Rockfall Triggers Explosive Event at Halema’uma’u

Just after 10 AM this morning, the southeastern wall of the Overlook crater, in Halemaʻumaʻu, collapsed and fell into the summit lava lake.

This image is a still taken from the webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at that location, showing spatter in the air directly in front of the camera.

This image is a still taken from the webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at that location, showing spatter in the air directly in front of the camera.

This triggered a small explosive event that threw spatter bombs onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at the site of the tourist overlook, closed since 2008.

The lava fragments ejected ranged in size from dust-sized particles up to spatter bombs about 70 cm (~30 inches) across.

The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the tourist overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture.

The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the tourist overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture.

As has been seen with almost all previous explosive events at Halemaʻumaʻu since 2008, the spatter that was ejected was coated in dust and filled with small lithic fragments – clear evidence of the involvement of lithic wall rock.

The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long.

The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long.

Spatter landed on wooden fencing laying on the ground at the closed tourist overlook, igniting it in a few places.

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The part of the Overlook crater wall that collapsed is evident in the center of this photo by its white color.

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Ni’ihau ‘Alilea Shell Workshops at Lyman Museum

For the very first time ever, men (and women too!) will have the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind Ni’ihau shell lei that traditionally is made and worn by men for very special occasions such as a wedding, or a hula hālau performance.

Lei created from 'alilea shells.

Lei created from ‘alilea shells.

At the Lyman Museum, Kele Kanahele of the Island of Ni’ihau will teach the authentic creation of these rarely seen pieces of Ni’ihau heritage for the first time anywhere, twice in August on Friday, August 15 and Saturday, August 16, from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

On either day you may learn how to make an18-inch necklace/lei ($380 for Museum members, $410 for nonmembers), or a pair of earrings for ladies ($105 for members, $130 for nonmembers)—or more than one piece, as long as you sign up for specific pieces in advance.  All pieces will be created in the pikake style, using ‘alilea ke’oke ‘o shells (white).  The ‘alilea is known as the large dove shell because it closely resembles but is slightly larger (about ¾ inch long) than the better-known momi or dove shell.  Such lei are rarely made because piercing is very difficult due to the thickness of the shell.  For the earrings, much smaller shells will be used to create pieces appropriate for ladies.

Space is limited to 24 persons per day; only people who have registered can be permitted in the classroom.  Reservations must be made, pieces specified, and the workshop fee(s) paid by Friday, August 8, to ensure your place and the availability of shells.  Space is limited to 24 persons per day; only people who have registered can be permitted in the classroom.

Kane, follow in the footsteps of generations of Ni’ihau men by creating and wearing this classic lei on important occasions of your own!  And wahine, these pieces will look just as lovely on you … or you can give your special someone a treasure of Hawai’i that shows everyone he’s a treasure too!  For more information or to register, please call 935-5021 or stop by the Museum’s Admissions desk.  The Lyman Museum is located at 276 Haili St in Hilo and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 4:30 pm.

Senator Schatz Lobbies FAA to Support Hawaii’s Ban on Aerial Advertising

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed that Honolulu’s aerial advertising ordinance remains valid.

Aerial Banner

The mainland-based company Aerial Banners North has been flying aerial banners over Oahu in violation of Honolulu’s ordinance banning aerial advertising, while ignoring citations from the Honolulu Police Department. The company has argued that its FAA certificate of waiver preempts the Honolulu ordinance and allows it to fly aerial banners over Oahu. In Washington, DC this week, Senator Schatz reached out to the FAA at the request of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and received a written response that the Honolulu ordinance prohibiting aerial advertising remains valid.

“This is great news for Oahu residents who don’t want to see their skies cluttered from mainland companies. One of the things that makes Hawai‘i beautiful is that we have well-thought out rules governing signage,” said Senator Schatz. “This letter from the FAA makes it clear that this rogue company is violating our law and we expect and hope that this clarification will cause them to stop what they’re doing.”

