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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023

Old Hawai'i on Horseback drew a hundred riders and horses to Waiki'i Ranch, with Lori Lee Lorenzo representing Kaʻū.
Photos from Kaʻū Multicultural Society

Lori Lee Lorenzo is Princess of Lana'i
 at Old Hawai'i on Horseback
OLD HAWAI'I ON HORSEBACK welcomed Lorie Lee Lorenzo from Kaʻū to Waiki'i Ranch last weekend to honor Anna Leialoha Lindsey Perry Fiske, who founded the event from her Anna's Ranch in Waimea.
Alohalynn Vierra and Darlyne Vierra, of Kaʻū Multicultural
Society with  Lori Lee Lorenzo at Waiki'i Ranch.
The annual Old Hawai'i on Horseback is part pageant, part parade, part rodeo grand promenade. It is sponsored by the Paniolo Preservation Society, which also hosts the Paniolo Hall of Fame that honors and tells the story of many paniolo from Kaʻū.
Old Hawai'i On Horseback is described by Paniolo Preservation Society: "Here, horses help tell the story of Hawai'i’s history, from the first mare and colt to set hooves on island soil, to the fabulous pā‘ū riders in their rainbow of flowing costume, and the flags and brands of proud riders repping today’s ranches."
With support from Darlyne Vierra and her Kaʻū Multicultural Society, Lorenzo participated and was the only rider from Kaʻū, joining over 100 horses and riders from Hawai'i Island, Maui and Moloka'i. Lorenzo rode as Princess of Lana'i.

Her support group, who helped her make lei, some of them traveling to assist her in Waimea, included her parents Frank Sr. and Mahina Lorenzo, fiancee Ikaika Grace, and Kaʻū Multicultural Society members Winslow and Darlyne Vierra, Aloha Beck, and Alohalynn Vierra.
See more on Paniolo Preservation Society at https://paniolopreservation.org/.
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HAWAI'I ISLANDERS WHO WANT TO HELP DISPLACED MAUI RESIDENTS to relocate here temporarily or for long-term can become involved with a County of Hawai'i outreach. The public is invited to explore the virtual resource hub at hawaiicounty.gov/maui. It is a growing resource, and those wishing to contribute resources or support the growing resource can contact Cyrus Johnasen at cyrus.johnasen@hawaiicounty.gov. Johansen is Public Information Officer for Hawai'i County.
      A statement from the County on Thursday says, "At the heart of this effort is a comprehensive virtual resource hub, accessible on the Hawaiʻi County website, serving as a lifeline for Maui residents relocating to Hawaiʻi Island. The virtual resource hub includes housing guidance, financial aid information, job resources, business recovery assistance, food programs, medical service details, and transportation options for displaced residents."
    Johansen said, "During crises, access to essential services and information becomes crucial, which is why our dedicated team is compiling a wide range of resources and assistance programs for those in transition. Maui and Hawaiʻi Island share many ties which might make us a natural fit for relocation as residents look to get back on their feet with dignity. That's why we shifted our focus to ensuring a smooth transition for those who decide to join our Hawaiʻi Island ʻohana. The faster we can help folks get services, the quicker they can assimilate into our community."
     As a potential second phase of this initiative, Hawaiʻi County seeks to establish partnerships to provide physical resource spaces within the community. These spaces will provide access to computers and trained staff who can assist displaced residents in navigating the resources found on the virtual hub. If found to be a viable need, this step would aim to bridge the digital divide and offer personalized assistance to those who may face challenges accessing online information and services.
    Mayor Mitch Roth said, "We are proud to continue to show a commitment to our Maui ʻohana while remaining steadfast in our work for Hawaiʻi Island residents. It's important to remember that we are all interconnected and that lending a helping hand whenever possible is innate to the spirit and vibrancy of our island and state. We welcome all displaced residents who choose to come with open arms and aloha as they continue to rebuild from the ashes."
    The unveiling of the resource hub comes in tandem with Gov Josh Green's announcement that the State would begin to look for longer-term housing options for displaced Maui residents as temporary shelters return to normal operations.

