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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017

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Waikapuna, where owner Resource Land Holdings has been cooperating with local conservation groups
and Hawaiian families in their efforts to purchase and preserve the land.
Photo by Andrew Richard Hara, courtesy of Hawai'i Legacy Land Conservation Program
WAIKAPUNA WAS THE DESTINATION of the county Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission today. The committee traveled to the remote Ka'u Coast property to consider the proposed 2,209 acre acquisition of the land located between Honu'apo and Ka Lae - South Point, makai of Na'alehu.
     Laura Ka'akua, of Trust for Public Land; Megan Lamson, of Hawai'i Wildlife Fund; and Keoni Fox of the Ala Kahakai Trail Association, were among the community members who also made the trek.
     PONC uses two percent of the county's property taxes to purchase, conserve and steward public lands, with approval from the County Council and the mayor. Waikapuna is on its list and is expected to receive a resolution from County Council member Maile David, asking for the county to help fund the purchase of the property, during PONC's meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 11, at West Hawai'i Civic Center, at the conference room in Building G.  The price tag is about $6 million, with state, federal and county money a possibility.
Waikapuna land, extends from points near Hwy 11 on the Hilo side
of Na`alehu to the coast. The state Legacy Land Commission
has approved partial funding and the county Public Access, Open
Space and Natural Resources Commission will consider the
proposal on Sept. 11. Another proposal is for federal funding.
The steward would be Ala Kahakai National Public Trail and
is local Association.
     Citizens can weigh in on the matter at the PONC meeting or by sending testimony ahead.
      The Waikapuna property is owned by Resource Land Holdings, the company that bought about 5,800 acres in Ka'u from Lehman Brothers, who foreclosed on developers of the property after the financial crash of 2008.
     The collection of RLH parcels purchased in Ka'u includes not only Waikapuna but mauka lands, including pastures and most of the famous Ka'u Coffee farms, which RLH is planning for subdivision.
      The PONC proposal focuses on Waikapuna and is supported by Trust for Public Land, Hawai'i Wildlife Fund, the Legacy Land Fund of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and a proposal for federal funding. The proposed stewards of the property would be the Ala Kahakai Trail Associaiton and the Ala Kahakai Trail National Park, which oversees coastal trail preservation along the west side of the island.
Resource Land Holdings owns Waikapuna, Honu'apo mauka,
and Ka'u Coffee land properties.
    Keoni Fox, whose family has ties to Waikapuna was on the trek to the property today. His family released a statement in December saying, “For the Keanu ‘Ohana, we believe that this acquisition will honor our kupuna, their history, their values and their legacy by protecting the entire cultural and natural landscape. There are few opportunities today where such large scale preservation of pristine lands is even possible. The purchase will help to safeguard our family’s many sacred sites including the iwi kupuna.”
        Regarding wildlife, the statement said, the “effort will also allow for the protection of Waikapuna’s dryland forest and extensive native coastal plant habitat which includes seabird nesting areas along the sea cliffs. Furthermore, the scenic shores of Waikapuna are known as a place where fish and other marine life spawn and its protected tide pools serve as nature’s nursery.
     "Waikapuna presents an opportunity for research and education on many levels. As native descendants, we hope to continue our traditional cultural and educational practices on the land and in its waters. Our family is committed to assisting the Ala Kahakai Trail Association and other community organizations with the stewardship of the property. We are very excited about this opportunity to protect Waikapuna,” the Keanu family statement concluded.
     Resource Land Holdings invests in resource rich properties. Other investments include an Alabama sand quarry, a large surface coal mine in the midwest, a Florida citrus operation seeking to diversify, an alliance with a Washington apple fruit packer, and timberland in California.
     RLH has been cooperating with the organizations attempting to conserve the Waikapuna property as they go through the process of finding the funding.

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An ancient coastal trail.
Photo from Ala Kahakahi National Historic Trail
ALA KAHAKAI TRAIL SUPERINTENDENT ARIC ARAKAKI will be back in Ka'u this Friday to give the Coffee Talk at the Visitor Contact Station of the Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
     The Alakaha Kai Trail Association is also involved in the proposed preservation of Ka'u Coast lands at Waikapuna.
     Used and maintained for an estimated 1,000 years, Ala Kahakai trails are still traveled by descendants of the original builders. Designated as a National Historic Trail in the year 2000, the Ala Kahakai protects and assures that access and cultural practices will continue into the future. Learn about the Trail and how NPS is working with descendants and communities to manage one of the oldest trails in the National Trails System.

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Hirono supports minority-owned
small businesses during a Business
Summit Conference in Hawai'i
MINORITY-OWNED SMALL BUSINESSES deserve federal partnerships and investments, according to Sen. Mazie Hirono. Today, she highlighted their importance during the third annual Native Hawaiian Organizations Association Business Summit Conference.
     “Small businesses have a unique perspective on not only growing their business, but growing our community,” said Hirono. “However, the Trump Administration’s budget proposal threatens the progress we’ve made for all native programs, including minority-owned business. As a member of the Small Business Committee, I will continue to fight to see these programs protected and enacted in a way that supports our local economy,” said the U.S. Senator representing Hawai'i.

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RESPONDING TO PRES. DONALD TRUMP'S THREAT today to shut down the government, if Congress won't approve building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, Hawai'i Sen. Brian Schatz tweeted: "If the wall gets a Senate vote it loses badly. It's an expenseive talking point with federal government condemning and taking private land. I really think September is going to be the month that elected Republicans put their country first."

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KA`U TROJANS GIRLS VOLLEYBALL TEAM beat Parker School tonight at home. JV took Parker with 25-14 and 25-8. Varsity won over Parker with 22-25, 25-28, 25-13 and 25-16, reports Athletic Director Kalei Namohala.


REGISTER KEIKI, grades K-8, until August 29, to make a beaded key chain on Wednesday, August 30, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Call 928-3102 for more.

CELEBRATE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE’S 101ST ANNIVERSARY on Friday, August 25, and enter Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park fee-free.

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER MIGHTY ‘OHI’A is the title of an art  show open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, August 26, through October 8, at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park with paintings and illustrations by John D. Dawson. The artworks focus on the highly variable display of ‘ohi’a lehua trees found within the park. Gallery viewings are free, though park entrance fees apply.

DISCOVER HAWAIIAN GODDESSES HI’IAKA & PELE and the natural phenomenon they represent on a guided, moderate, one-mile hike through the Kahuku Unit of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Saturday, August 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Free. Visit ups.gov/havo for more.

FEARLESS ABSTRACT PAINTING, a class in which Samantha DeSilva will share her unique method of painting, takes place Saturday, August 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Volcano Art Center. The fee per person is $90 plus a $15 supply fee. Call 967-8222 for more.

NATURE & CULTURE: AN UNSEVERABLE RELATIONSHIP, a free moderate hike approximately two miles takes place Sunday, August 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Kahuku Unit of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Palm Trail hikers visit a place where catastrophic change (hulihia) and subsequent restoration (kulia) can be observed as the land transitions from the 1868 lava flow with its pioneer plants to deeper soil with more diverse and older flora. Learn about native plants that play a vital role in Hawaiian culture. Visit nps.gov/havo for more.


Pick up the August edition of The Ka`u Calendar delivered
free to 5,500 mailboxes throughout Ka`u, from Miloli`i 
through Volcano. Also available on stands throughout
the district. See it online at www.kaucalendar.com
http://kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory_2017




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