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, February 29, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 29, 2012

Sandalwood flowers create the lehua-iliahi lei. Lei by Brian Choy. Photo by Nathan Yuen at hawaiianforest.com
NATIVE TREES, LIKE SANDALWOOD and koa, could receive protection from a bill in the state Legislature, but some landowners oppose it, saying government has no business managing trees on private property. The state Department of Land & Natural Resources proposes permits to harvest sandalwood and other natives. The measure passed a Senate committee yesterday, with a ‘yes’ vote from Sen. Gil Kahele. Ka`u has the largest native forests in Hawai`i.
       The bill says, “All commercial harvesting of native forest resources deemed in need of conservation on all lands shall be done in accordance with a harvest permit approved by the board, and in accordance with the provisions regarding conservation of aquatic life, wildlife, and land plants and the provisions regarding environmental compliance.” It would be “unlawful to harm, destroy, or harvest any material of a forest resource, living or dead, deemed in need of conservation for commercial purposes without a harvest permit.”
      The owner of Vogelvik Furniture in Ocean View opposes the bill, saying it is “overreaching” and that current law “provides an adequate mechanism for protecting forest species which may be in decline.” Mats Vogelvik said the proposed permit system would “endanger the jobs of local craftsmen, manufacturers and retailers in every facet of the koa industry.” Land managers from Parker Ranch and other big landholders also opposed the bill.
      Conservation biologist Rick Warshauer, of Volcano, supported the bill. “The sad history of sandalwood in Hawai`i is one of repeated foreign exploitation, export and complicity by local facilitators, a history that continues to this day,” he wrote. He called testimony opposing the bill “self-serving and full of shibai,” and said, “Those and their carpetbagging cohorts are just as shameless.” See more at www.capitol.hawaii.gov. Search for sandalwood.

A NEW NATIONAL PARK SERVICE report shows that more than 1.3 million visitors in 2010 spent $88,258,000 in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,162 local jobs.
      “Communities near national parks have always understood their positive fiscal impact,” said park superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, the most popular destination on the island of Hawai`i and one of the most visited attractions statewide, is vital to the economic well-being both of our island and state economies,” she said.
One of Ka`u's largest employers is Hawai`i Volcanoes
National Park, says superintendent Cindy Orlando.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Fifty-two percent of the 2010 spending/jobs are related to lodging and food and beverage service, followed by 29 percent on other retail, 10 percent entertainment and amusements, seven percent on gas and local transportation and two percent on groceries. In 2011, an estimated 1.35 million people visited the park, an increase of 3.6 percent from 2010.

KA`U HIGH, ELEMENTARY & NA`ALEHU SCHOOLS will have longer instructional days next school year, and teachers will have 12 extra training days. The teachers have approved the change to help accommodate the Race to the Top requirements to preserve some $25 million in federal funding. The extra hours not only mean more education for children but more pay for teachers. Teachers who don’t want the longer days are eligible to apply to transfer to other schools, and teachers wanting more hours can also apply to teach in the Ka`u-Pahoa area and in Wai`anae on O`ahu, the two places where the program is being established. Eighty percent of teachers in the schools where hours will be extended voted to approve the agreement, according to the union, the Hawai`i State Teachers Association.

Kulani could be reactivated as a prison to bring inmates home
from the mainland, where the state pays for their keep.
Photo from www.bigislandvideonews.com
A NEW PRISON could be established at Kulani between Volcano and Hilo or seven miles from Kulani on state land as part of an initiative to bring all inmates home from prisons on the mainland, where the state pays for their care. State Public Safety director Jodie Maesaka-Hirata testified to a Senate committee yesterday saying the state could save $19.5 million the first year and more than $26 million the second. Her department also wants to shorten prison terms and, instead, have more community programs to help offenders to stay out of trouble. 

THE KA`U DISTRICT GYM & SHELTER Draft Environmental Assessment refers to Hawai`i County’s General Plan as saying that a district recreational facility should include a gymnasium with office, storage, restrooms and showers. Neither the Na`alehu nor Pahala school campus gyms “meet this standard,” the report states.
      It says the new gym and disaster shelter will provide “beneficial recreational impacts.” The facility could accommodate simultaneous activities. It could host NCAA basketball games, HHSAA and Parks & Recreation basketball and volleyball tournaments using cross-court configurations. The plan calls for expanded space for a weight room for use by students and community, saying that the existing weight room is “deficient in space and quality.”
The Ka`u shelter and gym is to be built on grassy area between the
football field and tennis and basketball courts.
      There would be athletic offices, lockers, showers, training room and storage. Bleachers would have a maximum capacity of 1,050 persons. It says this is “more than adequate to accommodate the entire school enrollment of 590 students for assemblies.” The bleachers could be retracted fully or partially, depending on full-court or cross-court configurations. A portable stage would allow performances and other events such as graduation. A removable covering would protect the hardwood gym floor.
      Space would provide opportunities for participation in more diverse athletic and physical education activities such as wrestling and martial arts, using the recreation and multi-purpose rooms.
      The EA states that the facility would provide “indoor recreation or physical education opportunity when vog conditions are not conducive to outdoor activity.”
      The EA is available at public libraries in Pahala and Na`alehu and online at hawaii.gov/health/environmental/oeqc/index.html. Comments are being accepted through March 23. Send to Tammy Kapali, Planner, PBR Hawai`i & Associates, Inc., 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 650 Honolulu, HI 96813 or fax 808-523-1402. Comments can also be sent to County of Hawai`i Department of Public Works, Attn: David Yamamoto, Aupuni Center, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 7, Hilo, HI 96720 or faxed to 808-961-8630.

Debris from the Japan tsunami could end up in the North Pacific Gyre, aka
the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and be spit out by currents headed to
Hawai`i. Image from Fangz 
DEBRIS FROM THE JAPAN TSUNAMI last year could reach the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands within a few months and the main Hawaiian Islands within a year. Wildlife biologists worry about fishing gear from Japanese boating fleets that washed away, creating a threat to wildlife. Much of the debris sank into the ocean near Japan, and some of the remaining debris could hook up with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, between here and California, before being spit out and riding currents to Hawai`i.  

REP. BOB HERKES invites the public to a meeting of the Vog Task Force today at 5 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Herkes said he wants people to come to the meeting to share their experiences with vog so that the state government and Legislature will understand its effects on Ka`u residents and the environment.

`Alala hatchlings Photos
from San Diego Zoo
Young `Alala Kinohi
KA`U FOREST RESERVE management will be the subject of a community meeting on Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center, sponsored by the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce. An Environmental Assessment has been published on plans to manage hunting, preservation of endangered species, the re-introduction of the `Alala, or endangered Hawaiian crow, and possible opportunities for hiking and camping in this pristine forest. 

PROCEEDS FROM A RUMMAGE SALE on Saturday go to the Ka`u Hospital Foundation Scholarship Fund, which helps Ka`u students enrolled in any medical training program. The sale takes place at Na`alehu Community Center from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

A RUMMAGE SALE on Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Volcano Garden Arts in Volcano Village benefits Volcano School of the Arts & Sciences. To donate or volunteer, call 985-9800.

