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 24, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Jan. 24, 2013

More than 600 people took part in `O Ka`u Kakou's annual Keiki Fishing Tournament last year. This year's event takes place Saturday. Photo by Julia Neal
TRAGEDY TOOK THE LIVES of two Ka`u residents at 10:15 a.m. yesterday, when a car with three tourists apparently crossed the center line on state Hwy 11 and slammed head-on into a pickup truck killing Trini Evangelista Ballesteros, who grew up in Pahala, and her companion Richard Taylor, both of Na`alehu. The local victims died instantly as the crash obliterated the truck, flipping it onto its side as it burst into flames. The visiting family suffered an equal loss with grandfather and son killed in the accident and the seven-year old grandson dying after being airlifted from Ka`u Hospital to Kona Community Hospital. 
      The accident took place near the spot on Mamalahoa Hwy, south of Pahala, where the highway narrows and crosses an old bridge near milepost 54. Taylor, 65, owned the F-350 Ford pickup and was headed toward Hilo with Ballesteros, 56. The 2012 Nissan Altima, headed toward Kona, apparently was a rental car for a family who had stayed overnight on the east side of the island to take a lava boat tour and was returning to a Keauhou condo in the morning.
      The accident shut down Hwy 11 for nearly six hours, and residents and visitors were sent up the old cane haul road between Pahala and Na`alehu as the detour. According to police, a witness driving behind the visitors’ Nissan said the car crossed the center line. Police also said that speeding appeared to be a factor, but were also looking at the possibility of the rental car driver having a heart attack or stroke that led to the accident.
      Hawai`i Island has the smallest population per square mile but the highest per capita in traffic fatalities in the state. Without state sheriffs or state highway patrol watching state roads, and only the federal rangers patrolling the stretch of Hwy 11 inside Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, it remains difficult for the two county police officers on duty in vast Ka`u to enforce traffic safety everywhere. The long drive by those visitors who drive back and forth from Kona and the Kohala Coast resorts to Volcano can be very tiring. In another recent tragic accident near Pahala, a Japanese visitor fell asleep, his rental van veering off Hwy 11 into the lava and killing his infant son.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a member of Hawai`i
National Guard. Photo from votetulsi.com
WOMEN ALLOWED TO SERVE IN ACTIVE COMBAT became official U.S. military policy yesterday. Ka`u’s U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono and U.S. House of Representatives member Tulsi Gabbard applauded the change announced by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. 
      Hirono, a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, called it “a great step toward equality. These restrictions that block women from serving in active combat roles make no sense in today’s modern military. All Americans deserve the opportunity to defend our nation regardless of gender, and I know that the women who currently serve in the military think they should be treated the same as any other service member. Women serving in combat roles will strengthen our national security, and as a member of the Armed Services Committee, I will work closely with military and administration officials to see this change through.”
      Gabbard, who remains a Military Police Captain in the Hawai`i National Guard, said, “As a twice-deployed combat veteran, I have a firsthand appreciation and understanding of the contributions women in uniform make every single day, all around the world. I have had the honor of serving with incredibly talented female soldiers who, if given the opportunity, would serve as great assets in our ground combat units. It is crucial that we shed light on the great value and opportunities that these women bring. She noted that “female service members have contributed on the battlefield as far back as the Civil War, when some disguised themselves as men just to have the opportunity to serve their nation. This decision by the Department of Defense is an overdue, yet welcome, change.”
      Gabbard is one of the first female combat veterans ever to serve in the U.S Congress. In 2004, she voluntarily deployed to Iraq with the 29th Brigade Combat Team, serving two tours in the Middle East. She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal during Operation Iraqi Freedom, was the first female Distinguished Honor Graduate at Fort McClellan’s Officer Candidate School, and was the first woman to ever receive an award of appreciation from the Kuwaiti military on her second overseas tour.

Abel Simeona Lui plans to attend a community meeting about Kawa
next week.
ABEL SIMEONA LUI, who lived at Kawa for about 20 years, is telling the media that he plans to participate in a community meeting next week about the future of 784 of acres of coastal land next to Ka`u's best surfing beach and several estuaries with endangered wildlife. Lui, who claimed ownership of the land, lived on the property in a solar-powered house for years when it was owned by several different landowners who attempted to evict him to no avail. Lui cited Hawaiian sovereignty and his family lineage, but courts turned away his claims and the County of Hawai`i, which has purchased the land for preservation of resources and to become a park, evicted him last October. Lui recently returned and flew his flag and posted signs about his cause. In this morning’s West Hawai`i Today, Nancy Cook Lauer reported that Lui said he will fly his flag whenever he is visiting Kawa and plans to attend the meeting to which, he claims, he wasn’t invited . 
      “Now that they removed Abel from the land, now they gotta put somebody on the land and they gotta pay them, when Abel do it for free,” Lui told West Hawai`i Today. “They come and say they own Kawa and they locked it down and now they don’t know what to do with it.”
      According to the news story, the county has been meeting with Hawaiian families with ties to Kawa to come up with a plan to manage the property. Both the county and the state Department of Land & Natural Resources are scheduled to have representatives on hand for more community input at the public session Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. See more at www.westhawaiitoday.com.

HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY brought the first of what could be several programs down the mountain yesterday evening. Approximately 40 people attended geologist Tim Orr’s presentation of The 30th Anniversary of Kilauea Volcano’s East Rift Eruption at Pahala Plantation House. Orr reviewed the history of the eruption from the fissure that occurred on Jan. 3, 1983 to current ocean entries with dramatic photos and videos. Several attendees gave suggestions for future programs. Another is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 6 at Pahala Community Center, when geochemists Jeff Sutton and Tamar Elias discuss volcanic gases and their environmental impact.
Ka`u public schools' calendar is a feature in The Directory 2013.

HAWAI`I POLICE DEPARTMENT holds a community meeting tomorrow from noon to 2 p.m. at Cooper Center on Wright Road in Volcano Village. To help police commanders focus on specific community concerns, participation is limited to persons who live or work in the immediate area. 
      Those interested in participating but unable to attend may e-mail their concerns or comments to copsysop@hawaiipolice.com. For more information, call Acting Captain Reed Mahuna at 965-2716.

KA`U CHAMBER OF COMMERCE’S general membership meeting takes place tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Pahala Plantation House. The Chamber asks members to bring food to share at the potluck. The Directory 2013 will be distributed. See kauchamber.org.

`O KA`U KAKOU’S 5th annual Keiki Fishing Tournament and Canned Food Drive takes place Saturday, with check-in from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Punalu`u Beach Park. Fishing begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 11:30 a.m. Free lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., and awards and prizes are handed out at 1 p.m. 
      Registration forms are available in Pahala at Pahala Elementary School, Mizuno Superette and Pahala Gas Station; in Na`alehu at Na`alehu Elementary School, 76 Gas Station and Ace Hardware; in Wai`ohinu at Wong Yuen Gas Station; and in Ocean View at Ace Hardware and Kwik Mart.