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.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Monday, June 26, 2017

A new delta collapse at the lava entry to the ocean in Puna is creating dramatic scenery for tour boat operators.
See story on Punalu`u lava tour boat issue below. Photo from Big Island Video News and seelava.com
THE U.S. SUPREME COURT announced today it will take up the Travel Ban case that has pitted the State of Hawai`i against President Donald Trump who wanted to ban people from six Muslim majority countries from entering the United States for an extended time. The Hawai`i Attorney General succeeded in federal court, which blocked the ban, but the Trump Administration appealed to the higher court. The Supreme Court takes up the issue after its summer holiday.
Hawai`i AG explained the state's case against the Trump Travel Ban
on MSNBC today. Watch.
     The Trump attorneys asked the Supreme Court to allow the ban to be enforced until it rules on the case. However, the office of Hawai`i Attorney General Doug Ching explained: "This morning the United States Supreme Court denied in part and granted in part the Trump Administration’s request to stay the injunctions issued against the travel and refugee bans by the Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal. 
     "The travel ban and refugee ban remain blocked and will not go into effect for people with a 'bona fide' connection to the United States. If it had gone fully into effect, the travel ban would have prevented nationals of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, and the refugee ban would have prevented all refugees from any country from entering the United States for 120 days.
   "In the same order," reported, Hawai`i's AG staff, "the Court also granted discretionary review (called certiorari) to hear arguments regarding the underlying merits of the lower court decisions. These arguments will be focused on the substantive issues considered by both the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, including whether the travel and refugee bans exceeded the Trump Administration’s authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act and whether the Executive Order violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment."

Gosling and parent seen in February have moved on from Pu`u Pua`i.
NPS Photo
     Hawai`i's AG himself said, “The important thing is that by a vote of 6-3, today’s order continues to block implementation of the travel and refugee bans for people with a connection to the United States. This means people such as students accepted to the University of Hawai`i and Dr. Elshikh’s family may still enter the country. Immigration into the United States should not be restricted due to religion or national origin.”
     Chin went on MSNBC and said he will be putting the argument that the Travel Ban is unconstitutional before the Supreme Court. Watch.

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HAWA`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK OVERLOOK at Pu'u Pua'i has reopened after being closed since February to protect breeding nēnē (endangered Hawaiian geese) in the area. During the closure, the nēnē parents successfully raised their single gosling and the family has now moved on to their summer grounds.
     It's been a decade since the last gosling was reared in the vicinity, and that nēnē is the grandfather of this year's gosling, according to Kathleen Misajon, wildlife biologist at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.
Pu`u Pua`i gosling growing up. NPS photo
     "This year's gosling was the fifth generation of the same nēnē family I've monitored over the years. After a 10-year hiatus, it is really exciting to see this female return to a favored family spot," Misajon said.
    In 1952, only 30 nēnē remained statewide. In the 1970s, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park began efforts to save the species from extinction. Today, more than 250 wild birds thrive in the park from sea level to around 8,000 feet. There are more than 2,500 nēnē statewide.
     During the closure, the park's facilities maintenance team made improvements to the popular deck, which overlooks Kīlauea Iki crater and trail. Missing boards were replaced, and the deck was painted prior to the reopening.
     Pu'u Pua'i is a massive reddish-brown cindercone that formed during an eruption at Kīlauea Iki crater in 1959. It is visible from many areas along Crater Rim and Kīlauea Iki trails.

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IN DEPTH INTERVIEWS WITH LOCAL FISHERMEN and beachgoers are posted at www.bigislandvideonews.com concerning protection of the wharf and boat ramp at Punalu`u. The coverage filmed Sunday by Dave Corrigan shows concern of residents who witnessed the wharf and
Aftermath of heavy machinery at Punalu`u Wharf.
Photo from Big Island Video News
boat ramp area being excavated and jack hammered, leading to their calls for help to government officials, community leaders and the surrounding landowners for help.
     Those who witnessed the construction work said they were told that a tour boat operator was attempting to build a new and larger ramp for his vessel, which would take passengers from Punalu`u to the lava flowing into the ocean in Puna. A recent delta collapse has created dramatic viewing.
     Big Island Video News coverage at Punalu`u includes video taken by the local residents showing a confrontation with the boat owner who worked on the wharf with an excavator. A community meeting at Na`alehu Clubhouse was set for 5:30 p.m., today, Monday.

