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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

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Volcano residents enjoyed a view of snow atop Mauna Kea Christmas Day. Photo by Tom Peek
THE NEW YEAR BRINGS A NEW MINIMUM WAGE. On Jan. 1, minimum-wage earners get a 50-cents-per-hour raise. The state Legislature passed measures calling for more increases annually through 2018. 
      Act 82 increases the state’s minimum wage rate to $7.75 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2015; $8.50 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2016; $9.25 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2017; and $10.10 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2018. It also raises the tip credit to 50 cents per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2015, and 75 cents per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2016, as long as the combined amount the employee receives in wages and tips is at least $7 more than the applicable minimum wage beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Vivian Pascubillo and Johnny Bercelona enjoyed a visit from Santa Tom Wright
during Pahala Senior Center's Christmas party. Photos from Julie Pasquale
HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION UNITED is prepared to move into the New Year. 
      “With the work over the past five years our focus as a board of directors of HFUU, now eight chapters statewide, has been to move forward the mission of Hawai`i Farmers Union United, said Hawai`i state HFUU president Vincent Mina. “We now are a respected voice in the state Legislature for our existing family farmers and those who have the passion to farm yet may not have the wherewithal to do it.
      “We also have received county grants to do educational outreach with on-farm mentoring of our youth while holding regular chapter membership meetings sharing locally produced food along with presentations to inspire others in growing their own food. This, along with initiating a national farmers union committee on regenerative agriculture and the local food movement being chaired by your state president.
      National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson will be attending Hawai`i meetings in January. “National Farmers Union has extended to us their support and confidence in our ability to have a strong clear voice and action in Legislature through our local chapters advocating for the needs of growing the number of family farms, ranchers and fishers, while supporting the existing ones who value the direction of eco-logical, regenerative and sustainable agricultural practices,” Mina said.
      On Tuesday, Jan. 6, HFUU Mina and Johnson will be in Kona to meet with the four Hawai`i Island Chapter presidents and seven Big Island state Representatives.
      See hfuuhi.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Fely Villegas unwraps a gift as Rosita Valledor and Perfecta Garcia watch.
PAHALA SENIOR CENTER MEMBERS enjoyed a Christmas Party co-sponsored by Hawai`i County Nutrition Program and Pahala Senior Citizens Club. Membership in the Senior Club is open to anyone age 55 and better. The Senior Nutrition Program is open to anyone age 60 and better.
      A favorite game at the center's holiday parties is the Unwrapping Game. There is lots of laughter as the wrapped gift is passed around the circle. When the music stops, whoever has the gift gets to unwrap it as quickly as they can until the music starts again. It goes round and round the circle until someone finally reaches the prize inside the package.
      For more information on participating with Pahala Senior Center programs, call Julie Pasquale at 928-3101.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

DURING HER TRIP TO INDIA, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said America is not in a position to police every evil across the globe with its limited resources. She met Goa Gov. Mridula Sinha and chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar to discuss ties between the coastal state and Hawai`i on various fronts.
      “There are unfortunately very bad people in different parts of the world who are committing horrible atrocities, and this is unacceptable,” Gabbard said. “My view is that the U.S. cannot be in a position to police everyone with the limited resources.
      “We need to stay very focused on threats that exists to our country and specifically threat from Islamic extremists,” she said. 
      The sole Hindu member of Congress said the U.S. can partner with friends and allies to fight against terrorists.
Irene Takahara unwraps a gift as Mary Peralta
cheers her on.
      “But the number one priority for U.S. as well as for India should be to keep our people safe and do whatever it takes to make that happen,” she said.
      “While different nations may have disagreement on certain issues, this is one issue where leaders of all nation should stand together and position themselves strongly to fight against Islamic extremists and terrorism.”
      During her India visit, Gabbard met with several leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

