Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, March 3, 2017

Hawai`i State Teachers Association is calling for a Day of Action next Tuesday. Photo from HSTA
HAWAI`I STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION has called for A Day of Action next Tuesday, March 7. The public teachers union is calling for all teachers, parents and supportive community members, including students, to wear red; wave signs at each school for 15 to 30 minutes before classes begin; and photograph and post on social media the support group in front of the school. "Walk in to the school as a group just before the start of the work day and feel free to chant as you enter," states the HSTA website.
     Na`alehu and Ka`u High and Pahala Elementary are expected to draw participants.
     The average starting salary of teachers in Hawai`i is $41,027. The average salary is $57,431. The highest paying averages are in New York with $77,957, Massachusetts with $76,981, District of Columbia with $75,810, California with $72,842 and Connecticut with $72,013. Hawai`i ranks eighteenth in teacher salaries but has the highest cost of living. Most other high cost-of-living states and the District of Columbia have higher teacher salaries.
   The union is asking for a "fair contract" to be approved at the state Board of Education meeting on Tuesday evening in Honolulu and asking for testimony to submit ahead of time.
      According to HSTA, issues include more funding for public schools and approving a proposal for a constitutional amendment to create a steady funding stream for the state Department of Education.      
     States HSTA, "It is important that we increase education funding so we can attract and retain teachers." The union is calling for "fair and appropriate compensation – teacher pay, health premiums, supplemental pay for hard-to-staff areas; improving the teaching and learning environment with lower class sizes, preparation time, SPED (staffing formula, supports, meeting time), and support for English as a second language students. The HSTA is pushing for "teaching and school empowerment – allowing for more school level decisions, improving the teacher transfer and assignment process and an appropriate teacher evaluation – a supportive, not punitive system of evaluation."
     Another concern of HSTA is "protecting and supporting all teachers – equity of treatment for charter teachers, supports and mentors for probationary teachers."
     See more at Hawai`i State Teachers Association, www.hsta.org.

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A tiger shark, the kind most likely seen at Punalu`u Beach in Ka`u
on Friday, before the county shut down Punalu`u Beach Park.
Photo from Wikipedia
AN EIGHT FOOT SHARK SEEN IN WATERS NEAR PUNALU`U BEACH on Friday prompted the county to shut down Punalu`u Beach Park. The Hawai`i Fire Department's Ocean Safety Department plans to search for the shark Saturday morning and reopen the beach if no sharks are seen.
     In 21016, there were ten shark incidents across the state with most on Maui, including one death. In 2015 there were four on the Big Island, three on O`ahu, two on Maui and one on Lana`i. In 2014, there were six statewide with most on Maui. In 2013 when there were 14, including one death.
     Historically, October through December sees the highest rates of shark incidents. The last shark bite recorded at Punalu`u was Dec. 11, 2013 when a tiger shark bit a bodyboarder 20 yards off shore in 8 feet of water at Ninole Horseshoe surf spot around 8 a.m.. The 29 year-old Captain Cook man was paddling out to bodyboard for his second session with two friends when a shark knocked him off his board.
     According to police reports, companions of the surfer identified the attacker as a tiger shark about ten to 12 feet long. Friends escorted the victim to Ka`u Hospital where he was treated in the Emergency Room, receiving stitches and released. As a precaution, the lifeguard at Punalu`u posted signs along the waterfront. Swimming, wading, diving and surfing were prohibited until a helicopter flyover the next day resulted in an all-clear announcement.
     Punalu`u waterman Guy Enriques said his sons had seen a tiger shark in the bay earlier in the week before the surfer was bitten, when they were diving at Punalu`u. Punalu`u is a favorite spot for sea turtles and hawksbill turtles, a favorite food of tiger sharks.
 The state Department of Land & Natural Resources advises everyone to "swim, surf or dive with other people, and don’t move too far away from assistance; stay out of the water at dawn, dusk and night, when some species of sharks may move inshore to feed; realize that sharks, especially tiger sharks, have been known to bite people any time of the day or night; and do not enter the water if you have open wounds or are bleeding in any way."
      DLNR reminds everyone that "Sharks can detect blood and body fluids in extremely small quantities."
       The DLNR also recommends: "Avoid murky waters, harbor entrances and areas near stream mouths (especially after heavy rains), channels or steep drop-offs; do not wear high-contrast clothing or shiny jewelry." DLNR points out that since sharks see contrast very well, "refrain from excessive splashing; keep pets, which swim erratically, out of the water; do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present and leave the water quickly and calmly if one is sighted. Do not provoke or harass a shark, even a small one. "
     Other cautionary measures: If fish or turtles start to behave erratically, leave the water; avoid swimming near dolphins, as they are prey for some large sharks; remove speared fish from the water or tow them a safe distance behind you; do not swim near people fishing or spear fishing; stay away from dead animals in the water; and swim or surf at beaches patrolled by lifeguards and follow their advice.

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HAWAI`I ISLAND HAS THE HIGHEST SIGNIFICANT FIRE POTENTIAL between March and June and Hawai`i Wildfire Management Organization reminds residents that 0.5 percent of Hawai`i's total land area burns annually, much more than the porportion of land that bunes in any other state.
      Hawai`i Wildfire Managemnet Organization recently joined a field trip with Pacific Fire Exchange on managing fire risk in native dryland forests on this island. Participants saw the difference between forests overgrown with dense and flammable grasses and shrubs, as well as other invasives such as silver oak trees. Participants also inspected
Land that burned in a year in Hawai`i.
Image from Hawa`i Wildfare Management Organization
native, fire resistant forests with such species as the native lama with its berriesm, and uhiuhi flowers, which require persistent management of fire fuels, like fountain grasses that grow on lava.
      Hawai`i Wildfire Management Organization provides services to help people create a Firewise Community by documenting wildfire hazards and teaching firewise practices. Some communities on this island, such as Waikoloa and Puako have planned the development of fuel breaks to stop fires coming toward their neighborhood. The organization also helps communities become Firewise certified. See more at hawaiiwildfire.org.
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Edible Gardening& Landscaping in the Rainforest, Sat, Mar 4, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Volcano Art Center. Zach Mermel presents this two-part workshop for all gardening & landscaping enthusiasts. $50/$5 VAC members plus $10 material fee. 967-8222

Hawaiian Cordage Workshops, Tue, Mar 7/28, 1 – 4 p.m., Volcano Art Center.
With Gary Eoff. 967-8222

Unforeseen Consequences of Sandalwood Trade
, Tue, Mar 7, 7 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Paul Field, park volunteer and retired professor of History at Windward Community College, discusses how the sandalwood trade impacted relations between commoners and chiefs, altered the concept of mana and led to the first official interference of the U.S. government in affairs of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Free; park entrance fees apply.  

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