In the 2002 case of Skysign International, Inc. v. City and County of Honolulu, 276 F.3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2002), the Ninth Circuit ruled in support of Honolulu’s view that its prohibition on aerial advertising is not preempted by federal law. The FAA confirmed in writing today that the precedent from the Skysign case remains the FAA’s position and that Honolulu has the right to prohibit aerial advertising.

Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory Reports New Crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

New crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The "June 27 breakout" flow starts near the left side of the photo, marked by thin bluish fume.

The “June 27 breakout” flow starts near the left side of the photo, marked by thin bluish fume.  The view is toward the east.

Since the onset of the “June 27 breakout” flow, the central part of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater has been collapsing slowly. Thick fume and steam prevented good views, but this photo shows the edge of the ring fracture that bounds the collapse. The heavy fume comes from pits that formed where spatter cones used to be.

Perhaps the most interesting feature in the new crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the pit formed on the southern side of the crater floor.

View to the East

View is to the south

There, a small lava pond roughly 10 m (~30 ft) across has been sporadically overflowing and sending lava toward the deeper central part of the crater.

Inactive perched lava pond and the new lava tube

After the June 27 breakout started, a perched lava pond – looking something like a giant above-ground swimming pool – grew over the main vent.

The view is toward the southeast

The view is toward the southeast

Notice the nearly flat upper surface of the now-inactive pond just above and to the left of center, and the relatively steep levee which contained the pond. The pond was abandoned after lava broke from a new spot near the west edge of the pond. That flow has begun constructing a lava tube, its trace marked by the fume to the right of the perched pond.

Here is steeper view of the inactive lava pond, just left of center. After it was abandoned, its surface crusted over and sagged to form a gentle bowl.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right. The view is toward the south-southeast.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right. The view is toward the south-southeast.

Skylights and points of fume just right of center mark the trace of the new tube.

Terminus of new flow near Kahaualeʻa

View is toward the southwest, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right.

View is toward the southwest, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right.

The front of the “June 27 breakout” flow, seen here as the silvery lava at lower right, is about 2.0 km (~1.2 miles) northeast from its vent (as measured in a straight line), and surrounds what little remains of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, a forested cone several hundred years old.
Here is a closer view showing the beleaguered Puʻu Kahaualeʻa surrounded by active Pāhoehoe flows.
The view is to the northwest

The view is to the northwest

Lizard Talk at Lyman Museum

Among the many immigrants to reach Hawaiian shores are certain members of the reptilian Order Squamata (which includes lizards and snakes).  A variety of lizards have arrived with people through the years and made their homes in Hawai`i.  In addition to the several species of geckos which most of us here know well, and which have been in the Islands the longest, there are species of skinks, anoles, iguanas, and chameleons that have also established themselves as colonists.

My dog freaking out on a Jackson Chameleon

My dog freaking out on a Jackson Chameleon

On Monday, August 25, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Lyman Museum, Dr. William Mautz pulls back the foliage to look at these special creatures: their habits and habitats, how and when they came to Hawai`i, and prospects for a future in which other immigrant lizards may gain a toehold.  Dr. Mautz is a professor of biology at UH-Hilo, where he teaches and conducts research on the physiology and ecology of amphibians and reptiles.

The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai`i.  Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  For more information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.

Tourism to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Creates $124, 937,400 in Economic Benefit

Report shows visitor spending supports 1,476 jobs in local economy

A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2013 shows that the 1,583,209 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. This spending supported 1,476 jobs in the local area.

The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater continues to attract visitors to the park.  NPS Photo by

The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater continues to attract visitors to the park. NPS Photo by Stephen Geiger

“We are pleased to again report a steady annual increase of visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The ease of viewing the summit eruption from Kīlauea, the many free cultural and scientific programs, the re-opening of Volcano House, and the diverse ecosystem of native plants and animals that park stewards have worked hard to protect for nearly 100 years are part of what attracts people, and can be attributed to the increase,” she said.

