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, March 16, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, March 16, 2017

Kāwā has brackish waters where young fish and birds live, along with visitors enjoying springs
and saltwater. Photo by Julia Neal
NATIVE HAWAIIANS WITH TIES to Kāwā, surfers, fishermen, families who have camped at Kāwā for generations, and representatives of cultural and wildlife conservation groups and County government - these were among the people who gathered at Nā‘ālehu Community Center Wednesday night. They listened to a presentation of a draft of the Kāwā Resources Management Plan, written by a consultancy named Townscape, Inc. and the County of Hawai`i.
Clarissa and Duane Pua suggested the County
talk to more than the 40 interviewed for the
draft plan. Photo by Ann Bosted
   Two spokespersons for Townscape, Gabrielle Sham and Angela Fa’anunu, chaired the meeting. They spent most of the session explaining some of the recommendations contained in the Draft Kāwā Resources Management Plan. Sham told The Ka`u Calendar that she thought the meeting went well, and that people had offered comments, which Townscape will have to work through. “We had a lot of new people who contributed ideas, so that was great.”
      Sham began the meeting with the question, “How do we protect Kāwā before it is too late?” She and Fa’anunu said that Townscape, hired by the County to produce the 136-page report, interviewed about 40 people, including kūpuna, lineal descendants, fishermen, surfers and many others connected to Kāwā and the ‘Āina.
     Townscape’s plan recommends controlling animal predators that could threaten native species, managing the vegetation and human activities, recognizing the cultural resources, nominating Kāwā as a historic district, designating Kāwā as an area for subsistence fishing, banning bulldozing, and maintaining “the sense of place.”
      The plan also recommends amending the County Charter so that stewardship grants could cover the cost of labor and the cost of educational programs. Townscape’s draft plan was reported to have cost $225,000 and took almost two years to complete. The report was a condition of one of the grants enabling the County to acquire the land.
      Sham and Fa’anunu emphasized that it would take a collective effort to reach a common goal to protect and steward Kāwā for the community. They asked for comments from members of the audience, many of whom came from Ka’u places ranging from Wood Valley and Pahala to Wai`ohinu and Ocean View. Sham and Fa’anunu often paraphrased community suggestions on large sheets of paper. 
Gabrieela Sham and Angela Fa`anunu co-chaired the
 meeting on the future of Kawa. Photo by Ann Bosted
     The first topic for community discussion was the County’s Stewardship Grant fund. Ka’u residents questioned why, with so much in the fund, so few grants have been made.
     The Stewardship Grants are funded by the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission (PONC). In 2012 Hawai’i County voters approved a Quarter Percent Fund to maintain properties acquired through the Two Percent Fund. Non-profit organizations must apply to the Department of Parks and Recreation for “PONC Stewardship Grants” to conserve and manage the County’s open spaces. As of December 1, 2016 the PONC Maintenance Fund had a balance of $1,882,099. Four applications for funds to steward Kāwā are making their way through the system.
     Shelley Mahi-Hanai was among the more vocal members of the audience, often raising involved legal objections to the county’s ownership of the land. Sham repeatedly invited Mahi-Hanai to conference after the meeting. Mahi-Hanai has supported Abel Lui in his hard-fought battle to prove his ownership of Kāwā. Lui was evicted from the land by the County in 2012 after living there for many years.
    The question of easy access for kūpuna and the handicapped was raised.
A young Ka’u resident replied that although he is fit now, he realized that one day he may be handicapped. He asked the meeting to understand that Kāwā is a sacred place, and not every sacred place should be made accessible to everyone. He admitted that this was “unfortunate” for some, but “no Hawaiian would want a road dozed into this.” Many in the meeting voiced their agreement. “Back in the days, no vehicle came in here,” asserted a resident, to which some in the audience replied “Amen!” One person opined that the community should accept the ‘Āina as it is, and “not change it for our convenience.”
     A young man raised the issue of climate change and suggested that the plan take into account the anticipated higher sea levels, and the higher storm surge, which scientists predict for the coming decades. 
Community, government, and family members, connected to the oceanfront 
land at Kawa converged on a presentation of a draft management plan
 on Wednesday. Photo by Ann Bosted
    A 100-acre strip of privately owned land in the middle of the county-owned lands along the coast was pointed out as a potential threat to the plan, if the private owners are not supportive of its goals. According to county records, there are 31 owners are on the deed, two of them deceased. The owners have addresses on the Big Island and O`ahu, as well as the mainland. The property is zoned Conservation. This flag lot extends from Highway 11 to the coast at Pu’uo Point, and lies to the north of Kāwā Bay.
    Sham stated that some of the private owners have consulted regarding the resources at Kawa and stewardship of the place.  The consultants also pointed out that the state owns 2.13 acres encompassing the Kāwā pond and 1.147 acres that was a school grant. Other privately owned inholdings are a .65-acre lot and a quarter-acre lot.