Sunrise at Lapahoehoe Point, with the chant E Ala E begins the day for Kaʻū Future Farmers.
Photo from Kaʻū Future Farmers

THE ULU HOU PROJECT DREW KAʻŪ HIGH SCHOOL'S FUTURE FARMERS TO KOHALA last Saturday, Sept. 16. The group traveled to Makapala Retreat Center to engage with other school groups, to 
Kaʻū Future Farmers go on retreat to plan
projects for the year. Photo from Kaʻū FFA
get to know one another, collaborate and make plans for the year.      They gathered at Makapala on Saturday and learned the chant called E Ala E. After an overnight stay, they awakened at 3:30 a.m. and left Makapala at 4:20 a.m. for a sunrise ceremony at Laupahoehoe Point.
    After returning to Makapala, the Furture Farmers of America members separated into groups representing each school and planned projects for the year. 
    FFA member Alajshae Barrios reported that Kaʻū students "came up with two projects. Our Treasurer Ezekiel Kaawa and our Sentinel Triton Blanco will be raising a pig to cook in our Imu and plan to make kalua." 
    The second project is led by FAA President Jacelyn Jara and FFA member Dreana Vierra-Mukini who plan to produce kulolo and haupia. "To accomplish their goal they will be keeping track of the moon phases, taking care of different crops we have. 
    "This is what Kaʻū FFA will be doing for their Ulu Hou Project, which is a year long program in collaboration with Kahua Pa'a Mua," reported Barrios.  One of Kahua Pa'a Mua's aims is to increase community resilience, food self-sufficiency and access to healthy, locally grown food. See more on Kahua Pa'a Mua and its Executive Director David Fuertes at www.kahuapaamua.org.
FFA advisors Jessie Denny  (left) and Kaweni Ibarra, (center) with Kaʻū Future Farmers students on a field trip last weekend.
Photo from Kaʻū Future Farmers


Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023

Registration remains open for Kaʻū Coffee Trail 50K, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K.

KAʻŪ COFFEE TRAIL RUNS COMES UP THIS SATURDAY, Sept. 23 with registration still available. The races begin and end at Kaʻū Coffee Mill at 96-2696 Wood Valley Road in Pāhala, with the courses climbing through macadamia and coffee orchards into the rainforest with 180 degree ocean views.
    For the long race, a 50K beginning at 6 a.m., cost is $120. The Half Marathon at 7 a.m. is $110 with the cutoff nine hours.The 10K at 7:15 a.m. is $69, and the 5K at 7:30 a.m. is $55.
    Money raised goes to the local non profit O Kaʻū Kakou for scholarships, land for a senior housing project, purchase of life-saving equipment for Kaʻū Hospital, restoration and maintenance of three historical cemeteries, and the annual Veterans Day celebration and Nāʻālehu Independence Day Parade.
    Race organizers will provide hydration and light snacks to those crossing the finish line. Local vendors from the Kaʻū community will sell snacks and beverages, such as chili and rice bowls, soups and beverages. Kaʻū Coffee Mill shop with beverages and some foods opens at 6:30 a.m. race day.
    RFID Chip will provide the timing and notes that times begin when the gun goes off. The organizer of the races is Big Island Runners. Register at https://register.chronotrack.com/r/73385.

