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Friday, August 12, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022

Orange/black Hawaiian damselfly, Megalagrion xanthomelas, is one of ten endangered animals
listed in a lawsuit, demanding that critical habitats be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Photo from University of Hawai'i

PROTECTING CRITICAL HABITAT FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES, many of them in Ka‘ū, is the aim of a lawsuit filed Thursday by The Center for Biological Diversity. It accuses U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service of failing to designate and protect critical habitat for 49 Hawaiʻi endangered species. Designating critical habitat was required by the Endangered Species Act when the species were listed in 2016. "This unlawful delay puts these endangered plants and animals at greater risk of going extinct," says a statement from Center for Biological Diversity.
    The suit names Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior, and Martha Williams, Director of U.S. Fish & Wildlife as defendants.
    Read the lawsuit at https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/pdfs/49-Hawaiian-Species-Complaint-2022-08-11.pdf.

The band-rumped storm petrel lives at sea and nests on Mauna
Loa and Maunakea. Photo from DLNR

   Two of the species found in Ka‘ū and on the list are:
    ‘Akē‘akē: The band-rumped storm petrel, in Hawaiʻi, returns to land from its life at sea to mate and breed. Mauna Loa, along with other high mountains in the islands, "provide the perfect habitat for these small, oceanic birds to make burrows as nest sites for their young. Historically, they were common across all the Hawaiian Islands, but their population has declined significantly because of habitat loss," says the statement from the Center. The ‘Akē‘akē "is a distinct population segment found solely within the Hawaiian Islands. This isolated and 
genetically unique population is one of Hawai‘i’s rarest, most elusive seabird species."
   Nalo Meli Maoli: The yellow faced bees with seven species on this list. "They represent one of the spectacular examples of rapid speciation that make Hawaiʻi a biodiversity hotspot," according to the statement from the Center.
    Maxx Phillips, Hawaiʻi director for Center for Biological Diversity, said, “After six years of dragging its feet, it’s clear the Fish & Wildlife Service had no intention of protecting habitat for these severely endangered species, just like it’s failed to do for so many others. Hawai‘i remains the extinction capital of the world. If the Service doesn’t act, and act quickly, these 49 irreplaceable species could disappear forever.”

Seven yellow faced bee species in Hawaiʻi are named in a lawsuit aiming to protect critical habitat.
Photo from USGS Bee Monitoring & Inventory Lab
    Forty-eight of the listed species are found nowhere else in the world outside of Hawai‘i.
    The Center's statement says that federal Fish & Wildlife, "recognized in 2016 that these species were threatened by habitat loss and degradation resulting from urbanization, nonnative and invasive species, wildfire and water extraction. Yet the agency has failed to designate critical habitat. These threats are only made worse by the increasing effects of climate change through sea-level rise and coastal inundation."
    "Listing a species as endangered is only the first step in ensuring its survival and recovery. Critical habitat protections would prohibit federal actions that destroy or harm such habitat, and they would help preserve what remains of these species’ limited native range.
    "Species with designated critical habitat are more than twice as likely to be in recovery as those without it, making it imperative to protect the places where these rare Hawaiian species live. In 2021 nine other Hawaiian species were declared extinct, highlighting the need for swift action."
    Once critical habitat is designated, other federal agencies are required to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Serv­ice to ensure actions they fund, authorize or undertake are unlikely to destroy or harm the designated habitat.
    The ten animal species named in the suit are: Megalagrion xanthomelas (Orangeblack Hawaiian damselfly), Procaris hawaiana (Anchialine pool shrimp), Oceanodroma castro, (Band-rumped storm-petrel), Hylaeus anthracinus (Yellow-faced bee), Hylaeus assimulans (Yellow-faced bee), Hylaeus facilis (Yellow-faced bee), Hylaeus hilaris (Yellow-faced bee), Hylaeus kuakea (Yellow-faced bee), Hylaeus longiceps (Yellow-faced bee),  and Hylaeus mana (Yellow-faced bee).
    The 39 species of plants named in the suit are: Asplenium diellaciniatum, Calamagrostis expansa (Maui reedgrass), Cyanea kauaulaensis, Cyclosorus boydiae (kupukupu makaliʻi), Cyperus neokunthianus,
An Opae'ula, anchialine pool shrimp, is named in a lawsuit aimed
at requiring identification and protection of their critical habitat.
Photo from https://twitter.com/opaeula_shrimp
Cyrtandra hematos (haʻiwale), Deparia kaalaana, Dryopteris glabra var. pusilla (hohiu), Exocarpos menziesii (heau), Festuca hawaiiensis, Gardenia remyi (nānū), Huperzia stemmermanniae, Hypolepis hawaiiensis var. mauiensis (olua), Joinvillea ascendens ssp. ascendens (ʻohe), Kadua fluviatilis (kamapuaʻa), Kadua haupuensis, Labordia lorenciana, Lepidium orbiculare (ʻānaunau), Microlepia strigosa var. mauiensis, Myrsine fosbergii (kōlea), Nothocestrum latifolium (ʻaiea), Ochrosia haleakalae (hōlei), Phyllostegia brevidens, Phyllostegia helleri, Phyllostegia stachyoides, Portulaca villosa (ʻihi), Pritchardia bakeri (Baker’s loulu), Pseudognaphalium sandwicensium var. molokaiense (ʻenaʻena), Ranunculus hawaiensis (makou), Ranunculus mauiensis (makou), Sanicula sandwicensis, Santalum involutum (ʻiliahi), Schiedea diffusa ssp. diffusa, Schiedea pubescens (maʻoliʻoli), Sicyos lanceoloideus (ʻānunu), Sicyos macrophyllus (ʻānunu), Solanum nelsonii (pōpolo), Stenogyne kaalae ssp. sherffii, and Wikstroemia skottsbergiana (ʻākia).
    Read more on the work of Center for Biological Diversity at www.biologicaldiversity.org.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at wwwkaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.htm

