Most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Features Open as Winter Weather Continues in Hawaii

Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) and the Kahuku Unit reopened Saturday, although heavy rainfall persists at times. The snow-cloaked summit of Mauna Loa will remain closed to all day use and overnight camping until it is safe to reopen.

NPS Photo by Janice Wei

NPS Photo by Janice Wei

Nāhuku is open, but the lights are still out. Visitors must bring a flashlight to explore the 300-foot lava tube, which becomes pitch black just a few yards in without light, has uneven flooring, and a low ceiling in some sections. Rangers are stationed at the lava tube to assist visitors during peak hours, and signs are posted.

The park’s Kahuku Unit in Ka‘ū reopened Saturday morning and remained open through Sunday. The 116,000-acre Kahuku Unit is open to the public for hiking and exploring Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The Mauna Loa summit closure is in effect above the Red Hill (Pu‘u‘ula‘ula) Cabin. Hikers can still obtain a backcountry permit to hike to and stay at Red Hill Cabin, but backcountry permits to areas above 10,000 feet are suspended and day hiking is prohibited. Hikers going to Red Hill will be advised during the permit process to proceed with caution and carry appropriate gear.

“The park is open, and we remind visitors to drive with caution and aloha,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Roads are flooded in places, and visitors might encounter fog, additional rain and other inclement weather today and as the week progresses,” she said.

Coast Guard Participates in Pearl Harbor 75th Observance

The Coast Guard, alongside the other armed services, are observing the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Oahu, this week.

Coast Guard men and women are participating in a number of events around the island to honor the survivors and the sacrifices of the more than 2,000 Americans killed in the attacked. The Coast Guard was also present in Oahu and served alongside our shipmates during the attack.

U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific Subscribe 11 Crewmembers from various units throughout the Coast Guard 14th District greet a World War II veteran from an American airline honor flight from Los Angeles at the Honolulu International Airport, Dec. 3, 2016. Dec. 7, 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. The U.S. military and the State of Hawaii are hosting a series of remembrance events to honor the courage and sacrifices of Pacific Theater veterans. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific Crewmembers from various units throughout the Coast Guard 14th District greet a World War II veteran from an American airline honor flight from Los Angeles at the Honolulu International Airport, Dec. 3, 2016. Dec. 7, 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. The U.S. military and the State of Hawaii are hosting a series of remembrance events to honor the courage and sacrifices of Pacific Theater veterans. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

One of the most prominent lasting effects of Pearl Harbor on the Coast Guard is the way we conduct search and rescue. The Coast Guard conducted a medevac of an ill mariner north of Oahu as recently as Sunday. This case illustrates the importance of the hoist capable helicopters regularly used to provide lifesaving assistance to mariners around the nation. This capability was actually born out of the events of Dec. 7th and Pearl Harbor. Coast Guard Lt. Frank Erickson served in Hawaii that day and after. He witnessed the death of thousands of sailors who couldn’t safely be reached and rescued. He went on to work with Igor Sikorsky to build an experimental hoist capable helicopter and was the Coast Guard’s first helicopter pilot. His intuition and ingenuity completely redefined the way the Coast Guard performs search and rescue and provided for this mariner’s rescue. More can be read about Erickson’s story here: https://goo.gl/vPTlFe.

A World War II veteran poses next to an old photograph of himself while being greeted by several military and various personnel after the arrival of an American Airline honor flight from Los Angeles at the Honolulu International Airport, Dec. 3, 2016. More than 100 World War II veterans, including Pearl Harbor survivors, arrived to Honolulu to participate in the remembrance events throughout the week to honor the courage and sacrifices of those who served during Dec. 7, 1941, and throughout the Pacific Theater. Dec. 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. As a Pacific nation, the U.S. is committed to continue its responsibility of protecting the Pacific sea-lanes, advancing international ideals and relationships, well as delivering security, influence, and responsiveness in the region. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

