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Monday, November 06, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs Monday, Nov. 6, 2023

The ʻŌhiʻa Love fest month is November and enthusiasts are encouraging everyone to learn the
value of this tree to drinking water and the watershed, how to plant ‘ōhi‘a and take care of the forests.
Photo from U.H.

ʻŌHIʻA LOVE FEST KICKED OFF LAST WEEKEND on this island at University of Hawai‘i Komohana
Research & Extension Center in Hilo. It will continue through the month with another free event in Kona on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Ridge to the Reef Restoration Center at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority, next to Kona Airport from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    According to organizers of the effort, throughout November conservation hui throughout the state are sharing information and encouraging the planting and protection of ʻōhiʻa lehua, a keystone species of native forests and State Endemic Tree of Hawai‘i. "Although known for picturesque flowers ranging from scarlet red to vivid yellow, ʻōhiʻa lehua can be appreciated for more than its beauty."
    ʻŌhiʻa comprise 80% of Hawaiʻi’s native forests and play a key role in watershed protection and erosion prevention. ʻŌhiʻa are referred to as ka ʻupena o ke ola – the “net of life” which provides food, water, and habitat for several native animals and invertebrates – but their numbers are under threat.
    Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD), a fungus discovered on Hawaiʻi Island in 2014, can kill ʻōhiʻa and spread over long distances, potentially impacting the trees statewide.
    See guides to growing ʻōhiʻa and many educational and recreational resources at https://cms.ctahr.hawaii.edu/rod/EDUCATION-OUTREACH/%CA%BB%C5%8CHI%CA%BBA-LOVE-FEST.

FIRE WEATHER RED FLAG WARNING AND WIND ADVISORY ARE CANCELLED, as of 4:30 p.m. on Monday. County Civil Defense urges to "Please continue to exercise caution as winds will remain elevated and dry conditions persist. Thank you for your kokua in helping to protect our families and communities during high fire danger periods."For more information on the Red Flag Warning Emergency Proclamation, visit https://www.hawaiicounty.gov/Home/Components/News/News/3526/720.
For more information, visit County of Hawai‘i Hazard Impact Map at https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/34f756070f8349c4b3ad1e827d4c8a4b.

HAWAI‘I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK HAS SHUT DOWN SOME ROADS AND CAMPGROUNDS DUE TO FIRE RISK. The Park statement calls the fire weather risk critical. Hilina Pali Road at the Chain of Craters intersection and Mauna Loa Road past Kīpikapuaulu are closed to vehicles due to critical wildfire risk. Hikers, bicyclists and overnight backcountry permit holders are allowed. Campfire restrictions are in place. Kulanaokuaiki Campground is also temporarily closed.

NPS Photo of Mauna Loa Road and dry vegetation flanking each side of the road.

A VETERANS DAY CELEBRATION WILL BE HELD on Saturday, Nov. 11 at Nāʻālehu Hongwanji, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. sponsored by ‘O Ka‘ū Kākou. OKK President and veteran Wayne Kawachi said there will be music with Sonny Ramos, a free lunch and drinks as well as door prizes.
Before its closure years ago, Pāhala Swimming Pool hosted swimming lessons, lifeguard classes,
and competitions, along with playtime for youth and lap sessions for serious swimmers. Photo by Julia Neal

PĀHALA SWIMMING POOL COULD BE OPEN AGAIN IN JULY, according to County of Hawai‘i Parks & Recreation Director, Maurice Messina. Visitors to the pool on the grounds of Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary School can see work on nearby school sidewalks and the deck. The pool is receiving new plastering. Much of the overall work is to bring the swimming pool and access into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The pool has been closed for years.
    The planned renovations at Miloli‘i Park also involve the Americans With Disabilities Act and will lead to a completely new facility on the shore. It could be done by the end of 2024. 
    Volcano Skate Park is also up for renovations in a county - community partnership. 
    The first skatepark in the Kahuku County Park in Ocean View will be entirely new and is a partnership between Parks & Rec and Ocean View advocates.
    There are opportunities for architects, engineers and draftspersons to get the projects done more quickly. Anyone interested can email parks_recreation@hawaiicounty.gov or call 808-961-9311.

Pāhala Swimming Pool could reopen by July 2024, according to the County Department of
Parks & Recreation. Photo by Julia Neal