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Friday, December 16, 2022

Kaʻū News Briefs, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022

Nēnē family has moved away from the half-mile of Crater Rim Drive and Crater Rim Trail between Kīlauea Overlook and  Uēkahuna, allowing Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park to reopen the area to the public. See more below. NPS photo by Janice Wei

BENJAMIN MOSZKOWICZ WAS VOTED NEW POLICE CHIEF for Hawai'i County during the Police Commission meeting on Friday. He is chosen to succeed Paul Ferreira, who retired Aug. 31, which left Deputy Police Chief Kenneth Bugado, Jr. in charge.
Benjamin Moszkowicz received the votes needed during Friday's Police
Commission meeting to become the new Chief of Police of Hawaii Island.
Photo by Tim Wright
    Mayor Mitch Roth said, "As a former prosecuting attorney, I have had the privilege to work with all of the finalists for Chief of our Hawaiʻi Police Department – all of which I felt were great choices, bringing with them years of experience and varying skillsets that would make any of them viable candidates to run our department.
    "Having worked with Chief Benjamin Moszkowicz for over 15 years on numerous traffic safety committees, I can confidently say that he’s an intelligent guy who works very well with others. I’m excited to continue our work together as we build upon the incredible foundation of community-minded policing laid by former Chief Ferreira and Acting Chief Bugado. 
    "I would also like to commend the commission on the diligent work done to narrow the candidates to such a great group of individuals. It takes a lot to want to be considered for the position, as it does to narrow such a qualified pool, and so I extend my sincerest mahalo to all of the candidates and the commissioners who participated in the tedious process."
    The vote for Moszkowicz was five to three, with Commissioners Thomas Brown, Rod Quartararo, Dylan Andrion, Pudding Lassiter and Rick Robinson saying aye. Commissioners Donna Springer, Denby Toci and Anthony Sur voted no. Commission chair John Bertsch recused himself. See the stories in Hawai'i Tribune Herald concerning details of voting and controversy.
    Moszkowicz worked at Honolulu Police Department for 22 years in the traffic division, information technology, commanding the patrol watch and supervising the section dedicated to vehicle homicide.
 and currently leads the department's traffic division. This year he was a finalist for City & County of Honolulu Chief of Police.
    Three other finalists for Hawai'i County Chief of Police were Maj. Sherry Bird, the sole candidate who works for Hawaiʻi Police Department, retired FBI senior agent Edward Ignacio, and Kauaʻi Police Department's Acting Assistant Chief Capt. Paul Applegate.
    According to a story from Hawai'i Public Radio, Moszkowicz said, “I was not born in the Big Island, I have not worked in the Hawaiʻi County Police Department, I've developed myself professionally and academically to the point where I feel I can contribute to the department and I think I would do an amazing job as a chief.
   "My skill set is much broader base and much more I feel like have an executive-level skill set where I can come in and form collaborations, identify partners, find solutions that work and as the CEO basically of this company of the Hawaiʻi County Police Department, those are the skills that I bring to the table." 
    Moszkowicz earned a bachelor’s in public administration with a specialization in justice administration from the University of Hawaiʻi - West O'ahu, and a master's in law enforcement and public safety leadership from the University of San Diego. He was recently accepted into a leadership Ph.D. program at Gonzaga University, which he may forgo as Police Chief. He told HPR, "This job would be a humongous time commitment, and that certainly is a priority that would slide ahead of me continuing my academic progress, at least temporarily."

