Mālamalama Waldorf School Visits Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge

Mālamalama Waldorf School’s seventh and eighth grade students recently took part in a two-day trip to Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) as part of the Teaching Change program. Teaching Change led by Scott Laursen of the University of Hawaii at Mānoa is a program implementing conservation education curriculum for local youth using Hakalau NWR as an outdoor classroom. Students learned concepts and methods of environmental science; climate change; phenology; conservation and restoration on the island of Hawai‘i.

Day one consisted of a service-learning project where students removed invasive Banana Poka from the native forest.

Mālamalama Waldorf School students at Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge.

Mālamalama Waldorf School students at Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge.

Day two included a guided bird walk led by Dr. Pat Hart of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and a visit to the U.S. Geological Survey bird banding station where Dr. Eben Paxton (USGS) and crew shared with students about mosquito-borne bird diseases such as avian malaria and avian pox, both, significant threats to Hawai‘i’s native forest birds. Students observed some of Hawai‘i’s most rare and endangered birds.

Students removing banana poka from the native forest.

Students removing banana poka from the native forest.

When asked about her experience at Hakalau NWR, student Zoey Block said, “Removing the banana poka was cool, because I was helping the forest and all the threatened and endangered species that depend on it. Also, getting to see the native birds up close was exciting.”

Dr. Pat Hart leads MWS students on a bird walk, introducing them to a variety of different threatened and endangered native forest birds.

Dr. Pat Hart leads MWS students on a bird walk, introducing them to a variety of different threatened and endangered native forest birds.

School Director Kelley Lacks, who accompanied the students, had this to add, “To see the students engaged in learning about native species and working directly with them, it was obvious there will be long term effects … future scientists and care takers of our land”.

Dr. Eben Paxton hands Kai Biegler an i‘iwi bird to release.

Dr. Eben Paxton hands Kai Biegler an i‘iwi bird to release.

Lava Breakouts Remain Active Near Cemetery – Additional Breakouts Upslope

Sluggish breakouts remain active near cemetery, with additional breakouts upslope

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Slowly moving breakouts were active a short distance north of the cemetery, and were 630 meters (0.4 miles) upslope of Pāhoa Village Rd.

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Inflation along the lava tube has created a long ridge with a deep, semi-continuous crack along the ridge centerline (right side of image). The peak of the ridge, by rough estimate, is about 4 meters (13 feet) above the original ground surface. This photo looked northeast along the trend of the tube, just south of the cemetery. The short section of uncovered road is the cemetery access road.

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A close look into a tree mold on a recently active portion of the June 27th lava flow.

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Earlier in the week lava reached the outer fence of the transfer station, sending several small cascades through the fence and down the embankment. Burning of the asphalt continued for several days. Now that burning has ceased at the transfer station, a closer look at these features was possible. Note that the lava which stalled at the fence line subsequently inflated to a height slightly greater than that of the fence.

Big Island Police Still Searching for Jeff Meek

Hawaiʻi Island police are continuing their search for a missing 44-year-old Keaʻau man.

Jeff Meek

Jeff Meek

Thursday (November 13), detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section, Vice Section and Juvenile Aid Section continued their search for Jeffrey Everett Meek, who was last seen in the Pepeʻekeo area last Saturday (November 8). The efforts included both ground and aerial searches, which were aided by use of a Hawaiʻi Fire Department helicopter.

Search efforts continued along the shoreline Friday morning (November 14), again aided by the Fire Department’s chopper.

Detectives have recovered items that are believed to belong to Meek but his whereabouts remain unknown. News reports about “pinging” the location of his cell phone were based on the family’s use of a website that has a disclaimer stating that the information may not be accurate. Police are using more reliable methods to track the location of the phone.

Meek is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-8, 185 pounds with blue eyes and balding brown hair. He usually wears a white cowboy hat and blue jeans. He was last seen operating a 1986 faded blue Ford pickup truck, which police have since recovered.

Police ask anyone who may have seen Meek and his truck on November 8 or who may have information or know his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2378 or wcarter@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Works with CDC to Ensure Hawaiʻi Can Screen for Ebola In-State

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard yesterday announced a collaboration resulting in Hawaiʻi having the ability to quickly and effectively test for Ebola in-state.  Previously, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) would need to send patient samples to mainland laboratories to test for the deadly Ebola virus.