A World War II veteran poses next to an old photograph of himself while being greeted by several military and various personnel after the arrival of an American Airline honor flight from Los Angeles at the Honolulu International Airport, Dec. 3, 2016. More than 100 World War II veterans, including Pearl Harbor survivors, arrived to Honolulu to participate in the remembrance events throughout the week to honor the courage and sacrifices of those who served during Dec. 7, 1941, and throughout the Pacific Theater. Dec. 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. As a Pacific nation, the U.S. is committed to continue its responsibility of protecting the Pacific sea-lanes, advancing international ideals and relationships, well as delivering security, influence, and responsiveness in the region. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Other crews and assets involved in Dec. 7, 1941, include:

USCGC Kukui (WAGL 225) was positioned at Pier 4 in Honolulu when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. As the buoy tender was unarmed, they remained dockside, at Pier 4 until further instruction was passed. The Army requested the Kukui transport a combat squad to Ni’ihau in response to the reports of Japanese aviators having landed there. They arrived with the squad to find the aviators deceased.

USCGC Tiger (WSC 152) was under Navy jurisdiction and assigned to the local defense forces of the 14th Naval District. Equipped with depth charges, listening gear and firearms, Tiger was designed to interdict smugglers who attempted to unload booze during the height of Prohibition. Early on Dec. 7, 1941, they intercepted dispatch from a Navy destroyer that claimed the destruction of an enemy submarine. They continued the patrol eastward toward the Pearl Harbor entrance and around 8 a.m. started taking fire from an unknown source. They guarded the entrance all day and throughout the night, even taking what is now thought to be friendly fire in the darkness from Army units along the shore that assumed the ship was a foreign threat.

CG-8 lay moored to Pier 4 in Honolulu Harbor when the Japanese attacked. The crew of six went to general quarters and prepared to get the vessel underway. At approximately 9 a.m., CG-8 moved to Sand Island to pick up the depot keeper while bombs exploded nearby. CG-8 proceeded back across the channel to Kewalo Basin and was strafed by Japanese aircraft while en route. At the basin CG-8 prohibited the small private vessels and sampans from leaving until Naval Intelligence could clear the owners. After the two waves of Japanese planes withdrew, the Coast Guard secured the port areas, blacked out all navigational aids and stationed guards along the waterfront.

The morning of Dec. 7, 1941, USCGC Taney (WPG 37) was tied up at Pier 6 in Honolulu Harbor six miles away from the naval anchorage.  After the first Japanese craft appeared over the island, Taney ‘s crew went to general quarters and made preparations to get underway.  While observing the attack over Pearl Harbor, Taney received no orders to move and did not participate in the initial attack by the Japanese.  Just after 9 a.m., when the second wave of planes began their attack on the naval anchorage, Taney fired on high altitude enemy aircraft with her 3-inch guns and .50 caliber machine guns.  The extreme range of the planes limited the effect of the fire and the guns were secured after twenty minutes.

The USCGC Walnut (WAGL 252) was patrolling Midway Atoll to conduct aids to navigation work, 1,200 miles northwest of Oahu when Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese forces on Dec. 7, 1941. Upon receiving word of the attack, the Walnut crew ensured that all lights were immediately extinguished to prevent the enemy from using the aids as a navigational reference. That night, about 1,000 miles northwest of Hawaii, Japanese destroyers shelled Midway Island. At 9:30 p.m. the unarmed buoy tender Walnut observed gun flashes from the northwest. Shells began landing within 100 feet of the ship, but Walnut remained anchored during the 30-minute attack. During this attack, a U.S. PBY Flying Boat crashed in Midway Lagoon within the Walnut’s vicinity. Walnut’s crewmembers recovered the injured aircrew, ultimately saving their lives. Walnut continued to complete aids to navigation work, conduct search and rescue, and run convoy missions.

