About The Ka`u 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, October 19, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, Oct.19, 2014

Makai of Ka`alaiki Road, rain from Hurricane Ana created spectacular sites as streams fell over cliffs between Pahala and Na`alehu. John Cross, of Olson Trust, said the left fall is from an unnamed stream or drainage, while the one on the right is Hilea.
Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U SKIES ARE IMPROVING, WITH GLIMPSES OF SUNSHINE as Hurricane Ana continues on its northwest route south of the rest of the state. The tropical storm gained strength and became a category-one hurricane as it approached Hawai`i Island south of South Point Friday. While spared of strong winds due to the center of the storm being about 115 miles from South Point, Ka`u got pounded with rain for hours. The constant downpours flooded Hwy 11 in the Kawa area, filled streams – some to overflowing – and created waterfalls in the mountains above Hwy 11 and in Wood Valley.
Water in Ninole River cascaded below Aikane
Plantation. Photo by Julia Neal
      Wood Valley residents were cut off when water covered the road at the Kapapala Ranch intersection. A tree branch on Center Road fell across electric lines, taking out power to some homes in the valley.
      Aikane Plantation Coffee Farm on Ka`alaiki Road reported 5.5 inches of rain. “Thank God for no wind,” said owner Merle Becker. “Trees are heavy with cherries and a little bent over from all the rain, but we got through it.”
      On Friday night a rain gauge at Kapapala Ranch showed rain falling at two to three inches per hour as bands or precipitation from the storm reached the slopes of Mauna Loa, with heaviest amounts from Volcano to Pahala and Wood Valley. National Weather Service reported that Kapapala recorded 7.5 inches in a 24-hour period.
      Ka`u News Briefs will be posting photos of the waterfalls and asking residents if they know the traditional Hawaiian names of them.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

MOST OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK opened today following Hurricane Ana, except for Mauna Loa Road, which remains closed due to downed trees.
      Popular park features like Thurston Lava Tube, Kilauea Iki Overlook and the 19-mile stretch of Chain of Craters Road are now open, including both visitor centers and Kipukapuaulu (Bird Park). Namakanipaio Campground is also open.
      Volcano Art Center, Volcano House, Kilauea Military Camp, and the post office are open.
       Park rangers observed no significant damage from Hurricane Ana, but heavy rainfall, thunder and lightning impacted the park and Hawai‘i Island Friday and Saturday, causing hazardous conditions. More rain is forecast for East Hawai`i through Sunday, and a flash flood advisory is in effect as of Sunday morning. Motorists are urged to drive with caution.
      The Kahuku Unit remains closed this weekend and will be assessed on Monday.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD is calling for the immediate suspension of visas for citizens of Ebola-stricken West African nations as well as flights from those countries into the US.
A tree limb fell on power lines in Wood Valley, cutting off power to
several homes. Photo by Julia Neal
      “Recent mistakes have revealed that the U.S. public health system is clearly not fully prepared to combat Ebola and prevent its spread in the United States,” Gabbard said. “We cannot stand idly by while this heart-breaking epidemic rages in West Africa, already claiming thousands of lives. There are immediate steps we must take to ensure the safety of the American people and ensure we can maintain our support for West African nations that are overwhelmed by this crisis. First, we need to immediately suspend commercial flights from the West African nations into the United States, as well as suspend visas for their passport holders, until we can ensure that our health facilities are adequately prepared. This temporary suspension will give our healthcare leaders the time and space to adequately prepare our health system to handle Ebola cases and help us to stay focused on the prevention efforts in West Africa.”

      Gabbard also voiced concerns about the Centers for Disease Control’s handling of the few cases that have already struck in the U.S., saying, “The CDC and some healthcare providers have already mishandled several Ebola cases. We cannot afford more mistakes. We should be taking every precaution to protect our people, beginning with our healthcare workers.

      
“Just look at the domino effect that just one sick person from West Africa has had. We’re still scrambling to deal with that episode. Just imagine the chaos that will occur if even more such sick individuals enter the country.

