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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Dec. 31, 2011

Green jobs for the New Year are available on the state Department of Labor website. Photos from DLIR
BRITTANY SMART will not run in the 2012 election for the District 6 County Council seat that serves Ka`u. In the middle of her first term in office, she made the announcement yesterday, saying it was for personal reasons, but she would not rule out running for public office in the future. 
Brittany Smart
     Smart defeated Council member Guy Enriques to take her first elected position last year. This followed graduating from University of Hawai`i – Hilo with a degree in political science. Smart is 28, married this past June and lives in Discovery Harbour. Her husband works in the composting and recycling business. 
     BRENDA FORD issued her own statement saying she will run for County Council District 6. She said, “New Council District 6 is a very large area and needs a person who understands agriculture, business, infrastructure and the need for jobs and services. I have always worked diligently to provide for rural areas throughout the island.” Her home became part of District 6 with the recent redistricting, which added Napo`opo`o and Captain Cook. Should she win in Ka`u – South Kona, she would serve for the fourth and last time, given term limits. Ford said has been working more than full-time on the part-time Council position after a career in business management.
     Ford said she would champion completion of projects supported by Smart, including the Ka`u High School shelter and gym, the Ocean View Well, Ocean View Transfer Station and the Ka`u satellite County Council office where constituents could testify and attend Council meetings remotely. Ford said she plans a series of “listening” meetings for District 6. She said she lives in a rural area in South Kona and appreciates the issues of Ka`u. 
Brenda Ford
     During her three terms as a Council member, Ford has championed the Two Percent Land Fund that has contributed to the preservation of Honu`apo and Kawa and the pending purchase of 3,000 acres at Road to the Sea near Manuka.
     Smart endorsed Ford, saying Ford is “completely dedicated to this job and has my utmost confidence in accurately representing the district. Ford is very knowledgeable in issues that face rural areas, such as lack of government access and infrastructure, agricultural issues, and sufficient police presence.” Smart said Ford “has promised to follow through on any projects that may remain at the end of my term.”
     THE OTHER ANNOUNCED CANDIDATE for the County Council race is Lee McIntosh, 30, of Discovery Harbour.
     Candidates can pull nomination papers beginning Feb. 1. The primary election is Aug. 11 and decides the winner, unless a runoff is required in the general election. The Council members take their seats in December. 

THE GREEN JOBS INITIATIVE has a boost from the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, which has launched a web-based directory of Green Employers. Green employers in renewable energy, natural resource conservation and other green enterprises post profiles to describe operations, core occupations, and skills and education they want in employees. 
     The Hawai`i Directory of Green Employers includes results from a 2010 survey. The online directory allows employers to update their information and new employers to add themselves to the directory.
     “Hawai`i has hundreds of Green Employers operating thousands of work sites — and through our Hawai`i Green Jobs Initiative we are investing in the state’s workforce by providing training needed to work with green companies,” state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations director Dwight Takamine said. “Now we have developed a comprehensive, centralized tool for matching existing employers with potential employees. This is an important step forward as we continue to build a sustainable economy.” To access the directory, visit lmi.ehawaii.gov/green.
DRINKING AND DRIVING is a major target of the Hawai`i Police Department through the weekend. New Year’s revelers are warned to take along a sober designated driver. AAA has also offered free tows and rides home for up to five miles. For longer distances the partier can pay the difference to the tow service. 

PROTECTION OF NATURAL AND CULTURAL RESOURCES is the New Year’s Eve aim of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Consumption of alcohol and fireworks are prohibited in all state parks, forests, and small boat harbors, said William J. Aila, Jr., the DLNR chairman.

FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE IN NA`ALEHU, Hana Hou will offer special New Year’s Furikaki Ahi, crab cakes, pork roast and prime rib dinners during normal hours. Shaka’s will be open until midnight with specials. 

Gingerbread House Hawaiian Style is one of the KMC cottages
decorated for the holiday. Photo by Leyna Rego/KMC
KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP is offering up New Year’s Eve and New Year's Day activities. Vote for the best decorated KMC cottage and receive a Holiday Dollar to redeem at KMC venues. Tonight’s New Year’s Eve party features music by the Edge starting at 9:30 p.m. inside the Lava Lounge, with no cover charge. Tomorrow, KMC’S Crater Rim Café will serve up a New Year’s Day brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Park entrance fees may apply.

TUESDAY, JAN. 3 MARKS the 29th anniversary of Kilauea’s ongoing east rift zone eruption. Geologist Tim Orr reviews highlights and talks about recent developments on Kilauea’s east rift zone during After Dark in the Park at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donation supports park programs, and park entrance fees apply.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Dec. 30, 2011

Ka`u High and Pahala Intermediate Schools provide less than 5.5 hours of classroom teaching each day but more than
many other Hawai`i schools. Photo by Julia Neal

CLASSROOM TIME at Ka`u High and Intermediate Schools must increase to at least 5.5 hours a day to meet a state mandate, according to a new report to the state Legislature.
     Ka`u has fewer classroom hours than Farrington, Castle, McKinley and Campbell, which have more than 1,600 minutes of class time a week. However, Ka`u has more class time than Kaua`i, Maui, Olomana and Waiakea High Schools, which have under 1,300 minutes of class time a week.
     Ka`u is in the middle of the pack with 1,495 minutes a week, according to the state Department of Education report. Meeting the mandate for more class time for students in all public schools is expected to be a major issue at the state Legislature when it opens in January.

COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER Brittany Smart has listed priorities for 2012 in an article in the Hawai`i Tribune Herald this morning. The Nancy Cook Lauer story said “Smart lists waste issues, increased communication with the public and completing a reasonable county building code as her top priorities for 2012.” 
Na`alehu Civic Center with its unused courtroom is
considered a possible location for a County Council
satellite office with videoconferencing.
     “Smart, who is finishing her first year on the Council, introduced very little legislation this year, but said she and her staff have been doing the research on several issues to be introduced next year,” the story says. It also states that her first priority will be “a plan to use discarded tires in rubber asphalt for road repaving. That requires coordination with the state Department of Health, as well as the county administration.” It also says another Smart priority is “reducing waste going into the Hilo landfill through the tire program.”
     Smart also told the newspaper that she still hopes to establish a place in Ka`u district where members of the public can participate in meetings through videoconferencing. Establishing a Ka`u office was one of Smart’s campaign promises. Cook Lauer’s story says Smart mentioned “using social media such as Facebook and creating a way for the public to share documents and agendas” as one of her top priorities. “We have to be able to go where the communication is taking place and not expect it to come to us,” Smart told Hawai`i Tribune-Herald.

