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.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ka'u News Briefs Jan. 29, 2012

A Hawaiian Volcano Observatory chemist measures Pu`u `O`o gas emissions, detecting the gases' compositions based
on absorbed infrared light. Volcanic air pollution is the topic at Tuesday's After Dark in the Park.  Photo from USGS
FINAL FIGURES ON UNEMPLOYMENT are in for last year, showing Hawai`i with much lower unemployment than the mainland. The Hawai`i state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations puts 2011 at 6.3 percent statewide, down from 6.6 percent in 2010. The number of jobs in Hawai`i grew by 7,100, or 1.2 percent. The state estimates 594,000 jobs in Hawai`i, with notable gains - 3,000 jobs in Professional & Business Services, 2,900 in Educational and Health Services and 2,500 in Leisure & Hospitality.
      The labor force rose to 633,600, but 41,900 remained unemployed in December. Nationally, the unemployment rate in December declined to 8.5 percent from the revised rate of 8.7 percent in November.
      The 6.6 rates used by the state for Hawai`i’s unemployment is seasonally adjusted. Without the seasonally adjusted calculation, the unemployment rate in Hawai`i declined to 6.2 percent in December from 6.6 percent in November. 
     Where are the numbers of jobs increasing? According to the state, construction came up with 800 new jobs, leisure and hospitality 100 and other services 100. Job losses at the end of the year, however, took place in education, financial activities, trade, transportation and utilities and professional and business services. Government employment declined by 200 jobs in December.

HOTEL OCCUPANY RATES have been soaring recently, reaching 82.4 percent during the second week of January. This is nearly four percent higher than the same week last year. Not only did the occupancy go up, but hotels charged more per room, with the average daily room rate at $202.08. The Big Island’s 67.5 percent occupancy, as usual, was lower than the statewide rate, but improved over last year. Big Island room rates averaged $189.28. The Big Island had a higher occupancy rate than Kaua`i. The rates come from Hospitality Advisors LLC and Smith Travel Research.

Rep. Bob Herkes
REP. BOB HERKES said last night that his housing bill should get some traction this week at the 2012 Hawai`i Legislature. Herkes said he wants to “blow up” the building code that puts a damper on self-built housing and affordable homes. Herkes said he doesn’t want people in such a mild environment as Hawai`i living in their cars, vans and tents when they could be building houses. He said the building code should be adapted for the islands and for people to construct their own homes. 

GOV. NEIL ABERCROMBIE has released $15.6 million to fix dilapidated infrastructure and bolster the construction industry. He said, “Each of these projects represents a long-term investment in our state and its people in the form of maintaining core services, facilities and resources, and generating jobs within our state.” The funding includes $3.5 million for more staffing in the state Division of Public Works and $3.15 million for construction of wastewater treatment projects.

Humpback whales have their babies in Hawaiian waters each year.
Image from the Attenborough Collection
HUMPBACK WHALE COUNTING and observation was the effort of Ka`u volunteers yesterday at Punalu`u, South Point, and at the end of Ka`ena Point in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The count also took place at selected points on Hawai`i Island and other islands around the state. The task was sponsored by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and the National Marine Sanctuary. According to preliminary reports statewide, during every 15-minute time period, an average of two whales were spotted off O`ahu, eight off Kaua`i, and three off the Big Island. Volunteers not only counted the whales but documented their behavior. Another count will take place on Feb. 25 and again on March 31. To volunteer, call 1-888-55-WHALE or see hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov. 

THE CIRCULO FOR SPEAKING SPANISH takes place tomorrow and every Monday. Sponsored by Ka`u School of the Arts, the class is held at Discovery Harbour Community Hall from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

ALSO SPONSORED BY KA`U SCHOOL OF THE ARTS, the Ka`u Community Chorus rehearses at Discovery Harbour Community Hall every Monday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Call 929-7544 for more information about KSA. 

Pacific Quest students grow fruits and vegetables and
sell them at Ka`u Farmers Market in Na`alehu.
PACIFIC QUEST STUDENTS are selling organic fruits and vegetables at Ka`u  Farmers Market in Na`alehu. They grow themselves and donate the proceeds to the Ka`u community. Family Support Hawai`i’s Ka`u Family Center recently received diapers and infant formula bought with the produce funds. “The donation will support the center’s programs which work with infants and children,” said Ka`u Family Center coordinator Teresa Alderdyce. Pacific Quest is an outdoor therapeutic program that helps struggling teenagers and young adults make better choices and live healthy, productive lives by teaching sustainable life skills through their sustainable growth model. “Pacific Quest provides individual, sustainable, personal development within a safe, structured, experiential and natural environment in a culture of unconditional support and personal responsibility,” said Outing supervisor Amy Higgins.

KILAUEA’S VOLCANIC GASES and Their Environmental Impact is the topic at After Dark in the Park this Tuesday, Jan 31 at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Geochemists Jeff Sutton and Tamar Elias offer an update about volcanic gases, especially those related to the 2008-2011 activity at Halema`uma`u Crater. Participants are invited to the “gas tasting” party, where they learn to identify volcanic gases by smell. $2 donation supports park programs, and park entrance fees apply.