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.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 18, 2012

February is Humpback Whale Awareness Month. Photo from wayfaring.info
COL. BENEDICT FUATA, of Mt. View, will become the new county Civil Defense administrator. The Hawai`i Army National Guard colonel was appointed by Mayor Billy Kenoi and replaces Quince Mento, who retired in December. Fuata is a logistics director and has commanded the Army Aviation Support Facility in Hilo since 1993. Kenoi described Fuata’s “impressive credentials, both professionally and as a public servant.” 
Civil Defense headquarters during a tsunami
warning. Photo from bigislandvideonews.com
      Fuata was born and raised in Honolulu and is a 1979 graduate of Damien Memorial High School. He graduated from the University of Santa Clara in California with a degree in political science, and received his master’s degree in organizational management in 2000 from University of Phoenix. He serves as a board member for the Hawai`i Island Home for Recovery.
      The Civil Defense administrator directs and coordinates the development and administration of the county’s emergency preparedness and response program to ensure prompt and effective action when natural or man-caused disaster threaten or impact Hawai`i Island. 
Col. Benedict Fuata
     “I’m honored to take this position, and I am looking forward to the challenge,” said Fuata. “Hawai`i County Civil Defense is a first-class operation, and I hope I can do the office justice. But with 29 years of military training, I will be able to adapt.”
      Fuata is 50 and lives in Mt. View with his wife, Teresa, and two daughters.

RAPID POPULATION GROWTH on the Big Island has made plans to improve and expand the state highway system out of date, and the state Department of Transportation will come to the Big Island to give the public an update in Kona and in Hilo. The Kona meeting will be held at the Kona Outdoor Circle building just off Hwy 11on Tuesday, Feb. 28, and the Hilo meeting will be at the Pu`ueo Community Center on Wednesday, Feb. 29. Both meetings are from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The DOT plans to create a new plan for the island and return for more public comment this summer.

Lorraine Akiba
THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has a new member. Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Honolulu attorney Lorraine Akiba yesterday to succeed PUC commissioner John Cole when his term ends on June 30. Akiba is a partner in the litigation firm McCorrison Miller Mukai MacKinnon in Honolulu. She handles complex commercial litigation involving environment, natural resources and health care. She co-authored the Hawai`i Chamber of Commerce publication called The Green Book: A Practical Guide to Environmental Law. The composition of the PUC is considered critical to the future of energy and transportation costs in Hawai`i and the development of alternative energies, including geothermal, wind and biofuels. 
      The appointment of Akiba requires confirmation by the state Senate.

THE STATE WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Commission has a new appointment. Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday appointed Ted Yamamura, executive vice president and senior appraiser for ACM Consultants, Inc., a real estate valuation and advisory group.
Ted Yamamura
      The company describes itself as “one of the largest and most experienced independent real estate consulting, valuation and research companies in Hawai`i.” It provides research and evaluations to developers, lenders, government entities and private institutions. It does market studies for subdivisions, shopping centers, condominiums and other developments.
      Yamamura’s appointment requires confirmation by the state Senate. 

“RAT RACE WEARY? Could be time to move to a Fantasy Town,” and the Big Island has them, according to USA Today. A USA Today travel article says “Those seeking a tropical paradise should look to Hawai`i’s Big Island, less touristy than others in the state, and home to small, relaxed towns.” It quotes Sunset Magazine, which polled readers on their Fantasy Towns where they dream to live. The Sunset story describes some Big Island communities as sheltering “artists, surfers and disenchanted daily grinders.” Other places that made the list are Nelson, British Columbia; McMinnville, Oregon; and the Whitsunday Islands in Australia.
      An earlier article in National Geographic Traveler described the wonders of Ka`u and called Pahala “the Last Aloha Place.”

HUMPACK WHALE AWARENESS MONTH is all of February, and the declaration was made this week by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. His proclamation states that the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary was established by Congress in 1992 and is the only marine managed area in the nation. He pointed out that the humpback whale is the official state mammal and represents the diversity of ocean life that surrounds the Hawai`i Islands; and humpback whales are majestic cetaceans, known for their haunting songs, and reflect the deep connection the people of Hawai`i share with the ocean. These whales were hunted to the brink of extinction by whalers of the past, but today they are a federally protected species. The Sanctuary will hold another whale count next Saturday, Feb. 25 at Punalu`u, Kalae and inside Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. To volunteer, call 1-888-55WHALE, ext. 253. See hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov. 

RIVER OF LIFE Assembly of God in Pahala hosts a free mini carnival today until 2 p.m. with games, music, prizes and food, while supplies last.

Na`ohuleleua Church is the site of a plant and seed
exchange tomorrow. Photo from Na`alehu Main Street
A HULA KAHIKO PERFORMANCE BY Halau Na Pua Ha`aheo O Kona, under the direction of kumu hula Roy Palacat, takes place at the hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park today at 10:30 a.m. Hands-on cultural demonstrations take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at VAC Gallery. Donations are welcome, and park entrance fees apply. 

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