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Sunday, June 11, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Sunday, June 11 2023

King Kamehameha Statue with a ti leaf lei made by Pumehana Wong Yuen from Kaʻū. Photo by Tim Wright

A 30-FOOT LONG TI LEAF LEI FROM A KAʻŪ LEIMAKER ADORNS THE KING KAMEHAMEHA STATUE IN HILO. Kamehameha Schools alums and friends gathered on Saturday in Hilo to pay tribute to King Kamehameha with newly made lei.
Pumehana Wong Yuen from Ka'u made a
20 ft. long lei for the King Kamehameha
statue in Hilo. Photo by Tim Wright
    Pumehana Wong Yuen from Kaʻū created the stunning 30-foot ti leaf lei, carefully assembling over 200 leaves. 
    Cathy Arnold, who for many years taught in Kaʻū and was known for her Hawaiian language and cultural knowledge, joined the Ladies of Hale O Ua Ali'i O Hawai'i to  participate as a lei presenter, adding to the occasion's significance.
    King Kamehameha Day is June 11 with the official state holiday falling this year on Monday. King Kamehameha celebrations over the weekend also included parades in Kona and Kohala, and another ceremony at the statue in Kapa'au along with a ho'olaulea. 
Draping of the Kamehameha Statue on Saturday.
Photo by Tim Wright
  The King Kamehameha statue is also draped at the U.S. Capitol.
    The state King Kamehameha Day Celebration Commission explained the creation of King Kamehameha Day: "On December 22, 1871, King Kamehameha V proclaimed a national holiday to honor and celebrate his grandfather and the father of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Originally, the people of Hawai‘i wanted to mark the legacy of Lot Kapūaiwa (Kamehameha V) on his birthday, December 11. Being the humble chief that he was, he opted to honor his grandfather instead and pushed the holiday as far away from his (Lot’s) birthday as possible, hence the arbitrary date of June 11. Thus, June 11, 1872, was the very first Kamehameha Day holiday ever celebrated."

Cathy Arnold, second from right, is well known in Kaʻū for Hawaiian culture and language and teaching here. Photo by Tim Wright

     The holiday weekend celebrates the life of the king who unified all the Hawaiian Islands from the Big Island to Ni'ihau in the decades before the arrival of missionaries.
King Kamehameha Statue in the U.S. Capitol where the public can see a statue
from each state, most of them in Statuary Hall. Photo by Julia Neal
    Kamehameha I established the Hawaiian Kingdom as an internationally recognized government in 1810. During his reign from 1795 to 1818, fur traders and merchants, picking up local sandalwood on their way to markets in China, stopped in Hawai'i on their sailing ships. Pineapple and coffee crops were introduced.
      After Kamehameha’s great-grandson established the holiday in 1871, it quickly grew to include such events as carnivals, horse and foot races, parades featuring paʻu riders – the flower-bedecked horseback contingents representing each island – hula competitions and hoʻolauleʻa. The holiday continued as Hawaiʻi became a part of the U.S. It was one of the first holidays to be written into law when Hawaiʻi became a state in 1959.

Mayor Mitch Roth and his wife Noriko in Saturday's King Kamehameha Day Parade. Roth also came to Kaʻū on Friday for the blessing of the massively expanded Wai'ohinu Recycling & Transfer station. See more in upcoming Kaʻū News Briefs.
Photo from the Mayor's office
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THE ANNUAL NATIVE HAWAIIAN CONVENTION is moving this year for the first time to The Ninth Island, Las Vegas. The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, which organizes the convention, is a member-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to enhance the cultural, economic, political, and community development of Native Hawaiians. Its slogan is "We uplift lāhui."
   The dates are June 19 to 22 at Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino. The statement from the Council says, "The convention’s location in Las Vegas is apt, as the area has become a magnet for Native Hawaiians and other island expats. In fact, Las Vegas has the third- highest population of Native Hawaiians among U.S. metropolitan areas, behind urban Honolulu and Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey. Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement CEO Kuhio Lewis said that the exit of Hawaiians from the Hawaiian Islands "a very unfortunate situation, and we are all deeply concerned that the fabric of Hawai'i, the culture of Hawai'i and that spirit is leaving with them.” He said the agenda for the convention is "very focused on keeping Hawai'i and Native Hawaiians connected.” See more on the Council and its convention at https://www.hawaiiancouncil.org/