Dec. 10, 1941, John Sweeney, the keeper of Barbers Point Light Station, witnessed an aerial attack and recounts the events in this after action report. According to Sweeney, “At 8 a.m., many planes were seen overhead, both Japanese and ours. Dog fighting continued for twenty minutes, bullets hitting the ground in bursts. Then all planes headed south, our planes chasing them. Two parachutists were dropped close to the station; they were confused in the kiawi trees and prowled around the station all Sunday night, the Fort Kam. 55th C.A. boys firing at them with rifles and machine guns. One was wounded, and was later found on the beach, buried by his mate. His feet were sticking out of the sand. The other was later shot by an officer.”

More about the Coast Guard in Pearl Harbor including first hand account and narratives can be viewed at: https://www.uscg.mil/history/Pearl_Harbor_Index.asp

TMT Hosts International Workshop For Future Science and Technology Leaders in Hilo

Astronomy and engineering graduate students from the TMT international partnership countries are gathering in Hilo for a future leaders workshop this week through Wednesday, December 7. The scientific/technical workshop with an emphasis on international collaboration focuses on project management and other professional skills with the intention of training TMT’s future leaders.

The Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators has been training graduate students and postdocs, and has partnered with telescopes for more than 15 years. ISEE is located at the University of California Santa Cruz, which is the headquarters of UC Observatories and the center for the University of California’s participation in the TMT. ISSE is developing a new program for TMT, which will be designed to engage the full international partnership of TMT science and technology development.

The Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators has been training graduate students and postdocs, and has partnered with telescopes for more than 15 years. ISEE is located at the University of California Santa Cruz, which is the headquarters of UC Observatories and the center for the University of California’s participation in the TMT. ISSE is developing a new program for TMT, which will be designed to engage the full international partnership of TMT science and technology development.

“TMT is hosting 40 graduate and post doctorate students from Hawaii, Japan, China, India, Canada, University of California and Caltech to help them gain valuable technical and project management skills while collaborating with TMT staff and Mauna Kea Observatory partners. This workshop is serving as a pilot for future sessions for the TMT international training program. What better place than on Hawaii Island, in Hilo and on what many call the best site in the world to view the heavens,” said Sandra Dawson, TMT’s Hawaii Community Affairs Manager.

Participants in the workshop are gaining knowledge about opportunities for future involvement with TMT, project management skills, leadership and teamwork experience through hands-on training activities and an opportunity to help design a potential future TMT international program.

Workshop activities include a Mauna Kea summit tour, visits and interaction with scientists and engineers from Subaru Telescope, Gemini Observatory, W. M. Keck Observatory and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. Participants are working with TMT staff members focusing on project management, systems engineering, science instruments, software development, safety compliance and invasive species controls.

The graduate students are also learning the history of astronomy in Hawaii, and particularly on the summit of Mauna Kea, and an overview of the cultural significance of Mauna Kea.

Participating students are from Caltech, University of California Davis, University of California Santa Cruz, University of California Los Angeles, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, University of Science and Technology of China, Dunlap Institute University of Toronto,  NRC-Herzberg, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, University of Tokyo, University of British Columbia, University of California Riverside, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan /Sokendai, University of Victoria, University of California Irvine, National Tsing Hua University, Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Tohoku University and the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy.

The workshop is funded by the Thirty Meter Telescope and led by the Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators (ISEE) at UC Santa Cruz.

For more information contact Austin Barnes at isee.austinbarnes@gmail.com or visit the website at http://isee-telescope-workforce.org.

Hawaii Department of Health Clears Marine Agrifuture to Resume Sales of Ogo and Sea Asparagus

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has lifted its Cease and Desist Order against Marine Agrifuture LLC (Olakai Farm). This morning, the company was notified it may resume the sale and distribution of Kahuku Ogo, Robusta Ogo and Sea Asparagus food products harvested at the Kahuku farm.

marine-agrifutureLaboratory test results from samples taken on Nov. 29 indicated that Marine Agrifuture’s processing areas and products were negative for Salmonella. The wells, all inlets to production ponds, and the growing and rinse tanks were also free from Salmonella and levels of indicator organisms (Enterococci and Clostridium perfringens) that would signal possible environmental contamination.