SEE OUR SPONSORS AT KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM AND PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 28, 2012

These diagrams from the Draft Environmental Assessment show sightlines from different areas surrounding
the proposed building site of the Ka`u shelter and gym, the structure in green.
THE KA`U SHELTER FOR DISASTERS to be built in Pahala on the school grounds may include two rooms with air cleaning capabilities, according to the county’s project planner David Yamamoto. Yamamoto recently explained that a multipurpose room separate from the new gymnasium would be 2,832 square feet and could handle 190 people during a bad air event. A recreation room, also proposed for the new complex, would be 1,932 square feet and would provide shelter for 128 people for bad air events and 48 people for longer-term shelter.
      He explained that during a disaster event, be it hurricane, vog, fire, or earthquake, regulations require 15 square feet per person for the short term and 40 square feet per person for longer term, should people be unable to return to their homes. Currently, the plan for the gymnasium, which would serve as the larger shelter for 1500 people for short term and 560 people for longer term, would not include equipment to clean the air.

Rep. Bob Herkes
A MEETING ON VOG will be held by the state Legislature’s task force tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Rep. Bob Herkes, who proposed the task force to tackle problems with air quality and volcanic emissions, said he wants people to come to the meeting to share their experiences with vog so that the state government and Legislature will understand its effects on Ka`u residents and the environment. 

CONCERNING CONSTRUCTION of the shelter and gym to withstand earthquakes, project planner David Yamamoto said that “seismic design will be in accordance with the latest building code, which is the 2006 International Building Code as amended by State of Hawai`i Building Code. A building’s ability to resist seismic forces is difficult to relate to an earthquake magnitude for reason that seismic forces are dependent not only on magnitude but also distance, depth, geological properties along its travel paths” and other factors, he said.
      The EA is available at hawaii.gov/health/environmental/oeqc/index.html and at Pahala and Na`alehu Public Libraries.
      Comments can be sent to Tammy Kapali, Planner, PBR Hawai`i & Associates, Inc., 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 650 Honolulu, HI 96813 or faxed to 808-523-1402. Comments can also be sent to County of Hawai`i Department of Public Works, Attn: David Yamamoto, Aupuni Center, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 7, Hilo, HI 96720 or faxed to 808-961-8630.

Rep. Denny Coffman
THE STATE REAPPORTIONMENT COMMISSION is scheduled to meet tomorrow to finalize proposed maps that create new boundaries for state Senate and House seats. 
      Proposed House of Representative boundaries have Denny Coffman representing Ka`u from its northwest border to west of Punalu`u, if he were to run for re-election. Coffman’s current district includes areas from North Kona to Honokohau.
      Coffman was appointed chair of the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection after Rep. Hermina Morita resigned to become chair of the Public Utilities Commission. He also serves as a member of the committees on Consumer Protection & Commerce; Housing; Judiciary; and Water, Land & Ocean Resources. Coffman’s information on the Hawai`i State Legislature website says he has been “a leading advocate for environmental protections and renewable energy opportunities for a sustainable future” and that he “is working on legislation to help business people obtain loans from the private sector to create or expand businesses by providing tax credits only if a solid realistic business plan is prepared and implemented.”

Walter Kahiwa, Jr.
A NEW COMMUNITY-RUN SCHOOL is planned for Miloli`i starting in August, according to former public and Kamehameha school teacher Walter Kahiwa, Jr., of Hauoli Kamana`o Church. Speaking at the annual La `Elima event last Saturday at Miloli`i halau, he noted that the dropout rate of children from Miloli`i is high because they spend hours on the bus going to and from school. Kahiwa said that a number of people, like himself, who grew up in Miloli`i, want to mentor this generation of children and will base learning on culture and the environment as well as life skills needed for the outside world. The annual La `Elima event celebrates the fishing village’s survival of a massive earth shift and kaiko`o, or big seas. According to Kahiwa, the church, established in 1842, was left floating during the great earthquake of 1868 when the land subsided below sea level. However, the water lifted the church and helped it “surf” to the new shoreline, undamaged. Villagers used fallen coconut trees as rollers to move it to its current location.

AFTER DARK IN THE PARK tonight presents a new anthology of modern mo`olelo entitled Don’t Look Back: Hawaiian Myths Made New. The program begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Author Christine Thomas reads from her book and signs copies. Two-dollar donations support park programs, and park entrance fees apply.

VIST OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 27, 2012

A vog-safe multi-purpose room would by located in the proposed ancillary building, according to the
Ka`u Gym & Shelter Environmental Assessment now available for public comment.
THE VOG TASK FORCE meets Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Issues on safe places for the community during bad air alerts will be discussed. Included will be the new community disaster shelter planned with more than $17 million in funding already approved. The new shelter and gym would have one room for 130 people during bad air days. Ka`u Hospital says it cannot serve as a disaster shelter even with its upcoming renovation that will provide air cleaning equipment.
      The task force was proposed by Rep. Bob Herkes to tackle problems with air quality and volcanic emissions in connection with agriculture, human health and the effects of vog on infrastructure, like metal buildings, fencing and vehicles. Herkes said he wants people to come to the meeting to share experiences with vog so the state government and Legislature will understand its effects on Ka`u residents and the environment.

Hawaiian Petrel Photos courtesy of Jim
Denny/hawaiianendangeredseabirds.org
THE RECENTLY RELEASED Ka`u Gym & Shelter Environmental Assessment includes letters from the public.
      Darcy Hu asked planners to consider potential impacts of night lighting on nocturnal seabirds that may be transiting the area. Species include the endangered Hawaiian Petrel, or `Ua`u; the threatened Newell’s Shearwater, or `A`o; and the Band-rumped Storm-petrel, or `Ake`ake. Hu said, “Both adults and young of these species can be disoriented by artificial lights and come crashing to land or circle repeatedly and become exhausted. Once on the ground, these birds are vulnerable to a variety of threats including cats, dogs, rats and cars”
      The report states that the design will specify minimal shielded exterior lighting to prevent potential distraction to night-flying birds. All other exterior lights would be turned on only as needed and designed in accordance with the county’s exterior lighting standards.
      Earl Louis sent a comment to PBR stating, “I live right across of this proposed development. As a resident of 37 years, I feel that this structure would block the view of the hillside of Makanau and Pu`u Enuhe, the hills above Punalu`u.”
      According to the EA, the only unavoidable impact would be obstruction of views for a few residents. “The views of most residents are already blocked by existing school buildings or trees. The benefits provided by the higher ceiling for athletic activities and plantation-style roof line offset the unavoidable impact,” the EA states.
Newell's Shearwater
      The EA is available at hawaii.gov/health/environmental/oeqc/index.html and at Pahala and Na`alehu Public Libraries.
      Comments can be sent to Tammy Kapali, Planner, PBR Hawai`i & Associates, Inc., 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 650 Honolulu, HI 96813 or faxed to 808-523-1402. Comments can also be sent to County of Hawai`i Department of Public Works, Attn: David Yamamoto, Aupuni Center, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 7, Hilo, HI 96720 or faxed to 808-961-8630.

