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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Nov. 30, 2011

The county now claims ownership of lands around Kawa Beach for park and wildlife management. Photos by Julia Neal
THE ATTEMPT OF ABEL SIMIONA LUI and his hui to have the court quash a possible eviction from Kawa was turned away by Judge Joseph Florendo yesterday in Third Circuit Court. The ruling was technical. The judge said that the motion filed to stay an eviction improperly included a person named Han Phua, who was not named in the eviction order being appealed, and therefore didn’t have standing in the case. The judge did say, however, that the motion could be re-filed with corrected names, according to a Hawai`i Tribune-Herald story this morning. 
Abel Simeona Lui says he is the rightful caretaker of Kawa
and opposes a county park and preserve there. 
     The article by Chelsea Jensen also reported that Lui talked openly in the courtroom and after several warnings from the judge was removed by the guards. As he was being taken away Lui said, “I oppose everything you’re doing here,” Jensen reported.
     Eviction was approved by the court years ago, when the property was still in the hands of Thomas Okuna, who sold it to the Edmund C. Olson Trust, which held the Kawa land until the community, county, state and federal agencies could raise money to make the popular surfing and fishing spot into a park and preserve for recreation and wildlife. That sale was recently completed in two sections, with the county first purchasing more than 200 acres which were being held and advertised for sale by former Ka`u realtor Marcia Johnson and her hui. The second county purchase at Kawa recently closed and includes more than 500 acres, with acreage at Kawa and other parcels on the coastline stretching toward Punalu`u.
     However, Lui, who has lived there for more than 20 years, claims Kawa was unfairly taken from his family generations ago and that he is the legitimate caretaker of the land.
     As Okuna was unable to carry out the eviction of Lui and the Olson Trust did not evict him while it was holding the property, Lui, over the years, has gathered supporters of Hawaiian sovereignty around him. They claim that the U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over the property. Lui has also filed claims of ownership, which have clouded the land title at Kawa and are involved in a separate court case. Lui vows to stay on at Kawa.

Kawa Flats floods, cutting Na`alehu off from Pahala and its
hospital and school.
KAWA FLOODING is also being targeted by public officials, as a meeting will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. at Na`alehu School Cafeteria on state plans to raise Hwy 11 some ten feet above grade to keep traffic moving during heavy rains. 
     A draft Environmental Assessment has been published and is available at the DOT’s Hawai`i District Office, Pahala and Na`alehu public libraries, and online at http://hawaii.gov/ health/environmental/oeqc/index.html.
     “The highway was constructed over 50 years ago with no drainage facilities for this low-lying section,” the EA states. “Flood waters from an intermittent stream frequently overtop the highway and completely close this round-the-island highway – the only route connecting the two main towns of Ka`u. The flooding is a hazard to motorists, prevents the passage of emergency vehicles, and damages the roadway structure,” the EA says.
     The highway’s surface would be raised a maximum of about 10 feet, to an elevation of 46 feet above mean sea level, placing the road surface approximately two feet above the 50-year flood level. A reinforced concrete box culvert measuring 84 feet wide by eight feet high would be placed beneath the highway.

THINK LOCAL, BUY LOCAL month begins tomorrow. The campaign is a public education initiative that highlights how purchasing locally made and grown products and shopping at locally owned businesses can benefit the community, environment and economy of Hawai`i Island. The campaign is by the Hawai`i Alliance for a Local Economy, under contract with County of Hawai`i Department of Research and Development.
     Mayor Billy Kenoi has declared the month of December Think Local, Buy Local month, with a ceremony Dec. 1 at the Mo`oheau Bandstand in Hilo. 
     Participating businesses can display Think Local, Buy Local window signs and highlight Made on Hawai`i Island products. Ka`u businesses can be a part of the campaign by signing up as a HALE member and paying a $25 membership fee. Benefits include a large media presence that will drive people to the Think Local, Buy Local website; a local business profile; inclusion in a Local Business Directory and Green Map being developed; Think Local, Buy Local signage for retail locations; and Made on Hawai`i Island product stickers for products with 51 percent or more value added on Hawai`i Island.
     “A 2010 national report on Buy Local campaigns found that communities with an active Buy Local campaign experienced markedly stronger revenue growth compared to communities without such a campaign, and independent retailers in Buy Local communities saw a 5.2 percent increase in holiday sales, while those elsewhere reported an average gain of 0.8 percent. During the holiday season, the Think Local, Buy Local campaign is focusing attention on Hawai`i Island grown and made products and locally owned businesses,” said Andrea Dean, principal of Sustainable Initiatives.
     To learn more and participate in Think Local, Buy Local visit www.ThinkLocalBuyLocal.org or call Andrea Dean at 960-3727.

Joey Wells' Lehua Nani
ENTRIES IN VOLCANO ART CENTER’S 12th annual Invitational Wreath Exhibit are on display at the gallery this month. Gallery artists present their concepts of wreath, with creations ranging from the traditional to the whimsical, using a variety of media, materials and techniques. The winning wreath is called Lehua Nani and was created by Joey Wells. 

