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Monday, May 13, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs May 13, 2024

From the bridge at Hwy 11 and Kamani Street in Pāhala on Monday, the sight of soil and floodwaters
flowing down from Wood Valley. Photo by Julia Neal
Headed toward the ocean, makai of Pāhala village.
Photo by Julia Neal
PĀHALA RECEIVED THE MOST RAIN ON THIS ISLAND during 24 hours ending at 8 p.m. on Monday. The rain gage in Pāhala recorded 5.47 inches. One gage at nearby Kapāpala ranch measured 3.43 inches and the other 2.69 inches.
    Floodwaters raged down streams in Wood Valley and into Pāhala and through Pā'au'au Gulch that borders the Hilo side of the town. The waters continued through macadamia orchards and onto open muddy flats above the ocean.
   Farmers of macadamia, coffee, tea and other food crops planned to check for damages on Tuesday morning. County, state and federal agencies urged reporting.
   The heavy rain over the weekend on the rest of the island tapered off on Monday with heavy rains remaining in some parts of O'ahu and Mt. Wai'ale'ale on Kaua'i.

Wood Valley streams and their tiny waterfalls on Monday. Photo by Julia Neal

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A SLOWER PACE OF GROWTH FOR HAWAI'I is the prediction in the latest forecast by University of Hawai'i Economic Research Organization and its Executive Director Carl Bonham. However, Hawai'i Island will see the strongest population and labor growth, says the UHERO report released last week. Here is the Executive Summary:
    Hawai'i’s economy will continue to grow, but at a slower pace than in past years. Maui rebuilding and the incremental return of international travelers will support tourism, helping to offset a moderate pullback in the US mainland market. Construction will continue to be a source of strength, even as overall job and income growth decelerate. 
    Reducing inflation in the Islands will take a bit longer than expected. Growth prospects for Hawai'i’s counties differ. Maui is set for an extended recovery period this decade, while population slowing will reduce future growth to varying degrees across the counties. 
    • The US has continued to outperform its peers, supported by immigration and strong consumer spending. Some moderation of US growth will occur as the labor force softens and high short-term financing costs weigh on households. But considering the economy’s impressive resilience, the extent of slowing will be less than previously anticipated. 
    • Other major visitor markets have struggled. The preponderance of floating rate mortgages means interest rate hikes hit Canada harder than the US, leading to negligible consumption growth. Weak export markets and especially unfamiliar inflation have hammered Japan. Consumer spending has been soft in Australia, where there is also drag from a weak China, struggling with a housing debt overhang and deflationary pressure. Weak currencies—which could fall further—will weigh on visitor growth from international markets, even as the global economy turns the corner this year. 
    • The four counties have experienced somewhat differing visitor industry performance. All were affected by a first-half 2023 tapering of US arrivals, which may have reflected waning postpandemic rebound travel. Maui has had a somewhat stronger than expected initial industry rebound, but faces a long road ahead. Other counties benefited from visitors substituting alternative Hawai'i destinations. O'ahu and Hawai'i Counties will gain the most from the ongoing recovery of international markets. 
    • Despite challenges, inflation-adjusted statewide visitor spending rose last year, propelled by the strongest daily per person visitor spending in more than three decades. Room rates held steady after a period of substantial gains, while there was substitution away from the luxury hotel segment. Inflation-adjusted visitor spending will decline a bit this year, before stabilizing in 2025. 
    • The State Government budget is taking a smaller hit from Maui wildfire cost than expected, but
pending hazard pay for employees who worked during COVID-19 will be an added state and county outlay. Already, recent years’ population decline has reduced revenue. The State Legislature has passed the most ambitious tax cut and reform package in many years. 
    • Inflation has picked up in the Islands, and it now exceeds the national average. This is primarily because of a delayed pass-through of higher rents. Inflation will resume its downward path over the next two years. 
    • Job growth continues at a modest pace in all counties other than Maui. Filled jobs in Maui County remain nearly 5,000 fewer than before the wildfires. Maui sectors heavily reliant on tourism will take the longest to recover. Over the long term, much slower population growth in the Islands will constrain growth. O'ahu will see the slowest population and labor force growth and Hawai'i County the strongest. 
    • Progress housing residents displaced by the Maui wildfires has been slow. Hastening the pace of moving residents from hotels and vacation rentals to longer-term housing will be important for reducing family hardship and freeing up rooms needed for a full visitor industry recovery. A new law grants Maui and the other counties more authority to regulate or eliminate shortterm rentals. 
    • Across all counties, soaring mortgage rates caused a dramatic drop in existing home sales, but overall construction activity remains buoyant. Maui rebuilding and ongoing private and government projects, especially on O'ahu, will push construction employment to record highs. A significant new concern is the unfolding insurance crisis. The cost of condo insurance has soared nationwide because of more frequent catastrophic events. Most lenders will not issue new mortgages on under-insured properties. The State Legislature has considered a public insurance pool to address these concerns, but this was not adopted during the recent term. 
    • Wage increases and declining inflation have raised real personal income, but it will slow below 1% this year. Real gross domestic product, our broadest measure of economic activity, will slow sharply from 3.6% growth in 2023 to 1.5% this year, but it will pick up in 2025 as Maui construction kicks into higher gear and external economies improve. As labor force and employment growth slow, both income and GDP will trend lower than in the past.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. Support this news service with advertising at kaunews.com. 7,500 copies the mail and on stands. 

