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.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 4, 2011

Kawa, a popular surf spot in Ka`u, could become home of the Ka`u High School Trojans surfers.  Photo by Julia Neal

KAWA BEACH IN KA`U could become the home of a new sport for the Trojans, as surfing became an official high school sport yesterday. The announcement was made at the Duke Kahanumoku statue in Honolulu, and state Department of Education officials said that competition could begin as early as spring 2013. The DOE plans to collaborate with county officials, surfing organizations and the community. “Hawai`i is the birthplace of surfing. From Duke Kahanamoku to the thousands of residents and visitors who surf both recreationally and competitively, the sport is rooted in our culture and way of life,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who attended the announcement ceremony. “Bringing surfing to our students is another step in our collective goal to transform public education and provide our children with rich and diverse educational opportunities,” said the governor.
     DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said that “surfing will be an exciting addition for our students as we continue to expand and improve educational programs to increase student achievement. School sports teach critical life lessons such as teamwork and goal-setting while helping students stay active and healthy.” 
Gov. Neil Abercrombie (r) with surfer celebrating the
new high school sport.  Photo by Ricki Li
     Ka`u High has found competitive success in other individual sports such as track and field and in small team sports such as volleyball. The state Board of Education in May 2004 approved surfing – the official individual sport of the state of Hawai`i – as a high school sport. Despite overwhelming support from parents and students, funding and other challenges have kept surfing from becoming a fully-fledged school sport.
     State Board of Education member Keith Amemiya, a former executive director of the Hawai`i High School Athletic Association, said surfing will allow students to learn about their environment and themselves. He said it also will engage the community by fostering relationships and partnerships with a new group of individuals and groups. “Surfing is a unique sport that often attracts athletes that may not necessarily be interested in more traditional sports such as football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. Therefore, we’re confident that surfing will increase athletics participation numbers,” Amemiya said. “In our view, the more students that engage in athletics and other after school activities, the higher our student achievement rates will become,” said Amemiya.

KA`U STATE REP. BOB HERKE’S new dispute resolution program to help ensure due process during foreclosure proceedings is up and running. Owner-occupants can meet directly with lenders should their homes be subject to non-judicial foreclosures. The hope, said Herkes, is for lenders to work directly with homeowners to modify loans and payments to help prevent evictions. The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is overseeing the program that began yesterday and runs through Sept. 30, 2014. Lenders can file non-judicial foreclosure notices online after registering with the state.
    See mfdr.ehawaii.gov. 

State-owned land in Ka`u can be seen in the dark green.  Map
courtesy of Atlas of Hawai`i, University of Hawai`i Press
A PUBLIC LAND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION is getting organized with the hiring of an executive director, creation of rules and a calendar of meetings. The new corporation, under the state Department of Land & Natural Resources, was established during the 2011 state Legislature to use public lands to generate more state income. The agency is expected to encourage private industry to partner with the state to develop land, whether it be for concessions, farms or other income-producing projects.
     The Senate Committee on Water, Land & Housing, as well as the House Committee on Water, Land & Ocean, will hold a public meeting this Thursday in Honolulu. Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz said, “Through this corporation, we aim to maximize our resources by using our public facilities. Some are dilapidated and not being used, but through public-private partnerships the areas can be improved. The bottom line is, we must create jobs, and this is an out-of-the-box opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to partner with the state to get the economy going again.”
     Dela Cruz, who chairs the Senate Committee on Water, Land & Housing, said, “We must strive to make our state competitive in the global economy, which it lacks at this time. Before we can put tax increases on the table, we must look at all of our assets and determine if we have maximized revenue opportunities with our state facilities.”
     He said the new Public Land Development Corp. will “identify public lands that are suitable for redevelopment, administer marketing analysis to determine the best revenue-generating program for the public lands, enter into public-private agreements to appropriately redevelop the public lands and provide the leadership for the redevelopment, financing, improvement or enhancement” of the properties.
     The new law setting up the corporation tasks the corporation to “administer a culturally appropriate sensitive program.”
     Nearly a third of the 922 square miles in the District of Ka`u is owned by the state.

This image by Deitrich Varez was created for the Kahuku
Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE is extending the deadline for public comment on four preliminary alternatives that detail a future vision for the park. As part of an ongoing effort to develop a General Management Plan and a Wilderness Study and Environmental Impact Statement, written and online comments will be received through the fall. Federal law requires formal publication of a notice in the Federal Register detailing the park’s intent to expand the scope of the project to include the Wilderness Study. Once this notice is published, the public will be notified on park and project websites of the exact deadline for the end of the comment period, said a statement from NPS. 
     The GMP/Wilderness Study will document a management vision for the entire park, including Kahuku, and serve as a guidebook for the future. NPS-managed lands within the park could be recommended for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. As part of this added scope of the project, additional public input related to wilderness is being requested during review of the preliminary alternatives.
     Alternatives developed by the park planning team are based on previous public comments, federal law and NPS policy, as well as the professional knowledge of park staff. The alternatives detail a menu of topics including conservation of the park’s natural resources and cultural significance, location of visitor and operations facilities, new or connecting trails, sustainable and climate-friendly operations, education, research, and visitor access and services at the Kahuku Unit. Wilderness-eligible lands in Kahuku are also discussed.
     A newsletter describing the preliminary alternatives and wilderness study is available at nps.gov/havo/parkmgmt/gmp.htm or at Hawai`i Island libraries.
       There are several ways to submit comments, including filling out a comment form available in the newsletter, submitting comments online through a link on the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment site, http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo or by mailing comments to Superintendent Cindy Orlando, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, PO Box 52, Hawai`i National Park, HI 96718-0052.

HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND sponsors an anchialine pond restoration workday this Saturday. Volunteers meet at Wai`ohinu Park to carpool to Ho`onoua Pool near South Point to remove Christmas berry. Register at 769-7629 or kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.