CHRISTMAS MUSIC FILLS KA`U this weekend. Free concerts featuring the Ka`u Community Chorus, Hannah’s Makana `Ohana and the Ka`u `Ohana Band take place at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Ocean View Community Center and Sunday at Discovery Harbour Community Hall.
     The Volcano Festival Chorus Concert is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp Chapel in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. This free concert is a gift to the community from Kilauea Drama and Entertainment Network and the chorus. Park entrance fees may apply.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Nov. 29, 2011

Kumu Hula Hannah Uribes (left) and Hannah's Makana `Ohana perform at Ka`u School of the Arts'
Music for Christmas concerts this weekend. Photo by Nalani Parlin
BANNING PLASTIC BAGS used for carrying food and goods purchased from stores and restaurants on the Big Island could become law soon. The measure already passed first reading at the County Council with a 5 to 3 vote, and the final vote is likely to take place at the Dec. 21 council meeting, according to a Stephens Media report this morning.
     The vote follows public hearings around the island. Council member Pete Hoffmann, who champions the measure, said he is comfortable with the final version and that the mayor is OK with it. “Let’s not sacrifice the environment on the altar of convenience,” Hoffmann told reporter Jason Armstrong. 
     Hoffmann noted that the bill is not an outright ban on plastic bags. Council member Dennis Onishi, who opposes the bill, says that people would still buy plastic bags for lining trash cans in homes and offices, instead of using plastic bags acquired free during shopping. There will still be plastic bags going into the landfill, he said.
     If passed, stores would be given a year to use up their inventory of plastic bags and build up paper bag supplies and to encourage people to bring cloth or other reusable bags for shopping.
     According to the Stephens Media story, the eleven Subway franchises on the Big Island have already turned to paper.
     Maui and Kaua`i already have plastic bag bans, and surveys show that more than half of Maui customers are not using bags provided by stores and restaurants there, the story said.
     County Council chair Dominic Yagong said he will refrain from voting on the bill when it comes before the Big Island Council. He said his long-time employer Foodland will suffer a large cost increase as paper bags are much more expensive.

Rodney Naiole Kahele
POLICE ARE SEARCHING FOR Rodney Naiole Kahele, of Ocean View, who is wanted on seven warrants with bail that totals $300,300. A statement from the Hawai`i Police Department describes Kahele as 6-foot-1, 180 pounds with black hair and tattoos on his back, arms and legs. Anyone with information can call Officer Dane Shibuya at 939-2520 or the non-emergency number 935-3311. 

A 100-TON BOULDER CRUSHED their car on Hwy 11 near Kahuku Ranch in 2007, and victims Michael Patrick O’Grady and Leiloni O’Grady, of Ocean View, have gone to court. The Ocean View residents, one a school social worker and the other a speech pathologist, seek millions of dollars in medical expenses, wages and future lost wages. The trial began yesterday in Circuit Court in Hilo. Their attorney is Ron Self, of Wood Valley, and the judge is Greg Nakamura.
     The defendant is the state Department of Transportation, which plaintiffs claim was negligent when it cut the road through the mountainside, leaving rocks and a giant boulder with no place to fall but the highway. A story in today’s Hawai`i Tribune-Herald by reporter John Burnett quotes Leiloni O’Grady recalling the rock slide coming toward her vehicle: “It looked like something on TV, with fingers of dirt coming down and the dust going up. Then this big boulder came down.” The boulder turned the car over and sent it sliding upside down.
     According to the Tribune-Herald story, Patrick O’Grady recalled that he found himself “hanging upside down in the seatbelt, trying to breath. I was lying on the road, and one of my students came up and said, ‘Oh my God, Mr. O’Grady.” Patrick O’Grady has since recovered from most of his injuries and has gone back to work in the Ka`u public schools, but his wife says she may never work again. 

Cyndi Napper, Mary Ramsdell and Sandy Ooka, of
Hannah's Makana `Ohana. Photo by Nalani Parlin
MUSIC FOR CHRISTMAS is featured at concerts this weekend. The Ka`u Community Chorus, Hannah’s Makana `Ohana and the Ka`u `Ohana Band perform at 2:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center on Saturday and Discovery Harbour Community Hall on Sunday.

SUBMISSIONS OF WORKS for Volcano Art Center’s upcoming exhibit called Occupy Art are being accepted today between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. This exhibit is open to all who care to express their opinions on the Occupy Wall Street movement, using art as a vehicle for creative and healthy expression. Any and all media are accepted, and there is no entry fee. Call 967-8222 for more information.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Nov. 28, 2011

Public ownership of Kawa for recreation and wildlife protection is opposed by Abel Simeona Lui,
 who goes to court tomorrow. Photo by Julia Neal
KAWA RESIDENT and Hawaiian sovereignty supporter Abel Simeona Lui goes to Third Circuit Court in Kona tomorrow. He is making claims that the county cannot hold onto land it purchased to create a park and restore wildlife and the estuaries at Kawa. Lui, who has lived at Kawa for more than 20 years and has welcomed traveling and more permanent residents to stay there in tents and other self-built housing, said he is the caretaker of Kawa land and beyond. However, the land has been sold several times, most recently to the county, which plans to keep it in the public domain. 

CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES that were cut in Ka`u will be restored, according to a statement from the state Department of Human Services. The programs are managed by Kapi`olani Child Protection Center, which provides counseling and treatment to parents with substance abuse problems. An estimated 160 children and 100 parents received services last year. Kapi`olani has been operating for more than 15 years and employs five people, including three part-time counselors. 
     It receives funding from Child Welfare Services under the state Department of Human Services, which suffered a $5.8 million cut in funding from the federal government in October.
     Child Welfare Services help with child protection, foster care, adoption, independent living and licensing of resource family homes, group homes and child-placing organizations.
     DHS director Patricia McManaman said that, “After listening to community concerns about limited service options and the fact that other Kona-based service providers will be unable to fill the gaps, the DHS reconsidered service reductions in the Ka`u area.”
     She said a new stream of federal funding will enable the department to sustain Ka`u-area services.

