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Coast Guard Searching for Possibly Two People Off the Big Island – One Wanted By Police

The Coast Guard is searching for two possible persons in the water off of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala district, Sunday.

The Coast Guard received a report of an unmanned, adrift dinghy found offshore of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala district, Dec. 4, 2016. The dinghy has evidence of recent use with two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard. (Courtesy photo/Released)

The Coast Guard received a report of an unmanned, adrift dinghy found offshore of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala district, Dec. 4, 2016. The dinghy has evidence of recent use with two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard. (Courtesy photo/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and the crew of the USCGC Ahi (WPB 87364) have been launched to search the surrounding areas.

Watchstanders from the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received notification from the Hawaii County Fire Department Sunday morning regarding a 12-foot Zodiac dinghy found adrift offshore by a mariner. Reports were also received of a man and a woman seen by fellow campers using a dinghy matching the description of the one found.

The dinghy has evidence of recent use with two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard. Owner of the Zodiac is thought to be Derek Liu (SEE BELOW). He is believed to own a green Nissan truck with a trailer that has been left at the campsite.

dinghy-truckAnyone with information that may help locate the owners of the dinghy is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.

Weather conditions on scene are reportedly 8 mph winds with waves at 2 feet and approximately 8 miles of visibility.


Media Release:

12-02-16 Wanted: Derek Liu

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 52-year-old Honokaʻa man who is wanted for violating terms of bail.

Derek Liu is described as 5-foot-10, 165 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

derek-liu

Derek Liu

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call 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. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

High Winds and Heavy Snow in Hawaii – Mauna Loa Summit Closed

Due to high winds and heavy snow, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park closed the summit of Mauna Loa on Thursday to all day use and overnight camping until it is safe to reopen.

NPS Photo

NPS Photo

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the summit of Mauna Loa in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park early Thursday morning. Heavy rain, high winds, and a foot of snow were expected, and by afternoon, a thick blanket of snow was visible as low as 10,000 feet. Visitors at the park’s Jaggar Museum were treated periodically with views of snow-capped Mauna Loa, a novelty for many who don’t expect snow in Hawai‘i.

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

In January 2014, park rangers and a helicopter pilot rescued a backcountry hiker stranded on Mauna Loa in an unexpected blizzard.

New Map of Lava Flow Field Shows New Flow

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of November 3 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of November 29 is shown in red.

The new flow branch east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō started from a breakout at the episode 61g vent on November 21. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. The yellow lines (dashed where uncertain) show the mapped trace of lava tubes as determined from aerial thermal imaging and ground mapping.

hvo-112916-mapThe blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 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 flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Summit Brings Together Latest Science & Policy

Lead scientists in the fight against Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death on Hawaii’i Island joined Governor David Ige and other top policy makers for the first-ever Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Summit, today at the Hawaii’i State Capital Auditorium. Speakers provided situation reports on the disease and presented the recently completed, strategic response plan which will guide the statewide response to this dire threat to Hawaii’s most iconic tree species.

rapid-ohia-deathThe fungal disease has devastated more than 50,000 acres of native ʻōhiʻa, one of Hawaii’i’s most prized and culturally important forest trees. Understanding the disease and how to prevent or slow further spread is a top priority of the Executive Branch.  Gov. Ige, who provided the welcome and opening remarks said, “Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death” has prompted the mobilization of several state and federal agencies and is a top priority for leading researchers who are learning more about this disease as they work to stop it from spreading.”

The Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Summit, was open to the public, and included a presentation on the biocultural importance of ʻōhiʻa by Dr. Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘ōhi‘a Gon III, of The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi. Dr. Gon explained that the primary cultural underpinnings of ʻōhiʻa support the notion that it is perhaps the most significantly cultural tree in Hawaii’i. He traced the cultural importance of the species as a physical manifestation of the Hawaiian deity Ku and as a tree used for weapons, tools, building, hula dancing sticks, lei, food for birds and medicines for people. It is considered the most important tree for the protection of Hawaii’i’s forest watersheds.

A panel of state and federal experts discussed and updated the latest research and management actions. Dr. Lisa Keith of the U.S. Department of Agricultural Research Service explained, “The identification of the ceratocystis fungus used to take two-four weeks to confirm in the lab.  We can now test very small samples of a tree’s DNA and determine within 24 hours if this fungus is killing it.” “Unfortunately” she continued, “there is no silver bullet (for a treatment) and the science is important for informing management decisions.”

