About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, March 26, 2017

The community is invited to a meeting on the Preservation Plan for the Hawaiian hula site, ʻImakakāloa Heiau.
The gathering will be held this Saturday, April 1 at 12:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. See Plan,
Archaeological Inventory Survey and Protocol Guide at www.edithkanakaolefoundation.org.
See story below. Photo from Edith Kanaka`ole Foundation
OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION has applied to the Hawai`i Legislature for a Grant-in-Aid, which, if approved, would pay for a new roof for the community center. The existing metal roof was installed by volunteers in 1979. Although the roof has been patched numerous times, it urgently needs to be replaced before leaking water causes more damage to other parts of the building.
    According to Hawai’i Revised Statutes, Chapter 42F, Grants-in-Aid are awarded for either capital improvements or operating funds to support programs. OVCA is asking for a grant of $40,000 to replace the roof.
    The application is reviewed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Jill Tokuda, and the House Finance Committee, chaired by Sylvia Luke.
     On Saturday, OVCA President Ron Gall and OVCA Vide-president Dave Anderson made a joint personal presentation in Waimea, limited to ten minutes, to members of both committees in the Legislature.
A row of tall, carefully crafted 'Ohi'a posts, stand in proud testament 
to skill of volunteers who built Ocean View Community Center 
in 1979. Trademark columns support the Community Center's 
upper lanai. The two-story meeting place is home to many community 
events, medical programs, social services resources, political talk 
stories, meals and gatherings. Photo by Ann Bosted
    “I think it went pretty well,” commented Gall, “they all seemed familiar with the Ocean View situation and I felt we got a positive reaction. We gave them a photo book showing the poor state of the metal roof. We just have to wait and see.”
    The State of Hawai`i website lists about 46 grants awarded last year. They range from $ 1.7 million to $35,000. Gov. David Ige has the final decision as he can withhold funds even if the grant is awarded.
    As part of the application process, OVCA provided, in advance of the presentation, a summary of its background, stating that OVCA has “served the community’s needs as a place to talk story, meet our neighbors and learn about issues important to our community. The OVCA sponsors community forums, activities and events important to the Ka’u District related to Health, Education, Social Services and Community Services.”
     Under the section devoted to the building's contributions to health, OVCA’s application lists: “Department of Veterans Affairs medical, mental health and benefits assistance; Public Health nurse services; Dengue Fever briefings; Medical insurance enrollment; and other medical service.”
    Educational contributions are explained by “Early Head Start; kindergarten registration; family reading night; school parent-teacher conferences; farmer and field worker briefings.”
     OVCA lists the social services facilitated in the community center as “Legal Aid services; Epic `Ohana services to Hawai’i’s at risk children and youth; Project Vision free vision screening and glasses; Imua Ka’u family and community training.”
Looking down on Ocean View's Community Center, which was
largely built by town volunteers in 1979, is the center's iconic metal 
roof with "Aloha Ocean View" in large letters next to a red flower. 
The OVCA Board has applied for a state Grant in Aid to raise 
$40,000 for a new roof. Photo by Ann Bosted
     Community services provided by OVCA include: “free community dinner once a week; free Thanksgiving Day dinner; venue for three local churches; Neighborhood Watch monthly meetings; CERT training and meetings; Volunteer Fire Department training and meetings; free spay and neuter clinics; and adopt-a-Highway program." 
     “For our politicos,” the OVCA application states, “we host meet and greets for Hawai`i County Council members and state Representatives. The Community Center is a Hawai'i County polling site for local and national elections.”
    The purpose of replacing the roof is, according to the application, “to preserve the building’s integrity and continue to provide a safe and dry environment for use by the Ocean View community and for services in the Ka’u District."
     To help take care of the facility and pay for expensive insurance or Ocean View Community Center, OVCA is urging an expansion of its membership and for all current members to renew.