NATIVE HAWAIIANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS are 44 percent of those on the waiting list for public housing assistance, according to the county housing agency, which also reports that about 54 percent of the families have children, and seven percent of the families are elderly.
      A Peter Sur story in the Hawai`i Tribune-Herald reports that more than 6,000 people remain on the waiting list on this island alone, and the county only has about $14 million in funding for 1,796 rent vouchers under the Section 8 program for the next fiscal year. The average voucher is for $650, which is provided to private landlords, with the renters making up the rest by paying $350 from other sources. According to the story, the county is encouraging more people to sign up, in case more funding becomes available, even though the waiting time is long. Families who signed up back in 2007 recently received vouchers.
      The county’s annual report on its Section 8 housing program is open for public comment through March 8, the story says.

GAS PRICES IN KA`U continue to climb. This morning at Ka`u Gas in Pahala the price was $4.57 per gallon. At the 76 Station in Na`alehu, the price was $4.57. In Ocean view it was $4.43 at Kahala Gas, $4.40 at Ocean View Market and $4.37 at Kahuku Country Market.

Anne Lee and David Howard Donald have been promoting their Volcano
Project at Volcano Farmers Market for three years.
THE VOLCANO PROJECT recently celebrated its third anniversary promoting the idea that its nonprofit educational organization should operate the Volcano House hotel, camping, restaurant, bar and gift store operation within Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Founders of the Volcano Project David Howard Donald and Anne Lee have met with the public every Sunday at the Volcano Farmers Market for 157 weeks and collected more than 1,500 names on petitions and more than 55 letters from community leaders and public office holders urging support of their project. They said they want to “thank the thousands who have come by, sharing their comments and time, offering advice, encouragement, and support, and we especially thank Linda Ugalde, president of Cooper Center Council and Volcano Farmers Market.” The Volcano Project team says that “a nonprofit, with no shareholder dividends to pay, can use 100 percent of the profit to double Volcano House employment over that of a mainland corporate concessioner, serving park visitors more attentively and creating badly needed jobs in our depressed economy. Our plan to create a hospitality school, teaching industry life skills to residents and youth, at affordable tuition, is an invaluable benefit to our rural society, especially in these difficult times.” Donald and Lee point to “overwhelming support from politicians, organizations, institutions and residents.” 
       The National Park Service regional office is expected to soon announce which one of several entities applying to manage the concessions has been selected. The facility has been shut down for more than two years during a renovation and selection process.

THE CONSTANT SWARM OF EARTHQUAKES halted over the weekend between Saturday just after midnight and Sunday at 2 p.m., with little activity through Monday morning, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists. The swarm was near the Namakanipaio campground where the Kilauea and Mauna Loa plates meet.

NOELANI HO`OPAI, of Kamehameha Schools East Regional office, will be at Na`alehu United Methodist Church social hall today from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. to help Hawaiian families complete applications for any summer enrichment program and Ho`oulu Data Center. 

A NEW ANTHOLOGY of modern mo`olelo entitled Don’t Look Back: Hawaiian Myths Made New is the topic at After Dark in the Park tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Author Christine Thomas will read from her book and sign copies. Two-dollar donations support park programs, and park entrance fees apply.

SEE OUR SPONSORS AT KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM AND PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 26, 2012

State reapportionment that created a fourth state Senate seat on the Big Island could face federal challenge.

WILL THE NEW STATE SENATE SEAT for the Big Island stand up to federal scrutiny? Not so sure, says retired judge and state Reapportionment Commission chair Victoria Marks. Only two states, Hawai`i and Kansas, exclude military personnel and out-of-state college students from the population base of voting districts. According to an editorial in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the Kansas Constitution drops nonresident military personnel and nonresident college students before apportioning districts for state representatives and senators. “Out of a population of 2.8 million, those total less than 120,000, of which fewer than 14,000 were subtracted from the Kansas census in determining district boundaries. Nonresident military in Hawai`i number about 120,000, in a population of 1.3 million.” Dropping them led to the creation of a new Senate seat on the Big Island for which state Rep. Bob Herkes has announced his campaign.
State reapportionment also divided Ka`u into two
state House districts.
      Marks, however, told the Star-Advertiser that a federal challenge could quote the 14th Amendment, stating that “representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state.” Said Marks, “I think if there’s a federal lawsuit that’s brought, there is some potential that the state constitutional position may not withstand federal constitutional scrutiny.”
      The exclusion of the military led to a new state Senate seat from Punalu`u through Pahala and Volcano and Puna. It also changes boundaries for the state House of Representative, leaving two newly drawn House districts representing Ka`u – from South Kona to Honu`apo and Punalu`u into Puna, with no announced candidates to date.

A COFFEE BERRY BORER VIDEO will soon be distributed to Ka`u coffee farmers by the Kohala Center and Kamehameha Schools. The film is in English and Spanish and covers methods of farm management to push back the pest that has devastated many farms in Kona. The farmer-to-farmer video explains that the beetle has spread at an alarming rate through Kona, threatening the survival of Hawai`i’s premier specialty crop. With farmers still discovering the beetle infestation and others reporting a total crop loss in Kona, “information is needed to saturate the community immediately,” said Suzanne Shriner, member of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association.
Coffee berry borer management is the topic of a new film.
Video images from youtube.com
      It has been shown in Kona that when 700 farms are in close proximity, the beetle crosses farm boundaries with ease. “Cooperation within the community is imperative to reduce everyone’s losses,” Shriner said.
      Directed by Gary Sprinkle and featuring Shriner and Andrea Kawabata, UH-CTAHR extension agent, the video demonstrates three main aspects of CBB management: Sanitation — removing cherries from the orchard in a timely manner; spraying the Beauveria bassiana fungus — the only legal, effective pesticide for CBB; and trapping — to help identify trouble spots.
      The Kohala Center connected a small group of Kona coffee farmers who researched and condensed the basics of Integrated Beetle Management from other coffee growing regions, with Kamehameha Schools, which had the capacity to magnify the quality of this project and access difficult to reach segments of the farming community.
      Kamehameha Schools, which happens to be landowner of 70 percent of Kona coffee farms, was the primary funder of the video. Kona Coffee Farmers Association, also a funder, had worked with the state Department of Agriculture to approve the commercial Beauveria bassiana fungus in Hawai`i.
      UH-CTAHR joined the project, adding to and verifying the scientific veracity of the instructional material.
      The video is online at www.youtube.com/KamehamehaSchools in both English and Spanish.

RESIDENTS CAN COMMENT on the Ka`u District Gym & Shelter Environmental Assessment through March 23. The report calls for buildings at the site to be made of cement to harden them against “low Category 3 hurricanes.” Category 3 hurricanes have gusts at a maximum of 155 mph. At least one 2,000-square-foot room, which could shelter 120 people during a short-term hurricane or air quality emergency, would be equipped to clean the air from vog. However, the main gym, with the ability to shelter 1,500 people for a short-term disaster and 560 people for temporary housing after a disaster, would be without air cleaning equipment, according to the proposal. The EA states that Civil Defense is comfortable with providing clean air for 120 people.
      The EA is available at hawaii.gov/health/environmental/oeqc/index.html and at Pahala and Na`alehu Public Libraries.
      Comments can be sent or faxed to Tammy Kapali, Planner, PBR Hawai`i & Associates, Inc., 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 650 Honolulu, HI 96813, Fax 808-523-1402; or County of Hawai`i Department of Public Works Attn: David Yamamoto, Aupuni Center, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 7, Hilo, HI 96720, Fax 808-961-8630.