HPD warned people at the top of Reef Parkway and Ala'oli Drive to stay away as they dealt with a standoff and arrested
Kamren Adams for terroristic threatening, burglary and possession of firearm. 
Photo by Hal McDougal

AFTER A LENGTHLY STANDOFF WITH POLICE, KAMREN ADAMS, OF OCEAN VIEW. WAS ARRESTED for terroristic threatening, burglary and possession of prohibited firearm. The 32-year-old was taken into police custody on Sunday afternoon. Hawai'i Police Department reports:
   At approximately 8:20 a.m., a 37-year-old female, also from Ocean View, called police for assistance in regards to a male who broke into a residence she was caretaking; located at the 92-2800 block of Alaoli Drive. She reported that she was in a bedroom on the fourth floor of the residence when she heard a loud bang that she thought was a gunshot. Upon looking outside, she said, she observed that a male party was banging on the front door and demanding entry into the residence. She reported that she had never seen the male before and that he did not have permission to be on the property or to enter the residence. She said she told him to "go away!" and called for police.
Special Response Team came to Ocean View on Sunday.
File Photo by Sherrie Bracken, HPR
    She said she heard glass shattering, went downstairs to see what happened and saw that the male had entered the residence. She said she confronted him, told him to leave and that she had called the police.
    She reported that the man brandished what appeared to be a black semi-automatic pistol and stated something to the effect of, "where's my wife and kid!? I'm gonna kill them." The woman said she ran toward another room in the residence and observed a circular hole that appeared to be a bullet hole in one of the third-floor windows, the glass completely shattered. She said she locked the door and hid until police arrived. The woman reported that she heard the male say something to the effect of "I'm gonna kill anyone in here!" and that the male was stomping around the residence shouting obscenities.
    The female reported that she was able to escape the residence by sneaking out of a fourth-floor balcony. As she was exiting the residence, she said, she observed that the male with what appeared to be a black iAR-15 style rifle with a scope. She came into contact with Kaʻū patrol officers as they pulled up to the driveway.
   The officers related that they observed a shirtless male at the top of the driveway with what appeared to be a black semi-automatic pistol in his hand. The male ran back into the residence once he observed the police.
    Hawai‘i Police Department’s Special Response Team and Crisis Negotiators were called to the scene when the male had barricaded himself in the residence and refused to come out. After several hours, the male voluntarily came out of the residence and was taken into custody without further incident.
    Detectives with the Area 2 Criminal Investigation section are continuing the investigation.
    Anyone with information relative to this investigation is encouraged to call the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311. Also contact Detective Len Hamakado at (808) 326-4646, ext. 224; or Len.hamakado@hawaiicounty.gov.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. Support this news service with advertising at kaunews.com. 7,500 copies the mail and on stands. 

The 1924 eruption at Halema'uma'u. Photo by Tai Sing Loo
AFTER DARK IN THE PARK: Sixteen Explosive Days at Kīlauea in May 1924. The presentation is this Tuesday, May 14 from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. 
    In May 1924, more than 50 explosions from Halemaʻumaʻu produced volcanic ash that fell from South Hilo to South Kona. Thousands of rocks weighing as much as 12 tons crashed to the ground in Kīlauea caldera. Electrical storms and torrential rain accompanied several of the explosions, earthquakes repeatedly shook the summit, and Halemaʻumaʻu doubled in width. 
    Don Swanson, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist emeritus, and Ben Gaddis, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory volunteer, will describe the preamble to that eventful May. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park's ongoing After Dark in the Park series of programs. Program co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Free. Park fees apply.

STACEY JARNESKI OF JARNESKI RENTALS has announced a Kaʻū Family Fun Day at
Na'alehu Park on Sunday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m with water slides, bounce houses, cornhole tourney, live music and food vendors. Jarneski said there are no vendor fees. "I would like to help the people of Ka'u to promote their business and make some money." Call 808-090-7769.