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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs April 24, 2024

Science and nature taught in the Hawaiian language are the focus of new teaching tools developed
by University of Hawai'i Hale Kuamo'o Hawaiian Language Center and Hawai'i Conservation Alliance.
Photo from Hawai'i Conservation Alliance

NEW SCIENCE TEACHING TOOLS IN HAWAIIAN have been developed by the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance in partnership with the Hale Kuamoʻo Hawaiian Language Center at University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. They are designed for Hawaiian language medium students and teachers in grades 6-12. The six curriculum units focus on environmental stewardship in Hawaiʻi, in particular information including cultural perspectives on native species and ecosystems initially shared at the 2022 Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference. "The units are presented solely in the Hawaiian language, providing an important pathway to meaningfully support Hawaiian language medium learners and instructors as we collectively advance the ways we care for our island home," says the statement from the producers, who also provided their announcement in Hawaiian:
    Hauʻoli mākou ʻo ka Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance me ko mākou pakanā hoʻomohala ʻo ka Hale Kuamoʻo e kaʻana aku i mau ʻōpaʻa haʻawina hou no ka ʻEpekema ma nā Papa 6-12. Ua hoʻomohala ʻia ua mau ʻōpaʻa nei ma o ka ʻike kuʻuna Hawaiʻi a kia hoʻi ma nā kumuhana kūikawā o ka hoʻomaluō. He mau kumuwaiwai manuahi kēia no ke kumu a me nā haumāna ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi e ʻimi ana i ʻikepili hou no loko a waho o ka lumi papa. No ka hoʻohana ʻana i kēia mau kumuwaiwai manuahi, e kele aku i nā loulou ma lalo iho nei. E ola a mau loa aku ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma ka hoʻomaluō.
    The units are available via the links below and can also be accessed online at http://hawaiiconservation.org/hooulu_maluo, They are titled:
    Kāhuli Hou i ke Ao: Endemic Land Snail Conservation
    ʻO Nāpuʻu, He ʻĀina Aloha: Place-Based ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi Research for Perspective on Everchanging ʻĀina;
    Ka Noʻeau Kilo Kau a Kau: Exploring the Huli ʻIa Process for Deepened Relationship to ʻĀina and Kai;
    E ʻAi i Kekahi, E Kāpī i Kekahi: Limu Conservation;
    ʻĀina Momona: Soil Science as a Pathway to ʻĀina Momona;
     I Ola ka ʻĀina, I Ola ke Konohiki: Conservation Insights from Konohiki Traditions.
    The announcement says, "Na wai hoʻi ka ʻole o ke akamai, he alahele i maʻa i ka hele ʻia e oʻu mau mākua. Centuries ago, Kamehameha II Liholiho described wisdom as a pathway well-traversed by our
predecessors. Centuries later, this timeless ʻōlelo noʻeau continues to ring true. ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian language, is an official language of the state of Hawaiʻi and is increasingly recognized as vital in shaping how we experience, understand, and care for Hawaiʻi's unique natural environment. While important progress has been made to revitalize ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi across the pae ʻāina, there remains a need to engage learners of different age groups across disciplines including the natural sciences."
   This curriculum project is the latest in a series of efforts by the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance focused on culturally-grounded conservation efforts. For more information, visit https://www.hawaiiconservation.org/our-approach/culturally-grounded-conservation/
    Individuals involved in informing, developing, reviewing, refining, and sharing these resources include: K. Irwin, K. Ahuna, P. Iaea, M. Kobashigawa, ʻI. Nāhuewai, K. Stoleson, U. Chong, M. Heimuli, K. Poepoe, P. Ravey, J. Silva, D. Sischo, A. Anderson, K. Davis, S.ʻO. Gon, K. Kong, K. Sagum, K. Seto, K. Tanaka, K. Winter, P. Pascua, N. Kurashima, N. Whitehead and the Kamehameha Schools ʻĀina Pauahi Group.

