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Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs December 6, 2023

Koa art by Joan Yoshioka

KOA, MEANING BRAVE, BOLD, FEARLESS, is Plant of the Month for the last Lāʻau Letters of 2023, written by Jody Rosam with illustration by Joan Yoshioka. Here is La'u Letters, Native Plants of Ka'u:
    I wanted to share a familiar friend, Koa (meaning brave, bold, fearless, courage, and warrior) to bring you strength in the upcoming year. E ola Koa!  Description:  Koa is another one of our endemic Fabulous Fabaceae, and is the second most common tree species in Hawaiʻi (second to ʻōhiʻa). In rich volcanic ash soils, koa can grow to impressive heights of 100 feet or more. In fact, a koa tree in Kapuʻa Ahupuaʻa was measured at 115 feet tall with a crown spread of 93 feet!
    Did you know that mature koa trees do not have true leaves? When they are young, koa produces compound leaves composed of many small leaflets, but as they mature, they form the flat sickle-shaped leaf-like structures we are all familiar with seeing. Those are actually phyllodes, which are a modified petiole (the stalk that attaches the leaf blade to the stem). This is a unique adaptation, because petioles are able to twist the leaves in order to face the sun. In the case of koa, the vertically-flattened arrangement of the phyllodes optimizes their exposure to sunlight (and photosynthesis) throughout the canopy.
    The bark of koa is typically light gray, and is sometimes covered on one side by a bright orange lichen. The white flowers form in small, round heads and give way to seed pods containing many dark brown hard seeds. If you look closely at seeds in a pod, you can even notice the piko where it is attached to the pod. Have you ever walked through a koa forest and smelled a garlicky smell? That is the smell of the busy rhizobia or soil bacteria that live in root nodules fixing nitrogen! These rhizobia have the power to convert atmospheric nitrogen (N2), which is difficult for plants to uptake, into a usable form of ammonia (NH3). Cool symbiotic relationship, right?
    Uses: Commercially, koa is one of the most valued (and most expensive) woods in the world, which is why a sustainable harvesting method is crucial to perpetuating koa’s survival. Historically, one of the most well-known uses for koa was in canoe making. However, the process of selecting and harvesting the koa 

Young koa trees. Photo from state Department of Land & Natural Resources

tree for this purpose was intricate and ceremonial (please read about it). I kū mau mau! In addition to canoes, the fine red wood was once used for hale (houses), hoe (paddles), papa heʻe nalu (surfboards), and ʻumeke lāʻau (calabashes) to name a few, and is now used in woodworking to make exquisite furniture and ʻukulele. The bark can be used to make a red dye for kapa and the leaves can be strung into lei.
    Koa’s medicinal uses are plenty, including reducing fever, pūhō (abscesses), ʻeha māui (bruises), and haki (bone breaks). Habitat: Generally speaking, koa can be found on all of the main Hawaiian Islands except Kahoʻolawe and Niʻihau. It is able to grow at elevations between 150 - 7,000 feet in dry and mesic environments, though the greatest concentrations of koa are between 3,000 - 6,000 feet. In Kaʻū, you can find koa growing in every ahupuaʻa mauka of about 1,000 feet elevation.
    Growing and Purchasing: Koa keiki are often available at local plant sales, however, it should be noted that koa does vary greatly from one location to another. For this reason, as well as when you purchase any native species, please try and be aware of the source of your plant and keep them planted on your property and do not plant purchased trees out into the wild, as the genetic variation of our wild plant populations is critical to their survival. Koa are happiest when planted in full sun, and once they are established, they can handle periods of drought and high winds. Plant them 30-40 feet apart to accommodate their future crown spans in an area with plenty of sunshine. Do your best to keep the base of the tree weed-free, as koa does not like being weed whipped or bumped with a mower, and keep pruning to a minimum. Consider companion planting with a friend like ʻaʻaliʻi, māmaki, or ʻiliahi. Kūlia! 

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Mauna Loa and Hilina Pali Roads are open. NPS photo
MAUNA LOA AND HILINA PALI ROADS HAVE REOPENED for vehicles, for access to their overlooks in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. "Currently, there is no imminent wildfire threat in the area," says the Park posting. "While we are happy that the road is again open, it is essential to remain informed. Dry conditions and invasive plant species have heightened the risk of wildfires in Hawai'i. Increased fire events and the presence of flammable grasses pose a real threat to the cherished ecosystems in Hawai'i. Let's all stay vigilant and #RecreateResponsibly to protect our natural treasures."  
    For more information visit the park website: https://www.nps.gov/havo/learn/nature/drought-impact.htm.