Visitors from across the country, around the world, and from local communities statewide and island-wide, visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the NPS – and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well.  We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities and businesses,” Orlando said.

The 2013 report reflects a consistent trend of increasing visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park over the last five years, as well as higher spending by visitors in local communities. In 2013, visitation increased 6.7 percent over 2012 (1,483,928 visitors), and spending increased by 10.2 percent ($113,376,400). The 2012 visitation to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was 9.7 percent higher than 2011 (1,352,123 visitors), and 2012 spending was up 17 percent from 2011.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the NPS.

The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.

According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).

The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).

To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i, and how the NPS works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/hawaii.

Cattlemen Sue Hawaii County Over GMO Ban

Hawaiian papaya and banana growers have joined cattlemen and floral producers to fight a ban on open-air growing and testing of genetically modified crops imposed by the Hawaii County Council.

The ban exempts existing papaya crops and growers. However, no new acres can be planted, according to the case filed June 9 in federal court. Hawaii County includes the entire Island of Hawaii. A scheduling hearing is set Sept. 8.

Growers say the ban — known as Bill 113 — conflicts with state and federal laws and is unconstitutional, according to the case filed by the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association (HPIA) and the Big Island Banana Growers Association. Other plaintiffs joining in the case include the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, the Pacific Floral Exchange and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

The Hawaii County Council approved Bill 113 in December with a 6-3 vote. It requires existing GMO growers to annually register and pay a $100 fee. In another court action, a judge recently ruled the county cannot make public growers’ personal information and specific field locations collected in the registry.

Growers challenged publication of the registry saying it would encourage vandalism, which has previously resulted in crop destruction.

Hawaii’s papaya industry was nearly destroyed by ringspot virus in the early 1990s, and development of the Rainbow variety was the industry’s answer. The Rainbow variety passed federal review and was first planted in 1998. According to court documents, at least 85% of the papaya crop grown on Hawaii Island is Rainbow.

“Bill 113 has stigmatized HPIA members by conveying a false message that (GMO) crops and plants harm human health and the environment and has imposed other costs on HPIA,” according to the lawsuit.

Banana growers, including Richard Ha who is a plaintiff in the federal case, contend they need the option to test and possibly plant GMO bananas to mitigate threats from bunchy top virus and other diseases.

More here: Cattlemen Sue Hawaii County Over GMO Ban

Football-Sized Rocks Cause Several Traffic Accidents in Hilo

Hawaiʻi Island police responded to several traffic accidents in Hilo around 2 a.m. Thursday (July 17) involving damage to vehicles from striking football-size rocks on the roadway.

Fallin RockThree of the accidents were on Hawaiʻi Belt Highway (Route 19) near ʻAlae Cemetery and one was on Haihai Street.

Police are asking motorists to use caution when driving during the early morning hours especially with limited visibility due to rain.

The public is asked to report any suspicious activity by calling the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Mauna Kea From Space

Mauna Kea has the largest observatory for Optical, Infrared, and Sub-millimeter Astronomy:
Mauna Kea from above

The Elders Headline Pillars of Peace Hawaii Events

Pillars of Peace Hawai‘i to host peace leaders Gro Harlem Brundtland, Hina Jilani, and Desmond Tutu in a series of community events.

Pillars of Peace Hawai‘i, an initiative of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, will host three preeminent global leaders from The Elders from August 29-31. While in Honolulu, they will engage in a series of exchanges with the people of Hawai‘i on peace, compassion, and ethical leadership. The Pillars of Peace Hawaii program was established in part to inspire our community to cultivate empathy, mindfulness and justice in our daily lives and better understand the roles of diversity and culture in the practice of peace.

Elders

The Elders include former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the World Health Organization, Gro Harlem Brundtland; renowned lawyer, pro-democracy campaigner and Pakistani women’s movement leader Hina Jilani; and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate, veteran anti-apartheid activist and peace campaigner.

