Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, April 20, 2017

Visitors totaled nearly 1.9 million and spent nearly $160 million in communities close to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park
in 2016. These visitors observe Kilauea summit lava lake from Jagaar Museum Observation Deck.
See story below. NPS photo

THE KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN goes to a public Steering Committee meeting this coming Tuesday, April 25, at Na`alehu Community Center, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Windward Planning commission will hold a Ka`u CDP public hearing on Wednesday, May 10 at 5:30 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center and Thursday, June 1 at 9 a.m. at the County of Hawai`i Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo.
     Following the Windward Planning Commission making recommendations, the County Council will hold Ka`u CDP public hearings and take action. With approval, Mayor Harry Kim will sign the Ka`u CDP into law and an Action Committee will be appointed to guide the Ka`u CDP implementation.
      The Draft Ka`u CDP and the Planning Director's "non-substantive revisions" are available at the site: www.kaucdep.info.
      A draft Ka`u Community Development Plan was completed in October 2015, with final recommendations from the Ka`u CDP Steering Committee following public review and comment. In early 2016, public agencies were invited to make a final review. "The April 2017 Ka`u Community Development Plan reflects those recommendations," says a statement from the County Planning Department.
      The public Steering Committee meeting next Tuesday is set to review agency comment and the Planning Director's recommendations.  The agenda and all meeting materials can be found at: http://www.hawaiicountycdp.info/kau-cdp/steering-committee/steering-commitee-meetings/april-25-2017-steering-committee-meeting.  Steering Committee meetings are open to the public, and public comment on agenda items is welcome.

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VISITORS TO HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, totaling 1,887,580 in 2016, spent $159,195,500 in communities near the park, according to a report released today by the National Park Service. "That spending supported 1,917 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $199,923,400." NPS reported.
Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando has
seen an active volcano and visitor expenditures increase substantially
in the surrounding communities since she took the post in 2004.
Photo by Julia Neal
     “It's exciting to see the steady increase in both visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and the consistent economic benefit park visitors provide to our Hawai‘i Island community in the way of jobs, and their spending,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We noticed the increase in visitation from the start of 2016, which marked the 100th anniversary of both the National Park Service and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
     "When lava from Kīlauea reached the ocean last summer, coupled with the ease of steady viewing of the summit lava lake, visitation continued to climb. We’ve seen consecutive increases in both spending and visitation at Hawai‘i Volcanoes since from 2009,” said Orlando.  
     The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the NPS. The nationwide report shows $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $ 34.9 billion.
Visitor counts to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park have soared,
as have expenditures in nearby communities.
NPS photo by Sami Steinkamp
  According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).
    Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: go.nps.gov/vse.
     The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i and how the National Park Service works with communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/Hawaii.

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FEDERAL JUDGE DERRIC KAHALA WATSON received a comment from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions today, referring to Watson's recent ruling against President Donald Trump's travel ban on refugees and visitors from six Muslim minority countries. Sessions, who earlier voted in the U.S. Senate to confirm Watson to the federal bench, said today on a radio show,  “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power."
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions
   Hawai`i Sen. Mazie Hirono responded, "The suggestion that being from Hawai`i somehow disqualifies Judge Watson from performing his Constitutional duty is dangerous, ignorant, and prejudiced. I am frankly dumbfounded that our nation's top lawyer would attack our independent judiciary. But we shouldn't be surprised. This is just the latest in the Trump Administration's attacks against the very tenets of our Constitution and democracy." She also pointed out that Hawai`i has been a state for 58 years and tweeted, "We won't succumb to your dog whistle politics."
   Hawai`i Sen. Brian Schatz also responded to Sessions. "Mr. Attorney General, I have a message for you: You voted for that judge. That island is called O`ahu, and it's my home. Have some respect."
     Shatz predicted, "There is no doubt Trump’s supporters and Republicans from across the country will come after me for taking him and his Attorney General on, but Hawai`i is my home, and defending what’s right is always my number one priority."
Hawai`i Federal Judge
Derrick Kahala Watson
         Ain Prior, spokesperson for the Justice Department, said that "Sessions was questioning one judge's ability to block the President's executive order for the travel ban." Referring to O`ahu, Trump's Justice Department spokesperson said, "Hawai`i is, in fact, an island in the Pacific - a beautiful one where the Attorney General's granddaughter was
Hawai`i Attorney General
Doug Chin
born. The point, however, is that there is a problem when a flawed opinion by a single judge can block the President's exercise of authority to keep the entire country safe."
      Hawai`i Attorney General Doug Chin, who successfully brought the case against the travel ban to federal court, released a statement saying, “President Trump previously called a federal judge in California a so-called judge. Now U.S. Attorney General Sessions appears to dismiss a federal judge in Hawai`i as just a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific. Our Constitution created a separation of powers in the United States for a reason. Our federal courts, established under article III of the Constitution, are co-equal partners with Congress and the President. It is disappointing AG Sessions does not acknowledge that.”


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Soft Pastel Still Life Workshop, Sat, April 22, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Patti Pease Johnson offers guidance & inspiration with some handy tips. $50/$45 VAC members plus $10 supply fee. 967-8222

Birth of Kahuku, Sat, April 22, 9:30 – 11 a.m, Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Participants explore the area’s rich geologic history. Free. nps.gov/havo

National Park Rx Day, Sun, April 23, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. A growing movement prescribes parks and nature for the improvement of health. Presentations & activities include a yoga session with Danielle Makaike, 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.; lomilomi and kalo, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.; Walk with a Doc, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Free; park entrance fees apply.

HOVE Road Maintenance board of directors meeting, Tue, April 25, 10 a.m., St. Jude’s Church. 929-9910

Ka‘ū Food Pantry, Tue, April 25, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View.


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