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.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ka`u News Brief Aug. 15, 2012

Ka`u Coast at end of Road to the Sea will be preserved with county, state and federal funding.
Petroglyphs along the shore are one resource
 within more than 3,000 acres to be preserved
  along the Ka`u Coast.
ROAD TO THE SEA lands with more than a mile of coastline will be preserved through a $1.214 million grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The funding aims to preserve habitat for the Hawaiian Hawksbill turtles and green sea turtles. The grant funds the purchase of 3,128 acres which include “an anchialine pool complex containing important habitat for native marine invertebrates, fish, and unique native crustaceans, including three candidate species of endemic anchialine pool shrimp. The property is adjacent to the largest natural area reserve in the entire state and will provide landscape-level protection of the area’s unique ecosystems and habitats. The property will be added to the County of Hawai`i’s Open Space lands where it will be protected and managed for species management in perpetuity,” says a statement from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
      In May, the state Board of Land & Natural Resources passed Legacy Land Funding for the acquisition. The money from the federal and state government will be matched by funds from the county’s Public Access, Open Land and Natural Resources Preservation fund, also known as the Two-Percent Fund. Ownership will be with Hawai`i County.
       The land surrounding Road to the Sea in Kahuku will cost the public $388 per acre to purchase. The Sierra Club stated that the low price makes it “by far the most cost-effective purchase the Legacy Land Conservation could make, and would secure a prized recreational and natural resource for the residents of the Big Island, where recreational resources are generally access-restricted by private landowners.
Green sea turtles that frequent the Ka`u Coast are another reason more
than 3,000 acres at Road to the Sea will be preserved.
Photo by William Neal
      “The site contains many high-quality natural and cultural resources, including anchialine ponds, nesting sites for the endangered Hawksbill turtle, prominent geologic features, one of the state’s largest petroglyph fields, a highly complex cave system with endemic organisms and unique archaeological features. Over 3,127 acres of land, including miles of coastline, are relatively unchanged since pre-western contact in the late 1700s,” says the Sierra Club testimony.
      Numerous other organizations and individuals supported the measure, including Hawai`i Wildlife Fund, which hosts regular cleanups of the Ka`u Coast, and such community members as Jamie Kawauchi and Councilmember Brittany Smart.
Road to the Sea crosses over a parcel of more than 3,000 acres that will be preserved on the Ka`u Coast.
      The Sierra Club also testified that preserving these Kahuku lands will “insure public access to an important fishing and cultural resource.”
      County Council member Brittany Smart said she is pleased with the grant award and grateful to the county Finance Department’s Ken Van Bergen “for his hard work to find matching funds for this parcel’s acquisition. I also want to extend my thanks to the property owners for their commitment to provide public spaces and access.”

VOLCANO HOUSE AND CABINS will reopen “softly,” this Saturday, according to a statement from Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The National Park Service’s director of the Pacific West Region, Christine Lehnertz, signed the 15-year concession contract yesterday between Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai`i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC, a partnership between Honolulu-based Aqua Resorts and mainland-based Ortega National Parks, LLC. According to the new Volcano House general manager George “Jorge” Mangino, the company will hire 50 employees for the hotel.
      Starting Saturday, Volcano House will open daily from 7:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Visitors will be able to stay in the park’s A-frame cabins and purchase a limited selection of food, drink and retail items from Volcano House.
Some of Volcano House's cabins at Namakanipaio
Campground are again available for reservations.
Photo from nps.gov/havo
      All ten A-frame cabins at Namakanipaio Campground will open gradually, and reservations can be made by calling 756-9625. Cabins start at $55 per night.
      The new concessioner “not only fulfilled the qualifications required by the National Park Service, they exceeded expectations,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We are delighted to have Hawai`i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC as our newest park partner, and look forward to elevating the Volcano House, Namakanipaio Campground, dining experiences and retail opportunities to the next level.”
      Hawai`i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC has promised to complete renovations to the cabins and to the historic 32-room hotel, opening in phases over the next 12 months. Improvements to the eight-room annex are scheduled for the first phase, and rooms could open as early as January 2013. The entire renovation project is expected to cost the company between $2.5 million and $3 million. The National Park Service has invested $4 million in seismic and fire upgrades.
      Volcano House overlooks Kilauea caldera and erupting Halema`uma`u. First opened in 1846, Volcano House has a storied history, with many notable guests in its registry, including Mark Twain, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Isabella Bird.
      “Renovation plans for the Volcano House include a strong commitment to sharing Native Hawaiian culture through interpretive experiences including cultural demonstrations, artwork, and handicrafts. Sustainable Hawai`i Island ingredients will be featured in the restaurant and other food and beverage outlets,” the statement from the park says.

KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN’S steering committee held a quiet and civil meeting last night at Ocean View Community Center. According to county planners, a preliminary draft is complete and being discussed with agencies regarding Natural and Cultural Resources of Ka`u, including Kahakai (coastal), Kula (agricultural) Wao (mauka forest) and Cultural.
      The Community section, including infrastructure, facilities and services; the village character of Pahala, Na`alehu and Wai`ohinu and Repair for Ocean View, Discovery Harbour and Punalu`u are 30 percent complete. The section on the economy, including agriculture, food and energy; local business and visitors is 50 percent complete.
      Examples of sections of the plan were presented, including Possible Natural/Cultural Resource Management Strategies that could be Community-based, Collaborative Actions. These include an inventory of Ka`u’s cultural/historic resources, appropriate historic site/district nominations, acquisition of high priority properties and establishing and managing priority trail segments and sites.
      Extensive information on Ka`u Community Development Plan is available on the CDP website at www.hawaiicountycdp.info/kau-cdp.

Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd
NOMINEES FOR A COUNTY ARBORIST COMMITEE are welcome, according to Planning director Bobbie Jean Leithead-Todd, who spoke at last night’s CDP meeting in Ocean View. The volunteer commission will study and seek to protect important trees around the island. She said some qualified tree experts have stepped up to help out. Nominee names can be provided to the Planning Department at 961-8288. 

A CULTURAL RESOURCE COMMISSION for Hawai`i County is an initiative of Mayor Billy Kenoi, Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd said during the CDP meeting in Ocean View last night. She said the commission will study and look toward preserving important archaeological and historic sites, cultural practices and ethnic cultural practices. She said the commission position will “require a lot of reading.” She said the commission could include people with expertise in architecture, archaeology and hands-on experience in historic preservation. She said the commission could work with the state Office of Historic Preservation in nominating sites. For more information, call the Planning Department at 961-8288.

Pahala Library is currently open Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
KA`U LIBRARIES became a topic at the Ka`u Community Development Plan meeting last night. Steering committee member Patti Barry said that she is upset with the whittling away of hours at libraries in Ka`u. She called on the community to volunteer to help keep libraries open and noted that Pahala Library hours are being reduced to one day a week.

A NONPROFIT COMMUNITY GARDEN is proposed for land near the county park in Ocean View. Alan Stafford made the proposal on behalf of an organization called HELP, which stands for Hawai`i’s Exchange Labor Program. He said the organization would lease about four acres from Hawai`i County. The garden would have walking trails as community exercise tracks and raised garden beds made from lava rock from the property to make it easy for disabled and elderly people to grow food. There would be on-site soil production from green waste. People volunteering in the garden or for other community projects would trade hours for food produced at the community garden. For more information, call Stafford at 936-4429.

VOLCANO’S RAIN FOREST RUNS are set for Saturday, with opening ceremonies at 6:30 a.m. Half Marathon starts at 7 a.m., 10K at 7:30 a.m., 5K at 7:45 a.m. and Keiki Runs at 10 a.m. All events begin at Cooper Center on Wright Road in Volcano Village and are open to runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. Registration fees range from $35 to $75. Runners can register Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or at 5:30 a.m. on race day. Contact Sharron Faff at 967-8240 or rainforestruns.com.

Pahala Boys & Girls Club members sang with the governor at his
inauguration event at Pahala Plantation House in 2011.
Photo by Julia Neal
BOY & GIRLS CLUB OF PAHALA presents a community stakeholders event at Pahala Community Center next Wednesday, Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. Families, club members, youth organizations, schools, businesses and anyone who wants to help improve the lives of Ka`u youth are invited. This club wants to find out what programs for youth are needed, what resources are available and what the greatest issues facing youth are. RSVP by calling Dolly Kailiawa at 756-5285.