This is the first time that representatives of The Elders will engage Hawai‘i. The community will have the unique opportunity to listen to this world-renowned group of leaders in a public forum entitled “A Just and Inclusive Global Community,” on Sunday, August 31, 4:00 p.m. at the Hawai‘i Convention Center’s Lili‘u Theater. Tickets for the public presentation will be available for purchase at http://pillarsofpeacehawaii.org/schedule-tickets-the-elders on August 1st. Student tickets are $12 and general public tickets are $20; both include validated parking at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

There will also be an opportunity for selected Hawai‘i students to attend a special Student Leaders Program, “Leaders Make the Future: the Wisdom of Elders and Youngers.” The student leaders will be chosen to attend by their schools’ administrators or teachers. Other areas of discussion during the Elders’ visit to Hawai‘i include climate change and ethical leadership.

“We are honored to have such an esteemed group of leaders come to Hawai‘i to share their global experiences and perspectives on peace issues,” said Kelvin H. Taketa, President and CEO of Hawai‘i Community Foundation. “Their visit will enable us, in turn, to share our approach to peace, influenced by the spirit of aloha and our community that merges numerous cultural influences.”

The Elders is an independent group of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007; they use their collective wisdom, experience, and influence to support peace building, address major causes of human suffering, and promote the shared interests of humanity.

Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General, currently chairs The Elders. Archbishop Tutu served for six years as Chair and remains an Honorary Elder. Using its members’ collective experiences and insights, the group promotes universal human rights and peace. For more information on The Elders, please visit http://www.theelders.org/.

The Elders’ visit is part of “Pillars of Peace Hawai‘i: Building Peace on a Foundation of Aloha,” an initiative of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation launched in 2012. The program’s events aim to spark conversations about the roles of compassion, diversity, and culture in the practice of peace. Highlighting Hawai‘i’s culture and its spirit of aloha, the program also positions Hawai‘i as a leading voice for peace. Pillars of Peace Hawai‘i is funded by the Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation and other partners. For more information on this initiative, please visit http://pillarsofpeacehawaii.org/.

About Hawai‘i Community Foundation

The Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF), with 98 years of community service, is the leading philanthropic institution in the state. The Foundation is a steward of over 650 funds, including more than 190 scholarship funds, created by donors who desire to transform lives and improve communities. In 2013, $43 million in grants and contracts were distributed by HCF statewide, including $4 million in scholarships. The HCF also serves as a resource on community issues and trends in the nonprofit sector. For more information on HCF, please visit http://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/.

Who Took Pahoa’s Trash Cans?

I noticed the other day that trash was beginning to pile up in Pahoa around different spots of town.

Pahoa Town

Pahoa Town

Today as I was driving around… I noticed that the public garbage cans that were around town had been removed.

I asked Pahoa Businesswoman and County Council Candidate Madie Greene what happened to them and she said that the contract for the people who were taking care of them had expired.

Greene said that the garbage cans should be back this week with a new contract in place but she wasn’t sure which company is contracted for the services as of yet.

Also if you haven’t heard, Business Services Hawaii has now set up a recycling redemption center right across from the Pahoa Post Office.

The Super Moon From the Big Island of Hawaii

Here is a picture of the “Super Moon” I took from my iPhone just now in Pahoa, Hawaii:
Supermoon in Pahoa

House Tourism Chair to Introduce Legislation Banning Aerial Advertising

Representative Tom Brower (Waikiki, Ala Moana) announced plans to introduce legislation banning aerial advertisement in the state of Hawaii. The proposed legislation will seek to clarify the ambiguities and jurisdiction of aerial advertising written in federal, state, and city law. The measure will specifically make it illegal for a pilot to fly a plane out of a state airport for the purpose of towing a banner for advertisement.
Aerial Banner
“I have had discussions with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and state officials to identify what we can do. Due to the ambiguities of city, state and federal law, there is a need for legislation to add more clarity. Right now, we have federal and state laws that need further explanation,” said Brower. “Our skies are under federal and local jurisdiction, but state airport officials issue contracts and agreements with pilots and businesses. While the FAA has indicated that plane operators need to abide by state law and county ordinance, the contract signed by the particular pilot in question did not specifically allow or deny the operation of a tow banner business.”