      “Ultimately, we need to be able to focus on our efforts to contain the spread of Ebola in West Africa. I strongly support the steps we’ve already taken to provide assistance overseas, but if we are increasingly distracted by Ebola cases in the U.S., we cannot fully focus on the heart of where this epidemic has struck. The impact and spread of Ebola thus far is absolutely devastating; we need to take every proactive measure we have available to stop this virus in its tracks.

      “Claims that we need to keep commercial flights open for healthcare workers and supplies to be ferried into these countries are absurd. During this period, essential personnel and equipment can be transported in and out of these countries via charter flights,” Gabbard added.

While the lava flow front in Puna, shown within yellow lines at left, is not advancing
toward Pahoa, a thermal image at right shows it is still active. Images from HVO
SCIENTISTS AT HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY report that glow from the June 27th lava flow in Puna was visible overnight via webcam, indicating that the flow remains active near its front and mid-way along its length, although it has not adanced. 
      A Civil Defense overflight yesterday morning found no significant flow advancement, and the distal tip of the flow was still about 0.8 miles from Apa`a Street and Cemetery Road near Pahoa, as measured along the steepest-descent line that the flow has been following.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Anna Peach presents programs on sustainable farming
in Ka`u this week. Photo from Anna Peach
KAMUELA FARMER ANNA PEACH of Squash and Awe farm presents talks about her sustainable farming methods at Ka`u public libraries this week. A seventh-generation farmer, Peach shares information about no-till farming, interplanting with native plants, seed saving and making natural fertilizers from restaurant scrap. 
      See her farm at squashandawe.com.
      Programs are at Na`alehu Public Library Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. and Pahala Public & School Library Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.

KA`U LEARNING ACADEMY CO-FOUNDER Joe Iacuzzo, the official Hawai`i representative for the National Park Service’s National Fossil Day, presents a talk titled Thomas Jefferson to Johnson Space Center: America’s Fossil History at After Dark in the Park Tuesday.
      The free program begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      Park entrance fees apply. $2 donations support park programs.

KA`U CHAPTER OF HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION UNITED meets at Na`alehu Community Center Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
       Guest speaker at the meeting is Tane Datta, of Adaptations, Inc., who will discuss how to bring produce to market. Datta runs a farm in South Kona that distributes produce through a Community Supported Agriculture model. The 8.5-acre farm features an acre in coffee, three acres in intensive production and the rest in orchards. The farm is certified organic and is featured on the University of Hawai`i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources website.
      The public is invited to all Ka`u Farmers Union United meetings. Farmers and backyard growers are invited to bring food to share.
      To join the Farmers Union, call 503-575-9098.

HO`OKUPU HULA NO KA`U CULTURAL FESTIVAL takes place in Pahala on the grounds of the Old Plantation Mangers House this Friday and Saturday. All entertainment is open to the public with no fees. Friday and Saturday night will feature emcee Skylark and chanter Na`auao Vivas.
      The festival begins on Friday with `Ohana Night and an Opening Pule at 4 p.m., followed by Ho`okupu by Kumu Hula Haumana and others wishing to participate. At 4:30 p.m., Ernest Kalani takes the stage, followed by Keoki Kahumoku at 5 p.m. A Kukui Ceremony honoring ancestors will be held at 5:45 p.m., followed by music from the South Side Serenaders at 6 p.m. Music by Makanau begins at 7 p.m., followed by Steven Sioloa, Wailau Ryder and Ricky Masaoka at 8:15 p.m.
      See more on the festival in more of this week’s Ka`u News Briefs.

KAUAHA`AO CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH IS PLANNING its annual fundraising bazaar on Saturday, Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
      Members invite individuals and groups to be vendors. The flea market is open to any club, school, athletic organizations or individuals who would like to raise money for the upcoming holidays.
      The charge for a 10-foot x10-foot booth space is $10. Vendors are asked to bring their own tent, table, chairs and, if they need power, their own generator.
      For more information and to reserve a booth, call Walter Wong Yuen in the evenings at 928-8039.
      At the bazaar there will be live entertainment throughout the day. The Church will be selling laulau, kulolo, baked goods, laulau plate lunches, hotdogs and more.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.




Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014

New county bridge in Wood Valley handled the raging stream and flood waters coming down Wood Valley Road. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U ESCAPED THE WIND BUT NOT THE WATER. Heavy rains from Hurricane Ana flooded Wood Valley Road this morning, stranding residents and carving new paths through farms, coffee plantations and macadamia orchards. Monster waterfalls tumbled out of the mountains above Punalu`u, Kawa and Honu`apo as Ana passed southwest of the island.
Residents ride their boogie boards along Wood Valley Road. Photo by Julia Neal
      When Hilea bridge flooded on Hwy 11 between Honu`apo and Punalu`u around 4 a.m., Jay Casuga, on his way to work at Malama Market in Ocean View from his home in Pahala, was stranded for two hours between Hilea Bridge and Kawa along with a police officer and a Hele-On bus and driver.
      Unable to reach work, Casuga, an assistant meat department manager, his fiancĂ©e Elise Peralta, who is meat department manager at Malama, her little brother Rylan Peralta and co-worker Kimo Tyson fetched their boogie boards and rode the flood waters along Wood Valley Road.
      Up Wood Valley Road, the new county bridge built after Tropical Storm Iselle damaged the old one handled the rushing stream and a deluge of flood water from Wood Valley Road.
      The Kawa Flats area was still closed mid-morning to traffic on Hwy 11, and Wood Valley Road was closed at the flooded gulch near Kapapala intersection. Punalu`u and Honu`apo Beach Parks remained closed.
      Coffee farmers, some of them picking as much cherry as they could before the arrival of Ana, said they were happy to be spared from the kind of wind that ripped beans off the branches during Tropical Storm Iselle in August. Gloria Camba, president of the Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative, said ripe cherries need to picked quickly and that she hopes the rain will let up so farmers and pickers can get back to their orchards.
      A flash flood warning has been extended to 3 p.m. today. National Weather Service reminds residents to avoid flood-prone areas.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK REOPENED parts of Crater Rim Drive along Kilauea Caldera today at noon, including Kilauea Visitor Center and Jaggar Museum.
      Thurston Lava Tube, Kilauea Iki Overlook and all of Chain of Craters Road remain closed due to flooding. Mauna Loa Road above Kipukapuaulu (Bird Park) is closed, but Kipukapuaulu is open. Namakanipaio Campground is open. Park rangers on Sunday will reopen closed areas incrementally as hurricane impact is assessed.
      The Kahuku Unit remains closed this weekend, and International Archaeology Day, originally scheduled for today, will be rescheduled at a later date.
      Volcano Art Center, Volcano House, Kilauea Military Camp and the post office are open.
      The park reports no significant damage from Hurricane Ana, but heavy rainfall, thunder and lightning pelted the area Friday and early Saturday morning. More heavy rain is forecast through today, and the flash flood warning is in effect for the park. Motorists are urged to drive with caution.
       To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Flood waters traveled through coffee farms, cutting new paths along Wood Valley
Road. The flood isolated Wood Valley. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U’S STATE SEN. JOSH GREEN, M.D., Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, has scheduled an informational briefing at the State Capitol for Wednesday at 9 a.m. on Hawai`i’s preparedness for outbreaks of infectious disease, including the Ebola virus. 
      “Ebola kills more than half the people it infects,” Green said, “so this is a matter of life and death, not only for the person who is infected but for everyone who comes into close contact with them.”
      Green announced he will convene representatives from the state Department of Health, the Healthcare Association of Hawai`i, the Department of Transportation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to brief the Senate Committee on Health on current procedures, facilities and plans to identify and control cases of Ebola infection should it reach Hawai`i.
      “We have to make sure that Hawai`i is ready if someone infected with Ebola steps off a plane here,” Green said. “That means having effective screening measures in place at our airports and being prepared with facilities and procedures that can safely transport, quarantine and care for Ebola patients until they recover.”
      Green stressed the need for special safety procedures: “It is essential that we have emergency protocols ready and in place that will protect the nurses, orderlies and other health workers who would be in close contact with potential Ebola patients. This disease is spread by contact with body fluids from an infected individual, and it can only be effectively contained if the right equipment and procedures are used with extreme care.”
      “State government, hospital administrators and the entire health care system must communicate, work together and be prepared so we are ready to safely handle patients infected with Ebola or other dangerous contagious diseases,” Green said. “It is extremely unlikely that someone infected with Ebola will reach Hawai`i, given our distance from West Africa and our geographical isolation, but we must be prepared as if it is certain that we will have to screen, identify, quarantine and care for Ebola patients who could arrive here. Ebola is too deadly and dangerous to ignore.”
Monster waterfalls appeared in the mountains
makai of Makanau. Photo by Julia Neal
      Green is an Emergency Room doctor with 15 years of hospital experience on Big Island.
      For more information, contact Green at 808-937-0991 or sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL HAS UNANIMOUSLY passed a resolution seeking state Legislature’s approval of coffee-labeling requirements.
      Ka`u’s Council member Brenda Ford introduced the resolution asking the state Legislature to pass a law requiring that labels on packages of Hawai`i coffee blended with foreign coffee include prominent identification stating the country or region of origin of the non-Hawai`i portion, along with percentages.
      The resolution also calls for requiring a minimum of 51 percent Hawai`i-grown coffee in any coffee package labeled as a blend.
      Hawai`i Tribune-Herald reported Ford saying, “Other states, other countries protect their farmers by saying if you’re going to blend, then you’ve got to disclose. But not in Hawai`i. Every other agricultural crop in Hawai`i is protected in that manner, except for Hawai`i-grown coffee.”
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

SANJEEV “SONNY” BHAGOWALIA, HAWAI`I’S Chief Advisor on Technology and Cybersecurity, has been named as deputy assistant secretary and chief information officer for the U.S. Department of Treasury, beginning Oct, 20.
      “Over the past three years, Sonny has helped Hawai`i leapfrog from the back of the pack in technology and cybersecurity to the front of the line, and we are now one of best in the country,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “Under Sonny’s leadership, our government transformation program has garnered an unprecedented 25 national awards, including last week’s announcement of his 2014 Enterprise Architecture Hall of Fame Award for Individual Leadership in EA Practice, Promotion and Professionalization.
      “We have the right plans and have completed many projects, thanks to his invaluable leadership and the cooperation of the extended technology and cybersecurity `ohana. Because of him, we are now on the right track, charting and navigating the course to success for the future of Hawai`i and its citizens.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hwy 11 at Punalu`u was closed this morning due to flooding at Hilea Bridge and Kawa.
A Hele-On bus, police officer and a Pahala man going to work in Ocean View were
stranded between Hilea Bridge and Kawa for two hours, beginning around 4 a.m.
Photo by Julia Neal
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY has denied an appeal submitted in response to President Barack Obama’s decision not to declare a major disaster following Tropical Storm Iselle. Declaration of a major disaster would have made funds available for emergency low-interest loans to help owners rebuild and repair homes and property. 
      “After a thorough review of all the information contained in the initial request and your appeal, we reaffirm our original findings that the impact to individuals and households from this event is not of the severity and magnitude as to be beyond the combined capabilities of the state, affected local governments and voluntary agencies,” wrote FEMA representative Elizabeth A. Zimmerman in denying the application.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

BIIF GIRLS VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT schedule has Ka`u High playing at Pahoa at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The winner will play Konawaena Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at Onizuka Gym in Kealakekua. The finals take place Saturday at 4 p.m. at Kealakekua. 

THE PUMPKIN PRIMER COMES TO KA`U public libraries. The program shows how to use heirloom squash to outsmart melon fly and pickle worm in Hawai`i. Kamuela farmer Anna Peach of Squash and Awe farm presents a talk about her sustainable farming methods. A seventh-generation farmer, Peach decided to look to history for a solution to Hawai`i’s commercial crop failure. She shares information about no-till farming, interplanting with native plants, seed saving and making natural fertilizers from restaurant scrap.
      See her farm at squashandawe.com.
      Programs are in Na`alehu Public Library Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 2:30 p.m. and in Pahala Public & School Library Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 10:30 a.m.