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THE HULA HEIAU MAKAI OF KA`ALAIKI ROAD, the old sugar cane haul road between Pahala and Na`alehu, is the subject of a public meeting this Saturday, April 1 at 12:30 at Pahala Community Center. The Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation, which is working with the Edmund C. Olson Trust to steward the historic site, will explain its Restoration Plan and Protocol Guide. Preservation Plan for ʻĪmakakāloa Heiau at Kaʻalāiki, Kaʻū, Hawaiʻi Island was written by Konrad K. Mossman, Matthew R. Clark, Dr. Peter R. Mills and Dr. Huihui Kanalehe-Mossman. 
An aerial view of ʻĪmakakāloa Heiau
Photo from Edith Kanaka`ole Foundation
      According to the Foundation, "KaʻūImakakāloa Heiau is one of the few documented hula heiau in the pae ʻāina of Hawaiʻi. Little is known of the practices and protocol used at heiau hula. The Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation is conducting research in this area in collaboration with hula practitioners, other cultural practitioners, the community, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Heritage Management Program, State Historic Preservation Division, and private land owners in the area.
      Goals stated by the Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation, are: "To mālama this heiau in perpetuity; to complete an archaeological inventory survey; to design a preservation plan for this heiau; to restore the heiau to be utilized in hula practice by 2018; to research and design hula protocol; to teach protocol to practitioners and community; to study alignments with other heiau and puʻu and to inspire similar initiatives throughout  Hawaiʻi."
 North corner of ʻĪmakakāloa Heiau. Photo by K. Mossman
     The Foundation states that three documents have been generated "to move the ʻĪmakakāloa Heiau restoration project forward. They are available online: Archaeological Inventory Survey  of the Heiau and the two acre area surrounding it;  Preservation Plan for restoration of the Heiau, and a Protocol Guide "to help orient and prepare volunteers and visitors prior to entering the site."
    According to the Foundation, "These three documents were a collaborative effort involving cultural practitioners, non-profit organizations, government agencies, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and the Kaʻū community."  The Foundation explains that the Archaeological Inventory Survey documents the site as it exists today as well as compiles historical, ethnohistorical, and archaeological background of the area. The Preservaiton Plan outlines how this site will be restored to maintain the authenticity of the site as well as to follow cultural protocol in the process. The Protocol Guide is a means of "disseminating proper etiquette and protocol to the masses. Within this guide, oli and mele are offered and discussed, these mele include traditional compositions as well as newly composed mele. We offer these documents for the purposes of demonstrating the steps taken in the work of mālama heiau to help other similar initiatives."
    See more on the Edith Kanaka`ole Foundation at www.edithkanakaolefoundation.org.

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Prince Kuhio

PRINCE KUHIO DAY is Sunday, March 26 with the state holiday on Monday to celebrate the birthday of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Piʻikoi on March 26, 1871. He was an heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawai`i, a territorial delegate to the U.S. Congress and authored the first Hawai`i Statehood bill in 1919. He also won passage of the Hawaiian Homes Act to create the Hawaiian Homes Commission and set aside 200,000 acres for the benefit of Native Hawaiians. 

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Hawaiian Hoary Bats, Tue, Mar 28, 7 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. USGS bat biologist and researcher Corinna Pinzari reveals recent research and examines ‘ōpe‘ape‘a’s current status and distribution. Free; park entrance feed apply.

Coffee Talk, Fri, Mar 31, 9:30 – 11 a.m., spotlights Footprints in the Ka`u Desert. Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. A monthly series of talks on various subjects. nps.gov/havo or 985-6011
www.kaucalendar.com




Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, March 25, 2017

The last 2017 Ocean Count of humpback whales was held in Ka`u and around the state on Saturday, sponsored
by Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
File Photo by Danielle Cholewiak/NOAA
FINAL HAWAIIAN ISLANDS HUMPBACK WHALE NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY OCEAN COUNT for 2017 drew more than 380 volunteers to 48 sites along the shores of Ka`u and around the state on Saturday morning. Humpback whales are sensing summer coming on and starting to make their way north for the season after wintering in Hawai`i where they breed, give birth and nurse their calves each year.
Humpback females breed, give birth and nurse their calves in
Hawaiian waters each winter. Photo from NOAA
     Cindy Among-Serrao, the Ocean Count Project Coordinator, said that during the count from 8 a.m. until noon, 85 whale sightings were recorded during one 8:35 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. time slot, the most during any period of the day. Volunteers not only counted but recorded whale and other marine life activity.
     "It was a nice sunny day with the occasional cloud cover which was great for volunteers but whale viewing conditions were not so favorable due to the presence of gusty winds and choppy waters," said Among-Serrao.
     Statewide more than 1500 volunteers participated during three Sanctuary Ocean Count days in January, February and March, the peek, time for whales living in Hawaiian waters before they take off to Alaska and Japan for the summer with their calves born and nursed in Hawai`i. The largest number of whales in one day in Ka`u and Volcano were seen at Ka Lae - South Point and at Ka`ena Point - the bottom of Chain of Craters Road.
     Ocean Count serves to promote public awareness about humpback whales, the sanctuary, and shore-based whale watching opportunities. The count is conducted three times per year during the peak whale season and provides a snapshot of humpback whales sightings from the shoreline. Participants tally humpback whale sightings and document the animals' surface behaviors during the survey. See http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.