Final draft map of Hawai`i County
Council districts.
THE COUNTY REDISTRICTING COMMISSION meets on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Hilo Council chambers to finalize its redistricting plan, which changes District 6 boundaries. The plan removes Kurtistown and Mountain View from District 6 and adds Napo`opo`o, Captain Cook and Kealakekua. 
     The new boundaries put Council members Brittany Smart and Brenda Ford in the same district. Neither has announced candidacy for next year’s election, but Ford has said she will not move, setting up a possibility that two incumbents may run for the same County Council seat. Ford is eligible for one more term on the Council.
     If Ford and Smart decide to run, they would face a challenge from Lee McIntosh, of Discovery Harbour, who recently announced his candidacy.

GASOLINE PRICES statewide were the highest ever over any Thanksgiving weekend, but they dropped .7 cents from the previous week, according to hawaiigasprices.com. Statewide, gas prices yesterday were $4.12 a gallon, while the national average was down 4.1 cents to $3.32 a gallon. Prices statewide were 59.6 cents a gallon higher than last year here in Hawai`i.
     Prices this morning in Ocean View were $4.32 at Kahuku Country Market's Flying K Gasoline; Ocean View market declined to give out its price; Kahala Gas across the street was $4.36; the 76 station in Na`alehu was selling for $4.37 a gallon; and Ka`u gas in Pahala was $4.40 a gallon.

Alexandre Ribeiro
Amber Monforte
THE ULTRAMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS concluded yesterday. The three-day event which passed through Ka`u with a grueling bicycle race crowned 46-year-old Alexandre Ribeiro, of Brazil, as its winner after leader Jonas Colting, of Sweden, pulled out of the race with injuries. Amber Monforte, of Reno, NV, who works as a nurse, was the first woman across the finish line. Ultraman, considered one of the toughest multi-sport events in the world, is comprised of a 6.2-mile swim, a 90-mile bike ride through Ka`u from Keauhou Bay to Volcano, a second day 171.4-mile bike ride from Volcano, through Puna and Hilo to Hawi, and a third day double marathon – 52.4-mile run from Hawi past Kawaihae to Old Airport State Park in Kailua-Kona. 

Moses Espaniola III
THE NA`ALEHU THEATRE will present `Ukulele Classes with Moses Espaniola III from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings in the Old Pahala Community Clubhouse. Free lessons for persons of all ages will be on Dec. 4, 11 and 18, and on Sundays, Jan. 1, 8, 15 and 22. Snacks will be included. The lessons are sponsored in part by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through mentor Cyril Pahinui. The venue is provided by the Edmund C. Olson Trust. To attend, please come by and bring an `ukulele. 
     For more information contact Espaniola at ekolu23@yahoo.com or 345-6917 or Chelle Pahinui at chelle@cyrilpahinui.com.

RED FLAG WARNINGS remain, as windy conditions are expected to create a severe fire hazard today with 15 to 20 mph winds and 25 mph gusts until 6 p.m. Most in danger is the west side of Ka`u from South Point to South Kona, as drought conditions remain, and the air is very dry. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Nov. 27, 2011

Loved ones were remembered at a floating lantern ceremony yesterday at Punalu`u. Photos by Julia Neal

Two kinds of floating lanterns
were decorated.
THE FIRST FLOATING LANTERN CEREMONY in recent times drew many Ka`u residents to the Medicine Pond at Punalu`u yesterday. Loved ones were remembered with messages and art drawn on the paper of lanterns placed on miniature boats that were carried by the onshore breeze during the late afternoon and the offshore breeze as evening fell. The messages were placed in a community bonfire on the beach at the end of the ceremony. It was sponsored by the Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, HMSA and the American Cancer Society. 

EDUCATORS AROUND THE STATE are worried about parents keeping children home from preschool. A story in this morning’s Honolulu Star Advertiser says that children without preschool experience are more likely to enter school far behind their peers, a handicap that could be carried with them into their working years. Statewide, only about 58 percent of keiki entering kindergarten this year had preschool experience. 
     The Advertiser story points out that Hawai`i is one of ten states with no state-funded preschool program. Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration, however, is hoping that within a few years the state will be able to provide all young children access to quality child care services. The state applied for $50 million in federal funding from the Race to the Top Early Learning competition and will find out if the money is approved in December.
     Officials are also working to expand preschool to include those children born too late in the year to qualify for regular kindergarten.
The U.S. Department of Education
offers Race to the Top grants.
     According to the Advertiser story, about 37 percent of kindergarten teachers reported that at least three-quarters of their incoming students had “attitudes and habits that facilitate learning.” Being prepared is shown when keiki have “eagerness to observe and ask questions, try hard and appear interested in the world around them,” states the article. Only 25 percent of teachers said at least three-quarters of Kindergartners started the school year knowing math concepts like simple counting. Preschools also teach literacy skills, needed to start the process of learning to read in kindergarten.
     The story says that a poor economy has made it difficult for many low- and moderate-income families to pay for preschool. Instead, they place young children “with relatives or unlicensed practitioners during the day rather than in more expensive licensed preschool centers.”
     The story quotes Diane Young, an early childhood education specialist with the state Department of Education: “With the economy how it is, I think it’s really difficult for many parents. There’s a bigger movement toward letting relatives watch (children),” she said. 
     Declines in preschool attendance are also blamed on families receiving less preschool tuition since January 2010, when the state cut funding for childcare, eliminating 28 percent of families with preschoolers, affecting thousands of pre-school age children.
     The problem has intensified with the percentage of children living in poverty increasing, as shown by the number qualifying for a free or reduced-cost lunch at public schools. Fifty-two percent of 16,038 incoming kindergartners qualified for lunch subsidies, up from 45 percent in 2008, according to the recent readiness assessment report by the DOE.
     In Ka`u there are several preschools, and early education is assisted by such programs as Tutu & Me Traveling Preschool, involving parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents and other kupuna to help teach the keiki.