Dr. Flint Hughes with the U.S. Forest Service Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry painted a grim picture for the future of native ʻōhiʻa forests if the disease continues unchecked.  He said, “We currently have 52, one-quarter acre monitoring plots on Hawaii’i island. These are in places where the fungus has killed trees and our data shows that 11% of the ʻōhiʻa, on average, in these plots, will die each year.  If there are 100 ʻōhiʻa in each plot, this means in about a decade all of the trees there will be dead.” In some areas the mortality has been 100%.

Dr. Gordon Bennett of the UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources is one of the researchers collaboratively investigating the linkage between non-native beetles and the spread of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death. He explained that these wood boring beetles are attracted to unhealthy trees and set up homes (galleries) in them.  Currently he and other researchers are looking at pest control and management strategies based on science.  Bennett said, “We’re just starting in this area.  It’s a new challenge.”

Dr. Greg Asner of Stanford University’s  Carnegie Airborne Observatory detailed the use of laser guided imaging spectroscopy to produce 3D imaging that shows the size and precise location of trees to within six inches. He explained, “We’re trying to use this technology to look ahead in time. This technology even allows us to measure 15 different chemicals in tree foliage, which is like going to a doctor for a blood test.” Data from the 3D aerial surveys conducted in January of this year is currently being analyzed and results are expected to be available around the first of the year.

Rob Hauff, a forester with the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, wrapped up the morning session by revealing the newly developed Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Strategic Response Plan, which is guided by the bicultural significance of ʻōhiʻa. Hauff explained, “The goal of this plan is to provide a roadmap that conveys what the situation is and where we need to go to manage this.”  To implement the plan, it calls for funding of a little more than $10 million over the next three years for research, response, recommendations, outreach, and management strategies.

Today’s presenters were a few of the front-line researchers, forest managers and policy makers, who’ve been working since late 2014 to try and identify the cause of the disease and how it spreads.  Their findings prompted a strict state Dept. of Agriculture quarantine which restricts movement of all ʻōhiʻa wood, soil, and Metrosideros species plants and plant parts from Hawaii island to the other islands. The state also has publicized and distributed protocols to inform the general public and forest users about steps they can take to further prevent the spread of this disease (see www.rapidohiadeath.org).

Hauff and Christy Martin of the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) organized the Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Summit.  Martin said, “This is the first time we’ve had all the principal players in the fight against this disease in one place, to provide background to decision-makers and the public.  People are eager to understand what’s happening to ʻōhiʻa, and what more they can do.”

VIDEO: Rockfall Triggers an Explosive Event in Summit Lava Lake

Video clip captured by HVO webcam on Monday, November 28, 2016 at 11:59 a.m. shows a rockfall from the south wall of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater triggering a small explosive event in the summit lava lake.

The explosion threw spatter (fragments of molten lava) onto the rim of the crater, mostly to the west of the former visitor overlook.

hvo-112816

This area has been closed to the public since 2008 due to ongoing volcanic hazards, including explosive events like the one that happened today.

American Indians and Native Hawaiians Mortgages Shot Down Half the Time

According to an article published today in Indian Country Today,
American Indians and Native Hawaiians when applying for home mortgages were shot down half the time:

Image via 808 Viral

Image via 808 Viral

Neither American Indians nor Native Hawaiians received half of the mortgages they applied for last year, though Hawaiians came to within a hair of it.

Native Americans (including Alaska Natives) received 46 percent of the loans they applied for, according to data lenders filed with the federal government. They applied for 70,000 mortgages in 2015 and received 32,500, the data show.

Native Hawaiians (including indigenous Pacific Islanders from Guam and American Samoa) applied for 49,000 and were successful in 24,600 cases, or a rate of 49.95 percent…

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/11/27/american-indians-and-native-hawaiians-mortgages-shot-down-half-time-166563

Rapid Ohia Death Kills Forest Giant and Confirms Spread to Hamakua

Twin Tests Verify Fungal Disease Killed Centuries Old Tree

From the road, in the Laupahoehoe Section of the Hilo Forest Reserve, Steve Bergfeld of the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources spots the enormous, towering, ōhiʻa tree; its thick branches now completely without leaves.  The Hawai’i Island Branch Manager for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife wants to get a close-up look at the tree, after a technician first spotted it and took samples a week ago.  Two laboratory tests have confirmed that this very old tree was killed by the fast-moving fungal infection known as Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death.

ohia-death2Across Hawai’i Island, the disease is killing trees and devastating tens of thousands of acres of native forest. First reported in the Puna District in 2010, the latest aerial surveys show that the fungus has impacted nearly 50,000 acres of forest here.