is posted by the partners in the project, calling for investment money. The presentation aims to entice people to use their Individual Retirement Accounts.                 
See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef4eTH08Fu8 for the 19 minute video of the bulldozer arriving on Highway 11 and working the land, cutting and grading. See the project presentation at www.investinkona.com and a story on the project presentation at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022_08_10_archive.html.
A YouTube video starring a bulldozer, cutting and grading land
at Opihihale. Video from www.investinkona.com
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at wwwkaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.htm
THE PUBLIC MEETING ON STEWARDSHIP OF THE KAHUKU-PŌHUE AREA OF HAWAI'I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK is this Saturday, Aug. 13 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. The newly protected 16,451 acres includes Pōhue Bay. See story on the acquisition at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022_08_05_archive.html.
  A second meeting will be offered via virtual webinar on Wednesday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Zoom, https://zoom.us/j/97789413155; or call in to (346) 248-7799, webinar ID: 977 8941 3155.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at wwwkaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.htm 
VOTING IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION IS STILL AVAILABLE FOR HAWAIʻI CITIZENS at Voter Service Centers through election Day, tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 13. Eligible voters, registered and unregistered, 18 years and older, can take Hawaiʻi drivers license or state ID and social security number to the County Ahupuni Conference Room, 101 Pauahi St. #1 in HIlo; or West Hawai'i Civic Center, Community Room, Bldg G, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy, Kailua-Kona. Hours are Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. See recent Democratic candidate remarks in Thursday's Ka'u Calendar News Briefs at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022_08_11_archive.html. Here are leading Republican candidate remarks:
DUKE AIONA HAS ISSUED STATEMENTS ON HIS CANDIDACY, before the 2022 results determine the Republican candidate for Governor of Hawaiʻi, tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 13. On his website, Aiona, the former deputy prosecutor and circuit court judge, notes his endorsement from State of Hawaiʻi Organization of Police Officers, SHOPO, which represents over 2,700 police officers.
    “Judge Aiona will bring much needed leadership, transparency, and integrity to law enforcement and public safety at every level and this will unite our residents to better ensure a safe, healthy, and positive Hawaiʻi. Judge Aiona stands for law and order and police officers feel compelled to stand with him as he works with us to improve public safety,” said SHOPO President Robert “Bobby” Cavaco. Stephen Keogh, SHOPO Vice President noted that SHOPO intended to remain neutral in the state’s highest political race but, “Given Aiona’s experience, leadership, and dedication to keeping Hawaiʻi’s communities safe, SHOPO was moved to endorse Duke Aiona because he stands for justice and will make sure police officers are able to protect everyone’s safety. We believe that Hawaiʻi needs a trusted and proven leader who keeps his word and who will work with everyone across the board in order to make life better for all and not just a chosen few.”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona
who has served as a circuit court judge, runs
on the slogan Trust, Respect, Balance
    As a former City & County of Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor, Aiona prosecuted career criminals through successful vertical prosecutions resulting in long-term sentences. As a Circuit Court Judge, Aiona worked to improve the justice system by starting the State’s prevention and rehabilitative focused Drug Court. As Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaiʻi, Duke Aiona understood the need for safe and secure neighborhoods, said the SHOPO endorsement statement.
    See more on Aiona at www.dukeaiona.com
BJ PENN ISSUED A STATEMENT on Thursday, two days before the 2022 results to determine the Republican candidate for Governor of Hawaiʻi. He focused on the Thirty Meter Telescope saying: “When I become the Governor of the State of Hawai'i, I will go into the Department of Natural Land & Natural Resources, and end the corruption. I will go into the Department of Hawaiian Homelands and end the corruption. I will go into the Hawaii Supreme Court System and end the corruption. And then I will end TMT.”
Mixed Martial Artist BJ Penn has the endorsement of actor
Jason Momoa in his bid to become Hawaiʻi's next governor.
    He also posted actor Jason Momoa's endorsement for Penn and pro surfer Makua Rothman for City Council on Oʻahu. Momoa, who has also opposed TMT, wrote “The Natives are restless! It’s time Hawaiʻi takes a stance and huli’s da system! We need more real homegrown braddahs and sistahs who aren’t career politicians, and won’t be bullied or bought out by special interest groups in office.
    "The corruption is blatant in Hawaiʻi. It’s time to shake the dead leaves out of our tree and cut off the invasive vines that have been holding it back from flourishing! The people of Hawai'i deserve better! Vote @therealbjpennforgovernor! Let's get things done for the local people!!” See more on Penn at www.bjpenngov.com.
A CALL TO LOOK INTO GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE JOSH GREEN'S campaign donations came on Friday, the day before the primary election results are tallied and announced. The call came from former state Rep. Richard Creagan, MD, who represented Kaʻū.
    Creagan noted that he served as a state representative in District 5 on the Big Island from 2014-2020. District 5 is part of Senate District 3, which was Josh Green's Senate seat, "so I know Josh very well."
    Creagan said he was writing as, "a concerned voter regarding the Campaign Spending Commission's investigation of a COVID testing company. As Hawaiʻi News Now published on August 8, the state Campaign Spending Commission is investigating one of the companies that was awarded a multi-million dollar COVID testing contract by former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell's administration."
    Creagan wrote that he believes, "there is another COVID testing company that should also be