A RED FLAG WARNING is up for South Point and all the leeward sections of Ka`u and north toward Kona. The National Weather Service expects a dry, windy day with gusts up to 35 mph and moisture only 40 percent, which is likely to create critical fire weather conditions with rapid fire-growth potential. The Fire Department always warns motorists to refrain from throwing cigarette butts from vehicles, which could spark a fire. It is also advisable to refrain from parking trucks and cars on dry grassy areas and leaving them before engines cool, as their heat could also spark a fire. 
     High winds could also cause trees and branches to fall on electrical lines today, causing outages. Drivers are advised to look out for debris on roadways.

PRIVATE ARTIST STUDIOS are open today in the once a year event sponsored by the Volcano Village Artists Hui. This is the 25th Annual Art Studio Tour & Sale, and it runs until 4 p.m. Seven studios provide tours and a chance to meet painters, potters, sculptors, woodworkers, photographers and other creators of fine art and crafts. Maps are at volcanovillageartistshui.com and local businesses. Many items will be on sale.

THE UTRAMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, which blasted through Ka`u on Friday during a 90-mile bike ride, wraps up with a 52.4-mile, double marathon today from Hawi to Kona. Previous winner Jonas Colting, of Sweden, was still in the lead this morning. The race started with a 6.2-mile swim in Keauhou and is considered one of the toughest endurance events on the planet.

CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY at Volcano Art Center Gallery finishes its weekend of opening events with the wreath competition, book signings and holiday displays. The gallery is open until 5 p.m.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Nov. 26, 2011

Funding to purchase Kawa came from government agencies to protect it for wildlife and recreation. Photos by Julia Neal
KAWA RESIDENT ABEL SIMEONA LUI is going to Third Circuit Court Tuesday, hoping to pre-empt any possible eviction by the County of Hawai`i, now that the county has purchased the property for public use. Lui claims the property belongs to his family. He has lived there for more than 20 years. He and friends built a small wooden house with solar. Others live in various tent-like structures. 
Kawa has been a gathering place for families for generations.
     Lui has hosted surf meets at Kawa, put up outhouses for visitors, and has been called “Uncle” by a generation of surfers and beachgoers. He says he considers himself the caretaker of Kawa and often shows historic sites and wetlands to tourists and other passersby. In recent years, however, his narrative has increasingly concentrated on his claims of ownership to the land there, and some reports say he and his supporters pick and choose whom they welcome to Kawa.
     Kawa is a popular fishing and surfing beach along the Ka`u Coast. In the 1970s local residents went to court to make sure the access stayed open. In the last decade community groups and government agencies have been raising money to buy the land along the shore to conserve it for wildlife and recreation. 
Kawa is a popular surf meet location.
     Lui, however, opposes public ownership, claiming the land was unfairly acquired from his family years ago. The land, according to state records, was owned by local macadamia farmer Thomas Okuna, who sold part of it to former Ka`u realtor Marcia Johnson and investors who put Kawa up for sale, advertising it in real estate magazines. The county first purchased the section of Kawa being advertised by Johnson to prevent it from being sold for real estate development.
     The other section of Kawa was purchased by the Edmund C. Olson Trust, which also helped with funding to preserve nearby Honu`apo. The Olson purchase also included land toward Punalu`u, and Olson held all the coastal parcels until the county, state and federal government came up with $3.9 million to buy it and place it in the public domain. 
Hawaiian flags of sovereignty have flown at Kawa for years.
     More than 1,000 acres between Punalu`u and Honu`apo, the land closest to Hwy 11 in all of Ka`u, are now under county ownership, with many other acres under state ownership.
     Lui told The Ka`u Calendar that he will stay at Kawa and has gone to court to avoid eviction even though the new owner – the county - has not attempted to evict him.
     A report by Nancy Cook Lauer in this morning’s West Hawai`i Today and the Hawai`i Tribune Herald reports Lui saying “the property is allodial land, sovereign to Native Hawaiians with no obligation to government.” Sovereignty flags, banners and posters line Hwy 11 at Kawa.
     County Deputy Corporation Counsel Joseph Kamelamela is quoted in the daily newspapers as saying he will go to the court hearing on Tuesday. “We’re ensuring the public can use the property without being threatened, without being stopped,” Kamelamela said. “The county purchased it for use by the public.”
     The newspaper also reported that Judge Andy Wilson recused himself from the Kawa case that is set for Tuesday. Wilson and his partner, Stan Roehrig, have represented various Hawaiian families in their quest for settlements in court regarding land that they said was unfairly acquired by the sugar companies generations ago. Some of those suits involved land in Ka`u and resulted in monetary and land settlements. Wilson is also a former county deputy prosecutor.

Ultraman competitor Amber Monforte, of Reno, NV, on her way
to Volcano. Photo from Team Monforte
ULTRAMAN COMPETITORS ZOOMED through Ka`u yesterday on their bicycles. All 38 Ultraman competitors completed the 6.2-mile swim in Keauhou Bay successfully before riding to Volcano. Jonas Colting crushed the day with a total time of 7 hours, 15 minutes and 50 seconds. Mike Coughlin posted the fastest bike split with a time of 4 hours, 50 minutes and 19 seconds, riding from Keauhou to Volcano. Ultraman travels from Volcano to Hawi today, with a detour through Puna. The race ends tomorrow in Kona.

THE MEDICINE POND at Punalu`u will be the site of the lantern ceremony today to honor loved ones who have passed away. Organizer Jesse Marques said people will start signing in for their floating lanterns this morning before noon. A potluck lunch, taiko drums, chanting and prayer are part of the daylong celebration at Punalu`u Beach Park pavilions. The sponsors are the Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, HMSA and the American Cancer Society. The actual launching of the floating lanterns will be at 5 p.m.