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WHAT'S NEXT IN IMPROVING HEALTH CARE? Though the Affordable Care Act still in place, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said there is much to do to improve health care delivery, particularly in rural areas like Ka`u. Gabbard said that she was happy to report that the proposed American Health Care Act, slated to replace the ACA, was pulled from the U.S. House of Representatives floor Friday "due to lack of support. It's a terrible bill that was basically written by insurance and pharmaceutical corporations on the backs of the most needy and vulnerable. There are serious problems with our health care system that must be addressed, but this bill was not the solution - it would have just made things worse. This is not the end. We must continue to work for a healthcare system that puts the health and well being of people first."
      She noted that Medicare and Medicaid "help provide access to quality healthcare for nearly 130 million Americans, including close to 570,000 people in Hawai`i." She pointed to her sponsorship of the Medicare Premium Fairness Act "to prevent premium and deductible increases for those enrolled in Medicare, and the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act to help ensure those who are the most in need continue to have access to quality and affordable care." She said she is also working to increase the Medicare reimbursement rate to help expand health care access and retain physicians in rural communities like Ka`u. She also reviewed other efforts toward improving health care:

KA`U'S MARSHALLESE COMMUNITY is underserved in health care and Gabbard vowed to help restore federal funding for health care promised to Compacts of Free Association migrants. In 1996, Congress passed a law that made migrants from Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands ineligible for federal Medicaid dollars, despite an earlier commitment from the U.S. after it used the islands for nuclear weapons testing between 1946 and 1962. Many families had to evacuate their home islands after the U.S. established the Pacific Proving Grounds and conducted 105 atmospheric and underwater nuclear tests. Generations later, many of the islands remain contaminated by nuclear fallout and the descendants of those who lived there can still not return to their ancestral islands.
     A number of Marshallese families live in Ka`u, particularly in Ocean View. Many of them work
Marshallese students who attend Ka`u schools. with family members
working in the coffee industry and construction, are underserved with
health care, promised to them by the U.S. government.
Photo by Julia Neal
in the coffee and construction industries with some children entering public school without English skills.
     "Without federal dollars, Hawai‘i has borne the cost of care for COFA migrants, which has strained our state’s resources," said Gabbard. "Each year, Hawai‘i spends an estimated $30 to $40 million to provide health care to these families. Gabbard introduced the Restore Medicaid to Compact of Free Association Migrants Act "to right this wrong, require the federal government to fulfill its obligations, honor our COFA, and share the cost of providing health care," she said.

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KA`U HOSPITAL IS A CRITICAL ACCESS HOSPITAL, always under threat of losing funding. Gabbard said, "People from every island deserve access to the highest quality of health care." She said she visited rural hospitals and saw the "remote locations, lack of funding, and staff shortages." She proposed to help "solve these challenges and create greater access to care in our rural and underserved communities." Gabbard also cosponsored the CONNECT for Health Act to remove Medicare barriers to tele-health and remote patient monitoring services.

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VETERANS HEALTH CARE will continue to be another concern, said Gabbard. "While veterans have been experiencing delays and obstacles in receiving VA healthcare for decades, in 2014, our country's failure to fulfill its promise to our veterans was starkly exposed. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans faced wait times of 90 days or more to see a doctor. Hawaiʻi veterans experienced the worst wait times in the country, averaging 145 days—almost five months—just to see a primary care physician for the first time."
Better health care for veterans is the aim of several bills
before the U.S. Congress. Photo from www.filipiknow.net
     She referred to her bill called the Access to Care and Treatment Now for Veterans Act to allow veterans not getting timely healthcare from the VA to get care from non-VA medical providers. This policy was ultimately included in the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act that became law at the end of 2014. She said she promises to do more to eliminate the unacceptable wait times veterans still face today.
    She also passed an amendment in the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act to provide military retirees living more than 100 miles from a military treatment facility the option to re-enroll in TRICARE Prime. The amendment reversed a 2013 policy that eliminated this access and created barriers for veterans. She recently cosponsored legislation to require that management positions be filled at VA medical facilities.