A few weeks ago, the congresswoman met with Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Toby Merlin, Director of the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Bill Gallo, Associate Director for Insular Area Support at the CDC, to discuss the global challenges related to the Ebola virus, and the necessity for a properly equipped Hawaiʻi testing facility. They resolved to supply the Hawaiʻi Department of Health with resources to test for Ebola, supporting State Department of Health and medical personnel with a quicker testing turnaround time.

Today, the DOH State Laboratories Division received and validated the U.S. Department of Defense-developed, CDC-deployed real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction test for 2014 outbreak-associated Ebola Zaire Virus.

“The safety and well-being of Hawaiʻi residents is my highest priority, and it’s important that our state be equipped with the resources needed to quickly and effectively test those who may be suspected Ebola patients,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.  “Ensuring our medical professionals are given the tools they need to protect themselves, and to serve the public at large, is of the greatest importance, and I’m glad to see that we were able to bring this testing capability to our islands.”

TMT Launches The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) has launched THINK (The Hawaii Island New Knowledge) Fund to better prepare Hawaii Island students to master STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and to become the workforce for higher paying science and technology jobs in Hawaii’s 21st century economy. TMT’s founding gift of $1 million marks the beginning of the construction phase of astronomy’s next-generation telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT’s THINK Fund initiative benefits Hawaii Island students pursuing STEM endeavors with an annual contribution of $1 million over its existing 19-year Mauna Kea sublease with the University of Hawaii-Hilo. Two Hawaii foundations were selected by TMT, Hawaii Community Foundation and Pauahi Foundation, to administer THINK Fund distribution in scholarship and grant making platforms. The two independent foundations are defining their award criteria and decision-making process.

“During our numerous meetings, TMT and the community discussed how to collaborate to fulfill the shared dream of building the world’s most advanced telescope. The idea for the THINK Fund to invest in the education of students in the STEM field was germinated,” said Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT International Observatory Board. “With the launch of the THINK Fund, we are embarking on two transformational adventures – exploring the frontiers of the universe and providing educational opportunities for Hawaii’s students, both now and for future generations.”

The Thirty Meter Telescope initiated dialogue on the formation of THINK Fund in 2008 by asking a group of community volunteers to outline the mission, vision, purpose and implementation strategy of an education fund benefitting Hawaii Island students. The Organizing Committee that developed TMT’s THINK Fund structure was comprised of Hawaii Island residents.

“After years of THINK Fund planning and reflection, the aspirations of dedicated community members are being realized with TMT’s first annual $1 million contribution, set in motion by the start of our construction phase,” said TMT Community Affairs Manager Sandra Dawson. “As a mother of two teachers, I am so pleased with the THINK Fund’s potential to furnish Hawaii Island students with an easier path to reach for the stars. TMT’s THINK Fund initiative will not only help Hawaii Island students with the tools to excel in STEM areas and the channels to get into college, it can also provide students with the means to get through college.”

The Organizing Committee determined that scholarships, grant making and the establishment of an endowment would ensure the sustainability of improving educational opportunities for Hawaii Island students in STEM disciplines. It further recognized that an emphasis be given to improving opportunities for STEM education for Native Hawaiian students, not as an exclusive preference, but focusing on addressing the needs of Hawaii’s host culture.

TMT’s annual $1 million contribution allocates $750,000 to THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation and $250,000 to THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation. The foundations will administer their respective THINK Funds independently and will have autonomy in administering grant funds, determining scholarship recipients, and the selection and governance of Advisory Committees.

THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation

Grants are available by application to THINK Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation beginning November 20th and will support a variety of Hawaii Island STEM student activities in and after-school, internship programs and teacher-generated STEM classroom projects. Scholarships will support current and future STEM teachers on Hawaii Island as well as students pursuing STEM degrees and training. Scholarship applications will be available online on December 1st, 2014.

“For the past 98 years, Hawaii Community Foundation has had the privilege of serving our island communities across the state,” said Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of the Hawaii Community Foundation. “We’re honored to be the stewards of the THINK Fund at HCF that will support STEM education on Hawaii Island for generations to come.”

Advisory Committee members of THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation are Laurie Ainslie, Roberta Chu, Mary Correa, Kaeo Duarte, Hiapo Perreira, Doug Simons and Barry Taniguchi. The Advisory Committee, facilitated by Hawaii Community Foundation staff, will assist with strategy development, review grant proposals, make grant decisions and encourage STEM education for Hawaii Island.

THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation is open to all Hawaii Island students including Native Hawaiians, teachers with STEM classroom projects and organizations providing STEM and internship programs that directly benefit Hawaii Island. Learn more and apply at www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org <http://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org> .

The Hawaii Island office of Hawaii Community Foundation is located in Waimea.

THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation

Scholarship Programs will be the initial focus of THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation. Grant making is being considered for the future.

“With Hawaii Island having the second largest population of Native Hawaiians in the state of Hawaii, our partnership with TMT provides much-needed financial support for Hawaiian learners from Hawaii Island to pursue educational opportunities in STEM,” said Hawaii Island resident and Pauahi Foundation Executive Director Keawe Liu.

Advisory committee members of THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation are Roberta Chu, Kaeo Duarte, Leinaala Enos, David Kaapu, Bob Lindsey, Gail Makuakane-Lundin and Maile Wong.

THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation is open to all Hawaii Island students with a preference given to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law. Scholarship applications will be available online on February 4, 2015 at www.pauahi.org <http://www.pauahi.org> .

THINK Fund Collaboration

THINK Fund was designed as an initiative to encourage and attract other funders who align with the mission and goal to improve STEM education and strengthen Hawaii Island’s workforce, and TMT is serving as the founding member of the THINK Fund initiative. The vision of this collaborative approach is to bring together the island community with funders in a partnership that strives to help Hawaii Island students long term.

What’s Next For TMT?

Construction activities in Hawaii include site preparation and grading.


Offsite work has begun in earnest as well. In China, partners are designing the telescope’s fully articulated main science steering mirror system and developing the laser guide star system. Japan has produced over sixty special zero thermal-expansion glass mirror blanks for the main mirror and is designing the telescope structure in detail. Fabricating the mirror support system is ongoing in India. The adaptive optics facility is in final design and the enclosure is ready for construction in Canada. The primary mirror and mirror control system is in final design in California.

The advancement of TMT to this stage of imminent on-site construction has been made possible by the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The foundation has spent $141 million to date to fund the design, development, and construction phases of TMT.

Lava Flow Active Upslope and Downslope From Apa’a Street

20141113 June 27th Lava Overflight from ‘Ena Media Hawaii on Vimeo.

June 27th flow lobes active upslope and downslope from Apaʻa Street

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Lava continues to advance downslope in several places along the distal part of the June 27th lava flow, as seen in this photo. The most active breakout is the flow to the right, which forms a relatively narrow finger about 360 meters (390 yards) upslope from Apaʻa Street. Other breakouts include a tiny lobe that is encroaching on the solid waste transfer station, the narrow flow that destroyed and bypassed the house across the street from the transfer station, and weak activity near the cemetery. The view is looking to the east.

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The small breakout near the solid waste transfer station began spilling into the truck access road that loops around the transfer station. This road is quite a bit lower than the transfer station buildings, and it will likely take a few days for it to fill up, if the breakout remains active. The smoke at upper left is a different breakout, which destroyed the house just across the street from the transfer station a few days ago. The view is to the east-northeast.

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This photo shows the distal part of the June 27th flow looking toward the southwest. The stalled tip of the flow is barely cut off at the left side of the photo.

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The house which was recently destroyed by lava is just below the center of the photo. Lava bypassed the garage, which still stands at the center of the photo. Lava briefly entered the fish pond next to the house, before continuing downslope. Also visible is the small active flow next to the transfer station, and the larger, more rapidly moving finger about 360 meters (390 yards) upslope from Apaʻa Street at upper right. The smoke at upper left marks another breakout widening the flow into the adjacent forest. The view is to the southwest.

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Lava flows continue to encroach on the Pāhoa Japanese Cemetery, with the latest activity there coming right up to the edge of the green-roofed shelter. An inflated ridge 3–4 meters high (10–13 feet high) cuts across the cemetery (visible on the near side of the cemetery in the photo), and is the source of the recent and active lava visible at the bottom of the photo.

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A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the leading tip of the June 27th flow. The stalled flow front exhibits lower surface temperatures (red, purple colors), as it has been stalled for over a week. Upslope, however, scattered breakouts are active and have much higher surface temperatures (white, yellow colors).