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THE COUNTY WILL BE ABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY MANAGE VACATION RENTAL PERMITTING with passage of a law at the Hawai'i Legislature that could come as soon as next week. The measure is designed to give each county the power to ban or permit vacation rentals.  
    On this island, there are neighborhoods where vacation rentals have displaced many long term rentals. In some, affordable short term accommodations for visiting families and short term workers are in short supply. Under the new law, which has passed the Senate and House conference committee, each county would determine its own restrictions and places to restrict vacation rentals.
Gov. Josh Green announces his support for a new law to allow counties to phase out vacation rentals. Photo from the Governor
   Gov. Josh Green announced on Tuesday, as he stood before a group of Maui Strong supporters who want vacation rentals turned into longterm housing to alleviate the housing shortage after the Lahanai fire, that he would sign the bill. The Governor posted on his facebook: "It’s time we take a stand to house our people by phasing out illegal short term rentals.
"Today, alongside Lahaina Strong, Hawai‘i’s Hoteliers and Hotel Labor Unions, we united in support of counties’ authority to phase out Short Term Rentals (STRs). We know the majority of STRs in Hawai‘i are illegal, owned by non-residents, and contribute to skyrocketing housing costs.
"We support Senate Bill 2919 to empower countiesto regulate STRs and potentially phase them out. Mahalo to Lahaina Strong and the strong community and industry support of our efforts to house our people."
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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs April 23, 2024

Berta Miranda tells her story of fleeing El Salvador, toiling as a picker on the mainland and landing here to become a coffee field worker, saving money to buy land and becoming a successful coffee farmer and business owner. She is featured in the series Where Coffee Takes You. See the film on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSxFk4rZVgE.

THE STORY OF BERTA MIRANDA'S ESCAPE FROM THE EL SALVADOR CIVIL WAR to Kaʻū and the creation of the successful Miranda's Kaʻū Coffee farms is the subject of a new film. It is called Massacres to Miracles: One Woman's Incredible Journey to Hawai'i's Best Coffee, Where Coffee Takes You: Kaʻū.
    The production is the work of Kirk Berossian, founder of Angelino's Coffee in Los Angeles, and was filmed at Miranda's Coffee farms and, in part, at Pāhala Plantation House. It is one in a series titled 
Where Coffee Takes You filmmaker Kirk Berossian and Berta
 Miranda, star of new film on Miranda's Coffee. 
Where Coffee Takes You that illustrates the personal stories of coffee farming in 48 countries.
    Berta and her husband Jose came to Kaʻū in 1996. In the film, she says they arrived as agricultural laborers, picking 1,000 lbs. of coffee a day for 12 years, and saved money towards their dream to own a coffee farm.
     In the film, Berta explains why she left El Salvador. She says that during the Civil War, when she was 14, she witnessed bombs going off and people dying. She says four men came to her family home, asking for money and guns. She says her family had no money and the intruders killed her brother and grandpa, broke her mother's arm, and hung her father with a belt. Her mother cut him down and saved him. The family left El Salvador when she was 17 and picked fruit on the West Coast before coming to Kaʻū.
    Berta describes the first harvest of her family's own coffee in Kaʻū and says that after 16 years of working to buy land they achieved "the American Dream." They purchased their farm in Moa'ula and entered a cupping competition, earning first place for Kaʻū Coffee and first place in the state.
     Mirandas now own 40 acres of Kaʻū Coffee, including their farm near South Point Road along Hwy 11 where they also serve food and operate a coffee tasting and gift store. "I love to be every day in the field.... My coffee trees are my babies," says Berta, as she teaches the filmmaker how to pick coffee.
    Berta's daughter Maria Miranda is a former Miss Ka'u Coffee and an ambassador of the local industry, as well as a partner in the Miranda coffee business.
     See the film on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSxFk4rZVgE.
     Learn more about Miranda Farms at www.mirandasfarm.com
     Learn more about Kirk Berossian, Angelino's Coffee and Where Coffee Takes You at https://angelinos.com/.

