Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017

 Pu`u Pu`ai Overlook in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is temporarily closed to protect nēnē, the endangered Hawaiian geese
during their breeding season in the area. Photo from USGS
OPPOSITION TO NEW U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFFERSON BEAUREGARD SESSIONS III was the testimony given last night and early this morning by Hawai`i's Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz in advance of the Sessons' confirmation vote of 52 to 47 today in the U.S. Senate. The vote, which makes Sessons the new AG, mostly followed party lines after Democrats testified against Sessions all through the night. They claimed that the Alabama Senator would be unfair on voting rights and to immigrants, minorities, the LGBTQ community, and those supporting legalization of marijuana.
Jeff Sessons, new U.S. Attorney
General. Photo form Wikipedia
     Hirono testified, “I will vote against the nomination of Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General because I’m deeply concerned about how he would use his prosecutorial discretion to uphold voting rights, protect civil rights, and safeguard a woman's right to choose. And I am seriously concerned about Jeff Session's willingness to say no to the President when he needs to.”
     Schatz said Sessions has a poor record on access to health care, opposing funding for contraception, cancer screening and programs that help women victims of violence. He said Sessions is also unsupportive of fair pay and voting rights.
     Schatz said he is concerned that Muslim families are terrified in the U.S. and anti-Semetic attacks are on the rise, yet during the Sessons hearings, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was stopped from quoting Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow, from her letter expressing concerns about Sessons and his attitudes toward civil rights.
Brian Schatz testifying against new
U.S. Attorney General Sessons.
     Concerning civil rights and also immigrants, Schatz quoted Republican President Gerald Ford, who repealed the executive order interning Japanese Americans. Ford asked for an American promise from what "we have learned from the tragedy of that long ago experience," to promise forever "liberty and justice for each individual American and resolve that this kind of action shall not ever again be repeated."
     Said Schatz, "That promise is being broken" for immigrants, as he talked about President Trump's ban on travel from seven Muslim majority countries to the U.S, and other immigration restrictions separating families. Schatz also said, "The promise is broken for millions of Americans, the majority of us who want to always have moral high ground. The world is watching. History is watching and we have to ask ourselves what do they see? Do they see Lady Liberty or do they see something darker? The choice is ours. We can fix it."
     Schatz urged "fighting chaos and paranoia as official government policy."

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CHECK TO SEE THAT TOUR BOATS ARE LICENSED, recommends the U.S. Coast Guard, which boarded and cited an unlicensed catamaran on Tuesday at Pohoiki for illegally carrying tourists to see the lava flowing into the ocean at Kamokuna. To operate, tour boat captains need an license for the boat, a captains license for a commercial operation and a Coast Guard inspection certificate for the vessel.
U.S Coast Guard is urging visitors seeing the lava by sea to make
sure the tour boats are licensed, as is this Lava Ocean Tours catamaran.
  Photo from Lava Ocean Tours
     The Coast Guard released a statement today saying it “has identified two tour boats operating illegally out of Pohoiki Boat Ramp and is ramping up enforcement in response to a perceived increase in illegal charters operating in the area to view lava streaming into the ocean from Hawai`i’s Kilauea volcano.
     “Safety is always our top priority,” said Capt. David McClellan, chief of prevention, Coast Guard 14th District. “For boat operators, it is important to maintain situational awareness and not unnecessarily put yourself, your passengers or your boat in danger. For visitors, it’s important they check that their hired boat operators are licensed ensuring they possess the experience and training required to get them to the viewing area and back safely.
     “Commercial tour boat and charter operators must possess the appropriate merchant mariner credential to operate. Masters of commercial charters operating in state waters are also required by the State of Hawai`i to have a permit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources," stated the Coast Guard. Vessels carrying six or fewer paying passengers are required to have a captain who is a Coast Guard-issued operator of "uninspected passenger vessel," which is allowed to operate not more than 100 miles offshore.
    Vessels carrying seven or more paying passengers and weighing less than 100 tons must be operated by a captain with a Coast Guard-issued master of self-propelled vessel license to operate on near coastal waters. The vessel must also have a Coast Guard-issued certificate of inspection posted in a visible location, the statement from the Coast Guard said.
     Licensed operators are: Hawaiian Lava Boat Tours, Kalapana Cultural Tours, Lava Ocean Tours and Moku Nui Lava Tours.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

It's breeding season for Nene, the
state bird. Photo by Julia Neal 
PU`U PUA`I OVERLOOK in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is temporarily closed to protect breeding nēnē, the endangered Hawaiian geese. The gate is secured at the entrance to the Pu‘u Pua‘i parking lot, near the intersection of Chain of Craters Road and Crater Rim Drive. Visitors are able to hike about 0.4 miles of Devastation Trail from the Devastation Trail parking lot to a trail sign marking the closure.
      In 1952, only 30 nēnē remained statewide. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park began efforts to recover the species in the 1970s. The Nēnē Recovery Program continues today, and more than 250 birds thrive in the park from sea level to around 8,000 feet. More than 2,500 nēnē exist statewide.
     Pu‘u Pua‘i is a massive reddish-brown cindercone that formed during an eruption at Kīlauea Iki crater in 1959. It is visible from many areas along Crater Rim and Kīlauea Iki trails.

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SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is partnering with Tutu and Me, will be presented Thursday, Feb. 9 at Pahala Community Center from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.. Call 933-6030 for more information.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TROPICAL FLOWER ARRANGING will be taught by Kaipo Ah Chong on Feb. 10 at Volcano Art Center. See volcanoartcenter.org.

LYDIA MENESES presents a Zentangle® demonstration at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on Saturday, Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. – 11a.m.


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