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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Feb. 22, 2024

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is asking for public input on developing a plan to tackle crowding at Kīlauea summit and other areas. Need for the plan was described in the 2016 Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park General Management Plan. NPS photo

CONGESTION, SAFETY, RESOURCE PROTECTION AND IMPROVEMENT OF EXPERIENCE AT BUSY KĪLAUEA SUMMIT are subjects of a call for public input on a Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park plan. Kīlauea Summit Area and Corridor Management Plan aims to identify management strategies and solutions to reduce conflicts among cars, buses, motorcyles, bicyclists (including e-bikes) and pedestrians on park roads and trails that traverse the popular and often-crowded summit of Kīlauea volcano.
    "We want to hear from those who hold a deep connection to the park, who participate in cultural protocol, and who recreate or conduct business here. Your voice matters and will help park management develop solutions to the many problems overcrowding has created," said Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh.
    An online newsletter describes the desired conditions of the project, the issues the plan will address, and project goals, and is available for comment at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/kilaueasummitcmp.
    The public comment period began Thursday, Feb. 22 and ends March 22. The statement released from the Park says the "comment period is the initial phase of the plan and future opportunities to provide input will be announced as the plan develops."
     It says that since 2008, following the first significant summit eruption since 1924, park visitation has soared with most visitors drawn to areas between Uēkahuna and Devastation, including Nāhuku lava tube, Kīlauea Iki, Kīlauea Visitor Center, the entrance station and the overall summit corridor. "The high concentration of vehicles and people in a relatively small area often results in full parking lots, lines of traffic at the entrance station, crowded overlooks and frustrated visitors."
    Major damage to Crater Rim Drive and the loss of buildings and infrastructure during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption and summit collapse "has exacerbated park congestion, especially during the busy winter and summer holiday travel seasons. The park lost Jaggar Museum, a portion of Crater Rim Drive, Halema'uma'u Overlook and 'Iliahi Trail due to the eruptive events that year," says the Park statement.
    The need for, and development of, a Kīlauea summit site plan was included in the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park 2016 General Management Plan.

Punalu'u Tops Kaʻū Community Development Plan & Permit Before Windward Planning Commission
BOTH KAʻŪ COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN AND BLACK SAND BEACH, LLC'S plan, being considered by the county Planning Commission for a Special Management Area permit, delve into the environment, history and potential for Punalu'u. 
    Black Sand Beach, LLC plans to restore infrastructure and build some 234 units of accommodations, as well as retail and other commercial facilities at Punalu'u. See its plan and background reports at https://records.hawaiicounty.gov/weblink/1/doc/127617/Page1.aspx.
    See Kaʻū Community Development Plan at https://www.planning.hawaiicounty.gov/general-plan-community-planning/cdp/kau
    A public hearing for the Special Management Area permit is set for Thursday, March 7 in Hilo with testimony invited live in County Council Chambers at 9 a.m., and via Zoom. Illustration shows Punalu'u topping the front page of the online Kaʻū Community Development Plan.

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Boys & Girls Club elementary school students each transplanted an 'uala, a sweet potato, into their own pots to take home during an event organized by Center for Getting Things Started at Pāhala Elementary on Thursday. The planting was led by Marielle Hampton of CTHAR (center). It also featured whisking up mayonnaise and mashing 'uala. Photo by Julia Neal
ENJOYING HEALTHY COOKING AND GROWING FOOD came to Pāhala Boys & Girls Club on Thursday when keiki made mayonnaise from scratch and mashed it into purple 'uala, sweet potatoes, with coconut milk. The cooking was followed by getting their hands into the soil outdoors as each student transplanted a sweet potato seedling into a bigger pot to take home.
Keiki whisk up mayonnaise from scratch at a Boys & Girls Club healthy
 eating and food planting event on Thursday. Photo by Julia Neal
     The event, sponsored by Center for Getting Things Started, Boys & Girls Club, County of Hawai'i, The Food Basket, and University of Hawai'i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources, saw more than a dozen elementary school age children take part. They gathered at the Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary School cafeteria and put a lot of energy into whisking and whipping up the food and a lot of effort into setting up their pots with good soil and careful planting of 'uala.
    Mentors were Dr. Koh Ming Wei from Center for Getting Things Started; Karen Estabilio, manager of Pahala Boys & Girls Club; Marielle Hampton of CTHAR; Robert Munoz of The Food Basket and community volunteers Mellanie Lee and John Enloe.
     A second event in Kaʻū for healthy eating and growing food, featuring the same mentors, will take place on Friday at Ocean View Community Center. 
    The keiki also learn a song with the saying that 'uala, "Sweet potatoes are good for me because they have nutrients."
    During the class, leader of Center for Getting Things Started, Ming Wei, advised the keiki on Safety First cooking skills, including using a knife with a claw hold and tip pointed down toward the cutting board. 
     She rallied the keiki with the saying, "Get ready for a workout," to mash the 'uala, purple sweet potatoes, and she oversaw the delicate cracking of the eggs to make mayonnaise. All food waste was put into a compost bucket.
     A resident of Hawai'i Island, Ming Wei has lived and taught in the Marshall Islands and said she looks forward to meeting Marshallese students on Friday in Ocean View.
Dr. Koh Ming Wei teaches cooking safety, cooking fun at a healthy eating and food planting event for Boys & Girls Club.
Photo by Julia Neal