THE EARTHQUAKE SWARM at the Ka`oiki fault line near Namakanipaio Park diminished during the last 24 hours. Closest buildings were at Volcano Golf Course subdivision and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Some items were reported falling off shelves, along with a rock fall in Halema`uma`u Crater. There were more than 100 quakes during the swarm, the strongest registering 4.3, 4.1, 3.9 and 3.0. The same fault line where the plates of Kilauea and Mauna Loa meet created swarms in 2006, 1997, 1993 and 1990, following a 6.6 magnitude quake in 1983 that caused more than $7 million in damage between Ka`u and Hilo, and leaving fissures in roads and crumbling trails in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. See tux.wr.usgs.gov for maps and information on quakes here.

NA MEA HAWAI`I takes place today at Honu`apo Park, with Hawaiian crafts, games, and hula from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Ka `Ohana O Honu`apo will sell T-shirts, water and juice, the Hawaiian Civic Club will sell hand-made Hawaiian items, and `O Ka`u Kakou will sell shave ice and hot dogs.

CHRISTINE THOMAS READS AND SIGNS her new anthology of modern mo`olelo, Don’t Look Back: Hawaiian Myths Made New, at After Dark in the Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m., at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. A $2 donation supports park programs, and park entrance fees apply. 

A VOG TASK FORCE MEETING will be held on Wednesday at Pahala Community Center at 5 p.m. The task force was proposed by Rep. Bob Herkes to tackle the problems with air quality events and volcanic emissions in connection with agriculture, human health and the effects of vog on infrastructure, like metal buildings, fencing and vehicles. Herkes said he wants people to come to the meeting and share their experiences with vog so that the state government and Legislature will understand its effects on Ka`u residents and the environment.

VISIT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 25, 2012

The second of three 2012 whale counts takes place today at Kalae, Punalu`u and locations in Hawai`i Volcanoes
National Park. Photo from NOAA
RED LIGHT CAMERAS that could detect drivers passing through stop lights and cameras that could detect speeding vehicles could be in the future for Hawai`i. Bills in the state Legislature are getting some traction for the photo red light detector systems that have already been adopted in such places as Los Angeles. Proponents note that such cameras could help do the work of police officers who otherwise have to sit by the side of the road and wait for the violators. It could free them up for investigating other crimes, said testimony submitted to the Legislature. Other testimony noted that knowing cameras are on the highway could deter people from speeding and going through red lights. The legislation would leave it up to each county to decide whether to adopt the program, and each county would keep fines it collects. Opposition has included a statement that a police officer can chase down a speeding car and get it off the highway and check the driver for alcohol and drugs, while a camera has no such ability. A police officer can also respond to medical emergencies on the roads. Another limitation is that the camera would have to capture a clear photo of the driver to prove who is breaking the law. 
Bills in the state Legislature call for installation of red
light cameras. Photo from autoblog.com
      Opposition testimony says that there is collection of too much personal information by filming everyone driving along the highway, and the American Civil Liberties Union has posted concerns. The legislation is House Bill 2790 and can be read, along with pro and con testimony, at www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

THE BABY BOY WHO DIED when a van flipped on Highway 11 at 5 p.m. on Thursday was breast-feeding at the time of the accident. The family was driving from Volcano toward Pahala and on to accommodations at Waikoloa, according to reports from Hawai`i News Now. While there was an infant car seat in the van, the mother had taken the baby into her lap for feeding. The father was driving when the van veered off the road and turned over. He told police he was tired after a long day of touring and may have dozed off. The family, all visitors from Japan, suffered injuries, with three women remaining in serious condition. 
      The Pahala Community Center was used as a staging area for lifting victims by helicopter to Hilo Medical Center where the infant died. “From this tragic incident you can see what happens when you take the child out of the car seat. The child probably would have survived if he was in the car seat,” said Sgt. Christopher Gali, of Hawai`i Police Department. Police are investigating the crash as a negligent homicide, but since drugs or alcohol are unlikely, they will probably refrain from filing charges against the father, even though it is law that children three years and under be in a car seat, with four to seven-year-olds strapped into a booster seat. There are many incentives for using infant and booster seats, including tax deductions and the grim statistics of injuries and deaths during accidents when they are not used.

Invasive mongoose may be targeted with irradication.
Photo from Wildcare, akyinthedoor.com
MONGOOSE ERADICATION is the aim of the state Board of Land & Natural Resources. The land board, which met this week, discussed working with the state and federal government, along with the counties, to come up with a program to rid the islands of these invasive species. Along with feral cats, mongoose are considered one of the main reasons that ground nesting birds are in decline in Hawai`i. Some concern has come from the Humane Society on whether poison would be used and whether that could kill pets and wildlife. Another concern is whether wild chickens will replace mongoose and compete with wildlife as happened on Kaua`i where there are no mongoose. 

HUMPBACK WHALE COUNT is on the agenda for today at Kalae, Punalu`u and sites within Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The annual 2012 Sanctuary Ocean Count is held until noon, as volunteers record the behavior of the whales over the four-hour period. More than 60 sites along the shores of the Big Island, O`ahu and Kaua`i have been selected for the count. To learn more, visit http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov. The final 2012 whale count is scheduled for Saturday, March 31. Register online or call 1-888-55-WHALE, ext. 253.

DONATIONS FOR A RUMMAGE SALE to benefit Ka`u Hospital Charitable Foundation’s scholarship fund are being accepted today. The scholarship fund assists any Ka`u student enrolled in any medical training program. Items can be dropped off at Kama`aina Kuts behind Na`alehu Ace Hardware through Saturday. The rummage sale takes place next Saturday, March 3. Call Ursula at 896-2624. 

A SPAGHETTI DINNER to benefit Ka`u Hospital is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at Na`alehu Community Center. The dinner is sponsored by the Ka`u Red Hat Ladies and Kalae Quilters. Tickets are $9.99 and can be purchased at the door.

KIPUKA`AKIHI HIKE, a ranger-guided hike into the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, takes place tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants explore an isolated refuge of rare plants in a remnant old-growth forest. Pre-registration is required. Call 985-6011.

HAWAIIAN CRAFTS, GAMES, AND HULA are are on the schedule at Honu`apo Park tomorrow from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. `O Ka`u Kakou will sell shave ice and hot dogs, the Hawaiian Civic Club will sell their hand-made Hawaiian items, and Ka `Ohana O Honu`apo will sell T-shirts, water and juice.

