Hōkūleʻa Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Her First Launch

Hōkūleʻa, the iconic canoe of the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, will celebrate her landmark 40th anniversary with a series of celebratory events and festivities throughout 2015.

hokulea4The traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, designed by artist and historian Herb Kawainui Kane, launched from the sacred shores of Kualoa in Kāne‘ohe Bay, O’ahu, on March 8, 1975. The launch of Hōkūleʻa helped begin a generation of renewal for Hawai‘i’s people that, along with the revitalization of voyaging and navigation traditions, introduced a new-found respect and appreciation for Hawaiian culture and language in the state of Hawai‘i and beyond.

Hokulea Nainoa

“Hōkūleʻa is more than a voyaging canoe – she awakened us to the importance of bringing people together from all walks of life to perpetuate the values we care about in Hawaiʻi,” said Nainoa Thompson, master navigator and president of PVS. “We have a kuleana to build a future worthy of our children. As we celebrate 40 years of sailing, we look forward to sharing Hōkūleʻa’s story, and hope that she inspires many more people to navigate their own voyages of kindness and compassion.”

Hokulea1In celebration of Hōkūleʻa’s 40th anniversary, PVS will ask community members in Hawaiʻi, the 26 Polynesian islands visited this year, and future ports of the Worldwide Voyage to share a birthday message and submit inspiring local “stories of hope” about young people taking leadership roles in caring for their natural environment and culture. This “Birthday to Earth Day” campaign will run from March 8 to April 23 on hokulea.com.

Anniversary festivities throughout 2015 include a fundraising campaign with local musicians Jack Johnson, Chucky Boy Chock and Paula Fuga, a talk story series and birthday Paʻina hosted by ‘Ulu‘ulu at the University of Hawai‘i at West O’ahu, an Earth Day beach cleanup, summer film screenings, and events in conjunction with the Friends of Hawaiʻi State Libraries. Events will be posted on hokulea.com.

hokulea5Since her first voyage to Tahiti in 1976, Hōkūleʻa, which means “Star of Gladness,” has brought together hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Pacific Ocean. As she continues to connect stories of hope throughout the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, Hōkūleʻa will seek to inspire and establish a lasting network of people and cultures around the globe to work collectively to care for our Island Earth.

The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage is taking Hōkūleʻa and her sister canoe Hikianalia across Earth’s oceans to grow a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, 26 nations, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017. The canoes are currently in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Hōkūleʻa’s 40th Anniversary March Events (Please check hokulea.com for updates and ongoing events):

March 10 through April 22
Hōkūleʻa “Birthday to Earth Day” campaign at hokulea.com

March 16, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Celebrating Hōkūleʻa @ ʻUluʻulu—University of Hawai‘i at West O’ahu: Talk Story with Keoni Lee.

Keoni Lee, co-founder of ʻŌiwi TV and a crewmember of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, will share about ʻŌiwi TV’s efforts to document the voyage using video, social media and other technologies. He will discuss the diverse traditional and new media channels used to share Hōkūleʻa’s story with Hawai’i and the world.

March 17, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Celebrating Hōkūleʻa @ ‘Ulu‘ulu – University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu: 40th Anniversary Pā‘ina.

Join us for a pā‘ina celebration of Hōkūleʻa and her 40 years of accomplishments. Polynesian Voyaging activities for students and the public, with music and light refreshments.

March 19, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Celebrating Hōkūleʻa @ ‘Ulu‘ulu – University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu: Elisa Yadao & Cliff Watson
Elisa Yadao, a former television news reporter, and Cliff Watson, cameraman and producer, will share their experiences documenting Hōkūleʻa’s early voyages and share footage from the archives.

April 25
Earth Day Mauka to Makai Cleanup
Join PVS and Sustainable Coastlines at Kailua Beach Park to help us mālama aina this Earth Day.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

It will be visible beginning tonight, Friday, February 27 at 6:50 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes.  Maximum Height: 50 degrees, and it will appear in the Northwest part of the sky and disappear to the South Southeast.