A 4.4 M EARTHQUAKE HIT SUMMIT AREA OF KĪLAUEA VOLCANO at about 5:19 p.m. Wednesday. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center no tsunami threat.

FLAGS WILL BE FLOWN HALF-STAFF ON THURSDAY to commemorate Dec. 7, which marks the attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II. At the direction of the President of the United States, Gov. Josh Green, M.D., ordered that the United States flag and the Hawaiʻi state flag be flown at half-staff at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol and upon all state offices and agencies, as well as the Hawaiʻi National Guard in the State of Hawaiʻi from sunrise until sunset. 
    Green said, "This is a day for all of the world, but especially Hawaiʻi, to solemnly honor the sacrifices of so many service members and civilians who lost their lives during the December 7, 1941 attack that changed the course of world history. We are grateful for the peace that has since reigned between the U.S. and Japan, and for the especially close ties forged between Japan and Hawaiʻi."

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GOV. JOSH GREEN LISTED ACCOMPLISHMENTS ON TUESDAY after serving a year in office. In addition to those accomplishments by Green and his administration, reported in Tuesday's Kaʻū News Briefs, he reported the following:
    Hawai'i Life Flight: The Dec. 15, 2022 fatal crash of a Hawai'i Life Flight air ambulance – the state's sole interisland medical transport company -- exposed the need to bolster the neighbor islands' medical
airlift capacity. Green issued an Emergency Proclamation allowing the state to supplement medical airlift capacity with aircraft and flight crews from other states and with commercial carriers serving rural communities. In May, OptimuM Air of Las Vegas began operations as the state's second air ambulance carrier.
    Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and
Hawai'i Visitors & Conventions Bureau
drew involvement by Green to resolve the heated tourism contract disputes. He said he helped to bring a working peace between the two, "whose divisions over the previous year threatened Hawai'i's pressing need for a cohesive tourism marketing plan."
Fifty million dollars in state stalled grants-in aid. Green worked with the Attorney General's Office and the Department of Budget & Finance in March to release the
money that "supported nearly 180 nonprofit organizations navigating a new, somewhat challenging environment for non-profits following the COVID-19 pandemic."
    Correcting $1 billion overage in state budget. "New stark projections from the Council on Revenues between March and May 2023 showed declining revenue. Green's measured approach balanced fiscal 
accountability with Hawai'i's pressing needs," said a statement from his office. "Going forward, Governor Green will need to reevaluate Hawai'i's spending needs in light of the Maui Wildfire Disaster."
    Green led a Japan Diplomatic Mission in early November to engage with senior Japanese political leaders and tourism industry leaders to welcome Japanese visitors back to Maui—and other parts of Hawai'i. He expressed his intention to make travel easier through pre-custom checks.
    Appointing female judges is listed among Green's Accomplishments. The statement says, "Seeking to achieve gender equity among judges in the state Judiciary, Governor Green has appointed Lisa Ginoza to the State Supreme Court; Judge Kimberly Guidry to the Intermediate Court of Appeals and Judge Michelle Drewyer to the Second Circuit Court on Maui, creating a nearly even balance."
First female judge in Hawai'i, Emma Kaili Metcalf
 Beckley Nakuina, was appointed in 1892. Green 
created nearly a balance of men and women 
judges in his first year. Image from Wikipedia
     Protected Women'sReproductive Rights is another accomplishment listed. Among the bills Green first signed into law was SB1, which "expands access to reproductive health care services in numerous ways; clarifies that the state will not deny or interfere with a pregnant person's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy and protects Hawai'i health care providers from punitive legal action from within or outside of the state relating to the provision of legally provided reproductive health care services. Additional protections, prohibitions and requirements are included."
    The statement says that "In response to efforts by extreme judges on the continent to revoke the approval of mifepristone for use in abortion medication in early April 2023, Governor Green directed Comptroller Keith Regan and Tax Director Gary Suganuma to secure a year's supply of the drug.
    Green signed the Obrero reform bill, which "addressed a potentially troubling problem in the state's criminal justice system. The ruling could have forced prosecutors to recharge hundreds of violent offenders and set them free as a grand jury considers their cases." Bill 36, signed by Green in March, clarified that a person could be tried and sentenced for serious felonies either through the complaint and preliminary hearing process, indictment by grand jury, or by written information. The new law also barrs prosecutors from making multiple attempts to charge a person with the same felony by presenting the same evidence to a grand jury or judge, or both.

