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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs September 29, 2011

Humpback whales are returning to Hawaiian waters.  Photo courtesy of NOAA
IT’S EARLY, but it may be time to start looking for humpback whales in waters off Ka`u. The first reports of seeing humpbacks off the coast of the Big Island were turned in this week. Popular humpback sighting places in Ka`u are South Point, Punalu`u and Honu`apo. The first whales were seen in Kona.
     The staff of the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary reminds boaters and other ocean users to keep a safe distance from the humpback whales. The whales travel annually to Hawaiian waters to give birth to their young and spend the winter before heading north to Alaskan and Canadian waters where they spend the summer feeding.
     According to NOAA, federal regulations prohibit all ocean users - vessel operators, kayakers, paddle boarders, windsurfers, swimmers and divers throughout the Hawaiian Islands – from approaching within 100 yards of whales when on the water, and 1,000 feet when operating an aircraft. Humpback season generally runs from November to May, when up to 12,000 whales each year migrate to Hawaiian waters.
     “It’s important for everyone to be extra vigilant during whale season, for their own safety and the protection of these magnificent animals,” said Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary operations coordinator Paul Wong.
     People are also being called to report distressed animals. “By locating distressed animals, reporting and providing the initial documentation and assessment on the animal, ocean users are the foundation of our conservation efforts,” says marine mammal response manager for the sanctuary Ed Lyman.
     Anyone who comes across an injured or entangled marine mammal is asked to maintain the required safe distance and call the NOAA Marine Mammal Hotline at 1-888-256-9840 or the U.S. Coast Guard on channel 16. Reports of a suspected approach zone violation are asked to call NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964. Additional guidelines and safety tips can be found at http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.

LETTERS FROM THE PUBLIC omitted from the online publication of the Nani Kahuku `Aina Draft Environmental Impact Statement are now posted.

RICK WARSHAUER, of Volcano, asked, “Is it fiscally responsible for government officials and commission members to recommend and grant land use approvals when there is a good chance that the development might not progress, but the county still be required to provide services implied by such approvals?”
     Warshauer described a situation in Puna, where he says “over 50,000 house lots were approved over a short period of time, but the county has not kept up with expected public improvements in the area.”
     Resort planner Dean Minakami responded, “Please be aware that all our infrastructure associated with Kahuku Village, including roadways, sewer, water, and drainage systems, will be privately constructed and maintained at no cost to the county.”
     Minakami claims that the development would have a net fiscal benefit for the county by bringing in increased tax revenues.

RICK BENNETT, chairman of the Kona chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, outlined what he says should be covered by the EIS, including the impact on ground water, marine water, anchialine ponds, and agriculture potential. Bennett also recommended that the statement include considerations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance carbon sequestration. 
     PBR Hawai`i planner Dean Minakami replied to the letter, saying, “An agricultural feasibility study has not been prepared as the property is not suitable for most agricultural pursuits.” He described the majority of the property as “barren lava fields with pockets of vegetation in shallow topsoil. The property’s limited agricultural potential is reflected in its Land Study Bureau agricultural productivity rating of an “E” (the lowest rating), and its unclassified status on the Agricultural Lands of Importance to the State of Hawai`i (ALISH) map.”

ROB SHALLENBERGER wrote as a director of The Nature Conservancy Hawai`i Island. He asked for more detail on a proposed ahupua`a stewardship program. “I hope that the DEIS will provide substantially more data regarding agricultural uses of the property, including the opportunity for bioenergy projects.”
     Minakami replied that planners considered agriculture and growth of feedstock on the land for a bio-energy facility, but that the agricultural potential there is “very limited.” 
     The PBR Hawai`i planner said the potential impact of development on archaeological sites, ground and marine water, shoreline, air quality, and other issues raised by Bennett, Shallenberger, and in other letters are covered by the DEIS.
     The previously omitted letters and responses are attached at the end of the DEIS, which can be read under the state Department of Health website under Office of Environmental Quality Control at
http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/EA_and_EIS_Online_Library/Hawaii/2010s/2011-09-23-DEIS-Kahuku-Village-Vol1.pdf.

A MEETING ON THE Nani Kahuku `Aina development will be held at Miloli`i tomorrow, sponsored by Pa`a Pono Miloli`i at 2:30 p.m. at the Halau - the Miloli`i Pavilion. The organization is calling for more community involvement in reviewing the plan to change land to Urban designation from Conservation along the coast between South Point and Ocean View Ranchos to create a development called Kahuku Village. The meeting will be followed by a presentation by Conservation International and Pa`a Pono Miloli`i on a marine conservation program.

INNOVATIONS DEVELOPMENT GROUP, the Native-to-Native company working on geothermal in New Zealand, is holding a meeting today regarding potential locations for additional geothermal to make electricity for this island. The meeting will feature Mililani Trask, an attorney and principal in the hui; Bob Lindsey, trustee for the Big Island for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs; Wally Ishibashi, of ILWU Local 142 and member of the Geothermal Working Group; and Richard Ha, co-chair of the Geothermal Working Group. Today’s meeting is at 6 p.m. at Kealakehe High School in Kona.

Manila Extract  is celebrating National Coffee Day.
Photo by Tanya Kearns
THIS IS NATIONAL COFFEE DAY. Ka`u Coffee Mill giveaways are part of the Manila Extract celebration on Facebook. Among the giveaways are Ka`u Coffee Mill bags of coffee and Ka`u Coffee Mill coffee bags. Check out Manila Extract on Facebook. 

VOLUNTEERS ARE STILL NEEDED at Ka`u Hospital to help train and certify Emergency Department doctors with a new ultrasound machine. The training will be on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 3 and 4. Volunteers are asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to the two-hour volunteer shifts, which are scheduled at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Volunteers must be over 18 years of age. To find out more about requirements or to sign up call assistant administrator Nona Wilson at 928-2050 or email nowilson@hhsc.org. 

VOTING CONTINUES THROUGH Saturday morning at Ka`u Federal Credit Union in Na`alehu for the cover art for the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce’s Directory 2012. The End of Show celebration takes place Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. The Directory is Ka`u’s phone book and resource publication. Deadline to submit listings and advertising is Oct. 31. Applications are online at kauchamber.org or call 928-6471.

THIS IS SPIRIT WEEK FOR KA`U HIGH. On Monday, each class wore different colored clothes; Tuesday was Paniolo Day; yesterday was Nerd Day; today is Trojan Wear Day and Flashback Friday features kids wearing clothes from different eras. The Homecoming Dance is Friday night, and the Homecoming Parade is Saturday throughout Pahala Village preceding the homecoming game which kicks off at 6 p.m. on the Ka`u High ball field against Kohala. 

TONIGHT THE KA`U HIGH girls Varsity volleyball will play St. Joseph's at 6 p.m. at the Ka`u high gym. The game, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday, was moved to today. There is no JV game.