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.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Dec. 2, 2012

Community groups, businesses and others are invited to participate in Pahala Christmas Parade next Sunday,
Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. Call 928-0808 to sign up. Photo by Julia Neal
LOCAL RULE WILL BE A HOT TOPIC at the 2013 Hawai`i State Legislature when it opens in January. Ka`u legislators, Rep. Denny Coffman and Senators Josh Green and Russell Ruderman all said they will attempt to repeal legislation passed last year that gives projects the ability to skirt county zoning and oversight. One law passed last year allows the Public Land Development Corp. to work with private entities to develop state land. Both Green and Coffman said they are sorry the bill passed, and Coffman said he will seek to repeal it.
Planning director Bobby Jean
Leithead Todd
      County planning director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd told West Hawai`i Today that she will draft legislation to restore county oversight that was taken away by 2012 Senate Bill 3003 that aimed at fast-tracking geothermal development. The story in this morning’s West Hawai`I Today says that “Hawai`i County is objecting to a bill passed last legislative session that it says removes its permitting authority over new geothermal projects. Adopted last April, Act 97 eliminated a requirement that geothermal projects occur in designated subzones, taking out what legislators saw as an unnecessary hurdle for developers.”
      Just before passing the 2012 Legislature, additional wording was added that weakened the jurisdiction of county planning commissions over approving geothermal resource permits. The bill passed the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie as Act 97.
       Leithead Todd told WHT reporter Tom Callis, “I had been monitoring it (the bill) and I had been reassured that county controls over permitting would be in the final draft.” Leithead Todd told West Hawai`i Today that restoring county oversight will allow for public hearings and “an opportunity for people to object.”

District 6 County Council member Brenda Ford
NEW COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBERS, the incumbent mayor Billy Kenoi and – if confirmed - new county clerk Steward Maeda will be sworn in tomorrow. Council and mayoral ceremonies will be held in Hilo at the Afook-Chinen Auditorium at 12 p.m. 
      New council members are Karen Eoff, Greggor Ilagan, Dru Kanuha, Zendo Kem, Valerie Poindexter and Margaret Wille. The three incumbents are Brenda Ford, Dennis Onishi and J Yoshimoto. Brenda Ford, serving her fourth and final consecutive term due to term limits, will serve Ka`u for the first time. Her home is within County Council District 6 borders which recently changed. District 6 now covers South Kona to Volcano.

FIFTY-NINE CORAL SPECIES in the Pacific are proposed for the federal endangered and threatened species list. The corals were nominated Friday by the National Marine Fisheries Administration. “Healthy coral reefs are among the most economically valuable and biologically diverse ecosystems on earth,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under-secretary for commerce for oceans and atmosphere and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration administrator. “Corals provide habitat to support fisheries that feed millions of people; generate jobs and income to local economies through recreation, tourism, and fisheries; and protect coastlines from storms and erosion. Yet, scientific research indicates that climate change and other activities are putting these corals at risk. This is an important, sensible next step toward preserving the benefits provided by these species, both now and into the future.”
      NOAA reports that an independent study found that coral reefs provide approximately $483 million in annual net benefit to the U.S. economy from tourism and recreation activities and a combined annual net benefit from all goods and services of about $1.1 billion. NOAA also estimates the annual commercial value of U.S. fisheries from coral reefs to be more than $100 million; reef-based recreational fisheries generate an additional $100 million annually.
Bleaching of several coral species. Photo from NOAA
      The agency notes that listing species as endangered does not prohibit activities like fishing or diving, but prohibits the specific “take” of those species, including harming, wounding, killing, or collecting the species. It also prohibits imports, exports and commercial activities dealing in the species.
      “These protections are not automatic for species listed as threatened, but can be established for them as well. Furthermore, if species are eventually listed, NOAA will consult with other federal agencies that permit projects that may harm corals to help avoid further damage. The consultation process allows NOAA to work with federal agencies and project proponents to develop ways for projects to proceed, but in a way that protects the long-term health of these important species,” the NOAA statement says.
      NOAA has identified 19 threats to the survival of coral, including rising ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, and coral disease. As carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, the oceans warm beyond what corals can withstand, leading to bleaching, and the frequency and severity of disease outbreaks increase, causing die-offs.
      The proposed Pacific corals for the endangered species list are Millepora foveolata, Pocillopora elegans, Acropora jacquelineae, Acropora lokani, Acropora rudis, Anacropora spinosa and Euphyllia paradivisa.
      The public has 90 days to provide additional comments, which NOAA says it will consider before it issues its final decision. To learn more and post comments, see at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/11/82corals.html.

David Uchiyama
JAPAN OVERTOOK THE EAST COAST of the U.S. in October to become Hawai`i’s second largest visitor market after the West Coast market, according to statistics released this week by Hawai`i Tourism Authority.
      Visitors from Japan totaled 125,000, a 15.2 percent increase from October 2011. Higher daily spending, up four percent to $329 per person, helped increase total Japanese visitor expenditures to $236.4 million, an 18.8 percent increase from last year.
      “We are one of the leading destinations in terms of gaining market share over other destinations,” said HTA Tourism Research director Daniel Nahoopii. “Due to the recovery of the Japanese market, we saw higher daily spending adding to the increase in visitor expenditures.”
      HTA vice president of Brand Management David Uchiyama said airlift from additional origination points and the continuation of charter air service will help the Japanese market continue to grow in 2013.
      Air arrivals from Hawai`i’s top visitor market, the U.S. West, increased 9.6 percent to 255,602 visitors, and their total expenditures increased 15.2 percent from October 2011 to $381.7 million.
      The U.S. East, now the state’s third largest visitor market, saw a decrease in arrivals of 1.4 percent to 118,799 visitors in October, the second consecutive month arrivals from that market decreased from 2011 levels. Visitor expenditures from the market, however, increased by two percent to $245.4 million, which HTA credits to a longer length of stay and stable daily spending of $205 per person.

Keauhou Bird Sanctuary breeds `Alala,
which are extinct in the wild. 
KEAUHOU BIRD SANCTUARY holds an open house, Saturday, with tours at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Participants meet some of Hawai`i’s rarest birds including `alala, puaiohi, kiwikiu and palila. Reservations are required, and space is limited. A $10 donation is suggested. Call 985-7218 or email kbccopenhouse@gmail.com.

PAHALA CHRISTMAS PARADE is a week from today on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. Community groups, businesses and others are invited to participate. Call 928-0808 to sign up.