Ka`u resident Joe Iacuzzo, here with a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil, presents a talk
at After Dark in the Park Tuesday. Photo from Joe Iacuzzo
KA`U LEARNING ACADEMY CO-FOUNDER Joe Iacuzzo, the official Hawai`i representative for the National Park Service’s National Fossil Day, will present a talk titled Thomas Jefferson to Johnson Space Center: America’s Fossil History at After Dark in the Park Tuesday.
      In 2008, Iacuzzo was the project manager for a team of scientists who worked at NASA to study the most complete dinosaur fossil ever discovered. The advances in science that allowed for the NASA research were set in motion by a host of early American scientists, including Jefferson, who was an avid fossil collector who was trying to understand the prehistoric past of the new United States. “The evolution of how we understand prehistoric life and the technologies available to researchers would make Jefferson's head spin!” Iacuzzo said.
      Iacuzzo worked for six years on Jurassic Park at Universal Pictures and co-produced an award-winning dinosaur documentary film for Discovery Channel.
      This event is sponsored by the National Park Services.
      The free program begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      Park entrance fees apply. $2 donations support park programs.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.



See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.




Friday, October 17, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Oct. 17, 2014

Ka`u High is shut down with the disaster shelter under construction.
Photo by Julia Neal
PREPARE FOR THE WORST, HOPE FOR THE BEST is the policy of public officials preparing for the arrival of Ana into Hawaiian waters. She reached category one hurricane strength at 75 mph this morning. While Ana is tracking farther west and south than earlier expected, flooding, wind damage and storm surge remain a moderate risk for Ka`u. The eye of Ana is expected to pass more than 140 miles makai of South Point overnight as she tracks offshore parallel to the Hawaiian Islands and heads toward French Frigage Shoals and National Wildlife Refuge in the northern islands.
     At 11 a.m., the National Weather Service reported that Ana was located about 230 south of Hilo, moving west-northwest at 14 mph. She is expected to turn to the northwest this afternoon and tomorrow and pass south of O`ahu Saturday night. County Civil Defense recommended today that residents of shoreline areas like Punalu`u, move to higher ground.
    A U.S. reconnaisance aricraft will be sampling Ana this afternoon, while a NOAA Gulfstream IV continues to probe the surrounding environment. The Weather Service warned that only "a slight shift to the right in the forecast track could mean siginificant differences potential impacts the main Hawaiian Islands," through 8 a.m. Sunday when she is forecast to be south of Kaua`i.
    Television coverage with interviews of Ka'u residents preparing for the storm noted that the new Ka`u emergency shelter is still under construction, the shutdown of public, charter and Kamehameha Schools, cancellation of sporting events and closure of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and local beach parks and public libraries. The cautious preparation led to numerous cancellations of reservations and the departure of visitors from Ka'u accommodations.
Pahala Public & School Library remained taped up today.
Photo by Julia Neal
  Mileka Lincoln, of Hawai'i News Now, began filming from Punalu'u Beach Park yesterday and Kalae this morning. She interviewed campers, including some who live at Punalu'u, saying they plan to get out of the way as beach parks are closed by the county. At Kalae, Lincoln reported from the cliffs at dawn, stationed above calm seas at the fishing hoist and ladder, reporting that waves could rise to ten, then possibly 40 feet.
     However, With the prospect of calmer seas around the islands, airlines, cruise lines and cargo ships began restoring their schedules. Young Brothers planned to send the barge from Honolulu to Hilo this evening and the Coast Guard considered keeping Hilo and Kawaehae ports open.
     All weather prediction models used by the National Weather Service, some of which earlier took Ana over the Big Island, keep her offshore. None of the tropical winds are expected to reach this island, according to forecast from Pacific Hurricane Center. However, heavy rains and flooding could pop up unexpectedly, officials said.  Recommended preparedness actions may be found on the Hawai`i Emergency Management Agency website at scd.hawaii.gov. Residents are also encouraged to enroll in local notification systems and monitor local radio and television broadcasts.  To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.