Named for the rapidity in which it kills infected trees, the loss of the 100-130 foot tall ōhiʻa in the Laupahoehoe forest, and perhaps others around it, shows the disease has spread to the island’s eastern side, along the Hamakua Coast.  Bergfeld observed, “It’s devastating to look at the forest and the damage Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death is doing to our ecosystem and our watersheds. That tree is a giant in the forest. It also supports a lot of other plant life and bird life. It was an important part of our ecosystem. These trees have been here for hundreds of years and to see them go down to a disease like this is really heartbreaking.”

ohia-death1ʻŌhiʻa trees are culturally significant and their flowers are prized for lei making. Foresters consider ōhiʻa the most important species for protecting the state’s forested watersheds for its dense canopy, where virtually all domestic water supplies originate.

That’s why a strong collaboration between state and federal government agencies and conservation organizations is actively researching the cause of the disease, potential treatments, and the establishment of quarantines and protocols to prevent further spread.

ohia-death3The identification of this diseased tree is the latest example of this cooperative effort.  The tree was spotted by a technician from the U.S. Forest Service’s Institute of Pacific Island Forestry, who collected the wood samples for lab testing.  Verification of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, as the trees cause of death, was done by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo.

An entomologist from the University of Hawai’i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Extension Service also collected samples for research that suggests beetles are a primary cause for the spread of the fungus.

ohia-deathBergfeld explains the next steps involving experts from the Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death working group. “We’ll put everyone’s heads together and see what the best management strategy will be for this particular tree.  I assume, more than likely, we’ll fell the tree to get it out of the forest and cover it with tarps to keep insects from putting out frass (the powdery refuse or fragile perforated wood produced by the activity of boring insects), into the air,” he said.

Experts are very concerned that with the confirmation of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death in this tree, the disease has spread to a previously unaffected area farther up the Hamakua Coast: a forest already impacted by a 2013-2014 outbreak of the Koa looper, a native insect that defoliates entire koa trees during rare, unexplained outbreaks.
Governor David Ige, lead scientists, and policy makers engaged in the fight against Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, will gather for the first-ever summit on the disease at the State Capitol on

Wednesday, November 30, 2016.  The event is open to the public and is scheduled from

9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium.  More information on this to follow.

‘Alalā Doing Well in Aviary in Natural Reserve Area

The five male birds living in an aviary at the Pu’u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve on Hawai‘i island are adjusting well to their new environment according to animal care staff of the San Diego Zoo Global’s Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program.  The birds were moved to the aviary in mid-October to allow them to acclimate to the sights and sounds of a Hawaiian forest.  This reserve is an area that conservationists have worked to preserve, protecting native plants and species, and represents the type of habitat ‘alalā were originally native to before they began to decline.

"Nahoa" rebuilds his perching ability in a custom-made sling.

“Nahoa” rebuilds his perching ability in a custom-made sling.

“Decades of intensive management by the State Dept. of Land and Natural Resources, in stewardship with local conservation partners, have led to the preservation of some of the most intact native-dominated wet and mesic forest on windward Hawai`i Island, known as Pu`u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve,” said Jackie Gaudioso-Levita, Project Coordinator of the ‘Alalā Project.

‘Alalā are an important part of the life of the Hawaiian forest, eating and assisting with the dispersal of native plant seeds.   The reintroduction of this species, gone from the forest for more than a decade, is expected to be an important part of the overall recovery of the ecosystem.

“This reserve is the highest quality habitat and is the best place on the island of Hawai`i for the reintroduction of the ‘alalā,” said Donna Ball, Conservation Partnerships biologist, U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service.  “Pu’u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve has all the components for the survival of this species and soon it will also have the ‘alalā, a missing species of the ecosystem that has returned.”

