Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016

`Iwi, prominent in Patrick Ching's Hidden Valley, is one of several endangered native species
that are vulnerable to diseases spread by mosquitoes. Image from Volcano Art Center
ELIMINATING MOSQUITOES STATEWIDE for the survival of native birds and the health of people is discussed by two University of Hawai`i scholars in an opinion piece this morning in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Alan Titchenal, Ph.D., C.N.S., and Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S. work at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
Sam Gon, of The Nature Conservancy
      Concerning humans, they write: “In many parts of the world, mosquitoes transmit serious diseases ranging from malaria to the Zika virus. In Hawai`i, there is a particular concern about Zika, as well as other mosquito-borne diseases including dengue fever, yellow fever and Chikungunya. There are many very serious public health concerns related to these mosquito-borne diseases and if they became established here in Hawai`i, the impact to the tourist industry could be devastating.”
      They point out that the International Union for Conservation of Nature meeting held recently in Honolulu took up “preservation of Hawai`i’s rapidly vanishing species of endemic birds.” Strategies discussed included eradication and bioengineering mosquitoes to prevent them from carrying various diseases.
      They wrote, “For most of us, it is easy to relate to the risks of these diseases to humans. However, Hawai`i’s native bird species have been devastated by mosquito-borne diseases for over 150 years.”
      The authors reviewed history of mosquitoes and birds in Hawai`i, writing that “both the mosquito-borne avian malaria and avian pox have contributed to the extinction of 38 endemic Hawaiian birds. Of the remaining 32 endemic species, 21 are considered to be threatened by these diseases that are expected to lead to their extinction in the near future. While forest birds in Hawai`i evolved over millennia, mosquitoes have only been here for 200 years.”
      The article points out that The Nature Conservancy of Hawai`i cultural advisor Sam Gon noted during the conservation meeting that the ancient Hawaiian Kumulipo creation chant refers forest birds as elders, here before “the major Hawaiian gods.” He said endemic Hawaiian birds are to be “revered, respected and cared for.”
      In the Advertiser opinion piece this morning, the U.H. writers stated that “genetic technologies have the potential to eradicate mosquitoes and the diseases that they deliver to people and birds without the drawbacks of pesticides. These include the release of sterile male mosquitoes, the use of bacteria that can prevent viruses from being carried by mosquitoes, and controversial gene-drive technology that could completely eradicate mosquitoes from Hawai`i.”
      They concluded with the question, “How much longer can we make the forest birds wait? How many more bird species can we allow to be lost?” For more, See staradvertiser.com.
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TROPICAL STORM ULIKA, the first tropical storm to form in the Central Pacific this hurricane season, was straddling 140 W Longitude, some 1100 miles east-southesast of the Big Island this morning. Ulkia is expected to turn from moving east to moving northwest toward the Hawaiian Islands later this week. At latitude 1140 North Ulika is sporting
winds near 50mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected but weakening on a tract toward the Big Island. The path of Ulika was being monitored by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu until the storm moved east over the 140 longitude line. The National Hurricane Center will be responsible for mapping and advisories until Ulika moves back into Central Pacific waters.

HAWAI`I’S PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS ARE EXCEEDING the nation in gains on the Advanced Placement Program Exams over the year prior. In a report released yesterday, the AP results for Hawai`i students who were tested last May show increases in the number exam takers, exams taken and scores of 3 or higher.
      “In just one year, between 2015 and 2016, the number of AP Exams in Hawai`i that were scored 3 or higher increased by 7.5 percent,” said Scott Hill, a vice president at the College Board, which administers the AP Program. “That significant increase is a testament to the hard work and commitment of Hawai`i’s students, parents, teachers and education leaders, all of whom deserve commendation for this great achievement. We will continue to partner with Hawai`i educators to ensure that all students ready for the challenge of AP are able to access those opportunities.”
      Since 2012, the number of exams taken by Hawai`i public school students has increased by 26 percent (from 6,669), and the number of passing scores increased by 29 percent (up from 2,599).
      “Growth is crucial for our public schools, and these results show promising system-wide improvement as we continue to raise the rigor and prepare our students for post-high school endeavors,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “These gains also reflect the hard work and professional development being done by our educators to prepare for and teach these college-level courses. Their dedication to their craft and students is evident in these positive results.”
      The AP provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to take rigorous college-level courses while still in high school, and to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the AP Exams.
Kathryn Matayoshi
      Students taking AP Exams also qualify for AP Scholar Awards, which recognizes exceptional achievement on the exams. For SY 2015-16, 616 students from 33 HIDOE schools earned AP Scholar Awards. 
      Ten students from six HIDOE schools qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of 4 or higher on a five-point scale on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more exams.
      Twenty-six students at 23 HIDOE schools qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
      Sixteen students at 26 HIDOE schools qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least a 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.
      Three hundred seventy-four students at 31 HIDOE schools qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with scores of 3 or higher.
      Since 2012, Hawai`i has received grants from the U.S. Department of Education to subsidize test fees for low-income students. Funding has increased year-over-year with HIDOE receiving $114,168 in 2015.
      “These grants have been a tremendous help in making sure that we are able to provide college and career readiness opportunities for all of our students. For many of them, earning college credits at no cost in high school will help with the financial burden associated with completing a post-secondary degree,” Matayoshi said.
      The push behind providing opportunities for more students to take AP courses and exams is part of a range of recent transformational efforts to increase students’ college and career readiness. The results include strong increases in college enrollment, enrollment in early college programs at the high school level, as well as significant declines in college-level remediation in English and Mathematics.
Sen. Brian Schatz
      For more information about AP courses and participation at HIDOE schools, see hawaiipublicschools.org.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SIGNED the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act into law. The bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz will enhance and integrate native tourism, empower native communities, and expand unique cultural tourism opportunities in the United States.
      “I’m incredibly proud to have worked with our native communities on this legislation, and I’m pleased the president has signed it into law,” Schatz said. “This new law gives our native communities a real opportunity to grow their local economy and share their history and culture with the rest of the world.”
      The NATIVE Act requires federal agencies with tourism assets and responsibilities to include tribes and native organizations in national tourism efforts and strategic planning. It will also provide Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native and American Indian communities with access to resources and technical assistance needed to build sustainable recreational and cultural travel and tourism infrastructure and capacity, spur economic development and create good jobs.
Make a pulumi ni`au tomorrow. Photo from NPS
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

MAKE A HAWAIIAN BROOM tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Rangers teach how to make a useful pulumi ni`au, brooms fashioned from midribs of coconut leaves.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.


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See kaucalendar.com
See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html
and kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.pdf.

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