Tane Datta and family run an 8.5 acre farm that will be
featured at this evening's Ka`u Farmers Union United meeting.
Photo from University of Hawai`i 

KA`U CHAPTER OF HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION UNITED was planning to hold its meeting at Na`alehu Community Center at 5:30 p.m. but the county has closed the facility.
     President of the organization Malian Lahey reported cancellation of the meeting today after 3 p.m. and said it will be rescheduled.
     Guest speaker at the meeting to be announced is Tane Datta, of Adaptations, Inc., who will discuss how to bring produce to market. Datta runs a farm in South Kona that distributes produce through a Community Supported Agriculture model. He grows kale, watermelon, radishes, Swiss chard, fennel, asparagus, spearmint, opal basil, edible flowers and more. He also distributes produce from other farmers to 70 hotels and restaurants statewide. 
     The 8.5 acre farm features an acre in coffee, three acres in intensive production and the rest in orchards. The family started farming more than 25 years ago in Hawai`i, with produce over the years also including choi, eggplant, micromix, avocado, citrus, lettuce, poha, medicinal plants, passion vine, squash and cinnamon. 
     The farm is certified organic and is featured on the University of Hawai`i's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources website.
     The public is invited to all Ka`u Farmers Union meetings. Farmers and backyard growers are invited to bring food to share.  To join the Farmers Union, call at 503-575-9098.
To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

VOLCANO ART CENTER'S ANNUAL MEETING has been postponed from tomorrow to Sunday, Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. The meeting had been set for this Saturday, but changed due to the uncertainty of the possible arrival of tropical storm winds from Ana. The general membership meeting will be held at the Niaulani Campus on Old Volcano Hwy.

HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK is expected to reopen at noon tomorrow unless there is damage from tropical storm winds from Ana, which is expected to track parallel to the islands overnight near the Big Island and farther up the chain tomorrow.

INPUT FROM CITIZENS regarding proposed increases in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park entrance fees is coming in. One Ka`u resident who lives here in the winter and Alaska in the summer opposes the increases in fees. Francis Mitchell writes: "I am a Golden Passport holder so the proposed fee increases will not directly affect me.   

      "Nevertheless, I think the planned increases are contrary to the purpose and spirit of our National Parks. American National Parks are gems that belong to all the people and insofar as possible they should be accessible to all the people, especially lower income families whose vacations and day-off activity choices are necessarily constricted by costs. 
Fees could go up for visitors to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Nalani Parlin
      "The trend toward more direct user charges for access to publicly owned lands should be reversed.  Likewise, privatizing services on public lands should be severely restricted. Congress should honor the public nature of our National Parks by adequately funding them to maintain affordability for all Americans. 
      "In keeping with the Parks' mission to offer all citizens the opportunity to experience these very special American places, I would like to see the National Park Service cap entry fees or reduce them. Cut back on some physical improvements. Urge visitors to press their Congressional representatives to appropriate the moneys required for those improvements and then let the public know that maintenance and improvements depend on those appropriations, rather than having funding of operations dependent on ever-increasing user fees.
     "The announced levels of fee increases will no doubt cause many people to skip Park visits in the future and will deter others from making repeat visits. Fifteen dollars – Twenty Five dollars, these are private venue rates, not public facility rates.
      "A reasonable entry fee is justifiable. Something similar to the Golden Passport should be offered to all visitors – a one time payment covering multiple visits to any National Park over an extended period of several years or for a lifetime. 
      "Even better, and more affordable to those with limited incomes, would be a cumulative payment lifetime permit. For example, a person pays a modest fee each time they enter any Park; their card is run through a bar code reader each entry-payment;  the bar code readers communicate with a central National Park system database; when they have paid the visitor fees ten times, the card is “marked” by the bar code reader as a permanent pass – without any future payments required. This would also be a way to encourage people and their family members to become National Park regulars.  
      "National Park Service is not a business and should not be. It should not be run like a business. It should be run as a service to the taxpayers, funded by our taxes," Mitchell concludes.
     For the information on the park's proposal for the fee increase, see the Wednesday, Oct. 15 edition of the Ka`u News Briefs.
      Input for the proposed fee increase is being taken by the park through Dec. 15. The public is invited to submit comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo or in writing addressed to Superintendent, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawai`i National Park, HI 96718. The deadline is Dec. 15.   To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.