Guy Kaulukukui, of Volcano, talks about the ahupua`a
management system. Photo from The Kohala Center
THE DIVISIONS OF AQUATIC RESOURCES AND FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE may merge under the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Deputy DLNR director Guy Kaulukukui, of Volcano, told West Hawai`i Today that putting them together would help manage resources from the mountain to the coastal regions, much like the traditional Hawaiian ahupua`a management system. “The department’s realigning its mission around the primacy of the watershed,” he told reporter Erin Miller. 
     Ka`u is the site of the most DLNR management acreage in the state, including the largest pristine native forests and the longest uninhabited coastline.

TODAY IS THE DEADLINE to send in comments on the cellular tower proposed for land in Pahala across Maile Street from the Old Pahala Clubhouse. A legal notice from Crown Castle says the company would install a 130-foot-tall structure and requests “comments from any interested party on the impact of the proposed tower.” Comments should be addressed to Monica Gambino at 2000 Corporate Drive, Canonsburg, PA 15317 or monica.gambino@crowncastle.com or by phone at 724-416-2516. The company’s regulatory advisor for the project is Janice Merritts, who can be reached at 480-735-6931 or janice.merritts@crowncastle.com. 

Plantation era cottage under restoration in Pahala. Photo by Julia Neal
ANOTHER HISTORIC COTTAGE is being restored in Pahala. The small plantation home on Huapala Street was purchased through a foreclosure for a total of around $21,000. The new owner is using sweat equity, putting in new house posts and doing other improvements with his own labor. The yard was previously overgrown and looked abandoned. 

IN TWO MORE DAYS, voting closes on competition for best decorated cottage at Kilauea Military Camp inside Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The KMC staff strung lights and created Christmas scenery. Vote on the best display and receive a Holiday Dollar redeemable at KMC venues. 

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY offers up music by the group Edge beginning at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lava Lounge. No cover charge. For more information, call 967-8365.

ON SUNDAY, KMC’S Crater Rim Café offers New Year’s Day brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Park entrance fees may apply.

THE AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION reminds drivers that even one drink can reduce mental and physical skills, affecting vision, steering, braking, judgment and reaction time. AAA will offer free tow services and a ride home for drunken drivers over this New Year’s holiday weekend. It’s called the Tipsy Tow service and is available from 6 p.m. tonight to 6 a.m. on Sunday for towing cars home no farther than five miles. If the distance is farther, the drinker will have to pay the difference to the tow company. The number to call is 800-222-4357. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Dec. 29, 2011

The Disaster Shelter and Gym will be constructed between the tennis court, the weight room and school cafeteria. It
could cover some 40,000 square feet of the field. Photo by Julia Neal
THE KA`U DISASTER SHELTER/COMMUNITY GYMNASIUM, already funded with $16.8 million from the state, is up for more community comments through Tuesday, Jan. 10. PBR Hawai`i, the engineering and consulting firm based in Honolulu, has been hired by the county, which will own the facility, to conduct the Environmental Assessment. PBR sent letters this week to area residents saying, “As part of the scoping process, we are seeking concerns, issues, and comments on the proposed project.”
     Comments can be sent to tkapali@ pbrhawaii.com or by mail to PBR Hawai`i, Tammy Kapali, 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 650, Honolulu, HI 96813-3484.
     The proposed complex went to public meetings in December at Pahala School cafeteria with the chosen architect and design firm Mitsunaga & Associates on hand. The county Department of Public Works, which will oversee construction of the project, and the county Department of Parks & Recreation, which will operate the building, also weighed in.
     After two days of meetings, the big picture came into focus with a plan for a complex of about 40,000 square feet, with possibly two separate buildings made of concrete with traditional plantation rooflines and painted to fit in with the other school buildings.
     The main purpose for the funding of the facility is to create a regional disaster shelter, and still being planned is whether the main shelter room – the gym –will have the ability to clean the air from vog. Planners promised that smaller rooms could be air conditioned to help clean the air.
     Also still in planning is the amount of ground around the complex that would have to be paved to accommodate parking requirements of one stall for every four permanent seats in the gym. County public works representatives said they may seek a variance that would allow continued parking in the grassy area around the building.
     Another question is whether the parking lot will be required to have light poles and lighting that would pollute Ka`u’s famous dark night skies and preclude the open area from being used for events and field sports.
     The proposed location for the disaster shelter and gym is makai of the Ka`u High School offices and between the current gym and the tennis courts.

Mufi Hannemann
MUFI HANNEMANN has won the endorsement of the 6,000-strong Hawai`i Teamsters & Allied Workers Union that represents 6,000 people in this state and Guam. In a statement, Teamsters president Ron Kozuma said that “Mufi knows and understands firsthand the needs of working people and their families.” Hannemann is running for the congressional seat of Mazie Hirono, who is running for Senate. In the Democratic primary, Hannemann faces Hilo attorney Bob Marx, Honolulu City Council woman Tulsi Gabbard, state Office of Hawaiian Affairs advocate Esther Kiaaina and patients’ rights advocate Rafael del Castillo. 

Tulsi Gabbard 
HONOLULU COUNCIL WOMAN TULSI GABBARD campaigned in Ka`u recently as she seeks the Democratic nomination for Congressional District 2. Her campaign literature describes her as “a public servant by nature, who possesses the humility to respectfully listen to both sides of a debate, the experience to handle any challenge and the courage to make the right decision and get the job done.” Her service has included working with at-risk youth. She is a captain and company commander in the Hawai`i National Guard, serving twice in the Middle East. She has also being elected to the Hawai`i State Legislature and the Honolulu City Council. She served as legislative aide to Senator Daniel K. Akaka, and said she works on environmental issues and projects. 
     In 2002, at age 21, Gabbard became the youngest woman ever elected to state office in the United States. While in Ka`u she said she understands and appreciates the challenges of rural life with its economic and environmental challenges. Here father is state Sen. Mike Gabbard. 

TOMORROW IS THE DEADLINE for comments on the cell tower proposed for land across from the Old Pahala Clubhouse on Maile Street. In a legal notice, Crown Castle, the company that would install the 130-foot-tall structure, asks for “comments from any interested party on the impact of the proposed tower.” Comments should be addressed to Monica Gambino at 2000 Corporate Drive, Canonsburg, PA 15317 or monica.gambino@crowncastle.com or by phone at 724-416-2516. The company’s regulatory advisor for the project is Janice Merritts, who can be reached at 480-735-6931 or janice.merritts@crowncastle.com. 

Applications open next week for summer boarding at Kamehameha Schools, with Ka`u public school students
invited to apply. Photo from Kamehameha Schools

KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS SUMMER BOARDING applications will be available starting next Tuesday. Deadline to apply is Feb. 29. Three separate weeklong programs, designed for different age groups, include field trips to fishponds and taro fields. Students learn about the different moku – the districts of the islands and the mele – the song, the culture and the ways of making a living in each place.
     For program details including information on session fees, call 534-8272. Additional information can be found at apps.ksbe.edu/enrichment.

