Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Kaʻū News Briefs , Thursday, December 8, 2016


Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea Volcano is helping to drive the draw of visitors to Hawaiʻi Island.
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is the most visited destination in the Islands.
See video of lava upwelling and moving at hvo.wr.usgs.gov.
Image and video from USGS

TOURISM IN HAWAIʻI is continuing its five-year growth, according to figures recently released by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. October 2016 proved to be one for the tourist record books – visitor spending in Hawaiʻi increased for fifth consecutive month and more visitors arrived in the state than in any other October on record.
     In October 2016, visitor arrivals to Hawaiʻi Island increased by 5.4 per cent year-over-year, with the most visited place in all of the state being in Kaʻū and Puna – Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
     A shorter length of stay on this island resulted in no growth in visitor days. However, visitor spending on Hawaiʻi Island rose by a significant 11.7 per cent to $152.5 million, driven by the increase in average daily spending of 11.2 per cent to $176 per person compared to October last year. However, spending per visitor per day is still the lowest in the state. On Oʻahu it is $206, on Maui $201, and on Kauaʻi it is $193 per day.
Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach, a popular visitor destination. Photo by Julia Neal


Visitors to the islands spent a total of $1.2 billion in October 2016, a 6.8 per cent increase compared to last October and the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year growth, according to preliminary statistics released by HTA.
     Statewide, total visitor arrivals increased 4.3 percent to set a new record of 717,486 visitors for the month of October.


This means that Hawaiian Islands have had five years of steady, continual growth in tourism for the first time since the eighties, according to HTA.
    A total of 20,673 visitors arrived by cruise ship, an increase of nearly 17 per cent, while 696,812 arrived by air, a more modest 4 percent increase for October 2016 over October 2015. In October, ten out-of-state cruise ships brought 20,673 visitors to Hawai‘i compared to the eight ships that came in October 2015 with 17,701 visitors. Total cruise visitors (arrivals by cruise ships and by air to board the Hawai‘i home-ported cruise ship) increased by 10.4 percent (compared to October 2015) and numbered 31,937.


The total number of seats available on flights to the islands during October 2016 was about equal to the number available in October 2015 – just 931,243, indicating that the planes to the state generally flew more full this year.


HTA statistics on visitor accommodations indicate that the vast majority of visitors to the state stay in hotels, condos or timeshares. However, there was a six per cent increase among those who stayed with friends or relatives, an eight per cent drop in staying at Bed & Breakfasts, and a small increase in those who rent houses. HTA does not have statistics for the number of people who stayed in private homes in October 2015, but lists over 10,000 visitors using them, statewide, in October 2016. This indicates that HTA is now tracking visitors who book accommodations through on-line vacation rental companies, like Airbnb and VRBO.

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THE 21st CENTURY CURES ACT, a comprehensive bill to accelerate medical research, passed the U.S. Senate yesterday. Sen. Mazie Hirono said she gave it her support. “This bill directs additional resources to Hawaiʻi researchers on the cutting edge of uncovering new cancer treatments and strengthens seniors’ access to essential durable medical equipment under Medicare’s new reimbursement system.”
      Dr. Randall Holcombe, Director of University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Centers, said, “I am grateful for Senator Hirono’s support. This legislation will accelerate the pace of cancer research at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center and provide direct benefit for the people of Hawaiʻi.”
University of Hawaiʻi’s School of Medicine and Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
        George Greene, Healthcare Association of Hawaiʻi President and CEO, said, “We are grateful that Congress included relief for Hawaiʻi residents living in rural areas in this important legislation.We also reiterate our thanks to Senator Hirono for her tireless work on this issue. This legislation will open the door to further actions that could address the access issues our providers have faced since cuts started almost four years ago. We look forward to continuing our work with Senator Hirono and our government officials in making sure that Hawaiʻi’s seniors have access to the medical equipment and supplies they need.”
     The bill includes $4.8 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health for research, including nearly $2 billion for Vice President Joe Biden’s moonshot initiative to accelerate finding cures for cancer. As one of only 69 National Cancer Center-designated centers in the nation, the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center is eligible for funding to advance research on the genetic diversity of tumors and the mechanisms of cancer development. The 21st Century CURES Act also includes language Hirono fought for to help Hawaiʻi seniors access essential medical equipment. Because of changes in Medicare reimbursement rates, Hirono said, Hawaiʻi Medicare beneficiaries have been at a disadvantage in procuring medical equipment such as oxygen tanks and wheelchairs. The legislation passed yesterday eases these cuts, as well as calling for the long-term evaluation of the detrimental effects the rate changes have on rural communities like those in Hawaiʻi.
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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft. Image from NASA
JUPITER, JUNO AND THE NASA INFRARED TELESCOPE are the focus on Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. at ʻImiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo.  The stream of recent exoplanet discoveries – planets circling other stars will be discussed. Dr. John Rayner, Director of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, will explain the extensive research and development that is underway in order to better understand how these planets are formed, as well as discovering the formation of planets within the Earth’s solar system.
     Rayner will also discuss how the NASA IRTF provides supporting observations for NASA’s own Juno spacecraft, which is orbiting Jupiter with the goal of measuring the planet’s overall structure and composition and increasing understanding of how it was formed. Jupiter is by far the largest planet in the solar system, and knowledge of its properties is key to understanding the formation of the solar system and possibly other planetary systems.
     Rayner will describe the Juno mission and the role of this spacecraft in this epic quest for knowledge.
     Rayner obtained his education in the United Kingdom with a degree in Physics from Kings College, University of London, and a PhD in astronomical instrumentation from the University of Edinburgh. He has been building infrared instruments at IRTF for the past 27 years and is commissioning a high-resolution infrared spectrograph, optimized for observing star and planet-forming disks, planetary atmospheres and comets.
Dr. John Rayner
    Hosted by Planetarium Technician Emily Peavy, ‘Imiloa’s monthly Mauna Kea Skies program includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawai‘i, with the audience able to view prominent constellations and stars visible during this time of year. Mauna Kea Skies planetarium presentations are held on the third Friday of each month. General admission tickets are $10, $8 for members (member level discounts apply). Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk or by phone at 932-8901.


