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Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Close-up of the Great Crack with a kīpuka in the distance. NPS Photo by Janice Wei

THE FUTURE OF THE GREAT CRACK AND ALA WAI‘I between Volcano and Pāhala is the subject of a public input meeting set for Saturday, Sept. 23 from noon to 2 p.m. at Pāhala Community Center. Potential use and stewardship are on the table for the “talk story” meeting.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park staff surveys coastline at Great Crack
 looking towards Ka Lae. NPS Photo by Janice Wei
    The Park "accepted stewardship of the 1,951-acre Great Crack in 2018, and the adjacent 2,750-acre Ala Waiʻi area in 2022 because of their unique geologic, biological and cultural resources and public concerns for the areas to be protected from future development," says the statement in the meeting announcement.
    "The rugged areas, while mostly barren lava rock, with no surface water, few trees, and little shade, are superb examples of the geologic forces that shape the Southwest Rift Zone of Kīlauea volcano and are known to contain cultural and natural resources. The Pacific Ocean borders their windswept lava rock cliffs."
    The park is working to create a long-term plan for managing the Great Crack and Ala Waiʻi areas. Great Crack, an 18-mile long fissure up to 50 feet wide in some places, was designated as potential wilderness in 1978 while under private ownership. Over the years, various commercial developments were proposed by the previous landowner, including a space launch facility, but none were implemented.
    The park officials said that Ala Waiʻi needs to be evaluated for wilderness eligibility. Both areas are currently managed by the park as wilderness backcountry and are open to the public for day hiking.
Surf pummels the exposed windward shoreline of the Great Crack
 parcel. NPS Photo by Janice Wei
    Overnight use is allowed with a backcountry permit obtained through Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Backcountry Office.
    The public may also submit comments via mail or email to the park superintendent:
Attention: Superintendent Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawai‘i National Park, HI 96718.
    Email havo_superintendent@nps.gov
    For more information on the Great Crack and Ala Waiʻi, visit the park website.
    The park statement notes that "The mission of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is to protect, conserve, and study the volcanic landscapes and associated natural and cultural resources and processes, and to facilitate safe public access to active volcanism, diverse geographic settings, and wilderness for public education and enjoyment."

VISITORS TO HAWAI‘I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK CONTRIBUTED $149 MILLION TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Park Service. It states that visitor spending in 2022 supported 1,500 jobs in the local area and $195 million in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding the park.
     "We recognize that tourism is a critical driver to the local economy. People come to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park to experience volcanic eruptions, the rich island biodiversity, and cherished cultural landscapes," said Hawai‘i Volcanoes Superintendent Rhonda Loh.
    National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said, "Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks. With the help of volunteers and partners, we safeguard these special places and share their stories with more than 300 million visitors every year. The impact of tourism to national parks is undeniable: bringing jobs and revenue to communities in every state in the country and making national parks an essential driver to the national economy."
Kīlauea eruption inside Halemaʻumaʻu. NPS Photo by Janice Wei
     The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists at the National Park Service. The report shows $23.9 billion of direct spending by nearly 312 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 378,400 jobs nationally; 314,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $50.3 billion.
    As for the economics of visitor spending, the lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $9 billion in economic output nationally. The restaurant sector had the second greatest effects, with $4.6 billion in economic output nationally.
     Authors of the report produced an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value-added, and output effects by sector for national, state and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available on the NPS Social Science Program webpage: Visitor Spending Effects - Economic Contributions of National Park Visitor Spending - Social Science (U.S. National Park Service).
    To learn more about national parks in Hawaiʻi and how the National Park Service works with local communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to https://www.nps.gov/state/hi/index.htm.

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    From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the site is the annex conference room next to the Herkes Kaʻū Gym on the school grounds at 96-1219 Kamani Street. 
    On hand will be Denise Salmeron, a USDA Business Programs Director; Malia Kantrowitz, a Hawai'i Energy, Energy Advisor; Chloe Gallegos and Kevin Burke from Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Jennifer Balderas and Keisan Tamura from USDA Farm Service Agency.

Dr. Walt Kaneakua is appointed to Hawaiian Homes Commission.
      Kaneakua is a director for Hawaiʻi Pacific Foundation, a nonprofit, Native Hawaiian organization and member of its Strategic Planning Committee. He oversees part of the HPF portfolio for charitable giving in the Native Hawaiian community. Kaneakua is also a professor for the U.S. Naval War College at Pearl Harbor and an adjunct professor at Pacific Rim Christian University. He is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and earned additional degrees at the University of Southern California, University of Oklahoma and the Naval War College. His Doctorate in Organizational Leadership was earned at the University of Phoenix.
Sanoe Marfil is appointed to 
Hawaiian Homes Commission
    Sanoe Marfil is a nonprofit leader with nearly 20 years of experience in people, program and project management. She serves as chief program officer at the Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture (INPEACE), in Waiʻanae. Marfil is a graduate of Leeward Community College, University of Hawaiʻi, West Oʻahu, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the Present-Fielding Graduate School where she earned a Doctorate in Education in Leadership for Change.
    Both appointments by Gov. Josh Green require advise and consent of the State Senate for a term that ends June 30, 2027.

