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 9, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Nov. 9, 2011

Kawa is a popular place for local camping, surfing and fishing. Photo by Julia Neal
NEARLY 800 ACRES OF KAWA LAND are now in the public domain. The county’s latest purchase of more than 550 acres for $3.9 million has closed with the assistance of the community, nonprofit organizations and government agencies, as well as a price discounted by several million dollars by the Edmund C. Olson Trust. “I have loved Hawai`i since I first came here for business in the 1960s. I am happy that this shoreline land will remain in public hands in the future. Hawai`i has been good to me, and I am pleased to give back to the community,” said Olson. Olson purchased the land from local landowner and macadamia grower Thomas Okuna after the two were introduced with the idea of Olson buying Kawa land to preserve it. Olson vowed to hold onto the property until the community could raise funds to buy it for preservation.
Federal and state funding for Kawa is aimed at protecting the
estuaries at Kawa. Photo by Julia Neal
      The effort to preserve Kawa and the Ka`u Coast began years ago. In July of 2004, then County Council member Bob Jacobson appealed to government agencies in Hawai`i and Washington, D.C. to help protect wetlands at Honu`apo, Kawa and Punalu`u, even if it meant borrowing money to buy them.
       In October of 2004, the film Saving Ka`u’s Coast was released, promoting preservation of Kawa, Honu`apo and Punalu`u. The award-winning film, directed by Danny Miller and co-produced and funded by The Ka`u Calendar newspaper, was provided to government leaders, nonprofits and other funders, as well as distributed to public libraries and community groups.
       The film identified Kawa, Honu`apo and Punalu`u coastal areas as Ka`u’s three most easily accessed coastal areas for fishing, surfing and recreation for local residents and as important wetland habitats for wildlife. It also identified the three as the most likely coastal areas to be developed in Ka`u.
       The film included community leaders such as Guy Enriques, John Replogle, Bill Gilmartin, the Trust for Public Land’s Josh Stanbro, and Abel Simeona Lui. 
A surf contest draws vehicles all the way to the beach for
oceanfront parking. Photo by Julia Neal
       In the film, Simeona Lui, who has now lived on the Kawa property for more than 20 years, said that Kawa should be preserved for everyone, with Simeona Lui as the host and caretaker. Despite his protests and claims that his family was the rightful owner, former Ka`u realtor Marcia Johnson and partners purchased 235 acres from Okuna. The hui put the land up for sale on the open market in 2005 with advertisements in real estate magazines calling Kawa “one of the best bays in Ka`u.”
      In 2008, the county was able to purchase the Kawa land that was advertised for sale. The parcels just purchased by the county from Olson completes the effort to put Kawa in the pubic domain. 
      Simeona Lui, however, still lives there and objects to public ownership, has been turned down by government agencies and courts in his attempt to stop it, and said he would fight any eviction that could be planned by the county. He and his followers fly the flags of Hawaiian sovereignty.
      Mayor Billy Kenoi said that county officials have been meeting with community and cultural stakeholders for many weeks, listening to their concerns and recommendations. Kenoi said the wishes of the entire Ka`u community will drive the county’s actions at Kawa.
Camping at Kawa has increased in recent decades.
Photo by Julia Neal
      State Board of Land & Natural Resources chair William Aila, Jr. described the preservation of lands at Kawa as “a good example of how federal, state, and county funds can come together to protect a valued community resource.”
      According to a joint release from government agencies, the Trust for Public Land and the Olson Trust, “A public-private partnership consisting of the County, the State Legacy Land Conservation Program under the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Recovery Land Acquisition Program, the Trust for Public Land, and many community members and stakeholders, made the $3.9 million purchase possible.” 
     The state provided $1.5 million, the federal government provided $1 million, and $1.4 million came from the Hawai`i County’s Open Space Land Fund.

THE EXACT SITE OF THE CELLULAR TOWER planned for land on Maile Street in Pahala is yet to be revealed, according to a spokesman for Crown Castle U.S.A. The 60-acre parcel is the old mill site and includes potential cell phone tower locations across from houses, near a preschool and the community clubhouse. It also includes potential cell tower sites below the old sugar mill warehouse, away from buildings. A notice published in the Hawai`i Tribune Herald asks for public comment by Nov. 28. Crown Castle must comply with the federal National Environmental Policy Act, which requires such public notice.
       The notice says that “Crown invites comments from any interested party on the impact of the proposed tower on any districts, sites, structures or object significant in American history, archaeology, engineering or culture that are listed or determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
      “Specific information regarding the project is available for comments by calling Janis Merritts at 480-735-6931 during normal business hours” in Arizona.

Strawberry guava. Photo from NPS
STRAWBERRY GUAVA, considered an invasive plant that threatens native forests, is the target of control by the release of a Brazilian insect into the environment. The state Department of Agriculture made the announcement yesterday, saying it will first release the scale bug Tectococcus ovatus in Volcano and the Ola`a Forest Reserve. The ag department’s environmental assessment concluded release of the insects would result in no significant environmental impact. 

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP hosts a Veterans Day ceremony on Friday at 3 p.m. in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Keynote speaker is Circuit Court Judge Edward Kubo. Guest speaker is Lt. Colonel Joseph D’Angelo. A buffet follows at 4:30 p.m. at the Crater Rim Café. Fees apply. 

Brittany Smart
A VETERANS DAY CELEBRATION will be held in Na`alehu Park, sponsored by the Ka`u Multicultural Society. The Ka`u `Ohana Band will provide several marches to set a tone for the event, said band spokesman Robert Domingos. Speakers will include County Council member Brittany Smart. The event will include games for kids, displays of veteran photos and memorabilia. It begins with a blessing at 9 a.m., with entertainment to follow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

MISS KA`U COFFEE, BRANDY SHIBUYA, will be welcomed home after winning the islandwide Miss Aloha Hawai`i competition in Kona. She will dance hula this Friday at the Veterans Day Concert, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pahala Plantation House. Also on stage will be One Journey; the Ka`u High School Ensemble; the Rev. Dennis Kamakahi; David Kamakahi; George Kahumoku, Jr.; Moses Kahumoku; John and Hope Keawe; James Hill; Anne Davison and more. Plate lunches and bottled water will be on sale as a fundraiser for the Ka`u High Ensemble. They will be joined by the Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant Court.

A KA`U BEACH CLEANUP is scheduled for this Saturday. Volunteers meet at Wai`ohinu Park to carpool to Kamilo Beach near South Point. To sign up, contact Megan Lamson at 769-7629 or kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.