The ‘alalā, or Hawaiian crow, has been extinct in the wild since 2002, preserved only at the Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation Centers managed by San Diego Zoo Global.  With more than 100 individuals of the species now preserved at the centers, conservationists are ready to put them back into their native forests.  Although it was hoped to release the birds this month, the release was unexpectedly and cautiously postponed to ensure the transmitters that will track the birds could be properly refined.

“‘Alalā are very intelligent and precocious birds and are inclined to play with and manipulate new items, so our ability to observe their behaviors closely and give them more time allows us to make adjustments to the tracking systems we will be using once they are released,” said Bryce Masuda, conservation program manager of the Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program. “It is important for us to track these birds once they go out into the forest so that we can continue to support them as they explore their new home.”

Hawai’i  Dept. of Land and Natural Resources mission statement – Enhance, protect, conserve and manage Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of the people of Hawai’i nei, and its visitors, in partnership with others from the public and private sectors.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The mission of the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office is to conserve and restore native biodiversity and ecological integrity of Pacific Island ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations through leadership, science-based management and collaborative partnerships.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

PISCES Partners with UH Hilo and NASA for Simulated Human Mars Mission on Hawaii Island

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) is partnering with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NASA this month in a ground breaking research project to prepare for an eventual manned mission to Mars.

mars-simulationThe project, called BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains), is focused on developing operation protocols for a joint human-robotic exploration of Mars in the search for extraterrestrial life. BASALT scientists and crew members are conducting simulated missions in two locations which closely resemble the Martian landscape at different areas: Mauna Ulu at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho.

Currently, the BASALT team is investigating Mauna Ulu by traversing the rugged lava terrain to collect rock samples for both biologic and geologic analysis.

“We add a twist to our scientific fieldwork by conducting it under simulated Mars mission constraints,” said Dr. Darlene Lim, geobiologist and principal investigator for the BASALT research project. “By doing so, we can evaluate operational concepts and a variety of supporting capabilities that range from software to hardware components with respect to their anticipated value for the human exploration of Mars.”

One of their constraints is a communication time delay to simulate the latency of transmissions experienced between planets. Dr. Lim and her team are hoping to develop a tricorder-like device, as envisioned in Star Trek, to be able to identify rock samples using a hand-held instrument.

The researchers hope to better understand the habitability of Mars by studying Mauna Ulu, which is a high-fidelity analog for the landscape of early Mars when volcanism and water were common.

“No one has really worked this out yet,” said John Hamilton, PISCES test logistics and education/public outreach manager. “We want to work out the kinks during these exercises so we have it together on a real mission. By the time they go to Mars, they’ll have a rock-solid plan.”

The BASALT team consists of scientists, engineers, mission operators and active astronauts. Roughly a dozen students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo are also assisting with the project. Hamilton, who is also a faculty member with the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Department of Physics and Astronomy, is serving on the BASALT Science Team, overseeing data collection, logistics, and student assignments. The research project is central to NASA’s Journey to Mars program.

“PISCES is honored to be working together with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NASA Ames on this project,” said Rodrigo Romo, PISCES program manager. “Collaborative work with Ames has been in the frontline of applied research for PISCES recently. The fact that university students get the opportunity to participate in events like the BASALT project will help them meet the demands of a very competitive industry.”

PISCES was selected last year by NASA’s highly competitive PSTAR (Planetary Science and Technology Through Analog Research) program to participate in the four-year, $4.2 million BASALT project, which is being administered by the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The BASALT research team will be conducting their research on Hawaii Island until Nov. 18.

For more information visit PISCES’ website at www.pacificspacecenter.com.

Coast Guard Searching for Helicopter Near Molokai

The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue helicopter with two persons aboard near the south side of Molokai, Wednesday.

A Coast Guard C130

A Coast Guard HC130

Multiple Coast Guard air and surface crews and a Maui Fire Department aircrew are currently searching in the area.

Crews currently engaged in the search are:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point.
  • Crews of USCGC Kittiwake (WPB-87316) homeported in Honolulu, was diverted from operations off Maui.
  • Air1 helicopter crew from Maui Fire Department.

The helicopter was reported overdue by the owner’s employee at 6:55 a.m. Wednesday. The employee called 911 and dispatch notified the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center personnel who in turn relayed the call to the watchstanders at Coast Guard Joint Rescue Communications Center in Honolulu. The black, privately owned helicopter reportedly departed Honolulu Tuesday evening with two people aboard and did not arrive to a private helicopter pad on Molokai as expected.

