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Monday, February 05, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Feb.5, 2024

All three Trojan wrestlers were successful at the Kea‘au Tournament on Saturday, as they compete towards qualification for
the state finals. Above, La‘akea Kajiwara Ke worked a double chicken wing for the pin against Konawaena. See details below.  
Photo by Coach Ray Mazyck
THE OLD PETER LEE'S ROAD BETWEEN PĀHALA AND VOLCANO may be the reason for a concrete monument marked Aug 1887. It can be seen across from the original Volcano House on Crater Rim Trail, says a posting from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
    The Park posts that "Speculation suggests it may commemorate Peter Lee's Road, constructed in the 1800s to connect Pāhala to the Volcano House, intersecting with the old Hilo Road. Peter Lee, an
Historic black and white photograph of a person in the foreground carrying plates that were used
in photographing the scenery. Behind the person stands a concrete monument on a small hill.
The monument may be for the old Peter Lee's Road between Pāhala and Volcano House.
NPS photo by Townsend
immigrant from Norway, played a pivotal role in early tourism in Hawaiʻi. Lee served as the popular manager of the Volcano House Hotel from 1891 to 1898 and later established the Crater Hotel in Volcano. The completion date is estimated from a Volcano House register entry in October 1888, documenting the first visitor's journey by 'wheeled conveyance' to the volcano.
    "During recent preservation of the monument, initials 'G.W.' emerged on the monument's southwest side, raising questions about its origin. The link to Samuel Gardner Wilder of Wilder Steamship Co., a key player in bringing early tourists to the volcano, adds a layer to its history."

Exchange students from Nakaminato, Japan are visiting students and families of Kaʻū High. Photo by Jen Makuakane

The last time exchange students from Japan were hosted at
Kaʻū High was in 2020 before the  pandemic. New students are
 back from Nakaminato High School, hosted by local families.
Photo by Jen Makuakane
EXCHANGE STUDENTS FROM NAKAMINATO HIGH SCHOOL, JAPAN are welcomed into the Kaʻū High School community with co-sponsors ‘O Kaʻū Kakou and host families taking them into their homes. The students from Nakaminato High School, located in Hitachinaka City in Ibaraki Prefecture, are in Kaʻū from Feb. 4-12, immersed with local students and families.
    Host home family sponsors are Kaʻū High coordinator Aina Akamu, along with Breeann Ebanez, Keone and Jennifer Grace, Wayne and Nora Kawachi, Mike and Kayoko Munnerlyn and Cyrus and Myra Sumida.
    Students are led by the Nakaminato High school Sensei Masato Naritomi, who has been the overseas travel coordinator and teacher in charge since the Sister School relationship began in 2018. Traveling with the group is school business teacher Kenta Abe, on his first visit to Hawai'i.
    The students are boys Sena Nukagawa, Takumi Terunuma, Yusei Iyo, and girl Kune Nambu.
June Domondon of OKK and ‘Āina Akamu teach lei-making
to exchange students during a welcome dinner on Monday.
Photo by Julia Neal
    A Sister School Agreement between Kaʻū and Nakaminato says the schools will "contribute to a friendly relationship between the United States of America and Japan. Both schools will continue to exchange materials such as letters, works of students and photographs, or anything that promotes mutual understanding. Both schools will continue to communicate with each other and make further efforts to bring about the development and happiness of both schools. Both schools will make efforts to strengthen the ties of friendship through mutual visiting of teachers, students, and parents if they have a chance to do so."

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Ocean Nihipali-Sesson, squeezing a pin against Kamehameha. He won his two matches on Saturday at the Kea'au tournament.
Photo by Coach Ray Mazyck