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs December 5, 2023

Stanley Brooks, born in Wai‘ōhinu, was the main Santa at Ala Moana. He was called the Hawaiian Santa.
Photo from Ala Moana

A QUIET MAN WHO TRANSFORMED INTO SANTA for thousands of children at Christmastime lived in Pāhala for 15 years while being the star Santa at Ala Moana Center on O'ahu, and in Hilo. Stanley Brooks passed away this year. His wife, Madelyne Maluhia “Babs” Brooks, remains in Pāhala and parents their grandson Kekui.
  “You’re not the real Santa, you’re Hawaiian,” was the kidding from many children who sat on his lap at Ala Moana and Hilo. Hawaiian Santa would reply that he was helping “Santa who was at the North Pole, but this Santa is from South Point,” revealing his Ka‘ū roots. He was one of seven, born and raised in Wai‘ōhinu to Ema Kealikiholokahiki and Stanley Brooks, Sr. His grandfather was Martin Martinson, Sr. known as Kupupa. He managed Kahuku Ranch for 31 years.

    When children told Stanley Brooks, the Hawaiian Santa at Ala Moana and Hilo, that they went to Nā‘ālehu Elementary, he would sometimes slip that he did too, to the astonishment of the keiki. Brooks had many Santa names, from the Hawaiian Santa to Santa Stan. His wife said, “He loved children and could see the warmth of a child’s heart through only a Santa’s eyes.”
    She said he was particularly drawn to children on this island who tended to ask for simple and inexpensive gifts. Many would ask for Santa to help others, like “Can grandma have a tree?” “Can mommy and daddy be happy?” “Can you find my daddy a job?” “Can you cure grandma’s cancer?” The comments revealed children’s understanding of hard times and their deep involvement with their families, said Babs Brooks. When Hawaiian Santa heard families pulling back from photos with Santa, he often called them over for the photos manuahi - no cost.
    Babs Brooks said that her Santa’s “love for Ka‘ū ran deep, and he could never move too far away as he commuted from Ka‘ū to Hilo and Ala Moana ” to be the the main Santa - the Hawaiian Santa.
    Another practice for a decade was on each Christmas morning, he traveled to Hilo to Under His Wings Ministry to be with homeless children. He gave them gifts and encouragement. “That was one of his most cherished memories with children who were less fortunate,” said his wife. “His philosophy as Santa was that the children need to have hope in something, in this troubled world.” Many were without religion, and “Santa was the only thing they could believe in. So he delivered that hope and expressed his love for them.” While most people saw Stanley Brooks as loving and compassionate with a quietness about him, Babb Brooks said, when Christmas came around, “it completely transformed him.”
    Babs Brooks traveled to O'ahu last weekend with Kekui to meet the new Santa at Ala Moana who told them that keiki were asking for the Hawaiian Santa. The new Santa said he tells them that Hawaiian Santa went to heaven, said Brooks. She will give a talk at Wailoa State Park on Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. for Hospice. She said she will focus on lessons from her husband on loving your family, giving children hope and serving others.

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ORGANIZATIONS THAT ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS WILL RECEIVE OVER $9.7 MILLION on this island, with County Council approval. County of Hawai'i Office of Housing & Community Development announced projects that target an array of initiatives from permanent supportive housing to substance abuse and mental health     
an array of initiatives from permanent supportive housing to substance abuse and mental health treatment to providing services to community members who need assistance in connecting to stable housing opportunities. Also funded are programs providing hygiene outreach, street medicine and family reunification for persons experiencing homelessness.
    "Together with our non-profit community partners we are working to bolster the programs and services that play a vital role in protecting and uplifting some of the most vulnerable members of our community on Hawai'i Island," said county Housing Administrator Susan Kunz.
    Funding comes from the Homelessness and Housing Fund created in 2022 through County Ordinance 22-26, which appropriates 75 percent of tier two property tax revenues annually to address homelessness
and housing on Hawaiʻi Island. The funding is set to expire in 2027.
    On Aug. 3, Office of Housing issued a Request For Proposal seeking applicants to carry out priorities outlined in the Strategic Roadmap for Homelessness and Housing released in September 2022. Office of Housing received 31 proposals from community organizations requesting over $16.2 million, far exceeding the available amount to potentially award in this second of an expected five fiscal years of appropriations.
    Recommended funds for organizations and proposals are:

$525,000 to West Hawai'i Community Health Center, which merged with Bay Clinic to form Hawai'i Island Community Health Center. The grant is for its project called Hawai'i Island Street Medicine Program;

