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.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Dec. 12, 2011

Frosty the Snowman greeted keiki during the Pahala Christmas Parade yesterday. Photo by Julia Neal
FIVE HAWAI`I RESIDENTS have gone to the U.S. Supreme Court to ask for the same property tax exemptions given to people living on Hawaiian Home Lands, and Supreme Court Justices are expected to announce today whether they will hear the case.
     According to a story by Ken Kobayashi in this morning’s Honolulu Star Advertiser, the suit was filed by five non-Hawaiians who claim the Hawai`i State Constitution shows favoritism to Hawaiians. Their brief says, “Only this court can resolve the racial divide confronting Hawai`i citizens because the state Supreme Court has proven itself completely unwilling to address any issue involving the Hawai`i Constitution’s favoritism toward Native Hawaiians as a race.” The case, if heard, would determine whether the Hawai`i State Constitution and laws that provide such exemptions are allowable under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment section on equal protection.
     Hawai`i County, along with the state and other counties in Hawai`i, oppose the Supreme Court taking on the issue. The Advertiser story says, “Many Native Hawaiians are concerned that a ruling could jeopardize the state’s notion that Native Hawaiians deserve the benefits based on Hawai`i’s unique history and their socioeconomic status,” Kobayashi reports.
     The story says that “Native Hawaiian supporters still fear that a review could open the door for the court to deliver a setback to government programs for those with Hawaiian blood.”
     The case came about after the non-Hawaiians paid their “property taxes under protest and sought refunds for amounts above the exemptions” granted to Hawaiians on Hawaiian Home Lands. The state Tax Appeal Court denied refunds, the State Supreme court threw out their case and their attorney H. William Burgess asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the ruling.

The Filipino Community Association joined the
Pahala Christmas Parade. Photo by Julia Neal
DEBRIS HEADED TOWARD HAWAI`I from the Japan tsunami could make first landfall in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands as early as January or February. A webinar today will examine how U.S. and Hawaiian resource managers and partners are preparing for impacts of the debris. The webinar will allow the public to interact directly with panelists via computer or phone. 
     It will focus on the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, which are home to 23 endangered or threatened species, including the Hawaiian monk seal and sea turtles. The ecosystem also provides habitat for 14 million sea birds.
     Lessons from the NWHI tsunami debris response, including on the nature and quantity of debris encountered, will inform responses should debris come here. Panelists for the webinar will include managers from NOAA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Papa-hanau-moku-akea Marine National Monuments and Blue Ocean Sciences.
     The webinar is open to everyone and was set for 10 a.m. Hawai`i time. To register, go to https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/864409841.

THE DESCENDANTS, the George Clooney film set in Hawai`i and winner for Best Film, announced yesterday by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, features musicians who teach in Ka`u. The soundtrack includes Pua Hone by Dennis Kamakahi, who comes to Pahala once a year to share his slack key and songwriting skills with students at Keoki Kahumoku’s workshop. Kamakahi plans to move to Na`alehu next year, he announced during the workshop in November.
     Another instructor at the workshops whose music is featured on The Descendants soundtrack is Jeff Peterson, with his tune Hawaiian Skies.
     Also on The Descendants album is Cyril Pahinui, who performs two songs, Ka Makani Ka `Ili Aloha and He`eia. Pahinui and the Na`alehu Theatre organization are sponsoring free `ukulele lessons each Sunday morning at 11 a.m. at the Old Pahala Clubhouse, taught by Moses Espaniola III.
     Many of the other songs on the soundtrack are recordings by the late Gabby Pahinui.

HAWAI`I ISLAND’S HOTEL OCCUPANCY rate dipped in October to 56.2 percent, which is lower than in any of the other counties. Average room rate dropped 3.6 percent to $165.34 per night.
     David Uchiyama, vice president of brand management for the Hawai`i Tourism Authority, said his organization is working to cultivate “the higher-yielding visitor.” He said the Tourism Authority will “have to put more emphasis on the experiential side of the vacation in Hawai`i.”
     Statewide, hotel occupancy increased this year to 73.7 percent, and statewide average room rates rose to $186.93.