The plane operator, Aerial Banners North (ABN), has received a federal waiver to conduct banner towing operations nationwide, but state and city officials have strongly asserted that aerial advertisement is illegal under local law. ABN has argued that the waiver allowing them to operate across the nation, and in Hawaii, supersedes any state or county prohibitions.

On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration clarified that the waiver granted to Aerial Banners North which authorizes the company to conduct banner towing operations nationwide, “does not waive any state law or local ordinance. Should the proposed operations conflict with any state law or local ordinance, or require permission of local authorities or property owners, it is the operator’s responsibility to resolve the matter.”

“I care about the threat of aerial banners flying over Hawaii’s tourist destinations, ruining the natural beauty, interfering with outdoor recreation and enjoyment of residents and tourists. Most importantly, if we don’t act, this will set a bad precedent, opening the flood gates for more aerial advertising in Hawaii’s skies,” added Brower, Chair of the House Tourism Committee.

Department of Health Reaches Settlement With Central Maui Landfill and Molokai Solid Waste Facility

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and the County of Maui Department of Environmental Management have reached a settlement on two enforcement cases concerning solid waste violations at the Central Maui Municipal Solid Waste Landfill and the Molokai Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility.

Department of Health

The combined settlement involves a cash penalty payment of $70,000 and a supplemental environmental project that is valued at not less than $70,000.

The proposed supplemental project is a household hazardous waste collection program for the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai to be conduct ed during fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015). The County of Maui, the remaining county that currently lacks such a program, plans to continue the project beyond the inaugural year.

DOH cited the Central Maui Municipal Solid Waste Landfill with three counts of permit violations from January to April 2011 for failure to maintain leachate compliance levels in the leachate wet well and sump, and failure to monitor and record leachate levels after a storm event. The DOH initially imposed an administrative penalty of $121,900 prior to the settlement. The facility is located off Pulehu Road in Puunene.

DOH cited the Molokai Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility with a two-count violation in April 2011 for failing to minimize liter generation and failure to place daily cover at the facility. An administrative penalty of $20,955 was initially imposed prior to the settlement. The facility is located off Maunaloa Highway in Naiwa.

The County of Maui has completed all corrective actions stemming from the alleged violations.

Lava Breakout Remains Active – New Lava Shield Being Built on Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The June 27 breakout has remained active over the past week, emitting short lava flows from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s northeast flank. These flows have stacked upon one another creating a lava shield, which now hosts a lava pond.

July 6th

This before and after comparison from our webcam east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō shows the dramatic change to the skyline that this new lava shield has created.

These flows have stacked upon one another creating a lava shield, which now hosts a lava pond.

Hawaii’s State and County Leaders Formalize Joint Sustainability Commitment

“Aloha+ Challenge” Sets 6 Targets by 2030

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii’s four county mayors, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) leadership jointly launched the Aloha+ Challenge: A Culture of Sustainability – He Nohona ‘Ae‘oia at a declaration signing held today at the Hawaii State Capitol. The statewide joint leadership commitment sets clear targets for clean energy transformation, local food production, natural resource management, waste reduction, smart growth, climate resilience, green jobs and education by 2030.

Government leaders sign the Aloha+ Challenge.

Government leaders sign the Aloha+ Challenge.

“The Aloha+ Challenge brings us all together across jurisdictions, agencies, sectors and communities to build a sustainable Hawaii for current and future generations,” said Gov. Abercrombie, who as a member of President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience is in a strong position to provide recommendations on how the federal government can support local efforts outlined today. “The targets transcend political timelines with a longer-term vision that also calls upon us to take bold action now. As a microcosm of the world’s sustainability challenges, it is time for Hawaii to become a global model of how to develop innovative and collaborative solutions.”