$362,060 to Mental Health Kokua for its Supportive Housing & Workforce Development Program;

$237,296 to Bridge House, Inc. for its Recovery Housing;

$281,486 to Going Home Hawai'i for its Re-entry & Recovery Housing Program;

$288,933 to Project Vision Hawai'i for Hygiene Outreach and Street Medicine;
$1.2 million to Big Island Substance Abuse Council for its Malmapono Center;

$250,000 to Big Island Substance abuse Council for its Mohala Family Center;

$213,920 to The Salvation Army - Family Intervention Services for Transitional Housing Program;

$285,530 to The Salvation Army's Family Intervention Services Transitional Housing Program;

$690,817 to Going Home Hawai'i for its Hawai' Island Frequent Users System and Justice- involved Services Project;

$166,000 to Habitat for Humanity Hawai'i Island for Construction Capacity Building;

$137,000 to Lokahi Treatment Centers for Integrated Substance abuse and Menal Health Treatment for Homeless and At-Risk Individuals;

$214,210 to Neighborhood Place of Puna for its Pathways to Excellence in Practice;

$307,684 to Neighborhood Place of Puna for its 'Ohana Homelessness Prevention & Support Program;

$286,459 to Neighborhood Place of Puna for its Coordination Center Program;

$1.64 million to HOPE Services Hawai'i for Hale Kulike and Keolahou shelters;

$331,990.32 to HOPE Services Hawai'i, Inc. for its Kihei Pua Emergency Shelter;

$867,635.17 to HOPE Services Hawai'i, Inc. for Ending Homelessness Through Behavioral Health & Mental Health Services;

$195,985.87 to HOPE Services Hawai'i, Inc. for Hale Maluhia Emergency Shelter;

$374,564.67 to HOPE Services Hawai'i, Inc. for West Hawai'i Emergency Housing Program;
$292,304 to 808 Homeless Task Force for Family Reunification Program;

$641,802.67 to Child & Family Service for expansion of Hale 'Ohana.

MARKING COMPLETION OF HIS FIRST YEAR IN OFFICE, GOV. JOSH GREEN GAVE a talk on Tuesday about his challenges and accomplishments, including "bold actions he has taken to serve the people of Hawai'i," says the statement from his office.
   The Governor, who started his medical practice in Kaʻū, said his new administration addressed the highest cost of living in the U.S.; the second-highest rate of homelessness per capita; the long-festering affordable housing shortage of some 50,000 units; the Red Hill water contamination crisis; a teacher shortage impacting public education for keiki; a shortage of healthcare workers especially in rural communities; ongoing gun violence and "the previously unimaginable devastation suffered in the Maui wildfires."
   The speech circled back to priorities he outlined in his inaugural State of the State Address in January. He noted that he introduced and passed the first phase of the Green Affordability Plan to reduce the high cost of living for working families, providing $104 million in direct income tax relief for ALICE families (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed). Green said he will seek $250 million in additional relief for Hawai'i families, via the child and dependent tax credit this year.
   In January, Green signed the first Emergency Proclamation on Homelessness "to cut through red tape, allowing for construction of up to 12 kauhale villages statewide in the coming years."  The first medical respite kauhale, Pūlama Ola, was opened in May, adjacent to the Governor's mansion. The idea was to
Gov. Josh Green and First Lady Jaime Kanani Green celebrating the completion of
his first year in office on Tuesday. Photo from Governor's Office