Josh Green, candidate for governor, and former state Rep. Richard
Creagan (right) are both physicians and visited Kona Hospital together
in March of 2020 to survey for Covid preparedness. Photo from Kona Hospital
investigated: Nomi Health, Inc. I would also like to reference this article by Politico, which states, 'Various state officials across the country criticized Nomi Health throughout 2020 as it quickly started snagging state pandemic contracts worth tens of millions of dollars.' Nomi Health and another company it owns called Artemis Health have donated to a major candidate in Hawaiʻi: Lieutenant Governor Josh Green. Below, I have provided donations from the company and its executives to the LG's campaign committee."
    Creagan listed Meet and Greet Donations to the Green Campaign: $2,917.64 Artemis Health, 6/17/22 (Meet and Greet Event); $2,674.32 Artemis Health 6/17/22 (Professional Services Meet and Greet); and $2,083.99 Blake Waggoner, 6/17/22, Nomi Health Managing Director, (Meet and Greet).
   Creagan listed Direct Donations to the Green Campaign: $5,000, Nomi Health Inc, 2/11/22; $1,000, Mark Newman, Nomi Health CEO, 2/11/22; $5,000, Mark Newman, Nomi Health CEO, 6/21/22; $5,000, Amber Newman, (wife of Mark Newman) 6/21/22; and $2,500, Jonathan Lee, Nomi Health Government Affairs, 6/30/22. The contributions total $26,175.95.
    Creagan stated, "Given the national media attention and criticism of Nomi Health, I believe it is critical that there is some investigation of their contract with the State of Hawaiʻi. And perhaps more importantly, given that Nomi Health and its acquired company Artemis Health have donated a substantial amount of money to the LG's bid for Governor, I believe our voters need to have more information on this matter before the election."
    Creagan contended: "There may be several campaign violations that the Campaign Spending Commission should investigate. Per HRS §11-355, it is unlawful for campaign committees to receive contributions from state and county contractors. If Nomi Health had an active contract with the state or county at the time of its donation to Josh Green, this donation was illegal. Nomi Health is still operating across the state today.
    "Nomi Health acquired Artemis Health. Therefore, it is possible that their aggregate contributions to Josh Green exceed $6,000.00, the max donation allowed for 4-year statewide office," said Creagan. "The money donated on June 17 for a meet and greet ($8395.95), coupled with the nearly $50,000 in high-dollar mainland contributions to Josh Green on June 21, may be indicative of a fundraiser. If so, fundraisers on June 17 and June 21 were not filed with the Campaign Spending Commission," said Creagan. "Like the current investigation with Mayor Caldwell, the Campaign Spending Commission may wish to examine if the donations provided by Nomi Health executives Blake Waggoner and Jonathan Lee were reimbursed by Nomi Health which would be a violation of Hawaiʻi campaign finance laws."
    Creagan stated, "I understand that the election is tomorrow. However, these are serious concerns voters need to know about immediately. It is gravely concerning if Josh Green accepted campaign donations from a company with an active state or county emergency COVID-19 contract, especially considering the LG's role throughout the pandemic."
   Questions regarding Green's campaign donations, which were also brought up in a joint press conference with Democratic Gubernatorial candidates Vicky Cayetano and Kai Kahele, have drawn responses from Green. Green contended that he has done nothing wrong and said the "attacks" on his character should not be the focus of the election conversation, which should be all about bringing people together to work on important issues for Hawaiʻi.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at wwwkaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.htm
Opponents of TMT at Nāʻālehu Park before the National Science Foundation scoping meeting
at Nāʻālehu Community Center. Photo by William Shrewsberry
THE THIRTY METER TELESCOPE scoping meeting, sponsored by the National Science Foundation on Wednesday, drew close to 100 people to Nāʻālehu Community Center.
    Caroline Blanco, representing NSF, explained that the purpose of the meeting was to garner public opinion on TMT, to be included in the Environmental Impact Statement and to look at proposed alternatives to the project. She explained that this meeting would be an informal outreach effort and that “it would be wonderful if we heard meaningful comments.”
    NSF is deciding whether to continue TMT funding in partnership with universities and other private funds. Blanco’s colleague, Dave Boboltz, said that the NSF regularly funds ground based astronomy and that the TMT is a priority among astronomers. “It will be the most powerful telescope ever built,” he said, adding that it would be able to detect life on other worlds.
    Many attendees signed up to speak for two minutes on whether NSF should fund the construction of TMT. 
    Michael Last, a retired engineer, spoke in favor of the project, saying that he credits NSF and NASA for much technology used by the public, including cars, phones, hospital equipment, computers, televisions. 
    Stephanie Pua David said Maunakea is a major source of water and that she is worried it would be despoiled. She also said she believes that new technology could make TMT obsolete.
    Richard Taylor, of South Point, said the stars seen from outer islands of Hawaiʻi, "appear unmatched anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the best place to look at the stars north of the equator." He said it sparks "awe, reverence and understanding of the early Polynesians that came to settle our island home here in Kaʻū. By understanding the stars, independent of all other human cultures, the Polynesians developed a system of navigation to cross the Pacific repeatedly to all of the nations on the edge of the Pacific and all of the islands in the middle." He said he believes that TMT "will make a major contribution to the human race in navigating this galaxy and eventually beyond. However, I think I believe also it requires the same awe, reference and understanding of the mountain and the people who live there to move forward."
Close to 100 people listened to the National Science Foundation  representatives at Nāʻālehu Community Center and shared their views, as NFS decides whether to continue funding TMT. Photo by William Shrewsbury       