BOYS AND GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER teams played at Ka`u last night. Both games were TKOs, with boys playing ten minutes into the second half and girls playing only one half. Final score for the boys was Konawaena 9 and Ka`u zero. In the girls game final score was Kona 9, Ka`u zero.
     Top boy scorers were Gabriel Magana and John Keplogie - with a Hat Trick (3 points). Single goals were scored by Trevor Yamagata, Angel Valdovinos and Edwardo Meneses, Kona girl players Malissa Goevia and Ua Rued each scored two with Saxon Nagata, Anu McRight, Kaulana Teshima, Shaylene Nakamoto and Kaulana Ruedy each scoring one.

THREE MORE DAYS until the voting closes on competition for best decorated cottage at Kilauea Military Camp inside Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The staff used many lights and Christmas scenery to brighten up the accommodations. Those who vote receive a Holiday Dollar redeemable at several KMC venues.

KMC’S NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY featuring music by the group Edge begins at 9:30 p.m. Saturday in the Lava Lounge. There is no cover charge, and park entrance fees may apply. For more information, call 967-8365.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Dec. 28, 2011

Most of The Nature Conservancy's preserves on the Big Island are in Ka`u and include Kamehame Beach, where
turtles nest. Photo by Steve Rayner
THE NATURE CONSERVANCY, with most of its Big Island preserves in Ka`u, has newly acquired land to oversee farther north. The nonprofit was gifted 7.5 acres valued at $6.5 million at Kiholo Bay in North Kona. The land was donated by Angus Mitchell, son of John Paul Mitchell and heir to the family hair care company.
     Paul Mitchell had a long history in Hawai`i, having started creating hair products from the Hawaiian Awapuhi shampoo ginger found here. Paul Mitchell Systems grew into a salon training company and major hair care products manufacturer.
Kiholo Bay is the new acquisition of The Nature
Conservancy. Photo from TNC
     The Kiholo Bay property is covered by two large, interconnected freshwater spring-fed pools which contain habitat for native species such as hapawai (mollusk) and `opae (shrimp). The ponds are connected by a 200-foot-long `auwai, or stone channel, to Kiholo Bay, which is rich with marine life and has a resident population of green sea turtles, which use the inland ponds to feed and rest.
     The parcel hosts threatened, migratory shore birds and abuts Kiholo State Park and a few small private landholdings. It is a culturally important site to native Hawaiians, especially those who continue to live in the area and trace their ancestry back to the land. The area remains under the stewardship of the nonprofit group Hui Aloha Kiholo, said TNC executive director Suzanne Case.
     Ka`u properties owned by TNC include the Kamehame Bay turtle preserve, Kaiholena and native forests around gulches between Kapapala and Na`alehu. The main office for TNC on the Big Island is located on Hwy 11 in Na`alehu. 

BAY CLINIC, which operates in Na`alehu and will soon start building a new clinic there, has received funding for its diabetes initiative and Chlamydia screening from AlohaCare’s Quality Improvement Incentive Program. 
     In the last two years AlohaCare has funded more than $3 million for childhood immunization, well-child visits, and improving access to care. Eligible projects are closely monitored for achieving goals through pay-per-performance measurements. John McComas, CEO of AlohaCare, said the incentives program for the clinics is “more than a pay-for-performance rewards program. It’s designed to help these centers and clinics create their own sustainable quality improvement programs that will, over the long term, help them operate more efficiently and achieve better results in terms of keeping their patients healthy. This is especially important in these tough economic times when health centers and clinics are experiencing increased patient demand, declining reimbursements and increased health care costs.”
     AlohaCare, a nonprofit, is the third largest health care plan in Hawai`i. It has 75,000 members and provides coverage for those enrolled in Quest.

Restored cottage across from proposed cell phone tower
site on Maile Street in Pahala. Photo by Julia Neal
LOCATION OF THE CELL TOWER on Maile Street in Pahala has drawn some comment. Dr. Robert Domingos wrote the cell tower developer Crown Castle USA, saying: 
     “To construct a tall, ugly cell tower right on the highway at the beginning of town is ludicrous! The nearest buildings are historical plantation era beauties lovingly restored and used by the community. What are you thinking? Any place above town, upslope, out of sight, would give wider cell coverage and be much less obtrusive. Crown should reconsider the location of their planned 130-foot cell tower.”
     Other questions include whether the tower could be disguised to look like a tree and whether there are any health risks to people living nearby.
     The monopole would be 120 feet tall before putting on the antennae and 130 feet tall with the appurtenances. The company says it would be painted dark green “as coordinated with the county Planning Department.”
     Crown issued a legal notice in The Ka`u Calendar newspaper in December saying it “invites comments from any interested party on the impact of the proposed tower on any districts, sites, buildings, 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.” The deadline is this Friday, Dec. 30. Comments should be addressed to Monica Gambino at 2000 Corporate Drive, Canonsburg, PA 15317 or monica.gambino@crowncastle.com or by phone at 724-416-2516. The company’s regulatory advisor for the project is Janice Merritts, who can be reached at 480-735-6931 or janice.merritts@crowncastle.com.
     The proposal was also submitted to the county Planning Department. Earlier cell tower proposals for Pahala were mauka of the town. 

A HEAVY DOSE OF SO2 VOG blanketed Ka`u this morning. Pahala experienced more than three hours of air rated unhealthy for sensitive groups. During this kind of air, health officials recommend that everyone avoid outdoor activities that cause heavy breathing or breathing through the mouth. There were 15 minutes of air rated unhealthy when health officials recommend that everyone avoid outdoor activities and stay indoors. 
     Ocean View experienced more than five hours of air unhealthy for sensitive groups. Most of the very bad air was before dawn, and most people were sleeping.
     The County of Hawai`i and engineering and architectural firm Mitsunaga & Associates are designing a $16.9 million regional disaster shelter and gymnasium for Pahala where residents could retreat during sustained periods of unhealthy air.
     See the SO2 index at http://www.hiso2index.info/?siteid=22106

COUNCIL MEETINGS will be held in Hilo until contractors for the new West Hawai`i Civic Center finish their work, according to County Council chair Dominic Yagong. The audiovisual system, which allows the public and county employees to participate in Council meetings remotely from Hilo, Waimea and Kona, is inoperable at the new facility and has cost the county an extra $6,000 using a portable system. Other problems include overheating in some rooms, requiring design change, according to a Nancy Cook Lauer story in West Hawai`i Today. The county charter requires at least one meeting per quarter in Kona. Yagong told the reporter that bringing the problem to the public by canceling the West Hawai`i meetings could help get the contractors moving. The county administration is also retaining final payments on the project until it is finished.