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UNIVERSITY CLASSES OFFERED IN THE HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE is a goal of Sen. Kai Kahele, whose family is from Miloli`i and father Gil Kahele served as a state Senator from the district that included Ka`u. Kai Kahele, who represents Hilo, authored a bill in the state Senate that made it through the double deferral filing deadline on Thursday.
     Senate Bill 848, House Draft 2 would authorize an Olelo Hawai`i pilot project at any of the ten University of Hawai`i campuses. "The na`au (core) of the bill is the opportunity to provide the pursuit of higher education at our state university through the medium of Hawaiian language," he said. Kahele said the implementation will take time, with initial focus on general education core requirement. He described the plan as "great for the University of Hawai`i and the hundreds if not thousands of keiki across the K-12 Hawaiian language immersion schools."  See the bill and comment at  SB848 SD2 HD2.
Senator Kai Kahele, whose family comes from Miloli`i, is proposing
University of Hawai`i core courses to be taught in the Hawaiian
language. Photo by Kai Kahele
      Kahele said he is also concerned about rising tuition at the U.H. main campus, with the cost averaging $11,000 per year. Even though a bargain compared to some other state universities, he noted that fewer students have registered each year since 2009 and that overall cost of living and tuition can be less expensive on the mainland. "Higher education is slowly becoming out of their reach," he said, referring to the local student enrollment.
      He noted that since 2009, annual state support of the university has dropped by $32 million.

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Hawaiian Hoary Bats, Tue, Mar 28, 7 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. USGS bat biologist and researcher Corinna Pinzari reveals recent research and examines ‘ōpe‘ape‘a’s current status and distribution. Free; park entrance feed apply.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, March 24, 2017

Explosive eruptions, like this one from Halema`uma`u on May 23, 1924, produce downwind ash that can become 
rich soil if abundant enough. In Ka`u, it's called Pahala ash and also helped channel water to old sugar 
plantation tunnels. See story below. Photo from USGS
CELEBRATING THE SURVIVAL OF OBAMACARE on Friday after Republicans pulled President Donald Trump's American Health Care Act from the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, Sen. Mazie Hirono tweeted, "Today was a victory for the #resistance, but it's only the first of many battles to come. Stay vigilant, keep calling us. #Trumpcare." 
     She released the following statement: "For the past few weeks, Republicans have been fighting with each other to see how many people they can kick off insurance rolls, and how they can raise health care costs for our kupuna, working families, and women in order to provide more tax cuts for the wealthy. Today, after seven years of vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the crowning achievement in a crusade to serve Republicans' radical anti-government agenda – passing Trumpcare – failed.      
     "This is a good day for the people in Hawai`i and across the country who have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act, but we must remain vigilant. I'll continue to stand strong and speak out against the President and his Congressional cronies' efforts to roll back the progress we've made."
     Before the bill was pulled, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard tweeted, "With changes in the #AHCA one thing remains clear - corporations get tax cuts while people who need care the most suffer. We must do better."
     AARP, which opposed the bill and decried it as an “age tax” on older Americans, applauded the decision to pull it. “The leadership’s decision to withdraw the bill from consideration proves that the voices of Americans are very powerful. This harmful legislation would have added an age tax on older Americans and put vulnerable populations at risk,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond.
    Since debate on the AHCA began, AARP had been urging all House members to vote against the legislation because it would have raised insurance costs on older Americans.
     AARP also said the AHCA would have done nothing to lower prescription drug prices and instead would have given tax breaks to pharmaceutical and insurance companies.
      A report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that under the AHCA, 14 million Americans would have lost health coverage next year, and a total of 24 million would have lost coverage over the next decade. For older Americans in particular, this legislation "would have dealt a serious financial blow," said AARP in a statement. Its Public Policy Institute found that the AHCA could have raised premiums on Americans between 50 and 64 years old by as much as $8,400 a year. The CBO found that for a 64-year-old earning $26,500 a year, health care premiums would have risen by almost $13,000 a year.
     "While the bill would have harmed older Americans, it would have provided generous benefits to special interests. The bill included tax breaks worth $200 billion for insurance companies, drugmakers and other industries," said the AARP statement.