Quarantine Restrictions Extended to All Coffee Grown on Oahu

The Hawaii Board of Agriculture (HBOA) voted Wednesday to place coffee grown on all areas of Oahu under the same quarantine restrictions as was issued earlier for the Waialua area on Oahu and Hawaii Island to prevent the spread of the coffee berry borer (CBB).

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

On Dec. 17, 2014, HBOA placed coffee grown at Waialua Estate Coffee Farms and coffee roasted at the Old Waialua Sugar Mill under the same quarantine restrictions as coffee grown on Hawaii Island due to the detection of CBB infestations at the sites. Since the initial detections in Waialua, CBB has been found in Wahiawa and Poamoho in Central Oahu.

Today, the board voted unanimously to expand the designated infested area and extend the interisland quarantine restrictions to all of Oahu beginning tomorrow, Feb. 25, 2015.

“Expanding the coffee quarantine safeguards to cover Oahu is an important step in helping to keep other coffee-growing islands free of the coffee berry borer,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the HBOA. “Oahu is a hub for the state’s coffee trade and we need to make sure that coffee beans that are imported to, as well as exported from Oahu are not spreading this destructive pest.”

So far, CBB has not been detected on Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai.

The quarantine restrictions imposed today for Oahu are exactly the same as those which have been in effect for coffee from Hawaii Island since December 2010. It requires a permit from HDOA to transport unroasted coffee beans, coffee plants and plant parts, used coffee bags and coffee harvesting equipment from CBB-infested islands to other non-infested areas or islands to prevent CBB movement. The rules also require certain treatments and inspection by HDOA Plant Quarantine inspectors prior to shipping. Inspectors will either attach a tag, label or stamp to indicate the shipment passed inspection requirements. For unroasted coffee beans, acceptable treatment protocols include fumigation, freezing and heat treatment. The coffee beans must also be roasted at a facility that is at least five miles from any commercial coffee-growing area.

One of the most devastating coffee pests, CBB was first detected in the state in September 2010 in Kona and discovered in Ka`u in May 2011. In early December 2014, HDOA confirmed the presence of the CBB (Hypothenemus hampei) on the coffee farm in Waialua, Oahu. This small beetle bores into the coffee “cherry” to lay its eggs. The larvae feed on the coffee bean, reducing the yield and quality of the bean. CBB is native to Central Africa and is also found in many coffee-growing regions of the world, including Central and South America.

Since its detection in Kona in 2010, Big Island coffee growers have developed methods to manage the pest, which include using an organic pesticide and field sanitation practices. Some farms with good management practices have been able to keep infestations down to about 20 percent of the coffee crop.

For more information on CBB in Hawaii, go to HDOA’s CBB information page at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/ppc/cbbinfo/

Hawaiian Electric Companies Continues to Accept Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Applications

Contrary to some reports, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are continuing to accept solar photovoltaic (PV) applications through the current net energy metering process, which includes a technical review for safety and reliability. The companies are also making significant progress clearing pending applications on circuits that already have very high amounts of solar.

Shaka For HELCOOverall, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light continue to lead the nation in rooftop PV. An estimated 12 percent of the utilities’ customers have rooftop solar system, compared with the national average of less than one percent.

These efforts are part of the companies’ commitment to meet three overarching energy commitments by 2030. These include:

  1. Nearly tripling the amount of distributed solar
  2. Achieving 65 percent renewable energy use
  3. Lowering customer bills by 20 percent

“We know rooftop PV is an important option for our customers. We are continuing to follow the current net energy metering process while the Public Utilities Commission considers our proposal to transition to a fairer, more sustainable program. It’s critical for our community that we increase solar in a way that maintains reliability and is safe and fair for all customers,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service.

A recent letter to some Hawaii Electric Light customers who submitted applications for projects in areas of Hawai‘i Island with high amounts of solar has been mischaracterized by a national solar group as an effort by the Hawaiian Electric Companies to stop all solar installations.