VOTE FOR THE BEST DRESSED cottage at Kilauea Military Camp through Saturday, Dec. 31. This is the third year that KMC employees have put up holiday lights and decorations for the enjoyment of the community and visitors. Park entrance fees may apply.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Dec. 27, 2011

A 130-foot-tall cellular phone tower would be built across the street from the Old Pahala Clubhouse, one of the recently
restored historic buildings on Maile Street in Pahala. The Clubhouse hosts music and hula classes, band practices
and other community events. Deadline for comments is this Friday. Photo by Julia Neal
A 130-FOOT-TALL CELLULAR TOWER proposal is open for comments from the public through this Friday, Dec. 30. The tower proposed by Crown Castle USA would be a single pole constructed just off Maile Street near the intersection with Lower Moa`ula Road. The site would be across from the Old Pahala Clubhouse and near the KAHU radio building. It would help improve cell phone reception for some residents in the town. It would also impede the ocean view of some houses in the village.
     Whether the cell tower could be placed above the village so it wouldn’t be in the ocean view is one of the questions being asked of Crown. Others include whether the tower could be disguised to look like a tree and whether there are any health risks to people living nearby. The monopole would be 120 feet tall and 130 feet tall with appurtenances. According to Crown, it would be painted dark green “as coordinated with the county Planning Department.”
     Crown issued a legal notice in The Ka`u Calendar newspaper saying it “invites comments from any interested party on the impact of the proposed tower on any districts, sites, buildings, 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.”
     Comments should be addressed to Monica Gambino, 2000 Corporate Drive, Canonsburg, PA 15317 or by phone at 724-416-2516.

Mark Glick
STATE ENERGY CZAR MARK GLICK said the future looks bright for 2012 development of alternative energy. He told Hawai`i News Now this morning that photovoltaics, geothermal, wind and algae-based biofuel initiatives are spawning new businesses in Hawai`i. They are so promising that the entrepreneurs are taking their technology worldwide.
     Glick mentioned Sopogy, founded in Hawai`i in 2002, with its curved solar voltaic panels that concentrate solar energy to make electricity. Sopogy also invented a solar-driven air conditioning system. Sopogy just signed a large contract with investors from China and is expanding both to Asia and the mainland U.S.
     Glick said that Cellana, located in Kona at the National Energy Laboratory of Hawai`i Authority campus, recently attracted $100 million of investment. The company is partnering with Alexander & Baldwin on Maui to build a commercial algae-to-energy facility next to the Maui Electric Co. power plant.
     Pacific Biodiesel, which began with taking waste oil from restaurants to make transportation fuel, is now working in Japan, the mainland and Hawai`i. Pacific Biodiesel has teamed up with Steve Case and Kamehameha Schools to establish algae-to-oil energy farms.
     Glick pointed to geothermal from the Big Island as one of the most firm energies that could power up this county and be exported to other islands. He said geothermal is power available in abundance and said it would lower prices of electricity on the Neighbor Islands.
     One of Glick’s projects for 2012 is to help secure the ability to run a cable between the Big Island and other islands for geothermal, Glick said.

WHETHER SEARS AND KMART will close their stores on the Big Island is in question. The company announced yesterday that after less-than-expected holiday sales, the company that owns both store chains will shut down up to 120 stores nationwide. The list of stores is yet to be posted. Sears operates in Hilo, and Kmart in Kona.

Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is supported by the new Hawai`i Pacific Parks Association. Photo from HPPA

HAWAI`I NATURAL HISTORY ASSOCIATION, which runs the bookstore, supports interpretation, education, research, publications and cultural activities at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, is getting a new name. The Hawai`i Pacific Parks Association is the new identity and works with the National Park Service on the Big Island, Maui and American Samoa.
     “Our mission is to inspire, connect and preserve with a spirit of aloha,” said a statement from the organization. Its new identity reflects the increased scope of an organization that has “been supporting the National Park Service in the Pacific since 1933, with a lifetime of aid recently topping $13 million,” said the statement.
     On this island the organization supports Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park and Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site. See www.hawaiipacificparks.org for more.

TUTU & ME FREE TRANSPORTATION DEADLINE is coming up Jan. 9. The pilot program requires enough families to sign up for the free rides to Tutu & Me programs in Ka`u in order for the transportation to continue. Transportation will be offered from Ocean View to Na`alehu Community Center, where Tutu & Me meets on Mondays and Wednesdays and within Pahala, where Tutu & Me meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 929-8571. Tutu & Me is an early education program for toddlers and their families.

Wet 'n' Wild water theme park on O`ahu is the destination
for grad night at Ka`u High School.
FUNDRAISING FOR PROJECT GRAD NIGHT has already begun at Ka`u High School. The event sends students to O`ahu right after graduation to the Wet ‘n’ Wild water theme park where the graduates camp overnight at the park. The next day, they have the entire park to themselves with other students from the other high schools. Also raising money for this grad night adventure from the Big Island are students from Laupahoehoe and Kea`au High Schools. Ka`u High athletic director Kalei Namohala, who is organizing the event, said that fundraisers to collect $405 per student to pay for the adventure include recycling cans and bottles and an after-school concession. “Our hope is to have our graduates pay little or nothing for all this experience,” she said. Anyone wanting to help out can call her at 928-2012.

Moses Espaniola III
FREE `UKULELE LESSONS resume on New Year’s Day from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Old Pahala Clubhouse. The teacher is Moses Espaniola III, who has been mentored by Cyril Pahinui and other master `ukulele and guitar teachers. Classes are free and sponsored by the Na`alehu Theatre organization. Call Espaniola at 345-6917.

KEIKI FISHING TOURNAMENT VOLUNTEERS can sign up to donate or help out by calling Wayne Kawachi at 937-4773. The annual event sponsored by `O Ka`u Kakou takes place Saturday, Jan. 14 at Punalu`u Beach. It is a catch and release, with many prizes for many categories for the fishing keiki. Some bamboo poles will be available. Last year some 250 children participated, and about 500 people enjoyed a free lunch.

KUMU MAILE YAMANAKA shares the Arts and Traditions of Hula at Kilauea today at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Hula lessons begin at 10:30 a.m., lei making at noon and ‘ukulele playing at 1:30 p.m. Bring your `ukulele if you have one. Sign up on a first-come, first-served basis. Open to all ages and levels.

ALSO AT HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Oral Abihai shares his passion for creating `ukulele from discarded or naturally fallen pieces of wood tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon on the lanai of Kilauea Visitor Center.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Dec. 26, 2011

Mochi making, starting with a fire to prepare the rice, is a tradition at the Sakata home in Pahala. Photos by Julia Neal
MORE THAN 4,500 JOBS were added to the economy statewide during the past year, according to the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations. The agency credited the increase to expansions in the tourism, professional and business, and health care sectors.
     Employment in Hawai`i increased by 500 jobs from October to November. The seasonally adjusted labor force totaled 634,700 in November, with 593,150 employed and 41,550 unemployed.
     Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 3.7 percent from October to November, while the over-the-year change in weeks claimed was down 12.7 percent. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 6.5 percent, the same as in October. Unemployment in this state remains lower than the national average, where the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also declined - to 8.6 percent from 9.0 percent in October. 