Heavy equipment image captured by campers at Punalu`u.
Photo by Whitney Cardoza
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CRIMES COMMITTED BY IMMIGRANTS are the focus of a new federal office, according to Sen. Mazie K. Hirono and six other Senators. On Monday, they demanded answers from the Trump Administration on a new office created to focus on publicizing information about the crimes of immigrants. In a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly, the Senators asked for answers about the purpose for creating the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office due to concerns the office’s activities could lead to misinformation and potentially illegal discrimination.
     “Given President Trump’s aggressive rhetoric on immigrants and the reported increase in hate crimes in the past year, we are troubled that VOICE could contribute to discrimination and violence against immigrants and those perceived to be immigrants,” wrote the Senators. “In particular, after recent reports that a searchable database launched in conjunction with VOICE included information on children and asylum seekers, we are concerned that personally identifiable information released by VOICE will lead to the direct targeting of individuals, including children.”
      In addition, the Senators expressed their concern that VOICE, in its stated goals, was duplicative of existing resources without creating any real benefits.
      The letter was also signed by Senators Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.).
Sen. Mazie Hiorono, interviewed  on MSNBC on Monday about her views
on the Travel Ban.
     National immigration advocates joined the Senators in their concerns.
      “VOICE is a propaganda machine to defame America's immigrants. Report after report has shown that immigrants commit far less and are far less likely to commit crime than native born Americans. We all want to be safe, and those who mean us harm should be dealt with. But this approach is an insult to this nation of immigrants and does not make us safer. We need to heal the wounds of hatred, not fan them,” said Clarissa Martinez de Castro, the National Council of La Raza’s Deputy Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation.
      “The creation of the VOICE office is yet another dangerous and ill-conceived action of this administration that promotes the profiling of immigrants and promotes racism and xenophobia while doing nothing for public safety,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “VOICE sounds a clarion call to those who will target their vitriol and violence toward immigrants, legitimizing their hateful actions through fear-mongering government policies.”
     “We hope the Department of Homeland Security takes the safety, privacy and confidentiality concerns of all victims and survivors of gender-based violence, including detained immigrant victims, very seriously and adheres to the VAWA confidentiality protections mandated by Congress,” said Ruth Glenn, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Click here for a copy of the letter.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.


Ka‘ū Food Pantry, Tue, June 27, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View.

Pāpale (Hat) Workshop, Wed, June 28, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Participants weave a hat from coconut leaves Free; park entrance fees apply.

Coffee Talk, Fri, June 30, 9:30 – 11 a.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. An informal conversation on a wide variety of topics. Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries available for purchase. Free.

Ocean View Community Development Corp. meeting, Fri, June 30, 5 p.m., Hawaiian Ranchos office.

www.kaucalendar.com
http://kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory_2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, July 25, 2017

Punalu`u from the wharf where local residents vowed to prevent desecration of the rock walls and boat ramp.
Photo by Lihauulaokalani Kaawa Davis
CAMPING AT PUNALU`U WHARF, protectors of the Punalu`u wharf and boat launch ramp stayed the weekend and met with visitors, media, officials and locals to talk about protecting the place from excavation for planned tour boat operations. The protectors camped following community outreach to property owners, boat company and government officials last week, leading to cancellation on Friday of the license to allow a tour boat to launch from Punalu`u to view lava entering the ocean in Puna.
     Annette L. Kailiawa wrote to The Ka`u Calendar, "Always the case..planned lava tour operation but no community input.....that's why the community get hard feelings...did land owners and lessee present a meeting of these plans that would affect the area???? No."
     Kailiawa was writing about SM Investment Partners, associated with Roberts Hawai`i, renting space to Hang Loose Boat Tours. The Kona company wished to store its boat and operate tours from SM's private boat ramp at Punalu`u without community input.
     Ramona Navarrette wrote, "Wow...very sad. But happy for the quick response. Punalu'u is a natural marine sanctuary and a cultural heritage site. It needs to be preserved and protected." Jamie C. Lee wrote, "Defend Ka`u." Diane Easler Corso wrote, "Defend the protectors."
Local residents confront the boat owner about
disturbing the wharf at Punalu`u.
From facebook video

     The license was signed by SM in April and the community became aware last week.  Operator of the Hang Loose Boat Tours, Simon Velaj, arrived with machinery and started to repair the road to the boat ramp and possibly enlarge the boat ramp for his operations.
     As the public saw that stones of the wharf were being moved, locals confronted Velaj about the history of the wharf, told him about the mana in pohaku- the stones, said that ancestral bones could be buried in the area, and that the wharf itself, marked by the engraving "Built 1916 by K. Ishii" could not be disturbed without study and permitting.
     Some of those confronting him shouted and swore at him, called him a "f'in haole," chased after his van and made physical threats, as shown in videos that were posted on facebook. Online, some posters called for opponents to go to the Hang Loose facebook page to complain. They did and the Hang Loose page was offline Sunday evening.
     Others called for calm and due process.
     Velaj wrote a letter Sunday, saying, "I wish we met in better circumstances with love and aloha; unfortunately we are humans and we make mistakes and I am very sorry if I disrespected anyone as it was not in my intentions. All I wanted to do is help maintain the place clean so nobody can get hurt and the community and local fishermen can use the property along with me.
     "By doing so, I thought that I am doing the right thing to be accepted by the community and that people would see that I am there not only to make my living but to help everyone around me to make this place better for each one of us.
     "From the beginning, nobody wanted to talk to me or guide me in the right way, this is when made a mistake and backed up because fighting is not in my intentions. I am not a person from a big corporation. I am a self-employed one man operation that works hard to make a living to support my family. Again, I apologize for my actions."
Punalu`u wharf protectors camped for the weekend.
From facebook video
    In sharing Velaj's letter, Lihauulaokalani Kaawa Davis posted on her facebook, after talking to him: "He sounded very apologetic on the phone but most of all, he is asking for a chance to make Hoʻoponopono with our Kaʻū Community. Please remain with Kapu Aloha as I know this issue has hit each and everyone of us as individuals pretty hard within the naʻau. A Hoʻoponopono ceremony is in the early stages of planning but as members of our Kaʻū community, what is your suggested solution as a way to remedy this issue?" Davis asked the community.
     Starlette Freitas wrote, "Make him go down there and find a way to put it back by hand even if he gotta need help from others that are willing to help him make Pono."
     Teresa Lee Salgado Nakama wrote: "This is not a Ho'oponopono situation...an illegal act of destroying with an machinery equipment is not ----"Oh I didn't know I wasn't suppose to do that"... Like two days of it....being in business means, there are rules and regulations, both with State and County, and boating deals with DLNR rules and regulations...this is a crime that was committed. One does their homework and talk to others that are in tour industries and they do talk about rules and regulations and the permitting process they had to go through...you mean to say this guy, just open up a business, with out researching it...Ka'u Lahui was not born yesterday!!!!!"
     Tiana Ka`auamo wrote, "Feel like the Kupuna that rest there need an apology as well."
Rocks removed in wall at Punalu`u
From facebook video