An urgent marine information broadcast requesting assistance from mariners in the southern Molokai area has been issued.

Anyone with information that may help locate the helicopter or crew is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.

Weather conditions are currently reported as 21 to 23 mph winds, partly sunny with showers.

Hawaii Governor Extends Emergency Proclamation for Maui County

Gov. David Ige signed an extension to the emergency proclamation originally signed on Sept. 16, to provide relief for disaster damages, losses and suffering following September’s heavy rains and flooding on Maui.

iao-valley-damageThe proclamation also serves to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the people of Maui County and to maintain the strength, resources and economic life of the community.

maui-supplementary-proclamation

Click to read

The proclamation signed today expires in 60 days.

Hokulea Departs Virginia and Sets Sail for Miami, Florida

Crewmembers aboard legendary voyaging canoe Hokulea are setting their sights for Miami, Florida as the team departed Hampton, Virginia yesterday morning.

hokulea-vermont1For three weeks, the vessel was dry docked at the nationally-acclaimed Mariners’ Museum to perform necessary restoration work, including structural repairs, service to electrical and mechanical systems and a new exterior paint job. After the completion of maintenance, Hokulea was returned to the water and readied for the next leg of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

hokulea-vermont2“Virginia welcomed our crew with genuine warmth and aloha and we are thankful for the opportunity to work with so many dedicated volunteers throughout the period of our dry dock,” said captain Bruce Blankenfeld. “With the dedication of our skilled dry-dock team as well as the hands and hearts of the community, Hokulea is in great shape for her journey home.”

hokulea-vermont3

This leg of the Voyage takes Hokulea and her crew 950 nautical miles to Miami, Florida. The canoe will make approximately 16 stops in various ports along the way and is expected to arrive in Miami by early December.

hokulea-vermont4Miami is one of the Florida’s most famous travel destinations and in addition to having the most populous areas in the state, the southern coast is home to some of the greatest biologically diverse marine ecosystems.  During her first touch to Florida in March, Hokulea and her crew engaged with local community groups to learn about the environmental and cultural legacy of the region. In Miami, crewmembers will once again engage with local community members to share the mission of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage before continuing the 11,000 miles home.

Autopsy Ordered in Death of Surfer

A 63-year-old man died while surfing Saturday morning in waters off Lighthouse Road in Hāwī.

He has been identified As John Willard of Waikoloa.

kohala-lighthouse
In response to a 10:16 a.m. call Saturday reporting an unresponsive man at a surf spot known as “Lighthouse,” officers learned that Willard had not been surfing long when he caught a wave and disappeared. Other surfers in the area went to investigate. They found Willard floating face down in the water and took him to shore.

Fire rescue personnel retrieved him from the area using a helicopter to carry him to a waiting ambulance. He was taken to Kohala Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:23 a.m.

The case has been classified as a coroner’s inquest. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Hawaii Department of Health Issues Cease and Desist Order to Marine Agrifuture LLC

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Sanitation Branch has ordered Marine Agrifuture LLC (also known as Olakai Hawaii) to immediately cease and desist selling or distributing their products, Kahuku Ogo, Robusta Ogo, and Sea Asparagus. The farm is located in Kahuku on Oahu.

marine-agrifutureReports of Salmonella infections on Oahu were linked to consumption of ogo (or limu) and subsequently led to the investigation of Marine Agriculture LLC on Nov. 2 and 7.  During the investigation, testing was conducted on environmental, processing area, and ogo samples. Laboratory tests identified Salmonella bacteria in the packing and processing tanks and in the farm environment.

“Distributors and retailers have been notified to remove the affected products from sale or distribution immediately,” said Peter Oshiro, chief of the DOH Sanitation Branch.  We advise the public to discard any suspect product they may have.”

Marine Agrifuture is a major distributor of ogo and sea asparagus in Hawaii and its products may have been shipped to all islands as well as the mainland (California and Washington state). The department is still confirming all locations and states the product may have been shipped to.