Mitch Roth
MITCH ROTH, A DEPUTY COUNTY PROSECUTOR, came to Ka`u over the weekend and told residents on KAHU radio station that we must do something to make our highways and roads safer. Hawai`i has the highest rate of traffic deaths related to drugs and alcohol in the entire country. Roth, who says he is a community-oriented prosecutor, talked about looking for the root cause of crimes to stop them before they happen, through counseling, education and fair warnings to people. He has worked on a number of initiatives in Ka`u to help train families with domestic violence, to develop neighborhood watch programs and empower community associations. 
     Regarding the alcohol and driving, however, the Hawai`i Police Department will step up DUI checkpoints all across the island through New Year’s Day. 

FIREWORK PERMITS go on sale today. Hawai`i County regulations permit fireworks for only four hours, between 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve and 1 a.m. New Year’s Day. The permits, each good for purchasing up to 5,000 firecrackers, cost $25 and are available for people 18 years of age and older. Individuals can buy multiple permits. They are available at the Hilo Fire Administration Office, Pacific Fireworks, the Golden Dragon tent and Kadota Liquors in Hilo; Pinky’s Five/Eight at Papaikou; and Parker Ranch Center Food Court in Waimea. In Kona, firework permits are available at the Kona Fire Prevention Office and West Hawai`i Civic Center.
     Fireworks are illegal within 1,000 feet of hospitals, schools, churches, community centers public parks and senior housing. It is illegal to give fireworks to children and for children to use them without supervision by parents and guardians.

TREECYCLING is being encouraged by the County of Hawai`i’s Departments of Environmental Management and Public Works. They are teaming up to support on-site tree chipping at locations around the island. 
     “Please help keep our island green and recycle your holiday tree and greenery,” says a statement from the county. “After Christmas, drop your trees at any of eight county recycle and transfer stations: Hilo, Puako, Kailua-Kona, Honoka`a, Kea`au, Keauhou, Waimea and Wai`ohinu.
     This program runs from today through Jan. 15. Trees and greenery should be free of all decorations, lights, tinsel and ornaments. Artificial and flocked trees are rejected.
     “Chipping the trees and making the material available for use in gardens will allow the county to divert thousands of trees from our landfills and add valuable mulch to island soils. In addition, chipping will help reduce the illegal dumping of holiday trees,” the county statement says.
     The county also encourages residents to recycle Kadomatsu decorations, which are normally a combination of bamboo, pine and flowers. Kadomatsu is a tradition that began 600 years ago in Japan as a way of offering luck in the New Year.
     Information about the county’s Treecycling Program and additional recycling and solid waste programs is available on the website at www.HawaiiZeroWaste.org. For further information, please contact the county Solid Waste Division at 961-8270.

Men and boys grind the rice into the paste to make mochi.
THE NEW YEAR CAME EARLY for families in Ka`u making mochi over the weekend. In the backyard of the Carol Sakata house in Pahala, two fires were going for the rice. The men ground the mochi into a smooth paste, and the sweets were formed and sugared by the women. Families brought their own rice for the ritual to make these New Year’s treats to distribute. 

REGISTRATION IS OPEN for the annual humpback whale count around the state. Volunteers go to selected sites along the Ka`u Coast to help out on Saturdays, Jan. 28, Feb. 25 and March 31. The count takes place over a four-hour period when volunteers record the behavior of the whales, which come to Hawaiian waters to spend the winter each year. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, which is recruiting the volunteers, has announced that it is seeking a limited number of site leaders, who must be able to
 participate in all three counts and must attend training. For more information, call
 1-888-55-WHALE ext 253, or see hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.

Women form and sugar the mochi treats.
KUMU MAILE YAMANAKA shares the Arts and Traditions of Hula at Kilauea tomorrow at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Hula lessons begin at 10:30 a.m., lei making at noon and `ukulele playing at 1:30 p.m. Bring your `ukulele if you have one. Sign up on a first-come, first-served basis tomorrow. Open to all ages and levels. 

ALSO AT HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon on the lanai of Kilauea Visitor Center, Oral Abihai shares his passion for creating `ukulele from discarded or naturally fallen pieces of wood. He has used pieces of `ohi`a lehua and native myrtle from a firewood stack. Scraps from a cabinetmaker friend commonly end up as necks or saddles. His favorite `ukulele is the first instrument he made from scraps of koa wood given to him by his teacher.
     This `Ike Hana No`eau Hawaiian cultural program is one in a series sponsored in part by Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Dec. 25, 2011

Thy Word Ministry-Ka`u says Aloha Ke Akua during the recent Pahala Christmas Parade. Photo by Julia Neal

WHAT MAKES CHRISTMAS SPECIAL? Gov. Neil Abercrombie released his Christmas message, saying, “We feel we need to remind ourselves about values that represent the holiday season. The value of giving, of sharing joy, of spreading the meaning of Aloha near and far – to family, friends, and even those we meet or scarcely know. 
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Dr. Nancie Caraway and
Hawai`i's First Dog Kanoa. Photo from the
Office of the Governor
     “We emphasize these things during the holidays because we fear we may have forgotten them more than a little bit since last Christmas. The idea of the greetings – Mele Kalikimaka, Hauoli Makahiki Hou – is to remind ourselves that perhaps this year we can keep their meaning fresh in our hearts and minds all through the year to come.”

HAWAI`I ISLAND YOUTH have started the Sustainable Hawai`i Youth Leadership Initiative and invite young people from all the schools on the island to join. The group recently premiered a film in which they describe dreams from the island becoming self-sustaining to ending racism, sexism and promoting the aloha spirit. Some of the activities include 17-year-old Wainani Traub, founder of the organization, becoming Hawai`i’s first youth delegate to the Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development on Martha’s Vineyard with island youth from around the world. She also spoke at the recent APEC Summit in Honolulu.
     Founding member Skyla Graig-Murray wrote in Civil Beat recently: “I’m afraid we are throwing away our world. We are destroying our land and habitats to lay down concrete roads. This should be our top priority! SHYLI is important because our young people pledge to move forward to improve; to use what we can; and do so without hurting the environment around us. SHYLI is not just to teach people how to live with the world, but to show us how. We have an important vision for the future – a sustainable Hawai`i, and a sustainable world.”
     Ka`u youth can join. See. www.shyli.org.