lead by example in changing the mindset to "Yes In My Backyard," from "Not In My Backyard." More kauhale to house the houseless are in the pipeline for construction, he said.
    To help keep Hawai'i's people at home in the islands, said Green, he exercised his emergency powers to create a committee of the state's leading housing experts to fast-track the development of affordable housing projects. Some 10,800 units of new affordable housing for working families at the state's nine public housing properties were immediately approved and more affordable housing units — as well as homesteads for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries, are coming, said the Governor.
    Another 800 new housing units planned by county governments and private developers have also broken ground or opened this year.
    "Protecting the health and safety of our people and preserving our precious environmental resources have been top priorities, said Green. The statement from his office said, "His leadership alongside state and county officials has resulted in important progress on draining fuel from Red Hill so it can finally be shut down for good. The draining of up to 250 million gallons from Red Hill's 20 mammoth tanks – the U.S. military's largest underground fuel storage facility -- began five months ahead of schedule."
    Concerning education, the statement said, "Green's commitment to public education was demonstrated in the successful negotiation of a new four-year contract with the Hawai'i State Teachers Association and the 13,500 teachers it represents, in April of this year. With its substantial pay raises for new hires and bonuses for experienced professionals, the contract has paid dividends with teaching positions being filled, vacancies dropping, keeping more and more teachers from leaving the educational field."
Gov. Josh Green and staff as he reviews his first year in office. Photo from the Governor's Office
   Regarding healthcare, the statement said, "As the only active physician-governor in the U.S., Governor Green's announcement of the Healthcare Education Loan Repayment Program begins to address the severe shortage of healthcare professionals in the state. The HELP program has already awarded 585 healthcare licensees in exchange for two years of full-time or half-time service in Hawai'i, providing care for at least 30% vulnerable patients. This ensures that access to care will be improved for the underserved, especially in rural communities."
   The speech also pointed to gun violence and "the state's first meaningful gun buyback in decades, in October. Nearly 500 firearms were turned in, taken off our streets in exchange for grocery gift cards. This initiative, along with the Governor's commitment to creating safe places from guns, and his signing of key firearms-related legislation on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, will help make our communities safer and protect our keiki from deadly violence."
    Concerning Lahaina, the statement said, "The most devastating disaster most kama'āina will ever see, killed 100 of our loved ones and destroyed most of historic Lahaina Town on August 8. The Lahaina Fire is considered to have been the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than a century. Governor Green's request to President Biden for federal assistance was approved within hours and since then, survivors and displaced residents have received more than $120 million in housing assistance, and will receive another $130 million in state and federal aid. Additional aid will be offered to those who lost loved ones or who were severely injured in the fires through the Governor's Maui Relief Fund, as part of his One 'Ohana Initiative.
    "The Governor and our state partners work daily to find longer-term housing solutions for our Maui neighbors and the Department of Human Services has just announced a Rental Assistance Program to help people relocate from hotel rooms to homes. Governor Green also has provided $12.5 million in emergency grants through Maui Economic Opportunity for businesses affected by the wildfire."
    See more on the Governor's address in the Wednesday Kaʻū News Briefs.

Volcano Art Center, open daily. See www.volcanoartcenter.org

Monday, December 04, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs December 4, 2023


The 5.1 magnitude quake with a long shake Monday evening was located northeast of Pahala along Hilina Pali at about
2,000 ft. elevation near Chain of Craters Road inside Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. USGS image

A 5.1 MAGNITUDE QUAKE SHOOK KAʻŪ AND VOLCANO on Monday evening at 5:53 p.m. It was followed by a magnitude 3.1 earthquake in the same area at 5:58 p.m. Both were at a depth of 1.9 km. The location was northeast of Pāhala along the Hilina Pala at about 2,000 ft. elevation near Chain of Craters Road on the slope of Kīlauea Volcano, inside Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Both quakes were about 8 miles from Volcano.
    Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported no tsunami threat. County Civil Defense issued a statement saying, "As in all earthquakes, be aware of the possibility of after-shocks. If the earthquake was strongly felt in your area, precautionary checks should be made for any damages; especially structural and to utility connections of Gas, Water, and Electricity."

Trojan football team players received honors in islandwide rankings this week. Photo by Mark Peters
Dominic Nurial-Dacalio
is top in defense for Trojans.
Photo by Mark Peters

KAʻŪ TROJAN TEAM MEMBERS MADE IT INTO THE RANKINGS OF TOP HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYERS ON THE ISLAND. They were selected to First Team and Honorable Mention All-Conference for the BIIF. The list was released Monday by former Kaʻū High Athletic Director Kalei Namohana who is Big Island Interscholastic Football Coordinator.
    In Division II for Offense, Tyson TJ Kauhuia-Faafia was selected as First Team all-conference Wide Receiver. Honorable Mention all-conference for Kaʻū offensive players are for Adahdiyah "Diyah" Ellis-Reyes, Ocean Nihipali Sesson, Cyzeiah "Oli" Silva-Kamei, and Dominic Nurial-Dacalio.
Tyson TJ Kauhuia-Faafia is top offensive player for Trojans.
Photo by Mark Peters.
    In Division II for Defense, Dominic Nurial-Dacalio is recognized as First Team all-conference for his work as a Defensive Lineman. Honorable Mention all-conference for Kaʻū defensive players are for Adahdiyah "Diyah" Ellis-Reyes and Triton Blanco.
    BIIF Offensive Player of the Year is Alaka'i Aipia of HPA. The BIIF Defensive Players of the year are Ekela Livingston of HPA and Niau Paulos of Kamehameha. Coach of the Year for Division II is Kealoha Wengler of Kamehameha.
   Trojan coaching staff sent out a message of "Congratulations to our Trojan Football Team for this recognition."

