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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021

Hawai'i Wildlife Fund, known for cleaning up the Kaʻū Coast and protecting hawksbill turtles and many other 
species, has commented on plans for Punalu'u and issued a review of Hawai'i Wildlife Fund's 25-year history. 
Photo from Hawai'i Wildlife Fund
OPINION ON A PROPOSED MINOR SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA APPLICATION FOR PROJECTS AT PUNALU'U, including an open market across from Black Sand Beach and a Welcome Center at the tennis courts area, has gone to County of Hawai'i from Hawai'i Wildlife Fund. The letter to Planning Director Zendo Kern is signed by Hawai'i Wildlife Fund President and Program Director Megan Lamson, Executive Director and Co-founder Hannah Bernard, Conservation Specialist Jodie Rosam and Cultural Resource Specialist Nohealani Ka'awa.
    According to the President of the non-profit, Hawai'i Wildlife Fund has been informed by the Planning Director that the request for the SMAA has been withdrawn, and the Hawai'i Wildlife Fund letter retained for the record. According to Eva Liu, whose company applied for the permit, she plans to hold public meetings in early December to go over community ideas, concerns and plans for Punalu'u's resort, commercial, conservation and residential lands. She also said she is considering offering some of the coastal lands to the county through the Public Access, Open Space & Natural Resources Preservation Commission program, called PONC.
    The letter from Hawai'i Wildlife Fund says: "As an active non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Hawaiʻi’s wildlife for the past 25 years, Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund would like to express our concerns regarding the SMAA submitted by Black Sand Beach, LLC for the development of the Open Market and Welcome Center at Punaluʻu.
    "We respect that the Applicant has invested the time to connect with those who have kuleana to the area. However, we emphasize that in order to proceed with this SMAA request, new current shoreline and vegetation surveys should be conducted before concluding that there are indeed no impacts to our native wildlife and habitats. 
    "First, Policy 28 in the Kaʻū Community Development Plan states that, 'On lots that are at least partially within the Special Management Area in the Kaʻū CDP Planning Area, establish shoreline setbacks at the earliest stages of the land use planning and development process at a minimum of 1,320 feet (1/4-mile) ...' The proposed location of the Open Market is 200 feet from the shoreline, and as such is not in alignment with this important Kaʻū CDP Policy. 
Punalu'u sunrise.  Photo by Iwalani Watai
    "Second, the SMAA references documents (including a 1988 FEIS and a 2006 Draft EIS) which are not only outdated, but were (in the case of the 2006 DEIS) also a major source of conflict in the community and lacking in sound scientific data collection methodology. (See tomorrow's Ka`u News Briefs for the comment letter drafted to the COH Planning department 15 years ago stating there were inadequacies of the DEIS for the proposed Sea Mountain development, proposed at that time.)
    "In summary, both then and now, the shoreline at Punaluʻu remains an ecologically sensitive area, home to basking threatened honu (green turtles), nesting endangered honuʻea (hawksbill turtles), resting endangered Hawaiian monk seals, in addition to coastal ponds, tidepools, and coral reefs with their countless native inhabitants, plus one of the few remaining populations of endangered loulu palms (Pritchardia maideniana). 
    "Third, the proposed location of the Welcome Center is on nine acres of lowland dry shrubland, which in itself is a threatened ecosystem type. The application states that, 'A few native species, such as ʻAlahee trees and shrubs such as ʻAʻalii and ʻIlima may inhabit the general area based on the 2006 Draft EIS.' 
A halau hula celebrates the sunrise at Punalu'u where
a green sea turtle basks. Photo by Julia Neal

    "Although this area has been impacted by fires in the recent past, it cannot be concluded that native species are not present in the area, and HWF recommends a vegetation survey be conducted in the vicinity of the proposed Welcome Center, along with a revised (and current!) shoreline survey. 
    "Last but not least, the application requests that: 'While the overall project site abuts the shoreline, the Applicant is requesting that the need for a certified shoreline survey to support this application be waived since no new improvements or uses are contemplated anywhere near the shoreline,' though we would argue otherwise and encourage the County to require an updated shoreline survey. 
    "Punaluʻu has a history of proposed and successful (and unsuccessful) developments in the area, and while we do appreciate the Applicant sticking to the existing infrastructural footprints in the area (more or less), it does not discount the potential for impacts upon construction commencement and into the future with the proposed activities and uses. Done properly, rehabilitation of the abandoned buildings and recreation areas could indeed be a benefit to the community, though it will undoubtedly attract more visitors to an area already struggling with overuse from excessive tourism. However, the potential impacts to native wildlife and coastal ecosystems should not be disregarded. We humbly ask that the County and State require adequate and current surveys to be conducted prior to granting an SMA permit, and to only move forward in good consciousness that local native wildlife will not be negatively impacted."
     See more on minor SMA and owner's decision to hold public meetings  at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2021_11_24_archive.html. See more on the SMA Minor permit that was submitted at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2021_11_02_archive.html. See the complete proposal that has been withdrawn at http://kaucalendar.com/news/SMAABlack_Sands_10_2021.pdf.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Lonoikamakahiki: Celebrating the Season with Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund. The review of the non-profit's history was released this past week by its President and Program Director Megan Lamson and its Co-founder and Executive Director Hannah Bernard: "As we close our 25th year of conservation in Hawaiʻi Nei, Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund is more successful than ever thanks to continued community engagement, NGO partnerships, generous volunteer service, and the support from businesses, foundations, and caring people..."  
    HWF lists highlights from the past quarter century that include:
    Protected hundreds of threatened green turtles and educated thousands of visitors on Pono (respectful) wildlife viewing practices;
    Removed over 360 tons of marine debris from the shores of Hawai'i, Maui, Midway and Lalo with more than 50,000 documented volunteer hours;
    Won a landmark Clean Water Act case at the U.S. Supreme Court;
    Recovered miles of sensitive coastal habitat by protecting native plants, removing predators, installing fences, and restoring native wildlife;
    Reached more than 4,060 K-12 students on Hawai'i, Maui and O'ahu;
    Trained hundreds of marine naturalists and interns, and educated more than a million visitors and residents about marine ecosystems through HWF fieldwork and outreach activities.
       Assisted in setting marine policy at local, state and national levels; and
       Hosted five international science symposia.
     Hawai'i Wildlife Fund lists accomplishments in 2021on this island: 
    Hosted bimonthly seed collection workdays, saving seeds from over 20 different coastal plants in partnership with the Hawai'i Island Seed Bank;
    Removed thousands of invasive plants from within 130 acres of biodiverse native coastal strand vegetation within the Ka'ū Forest Reserve and along the banks of two coastal wetlands on Hawai'i;
    Hosted 44 youth on Hawai'i Island during five environmental education service-learning workdays related to HWF's Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach (MDKEO) and Hawaiian Coastal Ecosystems (HCE) programs;
    HWF also continued to convert environmental education activities to virtual platforms and "visited" multiple classrooms across three islands for zoom, and drafted a new Hawaiian Wetland Waterbirds unit (GK-3) that will be ready to share soon. Most all of the programs are available for students / educators on HWF'S website and YouTube channel.
    Updated HWF's social media platforms on a new website, including 28 blogs about turtles, debris, plants, partners, and other wildlife and HWF activities since last year. See them here to learn more.
    Hawai'i Wildlife Fund accepts donations at https://www.wildhawaii.org/donate/

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

KAʻŪ COFFEE MILL & VISITOR CENTER. Buy online at kaucoffeemill.com and in person at 96-2694 Wood Valley Road, daily, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

PUNALUʻU BAKESHOP online at bakeshophawaii.com and in-person 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week in x.

ALIʻI HAWAIʻI HULA HANDS COFFEE. Order by calling 928-0608 or emailing alihhhcoffee@yahoo.com.

AIKANE PLANTATION COFFEE COMPANY. Order online at aikaneplantation.com. Call 808-927-2252

MIRANDA'S FARMS KAʻŪ COFFEE. Order online at mirandafarms.com or, in person at 73-7136 Mamalahoa Hwy. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com..

KUAHIWI RANCH STORE, in person. Shop weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 11 am to 3 p.m. at 95-5520 Hwy 11. Locally processed grass-fed beef, live meat chickens, and feed for cattle, goats, sheep, chickens, horses, dogs, and pigs. Call 929-7333 of 938-1625, email kaohi@kuahiwiranch.com.

DEPRESSED, ANXIOUS, NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO? Call Department of Health's expanded Hawai‘i C.A.R.E.S. program at 1-800-753-6879 – the same number previously used by Crisis Line of Hawai‘i. Individuals in crisis can also text ALOHA to 741741, available 24/7.

LEARN SELF-CARE THROUGH Big Island Substance Abuse Council's Practice Self-Care Series. For additional series that feature refreshing wellness tips, follow the Behavioral Health & Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group at facebook.com/bhhsurg

WOMEN'S COLLECTIVE OFFERS HEALTH PROGRAMS. Piko focuses on reproductive health; increasing access, respect, cultural competence, education, and choice. Pilina aims to grow membership and establish a culture of collaborative decision-making. Follow @kau_womens_health_collective. Contact rootsmedieshawaii@gmail.com. Call 808-450-0498.

YOGA WITH EMILY Catey Weiss, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Volcano Art Center Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Advanced registration required; $5 per class. volcanoartcenter.org/events, 967-8222.

CHOOSE ALOHA FOR HOME is available to families, to provide a healthy way to grow together using neuroscience and positive psychology. Program uses a series of self-guided videos, activities, and "dinner table discussion topics." Sign up at chooselovemovement.org/choose-love-home.


Register for Boys & Girls Club Mobile Outreach and Tutoring Programs at rb.gy/o1o2hy. For keiki grades 1-6. Contact Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island Administrative Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (808) 961-5536 or email mobiletutoring@bgcbi.org or info@bgcbi.org.

ʻOhana Help Desk offers online How-To Guides for Chromebooks and iPads at rb.gy/8er9wm. ʻOhana Help Desk also available by phone, weekdays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Invite Park Rangers to Virtually Visit Classes, through connecting with teachers and home-schoolers with distance learning programs and virtual huakaʻi (field trips). Contact havo_education@nps.gov.

Public Libraries are open for WiFi, pick-up, and other services. Nāʻālehu open Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pāhala open Tuesday, noon to 7 p.m., Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., limited entry into library with Wiki Visits. Schedule a Library Take Out time at picktime.com/hspls. Open for library card account help and reference assistance from the front door. WiFi available to anyone with a library card, from each library parking lot. See librarieshawaii.org.

Free Book Exchanges, at laundromats in Ocean View and Nāʻālehu, provided by Friends of the Kaʻū Libraries. Open to all. Keep the books, pass them on to other readers, or return them. Selection of books replenished weekly at both sites.

Read Report on Public Input about Disaster Recovery from damage during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption.View the Civic Engagement and Comment Analysis Report at rb.gy/awu65k.

Learn About Hawaiʻi's History & Culture through Papakilo Database, papakilodatabase.com.

Virtual Workshops on Hawaiʻi's Legislative Processes through Public Access Room. Sign up by contacting (808) 587-0478 or par@capitol.hawaii.gov. Ask questions and discuss all things legislative in a non-partisan environment. Attend Coffee Hour with PAR: Fridays at 3 p.m. on Zoom, meeting ID 990 4865 9652 or click zoom.us/j/99048659652. PAR staff will be available to answer questions and to discuss the legislative process. Anyone wanting to listen in without taking part in discussions is welcome. Learn more at lrb.hawaii.gov/public-access-room.

Online Directory at shopbigisland.com, co-sponsored by County of Hawai‘i, has a signup sheet for local businesses to fill in the blanks. The only requirement is a physical address on this island.