Joey Wells' Lehua Nani wreath
HOLIDAY WREATHS created from locally collected foliage, fabric and many other materials are part of a competition at Volcano Art Center Gallery. Décor, activities and presentations celebrate Christmas in the Country, all day today and tomorrow, Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

THIS IS THE SECOND DAY of a three-day opportunity to visit the private studios of Volcano artists. Volcano Village Artists Hui’s 25th Annual Art Studio Tour & Sale is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow. Seven studios open up, providing a chance to meeting painters, potters, sculptors, woodworkers, photographers and other creators of fine art and crafts and to purchase their creations. Maps are at volcanovillageartistshui.com and at local businesses.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Nov. 25, 2011

`AMA`AMA, THE STRIPED MULLET, ARE KAPU from Thursday, Dec. 1 through Saturday, March 31. The Department of Land and Natural Resources reminds the fishing public that the fishing season will be over as “`ama`ama are about to enter their peak spawning season.” DLNR chair William J. Aila said, “The annual winter closure is designed to help the fish reproduce successfully and protect the species from overfishing.” Violations of the size or season restrictions can result in fines of up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail, plus up to $100 for each fish taken. 
     “We ask the public’s kokua in complying with the closed season,” said Aila. “While it’s DLNR’s job to protect our marine resources, everyone shares in the responsibility to take care of important fish species like `ama`ama to ensure their survival into the future.”
     Copies of statewide fishing regulations for `ama`ama and all other marine species are available at all aquatic resources offices. Fishing regulations can be found on the DAR website at hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar. To report fish catch size or net violations, call 643-DLNR (643-3567).

THE THIRD EARTHQUAKE 3.0 OR GREATER, in a week, rattled Ka`u on Thanksgiving Day. This one struck at 10:33 a.m., 10 miles north-northwest of Na`alehu and 11 miles west of Pahala. An earthquake on Wednesday registered 3.8. It was six miles west-southwest of Na`alehu and eight miles north of South Point, just east of South Point Road. Last Sunday, Nov. 20, a 4.0 earthquake shook Mauna Loa just four miles from the summit on the Kona side, and a 3.0 struck just 10 miles from the summit on the Ka`u side. Visit http://tux.wr.usgs.gov/.

TRIATHLETES will zoom through Ka`u today on Hwy 11. Ultraman World Champion competitors started this morning with a 6.2 mile swim in Keauhou Bay. They cycle through Ka`u on their way to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The 38 men and women stay overnight in Volcano and cycle down side roads in Puna, back to Hilo and up to Hawi, where they overnight again. On the third day, they run a double marathon to Kailua-Kona. The Ultraman is considered one of the most demanding individual multi-sport events anywhere. The triathletes traveled to the Big Island for Ultraman from the U.S. mainland, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Sweden and Slovenia, as well as from other Hawaiian Islands.

ELIMINATING FLOODING OF HWY 11 AT KAWA FLATS is the topic of an Environmental Assessment now available for public review and comments. The EA calls for the road to be raised a maximum of 10 feet so that culverts can be placed under it to carry water from the north drainage basin to the makai side of the highway.
     A public meeting about the project will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Na`alehu Elementary School cafeteria. The EA can be read at the Na`alehu and Pahala Public Libraries or online at the Hawai`i Department of Health’s Office of Environmental Quality Control website. The link is http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/EA_and_EIS_Online_Library/Hawaii/2010s/2011-11-23-DEA-Mamalahoa-Highway-Drainage.pdf.
     The last day to file comments is Dec. 23.

Floating lanterns will honor ancestors at Punalu`u Beach
tomorrow. Photo by Naomi Hayes
A CEREMONY AT SEA to remember loved ones who have passed on will be held at Punalu`u Beach tomorrow. Taiko drumming, cultural chants, prayers and interfaith chants precede the ceremony, where the names and messages for loved ones are sent with floating lanterns out to sea. The event is sponsored by the Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, American Cancer Society and HMSA. Donations are taken to raise funds for health care education scholarships. A potluck will be held. Call 928-0101. 

THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has approved the Feed In Tariff Tier 3 proposal from Hawaiian Electric Co. that will enable more energy producers to sell their power to HECO at fixed rates with 20-year contracts. This could help the smaller energy producers receive income from their alternative energy projects that produce 501 kilowatts to five megawatts. Alternative power will include onshore wind, in-line hydroelectric and concentrated solar power production.

Mokulele Airlines
MOKULELE AIRLINES has a new owner. Mesa Air Group sold the interisland turboprop service to Transpac Aviation, Inc. of Scottsdale, AZ. The airline will continue to book its four nine-seat, Cessna Caravan aircraft and jet service under the go!Mokulele brand. Passengers continue to book reservations on both the jet and caravan service on www.iflygo.com and www.mokulele.com. Current Mokulele employees are expected to remain with Mokulele Flight Services. Mokulele has flights from Kona to Kahului, Maui and on to Moloka`i. There are also direct flights from Hilo and Kona to Honolulu.

THIS IS THE FIRST DAY this season for visiting the studios of Volcano artists. The Volcano Village Artists Hui’s 25th Annual Art Studio Tour & Sale is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Saturday and Sunday. Seven studios are open for meeting painters, sculptors, woodworkers, photographers and other creators of fine art and crafts, which will also be for sale. Get the map at volcanovillageartistshui.com or at local businesses.

Eddie Andrade is organizing the Christmas
Parade for Pahala. Call 928-0808.
SEE HOLIDAY WREATHS made of locally collected foliage, fabric and many other materials. The wreaths created by artists are part of a competition at Volcano Art Center Gallery. Décor, activities and presentations are part of Christmas in the Country, all day today, tomorrow and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

CHRISTMAS IN KA`U will be sponsored by Thy Word Ministries Ka`u at the Na`alehu Hongwanji Building on Hwy 11. The event on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with song, hula, dance and free Hawaiian plate lunches is open to everyone. Vendor spaces are available by calling Pamela Taylor at 937-3386. 

