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.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Ka'u News Briefs Jan. 3, 2012

Civil Defense and the National Weather Service warn beachgoers of high surf through Thursday morning. High surf in
the past has produced this explosive activity at the South Point Blowhole. Photo by Peter Anderson
INSURANCE PREMIUM COMPARISONS FOR HOMEOWNERS and renters are available online for the first time, courtesy of the state Insurance Division. Homeowner’s insurance is not required by law in Hawai`i. When a home is mortgaged, however, lenders almost always require insurance for the duration of the loan. Homeowner’s insurance provides protection for the dwelling, personal property, and on-site buildings if damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. 
     The state comparison of insurance costs also includes condominiums. Hawai`i insurance commissioner Gordon Ito said insurance prices were provided by those companies that volunteered to give them out, about half the insurance companies doing business in Hawai`i. “While Hawai`i residents face increasing prices and rising fees, taking advantage of the premium rate comparison table is one way they can help themselves manage costs,” Ito said. “Insurance companies are spurred to lower costs when consumers shop around and compare.” See the comparison charts at www.hawaii.gov/dcca/ins. Some insurance companies charge almost half as much as others.

AN ORANGE ALERT for elevated SO2 blanketed Pahala for seven and a half hours yesterday. In addition, monitors registered more than an hour of moderately bad air on the same day. For orange alerts, the state Department of Health says, “Members in sensitive groups, including healthy individuals with mild asthma, may experience health effects. Toward the upper end of this range, most asthmatics who are active outdoors are likely to experience some breathing difficulties. General public not expected to be affected in this range.” The health department recommends: “Avoid outdoor activities that cause heavy breathing through the mouth. If you experience difficulties, such as chest tightness or wheezing, stop activities, use a rescue inhaler and find a place to sit down and rest. Potential health effects not expected, however actions to reduce exposure to vog may be useful,” says the recommendation. 
     Planners for the new regional disaster shelter and gymnasium to be built in Pahala are deciding how many square feet of shelter area where air can be cleaned from SO2 and particulates will be designed into the building. The project, with more than $17 million released in funding, is overseen by the county Department of Public Works and Department of Parks & Recreation. The architect and engineer is Mitsunaga & Associates of Honolulu. An Environmental Assessment by PBR Hawai`i & Associates is expected in February.

MONSTER WAVES are starting to roll into the islands. The northwest swell is expected to peak with high tide tonight. Water and riptides are expected to be very dangerous. Waves could top 30 feet. This is the first big swell of the year. Be careful at the South Point Blowhole and even along the Kalae cliffs and the beaches at Punalu`u and the shore of Honu`apo.
     Hawai`i County Civil Defense has issued a warning, and the National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Warning for the north, east and west facing shores effective this evening until Thursday morning. Due to the high surf the following safety precautions are in effect, says Civil Defense. Oceanfront residents and beachgoers along the affected shores are urged to be on the alert for high and dangerous surf conditions. Boat owners should take measures to secure their vessels. The National Weather Service reports that surf will increase dramatically tonight and peak Wednesday afternoon.

Lava flowing into the ocean, visible during recent weeks from boats offshore. Photo by Teresa Tico
THE CONTINUOUS ERUPTION of Kilauea Volcano marks 29 years today. Just after midnight on Jan. 3, 1983, the East Rift eruption began. Since then it has taken houses, destroyed beach parks and started forest fires, as well as adding land onto the island. 
     This is also Volcano Awareness Month. Tonight geologist Tim Orr reviews highlights and talks about recent developments on Kilauea’s east rift zone at After Dark in the Park at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donation supports park programs.
     As part of Volcano Awareness Month, guided hikes are scheduled throughout the month. Tomorrow’s hike, exploring the hidden world of lava tubes, begins at 1 p.m. at the Kilauea Iki Overlook on Crater Rim Drive. Park entrance fees apply.

CAPT. ROBERT MOORE AND MEGAN LAMSON will present an update on plastics in the ocean this Friday at 5 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus. Moore is the author of Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Ocean. Cassandra Phillips, who lives on the Big Island, is co-author. Moore was sailing his 50-foot catamaran from Hawai`i to California when he discovered the Pacific Garbage Patch, full of plastics and other trash from around the Pacific basin, concentrated in a gyre than circulates out at sea. Since the discovery, he has researched the damage discarded plastics are doing to the marine food chain as well as creating hazards to ocean life. Lamson works with Hawai`i Wildlife Fund organizing volunteer clean-up days along the Ka`u coast, where much of the plastic washes up on shore.