“Based on lab test results and visual confirmation by health inspectors of the thorough cleaning and improvements made to several critical components of the farm’s physical infrastructure, the department is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the safety of Marine Agrifuture’a food products,” said Peter Oshiro, Food Safety Program manager. “The department will continue to work with the farm on measures to prevent any future contamination of products.”

The department has recommended the farm continue to sample and test their wells, inlets to the production areas and growing ponds, and rinse/grow tanks to insure corrective measures remain effective and sufficient. The farm is urged to share test results with DOH for compliance assistance and consultation. All components of Marine Agrifuture’s farm, piping, wells, source/rinse water, production areas, equipment and food products are subject to further periodic and unannounced testing by health inspectors. In addition, the farm is not allowed to grow or harvest any products from streams, or other areas not approved by DOH.

The Department of Health’s Sanitation Branch is a statewide program responsible for the inspection of food establishments, issuance of permits and enforcement of food safety regulations. The Branch does not conduct routine inspections or issue permits for Raw Agricultural Commodities such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and other food crops grown on farms. Educational classes on food protection and safety are provided to the public, food industry and other agencies through the branch’s Food Handlers Education Program.

More than 1,000 Enroll in Hawaiian Electric Companies Time-of-Use Rates Program

As of Dec. 2, 1,008 customers had signed up for the Hawaiian Electric Companies new Time-of-Use rates, a program that will charge customers less for power used during the day – when solar energy production is highest – and more at night.

helco-new-logo-2The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) set a limit of 5,000 customers for the program, meaning 20 percent of the total enrollment has already been reached.

Developed under the direction of the PUC, this program provides customers with an opportunity to save money if they shift their energy use to daytime hours. For example, customers who do laundry, cook, or heat water during the day may be able to save. Customers who charge electric vehicles or energy storage systems in the day may also benefit.

The amount of savings, if any, will depend on how much a customer can shift the use of electricity from night to day. As a result, this program may not fit the needs of all customers.

As directed by the PUC, this program is voluntary and will run for two years. The rates are only available to residential customers.

Participating customers will receive information on their bills that compares their costs under this program and the standard residential rate for electricity. Customers may opt out of the program if they feel it isn’t the right fit for them.

To enroll or for more information, go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/timeofuse or call:

  • Oahu: (808) 548-7311
  • Maui: (808) 871-9777
  • Molokai and Lanai: 1-877-871-8461
  • Hilo: (808) 969-6999
  • Kona: (808) 329-3584
  • Waimea: (808) 885-4605

Hawaii County Entrepreneurship Program Accepting Applications

entreThe County of Hawai‘i Business Resource Center, a program of the Department of Research and Development, is accepting applications to the second cohort of its Hawai‘i County Entrepreneurship Program which begins on January 6, 2017. This free program is part of the County’s ongoing efforts to promote and support local economic development.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come-first served basis for up to 25 people. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, December 28, 2016. Anyone interested in applying can download complete application materials at the Department’s website http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/research-and-development/ or by picking up a copy in either of the Department’s Hilo and Kailua-Kona offices.

Accepted applicants are expected to: participate in three four- to six-hour workshops which will be held on three Saturdays in Hilo and Kailua-Kona; participate in weekly online learning sessions; and to develop a business plan concept during the course of the three-month program. Additional requirements can be found in the program materials posted on the R&D website.

The Hawai‘i County Entrepreneurship Program will link participants to leaders from Hawaii County’s business community, financial institutions, government agencies, and business development organizations to provide guidance and valuable connections to resources that will help them build their business plan. This program will help participants strengthen their entrepreneurial skills and create opportunities for their future.

If you have any questions, please contact Beth Dykstra at (808) 961-8035 or Elizabeth.Dykstra@hawaiicounty.gov