Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April is Tsunami Awareness Month. In 1975, a tsunami destroyed this house at Punalu`u. Photo from USGS
HAWAI`I IS ONE OF THE FASTEST IMPROVING STATES in public education, said the U.S. Secretary of Education who visited the Islands yesterday. Hawai`i is one of a dozen states that won Race to the Top grants, and the $75 million spent here shows great improvement, said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. He visited a school on O`ahu that showed off its aquaponics and other science projects. Hawai`i News Now reported that “Duncan said that if Hawai`i could sustain recent improvements, much of what was being done in locals schools could be used as a model for the rest of the nation. ‘No one’s declaring victory, a long way to go, but the progress has been extraordinary. To say that now Hawai`i, by any objective measure, is one of the fastest improving states in the nation, that’s amazing!’”
Arne Duncan
     Hawai`i News Now noted that “Hawai`i won the four-year grant in 2010, but the funding was soon in jeopardy, with the state placed on high-risk status. After making changes, Hawai`i was back in good standing last July.”
      In addition to teachers and administrators, the Education Secretary met with the Hawai`i State Teachers Association representatives of the union.
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HAWAI`I STATE SENATE PASSED a $12 billion state budget for the 2015 fiscal year, cutting nearly $168 million from what Gov. Neil Abercrombie originally proposed. While retaining funding for early education and school athletics, most of the reductions were made to proposed capital improvement projects. The Senate also reduced the governor’s proposed budget for 2013-14 by $46.1 million. The adjustments follow the state Council on Revenues lowering of its revenue forecast.
      Ways & Means Committee chair, Sen. David Ige said, “We are facing much difficulty in the future that should not be compounded by unwise and irresponsible actions taken today.”
      The budget now goes to a conference committee of both houses of the Legislature.
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ROYAL HAWAIIAN ORCHARDS, LP HAS REPORTED a loss of $3.7 million, or 49 cents per share, for 2013, compared to a loss of $499,000, or seven cents per share, for 2012. The company cited the second lowest harvest in the past 20 years due to dry weather in Ka`u during key nut development phases, reduction in sales of nuts to build inventory for branded product sales in 2014 and an increase in selling, general and administrative costs of its developing branded product segment.
      “While this inventory build and investment in retail shelf space will negatively impact near-term financial performance, the Partnership believes that the benefits it will enjoy from its branded business will more than offset these short-term costs,” according to a statement.
      Sales of branded retail products increased to $2.1 million in 2013, from $91,000 in 2012, the company said.
      Royal Hawaiian Orchards estimates that its products are now distributed in 3,000 retail stores on the mainland and in Hawai`i and expects to be in 10,000 stores by the end of 2014.
      The Partnership, with offices in Hilo and Pahala, is one of the leading growers and processors of macadamia nuts in the world, processing and marketing macadamia nuts in-shell, in bulk kernel form and as better-for-you snack products.
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Sen. Mazie Hirono
U.S. SEN. MAZIE HIRONO HAS BEEN NAMED chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action.

 The subcommittee was created at the beginning of the 113th Congress “to provide oversight and review of agency rule-making” and agency action, according to Hirono’s office.
      Hirono said, “I plan to work so that the unique needs of Hawai`i are represented as we review agency actions and Executive Branch initiatives. I will also look for ways to improve oversight of government waste and abuse and strengthen consumer protections for all Americans.”
      A complete description of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action’s jurisdiction can be read at judiciary.senate.gov/about/subcommittees#oversight.
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TSUNAMI AWARENESS MONTH BEGINS TODAY, with public officials urging people to be prepared and reflections on tsunamis that have taken out villages and harbor facilities along the Ka`u Coast. This month was chosen to honor the victims and survivors of the April 1, 1946 tsunami that originated from the Aleutian Islands.
Honu`apo remains of a warehouse taken out in 1975 by a tsunami.
Photo from USGS
         The most recent tsunami upset the shoreline and poured salt water into Punalu`u Black Sand Beach pond when it rolled in from Japan after the great earthquake on March 11, 2011.
    Other tsunamis in recent history include the Nov. 29, 1975 tidal wave following a 7.7 earthquake at Halape that left severe property damage at Punalu`u. The waves reached 4.3 – 5.8 feet. Further south along the southeastern Ka`u Coast, the waves reached 6.2 feet and then 3.4 feet at South Point.
    Standard Oil’s tank and a warehouse were washed away with other buildings at Honu`apo. The warehouse foundation is now part of the park there.
      A Tsunami Awareness and Emergency Response Fair takes place Saturday, April 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Wailoa River State Recreation Area in Hilo. Coordinated by Hawai`i County Civil Defense, the event will showcase current emergency response systems developed as a result of lessons learned from past tsunamis.
      Information about how to be prepared in case of a tsunami is available at scd.hawaii.gov.
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DEPARTMENT OF HAWAIIAN HOMELANDS is conducting a series of statewide Beneficiary Consultation Meetings on its draft water policy plan. The Hawai`i Island meeting takes place April 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Hilo High School Cafeteria.
      Regarding water, Hawaiian Homes Commission and Department of Hawaiian Home Lands says the mission is to “strive to ensure the availability of adequate, quality water by working cooperatively to understand our trust water assets; plan for our water needs, aggressively understand, exercise and assert our water rights; develop and protect water sources; and manage water systems.
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KA`U HIGH SCHOOL BOYS VOLLEYBALL hosts Hilo High School Vikings tonight at Ka`u High Gymnasium. Junior Varsity game starts at 6 p.m., with the Varsity game to follow at 7 p.m. Next game for the Trojan Volleyball teams will be on Saturday, April 5 when Ka`u hosts Kealakehe Waveriders at 10 a.m.
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Yellow `ohi`a lehua NPS photo by David Boyle
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK INVITES everyone to participate in upcoming free Kahuku programs offered through June.
      Palm Trail is a moderately difficult, 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered April 19, May 25 and June 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
      People and Land of Kahuku is a moderate two-mile, three-hour, guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Participants learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. The guided hike is offered April 20, May 18 and June 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
      `Ohi`a Lehua focuses on the vital role of `ohi`a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the `ohi`a tree and the lehua flower. Visitors traveling through the park will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent tree in the Kahuku Unit. The `Ohi`a Lehua program is offered April 27, May 11 (Mother’s Day) and June 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
      Enter the Kahuku unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka side of Hwy 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection, and a snack are recommended.


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