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Thursday, January 06, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022

A portion of the old Punalu'u restaurant and museum area next to Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, where owners and planners
fenced off and propose to clean up and repurpose the remains shown in a photo earlier this year. A public workshop on the plan
will be held by Black Sand Beach, LLC on  Saturday, Jan. 15, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Robert E. Herkes Gym multipurpose room. 
Photo by Bob Martin

WITH PUNALU'U BEING KAʻŪ'S ONLY BEACH WITH A LIFEGUARD and becoming more crowded, the distance to other beaches with lifeguards becomes part of the conversation.
    According to google map's distance and time from Punalu'u to other beaches with lifeguards, the closest are in Hilo with Onekahakaha at 59.1-mile, one hour, 17 minutes; Carlsmith 59.6 miles, one hour and 17 minutes; followed by Richardson, 60.7 miles, one hour and 19 minutes; and Honoli'i, 60.5 miles, one hour and 20 minutes.
    Going west, the nearest beach park with lifeguards from Punalu'u is Kahalu'u, 62.1 miles, one hour and 20 minutes; followed by White Sands, 63.3 miles, one hour and 30 minutes; followed by Hapuna, 98.3 miles, two hours and 20 minutes; and Spencers, 100.7 miles, two hours and 22 minutes. The driving times
assume little traffic.
    A community workshop on the future of Punalu'u and the lands adjacent to the beach is being held by Black Sand Beach, LLC on Saturday, Jan. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the multipurpose room next to the Robert E. Herkes Gym in Pahala. Black Sand Beach representatives said they hope for more community input before submitting their proposal for renovating the abandoned resort and recreation facilities and building new condos, cottages and retail on the 434 acres makai of Hwy. 11.

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Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, the only beach with a lifeguard in Kaʻū. Other beaches with lifeguards are more than an hour away. Photo by Julia Neal

Center was issued Thursday. Spokesperson Elena Cabatu said Hilo Medical Center is caring for 18
COVID patients. Two of them are in ICU. Nine of them were vaccinated for the virus. She said that nine of them - five who are vaccinated and four unvaccinated were admitted specifically for COVID, while nine - four of the vaccinated and five unvaccinated were admitted for other reasons and tested positive for COViD.

National Guard members assist with vaccines at 
Hilo Medical Center. Photo from HMC
    Cabatu said, the "omicron variant is different from the previous two variants. We’re admitting patients with the primary complaint of COVID and we’re catching incidental COVID in patients admitted for non-COVID related issues. The sheer numbers of cases should be of note and concern to everyone because even a small percentage of these total cases could put additional stress our already taxed healthcare system."
    She said that COVID patient trends in this surge include an older population and about half are vaccinated. Hilo Medical Center's Emergency Department is seeing about 130-150 patients per day, including 25-35 COVID positive patients per day who tested positive before coming to the ER. She said the "come to us mainly for antibody monoclonal treatment. Very few patients are admitted out of these visits."
    Cabatu noted many sectors in the community and in healthcare impacted by COVID positives and exposures, with staffing at clinics and facilities affected. "We are managing according to the CDC healthcare workers guidelines and have high census protocols ready for activation." She recommended a Dan & Friends Town Hall with an Omicron update at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7zkS9i-CXc

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VOLCANO AWARENESS MONTH features regular online presentations, including two already posted on the USGS site, one from geologist Carolyn Parcheta entitled Kilauea erupts after more than two years of quiet - twice! and another from geologist Kendra J. Lynn, entitled The Olivine Time Capsule.   
See archives of The Ka`u Calendar at
www.kaucalendar.com and find the
monthly print copy in mailboxes from 
Volcano through Ocean View.
    The one to be posted next Tuesday, Jan. 11 is 2021: A year of earthquake activity on the Island of Hawai'i, from USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geophysicist Ninfa Bennington . The USGS message on the presentation explains:
    "The last year has been a busy one for seismologists at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Earthquake activity at Kīlauea summit has varied over the past year, with upticks in a variety of seismic signals providing clues to the start of the December 2020 and September 2021 Kīlauea summit eruptions. Currently observed seismic signals at Kilauea are related to ongoing eruptive activity at the summit.
    "In the Pāhala region, swarms of deep (30–40 km or 19–25 mi) earthquakes continue to occur with high frequency and, at times, higher magnitudes.
    Springtime yielded an increase in the frequency of earthquakes immediately west of Mauna Loa’s summit and along the volcano’s Southwest Rift Zone. However, since that time, earthquake activity at Mauna Loa has decreased."
    See the presentations and more at https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/news/volcano-awareness-month-2022-program.

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KAʻŪ HIGH BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM plays Kamehameha on Friday at the Robert E. Herkes Gym in Pāhala at 6 p.m. No spectators are allowed, under new COVID rules. Coaching the Trojans are Douglas Porter and Assistant Coach and JV Coach Troy Gacayan.
    Trojan team members are: Jezekial Jara, Ivan Ramos, Kaimana Manini Kaupu, Bulla Mukini, Kealiikoa Reyes-Nalu, Micah Espejo, Cyrus Eder, Jonah Beck, Marky Tamayo, Keenan Toriano, Emman Badua and Jensen Villa;
    Collin Hanshew, Owan Nihipali-Sesson, Kaleem Libunao-Martinez, Patrick Riehle, Brayden Andrade, Jaeston Karasuda, Jeston Penera, TJ Faafia, Vladimir Fedoruk, Triton Blanco, Keaka McDonnel and Roger Miguel.
Kaʻū High's JV Boys Basketball team at practice on Thursday.
Photo from Ka'u High Athletics

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