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A HAWAI’I LIFE FLIGHT AIRCRAFT traveling from Maui to Hawai'i Island for a medical transfer from Waimea, apparently crashed into the Alenuehaha Channel on Thursday evening, with three crew, no patients onboard.
       Hawai'i Island Mayor Mitch Roth wrote: "Our hearts are with the families of the crewmembers aboard the Hawaiʻi Life Flight plane that went off-radar last night while in transit to pick up a patient from our
hospital in Waimea. The service they provide to our community is truly invaluable, and we mahalo all who risk their lives daily to save the lives of others. Our administration remains hopeful in the Coast Guard's search and eagerly awaits any sign of good news. Until then, we'll continue constant communication with Governor Green and his team as we prepare to do whatever it takes to ensure the continuance of vital healthcare transportation services between islands — especially as regular Hawaiʻi Life Flight services are paused.
   "That said, we're urging our residents to be extra cautious over the coming week to help us keep medical transport needs on Hawaiʻi Island to a bare minimum. Our medical providers are working together to help pool resources so that we can keep as many of our patients on-island as possible. The coming days will be a strain on normal day-to-day operations, but we want the community to know that the County, State, and local medical providers are working together to find solutions that ensure adequate care for all of our residents. With that, we ask our community to join us in hoping for the best as the search continues for the aircraft and its crew."
    The tragedy garnered a proclamation on Friday from the Governor. Green said, “Hawai'i's medical airlift capacity must be supplemented. The Emergency Proclamation gives our state the ability to supplement Hawai'i's medical airlift capacity with aircraft and flight crews from other states and permits out-of-state actively licensed and certified emergency medical personnel to be employed as certified flight paramedics and registered nurses on medical transport aircrafts."
   U.S. Coast Guard reported “oil sheen and recovered aircraft debris,” and has been attempting to confirm whether they are from the missing craft.
   The Coast Guard reported that radar contact with the Life Flight was lost at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, when the plane was at an altitude of about 5,000 feet. The plane was, at that point, about 15 nautical miles off Hana, Maui. The flight was set to land at the Waimea-Kohala airport.
   The statement from Green and his administration said they “are coordinating efforts between Hawai'i Life Flight, the State Department of Health, the Army National Guard, all county Mayors, the Coast Guard, and medical facilities and personnel throughout the state and on the mainland, to ensure continuity and uninterrupted emergency transport services between the islands. The primary focus is augmenting services to the neighbor islands and deploying extra capacity for critical care needs.”

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UĒKAHUNA OVERLOOK AT THE SUMMIT OF KILAUEA VOLCANO REOPENED ON FRIDAY, following closure to accommodate a nesting nēnē family. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park announced that a half-mile of Crater Rim Drive and Crater Rim Trail between Kīlauea Overlook and Uēkahuna parking lot are open, along with the restrooms and overlook to the east (left of the parking lot if facing the caldera). A half-mile trail connecting Nāmakanipaio Campground to Uēkahuna is also open.
Most of the lookout area at Uēkahuna has reopened, after closure to
 protect a family of nēnē, the native goose and state bird. USGS photo
    In addition, tour buses and vehicles over 25 feet in length are permitted to drive to the Uēkahuna parking lot again.
    Because the nēnē family may have moved to another location at Uēkahuna away from the parking lot, the westernmost overlook remains temporarily closed for now.
    The Park statement says, "People can help protect nēnē – the rarest goose in the world – by keeping at least four car lengths away from them, and never feed nēnē or other wildlife. Handouts cause nēnē to seek out people and cars, putting them in great danger. Drivers should be alert for nēnē along park roads, always drive the speed limit, and slow down for all nēnē crossing signs in the park and throughout the island."
    In 1952, only 30 nēnē remained statewide. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park began efforts to recover the imperiled geese in the 1970s. The Nēnē Recovery Program continues today, and close to 200 birds thrive in the park from sea level to around 8,000 feet.

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Christmas Lights & Icons Show brightens up the corner of Lehua and Palm in Ranchos at Ocean View every evening. Santa will be there on Christmas Eve to give 300 gifts, with a drawing for bikes to be given on Christmas Day. See story at kaucalendar.com.

See The Ka'ū Calendar in the mail and in stands from Volcano through Miloli'i. Also see stories daily on Facebook and at www.kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com.
Holiday Lighting and Decor are dressing up the cottages at Kīlauea Military Camp for the public to see until the New Year. See story at kaucalendar.com.

Christmas in the Country is ongoing until the New Year at Volcano Art Center Gallery and VAC's Ni'aulani Campus. See story at kaucalendar.com.