     Clarissa Pua wanted to know why the pond at Kawa is "no longer flowing," saying “we depend on that.” Other residents claimed that the invasives in the pond had been holding the sand, but that by removing the vegetation, the sand partly filled the pond and blocked the fresh water inlet. A resident told the meeting, “we used to dive in the pond, but now it is all filled in. Hilea Iki, the stream, is clogged. I see the kūpuna cry when they see how it is now.”
   After the meeting, Clarissa Pua and her husband, Duane Pua, said that Duane is descended from King Kamehameha and his ‘ohana grew up in the area. His nephew used to clean out the ponds. Duane agreed that removing foliage let the sand in. “Its going to be hard to remove the sand. The feeder into the pond has been closed since August.”
   The Puas said that Townscape and the County should have had “a meeting with all the families and get all the views. Forty people is not enough. There are grand-children and great-grand-children who are connected to the ‘Āina and should be included,” said Duane who added “I don’t mind walking in to Kāwā – I walk in from Punalu’u."
     Vice-President of Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, Megan Lamson, who organizes Ka`u Coast Clean-ups, has brought volunteers to clear invasive grasses from the estuary and fishpond since 2014. In a grant application, Lamson (not in attendance at the meeting) wrote: “Hawai`i Wildlife Fund hopes that this restoration work will allow the native reeds (nanaku) and other native coastal vegetation … to repopulate and fill in the streambed and intertidal zones, thereby increasing the available dissolved oxygen in the estuary for aquatic organisms.”
     Mahi-Hanai told The Ka’u Calendar that she is concerned about the lack of enforcement of the rights of the heirs, quoting legislation and terms such as “deliberate indifference.”  She said she has researched old laws, including those connected with Prince Kuhio in 1919, and has a large binder of printed material. She said she hopes that the County will honor laws dating back to the Hawaiian monarchs.
      The County and Townscape have been gathering information and preferences to plan the future of Kāwā through meetings and interviews. The land was purchased in 2008 and 2011. The 785 acres stretch for two thirds of a mile along the coast between Punalu`u and Honu`apu, near mile marker 57.    With Honu`apo also in public hands, the county and community partners are managing about 1,000 acres makai of Hwy 11. These are lands along the Ka`u Coast that were formerly on the real estate market, up for sale for development.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps,
faces steep cuts in the federal budget for 2018, proposed by Pres. Donald Trump. Photo from USDA
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE would lose $4.7 billion, 21 percent of its annual funding if  President Donald Trump's proposed 2018 budget, released Thursday, is approved by Congress. Some of the vulnerable programs run by the U.S.D.A and familiar to rural families in Ka`u include: 
     Food & Nutrition Service, which subsidizes lunches and breakfasts at local schools SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) and WIC (food subsidies for Women Infants and Children); Rural Development, Natural Resources Conservation Service; Farm Service Agency; Animal and Plant Health Inspection; Agricultural Marketing Service; Agricultural Research Service, U.S.D.A Forest Service; Food Safety & Inspection Service; Risk Management Agency; National Institute of Food & Agriculture; and the National Agriculture Statistics Service.
     The proposed budget will go through Congress for approvals and adjustments.
     Ka`u Farmers Union, a member of Hawai`i Farmers Union United and parent organization National Farmers Union, issued a statement entitled President's Budget Shuns Rural America with Deep Cuts to Agriculture and Services to Rural America. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson writes: 
     “Family farmers and ranchers are currently enduring the worst farm economy in well over a decade and an inadequate safety net that is hamstrung by $23 billion in budget cuts. The last thing our members need right now is more cuts to agencies and programs that provide incredibly important work, especially in the midst of the current farm crisis. These cuts and the message they send to rural America are deeply disappointing."
    Johnson notes that "Trump’s budget blueprint calls for a $4.7 billion cut to USDA, which equates to a 21 percent drop for programs that serve rural and farming communities across the U.S. This huge cut to discretionary spending will put rural development, food safety, conservation and research programs on the chopping block.
     “The proposal recommends eliminating the Senior Community Service Employment Program that provides job training for older unemployed Americans. This program serves older Americans across the country, but is critical at addressing the challenges faced by older people in rural America."
       The Farmers Union also expressed disappointment in a proposed $2.6 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency budget. "This 31 percent drop guts the agency’s ability to provide very important environmental services and pesticide approval. It even limits the administration’s ability to rewrite or remove the unnecessary regulations that the President promised to address. Regulatory relief comes from having a system that works," states the Farmers Union President. 
     “To this point, the president has put the needs of rural America and agriculture on the backburner, and, in many cases, on the chopping block. We call on Congress to reject these budget cuts and adopt funding levels that ensure the success and vibrancy of farming communities and rural America.”