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KAILOKI'S IS THE LATEST VICTIM OF THE THE GAS COMPANY STRIKE, temporarily closing Saturday in the middle of long King Kamehameha holiday weekend.
     The Ocean View restaurant posted on its facebook: "Unfortunately KaiLoki’s has now been affected by the strike relating to Hawai'i Gas. We have no stoves, no ovens, no hot water.  "We regret having to close for the weekend. We hope you all have a safe & happy weekend! Mahalo for your patience, as this was not something we wanted for our staff or our community. We will keep you updated for Wednesday."
    The strike has led to shortages in propane at other Hawai'i Island businesses and homes. Some other  restaurants that rely on propane for cooking on this island shut down temporarily when the arrival of propane tanks was delayed.
    Delivery workers at Hawai'i Gas are members of the Teamsters and Allied Workers, Local 996, led by Kevin Holu. The company and teamsters held meetings Friday and Saturday. Teamsters initially asked for a 30 percent increase in wages and reduced the demand to 22 percent. Teamsters are also asking for more medical benefits.
    A statement from Hawai'i Gas says, “Unfortunately, no agreement was reached. We continue to make ourselves available to meet with the Teamsters, and the earliest they can meet is June 19th. We have contacted the Teamsters to meet earlier than June 19th, as any unreasonable delay in reaching an agreement can only result in the continued inconvenience to and disruption of the ability of our customers to operate their businesses and their households, not to mention the impact on our employees.”
    The statement from the Teamsters says, “It comes with a heavy heart to inform you that the current negotiations have resulted in the employer wanting to continue the current strike."
        About 200 members of the Teamsters work for Hawai'i Gas statewide, including drivers, clerks and maintenance workers. During the strike the 140 non-union workers are attempting to fill in for the workers on strike.

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A statement from NOAA included a. new El Niño Advisory, saying, "El Niño conditions are present and are expected to gradually strengthen into the winter."
    El Niño is a natural climate phenomenon marked by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator, which occurs on average every two to seven years. El Niño’s impacts on the climate extend far beyond the Pacific Ocean.
See real time data on El Niño https://www.pmel.noaa.gov/elnino/realtime-data
    ​"Depending on its strength, El Niño can cause a range of impacts, such as increasing the risk of heavy rainfall and droughts in certain locations around the world,” said Michelle L’Heureux, climate scientist at the Climate Prediction Center. “Climate change can exacerbate or mitigate certain impacts related to El Niño. For example, El Niño could lead to new records for temperatures, particularly in areas that already experience above-average temperatures during El Niño.”
     El Nino’s influence on the U.S. is weak during the summer and more pronounced starting in the late fall through spring. By winter, there is an 84% chance of greater than a moderate strength El Niño, and a 56% chance of a strong El Niño developing. 
     The anticipated persistence of El Niño contributes to the 2023 Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Hurricane Outlooks issued by NOAA last month. El Niño conditions usually help to suppress Atlantic Hurricane activity, while the presence of El Niño typically favors strong hurricane activity in the central and eastern Pacific Basins.
   The Climate Prediction Center’s seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks will continue to take into account current and forecasted El Niño conditions. These seasonal outlooks are updated monthly, with the next update on June 15.

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TRACKING FENTANYL ON THIS ISLAND IS A PRIORITY FOR HAWAI'I POLICE DEPARTMENT. As part of its continuing community outreach about the dangers of fentanyl, HPD provides monthly updates on the amount of fentanyl related arrests (possession/distribution) in Hawai‘i County and the quantity of fentanyl recovered for the preceding month. The latests stats are from the month of May when there were 13 fentanyl related arrests: 10 in Area I (east Hawai‘i) and three in Area II (west Hawai‘i). Police recovered a total of 87.53 grams of illicit fentanyl last month, including 9.13 grams in Area I and 78.4 grams in Area II, as well as 77 pills, two pills in Area I and 75 in Area II.
    Hawai‘i Police Department stated that it "is committed to fighting drugs on island and apprehending those that distribute and sell
illegal narcotics. In recent years, the use of illicit fentanyl has reached epidemic proportions on the mainland and Hawai‘i. Criminal drug networks are mixing this dangerous synthetic opioid into illegal counterfeit pills and selling them as legitimate prescription pills, often with deadly consequences."
    Fentanyl safety tips: For fentanyl safety tips, how to recognize fentanyl poisoning, and more, please go to HPD’s website: https://www.hawaiipolice.com/services/crime-tips#fentanyl.
    Have a drug tip? Those with information relating to illicit drug use and distribution, as well as vice issues such as prostitution, gambling, and other related crimes, can call East Hawaiʻi and West Hawaiʻi Vice Sections 24-hour anonymous vice/drug tip hotline. Call (808) 329-“ZERO-ICE” (808) 329-0423 — Information pertaining to districts of Kaʻū, Kona, South Kohala, and North Kohala. Call (808) 934-“VICE” (808) 934-8423— Information pertaining to districts of Puna, South Hilo, North Hilo, and Hāmākua.
    Those who call will be asked to provide information but do not not have to provide name, address nor telephone number. All information is kept confidential and within the Criminal Investigation Division.

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