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Ka`u News Briefs Monday, Aug. 5, 2013

Sen. Mazie Hirono has added Kahuku Coastal Property, which includes Road to the Sea, to Ka`u Coast areas to be
studied for possible inclusion in the National Park system. Photo courtesy of Megan Lamson

PRESERVING THE KA`U COAST is getting more attention at the federal level. Sen. Mazie Hirono is introducing the Ka`u Coast Preservation Act of 2013, directing the National Park Service to assess the feasibility of designating certain coastal lands on the Ka`u Coast as units of the National Park System. 
      Hirono’s bill follows last week’s Senate hearing of the Pacific Islands Parks Act, introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz, which also calls for completion of feasibility studies for the Ka`u Coast as well as two other sites in Hawai`i.
Parcels identified as Sands of South Kona and Nani Kahuka `Aina are on
Hirono's list of areas to study for preservation.
      The National Park Service conducted a reconnaissance survey in 2006 that made a preliminary assessment of whether the Ka`u Coast would meet the National Park Service’s demanding criteria as a resource of national significance. The reconnaissance survey found that “based upon the significance of the resources in the study area and the current integrity and intact condition of these resources, a preliminary finding of national significance and suitability can be concluded.” The report goes on to recommend that Congress proceed with a full resource study of the area.
      Hirono said in a statement:       “Since the time of the initial reconnaissance report and my introduction of this Act in previous Congresses, two additional properties in Ka`u that deserve evaluation have come to my attention: the Kahuku Coastal Property (also known as Sands of South Kona and Road to the Sea) and the Nani Kahuku `Aina property adjacent to Pohue Bay. I have added these areas to the study area for the full resource study.
Hirono described the Ka`u Coast as "still
largely unspoiled."
      Hirono described the Ka`u Coast as “still largely unspoiled. The study area contains significant natural, geological, and archaeological features. The northern part of the study area is adjacent to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and contains a number of noteworthy geological features, including an ancient lava tube known as the Great Crack, which the National Park Service has expressed interest in acquiring in the past.
      “The study area includes both black and green sand beaches as well as a significant number of endangered and threatened species, most notably the endangered hawksbill turtle (at least half of the Hawaiian population of this rare sea turtle nests within the study area), the threatened green sea turtle, the highly endangered Hawaiian monk seal, the endangered Hawaiian hawk, the endangered Hawaiian bat, native bees, the endangered and very rare Hawaiian orange-black damselfly (the largest population in the state), and a number of native birds. Humpback whales and spinner dolphins also frequent the area. The Ka`u Coast also boasts some of the best remaining examples of native coastal vegetation in Hawai`i.
      “The archaeological resources related to ancient Hawaiian settlements within the study area are also very impressive. These include dwelling complexes, heiau (religious shrines), walls, fishing and canoe houses or sheds, burial sites, petroglyphs, water and salt collection sites, caves, and trails. The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail runs through the study area.
      “The Ka`u Coast is a truly remarkable area: its combination of natural, archaeological, cultural and recreational resources, as well as its spectacular viewscapes, are an important part of Hawai`i’s and our nation’s natural and cultural heritage.
Hirono included the threatened green sea turtle as a resource making the
Ka`u Coast "a truly remarkable area."
      “As this process evolves, the successful preservation of this pristine land will depend on the federal government working closely with local stakeholders, seeking their input and collaborating with them to address concerns as they arise. I encourage the National Park Service to continue working with all involved to ensure this coastline is preserved for decades to come.
      “I believe a full feasibility study, which was recommended in the reconnaissance survey, will confirm that the area meets the National Park Service’s high standards as an area of national significance,” Hirono concluded.
      To comment on this story, go to https://www.facebook.com/kaucalendar.
HAWAIIAN RANCHOS ROAD MAINTENANCE CORP. is appealing a decision granting a permit for Ocean View Swap Meet to change locations and increase its size, according to a story in Hawai`i Tribune-Herald.
      The story stated that Ocean View Partners, LLC filed for a new special permit in March for the swap meet, and that, because former Planning director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd did not act on the application within 30 days, it was automatically approved.
     According to the story, Ranchos residents are concerned about the “chaotic parking problems created by the event.” Ranchos resident Galen Lutz told reporter Erin Miller that when the swap meet moved to a vacant lot fronting Prince Kuhio Boulevard, attendees began parking on the road’s wide, paved shoulders. “That’s tearing up the shoulders and creating a safety hazard,” he said. “Since they park all along the roadway, you can hardly see to get through there. There are children darting out between the cars. We’re concerned it’s not if (someone will get hurt), it’s when.”
      The county Board of Appeals will hear the appeal Friday at 10 a.m. at West Hawai`i Civic Center.
      See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on this story, go to https://www.facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A KA`U HIGH FOOTBALL MEETING will be held tonight at the band room on the campus at 6 p.m. to explain to parents and other community members the cancellation of the 2013 season. Parents who plan to attend the meeting said they have such questions as, “Why didn’t the school wait until school started when more students are back from vacation and working, giving an opportunity to recruit more players?” According to team mom Rachel Velez, 18 students came daily to practice for about three months, and coaches were driving the players two and from places like Ocean View so they could practice. Last Friday, she said, there were 28 students on the field, and three more were away at funerals, “so we did have enough players.” She said that 18 of the prospective players were inexperienced but prepared to learn. One student had played at Honoka`a and just transferred to Ka`u and “now no more football.”
      To comment on this story, go to https://www.facebook.com/kaucalendar.

AIKIDO IS A FREE CLASS open to the public this evening at Pahala Community Center at 7 p.m. Teacher Alan Moores describes Aikido as learning to defend oneself without hurting others.
      Classes also take place Wednesday. Contact Moores at 928-0919 or at artbyalan2011@gmail.com.

Ocean View Community Center provides videoconferencing for Hawai`i
County government meetings tomorrow and Wednesday.
KA`U RESIDENTS ARE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE in this week’s Hawai`i County government meetings via videoconferencing from Ocean View Community Center. Committees meet tomorrow, with Finance Committee beginning at 9 a.m., Planning at 10:30 a.m. and Public Safety and Mass Transit Committee at 1:30 p.m. 
      The full Council meets Wednesday at 9 a.m.
      All meetings take place at Council Chambers in Hilo.
      Agendas for all meetings are available at hawaiicounty.gov.

A Walk into the Past features Ka`u resident
Dick Hershberger portraying Thomas Jaggar.
Photo from KDEN
KA`U RESIDENT DICK HERSHBERGER brings Hawaiian Volcano Observatory founder Thomas Jaggar to life during A Walk into the Past tomorrow and every other Tuesday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. The programs take place at Kilauea Visitor Center and Whitney Vault in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

VOLCANO ART CENTER’S NI`AULANI CAMPUS in Volcano Village holds Tea for Tuesdays tomorrow and every Tuesday at 2 p.m. JoAnn Aguirre, tea educator and member of Hawai`i Tea Society, offers an hour of tea talk, a scone and a cuppa. The free program is part of VAC’s 2013 Volcano Tea Series. Donations are accepted. Call 967-8222 or see teachingtea.com

EVA LEE, OF TEA HAWAI`I & CO., offers a tea cultivation and production program Sunday, Aug. 18 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Pahala Plantation House. The program is for prospective tea growers on Hawai`i Island interested in growing the specialty crop Camellia sinensis tea, producing white, green, oolong and black tea. The purpose is too help individuals and small family farms make greater strides in community production. The program is sponsored by The Kohala Center and funded in part by the U.S.Department of Agriculture Co-op Support program. To sign up, call Julia Neal at 928-9811. See more on Eva Lee at www.teahawaii.com.




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