Workers remove a tree knocked over by strong winds at the
ML Macadamia offices in Pahala. Photo by Julia Neal 
KA`U CAUGHT A LOT OF WIND over the weekend, knocking down some trees including a Flamboyant Tree, the Royal Poinciana that landed on the ML Macadamia building in Pahala. Snow covered the upper slopes of Mauna Loa. It rained heavily Hilo way and at higher elevations, but not enough to ease the drought in Ka`u. 

COUNCIL MEMBER BRITTANY SMART meets with the Ocean View Community Association this evening. The meeting is open to the public at the community center beginning at 6:30 p.m.

THE KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN’S Steering Committee meets tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. The agenda states that discussion will be limited to the roles of the Steering Committee and the community in the CDP production process. For more information, contact planner Ron Whitmore at 961-8137 or rwhitmore@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Elijah Navarro (back row, right) tied with another girls high
school volleyball coach as BIIF coach of the year.
GIRLS VOLLEYBALL AT KA`U HIGH has taken two islandwide awards. Marley Strand-Nicolaisen has been named top girls high school volleyball player for the Red League by the Big Island Interscholastic Federation. Coach Elijah Navarro shares the honor of top coach. Nicolaisen, a junior, is also a track star who finished eighth in the state in the triple jump. Her goal is to play volleyball at the collegiate level.               Nicolaisen is participating in off-season competition in Kona with the Ho`opa Volleyball Club, along with two other Ka`u High volleyball players, Toni Beck and Kamalani Fujikawa.
They are fundraising to go to a Las Vegas tournament in February, where college coaches will be recruiting. Call 928-2006 or 938-0214 to make a donation. 

Marley Strand Nicolaisen was selected as
top BIIF girls volleyball player of the year.
PAHALA CHRISTMAS PARADE yesterday kicked off many activities this week in Ka`u celebrating the holidays. The 33-year-old event featured Ka`u Coffee floats and beauty queens, representatives of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Thy Word Ministries, Ka`u Hospital patients riding in their bus, Pahala Preschool, Santa Claus and many more. 

THE KUAHIWIS PERFORM LIVE IN CONCERT at After Dark in the Park tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Copies of their debut CD, Kuahiwis, Hawaiian Music, which was nominated for traditional Hawaiian music CD of the year, will be available for sale.

THE FRONT ROW OF COTTAGES at Kilauea Military Camp have been decorated for KMC’s third annual Holiday Challenge. The public can vote for their favorite display and receive a Holiday Dollar redeemable at several KMC venues. Park entrance fees may apply.

THE KEIKI CHRISTMAS PARTY at Hana Hou Restaurant in Na`alehu is this Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free goodie bags and keiki IDs will be offered, along with a free buffet-style dinner. Lucky numbers will be drawn for bicycles, games, books, toys and more. Santa will be there for photos with the keiki. 

The Pahala Holy Rosary Youth Choir brought harmonies
to the Pahala Christmas Parade. Photo by Julia Neal
OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY CENTER’S Keiki Christmas Party is on Saturday at 11 a.m. Everyone is invited to this free event, which includes food, music, gifts for every child under 12 and a visit from Santa. 
     OVCA asks for donations of new, unwrapped gifts for the keiki. Residents can take ornaments off of Gift trees set up at merchants around Ocean View and buy gifts for children of age groups noted.
     For all donations of time, money and gifts, call 939-7033.

THE CHRISTMAS IN PAHALA celebration takes place Sunday around a lighted Christmas tree on Kamani Street. Donations are being taken for needy families who otherwise might not be able to afford a happy Christmas. Canned foods, turkeys, toys, gift certificates and beverages can be donated by calling Keala Kailiawa at 928-0500 or Pahala Plantation Cottages at 928-9811, or dropping donations by KAHU community radio station on Maile Street.