Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Kaʻū News Briefs, Monday, December 17, 2018

Hawaiian Hawskbill Sea Turtle Project Coordinator, Lauren Kurpita (right), and a volunteer, helped hawksbill hatchlings from
under the sand to the ocean yesterday at Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach. See story, below. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
REDUCING THE TWO PERCENT OF PROPERTY TAXES THAT PAY FOR BUYING PROPERTIES FOR PRESERVATION ON HAWAIʻI ISLAND is likely to become a question on the next election ballot. The proposal to reduce Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Commission funds to 1 percent of property taxes taken in by Hawaiʻi County received an 8 to 1 vote at the Dec. 14 County Charter Commission meeting. The only nay vote came from Kaʻū's Charter Commissioner and state Board of Agriculture member Michelle Galimba.
Volunteers help dig down to hawksbill hatchlings in a nest at Punaluʻu
yesterday. A crowd gathered to watch their efforts. Photo by Julia Neal
     Nancy Cook Lauer covered the story in West Hawaiʻi Today this morning. She quoted Galimba, saying, "We all want what's best for Hawaiʻi Island. The really important part of the PONC fund is it leverages other funds. I support making it as strong as possible because it's our legacy for our grandchildren and our great-great grandchildren."
     Much shoreline is preserved in Kaʻū as the result of PONC funding. Hawaiʻi Island has a total of 4,450.8655 acres preserved through PONC. Kaʻū properties already preserved through PONC are Kahua Olohu in Nā‘ālehu, and Kahuku Coastal and Kāwā oceanfront parcels. Funding has also been approved for 2,013 acres at Waikapuna, including the ahupuaʻa of Kahilipali Iki and Kahilipali Nui.
     West Hawaiʻi Today also quoted PONC Commissioner Rick Warshauer, of Volcano, who testified as a private citizen. He called the proposed cut in funding "a poisonous arrow aimed at the heart of the people's PONC program."
Lauren Kurpita, helping a tiny hatchling to the water at sunset. 
Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
     The Charter Amendment would also remove a .25 percent maintenance fund, collected from property taxes as well, and allow the County Council to suspend the PONC fund entirely during emergencies. The proposal would also allow for a cap to be placed on the amount of money collected through the property taxes. The County Council, with a two-thirds vote, would be able to suspend PONC funding if the finance director were to deem it "necessary to prevent a reduction in the level of public services," states the proposal.

     The proposal would also change the rules and allow the county to sell or donate property purchased through PONC.
     Mayor Harry Kim testified in support of the changes. "The hardest thing to do of any kind is to raise property tax. With limited revenues and growing expenses, it's not easy. Yes, I do support the reduction… I think 2 percent is just too much on our limited funds."
Lauren Kurpita, tells the crowd about endangered Honuʻea, 
 hawksbill turtles. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie

     County Council Chairman Aaron Chung contended that PONC "is wreaking havoc on our county budget. It will also at some point result in a tax increase. If you like tax increases, then keep it at 2 percent."