SEE OUR SPONSORS ONLINE AT KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM AND PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 24, 2012

Picking opihi could have further restrictions according to Senate Bill 2923. Photo from aceuhmanoa.wordpress.com
OPIHI PICKING MAY BE RESTRICTED, putting moratoriums on some popular places for gathering the limpets along rocky shorelines around the Hawaiian Islands.
Photo from hawaiianforest.com
Senate Bill 2923 “Establishes a ban on taking or harvesting opihi statewide, subject to open and closed seasons and traditional gathering rights and practices.” It would prohibit the taking or harvesting of opihi, even for non-commercial purposes, in an amount greater than one quart with shells attached or one half pint without shells per day. The new law would require the Department of Land & Natural Resources to submit an annual report regarding effectiveness and enforcement. It could start with a five-year opihi picking ban on O`ahu, which has drawn concern that a rush to pick opihi on the Big Island would be driven by a ban in Honolulu.
      The DLNR testified that native gathering rights for opihi would need to be defined and pointed out that all marine conservation districts already ban opihi picking.
      The state Department of Hawaiian Homelands testified to the legislature that it supports the bill but suggested a resource study on opihi. University of Hawai`i marine scientists also gave supportive testimony, saying “Opihi is a delicacy that is part of Hawai`i’s culture, and, as such, there is universal agreement that the resource must be preserved for future generations to enjoy.” Some testimony calls for different recreational and home use bag limits. Opihi sell for large amounts of money and are popular at lu`au’s and other Hawaiian celebrations. Ophihi picking is often referred to as the most dangerous job in Hawai`i.

AN INFANT NOT IN A CAR SEAT died yesterday following an accident on Hwy 11 about five miles toward Volcano from Pahala. Members of the public attempted CPR on the infant but the baby died. All seven people were from Japan and were traveling in a van when the driver veered off the highway and the van flipped. One woman was lifted by helicopter from Pahala Community Center in critical condition. All of those injured were taken to Hilo Medical Center. The baby was six months old and police have opened a negligent homicide investigation, as the baby was unsecured in the van.

LINDA LINGLE, THE FORMER HAWAI`I GOVERNOR, now candidate for U.S. Senate has announced she will establish advisory boards on the Big Island and the other Neighbor Islands to give people a voice at the federal level, if she is elected.
Lingle with Ebesugawa sisters in Hilo.  
Photo from lingle2012.com
     She established similar county boards during her eight years as governor, comprised of volunteer community leaders. On this island there were East and West Hawai`i members. “Having worked and lived on both Moloka`i and Maui, I know how important it is for residents on every island to know their concerns are being heard by their U.S. Senator and that their opinions are important at a national level,” Lingle said. “While other candidates have pledged to be available via a toll free number or through their websites, I believe it is critical for constituents to be able to interact face-to-face with a member of my team when I am in D.C.,” Lingle said.

EARTHQUAKES and swarms of small temblors continued yesterday into today with a 4.3 registering at 3:52 this morning and a 4.1 on Thursday at 9:02  p.m. By mid-morning today there were 75 recent earthquakes on the U.S.G.S. map of the Big Island. Many of them are near Kilauea Crater where Mauna Loa and Kilauea plates meet. Such swarms at the same location have been recorded in the past. The biggest earthquake near the same site was a 6.6 in 1983, leaving more than $7 million in damages between Ka`u and Hilo and cracking roads and destroying trails in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. See tux.wr.usgs.gov for the latest maps and information on earthquakes.

KIPUKA`AKIHI HIKE, a ranger guided hike into the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, takes place, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday. The entrance to Kahuku Unit is between mile markers 70 and 71 on Hwy 11. Participants explore an isolated refuge of rare plants in a remnant old-growth forest. Pre-registration required. 985-6011

LA `ELIMA CELEBRATION, hosted by Hauoli Kamana`o Church, will be held tomorrow, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Miloli`i Village Park Pavilion. The church invites the public to talk story, enjoy live music, fire dancing and lu`au style food. Walter Kahiwa, Jr. will give a detailed history of La `Elima, which translates to February 5th the day the event occurred.
MIloli`i residents have been gathering to remember
the tsunami and taking care of victims for generations.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Long ago, the little yellow church was lifted up and deposited inland by a massive earth shift and subsequent kaiko`o, or big seas, said Angie Bowman, one of the event's key coordinators. The original location is now submerged 300 yards out to sea. Villagers used palm trunks to move the church to its current location. She summarized the story saying that the school children were thought to be lost to sea. However, five days later they were rescued from caves above the fishing village. "Although many died along the coast, no lives were lost in Miloli`i."

THE KA`U RED HAT LADIES and Kalae Quilters sponsor a spaghetti dinner to benefit Ka`u Hospital tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. Tickets are $9.99 and can be purchased at the door.

 KA `OHANA O HONU`APO and Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka`u showcase Hawaiian crafts, games, and hula, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday at Honu`apo Park. `O Ka`u Kakou will sell shave ice and hot dogs, the Civic Club will sell their hand-made Hawaiian items, and Ka `Ohana O Honu`apo will sell T-shirts, water and juice.

KA`U FARMERS, along with those from Kona and Kohala, are invited to attend a new forum, West Hawai`i Sustainable Agriculture Skills Panel – created by the Workforce Development Council, to voice their concerns and solutions to help develop agriculture. The forum, hosted by Hawai`i Department of Ag and Department of Labor, is set to meet on Tuesday, March 6, in Kailua-Kona at King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Participation is free. The forum has five focus areas: ag innovation and sustainability, education, infrastructure, recruiting, and food system. Guests are asked to RSVP to standford.j.fichtman@hawaii.gov. Call 808-586-8672 for more.




Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 23, 2012


The Draft Environmental Assessment for the new Ka`u District Gym & Shelter is now available for public comment.
Drawing from PBR Hawai`i
THE NEW KA`U DISTRICT GYM AND SHELTER plans have been released to the public in a Draft Environmental Assessment. The complex is expected to cost more than $17 million. 
      Copies of the document have been mailed to community members who requested them along with community associations and some people living near the site. They should also be available at Na`alehu and Pahala Public Libraries. The EA also is posted for review on the state Department of Health’s Office of Environmental Quality Control website. The public has a month to comment.
      The Draft EA shows cinder block buildings, with plantation style rooflines, constructed on the open grassy field next to Ka`u High School between the tennis court and the current gym and surrounded by parking lots that could be paved, partially paved, or remain grassy.
      “The Ka`u District Gym & Shelter will be noticeable from Kamani Street and will change the visual character of the Site from an open grass field to a landscaped parking lot and approximately 40,000 square feet building. However, the structure will be visibly compatible with the adjacent historic school buildings with the proposed plantation-style roofline and complementary paint color. The placement and height of the building will not obstruct any view planes toward the pu`u nor obstruct any existing views of the ocean,” the EA says. It does note, however, that the project building “at about 48 feet will exceed the zoning height limit of 35 feet. The tallest existing school building is approximately 40 feet. A height variance is being sought,” the EA states.
       The buildings would be made of cement to harden them against hurricanes and for sheltering people during and after natural disasters. At least one 2,000 square-foot-room, which could shelter 120 people during a short-term hurricane or air quality emergency, would be equipped to clean the air from vog. However, the main gym, with the ability to shelter 1,500 people for a short-term disaster and 560 people for temporary housing after a disaster, would be without the air cleaning equipment, according to the proposal. The EA states that Civil Defense is comfortable with providing clean air for 120 people.
      Public Works director Warren Lee wrote to the Office of Environmental Quality Control saying that his agency reviewed the Draft EA and anticipates a Finding of No Significant Impact.
      See more at http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/Environmental_Notice/current_issue.pdf.