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Another view of the activity near the transfer station, shown by a normal photograph and a thermal image. The white arrows show corresponding points of reference. The left arrow marks the tip of this small lobe (one of many active today), which was approaching Apaʻa St. Small cascades of lava can be seen flowing down the embankment surrounding the transfer station.

Hawaii House Leadership and Committee Assignments Announced

House Speaker Joseph M. Souki today announced the appointments of the House of Representatives Majority leadership lineup for the 28th Legislature which convenes on January 21, 2015.


“The team that we have formed represents the kind of talents and abilities that will best serve our residents and will address the issues facing our state,” said Speaker Souki. “We look forward to engaging in meaningful discussions with Governor-elect David Ige and his administration to continue to identify ideas and solutions to help Hawaii move forward.”

Members of the House Leadership are as follows:

  • Speaker of the House              Joseph M. Souki
  • Vice Speaker                           John M. Mizuno
  • Majority Leader                      Scott K. Saiki
  • Majority Floor Leader             Cindy Evans
  • Majority Whip                         Ken Ito
  • Asst. Majority Leader             Chris Lee
  • Asst. Majority Leader             Roy M. Takumi
  • Speaker Emeritus                    Calvin K.Y. Say

2015 House Committee Chairpersons:

  • Agriculture (AGR)

Clift Tsuji, Chair

Richard H.K. Onishi, Vice Chair

  • Economic Development & Business (EDB)

Derek S.K. Kawakami, Chair

Sam Kong, Vice Chair

  • Veterans, Military & International Affairs (VMI)

Romy M. Cachola, Chair

Ken Ito, Vice Chair

  • Tourism & Culture and the Arts (TCA)

Tom Brower, Chair

Takashi Ohno, Vice Chair


  • Labor & Public Employment (LAB)

Mark M. Nakashima, Chair

Jarrett Keohokalole, Vice Chair


  • Public Safety (PBS)

Gregg Takayama, Chair

Kyle T. Yamashita, Vice Chair


  • Transportation, (TRN)

Henry J.C. Aquino, Chair

Matthew LoPresti, Vice Chair


  • Health (HLT)

Della Au Belatti, Chair

Dee Morikawa, Vice Chair


  • Housing (HSG)

Mark J. Hashem, Chair

Richard Creagan, Vice Chair


  • Human Services (HUS)

Mele Carroll, Chair

Bertrand Kobayashi, Vice Chair


  • Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP)

Chris Lee, Chair

Nicole E. Lowen, Vice Chair


  • Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH)

Kaniela Ing, Chair

Nicole E. Lowen, Vice Chair


  • Water & Land (WAL)

Ryan I. Yamane, Chair

Ty J.K. Cullen, Vice Chair


  • Education (EDN)

Roy M. Takumi, Chair

Takashi Ohno, Vice Chair


  • Higher Education, (HED)

Isaac W. Choy, Chair

Linda Ichiyama, Vice Chair


  • Finance (FIN)

Sylvia Luke, Chair

Scott Y. Nishimoto, Vice Chair


  • Legislative Management (LMG)

Scott Y. Nishimoto, Chair

John M. Mizuno, Vice Chair


  • Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC)

Angus L.K. McKelvey, Chair

Justin H. Woodson, Vice Chair


  • Judiciary (JUD)

Karl Rhoads, Chair

Joy San Buenaventura, Vice Chair

9th Annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival Winners Announced

Winners of the 9th Annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival were announced Saturday to an enthusiastic audience at the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Waikoloa Beach Resort.

Pākahi (solo) Awards were presented for Wahine (age 13 to 45), as well as and Wahine Hālau divisions. Wahine Hālau and Pākahi performed the ancient Hula Kahiko on Thursday, and modern Hula ‘Auwana on Saturday, and scores were combined to determine overall winners.

Makua (women age 36-54) competed as soloists in ‘Auwana only. Kupuna Group and Solo winners (age 46 or older) were announced on Friday, following the Kupuna competition.

The top-scoring Wahine Hālau was Hālau Hi‘iakaināmakalehua, Nā Kumu Hula Robert Ka‘upu and Lono Padilla. From the same hālau, Caitlin Ka‘ōpūiki was named Miss Hula Pākahi, and Pristina Louis took the Makua solo honor.

