Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014

Last year's Harvest Festival at Volcano Winery showed off wine grapes and tea. This year's festival is a week from today on Sunday, Sept. 14. Photo by Julia Neal
SCIENTISTS AT USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY are keeping an eye on Mauna Loa while they also closely track the Kilauea lava flow threatening residential areas in Puna.
Earthquake activity on Mauna Loa and other areas of Hawai`i Island
is available at hvo.wr.usgs.gov/seismic.
      “Beginning in March 2013, and continuing into 2014, HVO’s networks have detected small sporadic swarms of earthquakes deep beneath the west flank and summit of Mauna Loa,” HVO reports in its latest issue of Volcano Watch. “These swarms are located in the same general area as earthquake swarms that preceded the 1975 and 1984 eruptions, but the 2013–2014 earthquakes have been significantly weaker than those recorded in 1975 and 1984. Many of the most recent swarms were followed by shallower earthquakes at the summit of Mauna Loa and can be seen on HVO’s interactive earthquake pages at hvo.wr.usgs.gov/seismic.”
      According to the article, HVO detected dozens of magnitude-three earthquakes and a few magnitude-four earthquakes 1.5 or more years prior to the 1975 and 1984 eruptions. The strongest earthquakes detected beneath the west flank of Mauna Loa in 2013–2014 have been weaker than magnitude-three. “While the current activity is smaller in magnitude, it is clear that some of the same volcanic processes may be at work,” the article states.
      The article states that since 2009, the southeast flank of Mauna Loa has been slowly moving southeastward, and there have been no signs of magma intrusion beneath the summit. Subtle changes in the deformation pattern began in the spring of 2014. HVO’s GPS network started to detect weak inflation beneath the summit, the same area that inflated during the period 2002–2009, but the amount of inflation detected so far in 2014 is very small compared to previous inflations.
      “While we can definitely detect and monitor these weak signals within Mauna Loa, they do not yet indicate that an eruption is necessarily coming,” according to the article. The recent changes are not yet equivalent to those observed before the 1975 and 1984 eruptions. … “Should they increase in intensity or start to change at a more rapid rate, HVO will elevate the Alert Level Code for Mauna Loa to indicate its relative state of unrest and whether or not it may be headed toward an eruption.” 
      Updates for Mauna Loa are posted monthly on the HVO website and can be viewed at hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/maunaloastatus.php. If Mauna Loa activity increases, updates will be posted more frequently.
      Information about Kilauea’s ongoing eruption is available at hvo.wr.usgs.gov and 967-8862. Daily eruption updates are posted every morning, and new maps and photos are posted after every HVO overflight of the lava flow.
      See hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Pi`ilani Ka`awaloa explained the Hawaiian perspective of lava diversion
at a community meeting. Photo from Big Island Video News
DIVERSION OF LAVA FROM ITS CURRENT PATH in Puna has been a hot topic at community meetings held there and recorded by Big Island Video News. Several residents brought up ways they thought could be used to control the lava’s direction. One asked if lava could be kept in a channel to avoid populated areas. Another suggested using smart bombs or dynamite to break up hardened lava and create a new path for molten lava. Another asked if the county could bring bulldozers in to create an opening in the shield created by the volcano so that lava could begin moving south instead of east/northeast. Creating a breach in the south flank of Pu`u `O`o, again in an attempt to route lava to the south, was another suggestion.
      Hawai`i County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira said diversion tactics are not being considered. “Diversion brings its own risks,” Oliveira said. He pointed out that diverting the flow could cause it to move into other populated areas. “Historically, trying to divert or control it hasn’t been very effective,” he said. He also said respecting the Hawaiian culture is another reason why diversion is not being considered.
      Residents explained the Hawaiian viewpoint at one meeting. “Pele doesn’t work like that. Pele is our kupuna,” said one resident who gave her name as Ihilani. She said many Native Hawaiians haven’t been attending the public meetings because “we are home preparing for an important guest.” She took issue with the view of owning private property and said, “We will never own our land; this is Pele’s home. If she feels she needs to clean her house, then let her clean her house.”
      Pi`ilani Ka`awaloa said past experience shows that diversion doesn’t work. She said that during the 1959-60 flow, bulldozers made a dike to divert lava, “but it caused a bigger disaster” when the lava flowed to homes. At Kalapana, an attempt to use water in a diversion tactic caused more damage, she said. “Lava was going between homes until diversion was tried,” she said. She urged residents to work together and show aloha.
      See bigislandvideonews.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i has dropped from number five to number nine in rankings
of states with solar electricity systems. Map from GTM Research
HAWAI`I HAS DROPPED IN RANKINGS OF STATES’ solar system installations. The U.S. Solar Market Insight report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association ranks Hawai`i number nine in the second quarter of 2014 compared to number five in the first quarter. 
      Each quarter, the organizations collect data on the U.S. solar market from nearly 200 utilities, state agencies, installers and manufacturers.
      California was number one, accounting for more than 50 percent of installations for the fourth consecutive quarter.
      Net energy metering, which allows utility customers with solar systems to send their excess electricity to the utility and lower their bills, “remains a crucial point of contention between the solar industry and utilities in more than a dozen states,” according to the report. Hawai`i is currently experiencing this, with Hawaiian Electric Companies limiting the number of rooftop solar connections to its grid due to what they refer to as “safety and reliability” concerns.
      See greentechmedia.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

THE STATE’S APPEAL OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY Management Agency’s decision to deny a request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration has received support from Ka`u’s U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. A declaration would have helped families and businesses on Hawai`i Island recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Iselle.

      “I support the state’s appeal to FEMA’s decision to deny assistance to residents … in the wake of such a devastating event,” Gabbard said. “It was clear to me during my recent visits to Hawai`i Island that assistance is necessary. These facts are reflected in the state’s appeal, and it therefore has my strong support.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u Multicultural Society is again sponsoring Ka`u Plantation Days.
A planning meeting takes place tomorrow.
Photo by Julia Neal
THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO KA`U SCENIC BYWAY Committee’s meeting tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Na`alehu Methodist Church. 
      For more information, email richmorrow@alohabroadband.net.

A KA`U PLANTATION DAYS PLANNING MEETING takes place tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Pahala Plantation House. Residents continue planning for the Saturday, Oct. 11 event.
      For more information, call Darlyne Vierra at 640-8740.

GRAPE HARVEST FESTIVAL IS ONE WEEK FROM TODAY on Sunday, Sept. 14 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Volcano Winery, 35 Pi`i Mauna Drive in Volcano Golf Course Subdivision. The event includes music by Keoki Kahumoku and Friends, pupus by Volcano House and other area businesses, wine and a souvenir wine glass.
      All proceeds benefit STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs at Volcano School of Arts & Sciences. Call 967-7772 to purchase $40 tickets. Last year’s event sold out.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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