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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Oct. 31, 2011

Redistricting map with Volcano separated from Ka'u and South Kona, could pit Council members Smart and Ford against one another.
COUNTY COUNCIL REDISTRICTING decisions will be considered again this Thursday at 10 a.m. in Council chambers in Hilo. A final decision before public hearings will likely be made by Nov. 10, a tentative date set by the redistricting commission.
Map showing Volcano as part of Ka'u County Council district.
     The group is concentrating on two maps. One would keep Volcano Village with Pahala and the rest of Ka`u in a County Council district now represented by council member Brittany Smart. The other would draw the line in the desert of Ka`u. Volcano would be included in a district that would be mostly Puna. Ka`u would be included with South Kona all the way to Keauhou. This could pit council member Brenda Ford against Brittany Smart should both candidates decide to run in next year’s election. The commission has to change the district lines throughout the island since the population grew 25 percent in ten years and each elected official must represent approximately the same number of residents.
     Comments are being taken by email, letter or in person this Thursday at 10 a.m. in the County Council chambers in Hilo.
     Proposed maps can be seen at: http://co.hawaii.hi.us/council/reapp/index.htm.

KA`U VETERANS OF THE 442ND Regiment from World War II have arrived in Washington, D.C. to receive a Congressional Gold Medal at the Capitol this Wednesday. Tokuichi Nakano and Iwao Yonemitsu are accompanied by family members. Yonemitsu served in the 442nd, Third Battalion, Company L, while Nakano served with Headquarters of the 442nd. The slogan for the members of the 442nd is “Go for Broke.”

Dwight Takamine runs the state
unemployment fund.
THE STATE UNEMPLOYMENT FUND is operating in the black again, according to Dwight Takamini, director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The unemployment fund borrowed money from the federal government to keep operating last December and could have ended up owing $1 million in interest. However, the Legislature crafted a mechanism, signed off by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, allowing the state to pay interest on the money borrowed for the unemployment fund. The Legislature also passed tax savings for businesses. The unemployment fund reserves have improved as the economy has slightly improved, with businesses paying into the fund.

IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY, HAWAI`I IS 12th in the nation, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. Hawai`i earned two extra points for its second straight year in 12th place. The 2011 rankings measure utility, public benefits programs and transportation policies, energy codes for buildings, combined heat and power, state initiatives and appliance-efficiency standards. Hawai`i earned 26.5 out of 50 possible points. See http://aceee.org/research-report/e115.

ML MACADAMIA Orchards, LP has been doing well in the stock market lately. At closing last Friday ML led Hawai`i stocks with a three-percent gain. ML leases and owns macadamia orchards around Pahala and operates a macadamia husking plant just mauka of Hwy 11. The company sells its nuts to Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp., which is owned by The Hershey Company.

Bull Kailiawa and Roast, Inc. owner Brad Wood
meet in Houston. Photo by Julia Neal
KAILIAWA COFFEE from Bull and Jamie Kailiawa was celebrated in Nashville this past weekend with promotions by Roast, Inc., which purchased the Ka'u coffee in a fundraiser called Grounds for Health.
      The purchase by Roast, Inc. for $45 a pound came after Kailiawa was rated one of the top ten coffees in the world at the 2011 Specialty Coffee Association of America annual convention in Houston. Roast, Inc., which operates a roastery and single-cup café, is selling Kailiawa coffee for $7.50 a cup, with $5 going to the Grounds for Health program that offers women’s health care in poor coffee growing regions around the world.

SPOOK NIGHT came early, before sunset last night at
Na`ohulelua Historical Gardens, with characters including
Bishop Desmond Tutu and the ghost of Bob Marley.
HALLOWEEN DAY is a time to be careful when driving through neighborhoods with trick-or-treaters. The HPD has issued tips for trick-or-treat walks around neighborhoods: Supervise children crossing streets; exit cars curbside instead of traffic side; drive slower than the speed limit during trick-or-treat time; watch more closely for children on streets and medians; and be extra careful at driveways and alleyways.

THE KA`U DIRECTORY DEADLINE for listings and ads for the 2012 edition is today. Published by the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, The Directory provides information on businesses, community organizations, important phone numbers, an events calendar, maps of Ka`u, and many photographs as well as art from winners of the latest cover art contest.
       For an application, visit kauchamber.org or call Ron at 928-6471.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 30, 2011

Participants in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park's Digital Mountain: It's My Trail film festival trekked through the
park to document features that inspired them.  Photo courtesy NPS/HAVO

JAPANESE-AMERICAN World War II veterans from Ka`u are joining a group of 21 from around the state to receive the Congressional Gold Medal this week. Tokuichi Nakano and Iwao Yonemitsu are Ka`u recipients who flew to Washington, D.C. to receive the honors. They are accompanied by their wives, Fusae Nakano and Alice Yonemitsu.
Tokuichi Nakano (l) and Iwao Yonemitsu receive a send-off
cake from volunteers who join them to put together
The Ka`u Calendar each month.  Photo by Julia Neal
     When World War II broke out, the young working men were determined to show their loyalty to the United States while this country was at war with Japan. The medals will go to those who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence. The ceremony this coming Wednesday will be led by Speaker of the House John Boehner. 

PACIFIC ISLANDERS AND ASIAN AMERICANS are often thrown into a single statistical category that fails to illuminate their challenges and their accomplishments, according to a story in Civil Beat. A meeting on Friday at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. brought up “ways to combat a ‘glaring invisibility’ of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the federal policy area,” writes Civil Beat reporter Adrienne LaFrance.
     Pres. Barack Obama’s cabinet secretary Christopher Lu said Obama has “appointed more Asian Americans in more significant positions than any other president in history.” However, few Asians and Pacific Islanders have reached top-level federal jobs in administration. Concerning the general population, participants talked about a “model-minority myth perpetuated by presenting statistics about combined groups of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. For example, statistics collected in California show that Samoan children have the largest body-mass index, Koreans tend to go without health insurance, and Hmongs have a low rate of high school graduation.
     Congresswoman Judy Chu said the Asian American/Pacific Islander community has 48 different ethnicities speaking over 300 languages. “We all took different paths to get to different places, and we are facing different sets of challenges.” See more at civilbeat.com. The story is called Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling.

SEN. DAN AKAKA told the statewide meeting of Hawaiian Civic Clubs on Friday that he will work hard for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians until his retirement in January of 2013. He has been working on the Akaka bill for many years to give Hawaiians the same right to govern as American Indians and Native Alaskans, according to a story in this morning’s Honolulu Star Advertiser. Akaka said his mission has been to “upgrade the quality of life for the indigenous peoples. And I see it coming.”

Digital Mountain: It's My Trail film festival winners put their creations on the big screen at Kilauea Visitor Center
last night.  Photo by David Boyle
DIGITAL MOUNTAIN: IT’S MY TRAIL winners were named last night at the finale of the annual student film festival at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The grand-prize winner received a high-definition digital camera. Other top winners received Mac Book Pros. The films show appreciation for the park and particular trails where students find passion for the outdoors and inspiration from culture and wildlife preserved there. 