 Moku O Keawe International Festival judges and advisory committee, with 2014 winning wahine group, Hālau Hi‘iakaināmakalehua, Nā Kumu Hula Robert Ka‘upu and Lono Padil

Moku O Keawe International Festival judges and advisory committee, with 2014 winning wahine group, Hālau Hi‘iakaināmakalehua, Nā Kumu Hula Robert Ka‘upu and Lono Padil

Altogether, fifteen hālau from Hawai‘i and Japan competed in the three-day event, which also featured Hawaiian cultural workshops and and extensive Made-in-Hawai‘i Market Place.

Kupuna group winners, from Kealakekua, Hālau Hula O Kawaimaluhia, Kumu Hula Keoni Jenny, with MOK President Sig Zane, and judges Nalani Kanaka'ole, Olana Ai, Cy Bridges and Iliahi Paredes

Kupuna group winners, from Kealakekua, Hālau Hula O Kawaimaluhia, Kumu Hula Keoni Jenny, with MOK President Sig Zane, and judges Nalani Kanaka’ole, Olana Ai, Cy Bridges and Iliahi Paredes

WINNERS of the 2014 Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival:

Kupuna Wahine Pākahi Waikoloa:

1st Place
Hula Studio Malulani, Sayuri Ito Sensei
Kupuna Wahine: Setsuko Fukushima
Mele: “Mahina O Hōkū”

2nd Place
Ku‘u Pua Lehua Nani, Keiko Ito Sensei
Kupuna Wahine: Sanami Hayashi
Mele: “Ka Nohona Pilikai”

3rd Place
Hula Studio Nā Lei O Hōkū, Mineko Ichihara Sensei
Kupuna Wahine: Toshiko Toshi
Mele: “Lei Ana O Mānoa”

Kupuna Wahine Hālau:

1st Place
Hālau Hula O Kawaimaluhia, Kumu Hula Keoni Jenny
Mele: “Kapi‘olani Pāka”

2nd Place
Ke Ala O Ke Ao Cultural Arts Studio, Nā Kumu Hula Kahikina Ah Sing and Kalani Ah Sing
Mele: “Kau‘ionālani”

3rd Place
Hālau Hula O Makalapua, Mutsuko Fujimaki Sensei
Mele: “Lei Ko‘ele”

Makua Pākahi Waikoloa:

1st Place
Hālau Hi‘iakaināmakalehua, Nā Kumu Hula Robert Kaupu and Lono Padilla
Prestina Louis

2nd Place
Hālau O Kawaimaluhia, Kumu Hula Keoni Jenny
Heidi Hart

3rd Place
Hālau O Makalapua, Mutsuko Fujimaki Sensei
Yukari Takahashi

Wahine Solo, Miss Hula Pākahi Waikoloa:

1st Place
Hālau Hi‘iakaināmakalehua, Nā Kumu Hula Robert Ka‘upu and Lono Padilla
Caitlin Ka‘ōpūiki

2nd Place
Hālau O Ka Hanu Lehua, Kumu Hula Kamaka Kukona
Aleahnani Makuakāne

3rd Place
Hālau Pukamaikalā, Yukiko Toyama Sensei
Fumi Hirakata

Wahine Hālau:

1st Place
Hālau Hi‘iakaināmakalehua, Nā Kumu Hula Robert Ka‘upu and Lono Padilla

2nd Place
Hālau O Ka Hanu Lehua, Kumu Hula Kamaka Kukona

3rd Place
Ke Ala O Ke Ao Cultural Arts Studio, Nā Kumu Hula Kahikina Ah Sing and Kalani Ah Sing

The Moku O Keawe International Festival is sponsored by the Moku O Keawe Foundation, a private nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing, enriching and educating the practice and development of hula and its associated arts. Mahalo to generous sponsors, Waikoloa Beach Resort, Hilton Waikoloa Village, Waimea Music Center, Sig Zane Designs, Na Makua Designs, Traditions Hawai‘i, Big Island Candies, Sushi Shiono, Waiola, KAPA Radio and others. For more information, visit www.MOKIF.com.

Civil Defense Update – House Was Ignited By Lava Flow

This is an eruption and lava flow Information Update for Monday November 10th at 6:30PM

The current assessment shows that the flow front remains stalled with very little activity and has not advanced. The upslope breakout in the area of Apa’a Street near the cemetery entered a private property yesterday morning and the residential structure or house was ignited by the advancing flow at approximately 11:55 this morning.