     Vivialn-malia Moana Brown wrote: "We ain't Akua and everyone deserves to right their wrong. He's already been forgiven! A suggestion to Simon Velaj - make right clean up your opala and others who was involve in this - he wasn't the only one involved in this mess...IESU PÜ ME 'OE 2 All."
     Jolisa Masters wrote: "Sounds sketchy to me. Almost seems like it was an attempt on SM to try developing after being shut down by the community so many times before. Let it fall on Hang Loose.
     "Doesn't mean I feel that Hang Loose shouldn't be held responsible just seems that there's more to the story. SM had to have known what was going to happen. Why else would you lease land to a business owner. Commercial leasing is so much more than just signing a contract, saying you can use the land and do whatever you want. There's addendums and all kinds of different aspects.
      "SM and Hang Loose should make all documents and agreements public if truly it was just an attempt to clean up the area for the community. They should be present at all Ka`u Development Plan meetings along with the community if they truly care about what the community and families of Ka'u want and don't want.
     "Why is SM or Roberts and Hang Loose not involved in community events or fundraisers for things in our community that benefit the families of Ka'u? I feel like SM, Roberts and Hang Loose have to participate in this meeting, disclose all information and intentions and never try to pull a fast one on Ka'u again!"
      For Velaj, SM Partners cancelled the license on Friday for using their parking at the old restaurant site and their boat ramp. He said, however, he still wants to come to a public meeting to apologize to the community.
     See more in last Friday's and Saturday's Ka`u News Briefs.

THE KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN STEERING COMMITTEE will host a public meeting this Wednesday, June 28 at Na`alehu Community Center at 6 p.m.. Members of the public are invited to speak to any items on the agenda. 
     The agenda addresses the General Plan Comprehensive Review. Members of the county's Long Range Planning Division will provide an overview of scenario planning as it relates to the General Plan Comprehensive Review. This will include using scenario planning to explore the Ka'u CDP Planning Area. The Steering Committee will have an opportunity for questions, discussion, and
recommendations to the Planning Director.
A covered outdoor area hosted long term residents to
celebrate improvements at Ka`u Hospital.
Photo from Ka`u Hospital Chairitable Foundation
    Members of the public who want to speak need to fill out and submit a yellow request form provided at the meeting and give it to the Planning Assistant or Steering Committee Chairperson prior to the Public Comment session. Comment shall be limited to three minutes in length per agenda item, subject to the discretion of the Chair of the Ka'u CDP Steering Committee.

KA`U HOSPITAL RESIDENTS recently shared  their excitement about projects being scheduled that will finish the outdoor area designed for them with expanded walkways, raised planting beds, windbreaks, more plants and rain cover. The projects are sponsored by the Ka`u Hospital Charitable Foundation. See www.kauhospital.org.

HOVE Road Maintenance board of directors meeting, Tue, June 27, 10 a.m., St. Jude’s Church. 929-9910

Ka‘ū Food Pantry, Tue, June 27, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View.

Pāpale (Hat) Workshop, Wed, June 28, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Participants weave a hat from coconut leaves Free; park entrance fees apply.

Coffee Talk, Fri, June 30, 9:30 – 11 a.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. An informal conversation on a wide variety of topics. Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries available for purchase. Free.

Ocean View Community Development Corp. meeting, Fri, June 30, 5 p.m., Hawaiian Ranchos office.
www.kaucalendar.com
http://kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory_2017

