Lava Delta Collapses Into Ocean Triggering Small Explosion

Kīlauea Volcano continues to erupt at its summit and from its East Rift Zone. The lava lake at Kīlauea’s summit has risen substantially within the Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook vent over the past few days and is clearly visible from the Jaggar Museum. Summit tiltmeters have been registering inflationary tilt since Monday morning (9/5).

Kīlauea Volcano's lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater rose steadily over the past day in concert with summit inflation. This morning, with the lake level at just 19 m (62 ft) below the summit vent rim, vigorous spattering on the lake surface was visible from the Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

Kīlauea Volcano’s lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater rose steadily over the past day in concert with summit inflation. This morning, with the lake level at just 19 m (62 ft) below the summit vent rim, vigorous spattering on the lake surface was visible from the Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

The 61g lava flow, extending southeast from Puʻu ʻŌʻō on Kīlauea’s south flank, continues to supply lava to the ocean near Kamokuna. Last weekend, HVO observers found that persistent noxious volcanic fumes downwind from the ocean entry area necessitated the use of respirators. On Monday (5 September), a large section of the western ocean entry delta collapsed into the ocean, triggering a small explosion.

As a strong caution to visitors viewing the 61g flow ocean entry (where lava meets the sea), there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs. Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water.

Also, the new land created is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf, causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea. In several instances, such collapses, once started, have also incorporated parts of the older sea cliff. Finally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates an acidic plume laden with fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.

EPA Requires Mid Pac Petroleum to Install Air Pollution Controls at Big Island Facility

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement valued at more than $600,000 with Mid Pac Petroleum, LLC, resolving federal Clean Air Act violations at the company’s Kawaihae facility on the Island of Hawaii.


EPA claimed that for more than a decade Mid Pac Petroleum failed to install required vapor pollution controls and comply with a volatile organic compound (VOC) pollution limit at its gasoline storage facility. Failure to limit these emissions led to the illegal discharge of about 20 tons of VOCs into the air each year from its gasoline loading equipment. Mid Pac Petroleum will now spend an estimated $432,000 to bring its facility into compliance with the law, and has agreed to pay a $200,000 civil penalty.

“This is EPA’s second settlement in the past year that will improve air quality on the Island of Hawaii,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.  “As with Aloha Petroleum’s facility in Hilo, we are requiring Mid Pac Petroleum to install air pollution controls, cutting health risks to local residents.”

Bulk gasoline terminals are large storage tank facilities where gasoline is pumped through a loading rack into tanker trucks for distribution to gasoline service stations. Vapors containing VOCs and hazardous air pollutants, including benzene, a known human carcinogen, can leak from storage tanks, pipes, and tanker trucks as they are loaded.

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Jury Finds No Civil Rights Violation by State of Hawaii or NFL in 2013 Pro Bowl Incident

A Hawaii federal jury late this afternoon found no liability against the State of Hawaii or the National Football League (NFL) after Aloha Stadium staff at the 2013 Pro Bowl stopped a woman with a physical disability from getting to her front row seat and the NFL provided her with wheelchair access seating instead, Attorney General Doug Chin announced.


Deb Ritchie sued the State and the NFL for discrimination based upon her disability and for civil rights violations. During the trial, evidence indicated Ritchie wrote to the NFL before the game claiming she could not get to her ticketed front row seat and asking for field access. Her request for field access was denied due to security and safety concerns. On the day of the Pro Bowl, Ritchie arrived in a wheelchair and with crutches but nevertheless claimed she could reach her seat.  Aloha Stadium staff stopped Ritchie from descending sixty steps to get to her seat because she appeared unsteady on her feet and therefore a danger to herself and to others in the event of an evacuation.  Ritchie watched the game from a wheelchair access row.

Today’s verdict clears the State and NFL of all liability in this case. A previous trial in 2015 ended in a mistrial after the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. Federal district judge J. Michael Seabright presided over both trials.

11 New Cases of Hepatitis A Reported – Confirmed Cases Now at 252

hepatitis-headerSince the last update, HDOH has identified 11 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 66 have required hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Eleven (11) individuals are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui, and four visitors have returned to the mainland.


Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 8/30/16.

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed an additional case of hepatitis A in an Oahu food service worker. The infected case is an employee at Zippy’s

Restaurant, located at 950 Kamokila Blvd. in Kapolei. The employee worked evenings and nights at the sit-down dining section and bakery of the restaurant (and did not work at the fast-food window) on Aug. 14, 18–19, 21, 23, and 25–26, 2016.

“This case is a reminder that even though contaminated scallops have been removed from the market, the long hepatitis A incubation period means we must continue to remain vigilant for new cases,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “DOH will continue to work with the public and businesses to prevent further illness.”

The likelihood that patrons of this business will become infected is very low. Most people do not get sick when an employee at a restaurant has Hepatitis A. However, if an infected food handler is infectious and has poor hygiene, the risk goes up for patrons of that restaurant. DOH is providing information on food handlers to the public as a precaution and in an attempt to prevent any new cases.