COMMUNITY GROUPS and businesses can also sign up to be in the Pahala Christmas Parade, Sunday, Dec. 11. The parade begins at 1 p.m. at the Pahala Armory and winds through Pahala and to the Ka`u Hospital, finishing at the Pahala Catholic Church for refreshments. Call Eddie Andrade at 928-0808.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Nov. 24, 2011

Ka`u High & Pahala School Gym is used for graduation and many other community events. Photos by Julia Neal
KA`U HIGH & PAHALA ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS have written a support statement for the new Ka`u Regional Disaster Shelter and gym, which will be the subject of public planning sessions Dec. 19 and 20 on the school campus.
Hula on the wooden floor of the gym.
     One reason given for needing the gym is that “on days with poor weather and/or heavy vog, students must forego the badly needed opportunity to exercise and release constructive energy.” The designated emergency shelter for the school is its band room. “This location is not optimal because the location is on the back side of the campus, which is unfamiliar to most people, especially tourists,” the school statement says. “There is also no cell phone service, and the designated site can only hold 200 people” for the District of Ka`u, where there are approximately 5,000 people plus visitors.
     The school reports that during the last three years, the band room shelter opened for earthquakes, tsunamis and road closures due to flooding. “With the vog/SO2 the band room is one of the few safe rooms for the community; however, if the vog/SO2 elevates to an unsafe level during the school day, students take priority, and the community has no shelter to report to” and must drive 50-plus miles to the nearest shelter or to a place with clean air.
     The need for more space for school athletics is stressed by the school statement. There is not enough room in the existing gym during school hours and before the after-school bus leaves. The new gym could be used for multiple volleyball courts, basketball, and wrestling. The school also would like a weight room to help condition students for sports, even those not practiced or played in the gym, like cross country, track, soccer and football. 
The gym hosts inspirational speakers, including U.H.
alumni Davone Bess, of the Miami Dolphins.
    The new gym will also be used by County Parks & Recreation, “which has almost no access to the gym,” the school says. With the new gym completed, “the old gym will be made available for county after-school programs targeting elementary and middle school,” and its programs could increase.
     “Programs may be able to start right after school, allowing Na`alehu and Ocean View middle and elementary students to participate and then be able to catch the 4:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. activity bus to go home.”
     The new gym will even help the Na`alehu Parks & Recreation programs to start earlier, as the Na`alehu gym will no longer be needed for busing Ka`u High School and Middle School athletes to practice their sport.
     “The main goal for the new district gym is that it will provide an educational structure for our students and be a safe haven for the members of our community/district during times of peril due to natural disasters. The new gym and shelter will help to build “a stronger, healthier community all-around,” concludes the school statement.
The gym is the stage for musical events.
     The county Department of Public Works is taking public input on the gym and shelter design through Dec. 6 for preliminary design concepts and then again at the public meetings in Pahala Dec. 19 and 20 at 5 p.m. at the school cafeteria.

AN EARTHQUAKE just east of South Point Road and nine miles west-southwest of Na`alehu struck yesterday at 6:15 p.m. Discovery Harbour area residents reported strong jolts and a shaking but no injuries or damage. The temblor was initially reported as a 4.0 magnitude but was later downgraded to 3.8. Last Sunday a 4.0 earthquake was recorded just four miles from the Mauna Loa summit, and a 3.0 was recorded nine miles up Mauna Loa from Pahala.

THE WINDING ROAD BETWEEN KONA and Ocean View took another life as James Keka, of Ocean View, died yesterday following a one-car crash at the 92-mile marker as he was heading south on Hwy 11 and lost control of his car, sending it over a 30-foot drop-off on the makai side of the highway.

HAWAI`I POLICE DEPARTMENT reminds Ka`u residents to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, as DUI check points will be scattered across the island. Police suggest designated drivers be available to transport holiday drinkers from home to home and from restaurants and bars. 

VEHICLE REGISTRATION NOTICES were sent out by the State of Hawai`i charging less money than owed. The county will send out new notices to correct the error. The state authorized increased fees for next year, including an increase from the $25 registration fee for each vehicle to $45 and doubling the vehicle weight tax. Owners of cars, trucks and vans can either go to vehicle registration offices to pay the correct amount or wait for the corrected bill in the mail.

THANKSGIVING DAY DINNERS are serving up all over Ka`u today: 
     In Na`alehu - Hana Hou from 11 a.m. until closing and South Side Shaka’s noon to 9 p.m.
     Ocean View Community Center serves a free Thanksgiving feast from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
     In Volcano, Kilauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Café from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

A bracelet by Volcano Village
Artists Hui member Zeke Israel
VOLCANO VILLAGE ARTISTS open their studios to the public for an annual Tour & Sale tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Meet the artists and see and buy creations in many media at seven studios. Pick up maps at local businesses or at volcanovillageartistshui.com. 

CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY continues at the Volcano Art Center Gallery tomorrow and through the weekend with an invitational exhibit of wreaths made by artists. Art demonstrations, print and book signings by gallery artists, handcrafted decorations and gifts are offered. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park entrance fees apply.