MIKE HAMASU AND REGINA OSTERGAARD-KLEM ARE APPOINTED TO STATE COUNCIL ON REVENUES. Hamasu is director of consulting and research at Colliers in Hawaiʻi. He has more than 30
Mike Hamasu is appointed to the
state Council on Revenues.
years of experience in market research at commercial brokerages, with a focus on providing information to assist in strategic decision-making for investors and other brokerage clientele. He is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and San Francisco State University, where he earned a Masters of Business Administration.
    Ostergaard-Klem is an associate professor of environmental science at Hawaiʻi Pacific University. Among other honors,
Ostergaard-Klem attended the University of Lodz Department of Urban Economics in Poland, as a Fulbright Fellow. She earned her Ph.D. in Systems Analysis and Economics for Public Decision Making from The Johns Hopkins University, in addition to other degrees from Johns Hopkins and Lehigh University. 
Regina Ostergaard-Klem is appointed
 to the state Council on Revenues.
    Both appointments by Gov. Josh Green require advise and consent of the State Senate for a term that ends June 30, 2027.

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A FREE WASTEWATER WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT COURSE will be offered in September to Hawai‘i Island and Maui residents. It is sponsored by Wastewater Alternatives & Innovations and the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research.
   A statement from the sponsors says, "There is a critical workforce shortage that currently hinders the process of converting over 80,000 cesspools by 2050, as mandated by the Hawai‘i state legislature in Act 125." There are 48,596 cesspools on Hawai‘i Island and 11,038 cesspools on Maui. Hawai‘i’s cesspools release an estimated 53 million gallons of wastewater per day into the ground, "threatening public health by contaminating the islands’ groundwater, the primary source of Hawai‘i’s drinking water."
     Those who complete the course will receive a $500 stipend for taking this entry-level wastewater training program to explore related career pathways and become better informed about wastewater and onsite treatment. The program is called Work-4-Water and applications are now open. 
      Funded by a grant through the Department of Labor, the W4W program aims to address this workforce shortage by providing a free, eight-week, entry-level wastewater training course. Developed in collaboration with local and national wastewater experts and water quality professionals, the curriculum will cover topics such as water quality issues in Hawai‘i, onsite wastewater management and treatment, wastewater regulations and policies, and emerging technologies in the industry. 
    The course will also explore the diverse career pathways available in this sector and ways to pursue them. Participants will benefit from networking opportunities and earn a certificate of completion. 
    Dennis Teranishi, CEO of PICHTR, said, "We are grateful to Sen. Mazie Hirono for bringing this cause to the fore and helping us secure this needed funding for Hawai‘i. The Hawai‘i W4W project can serve as a model for other US states and territories facing similar challenges of sewage-related pollution and pandemic-related unemployment." 
    Stuart Coleman, WAI Executive Director, emphasized WAI's commitment to water quality protection and sewage pollution reduction, stating, "This federal funding will help provide career training for local workers to convert cesspools and improve water quality across Hawai‘i." 
    Those interested in applying to the W4W program can visit Waicleanwater.org/Work4water or email the team directly at info@waicleanwater.org
    PICHTR, the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research, is a leader in planning, development, evaluation, and deployment of place-based sustainable practices, with a mission to facilitate the adoption and implementation of these practices throughout Hawai‘i and Asia Pacific. PICHTR was established by the 1983 Hawai‘i Legislature and originally managed within the University of Hawai‘i before being incorporated in 1985 as an independent, Hawai‘i-based not-for-profit. 
   WAI, Wastewater Alternatives & Innovations, works to protect water quality, reduce sewage pollution and restore healthy watersheds by providing innovative, affordable and eco-friendly solutions to waste and wastewater management for all people.

    To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com, in the mail and on stands.

THE COUNTY MEETING FOR PĀHALA AND NĀ‘ĀLEHU SEWAGE OPTIONS is this Thursday, Aug. 24 at 6 p.m., hosted by Deputy Director of the county Department of Environmental Management Brenda Iokepa Moses and Director Ramzi Ramsour.  The meeting will be at Nā‘ālehu Community Center.
      The purpose is to review options for sewage disposal in Pāhala and Nā‘ālehu for homes served by large-capacity cesspools formerly operated by the old sugar plantations in neighborhoods built by them.

5,000 in the mail, 2,500 on the street. See www.kaucalendar.com