     Commissioner Christopher Roehrig said, "It's up to the council if they want to appropriate more – they're not locked into doing one percent… If they saw this great piece of property and they wanted to buy it, they can buy it… Nothing is stopping them."
     The next steps for the proposed Charter Amendment is a first reading and vote before the commission, a public hearing, a second commission reading, and consideration by the County Council. The council can offer alternatives, but can't stop the measure from proceeding.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Whoops! Newly hatched hawksbill turtles make their uncoordinated but determined way to the water as soon as
they surface from under the sand. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
BABY HAWKSBILL TURTLES LEFT THEIR NESTS AT PUNALUʻU BLACK SAND BEACH yesterday and headed out to sea. Those who survive will come back to Punaluʻu in 20 to 30 years, when females will lay their first eggs. These Honuʻea will return time after time during their reproductive lives.
     While 45 hatchlings received guidance to the Punaluʻu shore on Sunday, Lauren Kurpita, coordinator for the Hawksbill Recovery Project, said only one in 1,000 will make it to adulthood. She told locals and visitors who gathered to watch the event that tiny turtles need help to reach the ocean to avoid predators and other risks while they scurry across the beach. People can step on them. In the water, fish eat them.
     The nest - carefully fenced off, guarded, and dug out by volunteers to lift little turtles onto the beach - was located under the Punaluʻu lifeguard stand.
Hatchlings heading into sea foam. Photo by Julia Neal
     Kurpita said that hawksbill sea turtles are listed as endangered by the federal government. Their population plummeted during the days of harvesting them for their shells. Recovery has been minimal, perhaps due to their delayed age in achieving reproduction. Only 20 to 25 hawkbills nest each year in Hawaiʻi.
     In contrast, the more abundant green sea turtle population increased substantially with protection, with 500 to 800 laying eggs each year. Many of the green sea turtles live at Punaluʻu and other spots along the Kaʻū Coast, but they lay their eggs on remote islands, mostly in French Frigate Shoals.
     Only the hawksbills nest here, including places like Kāwā, and spend the rest of their lives out at sea. Even with low numbers, each hawksbill female can lay over 200 eggs - the largest clutches laid by any sea turtle, according to conserveturtles.org. Hawksbills need a healthy ocean for food, dining on sponges, invertebrates like crabs, and algae. Kurpita talked about the tragedy of plastics filling up the oceans further endangering hawksbills and other marine animals, as well as human beings.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Don Elwing shares his love with elementary students for protecting the ocean and upcycling marine debris
to make art. See story, below. Photo by Nalani Parlin
GOV. DAVID IGE'S PROPOSED STATE BUDGET FOR 2019-2021 went public today during his press conference. The proposed operating budget is $150.47 billion for 2019-2020 and $150.7 billion for 2020-2021. He is requesting the legislature for General Funds of $8.046 billion for 2019-2020 and $8.295 billion for 2020-2021. His Capital Budget is $2.92 billion for 2019-2020 and $1.48 billion for 2020-2021.
Students learn about the precious environment.
Photo by Nalani Parlin
     In his speech, the governor focused on "public education for our children and the University of Hawaiʻi, affordable housing and homelessness, our sustainable Hawaiʻi initiative, which really commits to transforming our economy and protecting the natural environments that are so important to all of us in the Islands."
     He said there will be significant investments "to support our economy, especially through our Capital Improvement projects budget, because we know it creates jobs for our community."
     He promised to invest in pensions and health fund payments to ensure all pubic servants "will receive the benefits they counted on while working and serving the public - in their retirement."
     Ige said early childhood education can head off many problems. The governor said studies show "investments in early education exceed the actual cost. If you reach students when they are younger, we can avoid them being criminals and other activities that take value from our community." He said that state plans to add 22 classrooms to schools for early childhood services, through building new ones or renovating existing spaces.
Nāʻālehu students partner in creating marine debris art.
Photo by Sheilah Okimoto
     See more on the budget in Tuesday's Kaʻū News Briefs.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

MARINE DEBRIS CREATIONS were center stage at Nā’ālehu Elementary today. Ocean View artist Don Elwing shared his art pieces made from the marine debris, which he collects by the bagful from nearby Kamilo.
     Elwing's art is meant to bring awareness to the extreme amount of plastic showing up in the oceans and harming wildlife, such as the Lasayan albatross. His visit wrapped up the third grade's place-based science unit, planned in partnership with Kamehameha Schools' Kealapono kumu, focusing on the impact of marine debris and its impact on the local environment.
Elwing helps a third grader to create art from 
marine debris. Photo by Sheilah Okimoto
     Students then worked with Elwing to complete a collective art piece. Kindergarteners in Kealapono's ‘Ike Hawai‘i program, which partners with the specials teachers, had the opportunity to visit Elwing's gallery and learn about turning a plastic eyesore into eye-pleasing art.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

MAUNA LOA ROAD IS CLOSED until further notice due to very high fire danger, announced the National Park Service today. Park officials have closed the road at the gate near Kīpukapuaulu parking area. Non-motorized day use such as hiking and bicycling will be permitted, and backcountry camping on Mauna Loa is allowed with a permit.

     Open fires, including charcoal cooking fires, are prohibited at the Kīpukapuaulu picnic area, and at Kīlauea Military Camp. Propane or gas cooking stoves are permitted.