JANUARY IS VOLCANO AWARENESS MONTH. “That might seem odd, given that Island of Hawai`i residents—especially those in the District of Puna—have been acutely aware of Kilauea Volcano for at least the past four months, during which an active lava flow crossed a road, burned a farm shed and unoccupied house, inundated a cemetery, damaged orchards and buried sections of private property,” Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists state in the current issue of Volcano Watch. “Today, the lava flow continues to threaten the community of Pahoa.
      “Indeed, since Hawai`i is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes — Kilauea and Mauna Loa — the need for volcano awareness should not be limited to a single month. 
      “But in 2010, Hawai`i County Mayor Billy Kenoi proclaimed January as Volcano Awareness Month as a way to promote the importance of understanding the volcanoes on which we live. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory selected January as the official month, largely because January 3 is the day that Klauea’s East Rift Zone (Pu`u `O`o) eruption began in 1983.
      In addition to the 32nd anniversary of the ongoing East Rift Zone eruption, January 2015 marks the 55th anniversary of another notable Kilauea lava flow that impacted the lower Puna District. The eruption began on Jan, 13, 1960, and by the time it ended 36 days later, relentless lava flows had devastated Kapoho village and part of Koae village despite valiant efforts to divert the flows with bulldozed barriers. An account of this eruption is available at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/kilauea/history/1960Jan13/.
      “The new year also marks the 60th and 65th anniversaries of two other significant eruptions in Hawai`i: the February 1955 Kilauea East Rift Zone eruption, which was the first Kilauea eruption to impact an inhabited area (lower Puna) in more than 100 years, and the June 1950 Mauna Loa Southwest Rift Zone eruption, which sent three lava flows across the highway south of Ho`okena. The first of these Mauna Loa flows traveled from the vent to the ocean, a 15-mile journey, in less than three hours, destroying the village of Pahoehoe along the way.
Rosita Tungpalan, with Pahala Senior Center Site
Manager Julie Paaquale, guessed the correct
number of candies in the jar.
      “These Kilauea and Mauna Loa eruptions are just a few reminders of why it’s important to better understand how Hawaiian volcanoes work. Accordingly, HVO, in cooperation with Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, the University of Hawai`i at Hilo and Hawai`i County Civil Defense, is offering a series of volcano awareness presentations during the month of January. 
      “Weekly After Dark in the Park programs in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park will feature talks by HVO and UHH volcanologists on Tuesdays, Jan. 6, 13, 20 and 27. Topics include an update on Kilauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions, explosive versus effusive Kilauea eruptions, the relationship between earthquakes and Mauna Loa eruptions and how pahoehoe lava flows work. Additional updates on Hawai`i’s active volcanoes will be presented at UHH on Jan. 7, in Ocean View on Jan. 14 and in Kailua-Kona on Jan. 28.” 
      Details about these Volcano Awareness Month presentations, including dates, times, locations and synopses, are posted at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov. The talks are free and open to the public; park entrance fees apply for the After Dark in the Park programs. 
      Awareness of Hawaiian volcanoes is possible throughout the year by visiting HVO’s website. Webpages provide daily eruption updates for Kilauea, including maps and photos of the lava flow's advance toward Pahoa, as well as status reports for Mauna Loa and other active volcanoes in Hawai`i. Daily Kilauea lava flow updates are also posted on the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense website at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/.
      For more technical awareness, Characteristics of Hawaiian Volcanoes, written by current and former HVO staff and collaborators to commemorate HVO’s 100th anniversary in 2012, is now available online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1801/. This 10-chapter volume reviews HVO’s research history and presents our current understanding of Hawaiian volcanism, along with new data on eruption dynamics, hazards and more.
      “We encourage you to check out the 2015 Volcano Awareness Month schedule — and hope that you will join us in January,” HVO staff said. “It’s a great time to learn more about Hawaiian volcanoes and to meet some of the HVO scientists who study and monitor them.
      “Until then, we wish everyone safe and happy holidays.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES National Park offers free outdoor activities this weekend. During Kahuku: Born from a Hotspot tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., participants learn about the birth of the islands from the Hawaiian hotspot and about past eruptions that impacted Kahuku. Visitors identify various pu`u (hills) and other volcanic features and learn about their formation.
      A moderately difficult, 0.4-mile hike to the top of Pu`u o Lokuana takes place Sunday, Dec. 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The grassy cinder cone features the formation and various uses of the hill over time and a breathtaking view of lower Ka`u.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.



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