THE FLOATING LANTERN CEREMONY to remember deceased loved ones begins at Punalu`u Saturday at 11 a.m. Taiko drumming, dance, interfaith chants and prayers precede the release of lanterns floating into the ocean. Registration is required. Donations are accepted for scholarships for health careers. It is sponsored by Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, the American Cancer Society and HMSA. Call 928-0101.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Nov. 23, 2011

Floating Lantern Ceremony will be held this Saturday at Punalu`u.  Photo by Matt Coats
LEE MCINTOSH IS THE FIRST CANDIDATE TO ANNOUNCE entry into the 2012 County Council race for District 6. A resident of Discovery Harbour, McIntosh said his campaign “will seek to qualify for comprehensive public funding.” A small businessman, McIntosh owns and operates his own landscaping business in Ka`u. He volunteers time as a member of `O Ka`u Kakou, as a board member of the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce and its Scenic Byways Committee, as well as the Discovery Harbour Common Grounds Committee. 
Lee McIntosh
     Among his supporters is Nadine Ebert, who said she supports McIntosh because “he is of good moral standing,” and because “he knows the problems that come with trying to have a business in this county and state. He lives in Ka`u and works with service groups in the area as well as with his church.”
     A statement from his campaign says that McIntosh “believes that moderation must be restored to the Council. As a problem solver, he will thoroughly explore all the options available before making a decision. Liberty, limited government, personal responsibility, and fiscal accountability are just some of the core values that are part of the foundation that will guide Lee as he searches for solutions,” the statement says.
     Another supporter, Carol Massey, said, “Lee is genuinely interested in the well being of our community. He keeps informed of the issues facing us, and will work hard for District 6.”
     Said McIntosh, “There are several issues that have plagued our island for years. It’s time to identify sensible solutions and start taking action.” For more, see www.LeeMcIntosh.org.
     McIntosh could be running against one or two incumbents, as Council member Brittany Smart and Brenda Ford are both in District 6 under the new redistricting boundaries.

Dominic Yagong
IDEAS TO CHANGE THE BUILDING CODE are due Dec. 28, but County Council chair Dominic Yagong is asking people in the building trades to get involved now to help make buildings more affordable but safe. According to a Stephens Media story by reporter Nancy Cook Lauer, Yagong said, “I think the building code could be the catalyst to economic recovery.” He asks that the public send in ideas to his office ahead of a Council meeting on the building code on Dec. 6 in Hilo Council Chambers. 
     According to the Stephens Media story, “Hawai`i County administrators and corporation counsel have repeatedly told the county any changes must be more stringent than the state code.” The story quotes Yagong saying, “It just seems like they purposely obstruct the Council’s authority.” He said the public and the Council have an opportunity to tailor the code to the Big Island and to help make housing more affordable.

QUEST, the quasigovernmental health insurance plan that serves under-employed and small business people and their families in Hawai`i, may tighten up its eligibility requirements and eliminate some 3,000 low-income adults, according to a report in Pacific Business News this morning. With tough economic times, since 2008 Quest has seen an increase of 34 percent in the number of people it insures. Quest insures about 20 percent of Hawai`i residents and has been touted as one of the best plans in the country to prevent families from living without health insurance. 

MATSON CONTAINER SHIPPING FEES are going up again. Rates are going up $225 for containers coming from the mainland and $110 for containers going from Hawai`i to the mainland. The increase involves a rate adjustment and increased handling charges, raising the total cost by 5.6 percent. The base terminal charge is $1,075 plus the increased and other fees related to the type of goods being shipped. “While Matson recognizes this is a difficult time economically, this rate adjustment is consistent with our long-standing philosophy of implementing modest, incremental increases as necessary to maintain the highest level of service to our customers,” a company spokesman said.

DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER is the slogan for the Hawai`i Police Department, which will conduct DUI checks around the island over the Thanksgiving weekend. In Kona and Hilo various restaurants and bars plan to distribute coupons for free taxi rides for those too inebriated to drive home.

THE ANNUAL KA`U CHRISTMAS PARADE is gearing up, with Eddie Andrade organizing the decades-old event for Sunday, Dec. 11. The Boys & Girls Club, Catholic Church, Keoki Kahumoku and his `ukulele students, Ka`u Coffee Mill and many others are planning their floats and their marching groups. The parade goes to homes throughout Pahala and makes a stop at Ka`u Hospital to visit with patients before finishing with refreshments at the Catholic Church.

PAHALA COMMUNITY CENTER’S annual Rubberband Turkey Shoot is scheduled for today at 3 p.m. All ages are welcome. Call Nona at 928-3102 to sign up.

THANKSGIVING DAY DINNERS are offered throughout Ka`u:
     Hana Hou Restaurant serves up a buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a dinner from 2 p.m. to closing. Call 929-9717 for reservations.
     South Side Shaka’s Restaurant offers a Thanksgiving dinner from noon to 9 p.m. Call 929-7404.
     Ocean View Community Center puts on its free annual Thanksgiving feast from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Call 939-7033 to volunteer.
     Kilauea Military Camp serves a Thanksgiving Day Buffet at the Crater Rim Café from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The menu includes turkey, fettuccine, salads, desserts and more. Fees apply.

Volcano Village Artists Hui member
Mary Goodrich's Koa Forest.
VOLCANO VILLAGE ARTISTS HUI opens up studios and workshops for its 25th Annual Tour & Sale Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Meet the artists and see and purchase their works in many media at seven studios in Volcano Village. Maps are at local businesses and at volcanovillageartistshui.com. 

CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY continues at the Volcano Art Center Gallery Friday through Sunday. See the annual invitational wreath exhibit, art demonstrations and print and book signings by gallery artists, plus handcrafted decorations and gifts offered only during the holiday season. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park entrance fees apply. 