“We apologize for the confusion and want to assure our customers that we are continuing to process solar applications. We are reviewing our notification procedures to improve communication with our customers,” Alberts said.

Highlights of progress made

  • Earlier this week, Hawaiian Electric reported to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission that it notified an additional 548 O‘ahu customers who have been waiting for their net energy metering applications to be processed. Hundreds more are now being approved.
  • This was the first large group of Oahu customers to be cleared from a backlog of 2,749 applications, all from neighborhoods with high existing amounts of PV as of last October. Hawaiian Electric has committed to clearing 90 percent of that backlog by April, with the remaining customers applications to be approved by the end of 2015.
  • In addition, Maui Electric approved 331 applications in neighborhoods with high amounts of solar, nearly clearing its entire backlog. Hawaii Electric Light had 336 applications under review in neighborhoods with high amounts of solar, and approvals have since begun.
  • Overall, more than 3,000 net energy metering applications have been approved since the beginning of the year across the five islands that the Hawaiian Electric Companies serve.

In January, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light proposed a new program that would support the continued growth of rooftop solar while ensuring equitable rates for all customers. The new transitional distributed generation program would help address the current growing cost shift for operating and maintaining electric grids from customers who have rooftop solar to customers who don’t. At the end of 2013, that cost shift was approximately $38 million. By the end of 2014, that subsidy borne by non-solar customers had grown to $53 million.

In conjunction with this transitional distributed generation program, the utilities expect to be able to help the growth of solar by more than doubling the threshold for neighborhood circuits to accept solar systems. This would eliminate in most of those cases the need for a longer and costly interconnection study.

Public Workshops Scheduled For Input On Statewide Water Resource Protection Plan

The Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) is in the process of updating the statewide Water Resource Protection Plan (WRPP) and is seeking the community’s input on water resource issues of importance.

The purpose of the Water Resource Protection Plan is to establish policies and identify actions needed to ensure the long-term protection and sustainability of Hawaii’s precious and limited ground and surface water resources.

Commission staff will be holding seven workshops statewide starting next week, so people on each island may participate. All workshops are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will include a short slideshow about the Water Resource Protection Plan. This will be followed by smaller group discussions to talk in more detail about specific water resource issues in each community.

The meeting schedule locations and dates follow.

water meetings

For more information, visit the WRPP update website at  http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/cwrm/planning/hiwaterplan/wrpp/wrpp2014/

Hawaii Residents – Spot the International Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

It will be visible beginning tonight, Tuesday, February 24 at 7:52 PM. It will be visible for approximately 2 minutes.  Maximum Height: 48 degrees, and it will appear in the North Northwest part of the sky and disappear to the West Northwest.

Puna Lava Flow Reaches Fire Break

Breakouts persist upslope of stalled flow front; new breakout at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

22315pic1The leading tip of the June 27th lava flow remains stalled, but breakouts persist upslope of the stalled tip. Today, one of these breakouts (marked by the arrow) had advanced a short distance towards the north, reaching one of the fire break roads.

This comparison of a normal photograph and a thermal image shows the position of active breakouts relative to the inactive flow tip.

22315pic2

The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image on the right. In the thermal image, active breakouts are visible as white and yellow areas. Although active breakouts are absent at the inactive tip of the flow, breakouts are present roughly 450 m (490 yards) behind the tip, and are also scattered further upslope.

New breakout at Puʻu ʻŌʻō 22315pic3

This photograph looks east, and shows the breakout on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō that began over the weekend. The breakout, visible as the lighter colored region in the center of the photograph, occurred from the area of the June 27th vent (upper right portion of photograph).

22315pic4A small lobe of pāhoehoe on the new breakout on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.22315pic5A closer look at some of the activity on the new breakout on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Hawaii Island Spring Bearded Turkey Season Begins March 1st

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hawaii Island Branch announces the opening of the 2015 Spring Bearded Turkey Hunting Season on Sunday, March 1, 2015.