2016 Hawaii DAR Chapter Honors and Recognition

The Hawai’i Loa Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) will honor and recognize those who have dedicated themselves to conserving the dryland forest of the Kohala District and those who have preserved the history of the Kona District of Hawai’i County. Presentations will be held during the September 17, 2016 DAR chapter meeting at the West Hawaii Civic Center located at 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy. in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawai’i.

Preceding the meeting, a reception will be held for our honored recipients between 10:00 and 10:20 a.m. in Conference Room A and the chapter meeting and award presentations will follow at 10:30 a.m. in the Council Chambers. The meeting is expected to conclude at 12:30 p.m.


The NSDAR Conservation Medal recognizes an adult with a distinguished volunteer conservation record that includes outstanding efforts in wildlife and nature centers; resource management; park establishment; youth leadership; conservation related media; and education on the college, high school, junior high school, middle school, or elementary school level.

Beverley Brand, NSDAR Conservation Medal Recipient

Beverly Brand

Beverly Brand

In 2004, wiliwili trees were in danger of disappearing due to contractors removing them from the Waikoloa Village area and replanting them at the resort properties located nearby. In an effort to prevent any additional transplanting, Beverley Brand led the charge to obtain a lease on 275 acres of land that would later become the Waikoloa Dry Forest Preserve. Furthermore, she formed a committee of people who would later found the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative (WDFI) that allowed her to obtain funding, develop educational programs, and collaborate with professionals and state and federal agencies to ensure that these trees would be preserved and protected.

Her efforts have provided local jobs, protected tropical lowland dry forest (which is one of the most endangered forest types in the world), helped recovery efforts for rare and endangered Hawaiian plants, and provided a venue for youth to learn about and participate in conservation through experiential education activities.

Today, Beverley serves as president on the WDFl Board and continues to be a guiding force of the project. Her energy and enthusiasm for this work has inspired countless others to join the effort and the preserve at Waikoloa Dry Forest is now counted among the top dry forest restoration projects on Hawai’i Island.


The Historic Preservation Recognition Award recognizes and honors an individual or group that has done recent remarkable volunteer work at the community level. The award recognizes achievements in all areas of historic preservation: buildings, landmarks, monuments, cemeteries, historic districts, statues, museum collections, manuscripts, documents, and archival materials. It also includes writing or compiling and publishing books on historic preservation projects, historical properties, genealogical and court house records, and photography collections; as well as compiling oral histories; and serving as historical guides, interpreters or docents.

NSDAR Historic Preservation Recognition Award Recipients: Daughters of Hawai’i and the Calabash Cousins

One of our nation’s treasures, the Hulihe’e Palace, is preserved through the courageous, imaginative, and undaunted efforts of the Daughters of Hawai’i and the Calabash Cousins.

The Daughters of Hawai‘i were organized in 1903 by seven Kama’āina women who feared the loss of Hawaiian culture. To preserve their culture, the Daughters have restored and currently maintain the only two furnished palaces within the United States which were used by former Hawaiian Royalty. One is the summer palace of Queen Emma located on the island of Oahu and the other is the Hulihe’e Palace located on the island of Hawai’i.

In 1986, the Calabash Cousins (of the Daughters of Hawai’i) was officially established to assist in raising funds and participate in the ongoing preservation efforts. Many are docents and help with preservation activities and fundraisers.

For many visitors, the Hulihe’e Palace is a first stop during their time here. Keeping history alive in our community and educating our many visitors to the island, Hulihe’e Palace remains the jewel it is because of the hard work and devotion of the Daughters of Hawai’i and the Calabash Cousins.


The NSDAR Community Service Award allows an opportunity for chapters and states to recognize worthy individuals and organizations for outstanding unpaid voluntary achievements in cultural, educational, humanitarian, patriotic, historical, citizenship, or environmental conservation endeavors.

Ann Kern and the Kona Historical Society – NSDAR Community Service Award Recipients

ann-kernThe Kona Historical Society is a community based, non-profit organization that was founded in 1976 to collect, preserve and share the history of the Kona districts supported by over 1000 members internationally. Society member Ann Kern created the Hanohano O’ Kona (Honoring Kona), a free lecture series offered monthly to the community. Speakers and coordinators of the series donate their time lecturing on topics pertinent to Kona’s history. Today, Ann Kern serves as coordinator of the lecture series while also serving as lead interpreter for the Kona Historical Society’s Kailua Village Walking Tour and Greenwell Store Living History Museum.

Police Investigating Possible Drowning in Puna

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a possible drowning that occurred in the Puna district.


On Tuesday, (September 6), at 4:00 p.m., officers responded to a report of an unresponsive woman who had been snorkeling at Pohoiki Beach. Upon police arrival, Hawaiʻi Fire Department Rescue personnel and Hawaiʻi County Lifeguards were attempting cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Attempts to resuscitate the victim at the scene were unsuccessful.

