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.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 27, 2012

After burning through the macadamia orchards, the fire burned up Pa`au`au gulch and jumped Hwy 11, threatening Ka`u Hospital and homes. Photo by John Cross
THE MAKAI ORCHARDS that ML Macadamia Orchards was bringing back to health may not survive the June fires, according to ML Vice President Randy Cabral. The makai orchards were cut off from irrigation and access after the 2000 flood that destroyed bridges and roads around Pahala. The orchards were abandoned for a decade but ML recently put them back into production and expected to harvest the macadamia nuts this fall, Cabral told Hawai`i Tribune Herald for a story in this morning’s paper.
      The John Burnett article says ML “ is continuing to tally the losses from fires that started in their Pahala groves last month, but preliminary figures are in the six-figure range for this year’s harvest.” Cabral told the Tribune Herald that the lower 150-acre orchard is probably a total loss, while the 30-acre orchard closer to Hwy 11 may recover but cost the company 140,000 pounds in macadamia nut losses this year. Nuts are selling for 80 cents a pound.
      The story also says that the Fire Department is looking at the possibility that one of the fires stemmed from a problem with heavy equipment. See more at hawaiitribuneherald.com.

Hele-On fleet to get three new buses.
Photo from busesworldwide.org
THREE NEW HELE ON BUSES will be purchased with the help of $1.2 million in federal grant money from the Federal Transit Administration State of Good Repair grant program. The buses will replace three older ones being retired from the Hele On fleet, which features 51 buses carrying 1.2 million passengers a year across Hawai`i Island. The Hele-On provided critical free and inexpensive transportation to connect Ka`u residents with school and work.
      Mayor Billy Kenoi said the county plans to purchase 49-passenger motor coaches to improve and expand upon its island-wide bus service. The new buses will be wheelchair accessible, air-conditioned, and equipped with bicycle racks. “These funds will go a long way in helping us improve our transportation services,” Kenoi said. “They will replace buses that are over 17 years old.”
      Kenoi said U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye was instrumental in securing this grant. A strategic goal of the federal Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration is to assist municipalities with the improvement and maintenance of America’s buses and bus facilities.

NATIVE HAWAIIAN RIGHTS, similar to those guaranteed to other indigenous people, are supported by both U.S. Senate candidates Ed Case and Mazie Hirono. Both, however, said that allowing gambling casinos on Hawaiian lands is unlikely to pass congress and Case said he outright opposes it. The two debated in a statewide telecast last night. During the debate Case promoted his centrist views and said he has the ability to work with Republicans and Democrats while Hirono said she can work well not only with her Democratic caucus but also across the aisle.

Photo from uhero.hawaii.edu
THE VISITOR INDUSTRY is fueling a recovery of the economy in Hawai`i, which is doing better than in many other states, according to the University of Hawai`i Economic Research Organization, which released its quarterly report yesterday. Tourism is expected to break records this year and could continue its upswing as visa restrictions from China are eased and Canada and Australia markets continue to grow. However, to enjoy more than modest growth, other economic sectors will need to turnaround. Construction is already doing better and residential building rates are higher in Hawai`i than nationwide. The economists predict the overall economy in Hawai`i to grow 1.1 percent in 2012 and 2.4 percent in 2013.

JUNE VISITOR ARRIVALS WERE up 11.5 percent statewide and visitors spent more money. The 677,218 tourists statewide set a record, pushing the first six months up 10.2 percent to 3.9 million visitors. The western section of the U.S. sent more visitors to Hawai`i, up 4 percent over last year and spending almost 10 percent more in June. The number of Japanese visitors grew 21.9 percent to 115,788. Japanese spending rose 31.4 percent to $219.1 million.
      Yesterday, the Hawai`i Tourism Authority board predicted that visitors will spend $13.9 billion this year, a gain of 15.4 percent over last year. It set its goal to drawing 7.89 million tourists to the islands this year, a 6.3 percent gain over last year.

Maile David talked story with community
members in Pahala yesterday.
Photo by William Neal
MAILE DAVID held a talk story at Pahala Community Center yesterday and Mayor Billy Kenoi stopped in. David, a candidate for the County Council, told District 6 supporters that credentials as a paralegal and a legislative researcher for the county council make her a good candidate. She said later that she was able to sit down with Ka`u people and find out what issues concerned them. "Many of them are quality of life issues - that's what I got from it and I reassured them that these are what I understand - being raised in a rural community," she said, noting that she saw Kona drastically change right before her very eyes."We have to be the ones to determine the future of our community," she said. Bobby and Phoebe Gomes who organized the event said, “It was a total success.” See more on Malie David at mailedavid.com.

BRADLEY WESTERVELT will host two events tomorrow in his quest for the County Council seat for District 6.
      The first will be at Wai`ohinu Park, from noon until 2 p.m. with a family picnic featuring Flyin’ Hawaiian Coffee, pupus and sandwiches. Families are invited to use the playground, join in a field day and enjoy demonstrations of boomerangs, kites, frisbees and electric motor bikes, weather permitting. A Question and Answer session may continue beyond 2 p.m., as needed, he said.
      The second event is at Discovery Harbour Community Center, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with beverages and desserts. Q&A begins at 7 p.m.
      No donations will be accepted at either event. Events paid for by B4 Council. Debra Cannoles and Lori Lei Shiriakawa are organizing them. Learn more about Westervelt’s campaign through his website at bradwestervelt.com.

Robert Frutos.
Photo from heartofnature.net
A GUIDED HIKE THROUGH KIPUKA`AKIHI is offered tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants explore an isolated refuge of rare plants in a remnant old-growth forest in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Pre-registration required, call 985-6011.

A WORKSHOP ON CREATING PHOTO IMAGES in the surroundings of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Inspired By Light, takes place tomorrow from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Participants are asked to bring camera, hat, tripod, jacket and water bottle. This Volcano Art Center class, taught by Robert Frutos, includes a picnic dinner. $150 for visitors and $125 for VAC members and kama`aina. Call 967-8222 for more.

DANCES OF UNIVERSAL PEACE, facilitated by Lila Flood, starts at 4 p.m. Sunday at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. This spiritual practice incorporates folk-dance-like steps and sacred mantras that draw from all major spiritual and religious traditions. No experience necessary; all are welcome to this free event. Donations accepted. For more call 985-9109 or 967-8222.