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REGARDING THE MERGER OF HAWAIIAN AND ALASKA AIRLINES, Congressman Ed Case issued the following: “My earliest memories include flying with my dad on Hawaiian Airlines from Hilo to the Big City. So, like all of us it is difficult to accept that this truly kamaʻāina company, such a deep part of the lives of generations of residents and visitors, may not continue as an independent and uniquely Hawaiian enterprise.
    "But if this is going to and needs to happen to maintain Hawaiian’s contributions to our state, Alaska Airlines is a promising partner. Its undertakings to continue the Hawaiian brand, employ the over 7,000 Hawai‘i ‘ohana that have served us so well, and sustain reliable, affordable and competitive inter-island and Hawai’i-outside world service are very welcome.

    “What matters, though, is that there are full, binding and transparent commitments to back up those words. That must be our focus in the upcoming federal and state review and approval processes and community discussions of this major change in our Hawai‘i fabric.”

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DESIGNING EVICTION MEDIATION AS A TOOL FOR VIOLENCE REDUCTION is the subject of this month's Ku'ikahi Mediation Center's free talk on Dec. 21 as part of its Finding Solutions, Growing Peace Brown Bag Lunch Series.  Talks are Third Thursdays from  noon to 1 p.m. via Zoom.
    This month's speaker is Deanna Parrish, who said, "In a typical year, 3.6 million eviction cases are filed in the U.S. Since 2021, there have been over 80 deaths related to removing people from their homes. Eviction diversion programs could help diminish the possibility and stress of losing a home, reduce violent outcomes, and increase overall housing stability."
   The talk is designed to dive into dispute resolution solutions that can keep those involved in housing conflicts safe.
    Parrish serves as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, a Clinical Instructor at the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program, and the Assistant Director of the HNP Negotiation Teaching Network.  In these roles, she teaches and supervises graduate students in their coursework and clinical practice related to negotiation and dispute resolution.  She is a certified mediator and active member of the District of Columbia Bar.
    Ku'ikahi's Brown Bag Lunch Series is free and open to the public.  Attendees are encouraged to enjoy an informal and educational talk-story session and connect with others interested in Finding Solutions, Growing Peace.
    To get the Zoom link, register online at https://freebrownbagtalk.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Ku'ikahi Mediation Center at (808) 935-7844 or info@hawaiimediation.org.  Or visit www.hawaiimediation.org.
    This lunch-and-learn series is made possible thanks in part to funding from the County of Hawai'i and Hawai'i Island United Way.

Sunday, December 03, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs December 3, 2023

Santa arrives with park staff and Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park CEO Elizabeth Fien to meet the keiki and give them presents at Holidays in Kahuku on Saturday.  Photo by Brenda Iokepa Moses

HOLIDAYS IN KAHUKU WELCOMED THE SUN on Saturday. More than 700 people, about 500 from on island, attended. The Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park's event at the Kahuku Unit's fairgrounds and visitor center began after four days of solid rain that threatened to wash it out. Park Guide Wendy Scott-Vance said the Kahuku unit experienced a long drought and had just bought water for the first time in about 15 years. As soon as the water flowed into the tanks, the rains came and tanks overflowed.
The South Point Winds, with Peter Bosted on oboe, Lisa Wells
on bassoon, Sara Kamibayashi on French horn and Farley
 Sangels on trumpet, opens with classic Christmas music. 
Photo by Annie Bosted
    On Saturday, sunrise brought a "crystalline day," said Scott-Vance, with the sunshine lasting until Holidays in Kahuku was pau, the tents taken down and the place cleaned. Then the rains came again.
    She noted that the lower fairground fields were spared from a muddy situation by a new parking regime that used an old airstrip about a half mile up the hill. Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park ran a shuttle most of the day. A road and hiking trail were available for those who wanted to walk it. She said the idea was to provide more parking while keeping handicapped parking next to the fairgrounds.
    For the non-profit Friends, which financially supports such park programs as Youth Rangers and Guardians of the Trails, this was its fourth Holidays in Kahuku. It ran from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. More than 20 arts and crafts stalls served the public for Christmas shopping. Food trucks and stalls provided nourishment. Friends CEO Elizabeth Fien said it was "a fabulous event - great community. Next year is already set. Save the date, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2024."
The Kīpapa Sisters sing Here Comes Santa Claus, as he
comes in on a UTV. Photo by Brenda Iokepa Moses
    Holidays in Kahuku opened with emcee Makana Kamahele and musicians in The South Point Winds, "a really beautiful beginning, with classic Christmas music," said Scott-Vance. Other highlights included the Kīpapa Sisters singing Here Comes Santa Claus, Right Down Santa Claus Lane, as he arrived on the Friend's UTV with Friends CEO and Vance to meet and greet the keiki and give them gifts.
   Also performing were Kumu Debbie Ryder and her Halau Hula O Leionalani, backed up by Demetrius Oliveira and Gene Beck, South Hawai'i Symphony, Jazz Gardeners and the Funk & Roll band Hot Potaytahs.
   John Replogle was inspired by a classic keiki story for his telling of Little Lei Puahi and the Wild Pua'a. Joining him on stage was 99 year old Pauahi Pulham, introduced as Kaʻū 's own Little Lei Puahi.
Emcee Makana Kamahele. Photo by Brenda Iokepa Moses