The identity of the victim is being withheld pending notification of her next of kin.

Police have initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Hirono, Senate Democrats Call for Vote on Clean Zika Funding Bill

Senators Mazie K. Hirono and Patty Murray (D-WA) called on Senate Republicans to stop stalling critical federal funding to fight the Zika virus. President Obama first sent an emergency funding request to Congress to address Zika in February.

mosquito-bite“It’s been nearly four months since the Senate overwhelmingly passed a compromise measure that would fund the fight against Zika,” said Senator Hirono. “Since then, it has become clear that Congressional Republicans would rather limit access to family planning services- which puts millions more women at risk of contracting Zika and giving birth to a child with microcephaly- than ensure that we are fully prepared to combat this disease.”

Earlier this year, Senator Hirono met with Governor David Ige, Hawaii Director of Health Dr. Virginia Pressler, and top Hawaii public health experts to raise awareness of the threat Zika poses to Hawaii families. Eleven travel-acquired cases of Zika have been reported in Hawaii.

Hawai’i Interagency Biosecurity Plan Formed to Protect Environment, Agriculture, Economy and Health

Hawai‘i is at an invasive species crossroads: the islands are home to more endangered species than any other state. Between 80-90% of all food is imported, and there are more than 8 million visitors annually, with hundreds of arriving flights and ships carrying cargo.

All images courtesy Hawaii DLNR

All images courtesy Hawaii DLNR

Residents of Hawai‘i know that its environment and way of life are special. Many of the native plants and animals exist nowhere else in the world, and the ability to grow food locally and be connected to the land is critical to maintaining an island identity. As invasive species continue to arrive in Hawai‘i and spread through the islands, the environment, agriculture, economy, and even human health are at risk.  Coqui frogs, fire ants, albizia, and mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever and Zika virus provide recent examples of impacts to Hawai‘i.  Broad, comprehensive strategies are needed to protect our economy, environment and way of life.

“My administration has focused on doing the right thing the right way. Protecting Hawai‘i from the impacts of invasive species will require agencies and industries to work together to build a better biosecurity system,” said Gov. David Ige. “Our actions now will result in a more robust agriculture industry, protect our natural resources, our economy, and our unique way of life here in Hawai‘i.”

biosecurity-planaBetter biosecurity is Hawai‘i’s path forward from this invasive species crossroad. The term biosecurity encompasses the full set of policies and actions that minimize risk from invasive species. This means pre-border actions to prevent invasive species from reaching our shores, border inspections and quarantine to detect new arrivals, and post-border control for species that have made their way into the state.

biosecurity-planbThe State’s first line of defense against invasive species has always been the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, but in the 21st century we need partners,” said Scott Enright, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  “The threat of potential invasive species goes beyond HDOA’s mandate and this new interagency biosecurity plan will help the State focus on important priorities that will protect the environment and agriculture in Hawaii now and in the future.”


The State of Hawai‘i developed its first comprehensive, interagency approach to biosecurity through the 2017-2027 Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan. The intended scope of this plan is to address all three biosecurity areas (pre-border, border, and post-border) and to strategically coordinate actions across a wide range of agencies and partners. The planning process, led by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), has joined the efforts of industry representatives and state, federal, and county agencies to identify policy, process, and infrastructure needs over the next decade. The plan is currently in draft form and awaits public review and input at a series of meetings across the state in early October.

biosecurity-plandIn Hawai‘i the concept of laulima is followed: many hands working together. The Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan is a blueprint for conservationists, farmers, researchers, and private citizens to join together and help protect this special place. While the draft plan includes over 150 coordinated actions that would substantially enhance our biosecurity system, 10 key areas highlighted for improvements are listed below. :

1)      Off-shore compliance: Agreements with other jurisdictions to adopt pre-shipping inspection and control policies.

2)      E-manifest and intelligence gathering: Using new technology to track what’s coming in, what’s high-risk, and what’s low-risk (for faster release).

3)      Inspection facilities: Well-lit, secure areas for efficient inspections, refrigerated areas for produce.

4)      Inspection of non-agricultural items: HDOA has authority and staff to inspect high-risk non-agricultural items.

5)      Emergency response capacity: Interagency plans, protocols, and funding in place for timely and effective response to new pest incursions.

6)      Better coordination and participation by industries: Expand HISC into an Invasive Species Authority to provide industry a seat at the table and coordinate complex interagency efforts.

7)      Renewed focus on human health: A fully restored DOH Vector Control Branch to detect vectors of dengue, Zika, rat lungworm, and more.

8)      Enhanced control of established pests: Adequate field staff at HDOA, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Department of Health (DOH), and the University of Hawai‘i (UH) to control established invasive species and improved laboratories to support effective biocontrol.

9)      Minimize interisland spread: Increased staff and inspections for interisland goods, support to local farms and nurseries via certification programs and import substitution programs.

10)   Engaged and supportive community: Targeted outreach to different stakeholder groups to increase awareness and engagement in biosecurity programs.