First house on fire via Mileka Lincoln on Facebook.

First house on fire via Mileka Lincoln on Facebook.

Currently, three active breakouts are being monitored in the areas of the cemetery below Apaʻa Street, in the area west or above the transfer station, and upslope approximately .4 miles from Apaʻa Street. All three breakouts are active and advancing in a northeast direction. These breakouts do not pose an immediate threat to area residents and will be monitored.

Smoke conditions are currently moderate to heavy with light trade winds blowing the smoke in a south southwest direction towards the Leilani and lower Puna areas. Smoke conditions may increase in some areas and residents down wind that may be sensitive or have respiratory problems are advised to take necessary precautions and to remain indoors.

The evacuation advisory for those residents down slope of the flow will continue and residents will be kept informed of the flow status and advancement.

lava flow 1110

The Pahoa Village Road between Apa’a Street and the Post Office Road will remain closed and limited to area residents only. In addition, Civil Defense and public safety personnel will be operating in the area round the clock to maintain close observations of flow activity. Additional updates will be broadcasted as conditions change.

We would like to thank everyone for your patience and understanding and your cooperation and assistance is greatly appreciated. Thank you for listening and have a safe day. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Thermal Image Shows Lava Flow Still Active Near Pahoa Village Road

The June 27th lava flow remains active above Pāhoa. The tip of the flow remains stalled about 155 meters (170 yards) from Pāhoa Village Road, which crosses the middle of the photo. Smoke plumes are visible above town, caused by burning vegetation at the site of lava breakouts.

Highway 130 is at the bottom of this photo, which was taken from a helicopter.  (Click to enlarge)

Highway 130 is at the bottom of this photo, which was taken from a helicopter. (Click to enlarge)

A timelapse camera that USGS HVO scientists were using to monitor a lava tube skylight was caught in an overflow this morning.

A timelapse camera that USGS HVO scientists were using to monitor a lava tube skylight was caught in an overflow this morning.  Click to enlarge

A timelapse camera that USGS HVO scientists were using to monitor a lava tube skylight was caught in an overflow this morning. (Click to enlarge)

This image shows a comparison of a normal photograph of the flow front with a thermal image of roughly the same area. The thermal image clearly shows the distribution of active breakouts (white and yellow spots), some of which were active around the cemetery.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The leading tip of the flow, near Pāhoa Village Road, has stalled and has lower temperatures (red colors). Farther upslope, breakouts are active near the transfer station and are also scattered several kilometers upslope of Cemetery Road.

Commentary – The Department of Transportation Needs Strong Leadership and Fresh Perspective

I’m a concerned citizen, who closely follows county and state highway projects on the Big Island. I believe its important to monitor these new projects, especially since the State and county are using taxpayer dollars to build these new highways. This is why I’ve spent so much of my free time being a community transportation advocate.

The centralized Oahu Hawaii Department of Transportation leadership, along with the Federal Highways Administration, has treated people like myself as enemies of the state. I’ve had to jump through hoops to get any updates through alternative means over the past four years as a result. These departments really need to embrace the public’s
participation and be more transparent.

Soon-to-be Governor David Ige promised to conduct his administration in a more transparent fashion. However, this is only part of the solution to the issues facing the HDOT. Governor Abercrombie’s HDOT appointees had no leadership and public relation skills. This has to change under Governor Ige’s watch. The HDOT needs strong leadership to push several stalled projects, such as the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening phase 2 and the final east side Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase, forward.

I hope Governor Ige fulfills his campaign promises, as Hawaii can’t afford four more years of spinning its wheels.

Aaron Stene

2,000 Students and Employees Affected By Puna Lava Flow

Kea‘au Middle and Kea‘au High today welcomed new students from the Pahoa Complex who are transitioning schools due to the ongoing lava flow. The remainder of the students will return to classes on Nov. 10.

new school 6

On Oct. 29, the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) announced the indefinite closure of Keonepoko Elementary as the campus is in the anticipated path of the lava flow. Since then, preparations have been made for the transition of those students and others. On Oct. 30, schools closed for students at Pahoa High & Intermediate, Pahoa Elementary, Kea‘au Middle and Kea‘au High to allow for preparations and transitions.

new school 5

About 850 Pahoa students who reside north of the flow (Orchidland, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Paradise Park) are moving to the Kea‘au complex. About 850 students who reside south of the flow (Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Nanawale, Leilani, Kalapana & Pahoa) will attend Pahoa High & Intermediate or Pahoa Elementary.

