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, December 21, 2011

Ka'u News Briefs Dec. 21, 2011

Manuel Marques claims thieves stole his coffee cherries, worth up to $10,000. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U COFFEE FARMER MANUEL MARQUES claims that as much as $10,000 in coffee cherries were stolen from his Cloud Rest farm. He said yesterday that the loss was more than police reported. He contended that thieves did not touch the ripe coffee cherries on the rim of his farm so he would not notice that the coffee cherries were missing inside his orchard. He said it would have taken days for pickers to steal the cherries. He also claimed that thieves showed no regard for the trees or ripping branches. and took both green and red cherries. Marques, whose Ka`u Rainforest Coffee has won international awards, said he has crop insurance but it doesn't cover theft. "I will just have to take the loss," he said. Neighboring farmers said they have suffered no such loss on their farms and didn't see any unusual activity. The Hawai`i Police Department is asking for information regarding the report and Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for clues that lead to solving of case. According to the police press release, the theft took place between 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 and 7:30 a.m. Dec. 11. Marques said yesterday that thieves may have been in his coffee field longer than he estimated when he made the initial police report.

Traditional rooflines for the new gym and disaster shelter in Pahala shown in preliminary sketch.
DESIGN OF THE NEW KA`U GYMNASIUM AND DISASTER SHELTER was tweaked and revised last night with public input during a charrette in Pahala. Under discussion is the possibility of making the facility more open with outdoor lobby and gathering areas. One option would separate the public recreation rooms from the main gym, locker room, fitness and wrestling room. Public recreation rooms would be parallel to the existing tennis courts with an access road between them. Another grassy area would separate this complex from the main gym. The entire complex would be more than 40,000 square feet in size. It would be located just makai of the school offices.

A layout of the gym after public charrette on Monday.
Another layout with more open space will be
created following last night's meeting.
CONCRETE WILL BE THE MAIN BUILDING MATERIAL for the gym and regional disaster shelter to meet Hurricane Category Three and Earthquake Four Standards. Whether the air in the main gym could be cleaned from vog is still on the table. However, air will be cleaned in the smaller rooms, which planners said, would be easier to control.
              The roofline will match those of the campus buildings that have been placed on the Hawai`i Register of Historic Places. Planners had proposed a kind of Parker Ranch red wood grain siding to be attached to the concrete structure to give a more traditional look. However, members of the public said that a smooth concrete finish would be fine, particularly if it would save money to be put into the functionality of the gym. Members of the public also said that the roofline is the most important architectural statement to keep the building in harmony with Pahala village. The color of the building should be beige or light green to fit in with the other campus buildings said County Parks and Recreation Director Robert A. Fitzgerald.
      The floor of the gym will be made of wood and the layout will include an NCAA size basketball court that can also be used as three volleyball courts. There will be a wrestling/judo room, a place for sports rehab and fitness/weight room and an athletic director’s office.
      The gym will be designed with a portable stage that can be pulled out for community events. A cover will be stored onsite and pulled out to protect the wood floor during community events. With the bleachers and chairs, 1,000 people could gather in the gym. The design will provide for fresh air circulation and possibly air cleaning for voggy days. However, there is concern that the cost of cleaning air could be too expensive for the entire gym.

Public Works director Warren
Lee came to Pahala twice this
week for input on the gym
and disaster shelter.
PHOTOVOLTAIC POWER is also on the table. Architect and engineering firm representative Aaron Fujii said that there may not be enough roof area to power up the building with photovoltaics. Public Works director Warren Lee noted that the West Hawai`i Civic Center photovoltaic system is working well, but was funded by a private business, which sells electricity to the county for a lower rate than the utility. He said photovoltaics could be considered and mentioned that an initiative on Kaua`i will provide photovoltaics for some of the public schools there.

Athletic Director Kalei
Namohala contributes to design
of new gym and disaster shelter
in Pahala.
LIGHTING THE PARKING AREA was also brought up and planners noted that the entire island is covered by regulations to protect the night skies. The county may ask its planning department for a variance to allow overflow parking on the grassy area on the makai side of the gym. The rule is one parking stall for every four permanent seats in the gym. More than 100 stalls are located on the Parks and Recreation parking lot near the football field and around the perimeter of the gym site, the library and tennis court area.
      Ka‘u High athletic director Kalei Namohala said the school wants to keep the current wrestling and weight room building as a possible future classroom. Planners moved the footprint of the new gym to leave the old building in place.

MORE PERSONAL INCOME IS GOING FOR HOUSING than perhaps ever before, according to the 2011 Hawai`i Housing Study, recently released by state and county housing agencies.
      Statewide, about 28 percent of households pay more than 40 percent of their income just to have a place to live. On the Big Island,. where housing is less expensive than other islands, 25 percent of households pay more than 40 percent of income for housing. However, 20 years ago, they paid 11.5 percent of income, and in 2006, they paid 22 percent of income to have a home, showing housing costs have risen steeply for rents and mortgages. In order to get more people into home ownership, the Hula Mae state housing program plans to offer assistance with down payments beginning next year. See more at http://hawaii.govdbedt/hhfdc.

Final council map puts Brittany
Smart and Brenda Ford in same
County Council District 6.
FINAL DISCUSSION ON the County Council Redistricting Map will be held by the Redistricting Commission at a meeting tomorrow, Dec. 22, at 10 a.m. in Hilo.
      The final map moves incumbent council member Brenda Ford into District 6, which pits her against incumbent council member Brittany Smart, should they both choose to run again for the council seat which includes all of Ka`u.

DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS on the Kawa Drainage Project is this Friday, Dec. 23. Comments are being taken on the Environmental Assessment to raise Hwy 11 some ten feet above grade to 46 feet above sea level. An 84-foot-wide culvert, eight feet high, would be placed beneath the highway.
      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.

Haunani's Aloha Expressions entertain tonight
 at Volcano. Photo from HVNP
HAUNANI'S ALOHA EXPRESSIONS hula troupe shares its aloha from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park in the Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium. The Hawaiian kane and wahine kupuna, who make all of their own colorful costumes and lei and sing and dance hapa-haole hula, have performed at the park’s annual cultural festival for many years.

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP holds a Christmas Day Brunch this Sunday, Dec 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Cafe in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The menu includes: baked chicken with mushroom sauce, pasta carbonara, breakfast delights and more. Tickets to the event cost $15.95 for adults and $8.50 for children ages 6 to 11. Park entrance fees may apply. Call 967-8356 for more information.