Pahala Library reopens today. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
PAHALA LIBRARY REOPENS TODAY after being closed for a month with hours Monday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The library is closed on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and all state holidays. It is recommended that patrons call before going there since there have been staff shortages that can sometimes close it down. Call 928-2015. 

AN EARTHQUAKE SWARM continued this morning at the place where Kilauea and Mauna Loa Volcanoes meet. The location is close to the border of Ka`u and Puna, about three miles west of Kilauea Crater. It is near the epicenter of the Kaoiki Earthquake that severely rocked Kapapala and Pahala. That 6.6 temblor, on the morning of Nov. 16, 1983, knocked the top off the chimney at the old Ka`u Hospital doctor’s residence and inflicted more than $7 million in damages from Ka`u to Hilo. The smaller earthquakes, yesterday and today, numbering more than 60, were no larger than a 3.2 magnitude and were mostly small, including one at 4:19 this morning at 1.9 magnitude - unfelt by most people in Ka`u.
      Stronger swarms of earthquakes happened at the same place in 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2006, according to Janet Babb, of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. “It’s a site of episodic seismicity,” she said. The Kaoiki fault system relates to the subsidence of the southeast flank of Mauna Loa.

Sen. Gil Kahele presented a message from the
state Senate at La `Elima last year.
Photo by Julia Neal
LA `ELIMA, hosted by Hauoli Kamana`o Church, will be held at Miloli`i Village Park Pavilion this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The church asks the public to talk story and enjoy live music, fire dancing and lu`au-style food. Walter Kahiwa, Jr., will give a detailed history of La `Elima. The gathering is in memory of events following a 7.0 earthquake in 1868 that took other fishing villages such as Kalapana underwater but spared Milloli`i. Miloli`i people took in the survivors from subsided villages and held a traditional gathering each year to honor their relationship.

THE KA`U RED HAT LADIES and Kalae Quilters sponsor a spaghetti dinner to benefit Ka`u Hospital this Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. Tickets are $9.99 and can be purchased at the door.

KA `OHANA O HONU`APO and Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka`u showcase demonstrations in Hawaiian crafts, games, and hula this Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Honu`apo Park. `O Ka`u Kakou will be selling shave ice and hot dogs, the Civic Club will be selling their hand-made Hawaiian items, and Ka `Ohana O Honu`apo will be selling T-shirts, water bottles and juice cans.

THE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL has formed a West Hawai`i Sustainable Agriculture Skills Panel and is asking Kona, Kohala and Ka`u farmers to voice their concerns and solutions to help develop agriculture in the area. The forum is set to meet on Tuesday, March 6 in Kailua-Kona at King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There is no cost to participate in this forum. The forum has five focus areas: ag innovation and sustainability, education, infrastructure, recruiting, and food system. The forum is hosted by Hawai`i Department of Ag and Department of Labor. Guests are asked to RSVP to standford.j.fichtman@hawaii.gov. Call 808-586-8672 for more.

SEE OUR SPONSORS AT WWW.PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND WWW.KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 22, 2012

Snow days on Mauna Loa above Pahala began last weekend, and snow has been seen on the volcano every morning
since, here seen with Phoebe Gomes. Photo by Bobby Gomes

THE NEW STATE SENATE SEAT and new lines for the state House of Representatives that split Ka`u into two districts drew few people to a public hearing last night in Hilo. Some people testified that the Hilo Senate seat should be moved, which could pit Sen. Gil Kahele against former mayor Lorraine Inouye, who said she too will run for Senate. The redistricting now goes to public hearings and should be finalized by the end of the month. Candidates may be able to file papers to run for the state Legislature in March. The primary election is in August.

PERFORMANCE-BASED PAY and new evaluation methods for teachers passed the state Board of Education yesterday in an attempt to save $75 million in Race to the Top federal funding. The new measures would establish longer probations for new teachers seeking tenure. Annual evaluations would be tied to individual pay. The school board received a report from Tammi Chun, Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s education policy adviser, who, according to a Civil Beat story, said the administration has legal authority to install the performance management system, although it could be challenged by the teachers’ union. The governor wrote to the Board of Education saying evaluations of teachers will help reward the effective ones, remediate the marginal ones, dismiss ineffective ones and provide the right personal development for all of them, the Civil Beat story by Kathryn Poythress said. The union, school principals and other DOE staff will work together to come up with the evaluations. The proposal now goes to the union for its recommendation and approval.

PLANS FOR THE NEW KA`U DISASTER SHELTER and gymnasium are expected to be released tomorrow by the county Department of Public Works, which is building it; the county Department of Parks & Recreation, which will manage it; and PBR Hawai`i, which has written the Environmental Impact Statement that will be up for review by the public for a month starting tomorrow. The website is http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov

AN ONGOING SWARM of shallow earthquakes started after midnight last night about three miles northwest of Halema`uma`u Crater, reports Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Forty-eight earthquakes were strong enough to be located beneath Kilauea. The largest, with a preliminary magnitude of 3.4, was recorded at 6:56 a.m., with two deep quakes beneath the southwest rift zone, two beneath the southeast summit caldera, one within the upper east rift zone and four on south flank faults. For more information, visit http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/activity/kilaueastatus.php

PAHALA PUBLIC & SCHOOL LIBRARY and its book drop reopen tomorrow. Hours of operation will be Monday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The library is closed on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and all state holidays. “To assure that Pahala Public & School Library can stay open, we are encouraging people to use the library on a regular basis, which will support the statistics to show the library is needed in Pahala,” said Ka`u Branch manager Debbie Wong Yuen. The library offers a wide range of books, CDs and audio books for all ages, free to check out. DVDs can be checked out for one week with a $1 charge. Library staff and patrons can go online to find any book, CD or DVD in the library system and order them shipped here. The library also has computers with Internet connection and will soon have Wi-Fi connection. All these services are free with a Hawai`i State Public Library card. An individual’s first card is free of charge.
      Despite staff shortages at both Na`alehu and Pahala, both Ka`u libraries have been trying to stay open. When there is no permanent staff person to open either one of the libraries, one location will have to close for that day. Wong Yuen advises patrons to phone the library, and listen to the recorded message which will alert patrons of a closure. Call Pahala Public & School Library at 928-2015 and Na`alehu Public Library at 939-2442.

DONATIONS FOR A RUMMAGE SALE to benefit Ka`u Hospital Charitable Foundation’s scholarship fund are being accepted this week. The scholarship fund assists any Ka`u student enrolled in any medical training program. Items can be dropped off at Kama`aina Kuts behind Na`alehu Ace Hardware through Saturday. The rummage sale takes place Saturday, March 3. Call Ursula at 896-2624. 

THE KA`U RED HAT LADIES and Kalae Quilters sponsor a spaghetti dinner to benefit Ka`u Hospital this Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. Tickets are $9.99 and can be purchased at the door.

SOUTHSIDE VOLLEYBALL boys 13 and 14 years old won last night at Hilo at the two-day Haili Tournament. Adult women play tonight.

