• Follow on Facebook

  • COMING SOON!

    2016 Big Island Film Festival
  • Breaking News

  • World Botanical Garden
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • RSS Mayor Kenoi’s Blog

  • Say When

    May 2016
    S M T W T F S
    « Apr    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

  • Subscribe to Blog via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Pahoa Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo Festival

Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pahoa will celebrate Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo Festival on May 14, with a procession through the village.

Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo

Santacruzan is a religious holiday traditionally celebrated throughout the month of May, honoring the mother of King Constantinople’s mother, Queen Helena, and her role in bringing Christianity to the Philippines.

Since May is also the month that Christians dedicate to honoring the Virgin Mary, this year’s Pahoa event will commemorate Flores de Mayo, or Flowers of Mary.

The procession through the village will take place after a 4:30 p.m. mass at Sacred Heart Church. The 5:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m. procession will start at Sacred Heart Church, then onto Pahoa Village Road, and end on Kauhale Street, at the Pahoa Community Center.

Spectators can expect to see a colorful pageant procession, with women dressed in their finest attire, carrying symbols of the Santacruzan, escorted by men under hand-carried bamboo arches adorned with native flowers.  The women and men will represent various historical-religious figures detailing the search of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena and her son, the newly converted emperor Constantine the Great, and the return of the Holy Cross from Jerusalem to Rome.  An emcee will narrate the procession and the re-enactment of this pilgrimage.

Those involved in the procession were not only selected for their looks, but also their virtues.  The procession will feature statues of the Virgin Mary and Our Lady of Grace and also include ethnic dances of the different cultures in the Hawaiian Islands.

Nine days of prayer, or a novena, in honor of the Holy Cross precedes the Santacruzan and the Flores de Mayo.  Introduced by Spaniards, the festival has since become part of the Filipino traditions identified with youth, love and romance.  The Sacred Heart Church community hopes to make the Santacruzan and the Flores de Mayo Festival a tradition for Pahoa Village.

For more information, contact the Sacred Heart Church at (808)965-8202 or email shpahoa@hotmail.com.

Pahoa Round-A-Bout – “Phase B” Begins, “Phase C” Still to Come

Today, “Phase B” of the Pahoa round-a-bout opened and people have already been complaining about the “wait” to get into Pahoa.  Someone on my Facebook page commented “Today it was only about a 13-15 minute “back up” getting to the roundabout…at 4 pm. It will be interesting.”

“Phase A” (April 11th – April 24th) consisted of a half a round-a-bout:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Now “Phase B” (May 2nd – May 15th) is in action, where you can go in a full circle:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

“Phase C” is expected to be worked on between May 16th and May 27th:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The entire project is scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2016:

phase date

Puna Geothermal Warning System TEST TODAY

The Puna Geothermal Venture plant will be conducting a test of their facility emergency warning system to include the sounding of the drill rig warning siren today, Wednesday April 27th at approximately 11:30 a.m.

PGV

This is only a test that is necessary to ensure the proper working order and function of their warning system.

Residents in the immediate area and communities of Leilani Estates, Nanawale Estates, and the upper Kapoho and Pohoiki areas may hear the siren and we apologize for any disruption or inconvenience this may cause.

Again, this is a test of the facility’s emergency warning systems and no action is needed.

Driver Flees Accident in Pahoa – Body Found in Bushes

Hawaii Fire Department Incident Report:

Type of Incident:

Motor Vehicle Accident fronting 14-3469 Nanawale Boulevard in Pahoa.

14-3469

Situation Found at Scene:

Found single mid-sized car involved in single vehicle accident. Vehicle with extensive left rear and top damage. Vehicle struck trees and snapped a utility pole before coming to rest in bushes ~ 5′ below the grade of the road.

Cause:

Under Investigation

Remarks:

Found 1 male passenger lying on ground next to vehicle stating driver fled scene prior to arrival and that he and driver were only occupants involved. HPD got information from witness that there may have been other parties in the vehicle.

Search of area using thermal imaging equipment revealed female in very thick brush about 10 feet from where vehicle came to rest. Female party found without signs of life. Area searched for additional occupants with negative findings.

Hawaii County Council Candidate Madeline Greene Hosting “Wing-Ding Bash” Fundraiser

Madeline (“Auntie Madie”) Greene, long-time Puna resident and business owner, will officially kick off her campaign for Hawaii County Council, District 4, at the “Wing-Ding Bash”, a fundraising event to be held at the Nanawale Estates Community Center, on April 23, 2016, from 5p.m. – 8p.m.   The event is open to the public, and will include sushi, poke, and salad bars, as well as chicken wings served with a variety of island sauces – $20 – all you can eat!

Madie Greene in Van

Auntie Madie’s run for Council continues a long-standing family commitment to public service, which began when her great grandfather, John Kepookapukamohoalii Punini, served as the first Sheriff of Puna.

Her own volunteer work in Puna includes:

  • Past President, Vice-President and Treasurer of Mainstreet Pahoa Association;
  • President of Nanawale Community AssociaM
  • Member of Pahoa Regional Town Center Plan Steering Committee, the Drug Coalition, and Puna Watch, and a founding member of the Pahoa Schools Booster Club;
  • Honorary Kupuna for the Men of Pa’a.
  • In 2009, she was selected for the Hawaii County Women’s Hall of Fame;
  • In 2010, she received the Hawaii County Achievement Award.

Issues Auntie Madie looks forward to tackling on behalf of District 4 citizens include mass transit, GMO food labeling (you have a right to know!), geothermal risks, homelessness, emergency evacuation route(s), road improvements and linkage in lower Puna, and jobs.

Come to Nanawale and meet your candidate for Puna. Tell her what is most important to you. Enjoy the food!

Wing DingsFrom Pahoa take Hwy 132 towards Kapoho at the stoplight, South 1 mile to Nanawale Blvd, Turn left and go 1 mile to the 4-way stop, take a right and you are there.

“Aloha From Lavaland” to Premier at Hawaii International Film Festival

Hawaiian Anthropological documentary Aloha From Lavaland is set to premiere on April 7 at the Hawaii International Film Festival.

lavaland2

Produced by three Big Island-based production companies, the film follows the aftermath of the 2014 eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, which sent a flow of lava directly toward the center of Pahoa, a small rural town on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Hard to predict and impossible to stop, the flow threatened to cut off the town’s only access road, leaving the residents of this remote community to rely heavily on  one another as they prepare for possible isolation.

Produced in conjunction by Gift Culture Media, Larkin Pictures and Pure Mother Love, this 52 minute documentary explores an inner community perspective of the lava flow, following residents as they ask and answer important questions about community, sustainability, harmony, and what it really means to live in such an unpredictable paradise.

lavaland

In addition to street interviews and news coverage, the documentary follows a local Hawaiian kumu (healer), a sustainability expert and the leader of a sovereign Hawaiian community over a period of seven months as they attempt to prepare for the unpreparable.
“Puna is unlike any place I’ve ever lived,” says co-director Suzenne Seradwyn, who has created films in Los Angeles, New Mexico and Hawaii. “The people here have different values because of the natural elements at play, and the rich cultural history surrounding those elements. There is a very important message to share about what happens when you allow yourself to trust these elements.”

“This film is important for anyone living in a state of change, whether it be due to external elements or an internal shift,” says the film’s co-director, Phillips Payson. “Part of what this film explores is how one’s attitude toward change can make all the difference.” Before moving to the Big Island, Payson worked in the film industry in New York and Los Angeles. This is his fourth film.

The film will premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival at the Dole Cannery on Thursday, April 7 at 6:15pm.

For more information, visit www.alohafromlavaland.com.

 

Updated Lava Map Shows Lava Flow Still Advancing

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field in relation to the eastern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow field on February 20 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow field as mapped on March 25 is shown in red. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. The black box shows the extent of the accompanying large scale maps.

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface.

DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate potential flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent regional land cover map from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Coastal Management draped over a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM). The bathymetry is also from NOAA.

Because the flow field is changing very little at the moment, mapping of the lava flow is being conducted relatively infrequently. We will return to more frequent mapping if warranted by an increase in activity.

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the flow field on February 20 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow field as mapped on March 25 is shown in red.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The yellow lines show the active lava tube system. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at lower left.

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate potential flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

This map overlays a georeferenced thermal image mosaic onto the current map of the flow field near Puʻu ʻŌʻō to show the distribution of active and recently active breakouts.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The thermal images were collected during a helicopter overflight on March 25. The June 27th flow field as of March 25 is outlined in green for comparison. The yellow lines show the active lava tube system, as currently mapped. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at lower left.

USGS Update – Lava Breakouts and Small Lobe Advancing Through Forest

Breakouts persist northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, with scattered activity along the north margin of the flow field at the forest boundary.

hvo326a

One narrow lobe of lava has pushed through forest over the past few weeks, and is 7.6 km (4.7 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. This photo looks southwest, and the front of the narrow lobe is in the foreground, with Puʻu ʻŌʻō near the top of the photo. The breakouts active at the forest boundary along the northern flow margin can be seen by their smoke plumes along the right side of the photo.

Another view, looking west, showing the activity along the forest boundary and northern flow margin.

hvo326b

Scattered breakouts were burning forest in this area. In the upper left portion of the image, Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen.

The altered and fractured rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater is prone to small collapses.

hvo326cPortions of the eastern crater rim, shown here, have collapsed onto the crater floor, covering the recent lava flows with rubble.

In the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater, there has been a small pit for nearly a year.

hvo326dThe pit is about 60 m (200 feet) wide, and a small circular lava pond resides beneath the overhanging west rim of this pit.

hvo326e

HVO geologists walk along the edge of the inner crater in Puʻu ʻŌʻō, making stops periodically to perform laser rangefinder measurements of crater dimensions.

Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake remains active

Last Saturday, March 19, marked the 8-year anniversary of the start of Kīlauea’s ongoing summit eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

hvo326f

Halemaʻumaʻu spans much of the width of this photo, and the small inner crater in the foreground is the Overlook crater, which contains the active lava lake. The gas plume at this time was originating from a spattering area in the southern portion of the lake, obscured by the crater wall from this angle.

 

Public Information Meeting Scheduled for Pahoa Roundabout Project

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) will be holding a public information meeting in coordination with area legislators, Senator Lorraine Inouye and County Council Members Greggor Ilagan and Daniel K. Paleka, Jr., to inform the public of the anticipated opening date of the Pahoa Roundabout.

Pahoa Round-a-boutThe meeting will include information on the project schedule and remaining work. A display station demonstrating how to drive through a roundabout will also be available for public viewing.

The meeting is scheduled at the following location and time:

Thursday, April 7, 2016
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Pahoa Neighborhood Center
15-2710 Kauhale Street, Pahoa

The public information meeting is accessible for individuals with disabilities. For more information or to request an auxiliary aid or service (e.g., sign language, interpreter, specific language interpreter, designated parking, and materials in alternate format) contact J. Sonomura at (808) 933-8866 or e-mail dotpao@hawaii.gov by March 28, 2016.

HDOT thanks motorists for their patience as they work through the temporary detour and traffic signal changes in the area. Anticipated opening of the area to limited use is scheduled for mid-April. Full operation of the Pahoa Roundabout will be announced at a later date.

For the latest information on lane closures and detours, visit the HDOT website at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/roadwork/ or follow us on our Facebook (facebook.com/HawaiiDepartmentOfTransportation) or Twitter (@DOTHawaii) accounts.

Governor Ige Releases $550,000 in CIP Funding for Puna Regional Library (PRPL)

Governor David Y. Ige has announced the release of $550,000 in Capital Improvement Project funds for the Puna Regional Public Library. In his release of funding for the library project, Governor Ige stated, “Mahalo for your work on behalf of the residents in your district to secure these funds. Projects such as this are critical components of the public infrastructure and contribute to building better a better home for our kupuna, keiki and all residents of Hawai’i.”

Senate Ways and Means Committee visited the Pahoa Library located on the Pahoa High and Intermediate campus.

Senate Ways and Means Committee visited the Pahoa Library located on the Pahoa High and Intermediate campus.

Senator Russell Ruderman has made the Puna library project one of his top priorities. The Puna Regional Public Library will play a vital role as one of the cornerstones of our community by transforming lives through nurturing lifelong learning and promoting increased community engagement by delivering new services that connect closely with user needs. Additionally, it will improve our quality of life and provide unlimited educational opportunities.

“The Puna district has long loved and consistently made good use of its libraries. I am very happy and grateful to Governor Ige for releasing these funds for the Puna Regional Public Library in such a timely manner,” Senator Ruderman stated, “For rural and economically challenged areas like Puna, projects like the library are a much-needed and highly anticipated resource. We are excited to learn that the Public Library System is also considering a pair of libraries in both upper and lower Puna areas to serve our large district. I look forward to working for continued support and funding of key projects like the library, and these newly released funds will help bring our goal of a state of the art community gathering place to fruition.”

Jen Ruggles Files for Hawaii County Council District 5

On Monday, March 7th at 2:15pm Mountain View local Jen Ruggles filed papers to run for Hawai’i County Council District 5 covering the areas of Glenwood, Kea’au, Pahoa, Opihikao, and Kalapana.

Jen Ruggles

Jen Ruggles

“I am honored to have the opportunity to be of service to the district where I was born and raised. Our district is under served and underrepresented. I know our struggles, and I know our potential.

University of Hawai’i Professor Dr. Noelie Rodriguez says, “I’ve known Jen for over 20 years, her father was also a student of mine and helped me establish the Earth Day Fair. In my 45 years of teaching Jen Ruggles has been my best student.  I fully support her candidacy.”

Jen was the main organizer of Hilo organization Global HOPE for 5 years. In that time she organized over 50 free events open to the public. An intern for Voter Owned Hawai’i, Ruggles also helped enact Hawaii’s first clean elections program. “Making a positive impact has influenced every decision in my life,” says Ruggles. Ruggles is most recently known for her work on Kaua’i where she helped organize the largest march in Kaua’i history to pass the “Right to Know” bill, bill 2491. The bill enacted protections for schools against pesticide spray that was sending children and teachers to the hospital.

Jen has lived at her Mountain View aina since birth. She graduated Kea’au High School in 2006 and is currently pursuing her second college degree at UH Hilo’s College of Business and Economics.

Ruggles was Hawai’i State Senator Russell Ruderman’s Event Coordinator in his successful bid for office in 2012.  “Jen is one of the brightest people I have ever worked with,” Ruderman said.

For more information about Jen and the campaign visit: www.JenRuggles.com

New Satellite Image Shows Where Lava is at Now

This satellite image was captured on March 2 by the Advanced Land Imager instrument onboard NASA’s Earth Observing 1 satellite. The image is provided courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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. Black lines are roads.

An HVO geologist carefully approaches a skylight on the June 27th lava tube. The skylight provided a view into the lava tube, and revealed a swiftly moving lava stream

An HVO geologist carefully approaches a skylight on the June 27th lava tube. The skylight provided a view into the lava tube, and revealed a swiftly moving lava stream

The image shows that scattered breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Many of these breakouts are active along the northern flow field margin, at the forest boundary. A small portion of these flows at the forest boundary have migrated north, slightly closer to subdivisions.

Small vents in the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater have been active recently, and erupting new lava flows onto the floor of the crater. The light-colored flow in the center of the photograph was active this morning, and slowly spreading across the crater floor.

Small vents in the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater have been active recently, and erupting new lava flows onto the floor of the crater. The light-colored flow in the center of the photograph was active this morning, and slowly spreading across the crater floor.

The overall ground slope, however, is towards the northeast, and other recent flows that have been active in this area have all eventually migrated along the direction of the arrow on the map – maintaining a safe distance from the subdivisions towards the north.

A vent in the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater contained a small lava pond and was throwing spatter a short distance. The accumulated spatter has built a small cone around the opening. A thick layer of Pele's hair covers the far side of the cone.

A vent in the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater contained a small lava pond and was throwing spatter a short distance. The accumulated spatter has built a small cone around the opening. A thick layer of Pele’s hair covers the far side of the cone.

A bright thermal anomaly in Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater results from an active flow that was covering the crater floor at the time of the satellite overpass.

Civil Defense Siren Testing in Puna Tomorrow

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), together with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, will conduct siren testing on Hawaii Island on Thursday, March 3, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Kapoho Vacationland, Puna
  • Waa Waa, Puna
  • Hawaiian Beaches, Puna
  • Hawaiian Paradise Park, Puna

Residents nearby may hear the siren sound six to eight times for 30-second to one-minute intervals during the identified timeframe.

Siren

Testing will include short blasts known as “burps.” During the tests, emergency management officials and technicians will check that installation work on this siren has been completed properly.

Questions regarding this test should be directed to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency at (808) 935-0031.

HI-EMA encourages the public to make use of other supplemental methods of warning including, but not limited to, Hawaii County’s mass text notification system, Blackboard Connect, and NOAA Weather Radio.

Monday – Puna Legislative Town Hall Meeting

Rep. Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau) will host a community town hall to provide updates on and discuss the 2016 legislative session.

pahoa town meetingAlso presenting will be Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira, who will address the County’s efforts in combating the dengue fever outbreak.

They will also honor the students and faculty who built a replica of the space shuttle Challenger in honor of Ellison Onizuka and the 30th anniversary of the tragic loss of the space shuttle and its crew.

Ellison Onizuka Kids

The Town Hall Meeting will provide updates on bills along with other issues that may be heard during this session.  Questions, concerns and/or new ideas from those in attendance will be entertained.

  • WHO: Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau)
  • WHAT: Town Hall Meeting to Discuss the 2016 Legislative Session
  • WHEN: Monday, February 29, 2016, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road Pahoa, HI, 96778

Former County Council Candidate Edwards Hunt Responds to Voter Fraud Allegation

Former Hawaii County Council Candidate Tiffany Edwards Hunt went before a grand jury yesterday and according to her Twitter feed she says “I was denied the opportunity to testify before a grand jury today, to address these false voter fraud allegations.  I am innocent”.

Tiff Tweet 1She then went on to comment on the way the Prosecuting Attorneys Office is handling her case:
Tiff Tweet2Then ends her twitter rant with a “… bright side…”  tweet:
Tiff Tweet3I can say that if she read the Hawaii Tribune… she would know already who filed the allegations against her… as that has been made public.  I can tell you that my name won’t be showing up in any of those papers… despite what some folks may think.

New Maps Shows Lava Progression

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow field on January 19 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow field as mapped on February 12 is shown in red. The yellow lines show the active lava tube system. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at lower left.

The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

This map overlays a georeferenced thermal image mosaic onto a map of the flow field near Puʻu ʻŌʻō to show the distribution of active and recently active breakouts.

Lava map 21416a

Click to Enlarge

The thermal images were collected during a helicopter overflight on February 12. The June 27th flow field as mapped on January 19 is outlined in green for comparison. The yellow lines show the active lava tube system, as currently mapped. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at lower left.

Puna Legislative Town Hall Meeting with Sen. San Buenventura and Sen. Ruderman

Rep. Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau) will host a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 at 5 p.m. at the Pahoa Community Center on Hawaii Island to discuss bills and issues for the 2016 session.

They will also honor the students and faculty who built a replica of the space shuttle Challenger in honor of Ellison Onizuka and the 30th anniversary of the tragic loss of the space shuttle and its crew.

The Keaau High School students that built the replica of the space shuttle.

The Keaau High School students that built the replica of the space shuttle.

The Town Hall Meeting will provide updates on bills along with other issues that may be heard during this session.  Questions, concerns and/or new ideas from those in attendance will be entertained.

  • WHO: Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau)
  • WHAT:  Town Hall Meeting to Discuss the 2016 Legislative Session
  • WHEN: Monday, February 29, 2016, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road, Pahoa, HI, 96778

Keaau High School Students to Unveil Space Shuttle Replica… Public Invited

During the 2014-2015 school year, many students at Keaau High School had their lives turned upside down when the lava flow threatened their community. After overcoming adversity, the Cougars are soaring to new heights with a reconstruction of a space shuttle replica, which will be unveiled to the public on Jan. 28, 2016 at 4 p.m.

KHS Space Shuttle

Keaau High School Principal Dean Cevalos explains, “I’m extremely proud of our students for their maturity and hard work in overcoming a stressful situation and turning it into something positive,” said Principal Dean Cevallos. “The space shuttle project, which was possible through our community partners, is something that not only our island, but also our state can be proud of. Our students’ talents and abilities are really highlighted in this reconstruction and show how much they have matured and grown.”

Last semester, 25 automotive and construction academy restored a one-of-a-kind space shuttle replica. This project, in conjunction with the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES), Hawaii Community College, and the Hawaii Civil Air Patrol was made possible with the support of many community donors including K. Taniguchi Ltd., KTA Super Stores, Isemoto Contracting, W.H Shipman, Big Island Toyota/De Luz Chevrolet and Young Brother’s Shipping Company.

This project unveiling is open to the public on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. at Keaau High School’s Automotive and Construction Academy. The event marks the 30th anniversary of the NASA Space Shuttle Orbiter Challenger mission and will honor NASA astronaut, hero, and Big Island native Ellison Onizuka, who lost his life with other crewmembers when the spacecraft failed to launch into outer space.

To RSVP please email khs.restoringhistory@gmail.com

EPA Finds Puna Geothermal Venture Violated Chemical Safety Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with Puna Geothermal Venture for Clean Air Act chemical safety violations at its geothermal energy plant in the Puna area of the Island of Hawaii. After an EPA inspection, the facility has now complied with the rules designed to minimize accidental chemical releases. The company has also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $76,500.

PGV

“The goal of EPA’s inspections is to protect the health and safety of the workers at the plant and the residents in the community,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our continued oversight will help ensure that it operates in a safe manner by complying with federal requirements.”

EPA conducted a chemical facility inspection in August 2013 and found that PGV had failed to take necessary steps to prevent accidental releases of hydrogen sulfide. Specifically, the company had not tested and inspected its equipment with the frequency consistent with manufacturers’ recommendations, good engineering practices, and prior operating experience.

The inspectors also found that with respect to PGV’s storage, use and handling of pentane, a flammable substance used as a working fluid in the facility’s electricity producing turbines, PGV failed to:

  • Conduct periodic compliance audits of its accident prevention program and document that identified deficiencies have been corrected.
  • Implement adequate written operating procedures that provide clear instructions for safely conducting activities.
  • Ensure that the frequency of inspections and tests of equipment is consistent with manufacturers’ recommendations, good engineering practices, and prior operating experience.
  • Analyze and report on a worst-case release scenario and estimate the population that would be affected by an accidental release of pentane.

Today’s penalty action is taken under the federal Clean Air Act’s Section 112(r) General Duty Clause and Risk Management Program requirements.

The General Duty Clause requires facilities to minimize the probability and consequences of accidental chemical releases to better protect workers, communities and the environment. The Risk Management Program requires development of a Risk Management Plan that includes: a hazard assessment detailing the potential effects of an accidental release; a chemical accident prevention program that includes process operation, maintenance, and employee training measures; and an emergency response program that spells out procedures for informing the public and local response agencies should an accident occur.

EPA’s August 2013 inspection was prompted by releases of hydrogen sulfide from the facility to the atmosphere in March and April 2013. The April 2013 release was caused by a pump failure, resulting in a leak of geothermal condensate (composed primarily of water with some contaminants, including hydrogen sulfide) for about 15 minutes before PGV personnel were able to isolate and stop the leakage. The March 2013 release was attributed to the tripping of a breaker in the local power grid, and PGV’s emergency shutdown and hydrogen sulfide abatement systems functioned as designed.

In addition to EPA’s oversight, including the Risk Management Plan updates that PGV must submit, the air permit issued to the facility by the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health requires PGV to submit regular air quality monitoring reports to the state.

For more information on EPA’s Risk Management Program, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/rmp

For more information on the Clean Air Act’s General Duty clause, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/rmp/general-duty-clause-fact-sheet

November 25th Lava Breakout Advances – New Vent Opens on Northeast Flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The breakout that began as a rupture from the tube supplying the June 27th lava flow continues to advance slowly to the northeast and has reached the forest.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

While the front of the flow is about 3 km (1.9 miles) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō, it has a long way to go to catch up to the surface flows that have persisted for the last several weeks about 3 km (1.9 miles) farther to the northeast.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

A new vent opened on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō during the first week of December. This is the incandescent, fuming trio of holes just below and to the left of center in the accompanying image. While this spot happens to coincide with the trend of a tube that was last active in early 2014, aerial views into the opening suggest lava is welling up from below and not “flowing” like lava in a tube (there is no apparent lava reappearing downslope). Thus, our current interpretation is that this is a new vent that happened to open into the area of this abandoned tube as lava worked its way to the surface. Our interpretation may change, however, as our view into the vent improves, assuming that the opening continues to widen.

This is a view of the new vent from the ground, showing the thin roof that caps the brightly incandescent cavity below.

Skylight onto lava pond on northeast spillway

Skylight onto lava pond on northeast spillway

Views from the air show the cavity to be much larger than the current opening, probably extending at least as far as the sulfur staining in the foreground and back under the mound to the right. Right: A bubbling lava surface could be seen about 5 m (16 ft) below the opening of the new vent when viewed from the air. The size of the opening will likely grow with time, as the narrow septa between the individual holes collapse.