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Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023

Funding for weed removal to help preserve the endangered Laysan Albatross population is sought by Friends of Midway Atoll.
Photo from U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Wisdom’s grand chick DJ33 was discovered in 2023 by crew in search
 of Verbesina. Friends of Midway Atoll Photo by Jon Brack
FRIENDS OF MIDWAY ATOLL SEEKS FUNDS FOR WEED REMOVAL TO HELP ENDANGERED LAYSAN ALBATROSS NEST THERE. Friends of Midway reports that searching for tiny sprouts of Verbesina under thick pockets of native naupaka is not an easy task. 
    According to Supervisory Wildlife Biologist Jon Plissner, trying to eradicate the last one percent of Verbesina at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is considered the hardest physical job on Midway. 
    The refuge is located about 1,500 miles northwest of Kaʻū and numerous Kaʻū and Volcano residents have volunteered there.
    In 2011, Verbesina covered 70 percent of the atoll’s islands. Today there is only one percent remaining. However, this one percent is perhaps the hardest to eliminate because it hides deep in the thick of the native naupaka stands where growth conditions can be optimal for even the most dormant Verbesina seeds.
    On Sand Island, adult flowering plants are still visible requiring expedient efforts to clip seed heads and then treat the area around the plant. To find seed banks, dropped seeds and even mature plants, a work crew must either pull Naupaka from its roots during the end of summer when most ground-nesting seabirds are not present or literally hack their way through naupaka, creating tunnels to be able to sight the tiniest of sprouts. Once a seed bank has been located, the crew then treats the area with an herbicide mix that includes the pre-
Albatross take advantage of cleared pathways through
naupaka to find the shortest route to the sea.
 Friends of Midway Atoll Photo by Rachel Santulli
emergent Aminopyralid. The cocktail is intentionally colored blue, so it becomes a visible indicator of areas that have already been treated.
    The Midway crew reports that "Ironically, the newly created naupaka tunnels become critical pathways to the sea for albatross, and it was a Verbesina crew that found Wisdom’s chick nesting near naupaka this past nesting season!" Wisdom is known as the oldest banded wild bird in the world, her nesting at Midway recorded since she was first banded in 1956.
    Friends of Midway Atoll is asking for help to continue crewmember Rachel Santulli's position through November 2023. A statement from the organization says: "With the support of our members and donors, FOMA is well positioned to match an anonymous donor’s generous gift to ensure that the work of Midway’s program to completely eradicate this noxious weed continues towards its historic goal." See fundraiser on Facebook
    Another problem on Midway is the abundance of plastics that float in from the ocean. Up to 40 percent of the Laysan Albatross chicks die each year when their stomachs become full as they ingest indigestible plastics.

Colleen Lasham
Tara Lasham
TWO WOMEN LAST SEEN IN OCEAN VIEW ARE SOUGHT BY HAWAI'I POLICE DEPARTMENT. Hawai‘i Island police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating 67-year-old Colleen Lasham, and her daughter, 39-year-old Tara Lasham, both of Kailua-Kona, who are wanted for questioning relative to a custodial interference investigation.
    According to police, the two women may be in the company of Tara’s six-year-old daughter, Soenne Grimes. Tara is wanted on an arrest warrant and for questioning in the same custodial interference investigation. Since last October, police have issued several requests to the public to be on the lookout for Tara and her daughter.
    Colleen Lasham is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, 120 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. Colleen may be operating a 2022 Black BMW bearing Hawaii plate ZKM389 or a 2018 Orange Toyota Tacoma bearing Hawaii plate ZFX062. Colleen is known to frequent north and south Kona, Ka‘ū, and Hilo. Tara Lasham is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, 130 pounds, with blue 
Soenne Grimes
eyes and blonde hair. She is known to frequent both the north and south Kona areas. Soenne Grimes is described as 3 feet 5 inches tall, 35 pounds, with blue eyes and blonde hair.
    All three were last seen on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in Ocean View. 
    Police ask anyone with information on the whereabouts of either Colleen or Tasha Lasham to call the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or contact Officer Jeremiah Hull by phone at (808) 326-4646, ext. 302. or by email at Jeremiah.Hull@hawaiicounty.gov.
    Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.