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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs May 21, 2024

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach is the location for Junior Lifeguard training, with four sessions this summer. It is also one of the
 agenda items on the Ka'u Community Development Plan Action Committee meeting to be held Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Herkes Kaʻū District Gym multipurpose room. The Committee will take up the proposed SMA approval for nearby development.
Photo by Julia Neal

JUNIOR LIFEGUARD TRAINING THIS SUMMER WILL BE AT PUNALU'U BLACK SAND BEACH. Youths ages 12-17 can take the free, one-week course at Punalu'u, Richardson, Kahalu'u or Hapuna Beaches. There will be four opportunities: Mondays through Fridays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from June 17-21, June 24-28, July 6-12 or July 15-19. 
    Online registration runs through June 10. The mandatory qualifying swim test is on Saturday, June 15 at 9 a.m. It will be held at three places, Richardson Ocean Park in Hilo, Kailua-Kona Pier and Hapuna Beach. A parent or guardian must be present at all times during the test. Preregistration is required.    The free training is sponsored by the Hawai'i Fire Department Ocean Safety Division, County of Hawai'i, Hawaiian Lifeguard Association, Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation, Alex and Duke De Rego Foundation, and Mango Tree Events Rentals.

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A BELOW NORMAL HURRICANE SEASON is forecast by NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center and NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. The predictions, released on Tuesday calls for one to four tropical cyclones across the central Pacific Hurricane region. A near-normal season has four or five tropical cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.
    According to NOAA, there is a 50 percent chance of below-normal tropical cyclone activity. The outlook also indicates a 30 per chance of a near-normal season and 20 percent for an above-normal hurricane season across the central Pacific hurricane region. The central Pacific hurricane region is located north of the equator between 140°W and the International Date Line.
   “Hurricane season in the central Pacific region is likely to be below average this year,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “A key factor influencing our forecast is the predicted arrival of La Nina this summer, which typically contributes to less tropical cyclone activity across the central Pacific Ocean basin.”
    As one of the strongest observed El Ninos nears its end, NOAA scientists predict a quick transition to La Nina conditions. La Nina typically increases wind shear in the central Pacific region, making it harder for storms to develop. Forecasters look at a combination of atmospheric and oceanic conditions, climate patterns and climate models to develop the outlook.
Hurricane Dora, a long-lived hurricane that reached category 4 in 2023, passes south of Hawai'i marking the first major
hurricane in the central Pacific basin since 2020. With her high winds, Dora played an indirect meteorological role in the devastating wildfires on the island of Maui. 
Image from NOAA’s GOES satellite, August 6, 2023

    The hurricane season outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal tropical cyclone activity in the central Pacific basin and does not predict whether or how many of these systems will affect Hawai'i. The central Pacific hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.
   “As we look towards our coming hurricane season, we must prepare with the real possibility in mind that a hurricane could impact our community,” said Chris Brenchley, director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. “Any actions we take now, however small, can make a difference in how resilient our households and communities will be in the event of a storm.”
    Forecasters at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center continuously monitor weather conditions using satellites, land-and ocean-based sensors and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by NOAA and our partners. These observations are fed into complex computer models that run on NOAA supercomputers. Forecasters use that information to develop storm track and intensity forecasts, and provide critical decision support services to emergency managers at the federal, state and county levels.
   The Central Pacific Hurricane Center and National Hurricane Center will begin using an experimental version of the cone graphic that includes inland tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings. The inclusion of these watches and warnings will help communicate the inland wind risk based on recommendations from social science research.
    This season, NWS will upgrade the Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System, which will provide improved forecast skills than the previous version. Central Pacific Hurricane Center and National Hurricane Center will begin forecasting the size of the tropical storm wind field through the five day tropical cyclone forecast. Previously, forecasts of the wind field size were only provided for the first three days.
    NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center now includes Hawai'i on the operational 6-10 Day and 8-14 Day Temperature and Precipitation Outlook maps, as well as experimental 6-10 Day and 8-14 Day Temperature and Precipitation outlooks with more details for Hawai'i.
Hawaii’s readiness for tropical weather
    Hawai'i is an NWS StormReady and TsunamiReady state, one of only eight such designated states in the nation. Participation in the StormReady and TsunamiReady programs help communities be ready, responsive and resilient to weather hazards when they strike. Each county in Hawaii has worked to enhance their readiness for the multitude of hazardous weather that can strike the state.
    NOAA advises everyone to "Prepare now and stay informed."
    Check for watches and warnings on the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s website (hurricanes.gov) throughout the season, and visit FEMA’s Ready.gov for additional hurricane preparedness tips. For the latest updates, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center - Pacific on X at @NHC_Pacificoffsite link all season long.