     Fire Management Officer Greg Funderburk said in the release, "The strong winds and dry weather over the past week has led to a rapid escalation of fire danger on Mauna Loa, and fire danger indexes have reached critical thresholds at the Mauna Loa weather station."
Eyesores into art.
Photo by Sheilah Okimoto
     The release states that hot components on motor vehicles have historically contributed to the increased risk of fire. By reducing the number of vehicles in high-risk areas, the park can mitigate the potential for a catastrophic event, says the release.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

THE HOLIDAY SCHEDULE FOR HAWAIʻI VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK COULD CHANGE DRASTICALLY, if the federal government partially shuts down. Pres. Donald Trump threatens the shutdown on Friday if congress refuses to fund his wall to keep out asylum seekers and others coming over the border.
     Even a partial federal closure could shut down the Park, which was forced to close for months this year during continuous earthquakes and eruptions. The federal government partially shut down Jan. 20 through 22, also closing the Park.
     A partial shutdown would also affect other federal agencies, such as transportation, agriculture, the FDA, EPA, and more.
     Read more on the developments of the shutdown, and how that will affect Hawaiʻi Volcanoes, in future Kaʻū News Briefs.
     The holiday schedule for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is: open Christmas Eve and Day, and New Years Eve and Day. However, Kīlauea Visitor Center, which opens daily at 9 a.m., will close at on Christmas Day and New Years Eve. Kahuku Unit will be closed on Thurs., Dec. 20. In addition, it will be closed Monday, Dec. 24, Tuesday, Dec. 25, Monday, Dec. 31, and Tuesday, Jan. 1, per its normal operating schedule. Kahuku is open Wednesdays through Sundays from to

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Print edition of The Kaʻū Calendar is free to 5,500 mailboxes 

throughout Kaʻū, from Miloliʻi through Volcano, and free on 

stands throughout the district. Read online at kaucalendar.com

Kaʻū High Winter Sports Schedule thru Jan. 11

Girls Basketball:

Dec. 17, Mon., host PA, 

Dec. 19, Wed., host Kohala, 

Dec. 22, Sat., host JV Christian Liberty, 
Jan. 4, Fri., host Hilo

Jan. 7, Mon., @Honokaʻa, 

Jan. 9, Wed., @Kamehameha, 

Boys Basketball:
Dec. 18, Tue., @Keaʻau

Dec. 22, Sat, host Parker

Dec. 27, Thu., @Kealakehe

Jan. 3, Thu., host Honokaʻa, 

Jan. 5, Sat., @HPA, 

Jan. 8, Tue., host Kamehameha, 

Jan. 11, host Konawaena, 

Dec. 22, Sat., @Oʻahu

Jan. 5, Sat., @Waiakea

Dec. 19, Wed., host HPA

Dec. 22, Sat., host Waiakea

Dec. 29, Sat., @Kona

Jan. 3, Thu., Girls @HPA

Jan. 5, Sat., Boys host Kealakehe

Jan. 7, Mon., @Hilo

Jan. 9, Wed., @Keaʻau

Dec. 29, Sat., @Kamehameha, 

Jan. 5, Sat., @KCAC, 

A FIRST ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PROGRAM, hosted by the teachers and keiki of Harmony Options Day in Ocean View, welcomes homeschooling families and those interested in homeschooling their kids in the Ka‘ū community to the Ocean View Community Center to learn more about the Harmony Options Day program. The event takes place on Friday, December 21, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m, at Ocean View Community Center, 92-8924 Leilani Circle, Ocean View. "There will be music, prizes and refreshments!" states the event flyer. Laura Roberts, one of the events coordinators, says there will also be "a performance by our keiki!"

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Ka‘ū Food Pantry, Tue., Dec. 18, 11:30-1pm, St. Jude's Episcopal Church in Ocean View.