The transition of the complexes includes:

  • About 200 Pahoa High students will go to Kea‘au High.
  • About 75 students from Pahoa High & Intermediate and another 75 sixth graders from Keonepoko and Pahoa elementary schools will attend Kea‘au Middle.
  • About 300 Keonepoko students will be attending “Keonepoko North,” which is the temporary school that has been set up in Kea‘au High’s lower parking lot. In addition, 150 Pahoa Elementary students will also be attending Keonepoko North.
  • An estimated 20 Keonepoko preschool students will go to Kea‘au Elementary.
  • Fifteen special needs students from Keonepoko and Pahoa elementary schools will transition to Mountain View Elementary.
  • On Monday, Nov. 10, school begins for students assigned to Keonepoko North, and students who are currently enrolled at Kea‘au High and Kea‘au Middle, Pahoa High & Intermediate, and Pahoa Elementary.

In all, 1,700 students and 300 employees are affected in this transition process.

new school 3

“Our administrators, faculty and staff have and continue to work tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition,” stated Mary Correa, complex superintendent for Ka‘u, Kea‘au, Pahoa. “During this process, furniture was moved, school schedules had to be redone and other student services were adjusted. It is important that our transitioning students feel welcomed in their new school, as well as employees who have been assigned to other schools. Individuals and community organizations have also contributed to this effort and we are very grateful for their support.”

DOE officials were in attendance at last night’s weekly community meeting at Pahoa High. Schools have also held parent meetings throughout this process.


Lava Flow Inflating – Before/After Shot of Apa’a Street Utility Pole

The main mode of growth of the June 27th lava flow over the past several days has been inflation (thickening) of the flow.

Before/After shot courtesy of Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory (Click to Enlarge)

Before/After shot courtesy of Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory (Click to Enlarge)

The photos above were taken where lava crossed Apaʻa Street / Cemetery Road. On October 25 (left), just a few hours after the flow crossed the road, the lava was only about 3 feet thick. Ten days later, on November 4 (right), the flow was about 12 feet thick. The cinder pile surrounding the power pole provides a sense of scale for the inflation.

HELCO Cancels Hilo Arbor Day Tree Giveaway Due to Unavailability of Plants

Hawaii Electric Light regrets to inform the community that the Arbor Day Tree Giveaway scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 8, at its office in Hilo has been postponed due to the unavailability of plants.

My son assisting last year at Amy Greenwell's.

My son assisting last year at Amy Greenwell’s.

In West Hawai‘i, the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Captain Cook will hold a three-day Arbor Day Celebration from Nov. 7-9. A limited number of trees will be distributed across the three days from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. while supplies last.

The company apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

Volcanoes National Park Clarification on Chain of Craters Emergency Access Route

Hi Damon,

It has been brought to our attention that there has been some confusion and concern regarding access to Chain of Craters Kalapan Road.  I would like provide some clarification and help clear up some of the confusion.

The Chain of Craters Kalapana emergency access route will be available for use by Puna residents affected by the lava flow and their invitees and agents, as well as the transportation of goods and services needed to sustain the community including vendors, contractors, and service providers. A free window decal to facilitate access through the park for affected Puna residents is being developed.

The road will remain open to local residents and for uses to sustain the community until another long term viable route is established by the state or county.

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the construction and use of the road and mitigation measures developed to protect the park resources. You can access the park’s compliance website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Rainey McKenna, Public Information Officer – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park


Visitors Not Allowed to Use Chain of Craters Road – Puna Residents to Receive Window Decals

Significant progress has been made on the Chain of Craters Kalapana Road since work began in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on October 24. Today the contractors, working from each end, met in the middle.

Photos courtesy of the National Park Service.

Photos courtesy of the National Park Service.

This completes the rough grade of the road.
ripping 2Work will now begin on crushing excavated material for the road bed. The finished road will be a gravel surfaced 22-foot-wide two-lane road. The road is scheduled to be completed in the next 30-45 days, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Chain of Craters CrewLower Puna residents will be able to access the route after the lava has crossed Highway 130 and Railroad Avenue and the National Park Service has determined that the road is safe for vehicles. The emergency access route will not be open to the public or park visitors.  Residents will receive a free window decal for access through the park.

