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, July 24, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 24, 2012

The remaining trees along the property line between Pahala Community Center and River of Life
Assembly of God Church are being cut down by county crews today. Photo by Julia Neal
A SHADE TREE CRASHED TO THE GROUND early this morning at Pahala Community Center as the county cut the last in a row of trees that adorned the park and provided shade for generations. A county tree cutter said they were told that the community approved of cutting the giant trees. The plan stemmed from the adjacent River of Life Assembly of God Church complaining to the county that leaves were falling on the building the church built next to the county park line and that the church feared branches could fall and hurt someone. At least eight large shade trees were cut down in spring of 2010.
      One Pahala-born man said he grew up playing under the trees and that he saw it as a tragedy as the trees were heavily pruned at great expense last year and did not seem to pose any danger.
      In December 2010, Jen Knippling, of County Council member Brittany Smart’s office, said the Department of Parks and Recreation has determined that the remaining shade trees were well trimmed and in good health. Brittany Smart said that she was told today that the county safety officer had determined that the branches high in the tree constituted a safety risk.

The latest Hawai`i drought monitor shows areas of drought.
HAWAI`I COUNTY IS A DISASTER AREA FOR DROUGHT, and Ka`u has suffered some of the driest conditions on the island. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated the Big Island and Honolulu County as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by ongoing drought. The designation makes all qualified farm operators eligible for low-interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met. 
      Farmers have until March 12, 2013 to apply for loans to help cover part of actual losses. Farm Service Agency will take into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
      The USDA also has other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
      Interested farmers may contact USDA Service Center in Hilo at 933-8381. Find out more at 
fsa.usda.gov/hi and disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

Deep-sea coral is collected through NOAA's Pisces IV three-person, battery-powered submersible with a
maximum operating depth of 6,280 feet. Scientists observe the deep sea through multiple view ports,
 video records, instrument placement, sample collecting and environmental monitoring. Photo from NOAA
THE FEDERAL ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST may include more corals found in Hawaiian waters. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration invites public review through July 31 of reports on corals that could be nominated for the list this December. In the Status Review Report, NOAA examines biology, threat and extinction risk of 82 coral species. In the Management Report, NOAA describes regulatory mechanisms and conservation efforts to manage corals.
Bamboo coral in Hawaiian waters.
      The proposal to add the corals began in 2009 when the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to list 83 corals as threatened or endangered, predicting decline in habitat with anthropogenic climate change and ocean acidification as lead stressors on corals. Research was conducted on 82 of the coral species and found a strong likelihood that most of them would fall below critical risk threshold by 2100 without additional conservation measures. The public can view the studies and weigh in on the proposal at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stor-ies/2012/04/4_13_12corals_petition.html.

NOAA HAS GATHERED GARBAGE in Hawaiian waters over the last month, concentrating on the Northern Hawaiian Islands at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. The crew of the NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette collected nearly 50 metric tons of marine debris, which threatens monk seals, sea turtles and other marine life in the coral reef ecosystem.
NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette Photo from NOAA
      NOAA has conducted annual removal missions of marine debris in the NWHI since 1996 as part of a coral restoration effort. “What surprises us is that after many years of marine debris removal in Papahanaumokuakea and more than 700 metric tons of debris later, we are still collecting a significant amount of derelict fishing gear from the shallow coral reefs and shorelines,” said Kyle Koyanagi, marine debris operations manager at NOAA Fisheries’ Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and chief scientist for the mission. “The ship was at maximum capacity, and we did not have any space for more debris.”
      As part of this year’s mission, the NOAA team checked but didn’t find debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Scientists monitored marine debris for radiation in partnership with the Hawai`i Department of Health and gathered baseline data from the NWHI.
      Marine debris removed will be used to create electricity through Hawai`i’s Nets to Energy Program, a public-private partnership also used for disposal of debris found along the Ka`u Coast. Since 2002, more than 730 metric tons of derelict nets have been used to create electricity— enough to power nearly 350 Hawai`i homes for a year.

County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi
THE ELECTIONS OFFICE in Hilo went through an audit yesterday, overseen by County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi. According to a Nancy Cook Lauer story in this morning’s West Hawai`i Today, Kawauchi, who shut down the office during the audit, said “she wanted to give the list a good review before sending the poll books out to the printer. ‘We’re looking at the list to make sure it’s clean and accurate,’ Kawauchi said. ‘We’re trying to be as thorough as possible to run a fair and well-run election.… This is part of us making sure we’re doing everything we can to make that happen.’” 
      Among changes, according to the story, is the number of people registered to vote by mail, increasing by 167 percent, from 6,400 to 17,085, since the last election.
      The West Hawai`i Today article also reports that “Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi, who has taken his concerns about the readiness of the office to conduct an election all the way to the state Elections Commission, questioned why Kawauchi would conduct an audit so close to an election. He also questioned whether 10,000 new voters have been added to the list since Kawauchi became clerk in late 2010.” The story quotes Onishi: “The clerk is appointed by the (County Council) chairman. The staff is also appointed,” Onishi said. “It just sounds fishy to me.” See more at westhawaiitoday.com.

Pahala Public & School Library will be open one day per week beginning
in August. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U’S LIBRARIES WILL HAVE CHANGES in schedules beginning next month due to staff shortages. Pahala Public & School Library will be open only on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. until further notice, and Na`alehu Public Library will have intermittent closures. Announcements of closed days will be posted on the library bulletin board and on recorded messages to be left on the library answering machine. 
      The book drop will remain open at both libraries for returns. Patrons may call any library for help with renewals or call the telephone renewal number at 1-800-820-7368.
      “With only one permanent staff member managing both libraries in Ka`u, when that staff needs to take time off, and with no other permanent staff to cover the libraries, both libraries will be affected until permanent staff are hired to fill the positions,” states the press release from Debbie Wong Yuen, temporary branch manager of both libraries.
      For more information, contact Wong Yuen at 939-2442.

Hawaiian quilting is the topic at After Dark in the Park.
ROBERTA MULLER DISCUSSES the art of Hawaiian quilting at After Dark in the Park tonight at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Two-dollar donations support park programs, and park entrance fees apply.

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED to a meeting of the Ka`u Scenic Byway Committee tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at Punalu`u Bake Shop’s upper pavilion. Agenda items include a GIS training proposal, federal funding and project status.

HA`AO/SOUTH POINT AG WATER CO-OP meets Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at Wai`ohinu Park. Everyone interested in seeing an ag water system for the area is invited to attend.