DLNR

The spring season will run 31 consecutive days through Tuesday, March 31, 2015.  The spring season will be for bearded turkeys only in locations identified below.  The season length, bag limits, and hunting areas are those established in Title 13, Chapter 122, “Rules Regulating Game Bird Hunting, Field Trials and Commercial Shooting Preserves.”  The appellate court ruling (Tanaka v. State, December 31, 2007) removed the Department’s ability to make any seasonal adjustments.  The following conditions and restrictions will be in effect:

  • The daily bag limit shall be two bearded turkeys per hunter with a season bag limit of two.
  • All hunters are required to have a current unused turkey tag in their possession while hunting.
  • Tags are currently free of charge.
  • Turkey tags are nontransferable and must be fastened with snaps and secured tightly around the neck or tarsus of any bird taken immediately after the kill.
  • Tags may be obtained from any Hawaii Island Division of Forestry and Wildlife office and a number of commercial vendors.
  • Hunters must present current State of Hawaii Hunting License when obtaining tags.
  • Turkey tags are also required on private land.

Information may be obtained by contacting Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices at the following phone numbers:  Hilo: (808) 974-4221; Kamuela: (808) 887-6063 or the main office in Honolulu at (808) 587-0166.

Hawaii Electric Power Restoration Update

Hawaii Electric Light crews continue to make progress on restoring power to areas impacted by high winds.

Shaka For HELCO

Last night, crews from Hilo, Kona and Waimea restored power to approximately 800 customers in portions of Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, Nanawale, Leilani Estates, Lanipuna, and Hawaiian Acres.

As of 9:00 a.m., an estimated 300 customers remain without power. Today, crews expect to make progress in portions of Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and a few pocket outages in the Puna area. Electric service for customers in these areas is expected to be restored by tomorrow.

Hawaii Electric Light reminds the community to be safe and treat downed power lines as energized and dangerous. Do not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment. If someone is injured by a downed power line, do not approach them. Call 9-1-1 for assistance. To report a downed power line or outage, please call 969-6666.

Satellite Image Captures Puna Lava Flow

This satellite image was captured on Saturday, February 14, by the Advanced Land Imager instrument onboard NASA’s Earth Observing 1 satellite.
21515satelliteThe image is provided courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Although this is a false-color image, the color map has been chosen to mimic what the human eye would expect to see. Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds. The yellow outline is the flow margin as mapped on Tuesday, February 10.

The image above shows a close-up of the June 27th lava flow in the area of Kaohe Homesteads and Pāhoa. Although the leading tip of the flow has been stalled for several weeks, active breakouts have persisted a short distance upslope of this stalled tip. The image shows active breakouts (red pixels) roughly 400 meters (440 yards) upslope of the stalled tip, with additional breakouts scattered 2-3 km (1.2-1.9 miles) upslope. Also, several small breakouts are active in the area west of Kaohe Homesteads.

Hawaiian Electric Power Update

Hawaii Electric Light crews continue to make progress on restoring power to customers who lost electricity as a result of recent high winds.

Shaka For HELCOToday, crews restored power to 1,100 customers in portions of Kapoho, Vacationland, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Orchidland, Ainaloa, Waimea, and North Kohala.

As of 4:00 p.m., an estimated 2,900 customers were without power in portions of Leilani Estates, Nanawale, Lanipuna, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Orchidland, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, Nanawale, Tangerine Acres, Leilani Estates, Fern Forest, Fern Acres, Hawaiian Acres, Eden Roc, Wood Valley, South Point, and Ahualoa.

Due to extensive damage, customers in Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and Lanipuna are advised to prepare for the possibility of extended outages through this week.