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, June 24, 2017

A planned lava tour boat operation has been cancelled at Punalu`u after many community members took the issue
to property and boat ramp owners, government officials and community groups. Photo from Iwalani Watai
A PLANNED LAVA TOUR BOAT OPERATION out of Punalu`u is cancelled, as of yesterday when Punalu`u boat ramp owners, SM Investment Partners -  associated with Roberts Hawai`i, withdrew their agreement with Hang Loose Boat Tours, LLC. Community members reported to Roberts that the tour boat company was damaging the boat ramp and associated rock walls at Punalu`u, using a backhoe, in an effort to make the ramp wide enough for the Hang Loose tour boat. By evening, a group of protectors had set up tents next to the ramp saying they would camp there to prevent excavation or any further damage.
A backhoe, at the boat ramp and historic wharf at Punalu`u.
Photo by Nohea Ka`awa
   From Kona, Hang Loose offers a Morning Dolphin Adventure & Reef Snorkel, Kealakekua Bay Snorkel Tour, Manta Night Snorkel, Whale Watch and has had a photo of lava pouring into the ocean, but no lava tour offered on its website. Permits for lava tours from Poho`iki in Puna are all taken, leaving Punalu`u as the closest boat ramp with any opportunity for tour boat companies, if they were allowed there. The boat ramp is the only private boat ramp on the island, according to the state Department of Land & Natural Resources' map of harbors and ramps.
     Simon Velaj, owner of Hang Loose, said this morning that he rented the old restaurant site at Punalu`u from Roberts and planned to park his 34-foot, 24-passenger, aluminum catamaran there and launch it not more than once a day - on evenings when sea conditions were calm enough to take passengers.          
Guy Enriques with keiki as endangered baby hawksbill turtles make
their way from their sandy nests to the ocean at Punalu`u, across
from the boat ramp where lava boat tours had been planned.
Photo by Julia Neal
     After running his boat from waters off Punalu`u to the lava entry, he said, the estimated time to reach the viewing area would have been about 40 to 50 minutes on a calm evening. He estimated the tour would have been about three hours with about a half hour of viewing offshore the lava.
     The cancellation was emailed to Hang Loose as well as Guy Enriques, founder of the community group O Ka`u Kakou, and a Punalu`u waterman and resident as well as a former County Council member. It was also emailed to current County Council member Maile David.
    The letter came from Roy Pfund, of SM Investment Partners. SM owns the ramp, old restaurant site and other resort, open, residential, commercial and golf course property at Punalu`u.
    The letter from SM to Hang Loose states: "We have received information from members of the community, including a city council member that rocks at the shoreline have been moved and trees have also been removed. You stated that you were in the process of leveling some pillars at the boat ramp. These activities not only require Landlord approval, but require permits from the state and/or county government. We did not authorize you to conduct any activities as described above nor can we condone this type of unlawful behavior, thus we have no option but to cancel your License Agreement due to your non-compliance."
Honu, green sea turtle looks out to Punalu`u Bay toward the boat ramp
where lava tour boat trips were planned. Photo by Julia Neal
     Velaj maintained that he was cleaning up the area, patched the road to the boat ramp, cleared away brush and cut some sharp metal sticking up out of concrete at the boat ramp that, he claimed, was dangerous to anyone. He said the metal was left over from commercial shipping days at Punalu`u. He said to make the repairs on the old road and the area he used a small Caterpillar backhoe.
     A community meeting had been called by Enriques and O Ka`u Kakou, to be held at the old Aspen Center at Punalu`u this Monday, but was cancelled after the agreement to use the boat ramp was withdrawn from Hang Loose Tours.
     Velaj said he has been a "good citizen" tour boat operator in Kona and hopes the Ka`u community will appreciate the repair of the road to the boat ramp and the cleanup of the area. He said he is sorry that his plans did not work out with the community.
      Ka`u's County Council member, Maile David, said this morning that she would like to acknowledge the quick response from the owners and the work of the community to document the activities at the Punalu`u shorelan and in contacting her, other public officials and the propoerty owners.
     She also said that the situation was one in which the community should have been involved ahead of time, particularly since Punalu`u is "such an environmentally and culturally special place." She pointed to the nesting of the endangered Hawaiian hawksbill turtles, a short distance from the boat ramp, as well as historic, cultural and archaeological sites and its unique status as the ocean place for Ka`u families.
A Hang Loose boat would have carried 24 passengers to the lava flow
and back to Punalu`u. Photo from Hang Loose
    The council member said that "Someone needs to outline what needs to be done for any future commercial operations in Punalu`u." She said that stakeholders, landowners and people wanting to do business "need to do due diligence. This is a wake up call."
      She said, "I am very happy and thankful for the community that called me immediately. I was able to hear the boat operator's side and talk to the owners." She noted the value of many different people from different alliances working together on the issue which was resolved quickly.
    She also noted that anyone wanting to do business around here needs to "Be a good neighbor. Introduce yourself to the community. Recognize this is a pristine area that is culturally and environmentally important."
     Numerous other community members became involved:

Historic structure in the boat ramp area.
Photo from Ruth Beauchan
      Ron Ebert, of O Ka`u Kakou, posted on facebook: "The leadership of OKK should be thanked for all they did behind the scenes to bring this situation to an end. Also our county council person Maile David and her office worked hard behind the scenes and should be thanked also."
      Zina Galapir Hough posted: "Punalu'u being our childhood and adulthood playground, we all learned from our grandparents, parent, and uncles the in and outs of the inner/outer reefs and currents. We all are too familiar of the sudden changes of the winds, weather, and currents that that can be pretty unforgiven to the unknowleged and unwise. Breaks my heart to see such disrespect to our Punalu'u."
Maile David said businesses
and community should study
what is allowed at Punalu`u.
Photo by Ann Bosted
     Rachel Ballesteros Velez posted: "We applaud what OKK does for Ka'u. But regardless if OKK resolved the issue...the issue isn't resolved with the hearts of the people of Ka'u....this isn't just going to go away because the 'big wigs' resolved the political part."
     Charmaine Bugado posted that the Ka`u community should "organize because future development is coming guaranteed and a early plan will help lahui who join after to kokua effectively. Aloha aina hana to make pono."
    Demetrius Oliveira on his Keauokalani facebook page covered the story extensively and the overall effort to preserve the Ka`u Coast and natural resources here. He posted a video of local residents confronting the Hang Loose boat owner at Punalu`u, a posting that has received more than 25,000 views.  
   Oliveira also reported on Waimakalani Watai Iona getting in touch with the Hang Loose boat company operator. Iona wrote: "I just got off the phone with the guy, his name is Simon. I told him I had questions and wanted to know his facts. I also told him that I would make our conversation public and he said ok. So this is what he told me: Roberts Hawai`i claims to own the land right down to the water. He has a lease with them for the boat ramp. He received a special permit from DLNR to use the boat ramp which wanted to run a boat from for lava tours. 
     "I asked him if he is aware that there are historic sites right there. He said he wasn't aware. I told him that I am notifying him at this moment.
      "He said that he will be at a special meeting on Monday at 6 p.m. behind the condos. (meeting at old Aspen Center since cancelled). He will be there along with County Council and wants the community to attend (meeting cancelled after landowner cancelled license). I asked him, 'If the community is against this, what will be your response?' He said he will walk away. I repeated that fact to him and told him that I was going to make this public and he is aware. He said he will not be back to the ramp until then."     
     Valez said on Saturday that although the meeting is cancelled, he still hopes to meet with the community to tell his story and make amends.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
Palm Trail Hike on Sunday at Kahuku.
Photo by Sami Steinkemp/NPS
Palm Trail, Sun, June 25, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. This moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop traverses scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer.

HOVE Road Maintenance board of directors meeting, Tue, June 27, 10 a.m., St. Jude’s Church. 929-9910

Ka‘ū Food Pantry, Tue, June 27, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View.

Pāpale (Hat) Workshop, Wed, June 28, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Participants weave a hat from coconut leaves Free; park entrance fees apply.


Coffee Talk, Fri, June 30, 9:30 – 11 a.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. An informal conversation on a wide variety of topics. Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries available for purchase. Free.

Ocean View Community Development Corp
. meeting, Fri, June 30, 5 p.m., Hawaiian Ranchos office.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, June 23, 2017



A color-shaded bathymetry map of Lō‘ihi, a submarine volcano 24 miles southeast of Pahala. 
The summit is marked by pit craters formed in connection with an eruption and earthquake 
swarm in July–August 1996.  Right: Earthquakes in the vicinity of Lō‘ihi (same area as 
bathymetry map) located by USGS during a 30-day period ending June 22. Locations shown 
with dots; size indicates magnitude. The blue dot east of Lō‘ihi was a magnitude-2.3 
earthquake that on June 22. See story below. Images from USGS

COMMERCIAL LAVA TOUR BOAT RIDES FROM PUNALU`U BOAT RAMP would require written permission from owners of the ramp, and possibly government permits for using the shoreline area, according to state and county zoning and boating regulations. Punalu`u Boat Ramp is is shown on the state Department of Land & Natural Resources harbor and boat ramp map as the only private boat ramp on the island. It is owned by the hui associated with Roberts of Hawai`i, which also owns land zoned Open adjacent to the boat ramp, nearby land zoned for resort and also the Punalu`u Golf Course.
With no more permits allowed at the goverment controlled boat ramp at
Po`oiki, some tour boat operators are eyeing the privately owned
ramp at Punalu`u for launching lava boat tours.
Photo from Kohala Tours 
     At state and county boat ramps, government agencies manage the number of permits for commercial boaters using them and requires permits to operate in navigable waters. However, the state boating division has no control boaters' use of private ramps except to record that boaters have permission from the owners. 
     The question of tour boats launching from Punalu`u to run along the shore of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park to the lava flowing into the ocean, has come up among fishermen and users of Punalu`u Beach. They said they have seen preparations at the Punalu`u Boat Ramp and adjacent land and have met people who talk about starting lava boat tours there.
Punalu`u Boat Ramp is the only private ramp listed
by the state on its map of harbors and ramps on the
Big Island. Map from DLNR. Red dots are county,
blue are state and yellow is private.
Map from DLNR
      Since the land adjacent to the boat ramp is zoned Open, not commercial, and is within the Special Management Area along the coast, any commercial operation or repairs or construction would require additional permitting. Permits for repairing and enlarging the ramp would also be required.
     Community concerns include a commercial boat using Punalu`u Bay where families swim, dive, fish and surf, and the amount of tour boating traffic that could be generated in the small Punalu`u Bay, with the only family friendly swimming area and beach park within Ka`u.
     The number of tour boat permits is capped at Poho`iki ramp in Puna for taking people 25 minutes on the water to the lava entry to the ocean. The time it would take to conduct a lava tour by boat from Punalu`u could be an hour and a half one way on an unusually calm day, according to local boaters who make the run while fishing.