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A FIRE BURNED AN UNPERMITTED STRUCTURE IN OCEAN VIEW ON MONDAY NIGHT. Hawaiʻi Fire Department reports responding to the call for 92-8873 Leilani Pkwy just after 9 p.m.
The 1,000 sq. ft. structure was about 250 feet down a steep driveway, fully engulfed with flames. HFD reported the structure and personal belongings a total loss.

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KAINAN MIRANDA will lead lead government relations as the new Director for External Affairs at The Nature Conservancy Hawai'i and Palmyra. TNC made the announcement on Tuesday.
TNC owns pristine forest and coastal preserves in Ka'u and throughout the state, including the Kamehame hawsksbill turtle nesting site on the Kaʻū Coast.
    Miranda was raised on Hawai'i Island. He received his B.A. in International Political Economy from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA.. Now based on O'ahu, he said he is excited to return to a lifestyle that includes mauka and makai, including both ocean visits and hiking Hawai'i's trails.
    Miranda returns to Hawai'i after serving in Washington, D.C. as Senior Policy Advisor for natural resources and conservation to Hawaiʻi Congressman Ed Case.
Kainan Miranda, new head of External Affairs for TNC, Hawai'i and Palmyra
Photo by David Wood
    "We are delighted to welcome Kainan as Director of External Affairs," says Ulalia Woodside, Executive Director of TNC Hawai'i and Palmyra. "He has demonstrated a deep commitment to caring for the 'āina and fostering meaningful partnerships throughout Hawai'i to advance conservation goals and ensure the sustainability of our precious ecosystems, from ridge to reef."
    A statement from TNC says that In this position, Miranda "will help further the essential policies that enable and fund conservation through direct interaction with local, state, and federal elected officials, government agencies and others."
    He said, "I am excited to play a role in advancing The Nature Conservancy's vision for conservation in Hawai'i and Palmyra. I have seen first-hand the impact our innovative, community-led approach to conservation management can have. I look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with stakeholders, communities, and policy makers in caring for the 'āina."
    TNC reports that "Miranda has a proven track record of success at the federal level. He stewarded Congressman Case's efforts to enact critical legislation such as the Coral Reef Conservation Act reauthorization and the Ka'ena Point National Heritage Area Act, as well as advanced efforts to study whether to establish a National Forest in Hawaiʻi. His leadership in expanding protections in Papahānaumokuākea and the Pacific Remote Islands demonstrates his dedication to preserving Hawai'i's natural heritage for future generations. As Congressman Case's Appropriations Coordinator, Miranda played a central role in securing tens of millions of dollars in federal appropriations for conservation activities in Hawai'i."
    See https://www.nature.org/.../where-we.../united-states/hawaii/
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ANDRE JOSHEPH FORUNIER, SR. is the 59-year-old Ocean View man who died when his motorcycle veered off the road on May 16. The incident took place at the intersection of Mamalahoa Highway (Highway 11) and Leilani Street.
    Responding to a call at 5:37 p.m., Police investigation revealed that a green 2022 Kawasaki KLX300 traveling south had overtaken several vehicles near the Manuka State Park entrance. After passing the
vehicles, the motorcycle was observed crossing over the double solid yellow lines and struck a rock embankment on the mauka side of the highway. The rider was ejected from the motorcycle. He was transported to Kona Community Hospital and was pronounced dead at 10:30 p.m.
    Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the collision to contact Officer Adam Roberg at 326-4646 ext. 229 or email adam.roberg@hawaiicounty.gov. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo.
    This is the 18th traffic fatality this year compared to 8 at this time last year.