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HAWAI'I IS THE STATE WITH THE MOST RACIAL AND ETHNIC DIVERSITY, according to a WalletHub report this week. Its overall Diversity ranking is third. It is first in Ethnic and Generational Diversity, third in Cultural and Economic Diversity, fourth in Political and Worker-Class Diversity, tenth

in Linguistic Diversity, 13th in Birthplace Diversity, 17th in Household Size Diversity, 23rd in Income Diversity, 24th in Occupational Diversity, 25th in Industry Diversity, 26th in Socioeconomic Diversity, 27th in Educational-Attainment Diversity and 34th in Religious Diversity.
    Other very Diverse states are top ranking California, followed by Texas. After Hawai'i's third place ranking are New Jersey, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Maryland and Arizona.
   The Least Diverse state is West Virginia. Maine is second Least Diverse, followed by New Hampshire, Vermont, Montana, Kentucky, Iowa, Wyoming, Utah and North Dakota. For the full report, visit:
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HAWAI'I SEN. MAZIE HIRONO VOTED TO CONFIRM THE CHAIR OF THE U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF on Wednesday, helping to make way for more military leaders to receive their new ranks, pay, and posts. Their new assignments are held up Sen. Tommy Tuberville, of Alabama. He has been blocking the promotion of military personnel as a protest for his opposition to the military allowing its women soldiers to choose to have abortions.

See securefamiliesinitiative.org
    After Tuesday's vote and confirmation of Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. to lead the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hirono, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, advanced the nomination of General Randy George to be Army Chief of Staff. This week, the Senate is also expected to consider the nomination of General Eric Smith to be Commandant of the Marine Corps. All three nominations, as well as hundreds of other General and Flag Officer promotions, have been blocked for months "due to reckless holds put in place by Sen. Tommy Tuberville," said a statement from Hirono's office.
    Hirono said, "General Brown is a life-long public servant and battle-tested leader who should have, and could have, been confirmed months ago. By blocking his nomination—along with those of hundreds of other officers—Sen. Tuberville manufactured a crisis that continues to jeopardize our national security. Today, Senate Democrats acted to avoid some of the gravest potential consequences of this crisis by confirming his promotion. The DOD's travel policy remains in effect. Sen. Tuberville's hold is not accomplishing his goal, and this self-indulgent behavior is only accomplishing chaos.      
    "With the promotions of more than 300 career officers still in limbo, this crisis is far from over. While Republicans sow chaos at the expense of our troops, Senate Democrats will continue working to strengthen our national security and support the brave men and women of our Armed Forces," said Hirono.
    In March, when Tuberville first began his hold on numerous military officer promotions, Hirono delivered remarks on the Senate floor to speak out against his decision. In May, she joined Senators Richard Blumenthal, Tammy Duckworth and Michael Bennet in asking for unanimous consent on the Senate floor to confirm the military nominations that were being blocked by Senate Republicans, led by Tuberville. She also delivered remarks on the Senator floor to condemn Tuberville's ongoing hold, which was impacting nearly 200 military officer promotions. In July, Senator Hirono led seven of her Democratic colleagues on the Committee in calling on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to help end Tuberville's hold on more than 260 military promotions.

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JONAH FARMER OF OCEAN VIEW HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER, robbery, and auto theft, stemming from a shooting incident that occurred in Ocean View on Tuesday morning, Sept. 19. Detectives with the Hawai‘i Police Department’s Area II Criminal Investigation Section arrested the 26-year-old.
    Responding to a shooting on Aloha Blvd reported around 5:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Ka‘ū patrol officers made contact with a 43-year-old male victim, also from Ocean View.
    The victim reported that while sleeping in a tent on his property he was approached by an unidentified female asking for assistance with her vehicle. While walking to assist woman, an unknown man, later identified as Jonah Farmer, assaulted him with an unspecified weapon, resulting in injuries to his neck and