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SHOWCASE of students from  Kindergarten through Grade 12 on Wednesday, May 1.
    The event takes attendees from door to door to classrooms where students present special projects. 
    A statement from the school says, "Our Learning Intentions are to:
    "Provide students an opportunity to practice their presentation skills and demonstrate their learning;
    "Create opportunities for students to share their class projects with other students, community partners, and family;
    "Build pride in our students, school, and community by showcasing various student and school projects done in collaboration with the community such as project-based learning, technology integration, and other real-world projects;
        "Practice and prepare for Capstone presentations in grades 6, 8, and 12 starting in Spring SY 24-25."
    Here is the schedule for the Student Showcase:
      9:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.: Check in at the District Gym MPR (open until 12pm for any later arrivals)
    10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.: Visit 7-12, Showcase Classrooms
    11:25 a.m. - 12:25 p.m.: Visit K-6, Showcase Classrooms
    Those interested in attending can complete this Google Form by Monday, April 29.

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Experience Volcano Festival is set for the weekend of July 27, and is offering opportunities for 
vendors and volunteers. Photo by Jesse Tunison

THE FIFTH ANNUAL EXPERIENCE VOLCANO FESTIVAL has announced its call for vendors. It will be held Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28 at venues throughout Volcano Village. Learn more, sign up to be a vendor or volunteer and join the Experience Volcano organization at www.experiencevolcano.com or email experiencevolcano@pb06.wixemails.com
    To see more on the festival, visit www.experiencevolcano.com.

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Kaʻū News Briefs April 22, 2024

April is Tsunami Awareness Month. In November 1975, Hawai`i's largest locally generated tsunami in the 20th and 21st centuries hit the Kaʻū Coast, wrecking this house at Punalu`u. USGS Photo by David Shapiro, of Honolulu Star-Bulletin

APRIL IS TSUNAMI AWARENESS MONTH FOR STATE OF HAWAI'I and Mayor Mitch Roth has emailed a link to a new University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant tsunami preparedness video to all county employees. See it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sbd_H_kyszo&t=125s&themeRefresh=1.
The 2011 tsunami lifted this house off its
foundation at Kapua Bay. Photo by Kai Kahele
    Hawai'i Tsunami Preparedness video was produced with U.H., state Department of Education Safety, Security & Emergency Preparedness Branch, and partners, including Pacific Tsunami Museum. 
   County Civil Defense Director Talmadge Magno said, “This video has it all in one place. It covers how a tsunami is generated, tsunami zones, emergency communications and evacuation planning so that residents properly know where to go during the tsunami threat.”
    Dennis Hwang, faculty with Hawai‘i Sea Grant, said “This video is the result of a collaborative partnership among emergency managers from across the state, as well as the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, International Tsunami Information Center, and Pacific Tsunami Museum, as well as the Hawai‘i State Department of Education which produced the video. It includes the most up-to-date information
This Okoe Bay home was destroyed by the 
2011 tsunami from Japan. Photo by Kai Kahele
available and is an important resource for the public now and into the future.”
    A statement from Sea Grant says, "The experts who produced the video strongly encourage every resident of Hawai‘i, and every visitor, to watch this free resource video which could potentially save their life or the life of a family member. While the video focuses on tsunami preparedness, it includes information to help prepare for other natural hazards such as wildfires and hurricanes."
    This year marks 78 years since the deadly 1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake that generated tsunami waves that wiped out the Punalu'u shoreline in Ka'u and sent a tsunami wave over 50-feet high in Hilo, caused tragic loss of life, and $340 million economic damage to the state.
    On March 11, 2011, a tsunami from Japan flooded Punalu'u beach and destroyed and damaged several houses north along the coast.

Measurements taken after the 2011 tsunami from Japan came ashore but largely spared Punalu'u, while destroying
several beach homes up the coast at Okoe and Kapua Bays. Photo by Julia Neal

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HAWAI'I IS ONE OF THE LEAST GAMBLING-ADDICTED STATES. Even though these islands are known for illegal chicken fighting and for residents frequently visiting Las Vegas, Hawai'i is one of two states where gambling is illegal. The other is Utah.  WalletHub rated all the 50 states and placed Hawai'i 44th. The study noted that nationwide, the gambling industry racked up $65.5 billion in revenue last year. Gambling includes legal and illegal gambling operations, and lottery sales per capita and the share of adults with gambling disorders. The most gambling addicted states, according to WalletHub, are Nevada, South Dakota, Montana, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Mississippi, west Virginia, Oregon and New Jersey. The least addicted population is in Utah, followed by Alaska, Vermont, Nebraska, Maine, Wisconsin, Hawai'i, Connecticut, Kansas and Georgia.
    See the entire report at https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-addicted-to-gambling/20846.