IAN WINTHER OF OCEAN VIEW WAS ARRESTED TUESDAY. Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen announced that the 50 year-old was indicted by a Kona grand jury in relation to a domestic incident that occurred on April 29 at a residence on King Kalakaua Lane in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. Winther was arrested on Tuesday morning on a $143,000.00 Indictment warrant. 
     Winther made his initial appearance in Kona Circuit Court on Tuesday where his bail was maintained at $143,000.00. His trial is scheduled for Sept. 10, 2024. 
Ian Winther arrested Tuesday.
     Winther was originally charged by way of Complaint and made his initial appearance in Kona District Court on May 2. Over prosecutors’ objections, the Kona District Court judge released Winther on supervised release and ordered him to appear for a preliminary hearing on May 30. 
    On May 7, Prosecutors presented the case before the Kona grand jury, obtained a true bill, and the issuance of the $143,000.00 warrant.
    As the Indictment alleges, Winther is charged with Kidnapping (intentionally or knowingly restrained another person with intent to inflict bodily injury upon and/or subject another person to a sexual offense), Felony Abuse of a Family or Household Member (causing bodily injury by impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or the neck with any part of the body or a ligature and/or blocking the nose and mouth), Terroristic Threatening in the First Degree, and Assault in the Third Degree. 
    Kidnapping is a class A felony offense which carries a penalty of a 20-year prison term. Felony Abuse and Terroristic Threatening in the First Degree are both class C felony offenses which carry a maximum penalty of a five-year prison term. 
    The announcement from the Prosecuting Attorney says, "The charges are merely allegations, and the Defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty."
    The case was initiated by Kaʻū Patrol. The felony investigation was led by Detective Donovan Kohara, Area II Criminal Investigation Section, and assisted by Detective Scott Dewey. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kate Perazich. The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney remains dedicated to the pursuit of justice with integrity and commitment. Anyone having information to assist local law enforcement can call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.

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KAʻŪ COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN ACTION COMMITTEE MEETING is Wednesday, May 22 from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. at Herkes Kaʻū District Gym multipurpose room. To be discussed: proposal for Action Committee to provide testimony to Windward Planning Commission regarding Black Sands Beach, LLC's Special Management Area permit application for project at the old Sea Mountain resort and golf course property at Punalu'u. Also on the agenda are the proposed bottling plant in Pāhala, and Green Sand subdivision egress and ingress. More at https://records.hawaiicounty.gov/weblink/DocView.aspx?dbid=1&id=96374.
NĀ LEO MANU: MUSIC WITH KAINANI KAHAUNAELE is Wednesday May 22 from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Enjoy the mele of Kainani Kahaunaele, an advocate for Hawaiian music. She shares her passion by teaching Hawaiian language, music, and Ethnobotany at Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language and Literature at University of Hawai'i. Free. Park fees apply.

ALOHA FRIDAY AT VAC GALLERY: LAUHALA WEAVING WITH KUUIPO KALAHIKI-MORALES is Friday May 24 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. on porch of Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Visitors and kama'aina alike are invited to experience a free, hands-on workshop. Free cultural events are part of VAC's Cultural Connections Initiative supported in part by Hawaiʻi State Grant In Aid (GIA) Wai Wai Program. Park fees apply.

COMMUNITY STEWARDSHIP: KA ʻOHANA O HONUʻAPO LOKO IʻA WORKDAY is Saturday, May 25 from 9 a.m. - noon. Families and individuals welcome. Work day includes introduction, talk story, waiver signing, clean-up, pot-luck style lunch. BYO-lunch, snacks, water bottles, protective clothing. Water and juice provided. RSVP and more information at kaohanaohonuapo@gmail.com.

DIETRICH VAREZ EXHIBITION through Sunday May 26 at VAC Gallery in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

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Malama Kai Foundation's Reef Talk on Friday, May 30 will be live streamed on
YouTube channel@malamakai. This is a free event, but donations are always welcome.
 Contact Kater Hiney, Malama Kai Foundation, Reef Talks Coordinator, for more information
 at kateralisha@gmail.com,

Kaʻū News Briefs May 20, 2024

Mālama Nā Keiki Festival came to Pāhala Community Center on Saturday, with many opportunities for
families to seek help with health, housing, nutrition, medical care, keiki ID and more. Photos by Julia Neal
The County of Hawai'i's Emergency Rental Housing program.
HUI MALAMA OLA NA 'OIWI hosted its seventh annual Mālama Nā Keiki Festival at Pāhala Community Center on Saturday and announced it is co-sponsoring a Kaʻū Community Baby Shower and Health Fair on Saturday, June 22 at Kaʻū Community Rural Health Center's campus in Kaʻū.
    The festival last Saturday included keiki-friendly activities, a raffle for the keiki, a children's character in costume, a balloon artist, and face painting. Keiki were able to exercise, riding a stationary bicycle, the wheels also turning a blender preparing a fruit drink. There were many more interactive keiki programs and education for parents.
    Hui Mālama offers online and live exercise classes, Nutrition Courses, Healthy Hapai Classes, Transportation for Medical Purposes, Diabetes and Cancer Support Groups, Disease Prevention and Management Courses.
Hawai'i Children's Action Network
       Joining the Hui Mālama organization last Saturday were other non profits and agencies including Kaʻū Rural Health Community Association, which is advocating for a new nursing program in Kaʻū. 
    Boys & Girls Club reached out to the community, along with PARENTS, which provides education and counseling for keeping families healthy. The county Emergency Rental Assistance Program was explained for those in need of shelter. Hawai'i Children Action Network presented its programs to advocate for children by fighting for their safety, health, and education.

