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, 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.