GRAND PRIZE went to Kukui Keli`iho`omalu for the second straight year. In his film called It’s My Trail, he interviews his grandfather Robert Keli`iho`omalu about the family tradition of fishing, collecting limu and `opihi, and hunting wild goat and fishing along the Kalapana coast and taking the Apua Point Trail which ended at Queens Bath. The film includes historic photos and current day film of the area.    
     See the film at http://www.youtube.com/user/ItsMyTrail#p/u/4/1rO--hE3YF0

FIRST PLACE went to Aiyana Wessels, whose film is called It’s My Trail and Now It’s Yours. “It is important that we have these trails to let everybody else see the beauty too,” she begins. She sayw Thurston Lava Tube is one of her favorite trails. In the park, “I can walk through trails surrounded by plants and craters that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.”
     See the film at http://www.youtube.com/user/ItsMyTrail#p/u/12/sxYJdSmkC-A.

SECOND PLACE went to Pua Swift, who chose Devastation Trail. She says that when she looks at the cinder cone she imagines what lies beyond it and wonders if there is a whole world just on the other side. She said she is inspired by the “tranquility of this trail” and finds “beauty in the simplicity of it.”
     Swift said Devastation Trail reminds her that “we are the next generation and we have the job of making sure that this trail is here for the generations to come.”
     See the film at http://www.youtube.com/user/ItsMyTrail#p/u/12/sxYJdSmkC-A.

THIRD PLACE went to Briana Tucker-Archie with a film on Kilauea Iki Trail called Just for A While. “She goes to get away, to see something special…She goes to escape, even if it’s just for a little while. The sky is her company…. The wonders of Pele and Mother Nature have never failed to astonish her. She realized the beautiful caldera is the only think that didn’t shrink over the years, just as mind-blowing as the first time she saw it.
     See the film at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Digital-Mountain-Its-My-Trail-Film-Festival/192624127465196.

Kathleen Kam's Akebono Ka`u will grace the
cover of The Directory 2012.
THE KA`U DIRECTORY DEADLINE for listings and ads for the 2012 edition is tomorrow, Oct. 31. Published by the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, The Directory provides information on businesses, community organizations, important phone numbers, an events calendar, maps of Ka`u, and many photographs as well as art from winners of the latest cover art contest. For an application, visit kauchamber.org or call Ron at 928-6471.

HALLOWEEN FESTIVITIES mean that the Hawai`i Police Department is setting up DUI checkpoints and promoting the slogan Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Police also issued tips for trick-or-treat walks around neighborhoods: supervise children crossing streets; exit cars curbside instead of traffic side; drive slower than the speed limit during trick-or-treat time; watch more closely for children on streets and medians; and be extra careful at driveways and alleyways.

CHICKEN SKIN GALORE will permeate Na`ohulelua Historical Garden’s Spook Night from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. today. The garden is on Kama`oa Road, 1.7 miles from Hwy 11. Parents are invited to bring children. Participants are asked to bring pupus for six, sweaters and flashlights. Prizes for best story, best costume and for showing up alive! For more information, call 929-7236 and ask for Igor or Loke.

NEXT SUNDAY, NOV. 6, is the deadline for public comments on Nani Kahuku `Aina’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement for its Kahuku Village resort development. The Draft EIS can be seen on the state Department of Health website under the Office of Environmental Quality Control. It is titled Kahuku Village DEIS. It is also available at the Na`alehu Public Library.
     The plan calls for state Land Use Commission reclassification of Conservation land near the ocean to Urban for hotel, condominium, estate, housing, golf course and commercial development. The resort would be set on the coastal section of 16,000 acres between the Kalae South Point bluff and Ocean View Ranchos, makai of the Kahuku section of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. It would be constructed on the coastal plain below Kahuku Ranch. The developers have promised Hawaiian and wildlife educational centers and protection of the turtle nesting grounds at Pohue Bay. They have offered land for community buildings, including a veterans center.
     At his recent forum in Pahala, Sen. Gil Kahele urged everyone to submit their comments, pro or con. The developers are required to respond to all comments received by the deadline. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 29, 2011

Students analyze the earth at a soil conservation contest yesterday on Olson Trust lands.  Photo by Julia Neal
ANALYZING THE QUALITY OF THE SOIL was a contest and a field trip to Ka`u for three groups of school students yesterday. Students from Kamehameha, Konawaena and Pahoa High Schools gathered at Olson Trust lands for the annual soil-judging contest, sponsored by soil conservation districts. The exercise is designed to teach students how soil features impact land use. Pits were dug in several locations. Students completed soil test sheets and drew conclusions about soil type and best and worst use of the land. 

The wekiu bug on Pu`u Haukea,
Mauna Kea. Photo by Kari Magnacca
THE WEKIU BUG, which lives at the highest elevations on Mauna Kea, needs no protection as an endangered or threatened species, the federal government has ruled. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, populations are stable, and the tiny wekiu are living on 16 pu`u - cinder cones - rather than just the six that were previously reported. 
     The name wekiu means the summit, and this bug lives at 11,500-feet elevation or higher. The wekiu survive extreme weather on a frozen earth, with blazing sun and snow, and sometimes hurricane force winds.
     Though the wekiu is a seed bug, there are few seeds at the Mauna Kea summit to drill and suck for sustenance. Instead, the wekiu uses its straw-like mouth to pierce insects blown and freeze-dried by cold winds up the slopes to where they live.
     The Mauna Loa bug, which is similar to the wekiu, is a completely different species. The only other animals living at the top of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are a few spiders and caterpillars.

The Digital Mountain Film Festival wraps up tonight
with public screenings at Kilauea Visitor Center.
IT’S MY TRAIL, THE DIGITAL MOUNTAIN FILM Festival, announces its winners tonight at a public celebration at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. A potluck dinner will be held at 5 p.m., followed with the big-screen premier of the student films and announcement of the winners. Prizes include MacBook Pro laptops and Olympus digital cameras. See the films at www.youtube.com/itsmytrail. Support comes from Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai`i Natural History Association, the National Park Foundation and many others. 

KA`U FLOWER GROWERS, COFFEE GROWERS and creators of cultural crafts and other products are invited to sign up to participate in the largest flower and product show in the country,  which will take place March 3 – 11 in Philadelphia. The theme of the show is Hawai`i – Islands of Aloha, and is expected to draw more than 400,000 people. The Hawa`i Tropical Flower Council, Hawai`i County Department of Research and Development, Hawai`i Tourism Authority and Hawai`i Visitors Bureau will help support ten booths featuring a Hawai`i Market Place. Products will be sold there. The hui or company must have a website with active shopping cart. To submit your product idea, contact Chelle Pahinui at 896-1911. 

Report red wooden blocks washing
ashore or floating in the ocean.
RED BLOCKS FLOATING in the ocean should be reported to University of Hawai`i researchers who are studying currents around the Big Island. They released wooden drifters at many locations last week and are hoping that sightings will be reported to 937-4289 or hilodrifter@gmail.com. 