THE TROJAN WRESTLING TEAM performed well in the Kea‘au tournament last Saturday. Coach Ray Mazyck said, "Each one of the three wrestlers had an excellent day, showing just how much they’ve grown."
    Seniors Ocean Nihipali-Sesson and Laakea Kajiwara-Ke represented the Trojan Boys team, and Junior Rain Nihipali-Sesson represented the Trojan Girls. Rain won both of her matches by pin in the first round, making quick work of her opponents from Connections and Konawaena High Schools, taking 1st place in her bracket. 
    Ocean won his two matches by pin as well, one in the first round against Kamehameha and the other coming in the final seconds of the match against Kea‘au. He ultimately had to medical forfeit his finals match due to an elbow strain and defaulted for second place. 
     Kajiwara-Ke took third in his bracket, beating his first opponent from Hilo by a pin in the second round. He then lost a tough semi-final match to Kamehameha, then wrestled hard in his next match against Konawaena in which he won by pin securing third place in the tournament. 
    Trojan Wrestling has two more regular season tournaments left, both at Konawaena. Saturday, Feb. 10 is the Konawaena tournament. Saturday, Feb. 17 is the BIIF Championship. A fifth place or better finish at the BIIF Championship will qualify the wrestler for the State Tournament on O‘ahu. Trojan wrestlers come from Volcano School of the Arts & Sciences and Kaʻū High.

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Sommer Tokihuro is new Director of
Human Services for Hawai'i County.
SOMMER TOKIHURO IS THE FINAL CHOICE FOR DIRECTOR OF HUMAN SERVICES AT HAWAI‘I COUNTY. She assumed the position in November, following the departure of Waylen Leopoldino on June 30, 2023. The Merit Appeals Board, responsible for the recruitment process, conducted an internal search within the County of Hawaiʻi, ensuring a comprehensive and fair selection process. Mayor Mitch Roth made the final appointment.
    Roth said Tokihiro brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her new role. Before being appointed Director, she served as HR Manager II in the Workers' Compensation Division of the County of Hawaiʻi's Department of Human Resources from April 2019 to November 2023. In this capacity, Tokihiro administered the County's self-insured workers' compensation program, demonstrating her commitment to employee well-being and organizational efficiency, said the statement from the Mayor's office... 
    "Her extensive background in case management, demonstrated during her tenure as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with Case Management Works – Hawai‘i, Inc., from October 2012 to March 2017, aligns seamlessly with the goals and responsibilities of the Director of Human Resources position. In that role, Tokihiro assisted individuals in returning to work following work-related injuries, showcasing her
supportive and empathic approach to employee relations. Gabriella Cabanas, Chair of the Merit Appeals Board, expressed enthusiasm about Tokihiro's selection, stating, "With her background in Human Resources and her expertise in case management, the Merit Appeals Board is pleased to announce her selection as she moves the County's Human Resources program forward."
     Tokihiro holds a Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from San Diego State University and a Bachelor's Degree in History from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Additionally, she is a SHRM - Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC).
    "Since her appointment, Director Tokihiro and I have worked closely to advance the County's Human Resources program to ensure a positive and productive work environment for all our hardworking employees," said the Mayor. "We both strongly believe in investing in our employees to help build stronger and more resilient communities. At the heart of that investment is aloha – which Sommer has plenty of. A special mahalo to all on our Merrit Appeals Board who worked diligently throughout the months-long candidate selection process."

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HAWAI'I KEIKI RODEO has received praise from the Hawai‘i Police Activities League (HI-PAL). The org issued a statement congratulating the 250 keiki, ages five to 17, who participated in the Hawaii Keiki Rodeo Association competition on Saturday, Jan. 20 at Pana‘ewa Equestrian Center. Organized by the Hawai‘i Keiki Rodeo Association, this event was part of the qualifying rounds for the upcoming Hawai‘i Keiki Rodeo Championships on Saturday, April 13.

HI-PAL completed a Keiki Rodeo warmup for its
championship rodeo in April. Photo from HI-PAL
    In addition to the rodeo events, Hawai‘i Police Department Community Policing Officers issued keiki identification cards for the children. Officers also engaged with participants, offering a casual opportunity for both kids and adults to connect with their local officers while enjoying the competition.
    The HI-PAL organization also expressed appreciation to volunteers and sponsors for their role in making the Keiki Rodeo competition a resounding success.
    HI-PAL is a program of the Hawai‘i Police Department in which police officers interact with youth in various activities as mentors. "This positive connection encourages teamwork, citizenship, and responsibility among youth. Community organizations interested in hosting a HI-PAL event in their area, can contact Hawai‘i Police Department Community Policing Officers at (808) 961-8849.

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