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COASTAL OBSERVATION & SEABIRD SURVEY TEAM will host What's Washed In: Seabirds, 
Marine Debris & Citizen Science on Tuesday, April 23 at 2 p.m. online.

    Since the first surveys began in 1999, Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team has steadily expanded from a nucleus of five beaches to nearly 450 beaches. From 12 participants who worked to invent and refine the COASST system of carcass identification, COASST has grown to more than 1,000 participants, making us the largest beached bird network in the world.
    Dr. Julia K. Parrish will lead the webinar. She is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of the Environment at the University of Washington, and a Lowell A. and Frankie L. Wakefield Professor of Ocean Fishery Sciences. She is a marine biologist, a conservation biologist, and a specialist in animal aggregation. For more than 20 years, Parrish has conducted research on seabirds, focused on the natural and human-caused factors causing population decline. She is also the Executive Director of COASST, the citizen science program involving hundreds of participants collecting monthly data on the identity and abundance of beach-cast birds and marine debris, with the goal of creating the definitive baseline against which the impacts of any near-shore catastrophe could be measured. Sign up at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4463749363462859866utm_medium=email&utm_source=GovDelivery

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our own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. See 7,500 copies the mail and on stands.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs April 21, 2024

The plan by Black Sand Beach, LLC for Punalu'u as published in SFGate on Sunday.

THE UPCOMING HEARING ON THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AT PUNALU'U DREW A STORY IN SFGATE on Sunday. The story in the San Francisco Bay area publication by Natasha Bourlin is titled Locals outraged by development at one of Hawai'i's most famous beaches. It quotes opponents and proponents of Black Sand Beach, LLC's quest for a Special Management Permit, which comes again before the Windward Planning Commission with a second public hearing on Monday, May 6 at 9 a.m. at the County Council Chambers in Hilo. Here is the link at https://www.sfgate.com/hawaii/article/hawaii-punaluu-black-sand-beach-19410430.php. Here is the SFGate story:
    It’s one of the most famous black sand beaches in Hawaii. On the southeast coast of the island of Hawaii, aka the Big Island, the Punaluu beach is a popular stop for visitors who want to see their first black sand beach, and it’s a regular rest stop for endangered sea turtles and Hawaiian monk seals often seen basking on its shore.Soon, it may also host a 434-acre residential and commercial development called Punaluu Village.
    However, the community is divided on the project. Some residents and environmental advocates are opposed, while others look forward to the influx of jobs it may bring.
In 2020, Black Sand Beach LLC purchased the parcel that straddles two sides of Hawaii Belt Road in the Punaluu portion of the Kau district. The land already includes a condominium complex, a private subdivision and a boat ramp. The company also owns the land upon which the County of Hawaii Black Sand Beach Park is located. Black Sand Beach LLC told SFGATE the county pays $1 per year to lease the land for public use.
    In its proposal, Black Sand Beach LLC said it wants to rehabilitate a closed golf course, former restaurant and cultural center. And the developer wants to add 225 new residential and short-stay units, a wellness center, dining and retail establishments, a marketplace, parking facilities, a second condominium complex and a conference and educational center with cabin retreats.
    Black Sand Beach LLC said the development will not be near the shoreline or disrupt beach access. However, it was required to file for a Special Management Area permit because part of the development is in a coastal zone.
    At a public hearing on March 7, hundreds of local residents showed up to be heard either in opposition to or support of the planned development, with more than 100 written testimonies on both sides submitted to the Windward Planning Commission. After eight hours of public testimony, dozens more still needed to be heard, necessitating a future hearing. The next one is scheduled for May 6.
    “I believe that developing this area would desecrate a sacred coastline, ecologically and culturally,” Naalehu resident Dominic Riolo wrote. “Additionally, I believe that further entrenching the region and island in a tourism based economy, as this development proposes to do, undermines cultural and ecological health.”
Community members in support of the project believe the developer would help make improvements to the area, which is currently riddled with dilapidated buildings and infrastructure from the previous development, as well as provide jobs and housing for the area.