SEE OUR SPONSORS AT WWW.PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND WWW.KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 21, 2012

A public hearing on proposed state Senate and House of Representative district boundaries takes place this
evening at 6 p.m. in County Council chambers in Hilo. The green and  light pink areas would be new House Districts, splitting Ka`u. Ka`u would also be in two Senate Districts,  outlined in orange. 
DEVELOPERS ARE SUPPOSED to pay their way in creating infrastructure, such as roads, to reach and leave their project, according to county regulations. However, this “fair share” policy is expected to raise only about $3 million of the 2012-2013 capital improvements budget, according to a Nancy Cook Lauer story in this morning’s Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. Her story points out that the county Planning Department publishes a fair share report each year.
      She writes that “a fair share assessment is levied against new development to help pay for infrastructure to support the additional population that development brings.... Ironically, the district of Puna, the fastest-growing region in the county, has no fair share funds available in any category of infrastructure. Nor are there any funds available in Ka`u,” where Ocean View was a fast-growing community over the last decade.
      The story points out that concerns about individuals being able to afford to build homes has prevented the County Council from levying fees on each house built rather than on developers creating subdivisions and the larger development projects. Council member Pete Hoffmann, who called for a change to impact fees for each building, told the Tribune-Herald that $3 million is not “a lot of money to do anything with,” noting that one mile of road costs $3 million.

A MINIMUM OF SIX DAYS NOTICE for public hearings for issues under consideration by the county could be out the window, if a bill in the state House of Representatives passes the 2012 Legislature. Civil Beat reported on the measure this morning, noting that the Legislature is already exempt from the law, which allows deal making at the last minute with little input from the public. The measure for the counties, which goes to hearing today, is House Bill 2742. It has raised concern with Common Cause and community watchdogs Ian Lind and Larry Geller. Civil Beat reporter Michael Levine wrote: “We’ve seen the effect that this kind of exemption has on the Legislature. At the Ledge, the Sunshine Law exemption essentially has meant that much of the horse-trading over which bills live and die happens behind closed doors. Unless lawmakers want to talk about it, you never find out what happens, and you never get the full story.” See more at civilbeat.com. 

A Ka`u Family Center program supports
Ka`u fathers. Photo from United Way
KA`U FAMILY CENTER is offering a new program aimed at supporting Ka`u fathers. Family Support Hawai`i’s Fatherhood Initiative, Na Makuakane Maika`i O Hawai`i, has been available to fathers in Kona for the past eight years and is now available to men in Na`alehu and the surrounding communities.
      The Fatherhood Initiative’s mission is “to support men in developing and applying the fathering skills needed to be a positive influence to their children,” shared Pam Naumann, Youth Development Program Manager. The program offers both personal visits and group activities. During personal visits male family support staff and community mentors can visit fathers in the home, community, or workplace to be supportive in caring for their children. They can also assist with personal and family issues such as parenting skills, stress management, conflict resolution and child development.
      Group activities involve social activities and parenting classes just for fathers to discuss parenting issues. Father Coach Larry Ursua will be offering these services at the Ka`u Family Center on Thursdays. For more information, call Ursua at 334-4153.

ORDERING LIBRARY BOOKS, DVDs and other services from home has become more dynamic with the Hawai`i State Public Library System’s new portal at www.librarieshawaii.org. While Pahala Library is often closed and Na`alehu Library is small, the new system provides patrons with the ability to more effectively order from anywhere in the state library system and have the books, DVDs and other materials delivered directly to a library in Ka`u. Its powerful new search engine simultaneously explores the library system’s holdings, OverDrive ebook and digital audio books and music holdings, newspaper index entries, and subscription online databases.
      The new portal showcases several technological enhancements, including “fuzzy logic,” a feature that corrects errors such as misspellings and typos, and yields search results every time. The portal is mobile friendly, adjusting to allow the website to be viewed and used by mobile browsers.
      The new portal offers ChiliFresh, a global patron interaction platform to facilitate peer book reviews, creation of book clubs by staff and patrons, and provide a vehicle for interaction between book club participants.
      Funding for these electronic services is provided by the Federal Library Services and Technology Act, which is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

NEW STATE REAPPORTIONMENT MAPS for Hawai`i County will be presented at a public hearing today at 6 p.m. in County Council chambers in Hilo. The maps show the addition of a fourth state Senate seat for the Big Island and new boundaries for state House of Representative districts. With a boundary west of Punalu`u, Ka`u would have two state representatives.

Helene Hayselden, seated, demonstrates the art of making
a feather kahili. Photo from NPS
VIOLET MAY MAKUAKANE and Helene Hayselden demonstrate the art of making a feather kahili tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the lanai of Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Park entrance fees apply. 

DONATIONS FOR A RUMMAGE SALE to benefit Ka`u Hospital Charitable Foundation’s scholarship fund are being accepted this week. The scholarship fund assists any Ka`u student enrolled in any medical training program. Items can be dropped off at Kama`aina Kuts behind Na`alehu Ace Hardware through Saturday. The rummage sale takes place Saturday, March 3. Call Ursula at 896-2624.

A SPAGHETTI DINNER to benefit Ka`u Hospital takes place this Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. 

NOELANI HOOPAI, of Kamehameha Schools East Regional office, will be at Na`alehu United Methodist Church social hall on Monday, Feb. 27 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. to help Hawaiian families complete applications for any summer enrichment program and Ho`oulu Data Center.

SEE OUR SPONSORS AT WWW.PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND WWW.KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 20, 2012

Ed and Audrey Case visited Ka`u yesterday.
Photo by Julia Neal
ED CASE, CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATE, came through Ka`u yesterday. After stopping at Volcano Farmers Market, he visited Pahala Plantation House, KAHU Radio, restaurants and other small businesses along the way to Kona. Case, as congressman, was instrumental in helping to fund coastal preservation in Ka`u and launched a study for a National Seashore here. He said he supports preserving wild places and natural resources.
      “Fundamentally, I believe in our natural resources. So many of them are in the path of development, and I would exert every opportunity to preserve them,” he said. He has been involved in a similar effort on Maui between Paia and Sprecklesville, to create the Patsy Mink Memorial National Seashore.
      Another one of Case’s recollections from his time as Ka`u’s congressman is meeting with the people. Case came to Ka`u more often than any other congressman or senator in memory, and had his staff collect the concerns and questions of local people and got back to them. He said he likes to meet the voters. He said it is easy for our representatives in Washington, D.C., once they are in office, to stay away from people and send out press releases as their contact with the people. He said he prefers to come to Ka`u and listen one-on-one so he can see for himself the needs of the community. He said there is also a lot of opportunity for the federal government to help the local economy and with preservation efforts, and that many people do not understand that they can work directly with the federal government.
      Case vowed to help redevelop the old plantation water system for agriculture in Ka`u and said he could perhaps help add onto funding through the federal government. He noted that Jimmy Nakatani, the new head of the Hawai`i Agribusiness Development Corp, the quasi-state organization that helps with ag, ran his congressional office in Honolulu when Case was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
      In his run for U.S. Senate, Case faces current U.S. Representative Mazie Hirono in the Democratic primary and would likely face former Governor Linda Lingle in the general election if he wins the primary. During the last election, he took on veteran Sen. Dan Akaka and lost, but Akaka has decided to retire, leaving the seat open. Case described his race against Hirono as “a rough, tough fight. We have different agendas, approaches and styles,” he said. “This is a crucial election for Hawai`i. Any time you change U.S. senators, it is really important, given all the work U.S. senators can do for a state. What makes this a generational election is that whoever is elected “will probably take the place of the senior senator when Inouye retires.”
      Case said he is proud to be a Democrat, “but I don’t think the future of our country lies in this endless partisan fight to the death. That won’t create solutions for our country. There is a place for partisan debate and decisions, but that is not the be all and end all of government. What is really going to work is finding what works for the broad mainstream of our country,” he said. 
      Regarding the federal budget problems, he said, “One of the biggest challenges is getting our fiscal house back in order. One extreme is to increase taxes and chase revenue, and the other side is to cut taxes” and chase government cost cuts. He recommended “some of both approaches.”
      He said that elected officials “need to be more bridge builders and problem solvers, especially in the Senate.”