HALLOWEEN WEEKEND has brought out the Hawai`i Police Department to set up DUI checkpoints around the island. The campaign is nationwide and called Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. According to HPD, 72 percent of traffic fatalities this year on the Big Island involve alcohol, drugs or both. The HPD has also issued tips for Trick-or-Treat walks around neighborhoods: Supervise children crossing streets; exit cars curbside instead of traffic side; drive slower than the speed limit during trick-or-treat time; watch more closely for children on streets and medians; and be extra careful at driveways and alleyways. 

CHICKEN SKIN GALORE is promised at Na`ohulelua Historical Garden’s second annual Spook Night on tomorrow from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The garden is on Kama`oa Road in Wai`ohinu, 1.7 miles from Hwy 11. Parents are invited to bring children. Participants are asked to bring pupus for six, sweaters and flashlights. Prizes for best story, best costume and for showing up alive! For more information, call 929-7236 and ask for Igor or Loke.

THE KA`U DIRECTORY DEADLINE for listings and ads for the 2012 edition is this Monday, Oct. 31. Published by the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, The Directory provides information on businesses, community organizations, important phone numbers, an events calendar, maps of Ka`u, and many photographs as well as art from winners of the latest cover art contest.
     For an application, visit kauchamber.org or call Ron at 928-6471.

THE FALL FLING ARTS & CRAFTS FAIR is next Saturday – one week from today. Ka`u School of the Arts is calling for local artists to participate at Punalu`u Bake Shop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Booth fees are $25. Contact Robert Domingos at mingokau@gmail.com or Jym Duncan at 929-8694.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 28, 2011

Bay Clinic's current building will be preserved for counseling and other offices.
THE NEW BAY CLINIC, with the capacity to see 3,400 new patients with 8,500 new appointments in Na`alehu, will be blessed on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. The public is invited. Called the Ka`u Family Health and Dental Center, it will be constructed in front of the current Bay Clinic, which is located in an old two-story building from the plantation days. Kahu Kauila Clark will lead the blessing. Keoki Kahumoku will provide music, and County Council member Brittany Smart, John Buckstead for Gov. Neil Abercrombie, and Ross Wilson for Sen. Daniel Akaka will give speeches.
The site of Bay Clinic's new building in Na`alehu
will be blessed Saturday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m.
     “In addition to expanding access to affordable medical care, the new clinic will provide dental and family counseling services and fully incorporate Bay Clinic’s evolving care model known as the ‘Patient Centered Medical Home,’” said Paul Strauss, who said there is a “new day for health care in Ka`u.”
     To RSVP for the blessing, call Sarah Ferreira at 895-5872.

PAHALA LIBRARY WAS OPEN only 64 days of the 121 days that were scheduled between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 this year, according to Pahala resident Dorothy Kalua, who spoke at Sen. Gil Kahele’s forum this week in Pahala. She said the reason given by the state administration for libraries is that Pahala is always the library that closes when there are staff shortages at Na`alehu or Pahala. Librarian Dawn Shibano left her position at Pahala Library in April, and the Ka`u libraries are short two members, but the positions have not been posted, she said. Kahele and Rep. Bob Herkes said they both support keeping the library open and will look into the issue.

THE $17.9 MILLION DOLLAR DISASTER SHELTER AND GYM will be on the radar of Rep. Bob Herkes, who said at the Kahele forum this week that he plans to stay involved in the planning and construction to “make sure it gets done.” During the Kahele forum this week in Pahala he said he worked on the project to have a federally certified disaster shelter in Ka`u for eight or nine years. The money was recently released to the county to oversee construction and to manage the facility. He said it could be built on either county property next to Ka`u High School or on the school grounds, which are owned by the state.

Kenton Eldridge Photo courtesy of
The Nature Conservancy
KENTON ELDRIDGE, co-founder and partner in `Aina Koa Pono, which plans to build a refinery and biofuel farm in Ka`u, is the new chair of The Nature Conservancy of Hawai`i, according to a report in yesterday’s Pacific Business News
      Eldridge is managing director of Sennet Capital, which he co-founded with the new chair of the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, Richard Lim. Eldridge has a background in retailing with Federated Department Stores and Duty Free Shoppers. He is a former U.S. military intelligence officer, according to the story in PBN.
      Eldridge serves as advisor to Innovasc and The Entrepreneurs Foundation of Hawai`i. He has served on boards of American Savings Bank, Assets School, HiBeam and Hoku Scientific.
      The Olson Trust recently contributed $500,000 to The Nature Conservancy to protect native forests in Ka`u and South Kona. Its Ka`u mission includes caring for the endangered hawksbill turtle preserve at Kamehame Beach, the Kaiholena preserve and other pristine native forests in Ka`u that are owned by The Nature Conservancy.

HAWAI`I CELEBRATES DIA DE LOS MUERTOS. Volcano Art Center and East Hawai`i Cultural Center are hosting a two-day celebration next week of Dia de los Muertos, “Day of the Dead,” in remembrance of loved ones who have passed away. 
     The first day of the event takes place in Hilo on Tuesday, Nov. 1, with a procession through downtown beginning and ending at the East Hawai`i Cultural Center. Volcano Art Center education coordinator Anne Catlin says “participants are encouraged to dress in themed attire and bring flowers and candles in jars to illuminate the path with light and color.” Personal sentiments will be shared in short, individual readings of three minutes or less. 
     The second day of the event takes place at Volcano Art Center on Wednesday, Nov. 2, where guests are invited to dine and dance. Tickets, $12 in advance and $15 at the door, are available for purchase by calling 967-8222. Participants will vote for the most impactful, inspirational and festive art submissions. Art and jewelry will also be available for purchase during the event.
     Free Shrine Making and Mexican Folk Art activities are offered at both Volcano Art Center and East Hawai`i Cultural Center from now until Nov. 1. For more details, visit Volcano Art Center’s Dia de los Muertos page at www.volcanoartcenter.org. To get involved, contact Catlin at community@volcanoartcenter.org.

PARKING LOT AND ROAD CLOSURES within Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park will be in place this week and next while improvements are made. Superintendent Cindy Orlando said "much-needed improvements will make the park even more enjoyable for everyone."
     Hilina Pali Road is closed to traffic during the day. Hikers and campers wanting access to backcountry trails and campsites including Halape are encouraged to use other routes; backcountry permits and alternate route information are available at the Kilauea Visitor Center. Kulanaokuaiki campsite will not be accessible by vehicle during daylight hours, and campers are encouraged to consider the newly remodeled facilities at Namakani Paio campground.
     Parking lot partial or temporary closures for next week include: Devastation Trail lot on Nov. 1 and Pu`u Pua`i lot on Nov. 2 – visitors are still welcome to hike between the two lots; Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku) and Kilauea Iki lots will have limited accessibility on Nov. 3.
     Due to ongoing road work, visitors should expect 15-minute delays in construction areas near Crater Rim Drive, the bike trail and pedestrian paths near Steam Vents and Sulphur Banks, and the sidewalks at Kilauea Visitor Center. These areas will remain open to the public. Work at the front entrance station is scheduled to begin Nov. 9. Check www.nps.gov/havo for updates.