The process for restoring service involves many steps to ensure the safety of the crews and community:

  • Assess damage: Damage assessments by field crews identify the extent of damage and the specific materials – including poles, transformers and power lines – that need repair or replacement.
  • Clear trees and debris/dig holes: Contracted tree trimming and construction crews then clear fallen trees and debris and dig holes for utility poles.
  • Install poles, restring lines, and install transformers: Electrical line crews can then be deployed to begin installing the poles, framing the cross arms on the poles, restringing lines, and installing transformers and other equipment.
  • Repair main line first before energizing: Work is first done on the main lines serving subdivisions to restore the connection into those neighborhoods. Side streets can then be restored. Even after power is restored to a neighborhood, there still may be damage at individual homes or pockets of homes within a neighborhood that will need to be addressed separately.

“We want to assure customers that our employees are committed to restoring power as safely as possible,” said Kristen Okinaka, Hawaii Electric Light spokeswoman. “Work is being done to restore power to every community even if crews are not working in your neighborhood. In many cases, crews must complete additional work on the electric system in other locations first.”

Hawaii Electric Light reminds the community to be safe and treat downed power lines as energized and dangerous. Do not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment. If someone is injured by a downed power line, do not approach them. Call 9-1-1 for assistance.

Customers who have not yet reported their power outage are asked to call 969-6666. Due to the high call volume, customers may experience a longer wait time before speaking with a representative. The company sincerely apologizes for this inconvenience and thanks customers for their patience and understanding.

Banana Slug String Band Stops By Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale

The Banana Slug String Band is doing a Hawaii Tour and will be playing at Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale in Hilo this Thursday, February 12, 6:30-7:30pm.

Banana Slug String Band

The Banana Slug String Band is a group of lovable musicians, songwriters, and educators who blend music, theater, puppetry, and audience participation to create a lively learning environment. Their music is designed to inspire all ages, especially 5-12 year olds.

Suggested donation is $5 and there will also be a Chili Bowl Dinner from 5:00-6:00pm. Call 808.982.7701 for more info, or visit the band’s website to learn more: http://www.bananaslugstringband.com/

Hawaii Electric Bills Are at a Four-Year Low

Customers of the Hawaiian Electric Companies are benefiting from lower electric bills due to lower fuel prices. Typical residential bills are at their lowest level in about 4 years.Shaka For HELCO“We are happy to pass these savings straight through to our customers,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. “At the same time, we’ve seen oil prices drop before, only to rise again. Today’s lower oil prices must not distract us from reducing our dependency on imported oil.

“We remain committed to reaching our goal of getting 65 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030,” he said.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies also continue working to reduce costs to customers through efficiency improvements and by pursuing cleaner, low-cost natural gas to replace oil while continuing to increase use of renewable energy.

* On Oahu, the residential effective rate is 27.9 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). A typical 600 kWh bill is $177.45, a decrease of $9.77 since last month, and the lowest since March 2011.

* Hawaii Island’s residential effective rate is 33.8 cents per kWh and a 600 kWh bill is $214.71; that is $12.49 lower than last month, and the lowest since October 2010.

* Maui’s effective rate is 31.5 cents per kWh and a typical 600 kWh bill is $198.78, $21.46 lower than last month and the lowest since February 2011.

Big Island Geothermal Plant Canned

Plans for a new geothermal plant on the Big Island of Hawaii has been canned.

Eastland Geothermal

Eastland Geothermal Plant in New Zealand

Eastland Group Ltd has pulled the plug on a potential $10 million investment in a project to build a geothermal power plant in Hawaii.

More than two years after the idea was first mooted, Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd yesterday confirmed the company decided last month not to take the process any further…

…Eastland Group’s investment in building a 25MW plant on Hawaii’s Big Island would have been as a 20 percent partner, costing $5m-$10m, with Innovations Development Group (IDG) and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Eastland Group had an investment option in the project through its relationship with Hawaii-based IDG in geothermal projects in eastern Bay of Plenty. In 2012, it wrote-off a $1.25m loan to IDG associated with this option.

Eastland Generation Ltd’s subsidiary company Eastland Hawaii Inc first made a bid to Hawaiian Electric Company (HELCO) to build the plant in 2013, with a decision expected to be made in September of that year.