SFGate published this photo by Peter Unger of Punalu'u Black Sand Beach on Sunday and called it one of Hawai'i's most famous beaches. It ran a story with pro and con comments on the proposed development by Black Sand Beach, LLC.

    “I firmly believe that this project holds the potential to rejuvenate Kau, offering invaluable opportunities for its residents and fostering much-needed employment,” wrote Demetrius K. Oliveira, a lifelong resident of Pahala.
    “Kau has persistently grappled with economic challenges, characterized by limited job prospects that force many to endure extensive commutes,” Oliveira continued. “The envisioned resort development serves as a beacon of hope, promising substantial job creation and economic revitalization. Beyond immediate employment benefits, it pledges to pave a brighter path for younger generations, enabling them to flourish in their hometown.”
    But many residents are concerned that the region may be adversely impacted by the creation of Punaluu Village. They believe that at bare minimum, an in-depth environmental impact survey should be conducted before further progress is made.
   Black Sand Beach LLC said the area has suffered more than three decades of neglect, leaving the infrastructure and many existing buildings left from the previous development in disrepair. Since purchasing the land, the developer asserts that it has spent over $1 million making improvements to benefit the overall community, such as by fixing existing sewer lines, potable water lines, roadways and irrigation systems.
    Many more improvements are planned, Black Sand Beach LLC said in an email to SFGATE, including firebreak roads and coordination with the county to create a broader shoreline management program for the black sand beach to manage visitors and overuse, plus additional protection for shoreline resources.
    “It’s an area that we all love and treasure. Punaluu is not an undeveloped green field site but a living active community that needs constant maintenance and care,” Daryn Arai, land use consultant and

representative for Black Sand Beach LLC, told SFGATE in an email. “We take our role as the stewards seriously by providing water, sewer, road system maintenance, and property management services to the Punaluu community. The task of maintaining these vital services is becoming more challenging in striking the delicate equilibrium between fulfilling the community’s needs and managing the associated financial burdens of these services.” Arai said the developer has consulted extensively with the local community and kupuna (elders) during the crafting of its master plan, and will be dedicating an approximately 30-acre area, including the beach, to conservation and coastal management activities.
    Amid the community’s concerns, on March 4 the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity announced it had filed a legal intervention against the developer. “Punaluu is celebrated for its breathtaking beauty, cultural significance and unique ecological diversity,” the nonprofit said in a news release. The nonprofit argued in the release, “Developers are relying on an outdated environmental analysis and the permit application they filed with the county fails to consider harms to the local community. Increased traffic and a surge in visitors will compromise the residents’ quality of life and exacerbate existing challenges faced by Punaluu’s fragile ecosystem.”
    One of the things the department looks for in proposed plans is “consistency with the Kau Community Development Plan (Kau CDP), and the project is generally consistent with the Kau CDP,” Zendo Kern, planning director for the County of Hawaii, told SFGATE in an email. “There are mixed feelings in the community on how the project could benefit the island,” he also said. “Some feel it’s important for economic growth and job opportunities close to home and others feel it will negatively impact the area and would prefer to see things remain as they are.” In October 2023, Kern conditionally approved the issuance of a Special Management Area Minor Permit for two components of Punaluu Village: a proposed open market complex and firebreak roads. As stated in the approval, he didn’t think the project would have significant adverse impacts. However, Kern stated that “there will be specific conditions that the applicant/owner must adhere to that mitigate cultural and environmental impacts” should the project receive approval, such as water quality plans, marine life monitoring and cultural resource management. 
       “The integrity of our community and the natural and cultural resources of Kau will suffer immeasurable loss from the impacts of this shallow shortsighted proposed development,” wrote Volcano resident Kalena K. Blakemore. “... What few job opportunities afforded from the project will not compensate for the damage to our sacred cultural sites, fragile ecosystems and loss for the Kau families right to traditional and cultural practices. Tourist impacts have exceeded appropriate capacity yesterday and today, therefore, why would you approve of the SMA permit for the future of tomorrow?”
    Given the amount of opposition, Punaluu Village may move forward at the pace of some of Punaluu’s marine inhabitants. Kern said three petitions have already been filed for a contested case hearing.
    “This is a sensitive project and it is important that process is followed, and we hear from the community and provide all available information for the commission to make an informed decision,” Kern said.

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