A Toy Drive is Ongoing at Cooper Center on Wright Road in Volcano through Saturday, Dec. 18. Unwrapped toys can be dropped off from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monetary donations accepted. Toys purchased online can go to Cooper Center Community Pantry, P.O. Box 1000, Volcano, HI 96785.

The Hiking Incentive Program at Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park wraps up at the end of year. For the Kūkini Challenge, hikers, and walkers can turn in miles, recording them at the Visitor Contact Station for a chance to win a silver water flask and accolades for the fourth quarter of 2022.

Walk into the Past with Thomas A Jaggar to 1939. Talk with the founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar, at the edge of Kīlauea volcano on Fridays, Dec. 16 and 23, at 10 a.m. and noon. Dressed in period costume, actor Dick Hershberger brings the renowned geologist to life. Space is limited; pick up free tickets at the Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai the day of the program. Supported by Kīlauea Drama Entertainment Network.

Christmas Keiki Party at St. Jude's Church in Ocean View on Saturday, Dec. 17 from 9 a.m to 11 a.m. with Giving Tree.

Coffee Talk at Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park will feature a presentation about hāhā, a critically endangered endemic Hawaiian plant, on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 9:30 a.m. at the Visitor Contact Station. Learn about the plant and what the Park is doing to save it from extinction.

A Night Christmas Parade in Nā'ālehu 
will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17, sponsored by Ka'ū Roping & Riding and featuring lights and displays after dark.

Join In and Watch Holiday Parade of Light, Discovery Harbour, Saturday, Dec. 17. Participants gather at Discovery Harbour Community Center at 5:30 p.m. for photos and maps, parade Starts at 6 p.m. Hot cocoa, cookies, and carols at the center after the parade. Restrooms at the center open for duration of the parade.

Learn About Using Fungicides to Protect Coffee Plants on Monday, Dec. 19 and Tuesday, Dec. 20. Webinar is on YouTube or one can attend via Zoom or in-person in Hilo and Waimea, with in-person or Zoom participation in a Q&A session each day: Monday at 2 p.m. or Tuesday at 9 a.m. Event is free and open to all. Register at hawaiicoffeeed.com/priaxor.

Volcano Thursday Market Christmas Fair will be Friday, Dec. 23 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Event offers crafts, food, produce, live music, and entertainment for kids at Cooper Center in Volcano, Wright Road.

Showers, Soup, Haircuts, and Decorating of St. Jude's Church in Ocean View on Christmas Eve from 9 a.m to 1 p.m., with carols at 3 p.m. and Christmas Eve Service at 4 p.m, followed by Aloha Hour.


St. Jude's Hot Meals are free to those in need on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until food runs out, no later than noon. Volunteers from the community are welcome to help and can contact Karen at pooch53@gmail.com. Location is 96-8606 Paradise Circle Drive in Ocean View.

Ka'ū Food Pantry Distribution, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 9:30 a.m. until pau at St. Jude's Episcopal Church above Kahuku Park in Ocean View. Sponsored by Hawai'i Island Food Basket.

'O Ka'ū Kākou Pantry Food Distribution, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 10 a.m. until pau at Ka'ū District Gym in Pāhala. Sponsored by Hawai'i Island Food Basket.

Sacred Heart: Loaves and Fishes Food Distribution, Thursday, Dec. 22, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. at 95-5558 Hwy 11 in Nā'ālehu. Sponsored by Hawai'i Island Food Basket.

Cooper Center Community Pantry Food Distribution, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 9:30 a.m - 11 a.m. at 19- 4030 Wright Road in Volcano. Sponsored by Hawai'i Island Food Basket.

Free Meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are served from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nā'ālehu Hongwanji. Volunteers prepare the food provided by 'O Ka'ū Kākou with fresh produce from its gardens on the farm of Eva Liu, who supports the project. Other community members also make donations and approximately 150 meals are served each day, according to OKK President Wayne Kawachi.

See daily, weekly, and monthly events, outdoor markets, and more on page 8 and page 9 of the monthly print edition.

Pictures with Santa at Ocean View Community Center on Christmas Eve from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.