Mr Todd said all costs associated with the work done in Hawaii were part of the company’s business development budget. Expenses, including the $1.25m loan to IDG, would not be recovered.

Eastland Group subsidiary Eastland Generation already runs a 8.5MW geothermal plant near Kawerau.

The decision to pull out of the Hawaii deal will not affect plans for a second power plant at Kawerau, or the company’s relationship with IDG, said Mr Todd.

Last year the company received consent for Eastland Generation’s Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project to go ahead, with plans to build a 15MW to 20MW plant.

Mr Todd said that project was still a partnership between Eastland Generation, Kawerau A8D Ahu Whenua Trust and IDG.

“Eastland Generation holds the majority interest in Te Ahi O Maui, with its partners each holding a minority position. The relationship hasn’t changed.

“The Te Ahi O Maui project is progressing as planned, with resource consents now in place for 15,000 tonnes a day of geothermal fluid for a 35-year period. The consents allow for the design and construction of a sustainable geothermal power plant on a site 2.3km north-east of Kawerau.”

Full story here Hawaii Plan Canned.

New Study Looks at How People Cope with Vog

A new study to examine how people who live downwind of Kīlauea Volcano cope with volcanic gas emissions, or vog, is currently underway.

VOG

Photo by Dr Claire Horwell

 

Led by Dr. Claire Horwell, Director of the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network and a researcher at Durham University in the United Kingdom, the study is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. It will reach across multiple agencies, organizations, and communities in the State of Hawaii to help ensure that official advice about living with vog incorporates a wide range of experiences and knowledge.

Vog, the pollution formed from acidic gases and particles released by active volcanoes, is composed primarily of sulfur dioxide gas and its oxidation products, such as sulfate aerosol.  Sulfur dioxide from Kīlauea, now in its 33rd year of nearly continuous eruption, results in vog that continues to challenge communities, agriculture and infrastructure on the Island of Hawai‘i, as well as across the State.

Communities downwind from Kīlauea’s active vents frequently experience vog as a visible haze or as a sulfurous smell or taste. People exposed to vog report a variety of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, sore throats, and headaches. The Hawaii State Department of Health and the American Lung Association offer advice on vog protection measures, such as staying indoors and limiting physical activity when vog levels are high.

According to Dr. Horwell, she is investigating how Hawai‘i communities use this advice and if they have developed their own strategies for protecting themselves from vog.  “We’re working with State and county agencies with the end goal of providing consistent online advice, an informative pamphlet on vog exposure and protection, and updated guidance on how to access resources about vog,” she said.

Knowledge gained from the study in Hawaii, which has been funded by the British Council, under the Researcher Links initiative, will also be relevant internationally, not only in volcanically active regions but also farther afield, as volcanic gases can travel downwind for many miles.  For example, UK government agencies can draw on the Hawaii study as they prepare for the potential effects of future Icelandic eruptions.

Outcomes of the vog study will eventually be available online through the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network.  IVHHN serves as a clearing house for information on the health impacts of volcanic eruptions and provides detailed information on volcanic gas and particle impacts.

Dr. Horwell is currently meeting with community and agency focus groups on the Island of Hawai’i and, in the coming weeks, will conduct surveys in a number of communities regularly affected by vog, including Volcano, Pāhala, Ocean View and South Kona.

Hawai‘i residents are encouraged to record how they cope with vog on the ‘Vog Talk’ Facebook page established by Dr. Horwell.

Information on when and where community surveys will be conducted between now and the end of March is available on the ‘Vog Talk’ Facebook page or by calling 808-967-8809.

For more information about Kīlauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions, please visit the USGS HVO’s website. Answers to “Frequently Asked Questions about SO2and Vog” are available online.

Japan Visitor Dies in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A 71-year-old male visitor from Japan died yesterday after suffering an apparent heart attack at Thurston Lava Tube in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
Thurston Lava Tube

Acting Chief Ranger John Broward reported that the man was hiking out of the lava tube with a tour group, at approximately 1 p.m. After walking up the steepest section of the trail, the visitor felt fatigued, was short of breath, and sat down to rest.