Today is the last day to apply as human prey for
Mantracker.  Photo from Bonterra Productions
THE DEADLINE TO TRY OUT FOR MANTRACKER, the Discovery Science Channel reality show, is today. Casting is for a team of two on foot, to be hunted by Mantracker and his sidekick on horseback. Producers are looking for two teams of prey who think they can outsmart the Mantracker in Ka`u. Each team will have 36 hours to make it over 25 miles of Ka`u wilderness without getting caught by Mantracker.            
     The prey must be “exciting, competitive and compelling people who have the strength, smarts and strategy to outfox and evade,” says Mantracker production coordinator Michelle Budden. Members of each team of prey must be related in some way. They could be siblings, co-workers, or husband and wife. 
     To apply, visit www.mantracker.ca or email Budden at contact@bonterraproductions.com for more information. Mantracker airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Oct. 27, 2011

Abandoned windmills near South Point Road are featured in a short film by PF Bentley. Photo by Julia Neal
SOUTH POINT WINDMILLS have become the stars of a short film called I Aloha Moloka`i - Aftermath, but the windmills are not the new, operating windmills at Kalae. They are the abandoned windmills nearest South Point Road. Filmmaker PF Bentley writes in Civil Beat this morning that residents of Moloka`i and Lana`i don’t want this apocalyptic scene to occur on their islands. He said that such a scene of abandoned technology “is a continuing modern-day David vs. Goliath story.” See the film at civilbeat.com.
     Before the new windfarm was built at South Point, promises were made to take down the old windmills. Explanations for keeping them there have included waiting for a metal recycling opportunity and that plans keep coming up to rehabilitate them and get the old ones running again.

Ella Louis, Dorothy Kalua and Marion Villanueva talk
to Sen. Gil Kahele about saving Pahala Library.
Photo by Kaiali`i Kahele
THE DEMISE OF PAHALA LIBRARY was a hot topic at Sen. Gil Kahele’s community forum last night in Pahala. Dorothy Kalua said she has researched the days the library is open and found 57 closure days this school year – almost a third of the days scheduled. Kalua and Marion Villanueva talked about the library’s problems. It is open only on Monday, Thursday and Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., which doesn’t give students and families much time to be there after school or any time on weekends. Students have a hard time getting a library card. Their parents have to come in person to sign for them during library hours, which are working hours. Many teachers and parents are hesitant to take responsibility for lost books and refrain from encouraging students to check out books.
     Rep. Bob Herkes stated that the library, which is air-conditioned, is one of the only buildings safe from vog in Pahala. Anna Carriaga said that perhaps off-duty teachers could help keep the library open. Kahele said he supports the library being open for the children.

Rep. Bob Herkes talks about the new disaster shelter and gym.  
Photo by Kaiali`i Kahele
DURING THE KAHELE FORUM last night, Rep. Bob Herkes talked about his mortgage foreclosure bill that became law this summer. Kahele called it “landmark legislation.” For non-judicial foreclosures it requires banks and homeowners to go through mediation. Herkes said he will write an op-ed piece for the Honolulu newspaper this weekend regarding the measure, which has been called the toughest anti-foreclosure legislation in the country.

THE NEW MEDICAL VAN for Ka`u and South Kona will be on the road before Christmas, said Herkes. He said it will likely overnight at the Ka`u Rural Health Community Association in Pahala, and visit schools and remote locations with a medical staff and telemedicine. Home base will be Kona Hospital.

CONCERNING THE NANI KAHUKU `AINA resort proposal on 16,000 acres across the highway from Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park at Kahuku, Kahele reminded community members that the deadline for comments on the Draft EIS is Nov. 6. The document is available online at the state Department of Health website and in hard copy at Na`alehu Library. Click on this link: http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/EA_and_EIS_Online_Library/Oahu/2000s/2008-07-08-DEA-Kahuku-Village.pdf.
     See more on the Kahele forum in tomorrow’s news briefs.

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI`I - HILO and Hawai`i Community College will see tuition increases, following a 9-3 vote last night by the Board of Regents. The vote raised tuitions throughout Hawai`i's public higher education system.
     For residents, UH- Hilo tuition will go from $5,640 to $5,800 for the 2012- 2013 school year. HCC tuition will go up $60 a semester. Increases will follow each year, reaching $7,656 for resident tuition at UH Hilo by the 2016 - 2017 school year.

Fresh food from Hester's Ka`u farm is sold at
Volcanoes Farmers Market. Photo by Julia Neal
KOHALA CENTER has received grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help enable Electronic Benefits Transfer card users to purchase food from Volcano Farmers market and five other farmers markets around the island with their EDB cards. Not being able to use EDB cards, which replaced food stamps years ago, is seen as a barrier to healthy eating. The other farmers markets to gain EDB card purchasing are: Hilo Coffee Mill Farmers Market in Mountain View, Ho'oulu Community Farmers Market in Kona, Keauhou Farmers Market in Kona, Kinoole Farmers Market in Hilo, and Maku'u Farmers Market in Puna. Project coordinator Melani Bondera said that low-income households on this island "spend nearly double what their mainland counterparts spend on food. "Increasing EDB access at farmers markets will respond to the immediate needs of island residents to obtain fresh local food that will improve the overall health of their families,"Bondera said.

HAWAI’I COUNTY REDISTRICTING COMMISSION  has released new maps which can be viewed on the county website: http://www.co.hawaii.hi.us/council/reapp/index.htm. For more information, contact Karen Eoff at 323-4264 or keoff@co.hawaii.hi.us. The commission will meet again on Nov. 3 and Nov. 10 at 10 a.m. in Hilo. One of the plans separates Volcano from Ka'u and could see Brenda Ford and Brittany Smart running against each other.

PARKING LOT AND ROAD CLOSURES in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park include today and tomorrow, when Hilina Pali Road will be open at night only. Kulanaokuaiki campsite will be inaccessible by vehicle during daylight hours and campers are encouraged to consider the newly remodeled facilities at Namakani Paio campground. Due to ongoing road work, visitors should expect 15-minute delays in construction areas. Check www.nps.gov/havo for updates.

TROJAN GIRLS VOLLEYBALL put up a strong fight against Sacred Hearts at Kaimuki Gym yesterday on O`ahu. Sacred Hearts, however, defeated Ka'u 25-15, 25-23 and 27-25.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Oct. 26, 2011

Kawa is a popular surfing spot for Ka`u residents and surfers from elsewhere. Photos by Julia Neal
Kawa oceanfront encampment during a surf meet.
THE COUNTY PURCHASE OF KAWA could close within a week, says attorney Paul Alston, according to a Nancy Cook Lauer story in West Hawai`i Today this morning. Federal Judge Alan C. Kay ruled yesterday that federal court has no jurisdiction to block the purchase.
     Abel Simeona Lui, however, contends that he and his family own the land. Lui, who has lived for more than 20 years on Kawa land planned for a park, claims it was unfairly taken from his family generations ago. The judge yesterday remanded Lui’s case back to state court. State Judge Joseph P. Florindo, Jr. ruled earlier this year that Lui has no right to the property and Lui has filed an appeal.