THE HISTORY OF PAHALA is now available. Marge and Dennis Elwell compiled the book, which has information about the sugar plantation as well as chapters on Hilea, Kapapala and Wood Valley. It includes many historical photographs. Proceeds support Na`alehu Main Street. To order copies, call 929-7236 or email marge@hawaii.rr.com.

Violet May Makuakane with one of her feather kahili.
Photo courtesy of NPS
NEW STATE REAPPORTIONMENT MAPS for Hawai`i County will be presented at a public hearing tomorrow at 6 p.m. in County Council chambers in Hilo. The maps show the addition of a fourth state Senate seat for the Big Island and new boundaries for state House of Representative districts. With a boundary west of Punalu`u, Ka`u would have two state representatives.

VIOLET MAY MAKUAKANE and Helene Hayselden demonstrate the art of making a feather kahili on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the lanai of Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Park entrance fees apply. 

A SPAGHETTI DINNER to benefit Ka`u Hospital takes place this Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center.

SEE OUR SPONSORS AT WWW.PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND WWW.KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 19, 2012

Holland America Line's m.s. Rotterdam is the site of a luncheon benefitting Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park
on Friday, March 9. Photo from Holland America Line
A BALANCE BETWEEN PUBLIC SAFETY AND COST has to be attained in the state building code, according to Rep. Bob Herkes, who is working on the issue in the 2012 state Legislature. He said this morning that there is some strong opposition from his proposal to “blow up the building code” and take it back to an earlier time when construction was more affordable. The opposition is coming from the statewide Fire Council and some civil engineers, he said. “We have to allow affordable homes to be built and to put people to work,” said Herkes. When proposing the building code changes, Herkes said he doesn’t want people living in vans, buses, tents and under tarps when they could be building their own homes – four walls and a room.

Rep. Bob Herkes, with his wife during Volcano's Fourth of July parade,
will run for state Senate. Photo by Julia Neal
THE TOUGHEST FORECLOSURE LAW in the country, which was championed by Rep. Bob Herkes and passed last year, is getting some revisions, said Herkes. About 100 pages of recommendations from a task force are being reviewed at the Legislature before passing amendments to Act 48. He said amendments will “correct some deficiencies we found after it passed.” Herkes said he wants to “make sure that the mediation program will work” between lenders and homeowners who face foreclosure.

REP. BOB HERKES confirmed this morning that he will run for the newly proposed state Senate district. “I think the significance is there is no training needed for me,” said the longtime state member of the House of Representative. Herkes took Sen. Richard Henderson’s place for one year back in the 80s. After working as a member in the state House and knowing most of the members of the Senate, “It won’t take me any time to be effective,” said Herkes, a resident of Volcano. His new Senate district would run from Punalu`u through Pahala and Volcano and into Puna.

A VOG TASK FORCE MEETING will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at Pahala Community Center at 5 p.m. The task force was proposed by Rep. Bob Herkes to tackle the problems with air quality events and volcanic emissions in connection with agriculture, human health and the effects of vog on infrastructure, like metal buildings, fencing and vehicles. Herkes said he wants people to come to the meeting and share their experiences with vog so that the state government and Legislature will understand its effects on Ka`u residents and the environment.

New state Senate and House of Representative districts
will be presented at County Council chambers.
NEW STATE REAPPORTIONMENT MAPS for Hawai`i County will be presented at a public hearing on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in County Council chambers in Hilo. A fourth state Senate seat was established by the state Reapportionment Commission after the state Supreme Court ruled that the one-person, one-vote rule be followed after the 2010 census showed a 24.5 percent population growth on the Big Island. 
      Rep. Bob Herkes has announced his candidacy for the new Senate seat. His departure opens up opportunities in the state House of Representatives for candidates to fill seats in House Districts Three and Five, with the boundary between the two districts being west of Punalu`u.


INSTRUCTION TIME IN KA`U SCHOOLS will increase by one hour per day, four days per week, under a tentative agreement reached between the state and the Hawai`i State Teachers Association. Ka`u is in one of the zones targeted by Race to the Top reforms. In order for the state to hold onto federal Race to the Top grant funds, progress must be made on requirements of the program.
      The agreement also calls for 12 additional days of teacher training. Teachers would get compensation in salaries totaling 18 percent.
      The previously proposed contract had competency requirements for teachers that include tying their status to the success of students. Some teachers said this could be unfair to teachers in schools and classrooms where students have many challenges. It also called for pay increases after keeping pay cuts in place for several years. The Hawai`i State Teachers Association leadership had approved the contract and sent it to a vote, but teachers rejected it in a two-to-one vote.
      A vote on the tentative agreement by union members in the zones is scheduled for Feb. 27.


Park rangers practice a short-haul search-and-
rescue by helicopter. Photo from HVNP
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK urges hikers to plan carefully. Officials want to reduce the number of search-and-rescue operations in the park. Last year, there were 21 SARs.
      Emergency Operations coordinator John Broward said that “hikers need to be aware that SAR missions take time, and that launching a helicopter in the dark or in inclement weather is extremely dangerous. If it’s not worth the risk of flying, we have to wait for daylight, or for better weather, or try to get the injured person out on foot. Hikers should be prepared to spend the night, as it’s a very real possibility.
      “Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is an inherently wild place, and not just a walk in the park,” Broward said.
      Information on how to prepare for a backcountry adventure is available at www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/hike_bc.htm and from park rangers.

NA`OHULELUA HISTORICAL CHURCH’S monthly Plant and Seed Exchange takes place today from noon to 3 p.m. The church is 1.7 miles from Hwy 11 on Kama`oa Road.

DONATIONS FOR A RUMMAGE SALE to benefit Ka`u Hospital Charitable Foundation’s scholarship fund are being accepted this week. The scholarship fund assists any Ka`u student enrolled in any medical training program. Items can be dropped off at Kama`aina Kuts behind Na`alehu Ace Hardware through Saturday. Call Ursula at 896-2624.

FRIENDS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK invite the public to experience the nostalgia and aloha of Hawai`i’s old-time boat days, replete with colorful flower lei, graceful hula `auana, and lively Hawaiian music. Their benefit luncheon takes place aboard Holland America Line’s m.s. Rotterdam, docked in Hilo Harbor, on Friday, March 9.
      Tickets are $65 and must be purchased by March 5. Call 985-7373 or visit www.fhvnp.org.

SEE OUR SPONSORS AT WWW.PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND WWW.KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM.