About The Kaʻū Calendar

Monday, December 20, 2021

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021

Naio is abloom with an aroma of spicy sandalwood honey. U.S. Fish & Wildlife photo
NAIO IS THE DECEMBER PLANT for Lāʻau Letters: Native Plants of Kaʻū, the monthly column in The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper by Jodie Rosam and artist Joan Yoshioka. The column features the plants' moʻolelo (stories), uses, preferred habitats, and opportunities to adopt them for stewardship. It seeks to encourage making new plant friends and to reunite with others. 
    Description: Naio, Myoporum sandwicense, is an endemic Myoporum species in the Scrophulariaceae (figwort) family. With around 30 species around the Indo-Pacific, three are endemic, including M. sandwicense, which is found on all of the main Hawaiian Islands except Kahoʻolawe. It has small whitish to purplish flowers (that smell like spicy sandalwood honey) which bloom nearly constantly and produce white, pink, or brownish colored fruits that turn golden brown when dried. The fleshy leaves are a rich shade of green, and range in length from 1.5 to 9 inches long. Naio are extremely variable plants from prostrate and shrub forms (along the coast) to tall up- land trees. Unfortunately, in late 2008, naio thrips (Klambothrips myopori, a non-native pest from Tasmania) arrived on Hawaiʻi Island, which affect naio leaves and liko (new growth) via leaf distortion, galling, and stem bubbling, eventually killing the plants. While much research has been and continues to be conducted on mitigating the thrips, there is no cure, and the naio populations island- wide continue to decline.
    Uses: Naio was recognized as medicinal, used in conjunction with other lāʻau to treat severe asthma and to aid women during childbirth. The ʻaʻaka (yellowish wood of naio) is fragrant, resembling the smell of sandalwood. Near the end of the ʻiliahi (Hawaiian sandalwood) trade in the early 1840s, naio was sometimes passed off as ʻiliahi (though the deception was quickly realized). ʻAʻaka was used for house posts and framing, hāhā ka ʻupena (fishnet gauge), was a preferred firewood, and is still used in woodworking.
    Habitat: Naio can be found in a number of habitats, including coastal strand, dry forests, lava flows, mesic to wet forests, and even in subalpine forests between sea level and 2,380 meters (7,850 feet) elevation. Along the coast in Kaʻū, naio grows in its unique "naio papa" form (papa meaning low-lying or prostrate). Naio papa is impressively abundant along the coastline in Waiʻōhinu Ahupuaʻa, whereas the upright tree form can be admired from the highway in Kahuku (and in many of the kīpuka within Ocean View), as well as in the lowland dry forests of Kamāʻoa, Kawela, Kiolakaʻa, and Waiʻōhunu.
    Growing and Purchasing: Naio can be grown from seeds or cuttings. Because naio produces flowers consistently, ripe seeds can often be found on and under existing plants (look for brown fruits, not green). After cleaning the flesh from the hard seed, soak seeds for 24hrs and sew in moist vermiculite, misting regularly. Seeds store for several years in the refrigerator. Naio is salt, wind, and drought tolerant, and will thrive with minimal watering. It would make a great hedge or specimen plant and should be considered as an alternative to planting (toxic) Oleander. Plants may be available for purchase at local nurseries and home improvement stores.
    About the artist: Joan Yoshioka says she is a conservationist at heart and has dedicated her life to preserving the na- tive plants and animals of Hawaiʻi through her work with federal, state, and private organizations over the past 30+ years. She describes herself as an outdoor-lovin' optimist, biologist/botanist, and habitual creator of art-stuff. She says the key to our most fundamental and truest part of ourselves is found in nature and she constantly draws on it for inspiration.
    About the author: Jodie Rosam says she has a deep love for native plants and a passion for exploration, with over 15 years of experience in working in the restoration of Hawaiʻi's forests. As a mother and an educator, she says the next generation has the power to lead the world to a sustainable future, and is committed to teaching her children (and others) from a place-based perspective.

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THERE IS ONLY ONE DAY LEFT THIS YEAR TO VOLUNTEER WITH STEWARDSHIP AT THE SUMMIT. A message from Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park says, "Give the precious gift of your time and volunteer to help protect native Hawaiian ecosystems in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on Friday, Dec. 31."
A News Years Eve day volunteer opportunity to help Hawaiian
 sandalwood thrive is at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.
NPS Photo
    Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field outside Kīlauea Visitor Center at 8:45 a.m. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. Help remove non-native invasive plants from the rainforest so native plants like ʻiliahi (sandalwood) can thrive. ʻIliahi is found only on the island of Hawaiʻi.
     Learn more about the native plants at Volcanoes,  a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at:

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COVID CASE COUNTS AS HIGH AS 15,000 WITH 2,000 NEW CASES A DAY could be on their way, with most of the outbreak on O'ahu, according to the most pessimistic outlook of the Hawaiʻi Pandemic Applied Modeling Work Group. HiPAM released its predictions Monday, saying the driver of the Covid surge will be the new Omicron variant.
     HiPAM describes itself as comprised "of applied epidemiologists, data scientists, health workers, and
professionals who wish to offer our help to the State of Hawaiʻi to address the formidable challenges posed by this pandemic. HiPAM is committed to adapting tools that inform decision-making and planning that account for Hawaiʻi’s unique context."  See the members of the team at https://www.hipam.org/who-we-are
    They state that "HiPAM members work in a voluntary capacity using our professional expertise motivated as fellow residents in our home state to best help to minimize the disruptions and maximize the health and economic benefits of pending policy decisions." See their graphs, charts and more of their predictions at  https://www.hipam.org/.

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RECOVERY RESUMES BUT OMICRON LOOMS is the title of the latest UHERO economic forecast. University of Hawai'i Economic Research Organization, led by Carl Bonham, Ph.D., produced a forecast in time for the new surge of Covid  (See story above) that says cases on O'ahu alone could reach 15,000, with 2,000 cases a day by the dawn of 2022.  The UHERO forecast says:
    Economic recovery resumed with the end of Hawaii’s late-summer COVID-19 Delta wave. But now Omicron appears as a new and uncertain threat. Already, renewed international travel restrictions have reduced the near-term visitor outlook. Once the situation eases, the return of international tourists will permit a broader industry recovery in 2022. We expect ongoing moderate job gains heading into the New Year, but several factors will weigh on progress, including continuing labor shortages, the end of pandemic fiscal and monetary support, and higher inflation.

    The US and global economies saw a modest summer slowdown during the Delta wave. Labor market gains have been slow to arrive, and now consumer price inflation has surged. This is due both to supply chain bottlenecks and increased demand from pandemic support policies, accumulated savings, and robust spending. In response, the US Federal Reserve has signaled a more rapid phase-out of supportive policies.
    Hawai'i’s own COVID-19 crisis finally came this summer, but high vaccination rates and rapid protective measures made it relatively short-lived. Cases are forecast to remain steady at or just above pre-Delta levels, but the rapid global spread of the Omicron variant poses risks. New travel restrictions have pushed back our forecast for the return of international visitors. Even after they begin to rejoin the strong US market in 2022, a full recovery of the visitor industry will remain several years down the road.
    Broader economic recovery has resumed. Employment gains over the past two years have brought unemployment down sharply. But many workers who left the labor force during the pandemic have yet to return. This has led to a tight labor market and upward pressure on wages. Unit labor costs increased by 5% year-over-year nationally, but inflation surged above 5% in both Hawaii and the US, reducing purchasing power. The payroll job count will expand at a moderate pace over the next two years, but that will still leave the job base in 2023 about 5% lower than its 2019 level.
    Federal support during the pandemic was vital to sustaining incomes; the ending of these programs will now weigh on recovery. The recently-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act still under consideration by the Senate have the potential to support families, labor force participation, and long-term economic growth.
Coronavirus spike proteins. Image from Columbia University School of Public Health

    Home prices have surged this year, mirroring a national trend. Together with high rents and higher consumer price inflation, this is posing challenges for families. Construction activity continues at a healthy pace. The industry will benefit from new and pending federal infrastructure spending.
An unusual degree of uncertainty continues to exist, centered both on pending government policy and the emergence of the Omicron variant. Our baseline scenario sees current overseas travel restrictions lasting through January, followed by cautious liberalization that permits a gradual return of international visitors.     Our pessimistic scenario assumes a longer period of Omicron-related international travel restrictions and further waves thereafter. Our optimistic scenario sees an end to travel restrictions early in the New Year, leading to a strong winter tourism season. Greater labor force gains arise from adoption of the Build Back Better Act.
    At this point, more is unknown than known about Omicron. We do not yet know whether it is more or less virulent than earlier variants, or whether it can evade the protection of existing vaccines. The good news for Hawaii is our very high vaccination rate, which will surely provide some protection. And new treatments will reduce the severity of health impacts. Our underlying economic fundamentals are strong. But it is increasingly clear that COVID-19 will not just go away, and that efforts to adapt to ongoing risks will be key to a sustained recovery. See more at https://uhero.hawaii.edu/

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THIRTY-ONE MOTORISTS EXPERIENCED ARRESTS FOR DUI the week of Dec. 13 through Dec. 19 on this island. Hawai'i Island police arrested 31 for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Nine drivers were involved in a traffic accident. None of the drivers were under the age of 21.
  So far this year, there have been 1,042 DUI arrests compared with 973 during the same period last year, an increase of 7.1 percent. There have been 785 major accidents so far this year compared with 753 during the same period last year, an increase of 4.2 percent.
    To date tis year, there have been 25 fatal crashes, resulting in 25 fatalities, compared with 15 fatal crashes, resulting in 15 fatalities for the same time last year. This represents an increase of 66.7 percent for fatal crashes, and 66.7 percent for fatalities. Police promise that DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue island wide.

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See the December and past issues of The Ka`u Calendar
at www.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.