Floating debris from the tsunami that hit Japan
on March 11, 2011, heads toward Hawai'i.
Photo from US Navy
NO RADIATION is expected from the Japan tsunami debris field that is headed toward Hawai`i, according to researchers at University of Hawai`i. The explanation is that most of the debris washed out to sea during the March 11 earthquake and tsunami before the nuclear plant disaster released radiation.
     The blanket of debris is estimated to be 2,000 miles long and 1,000 miles wide and is loosely floating in the Pacific, driven this way by currents. The state Department of Health promises to test for radiation, whenever the debris reaches Hawai`i.
     The east side of South Point here in Ka`u is one of places with the most ocean most debris landing on the shore.
     The Hawai`i Wildlife Fund, which organizes regular clean-ups on the Ka`u Coast, is seeking volunteers to prepare for picking up any non-radioactive tsunami debris. A team of oceanographers and the UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology are working to track the debris. The estimate is that five to 20 million tons of debris washed away during the tsunami and could reach here as early as Spring of 2013. The debris field is now near Midway Island.
     The next cleanups by the Hawai`i Wildlife Fund are both on Saturdays, the first on Nov. 12 and the second on Jan. 14. Call organizer Megan Lamson at 769-7629. See Hawaii Wildlife Fund on Facebook or email kahakai.cleanups.gmail.com.

MORE MONEY for land preserves and parks purchased with the county’s 2 percent land fund is a campaign launched by County Council member Brenda Ford. The additional money, totaling .25 percent of county property taxes, would be used to take care of the land, according to a Jason Armstrong story in this morning’s Hawai`i Tribune Herald. Ford told Armstrong that the money for maintenance could be capped at $3 million. The .25 percent of property taxes would amount to about $500,000 a year. Her bill on this issue would go on the ballot for a Charter Amendment vote, along with another measure to protect the 2 percent land fund.

SEN. GIL KAHELE holds a public forum at Pahala Community Center tonight at 5:30 p.m. Kahele said he will listen to concerns of constituents who can help him prepare for the upcoming 27th Hawai`i Legislature, which begins in January. He will report on the 26th legislative session and address specific issues.

Mantracker, on horseback, will hunt prey on foot in Ka`u.  
Photo from Bonterra Productions
THE DEADLINE TO TRY OUT FOR MANTRACKER, the Discovery Science Channel realty show, is this Friday. The casting call is for a team of two on foot, who would be hunted by Mantracker and his sidekick on horseback. Mantracker is returning to Ka`u to film two shows. The producers are looking for a team of prey who think they can outsmart the Mantracker. Each team will have 36 hours to make it over 25 miles of Ka`u wilderness without getting caught by Mantracker.
     The prey must be “exciting, competitive and compelling people who have the strength, smarts and strategy to outfox and evade,” says Mantracker production coordinator Michelle Budden. Members of each team of prey must be related in some way. They could be siblings, co-workers, or husband and wife.
     To apply, visit www.mantracker.ca or email Budden at contact@bonterraproductions.com for more information. Mantracker airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

SHORT FILMS BY LOCAL YOUTH will be debuted at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s third annual Digital Mountain youth film festival this Saturday at 6 p.m. in Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium. This year’s theme is “It’s My Trail.” The public is encouraged to attend and to vote for their favorite film in advance. The public is also invited to a potluck dinner at 5 p.m. preceding the festival.
     Awards, including MacBook Pro laptops and Olympus digital cameras, will be presented at the event to winners selected by a weighted combination of judging by a variety of professionals and popular voting. See films and vote at youtube.com/itsmytrail.
     People may vote once each day for their favorite film on YouTube or by emailing itsmytrail@gmail.com.
     The Digital Mountain youth film festival is free. For more information, contact Laura Williams at 985-6304 or laura_williams@nps.gov.


THE KA`U DIRECTORY DEADLINE for listings and ads for the 2012 edition is this Monday, Oct. 31. Published by the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, The Directory provides information on businesses, community organizations, important phone numbers, an events calendar, maps of Ka`u, and many photographs as well as art from winners of the latest cover art contest.
     For an application, visit kauchamber.org or call Ron at 928-6471.

Historic church at the Na'ohulelua Historical Garden.  
Photo from Ka'u Main Street
CHICKEN SKIN GALORE is promised at Na`ohulelua Historical Garden’s second annual Spook Night on Sunday, Oct. 30 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The garden is on Kama`oa Road, 1.7 miles from Hwy 11. Parents are invited to bring children. Organizers suggest bringing pupus for six, sweaters and flashlights. Prizes for best story, best costume and for showing up alive! For more information, call 929-7236 and ask for Igor or Loke.

KA`U HIGH GIRLS VOLLEYBALL TEAM is at states on O`ahu today, playing Sacred Hearts at Kaimuki Gym. Coach Elijah Navarro said, "We have a good team and we should do well." If the Trojans win and make it to the final round, they will play at the Neal Blaisdell Center. Ka`u took third in Division II on the Big Island, qualifying the Trojans to fly to O`ahu for states. The team is still raising money to offset expenses. Call Coach Navarro at 430-9461 to donate.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 25, 2011

The Ka`u Scenic Byway program has been officially adopted by the state Department of Transportation.
Photo by Julia Neal

THE KA`U SCENIC BYWAY program, sponsored by the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, has been designated a State Scenic Byway. A letter from Dr. Glenn Okimoto, Hawai`i’s Director of Transportation, to Marge Elwell, chair of the Byway subcommittee, states: “You are to be commended on the work you have done to date to build support for this project throughout the community and the strong foundation you have laid for the Corridor Management planning process that is ahead.” The next step is to publicize the byway on a new website, www.HawaiiScenicByways.org. 
     The program will lead to educational signage for scenic stops in Ka`u, promotion of Ka`u’s beauty and history and other improvements along highways and roads.

THE NUMBER OF VISITORS to the Big Island is up 2,000 for September over the same month last year. The Big Island had the largest increase in visitors in the state.

Pahala Community Center roof will be replaced after being rusty for many years.  Photo by Julia Neal
FIX UP OUR PARKS, says County Council chair Dominic Yagong. A story in West Hawai`i Today this morning reports Yagong telling reporter Nancy Cook Lauer that he wants the county to spend $10 million on delayed repairs of Department of Parks & Recreation facilities. The total cost to fix up all the parks and recreational facilities would be approximately $80 million. The $10 million to get started would come from a $50 million bond issued by the County of Hawai`i. Lauer also reports that Yagong plans to ask the county that preference for fixing up the parks goes to local companies with local employees. More than 85 percent of East Hawai`i workers and 90 percent of West Hawai`i workers can’t find work, Yagong told West Hawai`i Today
     One of the biggest county projects likely to hire many local workers is the $17.9 million Ka`u Disaster Shelter and Gym in Pahala, which has already been funded and is now in the planning stage.
     Another Ka`u project, already funded with $100,000, is the replacement of the very rusty Pahala Community Center roof. An audit of county parks and recreation facilities also listed Na`alehu Community Center for lead paint that should be covered.

