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, March 12, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs March 12, 2012

Feral pigs on the run in Hawai`i. Photo from yourdiscovery.com
REMOVING FERAL PIGS should be accompanied by removing invasive plants where protecting native forests is the goal. This is suggested by a University of Hawai`i study published in Biotropica: The Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation. The study conducted at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park showed that 16 years after pig eradication from a section of the park, native plant growth increased, but so did invasive plant growth. Some hunters contend that pigs help keep the invasive plant populations down, but an author of the study told Civil Beat that the pigs carry the seeds of the invasives all over the forest.
      Civil Beat reporter Laura Berbusse writes about the research and reviews the history of pigs here. “Native plant species first came into contact with pigs when the animals were brought to Hawai`i by early Polynesian settlers more than 1,000 years ago. Then, in 1778, Captain Cook released European pigs, among other grazing animals, on the Hawaiian Islands in order to ensure a food source for crews of future voyages. Conservationists say the pigs damage the environment by eating and destroying native vegetation, by wallowing and rooting and contaminating watersheds,” the Civil Beat story says.
      During recent meetings on managing state and national park forests around the islands, hunters testifed that lifting hunting restrictions could help get rid of the pigs faster.
      Civil Beat reports the view of Mary Ikagawa, a botanist working on her University of Hawai`i masters degree, who maintains the website rarehawaii.org. Ikagawa said the “big thing is that other states are very clear with their residents about the need to control feral pigs, and even engage the public to help.” She said that Texas, Florida, Missouri and several others encourage public control of pigs through trapping and unlimited hunting. These plans are counter to those proposed for such places as Pu`u Maka`ala Natural Area on the Big Island, where hunters opposed a hunting ban for 4,800 acres at recent hearing. Civil Beat quotes Ikagawa, saying the state is “alienating hunters from conservationists when the two should be tight, working together to protect the land.” See more at www.civilbeat.com, www.tropicalbio.org and www.rarehawaii.org.

AGRICULTURAL THEFT is a felony, the Hawai`i Police Department is reminding the public. HPD is looking for someone who stole longon plants and also investigating the reported theft of Manuel Marques’ coffee cherry from Moa`ula. Local farmers and homeowners also complain that people steal their bananas and possibly sell them. Felony theft can draw jail time.

SOME HAWAI`I COINS were misprinted by the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia with extra islands shown northwest of the Big Island. Collectible coin expert Joe Au-Franze says he has seen about 85 of the misprinted quarters so far, with ten main Hawaiian Islands instead of eight. He will display the Hawai`i quarters at a coin collectors meeting on O`ahu this week. The misprinted Hawai`i quarters are expected to become very valuable.

KA`U RESIDENTS WILL HAVE an opportunity to meet and talk with county leadership about projects and issues important to their communities next Monday, March 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Na`alehu Elementary School. The visit by Mayor Billy Kenoi and directors of county departments is hosted by Ka`u Rural Health Community Association and Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka`u.

COMMENTS ON THE KA`U DISTRICT Gym & Shelter Draft Environmental Assessment are due by Friday, March 23.
      The draft EA discusses pertinent impacts that could change depending on design changes prompted by budget limitations and public input.
      The impact on views from nearby houses could change depending on the building’s height. The plan shows the gym higher than code allows, requiring a variance. The variance could be denied or the roof made flat in order to save money. The taller building was planned in order to allow volleyball and basketball games without the balls hitting the ceiling and also to maintain a plantation-style roofline.
      The design requires balancing school and community needs within budget, the draft EA puts forth. The determination on whether functional spaces should be designed for a recreation room, multi-purpose room, weight room, wrestling/martial arts room; and whether these rooms duplicate existing facilities at the community center or school, provide multi-purpose opportunities such as classroom space, or complement the uses of the old gym and existing room building “are questions being worked on by a multi-stakeholder user group that includes the Department of Education, County Parks & Recreation, and Civil Defense Agency,” the draft EA states.
The proposed roofline of the gym is subject to change depending on budget constraints, public input and
receiving a height variance, since it is currently higher than code allows.
      The document explains that air-conditioning and filters for vog mitigation systems are expensive and that the capacity would depend on the primary use of selected space and the relative proportion of the budget allocated to this purpose. The draft EA states that Civil Defense is comfortable with the present design capacity as a shelter from vog for 120 persons in a room separate from the gym. However, new Civil Defense director Ben Fuata said he will study the issue.
      Another issue being addressed is sustainability features, which reduce the impact in terms of energy and resource consumption and water quality impacts such as mitigation of impervious surfaces. The proposed design and current budget supports an equivalent to LEED silver certification. However, “the potential to increase impacts on energy consumption and water quality increases as compromises are made in the design to fit budget constraints,” the draft EA states.
      The Draft Environment Assessment is available at Pahala and Na`alehu Public Libraries and online at hawaii.gov/health/environmental/oeqc/index.html.
      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.

KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL meetings take place tomorrow and every Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Pahala Community Center leading up the festival on May 12 and an education day on May 13. Members of the public who would like to help the farmers promote their award-winning coffee and put on the event to thank the community for their support can join in.

AKU HAUANIO, a Hawaiian kau la`au fisherman, offers a look at cliff-top fishing, or hang baiting at After Dark in the Park tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Two-dollar donations support park programs. Park entrance fees apply.

Kilohana Domingo displays his feather lei.
Photo from NPS
LEI HULU A ME ULANA PAPALE LAUHALA are topics Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Kilauea Visitor Center’s lanai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Lei maker Kilohana Domingo demonstrates the art of feather work, and his na lei hulu, or feather lei, will be on display. Domingo’s mother, Lehua, shares the `anoni style of weaving pandanus leaves into a hat. The event is free, and park entrance fees apply. 

THE ENTIRE FAMILY is invited to Ka`u `Ohana Day on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Activities include `oli, mo`olelo, GPS, compass and pacing. Sign up by Wednesday at 985-6019.

HAZEL BECK, of Hawai`i Small Business Development Center, discusses what it takes to get a business started at a workshop on Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon at Na`alehu Community Center. To register, contact Jane Horike at 961-8496 or jhorike@co.hawaii.hi.us.