Hawai‘i County Council Meetings, Wed., Dec. 19, (Council), Kona. Ka‘ū residents can participate via videoconferencing at Nā‘ālehu State Office Building. Agendas at hawaiicounty.gov

Ocean View Community Association Special Membership Meeting, Wed., Dec. 19, Ocean  View Community Center. Election of 2019 board. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Hawai‘i Disability Legal Services, Thu., Dec. 20, 9-noon, Ocean View Community Centerovcahi.org, 939-7033, ovcahawaii@gmail.com

Cookie Decorating Party, Thu., Dec. 20, , Nā‘ālehu Public Library. Free for all ages. 939-2442

Family Reading Night, Thu., Dec. 20, Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund Coastal Clean-Up w/Hawai‘i Academy of Arts & Sciences, Fri., Dec. 21, Contact for meet up details. No seats available; BYO-4WD welcome to all current HWF volunteers. Free; donations appreciated. RSVP to kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com or call 769-7629 for more.

First Annual Christmas Program, hosted by the teachers and keiki of Harmony Options Day in Ocean View, welcomes homeschooling families and those interested in homeschooling in the Ka‘ū community. Ocean View Community Center on Friday, Dec. 21, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Music, prizes, refreshments, and "a performance by our keiki!"

Youth Group, Fri., Dec. 21, Ocean View Community Center. Sponsored by Lamb of God Baptist Church.

Stewardship at the Summit, Sat., Dec. 22. Meet Paul and Jane Field at 8:45am in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park at Kīlauea Visitor Center. Volunteers help remove invasive, non-native plants species that prevent native plants from growing. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring hat, rain gear, day pack, snacks, and water. Gloves and tools provided. Parental/guardian accompaniment or written consent required. Free; however, park entrance fees apply. No advance registration required. nps.gov/havo

Birth of Kahuku, Sat., Dec. 22, , Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Explore rich geologic history of Kahuku on this easy-to-moderate hike. Free. nps.gov/havo

Kīlauea Crisis Support Group Meeting, Sat., Dec. 22, Ocean View Community Center. Drinks and snacks provided. Last Saturday, monthly. Sponsored by CARE Hawai‘i, Inc. - Team Ahā, Crisis Counseling Program. 329-4817

‘Ōhi‘a Lehua, Sun, Dec. 23, 9:30-11am, Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, and many forms of ‘ōhi‘a tree and its flower on this free, easy, one-mile walk. nps.gov/havo

Christmas Eve Service, Mon., Dec. 24, Christmas Carols at 5pm, Service at 6pm, St. Jude's Episcopal Church, Ocean View. Aloha hour after service. Bring a dish to share. 939-7000, stjudeshawaii.org

Candlelight Christmas Eve Service, Mon., Dec. 24, 7pm, Nā‘ālehu Methodist Church. Lessons and Carols service where Christmas story will be told, interspersed with Christmas carols. Everyone is welcome. 929-9949

Substitute School Health Assistant Positions are available. Qualifications: CPR and First Aid certifications, and a high school diploma or equivalent. Training begins in 2019. Contact Kristy Loo for more at look@hkkk.k12.hi.us.

Christmas in the Country and 19th Annual Invitational Wreath Exhibition are open at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, 
     Christmas in the Country runs through Wednesday, Dec. 26. Enjoy an abundance of art and aloha as VAC creates a merry scene of an old-fashioned Christmas inside its 1877 historic building. In addition to artwork, find unique holiday offerings of island-inspired gifts, ornaments, and decorations made by Hawai‘i Island artists, including VAC exclusives.
     The Wreath Exhibition is available through Tuesday, Jan. 1. The exhibition presents one-of-a-kind wreaths in a variety of imaginative media, techniques, and styles, from the whimsical to the traditional, with this year's theme of Home for the Holidays - inspired by the four month closure of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
     Admission is free; Park entrance fees apply. For more, call 967-8222, or visit volcanoartcenter.org.

Kīlauea Military Camp's Holiday Challenge is open for viewing through Monday, Dec. 31. The event features a row of cottages along the front of the camp decorated in with various characters and Christmas decor - with Kīlauea Military Camp employees responsible and competing for a popularity vote. The public is invited to admire the decorations and vote for their favorite decorated cottage. Kīlauea Military Camp is open to all authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8371 for additional information. See kilaueamilitarycamp.com.

Registration for P&R Boys & Girls, T-Ball/Coach Pitch Baseball League open through Jan. 16, Kahuku Park, H.OV.E. For ages 5-8. Programs run

Jan. 22-Apr. 18, game and practice times tba. 929-9113, hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

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