`Aina Koa Pono supporter Jay Fidell says the project would "restore agriculture in Ka`u" on lands "that had been
fallow for more than two decades."  Photo by Julia Neal
`AINA KOA PONO SUPPORTER JAY FIDELL went to bat for the proposed biofuel project in Ka`u with an opinion piece in the Honolulu Star Advertiser this morning. The real estate attorney put forth that “local biofuel is the latest target in the war against renewables.” He writes that the project would “resurrect agriculture in Ka`u” and states that the proposed 13,000-acre “cutting-edge biofuel ‘energy farm’ would be on private land that had been fallow for decades.”
     Fidell calls the `Aina Koa Pono project “a dream deal: local company, local investment, local labor, local feedstock, sending less money overseas, increasing energy security, reducing vulnerability to oil volatility, producing utility-scale renewables that can be shipped anywhere in the state without waiting for an undersea cable, building the economy and making us look good.”
Jay Fidell
     Fidell disagrees with the rejection of Hawaiian Electric Co.’s contract with `Aina Koa Pono based on the price being “excessive, not cost-effective, and thus unreasonable and inconsistent with the public interest.” Fidell writes that the “PUC decision focused on the difference between the price and long-term oil forecasts that are predictably unpredictable. It did not respond to AKP’s calculation that the contract would only add $2 a month to the average consumer utility bill. Nor did it address the consumer advocate’s finding or the state’s clean-energy goals and policies,” he contends.
     “Neither the parties nor the administration liked this decision,” writes Fidell.
     Hawaiian Electric has until Nov. 10 to ask for an appeal or a more complete explanation of the PUC’s decision to reject the contract between the utility and `Aina Koa Pono. The decision was based in part on the biofuel contract costing ratepayers more than $10 million in higher electric bills during the first year and $100 million or more over the life of the 20-year contract. The PUC also stated that tying up Hawaiian Electric with the long-term contract could deter other, more affordable alternative energies.
     In his opinion piece Fidell also notes that `Aina Koa Pono is negotiating to sell biofuel it would manufacture here to California for a higher price than it would have received from Hawaiian Electric.

SADDLE ROAD improvements have made it a more comfortable alternative for traveling to the Kohala Coast and Kona, even for drivers from the east side of Ka`u. Saddle Road will become even more comfortable with an additional 10-mile realignment road. Construction began with a blessing yesterday. The new route will empty onto Mamalahoa Hwy south of the Waikoloa Village Road. Currently the intersection with Mamalahoa Hwy is closer to Waimea, north of Waikoloa Village. The road project is funded by the federal government, and the contractor is from Colorado.

Wes Awana, Nona Wilson and Ti Chun (r) perform at
After Dark in the Park this evening at 7 p.m.
Photo courtesy of NPS/Dean Gallagher
NONA WILSON, TI CHUN AND WES AWANA bring their Hawaiian music to After Dark in the Park tonight with their group Friends and Neighbors. The trio has played at many community fundraisers and gatherings. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Park entrance fees apply. 

SEN. GIL KAHELE holds a public forum at Pahala Community Center tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. Kahele said he will listen to concerns of constituents who can help him prepare for the upcoming 27th Hawai‘i Legislature which begins in January. He will report on the 26th legislative session and address specific issues. Anyone can call 808-586-6760 or email senkahele@capitol.hawaii.gov ahead of the meeting with issues or questions for the forum.

THE KA`U DIRECTORY DEADLINE for listings and ads for the 2012 edition is next Monday, Oct. 31. Published by the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, The Directory provides information on businesses, community organizations, important phone numbers, an events calendar, maps of Ka`u, and many photographs as well as art from winners of the latest cover art contest.
     For an application, visit kauchamber.org or call Ron at 928-6471.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Oct. 24, 2011

Halema'uma'u vent produces much of the vog in Ka'u. Photo by M. Poland USGS/HVO
PREDICTING VOG – the time, location and intensity of vog in Ka`u – is available on the Internet everyday. The predictions are produced in connection with a study supported by the University of Hawai`i’s Department of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology; USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory. The study has been going for more than a year, and many adjustments have been made to increase its accuracy.
The meteogram shows the prediction of the vog
and the actual observation.
      The website explains: Vog is primarily a mixture of sulfur dioxide - SO2 gas - and sulfate SO4 - aerosol. Invisible SO2 reacts with oxygen and moisture in the air to produce the visible SO4 aerosol. SO2 is expected to be the main problem in areas near the vent, including Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village, Pahala, Na`alehu and Hawaiian Ocean View. SO4 aerosol is expected to be the main problem at locations far from the vent like Kona and Kohala.
      Pahala and Ocean View have sensors for both SO2 and SO4, while Kilauea Visitor Center and Jaggar Museum have sensors only for SO2, the sensor map shows. Much like a weather bureau, the VMAP staff provides vog forecast discussions and current conditions with the parts per million of SO2, the air quality and the trend. The website for VMAP is http://mkwc.ifa.hawaii.edu/vmap/index.cgi.

A microwave antennae goes together to beam radio to a tower
between Pahala and Na'alehu. Photo by Julia Neal
KAHU PUBLIC RADIO, 91.7FM expanded its reach during the last week and now has a strong signal from its base in Pahala to Na`alehu, from Wai`ohinu to Kahuku Ranch, Discovery Harbour, Green Sands, and Kalae. Going east, it can now be heard into Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and Volcano Village.
      General manager Wendell Ka`ehu`a`ea said two boosters will be installed over the next few months, first at South Point to reach from Ocean View to Miloli`i, and second toward Volcano to reach Mountain View.
      The new signal is possible with a microwave antenna beaming the sound to a Crown communications tower between Pahala and Na`alehu. Involved were Pacific Communications in Kona, Ed Hiroyama Electric, radio engineer Don Mussell from Kaua`i Public Radio and NPR, and local contractor Mike Munnerlyn. Grants totaling $76,000 from the state and county Civil Defense offices are paying for the improvements. Supporters of the station include the Edmund C. Olson Trust, Bobby Tucker, Pahala Plantation Cottages and many individual donors in the community.

A NEW COUNTY COUNCIL REDISTRICTING MAP will be released to the public today. Descriptions of the map reveal that it would peel off Ka`u from Volcano. Voters living from the northern Ka`u Desert to Keauhou Resort would be in one County Council district. All of the golf club community and Volcano Village would be in the same council district as Puna. The new district boundaries could pit current Ka`u County Council member Brittany Smart against Brenda Ford in a re-election contest, should they both decide to run. Smart lives in Discovery Harbour, and Ford lives in Kona, both within the proposed boundary lines.
      The plan proposes two Hilo districts, two Puna districts, two Kona districts, a Kohala and Hamakua district.
      The map was drawn after meetings and public hearings. Few people attended the public hearing recently held in Na`alehu. The two who testified were from Volcano. While one said Volcano should be part of Ka`u, the other said Volcano belongs in the same district as Puna.
      More redistricting meetings will be held Nov. 3 and Nov. 10 in Hilo, but the commission is nearly finished with its mapping, which is required every ten years after the federal government conducts the census, which counts who lives where on the island.