        During Holidays in Kahuku, the Friends also introduced their new logo and logo wear, which can be purchased online at https://www.fhvnp.org/shop/

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES AND ALASKA AIRLINES WILL COMBINE, according to Hawaiian Airlines Newsroom, which lists benefits of the merger. It says the merger will create:
  Combined company to maintain Alaska Airlines' and Hawaiian Airlines' strong, high-quality brands, supported by a single, compelling loyalty offering.
   Expansion of fifth largest U.S. airline to a fleet of 365 narrow and wide body airplanes enabling guests to reach 138 destinations through a combined networks and more than 1,200 destinations through the oneworld Alliance.
   Enable Honolulu to become a key hub for the combined airline with expanded service for residents of Hawai‘i to the Continental U.S., creating new connections to Asia and throughout the Pacific for travelers across the U.S.
  A commitment to Hawai‘i that remains steadfast, including maintaining robust Neighbor Island air service, and a more competitive platform to support growth, job opportunities for employees, community investment and environmental stewardship.
Hawaiian Civic Club of Kaʻū served laulau and
other local food. Photo by Brenda Iokepa Moses
    A commitment to maintaining and growing union-represented workforce in Hawai‘i.
   A combination that will result in immediate value creation with sizable upside. All-cash transaction of $18 per share offers attractive premium for Hawaiian Airlines shareholders and is expected to be accretive to Alaska’s earnings within two years post-close with at least $235 million of expected run-rate synergies.
    Hawaiian and Alaska Airlines issued a joint statement saying:
The Jazz Gardeners playing at the fourth annual Holidays in Kahuku.
 Aaron Loesser is on  double bass, Gabriel Cuevas is on drums and
Farley Sangels plays piano and trumpet, often at the same time.
 Cheryl Cuevas was their vocalist for some numbers.
Photo by Annie Bosted
    Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE: ALK), and Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HA) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Alaska Airlines will acquire Hawaiian Airlines for $18.00 per share in cash, for a transaction value of approximately $1.9 billion, inclusive of $0.9 billion of Hawaiian Airlines net debt.
     The combined company will unlock more destinations for consumers and expand choice of critical air service options and access throughout the Pacific region, Continental United States and globally. The transaction is expected to enable a stronger platform for growth and competition in the U.S., as well as long-term job opportunities for employees, continued investment in local communities and environmental stewardship.
A beaming Lisa Wells concludes shopping from Karen Newton
 and Laura Griffith who sold many hand-crafted rope baskets,
 coasters, jeans purses and fabric gift bags. Photo by Annie Bosted
    As airlines rooted in the 49th and 50th U.S. states, which are uniquely reliant upon air travel, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines share a deep commitment to caring for their employees, guests and communities. This combination will build on the 90+ year legacies and cultures of these two service-oriented airlines, preserve both beloved brands on a single operating platform, and protect and grow union-represented jobs and economic development opportunities in Hawai‘i, with a combined network that will provide more options and added international connectivity for travelers through airline partners including, the oneworld Alliance.
Teresa Davis of Ocean View shows her creations – hand-made doggy
 Christmas bandanas. She and her husband, Allyn, sell a wide
 variety of sewn and painted crafts under the label, 'Ohi'a Creation. 
Photo by Annie Bosted