The Hawaii State Legislature unanimously passed the Aloha+ Challenge through resolution this year. Hawaii Green Growth, which brings together key leaders from federal, state, county, business and nonprofit organizations, hosted the declaration signing to show broad support.

Photo by Sen. J Kalani English

Photo by Sen. J Kalani English

Hawaii’s commitment to the Aloha+ Challenge is already creating international attention. With the U.S. Department of State, Hawaii has been invited to announce the Aloha+ Challenge on the world stage at a high-level Global Island Partnership event in Samoa this September, during the United Nations’ International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which focuses on sustainable development.

“Alternative energy sources like H-Power, solar and wind, combined with fewer car trips and reduced energy consumption, will help us sustain our island for future generations,” said City and County of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “We have to invest in our future, and now is the time to do it.”

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi at the Aloha+ Challenge Dedication Signing and Press Conference.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi at the Aloha+ Challenge Dedication Signing and Press Conference.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi said: “The Aloha+ Challenge is about protecting our Hawaii and maximizing our resources to improve the quality of life for our communities. It reinforces that our decision-making as a state must focus on sustaining our resources for generations to come, and must be rooted in aloha.”

“The Aloha+ Challenge is about leading by example,” Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa said. “Our goal is to provide a higher quality of life for our children, and to build a community for our grandchildren that they can be proud of.”

“We are a state separated by ocean, but we are connected in so many ways – by families, by businesses and by shared values and traditions,” said Mayor Bernard Carvahlo of Kauai County. “It is important for us to always remember that. When our leadership focuses on one vision, we are united.”

“We must honor our past while also preparing for our future,” said Kamana‘opono Crabbe, chief executive officer for OHA. “The active participation of the community partners in this effort will also play a major role in bringing about a better, brighter future for all people of Hawaii.”

Photo from Gov. Abercrombie's Twitter feed.

Photo from Gov. Abercrombie’s Twitter feed.

In addition to sharing tools and knowledge and expanding partnerships, Hawaii’s top elected officials have agreed to develop a joint system of tracking progress and to increase long-term financing mechanisms for conservation and sustainability programs geared towards reaching the 2030 targets.

The Aloha+ Challenge commits Hawaii to reaching six targets by 2030:

  1. Clean Energy: 70 percent clean energy – 40 percent from renewables and 30 percent from efficiency (reinforcing the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative)
  2. Local Food: At least double local food production – 20 to 30 percent of food consumed is grown locally
  3. Natural Resource Management: Reverse the trend of natural resource loss mauka to makai by increasing freshwater security, watershed protection, community-based marine management, invasive species control and native species restoration
  4. Waste Reduction: Reduce the solid waste stream prior to disposal by 70 percent through source reduction, recycling, bioconversion and landfill diversion methods
  5. Smart Sustainable Communities: Increase livability and resilience in the built environment through planning and implementation at state and county levels
  6. Green Workforce and Education: Increase local green jobs and education to implement these targets

In 2011, Gov. Abercrombie signed Act 181, which established sustainability as a priority in the Hawaii State Plan and incorporated the definition, goals and principles of sustainability from the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan into Chapter 226. More than 10,000 citizens participated in the Hawaii 2050 planning process.

Hawai‘i County Awarded $375,000 to Control Little Fire Ants

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation has partnered with County Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi to obtain $375,000 to control little fire ant infestations island-wide.

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

The State Department of Agriculture is providing $200,000, and the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council has awarded a grant of $175,000 that will allow the Department of Parks and Recreation to establish a little fire ant (LFA) control program at County parks and facilities.

Funding will be used to hire up to three full-time employees who will work exclusively fighting LFA infestations island-wide, purchase bait and equipment, and finance transportation needs.