A FLOATING LANTERN CEREMONY at Punalu`u will honor loved ones who have passed on this Saturday from 11 a.m. at the beach park. Taiko drumming, dance, interfaith chants and prayers will precede the release of the tiny floating lanterns into the ocean. Registration is required, and donations are being taken for college scholarships for health careers. It is sponsored by Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, the American Cancer Society and HMSA. Call 928-0101.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Nov. 22, 2011

Under the new reapportionment plan, Bob Herkes would no longer be state representative for much of Ka`u.
CREATING AN ADDITIONAL SENATE SEAT FOR HAWAI`I ISLAND is supported by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who answered a lawsuit yesterday. The suit against the state Redistricting Commission asks that transient military, students and other temporary residents be excluded from the populations used to draw political boundary lines, claiming it gives too much weight to O`ahu representation. 
     Abercrombie said new maps should be drawn leaving out the temporary residents. Even though he is a defendant in the lawsuit, Abercrombie sided with the plaintiffs in his response to the suit filed with the state Supreme Court. Plaintiffs are Sen. Malama Solomon, county Democratic Party chair Steve Pavao, and Democrats Louis Hao and Patti Cook. Kona attorney Mike Matsukawa filed a similar suit.
     The suit claims that O`ahu commissioners unfairly included the military so that O`ahu would not lose a Senate seat to the Big Island.

A stealth design can be used to make
cell towers look like trees.
REGARDING STATE HOUSE DISTRICTS, a group of Ocean View residents, led by Bob and Martie Nitsche and Rell Woodward, are hoping the lawsuits could lead to a change in the maps that would take Rep. Bob Herkes out of their district and divide Ka`u between Punalu`u and Na`alehu. Discovery Harbour, Green Sands, Kalae and Ocean View residents would vote with Kona, and Pahala residents would vote with Puna. Their contention is that a community is being unfairly divided. The final maps were adopted by the state Redistricting Commission in late September, and only a lawsuit and decision from the courts could change them. 

A 120-FOOT-TALL CELLULAR COMMUNICATIONS TOWER is planned off Maile Street for land makai of the Old Pahala Community Clubhouse, according to the county planning department. The proposal, filed with planners, shows the cell tower about 200 feet from Maile Street near the intersection of Maile that goes to the highway and Lower Moa`ula Road that goes to the county transfer station. The company planning the cell tower is Crown Castle USA, and it has asked for comments from the public. “Crown invites comments from any interested party on the impact of the proposed tower on any districts, sites, structures or objects significant in American history, archaeology, engineering or culture that are listed or determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places,” said a notice in the Hawai`i Tribune Herald’s legal notice section. 
A Norfolk pine design would match the
nearby scenic drive on Maile Street.
     Specific information regarding the project is available for comments by calling Janis Merritts at 480-735-6931 during normal business hours in Arizona. The notice said that comments must be received by Nov. 28, but Crown is extending the comment period into January.

HOME REPAIR LOANS for termite treatment, roofing, electrical, plumbing, sewer upgrades, and repairing dry rot and termite damage are available to Ka`u residents from the county. The Residential Emergency Repair Program is for low- and moderate-income persons. Call 959-4642 for an application or see www.hawaii-county.com/directory/dir_housing.htm.

THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF ENERGY in Hawai`i is the topic at tonight’s After Dark in the Park at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Kenyan Beals, Hawai`i Electric Light Company’s educational services coordinator, discusses how HELCO got its start, where we are today and plans for the future. Park entrance fees apply.

PAHALA COMMUNITY CENTER’S annual Rubberband Turkey Shoot is scheduled for tomorrow at 3 p.m. All ages are welcome. Call Nona at 928-3102 to sign up. 

THANKSGIVING DAY DINNER will be served at several venues in Ka`u:
     Hana Hou Restaurant has a buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 2 p.m. to closing. Call 929-9717 for reservations.
     South Side Shaka's Restaurant is serving dinner from noon to 9 p.m. Call 929-7404.
     Ocean View Community Center hosts its free annual Thanksgiving feast from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Call 939-7033 to volunteer.
     Kilauea Military Camp has a Thanksgiving Day Buffet at the Crater Rim Café from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The menu includes turkey, fettuccine, salads, desserts and more. Fees apply.

Ultraman cyclists will pedal through Ka`u on Friday.
Photo from Ultraman World Championships
ULTRAMAN WORLD CHAMPION CYCLISTS will peddle through Ka`u on Hwy 11 this Friday after completing a 6.2-mile swim in Keauhou Bay. They will ride to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, stay overnight there and cycle 171 miles to Hawi, with a detour to Kalapana. On the third day, they run a double marathon to Kailua-Kona. The Ultraman is considered one of the world’s most demanding individual multi-sport events. The 38 men and women competitors come from the U.S., Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Sweden and Slovenia. 

VOLCANO ART CENTER GALLERY’S annual Christmas in the Country celebration continues this Friday through Sunday. Special holiday celebrations include the annual invitational wreath exhibit, art demonstrations and print and book signings by gallery artists, plus handcrafted decorations and gifts offered only during the holiday season. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park entrance fees apply. 

Volcano Village Artists Hui member
Randal Sutton's raku wall vase.
ALSO TAKING PLACE THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND is the Volcano Village Artists Hui’s 25th Annual Art Studio Tour & Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Visitors meet the artists and see artworks in many media on display and available for purchase at seven studios in Volcano Village. Maps are available at local businesses and at volcanovillageartistshui.com. 

A FLOATING LANTERN CEREMONY, sponsored by Ka`u Rural Health Community Association in partnership with the American Cancer Society and HMSA, takes place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Punalu`u Black Sands Beach. Participants are asked to bring a Community Thanksgiving potluck. There will be Taiko drummers, music, cultural dance, interfaith chants and prayers, followed by a lantern release into the ocean. Registration is required, and donations will be used for a college scholarship fund for students enrolled in health careers. Call 928-0101.