KA`U HIGH GIRLS VOLLEYBALL needs help to go to the state finals on O`ahu this Wednesday. Air fares and other expenses have soared. The Trojans beat Kohala, 25-14, 25-18 and 25-11 on Saturday to come in third in Division II. Businesses or individuals wanting to donate can call coach Elijah Navarro at 430-9461.

Nani Kahuku 'Aina is across Hwy 11 from
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.
SEN. GIL KAHELE holds a public forum at Pahala Community Center on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Kahele said he will listen to concerns of constituents who can help him prepare for the upcoming 27th Hawai`i Legislature which begins in January. He will report on the 26th legislative session and address specific issues. Anyone can call 808-586-6760 or email senkahele@capitol.hawaii.gov ahead of the meeting with issues or questions for the forum.
     In recent forums, Kahele has urged constituents to read the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Nani Kahuku `Aina resort development. He said he is neutral toward the project and wants the process to take its course. However, he encouraged local residents to give their pro or con views on the proposed reclassification and general plan amendment on the 16,000-acre oceanfront parcel.

THE KA`U RESOURCE AND DISTANCE LEARNING CENTER, across from Pahala Library, hosts a community talk story tomorrow from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Participants will learn about the Hawai`i Island Beacon Community and Healthy Eating and Active Living grants. HIBC aims to improve health and healthcare on Hawai`i Island by using health information technology to increase healthcare quality, coordination and cost efficiency; remove barriers and enable residents to take a more active role in their health.
      HIBC has allocated $300,000 to be awarded to organizations whose projects or initiatives support efforts to make positive changes in healthy eating habits, physical activity or tobacco use prevention and awareness for Hawai`i Island residents. Grant award amounts will range from $3,000 to $20,000 per project.
     To register, contact Mari Horike at 933-8566 or horike@hibeacon.org.

NONA WILSON, TI CHUN AND WES AWANA perform at After Dark in the Park tomorrow evening. Billed as Friends and Neighbors, the trio has played at many community events. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Park entrance fees apply.

THE DEADLINE TO SIGN UP for listings and ads in The Directory 2012 is Monday, Oct. 31 -- one week from today. Published by the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, The Directory has information about local businesses, community organizations, important phone numbers, an events calendar, maps of Ka`u, and many photographs as well as art from winners of the latest cover art contest.
      For an application, visit kauchamber.org or call Ron at 928-6471.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 23, 2011

South Point is a place of enormous energy with windmills, this blowhole and possibly geothermal in the future.
Photo by Peter Anderson
SOUTH POINT is one of the areas being considered by Huena Power for development of geothermal resources. Innovations Development Group has formed the company for a 50-megawatt geothermal project with a construction budget of $200 million. Other locations being considered are Hualalai volcano above Kona and in Puna. Huena is promising 150 construction jobs, according to a story in Pacific Business News.
Roberta Cabral, of IDG
     Innovations Development Group founder Roberta Cabral promotes a “native-to-native” business model and says it has worked successfully in New Zealand with Maori people developing wind and geothermal.
     If Hawaiian Home Lands are used for geothermal at South Point, there is some question as to whether the state or Department of Hawaiian Home Lands would be paid for the resource. OHA already receives 20 percent of revenues provided to the state by owners of the geothermal plant in Puna.

MUFI HANNEMANN, who is running for Rep. Mazie Hirono’s seat while she campaigns for U.S. Senate, told Civil Beat last week that he could help Hawai`i’s tourism industry if he goes to Congress.
     Hannemann represented the Islands last week as president of the Hawai`i Lodging & Tourism Association and hosted a fundraiser sponsored by the visitor industry for his campaign. 
Mufi Hannemann
     He told Civil Beat that the visitor industry is “a lost opportunity in Washington. People still do not see tourism, in my opinion, as a growth industry, as a good industry for jobs. It’s also a great diplomatic tool for America in the increasingly hostile environment we’re operating in throughout the rest of the world.”
     Civil Beat reporter Adrienne LaFrance and Hannemann discussed the new Travel Promotion Act, supported by Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010. It created a United States tourism board to promote travel to this country. “For the first time, our country is going to market itself internationally,” Hannemann told Civil Beat. “That has never happened before. Given the competition, you can’t just say, ‘If you have it, they will come.’ But when marketing in Asia, who’s going to benefit most out of that? I see Hawai`i. We’ve always been the gateway. Certainly, whatever committee I sit on in Congress, travel and tourism presents itself.”
     Hannemann also noted his work as Honolulu mayor to bring the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit to Hawai`i. APEC comes to Hawai`i in November. See more at civilbeat.com.

KA`U HIGH GIRLS VOLLEYBALL team is raising money to go to O`ahu this Wednesday to play in the state finals. The Trojans beat Kohala, 25-14, 25-18 and 25-11 on Saturday to come in third in Division II. Businesses or individuals wanting to donate can call Coach Elijah Navarro at 430-9461.

Robert Domingos, at left, has developed numerous art programs in Ka`u.
Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U SCHOOL OF THE ARTS’ annual meeting is today at 2 p.m. in Wai`ohinu Park. The agenda includes a review of programs over the past year and upcoming events. The Ka`u `Ohana Band will play. The public is invited and asked to bring pupus to share. 
     Robert Domingos recently announced that he is leaving the leadership role he has occupied for a decade. “I’m confident that Ka`u School of the Arts will continue to grow and adapt,” he said. During his tenure, the organization has conceived and implemented many classes, programs and events.
     The next event is Saturday, Nov. 5 with a Fall Fling on the grounds of Punalu`u Bake Shop. Local artists and musicians will present their creations and perform from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Booths are available for $25. Contact Jym Duncan at 929-8694.
     Ka`u School of the Arts also sponsors Christmas music performances Dec. 3 and 4 in Ocean View and Discovery Harbour.
     Domingos plans to stay involved with the organization. “Don’t expect me to disappear from the scene,” he said.
     For more, visit kauarts.org.

