. 
      “These changes are just the beginning to refining this system and ultimately, elevating student achievement,” Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said. Providing support to teachers who fared poorly on the rating system is the next step, she said.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO, A MEMBER of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has co-introduced the Veterans Emergency Health Safety Net Expansion Act of 2014. This legislation expands access to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs emergency safety net to all VA-enrolled veterans who rely solely on the VA for their medical care. The bill cuts red tape and eliminates the 24-month rule that can prevent veterans from being reimbursed for emergency medical expenses. 

“The recent scandal at the VA has shown that we must do all we can to help our veterans, even after the spotlight on this issue has faded,” said Hirono. “Sen. (Jerry) Moran and I are joining together again to push a permanent fix to the VA system that helps make sure our veterans can access the care that they need.”
      Raymond C. Kelley, Director of National Legislative Service at Veterans of Foreign Wars, said, “This important legislation would ensure that veterans who seek emergency care will no longer be responsible for financially devastating medical bills, simply because they have not received VA care in the previous 24 months. It would also close a loophole that allows veterans’ insurance companies to withhold reimbursements from VA.”
      The Veterans Emergency Health Safety Net Expansion Act is fully paid for and includes a provision that prevents insurance companies from denying or limiting reimbursements to the VA for medical care provided to insured veterans on the basis that the VA is not an in-network provider.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Miss Ka`u Coffee 2013  Tiare-Lee Shibuya greeted last year's
half marathon winner Billy Barnett at the finish line.
Photo from Sharron Faff
VOLCANO ART CENTER PRESENTS Dancing at the Source, Dancing on the Edge: Branching Out, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at its Niaulani campus in Volcano Village. This event addresses the evolution of dance as a social justice and social change tool through the choreography of Trina Nahm-Mijo, former co-coordinator of Volcano Dance Retreats. Nahm-Mijo is collaborating with Eric Kupers, a Bay Area dancer and director of Dandelion Dance Theater. Collaborators on dance performances in Hawai`i and the Bay Area for 15 years, Nahm-Mijo and Kupers share excerpts of a new work entitled Lele/Tongues/Gather, which explores themes of birth, death and spirit.
      Fees are $10 for VAC members and $12 for non-members. See volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

KA`U RESIDENTS AND ATHLETES can register for Volcano Rain Forest Runs coming up in two months on Saturday, Aug. 16.
      Entry fee for the 5K is $30 or $20 for ages 19 and under; 10K, $45; half marathon, $75; Keiki Fun Run; free.
      All runs start and finish at Cooper Center on Wright Road in Volcano Village. The Half Marathon begins at 7 a.m. followed by the 10K at 7:45 a.m. and the 5K at 8 a.m.
      10K and 5K participants can also register race morning at Cooper Center Start Line from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. There is no race day registration for the Half Marathon.
      Keiki ages one to seven can register for the free 100- or 200-yard dashes on race morning until 9:30 a.m. The Keiki runs begin at 10 a.m. All entrants receive a ribbon and other goodies after coming through the finish line.
      For more information, maps, FAQs and registration information, see volcanorainforestruns.com or call race director Sharron Faff at 967-8240.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.
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