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RENEWED SEISMIC ACTIVITY at Lō‘ihi seamount, the underwater volcano 24 miles southeast of Pahala and northeast of Kalae, is registering on Hawaiian Volcano Observatory equipment. The island chain's youngest and still submarine volcano has registered more than 50 quakes in June.
     Lō‘ihi is a new feature on Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's new website. The website change was part of an overall update to how the U.S. Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program (https://volcanoes.usgs.gov) provides information to both the scientific community and the general public. The new HVO website (https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/) provides a portal to a wide range of information about the two ongoing Kīlauea eruptions and current unrest on Mauna Loa and Lō‘ihi, reports this week's Volcano Watch, written by HVO scientists:
      Somewhat coincident with the debut of HVO’s updated website, eagle-eyed web surfers have noticed recent increases in earthquake activity at Lō‘ihi. Although there are no seismic stations near Lō‘ihi,  HVO has been tracking earthquake activity there from land-based seismic stations for over 50 years.
     Since the end of February, HVO seismic analysts have noted a slight uptick in the numbers of earthquakes near Lō‘ihi. From January 2015 through February 2017, there was, on average, one located Lō‘ihi earthquake per month. Since then, the rate of earthquakes has gradually increased. As of June 22 there were 51 located earthquakes in the Lō‘ihi region in this month alone.
      Without permanent seismic stations at Lō‘ihi—because the highest point of the volcano is still a kilometer (0.6 mi) under water—it is not possible to locate earthquakes there as accurately as at Kīlauea or Mauna Loa. However, HVO can state that the June 2017 earthquakes appear to be clustered roughly 10–12 km (6–7 mi) below sea level and extend from beneath the summit region of Lō‘ihi to the south.
      Interestingly, the roughly 170 earthquakes located in the area of Lō‘ihi between 2010 and 2016 occurred away from the summit region. They were primarily beneath the northern flanks of Lō‘ihi, and extended to significantly greater depths below the volcano. The significance of this difference is unclear.
      As early as 1952, HVO scientists interpreted occasional earthquake swarms in the Lō‘ihi region as reflecting active volcanism there. In fact, the earthquakes were key to recognizing that the seamount is actually an active volcano. 
      Earthquake activity alone does not conclusively indicate that Lō‘ihi is erupting. But the locations of recent earthquakes directly beneath the volcano’s summit region plausibly suggest magmatic or volcanic origin, such as adjustments within the magma reservoir or volcanic edifice. We would, however, expect to see many more earthquakes associated with an eruption.
     The most recent confirmed eruption of Lō‘ihi occurred in 1996. That year, an energetic earthquake swarm began in July and quickly intensified, motivating a scientific expedition to Lō‘ihi to seize an unprecedented opportunity to possibly observe a submarine eruption. Thousands of earthquakes, including over a dozen with magnitudes greater than 4.5, were recorded from beneath the summit and south flank of the volcano between July and September 1996.
Pillow lava from an eruption at Lo`ihi. Photo from University of Hawai`i
      Subsequent viewing and mapping of the Lō‘ihi summit region showed that, consistent with magma movement from beneath the summit area, a significant portion of it had collapsed. Fresh pillow lavas and glassy fragments collected during submersible dives also confirmed the occurrence of an eruption.
     Because Lō‘ihi is still so deep beneath the ocean’s surface, the USGS regards Lō‘ihi as a low- to very low-threat volcano. There are no immediate plans for additional monitoring instruments and our views of Lō‘ihi for the foreseeable future will be strictly seismological.

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AN EXTREME HIGH TIDE MESSAGE has been issued for the weekend by Hawai`i County Civil Defense Agency. The National Weather Service reports unusually high tides, also known as King Tides, may cause dangerous flooding conditions along all shores of Hawai`i Island through Sunday before gradually subsiding next week.
     "Due to the King Tides, be aware that coastal areas, beaches, low-lying roads, boat ramps, and harbors may be dangerously impacted during the afternoon and evening hours. A below advisory level south swell will enhance impacts to exposed shores. These high tides and swell will cause higher beach run up, flooding and erosion."
King Tides are expected to send seawater running up onto the shores
through this weekend. Image from University of Hawai`i
     Because of these dangerous conditions, the following precautions should be taken, warns Civil Defense:  "Ocean front residents, beach-goers, and boat owners are advised to be on the alert for high surf, strong currents, and coastal flooding. As a precaution, consider postponing ocean activities until these hazards are over.  As always, precautionary measures should be taken before night fall.
Special caution to the coastal areas in and around Kapoho during the high tide periods.
     There are no closures of roads or beaches. "However, be aware closures may occur without notice.
Radio stations and this public notification will be updated and you will be informed of any conditions that may affect your safety," reports Civil Defense.

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MONEY FOR HEAT ABATEMENT IN PUBLIC SCHOOL CLASSROOMS will be borrowed, interest free, now that Gov. David Ige has signed state House Bill 957 (Act 57) – The Department of Education will borrow money from the Hawai‘i Green Infrastructure Loan Program, the Gov. said when signing the legislation on Thursday.
     The effort is to expedite cooling of classrooms across the state while decreasing energy usage and electricity costs.
    “I ordered the cooling of 1,000 public school classrooms about a year and a half ago. The state and the DOE have worked very hard to achieve this goal. Although the process hasn’t always been easy and it has taken more time than we would have liked, I am happy to say that we expect to have 1,000 classrooms cooled off by the end of August,” said Ige.
Ka`u High & Elementary has high ceilings and large windows but may
qualify in the future for air conditioning through new funding
from the state. Photo by Julia Neal
   The governor's statement says that the DOE is expecting significant decreases in energy use and electricity costs. The use of LED indoor lighting in public school classrooms is expected to result in a $4 million drop in energy costs annually. Such reductions in energy consumption and the lowering of the kilowatt load may enable the installation of AC units in classrooms without expensive and time consuming electrical upgrades.
    The governor’s Cool the Schools initiative and the DOE’s Heat Abatement program have resulted in: The installation of 456 classroom air conditioning units and201 photovoltaic AC units; distribution of 402 portable AC units to the hottest classrooms across the state and the ordering of 1,062 AC units
   In addition, 461 portable classrooms have been covered with heat reflective material; trees have been planted to shade buildings and minimize heat; awnings have been installed on at least four buildings; ceiling fans have been installed in 139 classrooms; and large diameter fans are being installed in cafeteria dining rooms.
    “A big mahalo to our state legislators for their support of our efforts to cool the schools. Thank you also to the DOE for its hard work and for helping us to achieve our goal of creating a learning environment in which our students and teachers can thrive,” Ige said.

