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, January 02, 2012

Ka'u News Briefs Jan. 2, 2012

New Year's Day at Punalu`u with a Hawaiian green sea turtle appearing to watch over swimmers, beachgoers and an
outrigger canoe taking the ashes of Punalu`u son, Uncle Chris Bangay, out to sea. Photo by Julia Neal


 TOURISM racked up some $12 billion for the Hawai`i economy in 2011, even though businesses and families overall experienced a lot of economic stress. Growth in tourism is expected to continue, particularly from Asia, as Chinese and Korean trends are following the Japanese tradition of coming to Hawai`i. Japanese honeymoon traffic was up 23 percent last year. Also up was Japanese staying in vacation rentals, indicating more independent travel for longer stays. The overall number of people staying in bed and breakfasts increased last year, keeping more of the visitor money in the local economy.

AN ADDITIONAL $235,300 IN DESIGN FUNDS were relesed for the Ka`u FEMA-certified Civil Defense Shelter, to be built next to the Ka`u High campus. This is in addition to the $16.9 million previously released after the state Legislature approved $17.9 for the project. The governor announced the release of the money at the end of the year as portion of a total of more than $63.7 million for projects statewide.

     Mitsunaga & Associates was given the contract for the architecture and engineering for the project which is overseen by the county.

FEDERAL STIMULUS MONEY projects for the Big Island were reported this morning by Peter Sur in Hawai`i Tribune Herald in a story on whether the $2.2 billion in government stimulus money helped the state of Hawai`i. He writes that the Legislative Federal Economic Stimulus Program Oversight Commission has filed a draft report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
     Projects affecting Ka`u include more than nearly $8 million in work in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, including the $6.6 million Emergency Operations Center, which is already completed. The federal money also funded $3.3 million in upgrades for U.S. Geological Survey equipment at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory; and $1 million in mass transit funding.
The Visitor Emergency Operations Center at Hawai`i Volcanoes National
Park was built with federal stimulus money. Photo by Stephen Geiger
     Other projects, according to the Tribune-Herald report, included $16 million for University of Hawai`i at Hilo College of Pharmacy electronic medical record pilot project; more than $3 million for job training and homeless prevention; $4 million for Fire Department equipment and station construction; $7.5 million for sewage systems; $2.69 million for habitat restoration; $4.74 million for drinking water projects; $5.3 million for upgrades to the Hilo federal building; $2.58 million to install photovoltaic systems at the Pohakuloa Training Area; $2.31 million for security improvements at Hilo and Lihu`e airports; $3.6 million for improvements to North Kona and Hamakua public housing projects; $2.64 million in small business loans; and $3.3 million for senior housing.
     According to the Tribune-Herald story, the committee, commenting on the stimulus spending statewide, did not come up with a strong opinion on the spending. “Whether and to what extent the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 accomplished its purpose will not be clear for quite some time and is a question best left to others better qualified and equipped to make that judgment," their report to the 2012 state Legislature said.

THE FOREST STEWARDSHIP AND KAULUNANI URBAN AND COMMUNITY FORESTRY PROGRAMS are reaching out for volunteers to be committee members. Under the auspices of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Forest Stewardship Advisory Committee reviews project proposals and management plans for the Forest Stewardship and Forest Legacy Programs. Ideal candidates are those with significant forestry and/or conservation experience in Hawai`i. The committee meets four times a year in venues throughout the state, and appointments are for three years.
     For further information, contact Sheri Mann, at DLNR-Division of Forestry and Wildlife, 808- 587-4172, or email Sheri.S.Mann@hawaii.gov. Visit hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw.
     The Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program Council reviews proposals to DLNR for funding to encourage citizen involvement in creating and supporting long-term urban and community forestry projects and programs throughout Hawai`i.
     Issues of concern include mapping the urban tree canopy and maintaining a tree inventory; advancing the knowledge of tropical urban forestry, management plans, and best management practices; training for urban forestry industry professionals; and creating public awareness of the value and benefits of trees.
     The council meets four times per year and appointments are for three years. For more information contact Teresa Trueman-Madriaga at 808-672-3383 or by email at ttm@hawaii.rr.com.
     Ka`u and Volcano have the largest pristine native forests in all of Hawai`i.

Uncle Chris Bangay was honored on New Year's
Day at the Henry Opukaha`ia Chapel at Punalu`u.
Photo by Julia Neal
PUNALU`U AND HONU`APO BEACH PARKS were hubs of New Year’s Day activities yesterday. A special ceremony with chanting, prayer and the launching of an outrigger canoe celebrated the life of the late Chris Bangay, who grew up at Punalu`u and was known as a friend to all. Bangay, along with his sister Pele Hanoa, was instrumental in locating historic sites at Punalu`u during various discussions for proposed developments there. He assisted with a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Pahala and was known for his fishing skills and storytelling.

TOMORROW IS THE 29TH ANNIVERSARY of Kilauea’s ongoing east rift zone eruption. Geologist Tim Orr reviews highlights and talks about recent developments on Kilauea’s east rift zone at Tuesday’s After Dark in the Park program at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donation supports park programs, and park entrance fees apply.

CAPTAIN CHARLES MOORE discusses his book Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans on Friday, Jan. 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Moore identified and studied the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where plastic debris from around the North Pacific Rim is swirled together by ocean currents. His book will be available.