Marine Agrifuture will be allowed to resume their sale of Kahuku Ogo, Robusta Ogo, and Sea Asparagus once the farm demonstrates to DOH that the risk of contamination from pathogenic bacteria has been mitigated at the source and that sanitation practices have been implemented to preclude contamination during the processing of the food product. DOH will continue to work with the farm and will require retesting of areas and products to assure food safety.

Pele’s Hair Provides Clues About Kīlauea Lava

A USGS-HVO scientist collects Pele’s hair from the parking area south of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, which has been closed since early 2008 due to ongoing volcano hazards associated with the summit lava lake. Y

hvo-111016Yesterday, with the lack of trade winds, the noxious sulfur dioxide gas emitted from the lava lake was being blown away from this area, but his gas mask was at the ready just in case the wind shifted. A hard hat is necessary at all times because explosions within the summit vent, which occur without warning, have thrown pieces of molten lava and solid rock into this area and beyond.

A close-up of Pele’s hair from Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake. X-ray diffraction analyses of the Pele’s hair (basaltic glass) collected today will provide information on the mineralogy of Kīlauea lava, which, in turn, can shed light whether the magma supply to the volcano is constant or is changing.

hvo-111016aThe accumulation of Pele’s hair downwind of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater is the focus of HVO’s October 20, 2016, “Volcano Watch” article (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/view.php?id=460), which includes a description of how it forms and additional photos.

Ewa Beach Halloween Lights Reminds Me of the Upcoming 9th Annual Punalights

Many folks in East Hawaii are familiar with the “Punalights” Christmas Display that is put on each year that benefits the Hawaii Food Basket along with other companies.  This year will be the 9th year that the display will be put on located at 15-2053 18th off Makuu Street.

punalights-2016I just noticed that for Halloween this year, an Ewa Beach resident did something similar… only this was for Halloween.

They called it the “Light-O-Rama Halloween Light Show 2016 Ewa Beach Hawaii” on YouTube:

Japanese Government Delegation Tours Hilo Today on World Tsunami Awareness Day

In observance of World Tsunami Awareness Day on November 5, Hawaii County Civil Defense hosted a Japanese government delegation for a tour of Hilo and briefings at the Emergency Operations Centers at Hilo Airport and at Civil Defense. The delegation finished today’s tour with a visit to the Pacific Tsunami Museum.

(clockwise starting from top left):  Marlene Murray, Hawaii County Managing Director Randy Kurohawa, Secretary General Ryota Takeda, Ed Teixeira, Ilihia Gionson, Tiffinie Smith, Rumi Ariyoshi, Consul General Yasushi Misawa, Satomi Okagaki, and Honorary Consul General of Hilo Art Taniguchi.

(clockwise starting from top left): Marlene Murray, Hawaii County Managing Director Randy Kurohawa, Secretary General Ryota Takeda, Ed Teixeira, Ilihia Gionson, Tiffinie Smith, Rumi Ariyoshi, Consul General Yasushi Misawa, Satomi Okagaki, and Honorary Consul General of Hilo Art Taniguchi.

Ryota Takeda, Secretary General for the House of Representatives, Japan Diet, led the visiting delegation. Joining him was Takeshi Ogino, a deputy director in the Japan Ministry of Defense, Kimihito Aguin also of the Ministry of Defense, and Satomi Okagaki, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The delegation arrived in Hilo from an evacuation drill in Valparaiso, Chile involving 100,000 people. They were joined in Hilo by Yasushi Misawa, Consul General of Japan in Honolulu, and Rumi Ariyoshi of the Consul General’s office.

“We human beings cannot escape from natural disasters, but we can minimize the damage. Preparedness makes a big difference in the outcome of a disaster,” Takeda said. “I trust that our cooperation and collaboration with Hawaii will boost preparedness in years to come.”

The Japan delegation was hosted in Hilo by Hawaii County Managing Director Randy Kurohara, Civil Defense Director Ed Teixeira, Hawaii Island District Airports Manager Chauncey Wong Yuen, members of Hawaii County’s emergency management team, and Marlene Murray, Director of the Pacific Tsunami Museum.

The delegation visited the Hilo Airport Incident Command Center for a briefing on the annual tsunami evacuation drill conducted by schools in Keaukaha, which was accomplished in tandem with the November 1 statewide test of the emergency warning system. The delegation also toured Keaukaha and the tsunami-vulnerable areas of Hilo including Banyan Drive.

At the Civil Defense Emergency Operations Center the group shared a presentation of recent tsunami evacuation drills in Japan and Chile, participated in a communications exercise with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, and amateur radio operators. “Today we demonstrated how we rely on important communications systems when a warning needs to go out to the public in times of emergency. We activated redundant lines of communication to the State Warning Point in Diamond Head, Oahu; the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Pearl Harbor, Oahu; and the Amateur HAM radio operators throughout the State, Pacific region, and mainland,” said Civil Defense Director Ed Teixeira.

“We hope that all we have been through will go far in making our community stronger and more prepared for disasters,” said Hawaii County Managing Director Randy Kurohara, referencing the multitude of natural disasters challenging the Hawaii Island community in the eight years since Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration took office –  tsunami threats including one generated by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Japan that caused damage in West Hawaii, multiple hurricane warnings, wildfires, flooding, the dengue outbreak, Tropical Storm Iselle, and the Puna Lava Flow.

Jointly proposed by 142 nations including the U.S. and Japan, the United Nations General Assembly voted in December 2015 to designate November 5 as World Tsunami Awareness Day. This year’s observance is the first. The Assembly called on all nations and communities to observe the day to raise tsunami awareness and share approaches to risk reduction. According to Takeda, over 1,000,000 people worldwide participated in the inaugural event.

The debut World Tsunami Awareness Day focused on education and evacuation drills. Exchange students from Hilo and Waiakea schools will go to Japan to participate in a disaster risk reduction summit for high school students, November 25-26 in Kuroshio. The summit will host 350 students from 30 countries.

For more World Tsunami Awareness Day info, visit World Tsunami Awareness Video. For tsunami preparedness tips, visit http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/pages/tsunami_safety.php. Sign up for Civil Defense alerts at https://countyofhawaii.bbcportal.com/.

West Hawaii Forum – Hawaii’s Climate Change Challenge

How prepared is Hawai’i for the climate changes now underway that affect our daily lives?climate-changeSea level rise, super storms, flooding of shoreline and low lying island areas, erratic and decreasing trade winds, declining rainfall, warming temperatures with agricultural consequences, impacts to Hawaii’s marine ecosystem and fisheries; and the list of impacts goes on.

Don’t miss this all important November 17th forum from 6pm – 8pm at the West Hawaii Civic Center, Council Chambers. For more details visit: http://www.westhawaiiforum.org/event/hawaiis‐climate‐change‐challenge/

Forum Presenters

  • Bruce S. Anderson, PhD., DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) Administrator
  • Henry Curtis, Executive Director, Life of the Land
  • Abby G. Frazier, Ph.D., Pacific Islands Climate Science Center (PICSC)
  • Scott Glenn, AICP, Director, State of Hawaiʻi Office of Environmental Quality Control

Forum Moderator

  • Bill Bugbee, Director, Community Enterprises

Join the Community on Thursday, November 17th, as experts explain the challenges that Climate Change poses and the near-term actions Hawai’i County and the state may take.

Lava Flow Update: East Kamokuna Ocean Entry Still Active – West Entry Inactive

An aerial image of the east Kamokuna lava delta this morning shows lava entering the ocean at the front of the delta.

Photo by Rick Hazlett, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

Photo by Rick Hazlett, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

Looking down from the helicopter, cracks are visible on the surface of the east Kamokuna lava delta. These cracks are reminders that lava deltas are inherently unstable features that can collapse without warning.

hvo-1028a A lava delta collapse can send tons of hot rock into the sea, generating steam-driven explosions that can hurl fragments of molten lava and solid rock 100s of meters (yards) in all directions—inland and seaward.

The east Kamokuna ocean entry was still active on October 25, with multiple entry points spread along the eastern side of the lava delta.

Lava dribbling into the sea at the front of the delta creates a billowy white plume, which looks harmless, but is actually a mixture of superheated steam, hydrochloric acid, and tiny shards of volcanic glass.

The west Kamokuna lava delta was completely inactive, with no lava entering the ocean.

The west Kamokuna lava delta was completely inactive, with no lava entering the ocean.

3.7 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Volcano Area of Big Island

A 3.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Volcano area of the Big Island today.

37-volcanoThis follows the 3.6 magnitude earthquake that shook the same area of the Big Island yesterday.