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.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Jan. 17, 2013

Dr. Robert Robichaux received the Recovery Champions award from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. His group and its
partners re-introduced 33,000 silverswords to Mauna Loa. Photo from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
INCREASING STATE REVENUES is one goal of new state House of Representatives Speaker Joe Souki. During the opening of the 2013 Legislature in Honolulu yesterday, he urged new programs that would help make up for income lost during the recession.
      Souki, a veteran lawmaker from Maui, has suggested to lawmakers, including East Ka`u’s Representative Richard Onishi, that some form of gambling could gain money for state coffers. What would the money be used for?
      In yesterday’s speech, Souki suggested cutting personal income tax rates, particularly for middle-income and low-income families. He said an improving economy will lead to pressure on the state to increase the pay of workers who took cuts during the recession.
      “With Hawai`i’s economy on the rise, construction stable, tourism up, and unemployment down, there is reason for cautious optimism. This is the moment we have been waiting for,” said Souki.
Hawai`i House Speaker Joe Souki 
      He noted that, “over the past few years, the state budget was cut by over two billion dollars. Meanwhile, wages dropped, health benefit costs rose, many people were forced out of work. The homeless population still grows – among them, war heroes, persons needing mental health services, families unable to pay their mortgage or rent.
      “We have the chance now, to rebuild what the recession took away.
      “Investment in projects and programs throughout the state is critical. But to strengthen economic development and job growth, to restore public services, we need to proceed intelligently.
      “Members, if we want to restore the safety net, put people back to work, and provide the best education, including early childhood education; if we want to take care of people’s health, take care of our kupuna, and make sure the state’s health care system transitions into the new era of health care – smoothly and without undue delay; if we want to improve our roads, bridges, and transportation infrastructure — to reduce traffic, improve the mobility of our residents, and enhance safety — in every county; if we want clean energy that uses the best renewable energy resources, including our ocean and solar resources; if we want to be responsible stewards of Hawai`i’s natural resources and our native plants and animals; if we want to increase farming opportunities on agricultural land and the market for locally grown products; if we want to support the tourism industry and promote the Hawai`i product to the world; if we want to do all these things the people require — and yes, I know we do — we must enhance our revenue stream. We must put together a mix of strategies that will generate more state revenues — equitably.”
      The House Speaker talked about tax credits. “No, I’m not saying we should abandon all caution and fall for the marketing hype. Instead, let’s learn from our experience and do our due diligence. The film industry claims a tax credit will generate $350 million in revenues for the state. Should we turn our back on this? Let’s give it a serious and thorough look first.
      “But increasing revenue does not mean placing an unfair burden on those who can least afford it. Members, the top personal tax rate was down at 7.75 percent at one time, and now it’s up to 11 percent – the highest in the nation. It’s time to look at rolling back the personal tax burden for people with lower incomes and the middle class, at least incrementally, over the next few years,” said Souki.
Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom
      Souki took over leadership of the House after a 14-year stint by Rep. Calvin Say. Souki was supported by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, and Republicans were given vice-chairmanships of three House committees.

REPEAL OR REVISION of laws setting up the Public Land Development Corp. gained support from state Senate leaders. Republican Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom called for its outright repeal, while Senate President Donna Mercado Kim called for either repeal or revision. The law would allow private economic development on state lands.

SILVERSWORDS ON MAUNA LOA AND MAUNA KEA could suffer similar risks from climate change as those on Haleakala where scientists are reporting a decline in the endangered native Hawaiian plant due to climate change. Published in the scientific journal Global Change Biology, the story reports on research facilitated and funded by the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The study was also supported by the newly established U.S. Department of the Interior Pacific Islands Climate Science Center. Scientists say the silversword is an example of the many endangered species that could go extinct. Most of them would die off without notice, but the silversword can be useful in educating the public about biodiversity since it is a high profile plant photographed by visitors to Hawai`i’s national parks.
Mauna Loa Silversword Photo by
Marie Bruegmann/USFWS
      USGS director Marcia McNutt said that “the silversword is an amazing story of selective biological adaptation of this distant cousin of the daisy to the high winds and sometimes freezing temperatures on the high slopes and thin soils. Despite the successful efforts of the National Park Service to protect this very special plant from local disturbance from humans and introduced species, we now fear that these actions alone may be insufficient to secure this plant’s future. No part of our planet is immune from the impacts of climate change.”
      The principle investigator for the project is biologist Dr. Paul Krushelnycky, University of Hawai`i at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. He said, “The silversword example foreshadows trouble for diversity in other biological hotspots, and it also illustrates how even well protected and relatively abundant species may succumb to climate-induced stresses.”
      Dr. Rhonda Loh, Chief of Natural Resources Management for Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, said, “Part of our recovery approach is to be smart about where we focus our planting efforts in anticipation of climate change. This includes the recent seed broadcasting experiments on the Mauna Loa strip and Kahuku,” a relatively affordable way “for us to evaluate hot spots for future planting efforts, and to expand the range extent of this species in order to maximize its chances for survival in the future.”

Mauna Loa Silversword, also called
Ka`u Silversword
THE HAWAI`I SILVERSWORD FOUNDATION of Volcano, founded by Dr. Robert Robichaux, has reintroduced 33,000 Mauna Loa silversword seedlings. His work supports research on the genetics and taxonomy of silverswords. Among recovery partners are the Volcano Rare Plant Facility, Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, the Biological Resources Division of the U. S. Geological Survey, Hawai`i Department of Public Safety, Kamehameha Schools, The Nature Conservancy, USDA Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, private landowners and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 
      Robichaux received the Recovery Champions in the Pacific Region award from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

KA`U AG WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT meets today at 4 p.m. at Royal Hawaiian Orchards’ field office in Pahala. For more information, contact Jeff McCall at 928-6465 or mccalljeffreyw@gmail.com.

AUDITIONS FOR VOLCANO ART CENTER’S Valentine Variety Show are today at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. Open to all ages and talents. Solo and group acts encouraged. For an application or more information, email julie@volcanoartcenter.org.

Geologist Tim Orr Photo from USGS/HVO
SATURDAY IS A NATIONAL DAY OF SERVICE when thousands of volunteers around the country honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ka`u residents can join volunteers at Kahalu`u Beach Park in Kona and help remove plastic trash and cigarette butts that pose hazards to marine life. For more information, call Bob Kim at 756-3828. 
      An event in Hilo to support Rediscovering Ahupua`a Life System organization’s educational activities has been rescheduled.

HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY staff come to Pahala next Wednesday to present a program for Volcano Awareness Month. Tim Orr, USGS HVO geologist, reviews highlights from the past 30 years of Kilauea’s ongoing eruption and talks about recent developments on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone. The program at Pahala Plantation House begins at 6:30 p.m.