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Stained Glass II: Panel Lamp, Sat – Sun, June 24 – July 8, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Claudia McCall teaches students how to create their own stained glass table lamp. $150/$135 VAC members; $15 supply fee. 967-8222

Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole), Sat, June 24, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Palm Trail hikers visit a place where catastrophic change & subsequent restoration can be observed. Free. nps.gov/havo

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ship and submarine repairing and building for the military could become a much bigger industry in Hawai`i,
if plans to increase the U.S. military fleet from 305 to 355 go through, says Sen. Mazie Hirono, who
advises to balance military and domestic needs.  See story below.
Photo from Ship Repair Association of Hawai`i

THE MUSIC PROGRAM AT THE VOLCANO SCHOOL OF ARTS & SCIENCES has received an outpouring of aloha and generous support of Volcano community members and businesses, following the theft of instruments and sound equipment in May.
     In addition to many donations of instruments, community members gave nearly $6,000 to the music program. The Volcano Winery, in partnership with Grand to Grand Ultra, gifted the school with a check for $1,500 for the purchase of new instruments and sound equipment. The Volcano Art Center also donated $1,000 for the school’s music program.
Nearly $6,000 has been raised to support the music program at
Volcano School of Arts & Sciences following theft of
music instruments. Photo from Volcano School
     Music and the arts are not just extra-curricular at Volcano School. They "are an important part of the learning process through arts integration and creative expression," said a statement from the school.
     "Students and staff are deeply appreciative of the tremendous generosity of The Volcano Winery, Grand to Grand Ultra, the Volcano Art Center, and the many individuals who donated instruments, equipment, and money to support the music program. Students and staff express our heartfelt thanks for the incredible community support that provided a very happy outcome to an unfortunate incident."
      Volcano School is a PreK-8 public charter school. Call 808-985-9800 to inquire about enrollment for the 2017-2018 school-year. Visit www.volcanoschool.net to learn more about the school. Save the date.
     The Volcano Winery will sponsor the Harvest Festival fundraiser for Volcano School again on Sept. 10. Tickets go on sale soon.

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THE U.S. SENATE HEALTH CARE proposal, released on Thursday, drew quick response from Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz. Among Hirono's tweets:
     "#Trumpcare would hurt Americans living with illnesses like #kidneycancer. As @POTUS says, that's mean. #kidneycancerday. Breakthroughs in research wouldn't be able to exist w/out an + in funding. We must ensure programs get backing to get off the ground."
     Hirono also tweeted, "In Hawai`i, we have a word for what Senate Republicans are doing with #Trumpcare. It's shibai- or as it's more widely known, B.S. #Trumpcare guts Medicaid and eliminates Medicaid expansion, depriving millions of Americans access to this critical program. Millions of people in this country are very concerned about what this bill does." #msactivist @maziehirono."
     Another Hirono tweet, "To Americans living with serious and chronic diseases, #Trumpcare sends a simple message: you're on your own."
      Schatz said he read the bill right after it came out Thursday morning and went on CNN. He said that the Senate health bill isn't "less mean" than the House bill, which Trump called "Mean." Schaz said that the Senate bill drafted by a few Republican senators behind closed doors, "actually went totally in the opposite direction. They cut Medicaid really deeply. They basically change the nature of the Medicaid  program and make massive cuts....specifically for the purpose of giving a tax cut of about $800 billion dollars to the wealthiest Americans. There is no reason to make a wealth transfer from regular people to rich people but this is what they are are doing in this bill." 
     Schatz told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that Democrats are willing to work in a bipartisan process to improve the existing Affordable Care Act.
     Schatz tweeted: "Forgot to mention that the tax on tanning salons is repealed in the Senate bill. Sigh;" and "Hey Republicans don't listen to me. But ignore AARP at your peril." He referred to the AARP, which Thursday, called on the Senate to reject the health bill. Also calling for rejection was the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and many other health professional organizations.