Mantracker is looking for human prey in Ka`u.
Photo from Bonterra Productions
THE DEADLINE TO APPLY as human prey on Mantracker, the Discovery Science Channel hit that follows riders and horses across the backcountry tracking down human prey, is this Friday, Oct. 28. Mantracker is returning to Ka`u to film two shows. The producers are looking for teams of prey who think they can outsmart Mantracker. Each team will have 36 hours to make it over 25 miles of Ka`u wilderness without getting caught by Mantracker. Mantracker will be guided by a local sidekick, a paniolo, also on horseback. 
     The prey must be “exciting, competitive and compelling people who have the strength, smarts and strategy to outfox and evade,” says Mantracker production coordinator Michelle Budden. Members of each team of prey must be related in some way. They could be siblings, co-workers, or husband and wife.
     To apply, visit www.mantracker.ca or email Budden at contact@bonterraproductions.com for more information.
     Mantracker airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

Senator Gil Kahele
Photo by Julia Neal
SEN. GIL KAHELE holds a public forum at Pahala Community Center on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Kahele said he will listen to concerns of constituents who can help him prepare for the upcoming 27th Hawai`i Legislature which begins in January. He will report on the 26th legislative session and address specific issues. Anyone can call 808-586-6760 or email senkahele@capitol.hawaii.gov ahead of the meeting with issues or questions for the forum.

NONA WILSON, TI CHUN AND WES AWANA perform at After Dark in the Park on Tuesday. Billed as Friends and Neighbors, the trio has played at many community events. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Park entrance fees apply. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 22, 2011

Ka`u Beach Cleanups are sponsored by Hawai`i Wildlife Fund.  Photo by Bill Gilmartin

A COUNTY COUNCIL REDISTRICTING MAP would cut Ka`u off from Volcano and put voters who live from the northern Ka`u Desert to Keauhou Resort into one County Council district. The new district could pit current Ka`u County Council member Brittany Smart against Brenda Ford in a re-election contest. Smart lives in Discovery Harbour, and Ford lives in Kona, both within the proposed boundary lines. 
     Nelson Ho, a staffer for Smart, said the map would not be available for the public or Smart to view until Monday. According to a Stephens Media report this morning, the plan proposes two Hilo districts, two Puna districts, two Kona districts, a Kohala and Hamakua district and the “sprawling Ka`u/South Kona district that wraps around the southern tip of the island from the top of the Ka`u desert to the north border of Keauhou Resort.”
     The map was drawn after meetings and public hearings. Few people attended the public hearing recently held in Na`alehu. The two who testified were from Volcano. While one said Volcano should be part of Ka`u, the other said Volcano belongs in the same district as Puna.
     According to the Stephens Media story, Ford said she has been working for a decade to make a legal plan, “a plan that’s fair and legal, and this is a pretty good plan. I’ve got to say, this is pretty darn good.”
     More redistricting meetings will be held Nov. 3 and Nov. 10 in Hilo, but the commission is reaching the end of its redistricting work which is required every ten years after the federal government conducts the census, which counts who lives where on the island.

BIRD HUNTING SEASON opens in Ka`u on Saturday, Nov. 5 and goes through Jan. 16, but only on Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. 
     Kapapala Ranch Cooperative GMA and Kapapala Forest Reserve will be open for game bird hunting for the entire game bird season with a check-in station just off Hwy 11 between Pahala and Volcano.
     Department of Land and Natural Resources wildlife experts said they expect fewer available game because of the recent and lingering drought.
     For the Rules Regulating Game Bird Hunting see hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw. They include a valid hunting license, even for private lands; checking in and out of check stations; and obtaining permission when hunting on private land. The state also encourages prevention of wildfires, including refraining from parking in high grass where ignition could start a blaze. More information is available at Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices in Hilo.

A WEALTH OF INFORMATION is available at the online and interactive Hawai`i Flood Hazard Assessment Tool maps. The preliminary flood maps allow viewers to zoom in on their specific plots of land to see any flood dangers from the oceans, gulches, streams and other bodies of water.
     The maps show few tsunami risks to homeowners in Ka`u as most dwellings, with the exception of Punalu`u condominiums, are out of the flood zone. The new maps are being checked for accuracy and can be seen at http://gis.hawaiinfip.org/fhat/.
     Members of the public have until Jan. 12 to make comments or object to the descriptions of their properties that place them in or out of flood zones.
     Comments are being taken by the county Department of Public Works in Hilo. 

This photo from the STS Pallada shows a
Japanese fishing boat found near Midway.
WITH MORE RUBBISH EXPECTED to wash up on Ka`u beaches with Japan tsunami debris headed this way, Hawai`i Wildlife Fund invites more people to volunteer. Organizer Megan Lamson said “Hawai`i Wildlife Fund is committed in our efforts to remove marine debris from along our majestic shorelines from Kaulana boat ramp to Kamilo Point, whether that debris may be from Japan tsunami in March, local ‘opala, derelict fishing gear from decades past, or other land and ocean-based sources from around the Pacific.” 
     University of Hawai`i researcher Nicolai A. Maximenko, who has been tracking the debris, wrote recently that the Russian ship “STS Pallada has recently sailed across the tsunami debris field and confirmed the worst predictions of our model. The debris is now only 200 to 250 miles from Midway Islands, and we expect its first landfall this winter.”  In the debris was a Japanese fishing boat from Fukushima, which was washed away during the tsunami.
     Over the years, Hawai`i Wildlife Fund has identified debris washing ashore in Ka`u from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Hawai`i, California, Oregon, Washington State, the Soviet Union, Russia, Scotland and others. The next cleanup dates are Saturdays, Nov. 12 and Jan. 14. Call Lamson at 769-7629, see Hawai`i Wildlife Fund on Facebook or email kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com. The organization has been cleaning up the Ka`u coast since 2005.

SEN. GIL KAHELE holds a public forum at Pahala Community Center Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Kahele said he will listen to concerns of constituents who can help him prepare for the upcoming 27th Hawai`i Legislature which begins in January. He will report on the 26th legislative session and address specific issues. Anyone can call 808-586-6760 or email senkahele@capitol.hawaii.gov ahead of the meeting with issues or questions for the forum. 

Friends & Neighbors Wes Awana (l), Nona Wilson and
Ti Chun perform at After Dark in the Park on Tuesday.
Photo courtesy NPS/Dean Gallagher
NONA WILSON, TI CHUN AND WES AWANA perform at After Dark in the Park this Tuesday. Wilson, the assistant hospital administrator and director of Nursing at Ka`u Hospital, met Awana when he was teaching `ukulele at the Kea`au Senior Center and Volcano Art Center. Wilson said she convinced co-worker Ti Chun that it was time to combine their talents. Billed as Friends and Neighbors, the trio played together for the first time at a Ka`u Hospital fundraiser. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Park entrance fees apply. 

SHORT FILMS BY LOCAL YOUTH will be debuted at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s third annual Digital Mountain youth film festival next Saturday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. in Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium. This year’s theme is “It’s My Trail.” The public is encouraged to attend and to vote for their favorite film in advance. The public is also invited to participate in a potluck dinner preceding the festival at 5 p.m.
     Awards, including MacBook Pro laptops and Olympus digital cameras, will be presented at the event to winners selected by a weighted combination of judging by a variety of professionals and popular voting. See films and vote on YouTube: www.youtube.com/itsmytrail.
     People may vote once each day for their favorite film on YouTube or by emailing itsmytrail@gmail.com.
     The Digital Mountain youth film festival is free. For more information, contact Laura Williams at 985-6304 or laura_williams@nps.gov.