Once an infested park or facility has been identified, the LFA team will apply bait on a six-week cycle, rotate the bait type based on recommendations from the Hawai‘i Ant Lab, and then continually monitor the treated area to ensure a reduction in ant infestations.

Similar treatments conducted at Richardson Ocean Park in Hilo have reduced LFA populations in the affected areas by up to 40 percent, according to data collected during a recently completed pilot project involving the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Hawai‘i Ant Lab.

Ranked among the world’s worst invasive species due to the environmental harm they cause and ability to inflict painful stings that can blind animals, LFAs have established colonies in numerous areas following their discovery on Hawai‘i Island in 1999.

The Department of Parks and Recreation wishes to thank Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture, and Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council members for providing the funding needed to establish the LFA control program.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Breakout Lava Flow Kahauale’a 2 Now Dead

The June 27 breakout building a lava shield near Puʻu ʻŌʻō; Kahaualeʻa 2 flow is now dead.

The June 27 breakout initially produced a channelized lava flow that reached Puʻu Kahaualeʻa (about 1.5 km, or 0.9 miles, from the vent) during the first day, but over the past two days the surface flows have retreated closer to the vent, building a lava shield (visible just above the center of the photograph).

This comparison of the normal photograph with a thermal image shows the extent of the lava shield clearly. The lava shield is visible as the area of high temperatures (hot colors) in the thermal image. Corresponding spots are marked with small arrows for reference. The initial channelized flow that reached Puʻu Kahaualeʻa during the first day is inactive now, but still slightly warm.

Another look at the lava shield formed from lava erupting from the June 27 vent. The shield consists of a broad, and relatively flat, top with multiple narrow streams of lava flowing down the sides.

A view of the lava shield with the thermal camera.

The lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. A lava pond has existed here for months, but it enlarged considerably during lava level drop and collapses that occurred with the start of the June 27 breakout. Today, the lava pond was about 35 meters (yards) across, and seven meters (yards) below the rim
A view from the ground of the lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. Note the layering exposed in the wall above the pond surface.

View of the wall above the lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. The lava pond surface is in the lower portion of the photograph. The dark hole in the upper part of the photograph is the truncated entrance to the lava tube that had been supplying lava to the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. With the lava level well below the entrance to the lava tube, lava is no longer flowing into the tube and the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow is now inactive. The lava tube here is about 2 meters (yards) wide.

A closer view of the entrance to the lava tube that had been supplying the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow.

This Quicktime movie shows activity in the lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. A lava pond has been here for months, but it enlarged considerably during the June 27 breakout as the lava level in the pond dropped.

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow is dead

Until recently, surface flows were active in this portion of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, triggering small brush fires and creating smoke plumes. With the opening of new vents on June 27, the supply of lava into the Kahaualeʻa 2 tube was shut off (see photos of the tube above). There were no active surface flows anywhere on the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow today.

Little Fire Ants Invade Hawaii – State Wasting Money Trying to Eradicate Them

Well the Little Fire Ants have now spread statewide here in Hawaii… don’t expect the State to protect you or your pets.

little fire antThe amount of money that the State of Hawaii is wasting on Little Fire Ants and attempting to control them is amazing.  Those of us that live in Puna know that you can’t get rid of them once you get them.

The state needs to look at other options like us Puna residents do now and educate folks how to keep them out of your house and away from your pets.

Take action now and do things like use ant insecticide chalk and other measures such as keeping your house clean of food items they could access to keep them out of your house.

Yes, the pain from a Little Fire Ant hurts like a bitch! Keeping them outside of your house is the best recommendation I can make.

VIDEO: NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) Recovered

First video of NASA’s saucer-shaped test vehicle, the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) after it was recovered from the ocean and returned to Port Allen, Kauai, on June 29, 2014.

The LDSD Test Vehicle recovered

The LDSD Test Vehicle recovered

The LDSD vehicle had completed its first test flight from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai one day earlier.