Jonah Farmer of Ocean View has been arrested
for attempted murder, auto theft and more.
Photo from HPD
head. A short struggle ensued and the male victim was subsequently shot in his upper right thigh, prompting him to flee to a neighboring residence for help.
    The victim told police that he believed that the suspect's intention was to rob him. He also reported that his 2022 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck was stolen during the incident. An all-points bulletin was disseminated to officers for the vehicle.
    Having received substantial injuries, the victim was transported to Kona Community Hospital for treatment and was later released.
    Later on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., Kona patrol officers were conducting area checks in Kailua-Kona when they observed Farmer operating a 2019 Kia Soul. Shortly thereafter, he was contacted by officers and subsequently arrested without incident for the following offenses: Second-degree attempted murder; First-degree robbery; First-degree burglary; Second-degree assault; Unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle (auto theft); and First-degree theft.
    Area II CIS detectives recovered the Kia Soul and a search warrant is pending. Farmer remains in police custody as detectives continue their investigation.
    Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Detective Donovan Kohara, via email at donovan.kohara@hawaiicounty.gov, via telephone at (808) 960-3118 or the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311.
    Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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Bailee Powers 
PROSECUTING ATTORNEY KELDEN WALTJEN has announced arresting and charging 26 year-old Bailee Powers, of Volcano, in relation to theft of a Honda Civic that was originally reported stolen on Sept. 7 from the parking area along the shoulder of the intersection of Komohana Street and Puainako extension in Hilo.
    Powers was scheduled to make her initial appearance on Wednesday in Hilo District Court. She remained in custody in lieu of $35,000 bail. As the Complaint alleges, Powers faces charges of Theft in the First Degree (obtained or exerted unauthorized control over another person’s motor vehicle, a Honda automobile) and Unauthorized Control of a Propelled Vehicle in the First Degree. The more serious offense, Theft in the First Degree, is a class B felony offense which carries a penalty of either a ten-year prison term or four years probation and up to 18 months in jail.
   The Prosecuting Attorney noted that charges are merely allegations and the Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
    The theft case was initiated by Officer Danton Zimmerman, South Hilo Patrol. The arrest was made by Officer Devin Ah Chong, Puna Patrol, and the felony investigation was led by Officer Jayce Carvalho, Special Enforcement Unit, Area I Criminal Investigation Section, Hawai‘i Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Soong.
 The statement from Office of the Prosecuting Attorney said the team "remains dedicated to the pursuit of justice with integrity and commitment. Anyone having information to assist local law enforcement should call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300. #hawaiiprosecutors #hawaiipolicedepartment."

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023

Between Ka Lae and Kamilo volunteers from here and New Zealand picked up over 1,800 tons of marine debris.
Photo by Megan Lamson/Hawai'i Wildlife Fund

HAWAI'I WILDLIFE FUND TEAMED UP WITH SEA CLEANERS NEW ZEALAND LAST WEEK. They brought a group of visiting youth and young adult ocean ambassadors from New Zealand, Australia and Oʻahu, to help support cleanup efforts in Kaʻū with HWF, and in Kohala with Pololū community stewards. The dozen ambassadors, ages 16 to 20, also led environmental education lessons in classrooms at public schools
    Hawai'i Wildlife Fund community-based cleanup events are funded by private donations and a 2021 NOAA Marine Debris Program competitive grant award, and this Sea Cleaners youth ambassador trip was supported by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, Hawaiian Airlines, and Billabong Australia.
Sea Cleaners from New Zealand joined Hawai'i Wildlife Fund to clean up the Kaʻū
 Coast from Kalae to Kamilo. Photo by Megan Lamson/ Hawai'i Wildlife Fund
    Megan Lamson, Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund Program Director, said, "Over 100 bags of ocean pollution were removed from the coastline between Ka Lae and Kamilo with support from community volunteers and the ocean ambassadors with Sea Cleaners during two cleanup events. We were able to remove over 1,850 pounds of marine debris, including an estimated 400 pounds of derelict fishing net bundles, and divert approximately 500 pounds of plastic pollution from the landfill by collaborating with local artist, Don Elwing of Sea Love. Together, we can stem the rising tide of trash and better protect our native wildlife and coastal communities."
    Capt. Hayden Smith, founder of Sea Cleaners said, "We've made a lot of progress, but there is still much to do. That's why — even 20 years in — we still measure every day in bags of rubbish removed from the water – this isn't the kind of problem you can solve overnight with a silver bullet, it takes consistent effort every day. It will require ongoing work from all of us, from governments to companies and individual people, to shift the health of our oceans back towards where they need to be."
    Kona-based nonprofit, Clean Rewards, also teamed up with Tan & Salty Hawaiʻi to host a community