   “This combination is an exciting next step in our collective journey to provide a better travel experience for our guests and expand options for West Coast and Hawai‘i travelers,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines CEO. “We have a longstanding and deep respect for Hawaiian Airlines, for their role as a top employer in Hawai‘i, and for how their brand and people carry the warm culture of aloha around the globe. Our two airlines are powered by incredible employees, with 90+ year legacies and values grounded in caring for the special places and people that we serve. I am grateful to the more than 23,000 Alaska Airlines employees who are proud to have served Hawai‘i for over 16 years, and we are fully committed to investing in the communities of Hawai‘i and maintaining robust Neighbor Island service that Hawaiian Airlines travelers have come to expect. We look forward to deepening this stewardship as our airlines come together, while providing unmatched value to customers, employees, communities and owners.”
      Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO said that “Since 1929, Hawaiian Airlines has been an integral part of life in Hawai‘i, and together with Alaska Airlines we will be able to deliver more for our guests, employees and the communities that we serve.      “In Alaska Airlines, we are joining an airline that has long served Hawai‘i, and has a complementary network and a shared culture of service. With the additional scale and resources that this transaction with Alaska Airlines brings, we will be able to accelerate investments in our guest experience and technology, while maintaining the Hawaiian Airlines brand. We are also pleased to deliver significant, immediate and compelling value to our shareholders through this all-cash transaction. Together, Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines can bring our authentic brands of hospitality to more of the world while continuing to serve our valued local communities.”


 Members of Halau Hula O Leionalai sing at Holidays at Kahuku on Saturday. Photo by Brenda Iokepa Moses

Halau Hula O Leonalani dances for Holidays in Kahuku. Photo by Annie Bosted

The Knitwits provided hand-knitted hats, bags, scarves, sweaters,
 wraps and soft toys. Knitwit member Robin Stratton, on left,
 shows a crocheted garment to customer Michelle Mueller. Proceeds
  go to the Food Basket. Knitwits is a group of volunteers who meet
 weekly in Ocean View to knit and socialize. Photo by Annie Bosted
      The joint statement from the airlines also
promised more community and employee benefits:
   "As one of Hawai‘i’s largest employers, Hawaiian Airlines has a long legacy of commitment to its employees, who shaped the company over its 94-year history, and to local communities, culture, and the natural environment. As an integrated company, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines will continue this stewardship and maintain a strong presence and investment in Hawai‘i." 
    The statement says the combined company will drive:
John Replogle entertained fair goers with his telling of Little Lei Puahi
and the Wild Pua'a, a Hawaiian interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood.
Photo by Annie Bosted
    Growth in union-represented jobs - Maintain and grow union-represented jobs in Hawai‘i, including preserving pilot, flight attendant, and maintenance bases in Honolulu and airport operations and cargo throughout the state.
   Strong operational presence - Maintain a strong operations presence with local leadership and a regional headquarters in Hawai‘i to support the combined airlines’ network.
   Opportunities for employees - Provide more opportunities for career advancement, competitive pay and benefits, and geographic mobility for employees.
    Expansion of workforce development initiatives - Continue and expand access to workforce development initiatives, including Hawaiian Airlines' partnership with the Honolulu Community College Aeronautics Maintenance Technology Program and Alaska Airlines' Ascend Pilot Academy among others, to support future jobs and career opportunities in Hawai‘i and beyond.
    Investment in local communities - Continue to invest in Hawai‘i communities, combining and expanding the two airlines’ commitments, and work with local communities and government to build a vibrant future for Hawai‘i.
   Perpetuation of culture - Committed to promoting regenerative tourism in the Hawaiian Islands and investing in Hawaiian language and culture, continuing and building upon Hawaiian Airlines' existing programs.
Wilbur Won attends an impressive display of
hand-crafted jewelry, glass etchings and sculptures
 created by Ocean View artists Candice
and Rodney Crusat. Photo by Annie Bosted

    The statement also promises that both airlines will become "more sustainable." It says:

    "Alaska Airlines is committed to building upon both Alaska Airlines' and Hawaiian Airlines' strong commitments to environmental stewardship, including Alaska Airlines' five-part path to net zero by 2040 and sustainability goals in areas of carbon emissions and fuel efficiency, waste, and healthy ecosystems. In 2022, Alaska Airlines made its largest Boeing fleet order in its 90-year history, focused on the Boeing 737-MAX aircraft, which are 25% more fuel-efficient on a seat-by-seat basis than the aircraft they replace, and continued to expand use of route optimization software to help dispatchers develop routes that save fuel, time, and emissions.
    "Both airlines are actively working to advance the market for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in their respective geographies. These climate-focused efforts will continue, including continued investment in local sourcing."

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The Funk & Roll band Hot Potaytahs finished the day at Holidays at Kahuku.
Photo from Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Alaska Airlines waits for permission.
Hawaiian Airlines plans to marry Alaska Airlines.