THEFT OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS will be the subject of new and tougher laws against agricultural theft, according to a Colin M. Stewart story in the Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. The story quotes Big Islander and state House of Representatives ag committee chair Clift Tsuji saying, “One of my priorities in my legislation this year will be agricultural theft and vandalism, and what it does to the agriculture industry.” Tsuji called for more public support for ag theft laws. “My concern is that when we introduce the legislation we include the agricultural community as a whole. Sometimes we don’t have enough public comment during the public hearings, and we would like more participation from the public,” Tsuji told the reporter. 
Moa`ula Coffee farmers are on the lookout for thieves after one reported
incident in which a farmer claimed a large loss of coffee cherry. 
     The story also covers the reported theft of thousands of pounds of coffee cherry at Manuel Marques’ farm at Moa`ula. The Hawai`i Tribune-Herald quotes Marques saying he hopes the thieves return so he can catch them. He is claiming some $10,000 in losses and damage to the coffee fields by thieves breaking branches and shredding the coffee from the trees. 
     Nearby farmers said they have not seen any suspicious coffee pickers or noticed unusual activity in the area.
     Chris Manfredi, who represents the development company that owns the Moa`ula land where the farms of Marques and most of the other Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative members are located, also weighed in. The Tribune-Herald story quotes him as saying: “We understand that the value of coffee this year is especially very high. There appears to be a higher threat of agricultural theft. It’s something we have to watch out for. We’re being increasingly wary.” The story also reports Manfredi saying that lower yields in Kona from coffee berry borer invasions and other issues lowered supply and increased demand. He also pointed to the increase in popularity of Ka`u Coffee. Manfredi recently brokered a deal with Starbucks to sell Ka`u Coffee and is ordering a second container load from the Ka`u farmers. Competition has recently grown, with good markets established by the cooperative itself, the new Ka`u Coffee Mill and individual Ka`u Coffee farmers.

CHRISTMAS DINNER IS BEING SERVED at restaurants in Ka`u today. Hana Hou’s special menu begins at noon and includes prime rib, crab-stuffed lobster, scallop and shrimp fettuccine, salad bar and dessert.
     South Side Shaka’s closes at 9 p.m. today.
     Crater Rim Café at Kilauea Military Camp in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park offers brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Park entrance fees apply.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Dec. 24, 2011

Mantracker crew films prey hiding from Mantracker during a recent shoot in Ka`u. Photo from Mantracker

KA`U HOSPITAL AND THE REST OF EAST HAWAI`I may benefit from Hawai`i Medical Center shutting down two facilities, including a major hospital on O`ahu. East Hawai`i hospitals, including Ka`u, often import traveling nurses, medical technicians and physicians to keep positions filled. Some 1,000 employees have lost their jobs on O`ahu with the closing of Hawai`i Medical Center. State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations director Dwight Takamine, himself a Big Islander, said that East Hawai`i vacant positions have been posted on the state website. Perhaps some of the people let go on O`ahu would be willing to move to Hilo, Hamakua or Ka`u. Takamine, who witnessed mass job losses when sugar shut down in his hometown on the Big Island, also said, “Our hearts go out to the nearly thousand employees and their families who received this news during the holiday season.” 

Kapapala paniolo Leon Chow is Mantracker's local guide
and sidekick. Photo from Mantracker.
Prey from Kona runs from Mantracker at Kapapala Ranch.
Photo from Mantracker
MANTRACKER, the television program that shows two men on horseback hunting down two people on foot, chose Ka`u again, and filming wrapped up this week. The location was entirely on Kapapala Ranch between Pahala and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Kapapala paniolo Leon Chow was once again cast as Mantracker’s local guide and sidekick. Two of the human prey came from Kona, and the other two were a father and daughter team from Miloli`i. The prey and Mantracker called the landscape they crossed, hiding and running from Mantracker, “very thick.” They crossed open forest and took refuge in lava tubes. Whether the prey made it to their destination is a secret until the two shows air in 2012. Mantracker first filmed in Hawai`i two years ago, also in Ka`u. 

ELECTRIC BILLS HAVE GONE up by more than 50 percent in the last year, and Hawaiian Electric Co. is trying to explain with television advertising. Since the Japan tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, nuclear energy has been replaced by oil in many places from Europe to Japan, sending prices for oil used by HECO into a skyrocketing trajectory. HECO vice president Robbie Alm said Hawai`i should get off fossil fuel as fast as possible with sun, wind, biomass, geothermal and biofuel. People can help out with conservation. “Small, everyday things add up,” said Alm. He mentioned natural lighting and air ventilation during a KITV interview.

DEATH BY 1,000 CUTS is what Small Business Hawai`i executive director Sam Slom is calling the recent surge in costs for health insurance, electricity and transportation fuel. Slom, who is also a state senator, said that “it’s not one thing necessarily that puts small business over the edge. It is all the costs adding up over time, like recent increases in water and motor vehicle and sewer fees, that can make it difficult to operate any business, he said. The latest big increase is in Kaiser Permanente Health Insurance, which only recently reached out to cover Ka`u residents and businesses. Around the state, about 162,000 Kaiser members will see premiums rise 8.8 percent on Jan. 1. 

Harming a monk seal is a felony, reminds DLNR chief
William Aila, Jr. Photo by Julia Neal
WATCH OUT FOR ENDANGERED ANIMALS, including monk seals and nene, warns the National Park Service and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. During this holiday season two monk seals were either killed by boats running into them or on purpose by people. DLNR chief William Aila, Jr. said his staff is investigating the death of the seals, which both happened on Moloka`i. It is a felony to intentionally harm a monk seal, Aila reminds the community. 
     A nene was run over on the road to Haleakala on Maui. The most dangerous location for nene on the Big Island is on Hwy 11 in the Ka`u Desert near Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and Kapapala Ranch.

Watch out for nene between Pahala and Hawai`i
Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Julia Neal
A NEW MANAGER is taking over the administration of public housing in Pahala and other communities around the state. Hakim Ouansafi was hired recently by the Hawai`i Public Housing Administration to manage more than 6,000 public housing units on more than 80 sites statewide. His background is in hotel management and public service.
     The major source of funding is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The mission is to provide Hawai`i residents with affordable housing and shelter without discrimination. Efforts focus on operating and maintaining low-income public housing, administering a large Housing Choice Voucher program, and striving for the efficient and fair delivery of housing services to the people of Hawai`i. 

THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH will be the subject of a presentation by the man who discovered it. Capt. Charles Moore will give a talk and present his book Plastic Ocean on Jan. 6 at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Hawai`i Wildlife Fund. Moore has visited Kamilo and other Ka`u Coast locations to bring attention to the plastics that are growing in volume as one of the main ingredients of the soup of the ocean on which many sea life species depend. He is the founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. 
     Megan Lamson, of Hawai`i Wildlife Fund, will also give a presentation at the Jan. 6 event in Volcano. Moore will make a separate presentation on Jan. 4 at West Hawai`i Civic Center at 5 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DINNER IS BEING SERVED at restaurants in Ka`u. Hana Hou has a special menu beginning at 4 p.m. today and noon tomorrow. The menu includes prime rib, crab-stuffed lobster, scallop and shrimp fettuccine, salad bar and dessert.
     South Side Shaka’s, also in Na`alehu, closes at 4 p.m. today, Christmas Eve, and 9 p.m. tomorrow.
     Crater Rim Café at Kilauea Military Camp in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park offers Christmas Day brunch tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Park entrance fees apply.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Dec. 23, 2011