11/6/14 UPDATE: Volcanoes National Park Clarification on Chain of Craters Emergency Access Route


Breaking Lava News – Students Who Wish to Stay at Pahoa CAN Through Geographic Exemptions

Pahoa and Keonopoko students living north of the flow have been transferred to Kea’au.

Pahoa High and Intermediate
After speaking with complex superintendent Mary Correa, Senator Russell Ruderman is happy to announce that those students that wish to stay at Pahoa may do so through a geographic exemptions (GE’s).

These exemptions will allow Pahoa High students living north of the lava flow to continue to attend school ion Pahoa – as long as they can secure transportation to and from Pahoa. A special accommodation will allow these students to continue to compete for Pahoa teams.

Applications for a Geographic Exemption can be found at Pahoa High School at the Registrar’s Office (F106).


Puna Lava Flow – FEMA Aid “Need and Warranted” Under Disaster Declaration

declaration lava

Click to read declaration

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama’s disaster declaration issued for the State of Hawaii.

Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

  • Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for emergency protective measures (Category B) taken to save lives and protect property and public health.  Emergency protective measures assistance is available to state and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis. (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)
  • Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters.  (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)

How to Apply for Assistance:

  • Application procedures for state and local governments will be explained at a series of federal/state applicant briefings with locations to be announced in the affected area by recovery officials.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders and ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

9th Annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival Starts Thursday

Come and enjoy the 9th annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival happening at the Waikoloa Hilton Monarchy Ballroom November 6th-8th.


Experience the lessons of Hula through our workshops with our celebrated Judges or learn about Kinolau and Hula regalia during our free lectures by Hokulani Holt Padilla and Dr. Pualani Kanahele. Before heading to watch our nightly competition make sure to take a memory home from our Made In Hawaii marketplace.

While engaging all of your senses we continue with our mission of enriching the practice and development of Hula and its associated arts.

Public Comment Sought on Environmental Review of Emergency Access Route Along Chain of Craters Road

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is seeking public comment on the environmental review and decision regarding the construction and use of an emergency access route along the lava-covered section of Chain of Craters Kalapana Road. The environmental review for the emergency access route (22’ width) was completed in accordance with alternative NEPA arrangements developed by and in consultation with the Department of Interior and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality.

Mayor Kenoi takes his wife to see Chain of Craters road progress.

Mayor Kenoi takes his wife to see Chain of Craters road progress.

To sustain access in and out of Pahoa, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is working in cooperation with the state of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i County and the Federal Highways Administration to construct an emergency access route between the park and Kalapana along the park’s historic Chain of Craters Kalapana Road. The environmental review considers alternatives to the emergency access route and potential adverse impacts, and includes public involvement, mitigation and monitoring commitments. As part of the alternative arrangements, the National Park Service (NPS) will continue to engage the public by soliciting comments on the project, participating in public informational meetings, responding to comments received, and publishing periodic reports on the results of monitoring commitments. In addition, the NPS will continue to consult with affected agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Hawai‘i State Historic Preservation Division, as necessary.  The NPS will also prepare a NEPA review to consider the future of the emergency access route after the emergency ends.

The use of the emergency access route will only last as long as there is no viable alternative route for the residents of the affected area to use to gain access to the rest of the Island of Hawai‘i.

The public is invited to review the environmental review and decision document and to submit comments via the NPS’s Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo. Select the Emergency Access Route along the Lava-Covered Section of Chain of Craters Kalapana Road link. The deadline for submitting comments in PEPC is Dec. 5, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Comments will be accepted while construction of the road is in progress (anticipated to be 30 days), and are intended to affect NPS consideration of adjustments to the proposed action and enhancement of proposed mitigation measures. The comment period will be extended if necessary. Responses to substantive comments will be subsequently posted on PEPC. Results of park monitoring of resources and road use will be posted on PEPC and the park’s website, shared at community meetings, or publicized via other means of communication periodically throughout the duration of the emergency.

The public can also submit comments in writing, addressed to Superintendent, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718-0052; or via email nps_havo_planning@nps.gov . The deadline for submitting comments is Dec. 5, 2014.

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information with your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.