Interested persons can volunteer for cleanups in Kaʻū. 
Photo by Megan Lamson/Hawai'i Wildlife Fund
cleanup event on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Old Kona Airport with an educational booth by The Marine Mammal Center, beginning with with a yoga class from The Yoga Nest. They had 15 volunteers who helped to remove 10 pounds of trash, primarily small pieces of litter (e.g., microplastics, cigarette butts, bottle caps), including 501 cigarette butts.
   Aaron Draime, founder of Clean Rewards, said, "Small sustainable changes create ripples to help change the future."
    Also on Saturday, the Marine Option Program led 16 University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo students to clean along the Hilo coastline from the mouth of Wailoa River (near Hilo Bay Café and Liliʻuokalani Gardens) to the old Uncle Billy's Hotel. This MOP team removed an estimated 150-200 pounds of trash, including many old bike parks, broken glass fragments and miscellaneous accumulated litter from abandoned homeless encampments. Fishing line collected that day was added to the monofilament line bins that were previously installed by a past UHH MOP student, and are currently being maintained by the Hawaiʻi DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources' Protected Species Program staff.
Fishing nets that wash into tidepools and
the shore are major polluters of Kaʻū Coast.
Photo by Megan Lamson/Hawai'i Wildlife Fund
    Hawai'i Wildlife Fund recommends that interested persons support upcoming legislation to reduce the amount of single-use plastics in Hawaiʻi County. "Try your best to eliminate disposable items from your daily lives, and join in for a community or coastal cleanup event near you! You can check out cleanup calendars on various NGO websites or ask HWF about their do-it-yourself beach cleanup tips for local    County / State beach parks and along public trails."
    Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund has removed over 325 tons (650,000 pounds) of marine debris from the shores of Hawaiʻi Island since 2003 (over 90% recovered from along the remote Kaʻū coastline) with help from over 60,000 hours of volunteer labor.
    Clean Rewards has removed over 16,000 pounds of litter since it was founded in 2018. Clean Rewards will have a station at the Hokulia Bypass Cleanup hosted by Miss Kona Coffee 2023, Shyla Victor, on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. with kids events and entertainment to follow in the Keauhou Shopping Center from noon to 3 p.m.
    Cleanup contacts – Hawaiʻi Island: Hawai'i Wildlife Fund (Kaʻū) – kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com or wildhawaii.org/calendar; University of Hawai'i-Hilo Marine Options Program: http://uhhmop.hawaii.edu/;
Clean Rewards (Kona) – cleanrewards@gmail.com; Clean The Pacific (North Kohala) cleanthepacific808@gmail.com; Keep Puakō Beautiful (South Kohala)- keeppuakobeautiful@gmail.com; Ocean Defenders Alliance (Kona – Kohala dive cleanups) – sarah@oceandefenders.org
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park invites volunteers to help
 at its native plant nursery. NPS Photo by Jay Robinson

VOLUNTEERS ARE INVITED TO THE PLANT RESTORATION NURSERY at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Nursery Operations Lead Eric-Preston Hameren said the Ke Ēweiēwe – Plant Restoration project welcomed volunteers back to the greenhouses "to give all of our plants some love! I am very excited for you all to see the plants because everything has grown so much over the summer." Sign up to volunteer for September and October at https://forms.office.com/g/DnGcatTKmS. Call 808-985-6195.