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BARACK OBAMA RELEASED A STATEMENT ON OBAMACARE on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of its enactment as the Affordable Care Act:
     "When I took office, millions of Americans were locked out of our health care system. So, just as leaders in both parties had tried to do since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, we took up the cause of health reform. It was a long battle, carried out in Congressional hearings and in the public square for more than a year. But ultimately, after a century of talk, decades of trying, and a year of bipartisan debate, our generation was the one that succeeded. We finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few, but a right for everybody.
Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act seven years ago
March 23. The former President released a statement on its
progress on Thursday. Photo from Wikipidea 
      "The result was the Affordable Care Act, which I signed into law seven years ago today. Thanks to this law, more than twenty million Americans have gained the security and peace of mind of health insurance. Thanks to this law, more than ninety percent of Americans are insured – the highest rate in our history.
     "Thanks to this law, the days when women could be charged more than men and Americans with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage altogether are relics of the past. Seniors have bigger discounts on their prescription drugs. Young people can stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26 years old. And Americans who already had insurance received an upgrade as well – from free preventive care, like mammograms and vaccines, to improvements in the quality of care in hospitals that has averted nearly 100,000 deaths so far.
Mazie Hirono and Barack Obama worked on the
evolution and preservation of the Affordable
Care Act. Photo from Mazie Hirono
     "All of that is thanks to the Affordable Care Act. And all the while, since the law passed, the pace of health care inflation has slowed dramatically. Prices are still rising, just as they have every year for decades – but under this law, they’ve been rising at the slowest rate in fifty years. Families who get coverage through their employer are paying, on average, thousands of dollars less per year than if costs kept rising as fast as they were before the law. And reality continues to discredit the false claim that this law is in a “death spiral,” because while it's true that some premiums have risen, the vast majority of Marketplace enrollees have experienced no average premium hike at all. And so long as the law is properly administered, this market will remain stable. Likewise, this law is no “job-killer,” because America’s businesses went on a record-breaking streak of job growth in the seven years since I signed it.
     "So the reality is clear: America is stronger because of the Affordable Care Act. There will always be work to do to reduce costs, stabilize markets, improve quality, and help the millions of Americans who remain uninsured in states that have so far refused to expand Medicaid. I’ve always said we should build on this law, just as Americans of both parties worked to improve Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid over the years. So if Republicans are serious about lowering costs while expanding coverage to those who need it, and if they’re prepared to work with Democrats and objective evaluators in finding solutions that accomplish those goals – that’s something we all should welcome. But we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our health care system better, not worse for hardworking Americans. That should always be our priority.
     "The Affordable Care Act is law only because millions of Americans mobilized, and organized, and decided that this fight was about more than health care – it was about the character of our country. It was about whether the wealthiest nation on Earth would make sure that neither illness nor twist of fate would rob us of everything we’ve worked so hard to build. It was about whether we look out for one another, as neighbors, and fellow citizens, who care about each other’s success. This fight is still about all that today. And Americans who love their country still have the power to change it."