Planners showed the public the plan to raise Hwy 11 at Kawa. Photo by Julia Neal
TODAY IS THE DEADLINE for comments on the plan to raise Hwy 11 along some 3,000 feet of road at Kawa to alleviate flooding risks. When Kawa floods, access is cut off to the hospital in Pahala from Na`alehu. Emergency vehicles, school buses and around-the-island traffic are blocked along the coastal road and must take the old sugar cane haul road in the mountains. For travel during construction of the raised road, a bypass would be built makai of Hwy 11, starting about 100 yards south of the main entrance into the Kawa surfing beach.
     The Kawa Drainage Project Environmental Assessment explains that Hwy 11 would be raised some 10 feet above grade to 46 feet above sea level. An 84-foot-wide culvert, eight feet high, would be placed beneath the highway.
     Whether the elevated highway, something like an overpass, would be visible from Kawa Beach, where the largely unfettered and panoramic views are of table top mountains, ranches, forests and Mauna Loa, is one of the questions.
     During a public meeting earlier this month, planners said that the wetlands, springs and other features would not be disturbed at Kawa by the new flood project.
     Comments can be sent to the state Department of Transportation’s Hawai`i District Office, 50 Maka`ala Street, Hilo, HI 96720.
     The draft EA is available at Pahala and Na`alehu public libraries, and online at http://hawaii.gov/ health/environmental/oeqc/index.html.

COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICTS are finalized, with the county Redistricting Commission signing off on the report yesterday after assessing populations and redrawing voting maps based on the latest federal census, which is taken every decade. Candidates can start signing up to run for County Council on Feb. 1, when nomination papers will become available at the county Office of Elections. The new District 6 will extend farther north and will include the home of South Kona Council member Brenda Ford, who could be facing incumbent Ka`u Council member Brittany Smart, should both decide to run. While the obligation of the Commission is to create voting districts with about the same number of people in each one of them, the Commission is suggesting for next time that population differences between districts be allowed by as much as 5.99 percent to help keep communities together.

Jeju volcanic island in Korea and Hawai`i Volcanoes
National Park build their sister relationship as more
flights between Korea and Hawai`i are planned.
DAILY FLIGHTS TO HAWAI`I from Seoul, South Korea will begin July 16 on Hawaiian Airlines. More Koreans are expected to visit Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The Korean volcanic island of Jeju has been building a sister park relationship with Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, with cooperation between park officials, as Jeju is a World Heritage Site. 
     Hawaiian currently flies from Korea four times a week. The new daily flight is expected to leave Seoul at 10:20 p.m. and arrive in Honolulu just after noon, in time for travelers to hop a plane to Hilo. The new flight will increase Hawaiian Airlines lift from Seoul and Hawai`i to 96,000 total air seats a year. Hawaiian also plans to add a third daily flight between Los Angeles and Honolulu in 2012.

GORDON KIMO LOPES has been identified as the likely victim of drowning while SCUBA diving at South Point. The 49-year-old Ocean View resident was reported as calling for help during a night dive after 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Rough waters kept rescue divers out of the water. A boat from Keauhou arrived before midnight, and firefighters found Lopes, who had passed away. The location was near the lighthouse, according to the police report.

A MATERIAL RECYCLING FACILITY with conveyor belts would be a “finely tuned and efficient process” to upgrade the county’s sort center, according to County Council member Brittany Smart. Mayor Bill Kenoi said he is open to the idea and all other proposals that would put less garbage into the landfills, according to a Jason Armstrong story in the Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. The County Council voted this week to approve a resolution urging the mayor to consider soliciting bids to convert the county sort station into a material recycling facility. The resolution asks the county to advertise for proposals by Feb. 29. According to the Tribune-Herald story, the mayor called the proposal an “11th-hour” suggestion, with the Council having already approved the sort station to cut back on rubbish shipped to the Pu`uanahulu landfill once the Hilo dump becomes full. Kenoi said additional county employees will run the sort center after receiving the state Department of Health permit. Equipment has already been purchased, including an excavator and loader with a grapple. 
     The resolution states that privatizing the recycling with a more sophisticated method would save millions of dollars in avoided cost for the county and keep the organics and recyclables out of the Hilo landfill. It says that cross-island shipping of waste would be avoided and that up to 30 green jobs would be created. Methane could be a byproduct. 
     This example of a materials recycling center in San Jose, CA shows the handling of trash along the conveyor belt.
     1) As incoming material moves along a conveyer belt, workers pull out large items, cardboard and plastic bags and toss them into bins. Unusable trash is thrown away.
     2) The recyclables move into a double-deck screening machine that separates newspapers, mixed paper and containers into separate streams. Material bounces over rows of square wheels spinning 1,000 times per minute. Blasts of air dislodge cans and bottles from newspapers. Gaps between rollers allow smaller items to fall onto conveyer belts.
     3) Workers again pull out any trash and discard it.
     4) Next is the trommel-mag - a large, rotating tube with small holes in the sides and an electromagnet at one end. Small items such as bottle caps fall through holes. The electromagnet snags tin cans. Then it's on to the air classifier, where a powerful fan blows lightweight aluminum and plastic onto one conveyer, and heavier glass falls onto another. Workers sort glass and plastics.
     5) An electromagnetic device diverts aluminum cans into a storage bin.

Stealth towers can take the place of
classic metal cell towers.
NEXT FRIDAY IS THE DEADLINE for comments on a 120-foot-tall cellular communications tower 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, which goes to Hwy 11 and Lower Moa`ula Road, which goes to the county transfer station. The company planning the cell tower is Crown Castle USA. A notice from the company states that “Crown invites comments from any interested party on the impact of the proposed tower on any districts, sites, buildings, structures or objects significant in American history, archaeology, engineering or culture that are listed or determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.”
     Comments should be addressed to Monica Gambino, 2000 Corporate Drive, Canonsburg, PA 15317 or by phone at 724-416-2516. 

THE GREEN MARKET at Ocean View Community Center is open today from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Items available include fresh produce, fruits, herbs, flowers and plants.

TO KEEP THE KA`U REEFER in Na`alehu open, Kaohi Mokuhali`i is selling pipikaula, the old Hawaiian-style, marinated sun-dried beef, in one- and two-pound packages for $10 a pound. Contact her at 938-9040 or kmokuhalii@yahoo.com, or Carol Massey at 929-9001or masseys2@hawaii.rr.com.