Band-rumped storm-petrel lives at sea but nests on Mauna Loa. DLNR wildlife biologist Alex
Wang searched for the bird for seven years and finally found its nesting place in July
Photo by Alex Wang

THE BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL HAS BEEN FOUND. State Department of Land & Natural Resources released a report on the critically endangered species on Tuesday saying:
    For seven years, Alex Wang, Wildlife Biologist with the DLNR’s Division of Forestry & Wildlife, has searched for signs of the band-rumped storm-petrel, or ‘akē‘akē, nesting on Hawai‘i Island. After a long process of night surveys requiring patience, method refinement, and a generous dose of resolve, that day finally arrived in July.
    The cryptic, nocturnal seabird species is native to Hawai‘i and inhabits remote areas of our state, with the vast majority likely breeding on Kaua‘i. Though the storm-petrel is widespread across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans with numbers estimated at 150,000, the Hawaiian population is small, maybe fewer than
The critically endangered band-rumped storm-petrel was found in a huge lava cave
 on Mauna Loa with help from detective dogs. Photo by Alex Wang
250 pairs. It is listed as Critically Endangered. As Wang and a group of fellow Hawai‘i Island biologists have learned, it is challenging to locate and estimate the population size of the smallest and rarest seabird species to breed in Hawai‘i.
    “I’m super excited to finally confirm a burrow, because ‘akē‘akē aren’t the easiest to track,” said Wang. “Investing so much time and energy, to get proof is a relief. It’s been a long time coming.”
    Prior to the recent discovery, only four other nesting sites have been confirmed in the state. Part of the challenge of tracking the species is their furtive behavior. On Hawai‘i Island, these birds nest in high-elevation burrows and crevices on barren lava flows, often in burrow complexes with multiple entrances and exits.
    ‘Akē‘akē also leave their burrows before first light, spend the entire day, or multiple days at sea, and return only after dark. And, unlike their larger cousins, the Hawaiian Petrel or ʻUaʻu, who leave guano just outside their own burrows making detection easier, ‘akē‘akē offer no such assistance.
    Steps taken to determine their presence at the Mauna Loa Forest Reserve include the use of infrared thermal binoculars, remote acoustic recorders called song meters, night vision equipment, and motion-activated game cameras that canvas the lava flows for nightly bird activity. In addition to these tools, special ‘akē‘akē detection dogs were brought on board to pinpoint potential nests. The addition of the dogs, Slater and Ikaika, and biologist/trainer Michelle Reynolds to the team, offered a complementary and welcome boost to the search effort.
    “The detection dogs are game changers,” said Wang. “They’ve made the search much more feasible. Each time we take them out, we uncover more potential burrows. It’s a big step.”
    Ecological detection dogs are trained similarly to dogs used in law enforcement. The dogs get imprinted on an odor, are reinforced to associate that odor through a primary reward and use their keen sense of smell to locate the scent.
A detection dog imprinted with the odor of the endangered
petrel worked with the researchers to find their bird.
Photo Alex Wang
    “One of the most fantastic things about dog olfaction is their ability to navigate,” Reynolds said. “It’s not that they can just smell it, they can find it.” She added that it’s more of a game than an obedience activity for the dogs. More fun than work.
    It was five-year-old Ikaika who discovered the burrow which was later confirmed by game camera images. Armed with little more than a sharp nose and an intrinsic drive for a “rewarding” job, dogs can spend hours tracking down a scent.
    Reynolds acknowledged that paw protection was a concern that could hinder their search capability due to the rough, uneven surfaces of the pāhoehoe lava. She alleviated the issue by creating special lava booties constructed from motorcycle tire inner tubes. This made a potential major issue a minor one.
    With the help of the detection dogs, Wang is hopeful the team can track down more petrels in the near future. Their work to find these stealthy ‘akē‘akē is important as they may be endemic and soon be recognized as a distinct species. In the meantime, he wants to defend these birds from predator threats to ensure their continued existence.
    “We know these seabirds are vulnerable to invasive mammals, especially cats and mongooses,” Wang said. He hopes to add a predator-proof fence as a more secure control method to the traps and other protections to help preserve this endangered species indefinitely.