About The Ka`u Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Nov. 14, 2011

Open spaces at Ka`u High School will be studied for the location of the new $17.9 million gym and disaster shelter.
Photo by Julia Neal
THE NEW KA`U HIGH SHOOL DISASTER SHELTER and gym to be built in Pahala will be the subject of a community meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 15. According to an announcement from the county, “the County Department of Public Works is inviting residents to share their ideas on the features and functionality for a new Ka`u District Gym and Shelter on the grounds of Ka`u High and Pahala Elementary School.” The building will double as an emergency/evacuation shelter. The meeting will be at the Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School Cafeteria from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
     The $17.9 million project funded by the state is scheduled to be completed in under two years. It will be owned and operated by the county and provided to the school and community for use as a gymnasium. It will also be equipped for disaster preparedness, including filtration systems to clean the air for vog and will be used as a shelter during vog events and for such events as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and fires. 
The Ka`u High Gym, built in the 1930s, will continue to serve the school
for events and athletics.  Photo by Julia Neal
     Comments already submitted to state and county government include the question of placing the building on the open green between the cafeteria, gym, tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts and near private homes, or siting it between the swimming pool and music building, within the school complex.
     Other discussion in the community includes whether there will be a requirement in the bidding process to create a design that fits into the architecture of the school buildings that are on the Hawai`i State Register of Historic Places, without compromising its use as a disaster shelter. Whether there will be an alternative energy component, such as solar for hot water and electricity is another point of discussion, as power from the electric company could be cut off during a disaster. Whether the tennis courts would stay or be relocated is another concern, as well as how close the building and its parking lots would be to adjacent residential housing. Another question is where will people park their vehicles when they attend events, since the proposed location is the grassy parking area for most major events at the school.
     Ross Stephenson, of the State Historic Preservation Division, said that it is always important for the community to provide comments before public buildings are designed, since designing and engineering costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Community members often comment only after the design is well underway. It is sometimes too late to include their suggestions.
     The plan is to preserve the old gym, constructed in the 1930s, as additional space for school and community events, as well as athletics.
     Council member Brittany Smart will not be able to attend. She will be at meetings in Kona, where money for maintenance of county land purchased through the Two Percent Land Fund comes up before the County Council Finance Committee.
     Noelani Whittington, public information specialist for the Department of Public Works, said that emails were sent out last Thursday to alert the public that the meeting will be held tomorrow.

Lincoln Ashida
LINCOLN ASHIDA WILL RUN FOR COUNTY PROSECUTOR, he announced yesterday. He is seeking to replace Jay Kimura, who worked for the county as an attorney for more than 30 years before announcing his retirement. Ashida also has a career with the County of Hawai`i and has been its corporate counsel since 2000. Ashida, 49, spent his childhood in Papaikou and is a graduate of Hilo High, the University of Michigan and Creighton University School of Law. In addition to working for the county, Ashida teaches political science at the University of Hawai`i-Hilo. With the announcement, Ashida launches his campaign to be elected, with the primary early next year, taking place on Aug. 11. According to a report by Stephens Media this morning, Ashida has set priorities for the prosecutor, including county prosecutors being the best attorneys in the courtroom through training, mentoring and support; restoration of comprehensive training programs for the police and teamwork to include crime victims; and every attorney to be assigned a community to identify and help clean up crime areas and prevent crime victimization. 

NOAA proposes extending monk seal critical habitat.
A PROPOSAL TO REVISE MONK SEAL critical habitat designations has been re-opened for public comment. Except for areas excluded for national security reasons, the proposal extends critical habitat from the 200-meter depth contours to the 500-meter depth contours surrounding the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the main Hawaiian Islands. It also includes previously excluded Sand Island at Midway. 
     The National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which submitted the proposal, is responsible for ensuring the survival and recovery of the endangered monk seal. NOAA Fisheries, in partnership with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, has worked for more than 20 years to address the monk seal’s decline. However, 40 percent of its population has been lost in the last ten years, and it is facing the threat of extinction, according to NOAA. The agency reports that only about 1,100 seals remain, and an additional four percent of the population is lost each year. 
     The proposal, identified as 0648-BA81, can be read at www.regulations.gov. The link is http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2011-0041-0001. Comments can be submitted at the website or sent to Regulatory Branch Chief, Protected Resources Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Regional Office, 1601 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1110, Honolulu, HI, 96814. The comment period closes on January 6, 2012.

VOLCANO ART CENTER has put out an open call for art that responds to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Original art work in all media including painting, sculpture, photography, sketches, poetry, writing or performance will be included in an exhibit called Occupy Art. Artwork can be dropped off Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 28 and 29 between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. 
     The exhibit is scheduled for Dec. 2 – 9. For more information, call 967-8222 or visit volcanoartcenter.org.