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PRES. DONALD TRUMP'S BUDGET - "His first blueprint for our country's future – is short on real details, but it's clear that supporting strong local economies, building vibrant communities, or protecting the most vulnerable are not among his priorities," said Ka`u's U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono.
     She issued a statement after Trump's proposed federal budget was released on Thursday, saying, "The President would completely eliminate programs that support Hawai`i's affordable housing efforts, clean energy investment, and opportunity for educational advancement and community service. It would end the Essential Air Service program that serves as a lifeline to Kala`upapa, Moloka`i, eliminates the TIGER grant program, which funded improvements to Saddle Road on Hawai`i Island and Pier 29 on O`ahu, and would threaten the Impact Aid program that ensures that every student in Hawai`i's public schools receives a quality education."
     Hirono stated that cuts in the proposed budget to the Environmental Protection Agency, and Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and Commerce "will seriously undermine protections for clean air and water, public health, worker safety, and our economy.
     "Altogether this budget says one thing—If you're rich and powerful, you'll be fine. Everyone else is left out to dry. Those aren't Hawai`i's values, and they certainly aren't mine. I will fight against these nonsensical and harmful cuts."

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WEIGHING IN ON THE TRAVEL BAN that was shot down by U.S. District Judge Derrick Kahala Watson on Wednesday, U.S. Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard stated: "Hawaiʻi is a place where people with different ideas, backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities feel welcomed and respected. It's only right that our Attorney General Doug Chin represent those values in working to stop this blanket travel ban from going into effect. This travel ban is bad policy, plain and simple.”
   Pres. Donald Trump said he would take his travel ban all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming it is needed to keep Americans safe.

CONCERNING THE TRUMP PLAN TO REPLACE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, Sen. Brian Schatz tweeted that the U.S. Congressional Budget Office assessment "is clear. At least 24 million will lose health care under #TrumpCare. We can't impose this catastrophe on the American people."

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Ka`u Rural Health Community Association's 19th Annual rural Health Conference is Friday, Mar 17, 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. 928-0101. Free to the community.

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Buffet, Fri, Mar 17, 5 – 8 p.m., Kilauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Café in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Corned beef & cabbage, lamb stew, shepherd’s pie & more. $19 adults; $10 children 6 – 11 years. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. 967-8356.

Park Ranger gazes across Nāpau Crater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National
Park where a hike is offered this Saturday. NPS Photo
Wilderness Hike to Nāpau Crater, Sat, Mar 18, 9 a.m., Mauna Ulu parking lot, off Chain of Craters Road in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Journey through the wilderness of Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone on this challenging 14-mile, seven-hour, round-trip interpretive trek. Free; park entrance fees apply. 985-6017

Writing for Inner Exploration & Life Reflection, Sat, March 18, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Volcano Art Center. With Tom Peek. $75/$65 VAC members. 967-8222

Hula Kahiko, Sat, Mar 18, 10:30 a.m., hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. With Kumu hula Pele Kaio, Unukupukupuku, and the students of Unulau and Papa Hu`elepo. Na Mea Hula with Kumu hula Ab Valencia and members of Hālau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu, 11a.m. – 1 p.m., gallery porch.