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An AARP image for citizens standing for health care.
Image from AARP
AARP RESPONDED TO THE HEALTH CARE BILL released Thursday by the U.S. Senate.
     Wrote AARP: "This new Senate bill was crafted in secrecy behind closed doors without a single hearing or open debate—and it shows. The Senate bill would hit millions of Americans with higher costs and result in less coverage for them. AARP is adamantly opposed to the Age Tax, which would allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more for coverage than everyone else while reducing tax credits that help make insurance more affordable.
     “AARP is also deeply concerned that the Senate bill cuts Medicaid funding that would strip health coverage from millions of low-income and vulnerable Americans who depend on the coverage, including 17 million poor seniors and children and adults with disabilities. The proposed Medicaid cuts would leave millions, including our most vulnerable seniors, at risk of losing the care they need and erode seniors’ ability to live in their homes and communities.
     “The Senate bill also cuts funding for Medicare which weakens the programs ability to pay benefits and leaves the door wide open to benefit cuts and Medicare vouchers. AARP has long opposed proposals that cut benefits or weaken Medicare.
     “As we did with all 435 Members of the House of Representatives, AARP will also hold all 100 Senators accountable for their votes on this harmful health care bill. Our members care deeply about their health care and have told us repeatedly that they want to know where their elected officials stand. We strongly urge the Senate to reject this bill.”

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SEN. MAZIE HIRONO WILL UNDERGO SURGERY next week and announced Thursday that her Stage Four cancer for which one of her kidney's was recently removed,  is less aggressive than originally thought, enabling surgeons to remove part of her seventh rib which also has a tumor. "The Senator expects a full recovery," said a statement from her office.
Sen. Mazie Hirono points to Pres. Donald Trump calling the Republican
 health care proposals "Mean."  Photo from Office of Mazie Hirono
     In an interview with KITV newswoman Paula Akana, the broadcaster asked Hirono, "The cancer was found during a routine physical in preparation for eye surgery. It showed up on an x-ray. This with a 69-year-old woman who was last hospitalized when she was 17. Did you, when you look back now, have any kind of symptoms?"
     Hirono replied, "Yes, I did, but I ignored them. I have a tumor on my seventh rib, and for a while I felt this weird kind of a tightness sensation, a bit of pain. I just thought it was a muscle spasm or something and I ignored it. I’m just glad that my cancer was caught early enough because if it weren't for that exam that I mentioned to you I’d still be walking around thinking everything was fine when everything wasn't fine."
     Akana commented on Hirono's energy and work ethic. "Don't expect it to slow her down. It was hard to keep up with the Senator as she walked the capitol going from conference calls to chambers to news conferences. The Energizer Bunny clearly loves what she does. And she isn’t retiring anytime soon."
     Said Hirono: "There's work to do. I’ve been privileged to do what I do for over 30 years and I believe that there is justice. So it keeps me going and I have work to do."
    Akana reported that top on Hirono's list is immigration reform and health care. "Hirono says her experience has now made health care a personal battle."
     Said Hirono: "I just thought that major health issues happen to other people but this really taught me one thing: it can happen to any one of us. All of us- one diagnosis from a major illness. So as we sit here debating health care, it’s even more important that people have the health care that they need."
     The surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday at Georgetown University Hospital. Hirono will be hospitalized for a day or two, and said will be back at work as soon as possible.

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Pearl Harbor Shipyard and other repair and maintenance facilities would
become more important and expand to handle an increase from 308 to 355
military ships proposed by the new federal administration.
BALANCING MILITARY INVESTMENT WITH  DOMESTIC PROGRAMS is important, said Sen. Mazie  Hirono,  Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee. She said on Wednesday that she has heard from Navy leadership on the Navy’s shipbuilding plan and operational needs, including the goal of increasing submarines and major surface combatant force levels from the previously projected need of 308 ships to 355. "While investments in our national security are essential, Senator Hirono reminded her colleagues of the need to balance military investments with critical domestic programs," said a statement from her office.
      “We all learned a lesson in 2013 when sequester was allowed to take effect—in fact, some in our industrial base are still working through the aftermath of that fiasco,” said Hirono. “Yet here we are, six years later, living under the caps, and in fear of sequestration. Funding for critical programs, both defense and non-defense, is not an either or proposition. We cannot enact the priorities and programs discussed today until we lift the caps and eliminate the fear of sequester.”
Hawai`i shipyards are strategically placed to build and make repairs
for the Pacific Fleet.
      Under current policy, the Navy plans to base 60 percent of its ships in the Asia-Pacific region. The new total of 355 ships would equate to an estimated increase of about 28 ships in the region. These additional ships would require increases in the number of sailors, infrastructure, and the capacity of shipyards. Meeting these needs would require new job-creating investments in Hawai`i, including to support Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, which continues to play a vital role in keeping the Pacific fleet ready for action, said the Hirono statement.
       As part of Hirono’s concern about protecting Hawai`i, Alaska and the continental U.S. from long-range missiles, she also asked questions about the ship radar tested Air and Missile Defense Radar. This radar has been tested at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.
      This hearing was one of a series of committee hearings to consider the Fiscal Year 2018 defense budget request and drafting of the National Defense Authorization Act, legislation that sets Department of Defense funding levels and policy each year.

Weave a Small Decorative Fish, Fri, June 23, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Participants use nui (coconut fronds). Free.

Stained Glass II: Panel Lamp, Sat – Sun, June 24 – July 8, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Claudia McCall teaches students how to create their own stained glass table lamp. $150/$135 VAC members; $15 supply fee. 967-8222

Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole), Sat, June 24, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Palm Trail hikers visit a place where catastrophic change & subsequent restoration can be observed. Free. nps.gov/havo
http://kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory_2017