Shortly after sitting down, he collapsed, lost consciousness, and stopped breathing. Several visiting nurses and a tour operator performed CPR until park rangers arrived with an automated external defibrillator, or AED. Rangers went through three cycles of CPR and AED analysis but the man’s heart was not in a rhythm the machine could detect.

County of Hawai‘i Medic 19 arrived and assumed care. After county medics completed their protocols, a doctor from the Hilo Medical Center pronounced the visitor dead through online medical control.

The name of the victim is being withheld pending further notification of his family.

Big Island Chocolate Fest Seeks Culinary Participants

The fourth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival is looking for culinary participants to share sweet and savory tastes at the event’s gala on Saturday, May 9 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i.

Folks enjoying the 2014 Big Island Chocolate Festival

Folks enjoying the 2014 Big Island Chocolate Festival

Participating chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners can also enter the free culinary competition, vying in a variety of judged categories.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 020Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), the event benefits the “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and construction of a community kitchen at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 012

Culinarians interested in participating can signup for free now by filling out the Culinary Participant form at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. Questions? Phone 808-324-6100.

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

New USGS Pictures Shows Puna Lava Flow Still Active

The leading tip of the June 27th flow has not advanced significantly over the past week, and remains roughly 500 meters (550 yards) upslope of Highway 130, west of the fire and police station.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Breakouts persist upslope, however, and these areas of activity can be spotted in this photograph by small smoke plumes where the lava is burning vegetation on the flow margins.

This comparison of a normal photograph and a thermal image shows the position of active breakouts relative to the inactive flow tip. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image on the right.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

In the thermal image, active breakouts are visible as white and yellow areas. Although active breakouts are absent at the inactive tip of the flow, breakouts are present just a short distance behind the tip, and are also scattered further upslope.

This photograph looks downslope, and shows the proximity of the flow front to the highway.  Click to enlarge

This photograph looks downslope, and shows the proximity of the flow front to the highway. Click to enlarge

A small breakout from the lava tube is burning forest just left of the center of the photograph. In the upper left, thick fume is emitted from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Near the top of the photograph, the snow-covered peak of Mauna Loa can be seen.

This photograph looks upslope along the ground crack system of Kīlauea's East Rift Zone.  Click to enlarge

This photograph looks upslope along the ground crack system of Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone. Click to enlarge

Department of Parks and Recreation Receives $50,000 State Grant to Control Little Fire Ants

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation has received a $50,000 grant from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority to control little fire ants at specific park sites.

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

The Department of Parks and Recreation is one of four Hawai‘i Island organizations selected by the HTA for a grant award under its 2015 Natural Resources Program. Funding will be used to pay the Department’s three-person team of little fire ant control technicians, purchase bait and subsidize other expenses related to the ongoing treatment program.

To meet the grant terms of improving both the visitor experience and resident enjoyment of Hawai‘i’s natural resources, treatment efforts will be conducted at Richardson Ocean Park, Lili‘uokalani Gardens and the Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens through December 2015. The free sites are popular with visitors and residents.

Little fire ants are considered to be one of the world’s worst invasive species. They inflict painful stings that can cause welts in humans and blind animals.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, which administers the grant program, for supporting its efforts to control little fire ants in the public’s parks. Treatment efforts are ongoing at 28 County recreational sites and facilities found to have the highest concentrations of little fire ants.

Pāhoa Lava Viewing Area Closing

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation will stop operating the Pāhoa Lava Viewing Area at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 31.

The June 27 Lava flow nearly took out the transfer station.

The June 27 Lava flow nearly took out the transfer station.

Located at the Pāhoa Transfer Station, the free viewing area is being shut down so the facility can be converted back to its original use as a public trash-collection site.

Pahoa Transfer Station

It also is closed today, January 27, and will be closed again on Thursday, January 29, so schoolchildren displaced by recent lava activity may take field trips to the viewing area and see the stalled front.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.