Varsity player Royden Esperon looks
to score amid three Kea`au defenders.
Photos by Nalani Parlin
JV player Larry Navarro led
his team with 22 points.
KA`U HIGH BEAT KEA`AU 61-52 last night. Played at home, it was the second game in Varsity Boys Basketball this season. Junior Nathaniel Kauhi was on fire, racking up Trojan points in the first half. The Cougars chased the Trojans the entire game, but could never gain the lead. Kauhi was top scorer with 20 points. Junior Greg Javar was right behind with 16 points, putting away three three-pointers. 
     In JV, the Trojans were first to score, enjoying a slight lead until the end of the first quarter. Ka`u turned up the juice in the second half, but it was not enough to win. Final score was 59-52. Sophomore Larry Navarro put away a game-high of 22 points.
     In soccer, the Trojan boys Varsity team tied with HAAS, 1-1. Senior Patrick Garcia scored for Ka`u, making the first Trojan goal of the season.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Dec. 22, 2011

Commercial beekeepers working hives yesterday in macadamia orchards up Wood Valley Road. Photo by Julia Neal
AN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT is under way for the new Ka`u $16.9 million regional disaster shelter and gym. PBR Hawai`i has been given the contract and is expected to put the EA out to the public for a 30-day review sometime in February, around the same time that the final architectural plan will be completed. Some Pahala residents have received letters from PBR asking how the project might affect them.
     Nearby community members have talked about drainage, should the grass field next to their houses be paved for parking. Water could flow onto the their residential properties instead of sinking into the soil during floods, they contended. However, engineers working on the project said they will be responsible to contain any water and that a variance may be sought to keep much of the grass field unpaved, allowing the water to drain into the soil.
     Surveyors can be seen on the property, just makai of the Ka`u High office building, studying the land for is slope and other measurements needed to design the project.
     Whether parking lot lighting that could shine into the windows of adjacent residents and whether lighting for the parking would disturb the dark Ka`u skies famous for stargazing are other questions.
     Rep. Bob Herkes said funding was raised for the purpose of building a regional disaster shelter and secondarily for athletics for the school and community. Whether the main room – the gym –which could accommodate about 1,000 people – will have the equipment to clean air from vog during athletics and for disaster shelter purposes is still undecided, according to county Public Works director Warren Lee.
     The facility will have a certified kitchen, room for Red Cross supplies and equipment storage, and an emergency communications center, he said. Whether there will be solar photovoltaic electricity and solar hot water to serve the disaster shelter and gym is still on the table, said Lee.
     The roof design, as shown, will be plantation style, and the building will be painted to blend in with the historic campus structures on the Hawai`i Register of Historic Places.

KA`U INTERMEDIATE students will be able to join the After School All Stars program in 2012 to encourage higher academic performance and physical activity. The initiative will create after-school sports leagues for basketball, volleyball and soccer, according to a Dan Nakaso story in this morning’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser. There will be no try-outs or cuts, as the program is aimed at participation rather than winning. It focuses on encouraging all children to be physically and academically active. The only limitation is that students will have to maintain a 2.0 grade average to participate in the sports league. When they are not playing sports they will concentrate on studies after school. 
     Some 3,700 students around the state will have the program on their campuses. On this island, other schools are Kea`au and Pahoa. On O`ahu they are Waianae and Nanakuli.
     Keith Amemiya, former executive director of the Hawai`i High School Athletic Association, said he has dreamed of after-school sports for middle school students for years. Now a member of the state school board, he said the program is a three-year pilot and will cost more than $800,000 funded by donations. 
Keith Amemiya
     Amemiya told the Star-Advertiser that ‘the middle school years are just as critical, if not even more important, than the high school years in making sure our students are appropriately engaged and involved in after-school activities…. Students change physically and emotionally. If you lose some of those kids, they may go down the wrong path. By the time they reach high school, it’s difficult to get them back on the right track.” 
     Amemiya also told the Star-Advertiser that the academic side would include classroom-style instruction, rather than monitoring completion of assignments. Social service workers, psychologists and medical professionals will be involved to help out. “A lot of these kids don’t go to the doctor regularly, so we’ll bring healthcare professionals and counselors to them and offer everything from birth certificates to Social Security cards,” Amemiya said. “We firmly believe that sports and other after-school activities teach teamwork, discipline, perseverance, hard work and accountability. But we’re using athletics as a tool to help students academically as well as in other areas to help their development.
     “The ultimate goal is to roll out this program to every middle school across the state. Already some other complex areas have expressed interest in starting their own middle school athletic programs,” he told the Star-Advertiser.

HAWAI`I SCHOOLS MUST SHOW IMPROVEMENT during a comprehensive federal review in January or risk losing the $75 million Race to the Top grant. A letter from the U.S. Department of Education yesterday said, “We are placing Hawai`i’s Race to the Top grant on high-risk status. The letter, addressed to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, noted “Hawai`i’s unsatisfactory performance during the first 14 months of the grant.”
     The federal DOE also put the state on cost-reimbursement status, meaning that the state must carry out programs and pay for them before receiving the grant funds.
     State school board members and DOE officials said they would work hard on meeting the federal demands to keep the Race to the Top grant.

A BAN ON PLASTIC BAGS provided at retail check-out counters, with the exception of use for meat and produce, passed the County Council yesterday. Plastic bags would still be for sale in stores. The measure, authored by Council member Pete Hoffmann, passed with a five to three vote. Ka`u Council member Brittany Smart voted for the measure, as did South Kona Council member Brenda Ford. Council chair Dominic Yagong, who works for Foodland, abstained. Voting against the measure were J Yoshimoto, Dennis Onishi and Donald Ikeda. The measure goes to Mayor Billy Kenoi for his signature.

Alison Yahna teaches the art of beekeeping.
Photo from www.artemissmiles.com
DROUGHT, SMALL HIVE BEETLES AND VARROA MITES have hit bee colonies hard in Ka`u, according to beekeeper Alison Yahna, who has stopped selling honey to rebuild the bee colonies. She said that after the long drought and invasions by pests, the bees need their honey for energy to survive. Yahna said more than 50 percent of her colonies have survived. Islandwide, more than 70 percent of feral and managed hives have been lost. First the varroa mite came in with viruses that weakened colonies, then came the small hive beetle that preyed on weak colonies already infested by the varroa mite. Hilo and Puna were hardest hit, she said. 
     Yahna said that while her hives were affected, she predicts that they will hold their own without being treated. Once the nectar flow starts from the rains, “I will be working to rebuild colonies from my survivor queens which will hopefully have more resistance to these pests.”
     She asks that people who see bees swarming call her at 929-8117. She said that people are reporting fewer bees in their gardens. See more on her honeybee sanctuary at www.artemissmiles.com.

Reefer keeper
Kaohi Mokuhali`i
PIPIKAULA IS BEING SOLD to help raise funds to keep the Ka`u Reefer in Na`alehu open. Kaohi Mokuhali`i is selling the old Hawaiian-style, marinated sun-dried beef in one- and two-pound packages for $10 a pound. Contact her at 938-9040 or kmokuhalii@yahoo.com, or Carol Massey at 929-9001 or masseys2@hawaii.rr.com.

THE PAHALA AND WAI`OHINU transfer stations, along with all others on the island, will be closed this Sunday, Christmas Day.