Keiki find about about Early Head Start.
Boys & Girls Club offers after school activities.

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A monk seal at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach where the Marine 
Mammal Center conducted a training for volunteers on Sunday.
Photo from Malama Pono Punalu'u
MARINE MAMMAL CENTER SENT CARE SPECIALISTS to Punalu'u Black Sand Beach on Sunday afternoon, following several documentations of monk seals there and along the Kaʻū Coast. The Marine Mammal Center crew provided a training session for Mālama Pono Punalu'u volunteers, with instructions and protocol for sighting monk seals in the water and responding to monk seals coming ashore.
    Mālama Pono Punalu'u reports "approximately six sightings of monk seals within the last year near the Punalu'u Beach shoreline alone, as well as other sightings at Whittington Beach, Green Sands Beach and other Kaʻū Coastline areas. Marine Mammal Center has partnered with Mālama Pono Punalu'u providing signage, printed materials and continued support for monk seals, which require a 50 foot perimeter when they are on the shore and that increases to 150 feet when there is a mother monk seal and pup."
    According to marinemammalcenter.org, "Marine Mammal Center is lead responder for Hawaiian monk seals on Hawai‘i Island and Maui, and we operate a hotline for reporting monk seal sightings. Every sighting reported provides valuable information to researchers, and our response teams are ready to respond if an animal needs emergency care.
    "The endangered Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest seal species in the world, and conservation efforts are critical to their survival. Through direct animal care, community outreach, education and response, our dedicated staff and volunteers in Hawai‘i are working to save a species.
    "On Hawai‘i Island, we operate the only hospital dedicated to Hawaiian monk seals, Ke Kai Ola. Our team of experts relies on the Center’s many years of experience in marine mammal medicine and health to treat monk seals so they can be released back to the wild."
Some of the volunteers who took training from Marine Mammal
 Center on Sunday. Photo from Malama Pono Punalu'u
    Mālama Pono Punalu'u issued a statement saying it is a "community based volunteer organization whose mission has been to provide a safe and harassment free space for basking Honu (Green Sea Turtles) while making efforts to preserve and
maintain the sandy beach area in its nature and pristine state to assist in Honu'ea nesting. Other missions include protecting the monk seals when they beach themselves in the Punalu'u area, watching swimmers and water activities after life-guards leave daily and overall safety and information for visitors to Punalu'u.
    "We actively continue to seek volunteers who are willing to donate their time between 4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. one or more days per month. It is amazing way to get to enjoy Punalu'u for a few hours at a time, talking to visitors, seeing the beauty of the area while helping to protect the turtles and the beach."
    Contact Victoria Croft for more information at vjcroft@yahoo.com or (530) 306-1301‬. For more on Mālama Pono Punalu'u, visit https://www.malamaponopunaluu.org/. The Marine Mammal Center hotline for Hawai‘i Island is 808-987-0765. For more on Marine Mammal Center see https://www.marinemammalcenter.org/get-involved/volunteer/hawaii/hawaii-island.

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Horseback riding tours are being offered at South Point, as posted on Big Island Recommendations and Reviews facebook.
Big Island Recommendations and Reviews 
shows horseback riding tours at South Point.
HORSEBACK RIDING ADVENTURES IN THE SOUTH POINT AREA ARE BEING PROMOTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Big Island Recommendations and Reviews, with 45.2K members, posted photos in May showing people astride, along the Kaʻū Coast on Hawaiian Home Lands.
    Big Island Recommendations and Reviews is described on its facebook page: "This group is for sharing personal recommendations and reviews from the people in our community on the Big Island."
    One post from Alexis Irwin describes her horseback riding services and says, "We will be going to south point Again Tomorrow! Come and ride~ Pm me to reserve at time." She writes that one of the trail rides offered is 30 minutes to an hour. "We can also do 15 minutes for kids. We will work with you for what your group needs." One potential rider asked if two hours could be scheduled and Irwin answered yes. One ride was quoted as costing $125, before local and group discounts.
     Venus Gonsalves Henriques posted, "Are you licensed and have permits for riding on Hawaiian homelands?" Another asked whether the operation is insured.
    The facebook posts also show the offering of lessons and trail rides on an equestrian farm.

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.