Food Assistance: Apply for The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences COVID-19 Family Relief Funds. Funded by Volcano Community Association, and members of the VSAS Friends and Governing Boards, who have donated, the fund supplies KTA or Dimple Cheek Gift Cards, or gift cards to other locally owned business, to VSAS families in need. Contact Kim Miller at 985-8537, kmiller@volcanoschool.net. Contributions to the fund can be sent in by check to: VSAS, PO Box 845, Volcano, HI 96785 – write Relief Fund in the memo. See volcanoschool.net

ENROLL CHILDREN, from first through eighth grade, in Kula ʻAmakihi, a program from Volcano School of the Arts & Sciences. It started Aug. 3. Call 808-985- 9800 or visit www.volcanoschool.net.

WALK THROUGH A GUIDED NATURE TRAIL & Sculpture Garden, Mondays, 9:30 a.m. at Volcano Art Center Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village. No reservations for five or fewer – limited to ten people. Free; donations appreciated. Email programs@volcanoartcenter.org. Garden is open to walk through at one's own pace, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. www.volcanoartcenter.org. Call 967-8222.

KAʻŪ ART GALLERY is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. in Nāʻālehu. It features and sells works by local artists and offers other gift items. "We are always looking to collaborate with local artists in our community," said assistant Alexandra Kaupu. Artists with an interest in being featured at Kaʻū Art Gallery and Gift Shop, contact gallery owner and director Corrine Kaupu at kauartgallery@hawaiiantel.biz.

GOLF & MEMBERSHIPS for Discovery Harbour Golf Course and its Clubhouse: The Club offers Social Memberships, with future use of the clubhouse and current use of the pickleball courts as well as walking and running on specified areas of the golf course before 8 a.m. and after 3 p.m. to enjoy the panoramiocean views. Golf memberships range from unlimited play for the avid golfer to casual play options. Membership is required to play and practice golf on the course. All golf memberships include Social Membership amenities. Membership fees are designed to help underwrite programs and improvements to the facilities.Call 808-731-5122 or stop by the Clubhouse during business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at 94-1581 Kaulua Circle. Email clubatdiscoveryharbour@gmail.com. See The Club at Discovery Harbour Facebook page.

ALOHA FRIDAY MARKETPLACE, hosted by Main Street, is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., grounds of The Old Shirakawa Estate in Waiʻohinu. It features: Made in Hawai'i Products, Organic Produce, Creative Crafts, ARt, Flower and Plants, Food, Ka`u Coffee, Gluen Free Low Carb Goodies, Wellness Services and Products, Clothing, Hand Crafted Treats, Music and more. Vendor and customer inquiries: AlohaFridayMarket@gmail.com.

VOLCANO FARMERS MARKET, Cooper Center, Volcano Village on Sundays. 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with much local produce, baked goods, food to go, island beef and Hawai‘i Coffee. Cooper Center's EBT Machine, used at the Farmer's Market, is out of service until further notice. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY MARKET, open Saturdays and Thursdays, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the corner of Kona Drive and Highway 11, where Thai Grindz is located. Managed by Mark Council. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no reservations needed. Parking in upper lot only. Vendors must provide own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling encouraged.

O KAʻŪ KĀKOU MARKET, in Nāʻālehu, open Wednesday, and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon. Limit of 50 customers per hour, 20 vendor booths, with 20 feet of space between vendors. Masks and hand sanitizing required, social distancing enforced. Contact Sue Barnett, OKK Market Manager, at 808-345-9374 (voice or text) or kaufarmer@aol.com for more and to apply to vend. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.

OCEAN VIEW SWAP MEET is open at Ocean View makai shopping center, near Mālama Market. Hours for patrons are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Vendor set-up time is 5 a.m. Masks required.


VOLCANO ART CENTER ONLINE, in person. Shop at Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gallery in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Virtual Shopping Appointments offered via Skype or FaceTime. Book at volcanoartcenter.org/shop for $5. Shop online gallery 24/7. Orders shipped or free local pickup available. See the VAC Virtual Classroom, which features over 90 videos. See volcanoartcenter.org/events, call 967-8222.