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ALYSHA & PETE 3-ON-3 BASKETBALL WINTER JAM tournament will be held starting tomorrow through Sunday at the new Kaʻū District Gym. Age groups are ten and under, 12 and under, 14 and under, boys, girls and co-ed. Men and women are also invited to compete. The tournament raises money to help fund Trojan Senior basketball players Pete Dacalio and Alysha Gustafson to travel to the mainland with coach Jen Makuakane to look at colleges who may provide them with sports scholarships. To donate, call Summer Dacalio at 498-7336, Pete Dacalio at 498-3518 or Alysha Gustafson at 339-0858.

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THE LIVING MYSTERY SYMPOSIUM is this Saturday, Dec. 10,  from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Kīlauea Theater,  with workshops on Sunday, Dec. 11, form 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Koa Conference Room. (Sun). Leading the events with the idea “Is the Supernatural the Super Natural?” will be New York Times best-selling author of Communion, Whitley Strieber. Also speaking is former Chair of the Department  of Religious Studies at Rice University,  Jeffrey Kripal, legendary ethnobotonist Terrence McKenna and author/talk show host Jeremy Vaeni. They will give talks about the nature of the supernatural. Kama‘aina pricing. Free park entrance upon emailed request. 

INSPIRATION HIKE, Saturday, Dec. 10, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Artists are invited to be inspired on a hike at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Artists learn how nature can inspire them to connect with their own creativity on this free, moderately easy, 1.5-mile hike. Register by Dec 6. nps.gov/havo

Rudolph meets one of the Pāhala Christmas Parade's sponsors,
Ed Olson and Sami Stanbro. Photo by Julia Neal
PĀHALA’S CHRISTMAS PARADE IS THIS SUNDAY, Dec. 11. The parade is in its 38th year, travels through the streets of Pāhala, with Santa and his helpers handing out candy to kids. A traditional stop is Kaʻū Hospital where long term patients come outdoors to see the decorated trucks cars and floats, marching groups and costumed characters. Participants begin gathering at the Pāhala Armory at 11:30 a.m. 

DEADLINE FOR THE DIRECTORY, to sign up for listings and advertising for businesses, community groups, churches and agencies is Dec. 15. The annual business and community resource guide is sponsored by Kaʻū Chamber of Commerce and produced by The Kaʻū Calendar. It includes photography and art by Kaʻū residents, a calendar of events, listings and feature stories including winners of the recent Beauty of Kaʻū art show, sponsored by the Chamber.
     The Directory raises scholarship money for students from Kaʻū throughout their higher education in trades, college and university studies. Printed each January, 7,500 copies of The Directory are distributed throughout Kaʻū and Volcano. To sign up, contact geneveve.fyvie@gmail.com .

FRIEND-RAISER IS NĀʻĀLEHU ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’S Winter Fest theme for Saturday. Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Make New Friends,” declares the poster, which also reports on opportunities to enjoy shave ice, drinks, hot dogs – all for $1. Games are 50 cents. Also featured is a bounce house, raffle, bake sale, splash booth, jail, face painting and information vendors. Winter Fest is sponsored by the Nāʻālehu School Council. Anyone wishing to donate prize items or make a monetary donation should contact Nāʻālehu Elementary vice-principal Christina Juan or student council adviser Amberly Keohuloa at 323-4000.

REP. RICHARD CREAGAN’S OCEAN VIEW FORUM we will be at Ocean View Community Center on Monday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. Creagan represents District 5 in the Hawaiʻi House of Representatives and chairs the Committee on Agriculture. District 5 includes Honuʻapo to  Nāʻālehu, to Ocean View, to Capt. Cook, Kealakekua and part of Kailua-Kona. A statement from his offices says

CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY features lei, art, festivities at Volcano Art Center though Jan. 2. Free; park entrance fees apply.

BASKETBALL CAMP for children, first through eighth grades, is planned by Ocean View Baptist Church for February. Location is the Kahuku County Park, Feb. 20 - 24 from 3:30 p.m to 4:30 p.m. Organizers are looking for advance registration. Campers will learn skills of basketball and important fundamentals in an atmosphere that is fun and enjoyable. Space is limited. Call 333-0212.

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