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Interior of a water tunnel though ash layers in Ka'ū. 
Water collects near the tunnel entrance and is transported by PVC
 pipe for agricultural use. USGS Photo
PAHALA ASH FROM THE VOLCANOES AND ITS ROLL IN OLD PLANTATION WATER TUNNELS are subjects of this week's Volcano Watch by scientists at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The article is entitled Volcanic Explosions Provide the Foundation for Agriculture:
     "Around Pāhala are several ash layers composed of fine-grained volcanic deposits, generally called "soil." The ashes are a mixture of altered glass, rare vitric (glassy) shards, Pele's hair, pumice, and olivine crystals. They are derived from pristine ash-fall deposits, weathered and reworked ash, and sediments. Ancient soil horizons are present in some localities.
     "In dry areas, these ashy soils are friable, in some places dense and compact, but in most cases, they are sandy, loose, and dusty. In higher-rainfall areas, the ash appears clay-like. The clay was important to the sugar industry, not only as a growing medium, but also as a control on groundwater circulation in the region.
Pahala ash is the bed for diversified agriculture in Ka`u.
Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
     "Collectively, these ash deposits were, in many ways, the underpinnings of the Ka'ū sugar cane industry. The soils formed from these ashes sustained cane growth on relatively young flows, especially on the southeastern part of the Big Island. Volcanic ash has been interlayered with the agricultural development of the Pāhala to Nā'ālehu region of the Big Island since the beginning of the plantation era.
     "The weathered ash, which has transformed to clay, is semi-permeable and alters the flow of groundwater. Rain that falls on lava flows trickles through the flows until it encounters a weathered ash layer. Because the ash acts as a barrier, the water flows across the top of the ash in the form of underground streams.
     "Hydrologists hired by plantations came to recognize that the ash beds were mostly impervious to water and would cause the rainfall to move horizontally. The ash layers mantled the existing topography, and water migrated to the low spots. Exploiting this fact, they constructed tunnels at the contact between the overlying flow and the underlying ash bed. The tunnels were built along the contour of the slope to intersect as many subterranean streams as possible.
     "Since it is easier to excavate ash than lava rock, most of the tunnels were dug within the ash layers. Due to the impervious nature of the ash, workers were careful, in their excavations, to keep the floor of the tunnel intact; otherwise, the floor had to be lined with concrete. Sometimes, where more than one ash horizon was stacked upon another, workers purposefully penetrated the overlying layers to harvest additional water.
In 2011, Edmund Olson, Glenn Panglao and John Cross celebrated
one of the first water restoration projects from old plantation tunnels.
Photo by Julia Neal
     "In the plantation era, a great amount of effort and capital was invested in creating a series of water tunnels to capture groundwater. The tunnels have such names as Mountain House, Clark, Noguchi, Fukuda, Weda, 'Alili, Makakupu, Plantation Spring, and Moa'ula Gulch. Each supplied between 80,000 to 1,200,000 gallons of water per month.
     "The plantations were very pleased to have water for irrigation, but with annual rainfalls of 100-130 inches of rain per year, the water could be used for other purposes. In the early days of the plantation, from 1880 to 1948, bundles of sugar cane were floated to mills through flumes. In its heyday, the Nā'ālehu sugar company had over 70 miles of permanent flumes floating cane to two mills—one at Honu'apo and the other at Nā'ālehu!
     "After 1948, roads and trucks were used to transport cane and the flume system was abandoned. Although the water was not used for the transport of cane, it remained a community resource for potable water and agricultural purposes.
     "Today, water from the Mountain House tunnel and Ha`ao Springs is still used by the community. In addition, the Olson Trust is trying to obtain the necessary permits to use the water from tunnels closer to Wood Valley to generate electricity and irrigate crops."

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MURDER ON THE NILE continues this weekend and next weekend at Kilauea Theatre in Volcano. The Agatha Christie murder mystery takes place on a paddleboat steamer going down the Nile in Africa. Director is  Suzi Bond. The cast is led by Hayley Pereira and Stephen Bond as Kay and Simon Mostyn, with Stephanie Becher as Jacqueline, and Ray Ryan as Canon Pennefather. Supporting characters are Lezleigh Bignami as Aunt Helen, Erin Smith as Christina, Mark Rawlings as Smith, Barbara Johnson as Louise and Steve Peyton as Dr. Bessner. Also appearing in the show are Lowden Borgens, Carol Denecker and Roch Jones.


    Performances through April 2 are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets prices are $15 general, $12 seniors and students and $10 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at Kilauea General Store, Kea'au Natural Foods, the Most Irresistible Shop in Hilo and at the door. For reservations and more information call 982-7344 or email kden73@aol.com.

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Exploring Tunnel Books, Sat, Mar 25, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Volcano Art Center. Participants take a trip down the rabbit hole with Charlene Asato. $35/$32 VAC members plus $10 material fee. 967-8222

Ecstatic Dance, Sat, Mar 25, 2 – 4 p.m., Volcano Art Center. Participants discover a dynamic way to work out and meditate with Jo Caron. $15 or $20 at the door. 967-8222

Mongolian BBQ, Sat, Mar 25, 5 – 8 p.m., in the Crater Rim Café, located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Pick what you want for $.85 per ounce from an array of veggies and proteins. Call       967-8356 for more details. KMC is open to all authorized KMC patrons and sponsored guests.             Park entrance fees apply.