    Olivia Ling said she opposed TMT, saying that she loves science, but that satellites could accomplish the mission. She also urged NFS to negotiate with the Hawaiian Kingdom. Lindsy Lou Pound, a vegetable farmer, said astronomy provides ways to answer fundamental human questions and that TMT could help answer questions about "how the universe began, our place in the universe and if we are alone - or if there is life on other planets." She said she also wants to understand the Black Hole and contended that Mauna Kea is best place on the planet to begin answering these questions. "Astronomy is good for the economy." It creates jobs and scholarships, she said. Pound said TMT is a clean project, which brought some shouts of "'Aʻole" and "lies." She said TMT would not pollute to the extent of Pōhakuloa military training area. She said she supports TMT.
    Attorney David Harper, who said he worked on five TMT cases, suggested that the NSF hold more scoping meetings than just the four on the Big Island.
    John Replogle, a former county Planning Commissioner, who lives in Ocean View, pointed out that the planet is warming up, dams are drying up, and that humans are showing a lack of respect for the ʻāina, He said he is not in favor of putting the TMT on top of a mountain that is, "honored and part of almost a phase of a culture that has honored the planet and all the life of the planet." He said there are not many native Hawaiians left. Replogle said he understands the people who want TMT - "but science is saying we are destroying our planet. I am against this for Native Hawaiian people and for all humanity as well."
    Debbie Ward referred to the detailed hydrological studies that have been made that point to dangers of storm water runoff bringing chemicals into the aquifers that originate at the top of Mauna Kea. She said that the studies are contradictory and that she would supply the NSF with these reports.
    See more comments from the public at at https://www.facebook.com/hulinvda/videos/481752387287688 and at https://www.facebook.com/hulinvda/videos/591815119049852.
    To be eligible for inclusion in the Draft EIS, comments must be received by Sept. 17, 2022. NSF
announced that it will provide additional opportunities for public participation upon publication of the Draft EIS. Information regarding the Proposed Action will be posted throughout the EIS process at https://beta.nsf.gov/tmt. For further information regarding the EIS process or the Section 106 consultation process, contact Pentecost at (703) 292-4907 or EIS.106.TMT@nsf.gov.
    The public is also invited to comment on NSF’s Draft Community Engagement Plan (Draft CEP), which is available at https://beta.nsf.gov/tmt and at local libraries.