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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, April 2, 2014

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La `Elima artist's depiction by Stan Rillon shows the great tsunami of 1868. This is Tsunami Awareness Month, heralded by a tsunami advisory following an earthquake in Chile yesterday. Image by Stan Rillon 
A TSUNAMI ADVISORY THIS MORNING closed Punalu`u, Honu`apo and other beach parks until 8 a.m., following an 8.2-magnitude earthquake off the coast of northern Chile yesterday at about 2 p.m. Hawai`i time. Surges onto beaches reached three feet where they were measured in Hilo. In Ka`u, Honu`apo recorded a point one-foot tsunami over eight minutes. 
      The advisory read, “Tsunami waves that can be a hazard to swimmers and boaters as well as to persons near the shore at beaches and in harbors and marinas are now affecting the state of Hawai`i. This hazard could continue for several hours. The situation is being monitored closely, and the advisory will end when the hazard has passed.”
      Chile has produced some of the most damaging tsunamis in Hawaiian history. In 1877, an 8.3 Chilean quake generated a tsunami that led to deaths in Hawai`i. On May 23, 1960, a tsunami from Chile killed 61 people in Hilo. The tsunami was generated by the largest recorded quake in history. It measured 9.5 on the Richter scale.
A 1960 tsunami flattened a heavily populated section of Hilo.
     Another locally generated major tsunami in Hawai`i happened in 1868 after the largest quake in Hawaiian history struck on April 2 at Keaiwa – Wood Valley. The 7.1 quake, as reported by goat and sheep farmer Fredrick Lyman, caused a huge mudslide that covered thatch and wood homes and killed 31 people in the Wood Valley area. The resulting tsunami wiped out structures at Punalu`u and Honu`apo.
     An Aleutians Islands quake on April 1,1946 measured 8.1 and killed 159 people in Hawai`i, leading to the creation of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
     Warnings have led to evacuations numerous times. On Feb. 27, 2010, Punalu`u beachgoers and everyone staying the SeaMountain condos and others along the entire coast were evacuated after an 8.8 earthquake hit Chile. The tiny tsunami wave did no damage in Ka`u. In 2011, another evacuation was called by Civil Defense after the March 11 Japan earthquake that measured 9.0. That tsunami destroyed several homes along the south Kona coast.
      A famous song about a tsunami comes out of Miloli`i and Ka`u. It is called La `Elima, a song to remember. Each year, the La `Elima celebration is held in Miloli`i, where people were spared during the great earthquake and tidal wave in 1868. Though their Hauoli Kamana`o Church site was permanently submerged, the church building landed on the shore. The event also celebrates the Miloli`i community caring for other tsunami victims whose homes were lost. Listen to and watch a vintage recording of the Diana Aki song La `Elima with Israel Kamakawiwaole backing her up at youtube.com/watch?v=v3kIsPWllbM.
Saint Marianne Cope Day is Jan. 23.
      Darryl Oliveira, county Civil Defense director, noted this morning that the most recent tsunami threat came yesterday on the 68th anniversary of 1946 tsunami and the kickoff of Tsunami Awareness Month. Aerial surveys of the island began at first light this morning to observe any sea change from the small tsunami waves, generated by yesterday’s quake off the coast of Chile.
     While beaches are now open, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says that smaller sea level changes and strong or unusual currents may persist for several additional hours, and boaters and swimmers should exercise appropriate caution.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

JAN. 23 IS NOW SAINT MARIANNE COPE DAY in Hawai`i, following Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s signing of a bill passed by the state Legislature. 
      Maria Anna Barbara Koob, who would later be known as Saint Marianne Cope of Moloka`i, was a German-born American and a member of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Syracuse, New York, who spent many years caring for patients suffering from leprosy, or Hansen's disease, on Molokai.
      On October 21, 2012, Mother Marianne was canonized as Saint Marianne Cope by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in Rome. Saint Marianne is the second person, after Father Damien, who had served in Hawai`i to be canonized, and she is only the 11th American citizen to receive the Roman Catholic Church's highest honor. Prior to her canonization, Cope was beatified on May 14, 2005 in Rome by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
      Saint Marianne’s feast day was established as January 23 and is celebrated by her own religious congregation, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse.
      The status of HB2539 and other bills being considered at the state Legislature is available at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Judge J. Michael Seabright
KA`U’S MARSHALLESE POPULATION COULD LOSE government-sponsored Medicaid health care benefits after a panel convened by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the state can resume offering fewer health care benefits to Micronesian migrants than those given other citizens and legal residents eligible for Medicaid reimbursements. 
      For many years before Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration, Hawai`i chose to include citizens of Palau, Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia citizens living here in its health insurance plans. The Compact of Free Association allowed them to live and work in the United States in exchange for U.S. control of strategic land and water in the Pacific Ocean.
      In 1996, Congress cut health care funding for migrants covered under COFA as part of comprehensive welfare reform. Then, when the Lingle administration attempted in 2009 and 2010 to reduce coverage because of fiscal challenges, U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright stopped it.
      COFA residents argued to the Ninth Circuit that the state violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by providing them less health coverage than citizens and legal residents eligible for Medicaid reimbursements, but the court disagreed. In the court’s decision, Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote, “Congress has plenary power to regulate immigration and the conditions on which aliens remain in the United States, and Congress has authorized states to do exactly what Hawai`i has done here — determine the eligibility for, and terms of, state benefits for aliens … with regard to whom Congress expressly gave states limited discretion.” 
      According to a story in Honolulu Star-Advertiser, state House Vice Speaker John Mizuno described the ruling as concerning and a “game changer.” He plans to meet with the Marshall Islands Consulate General in Honolulu, he said.
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u's U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
THE HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS has announced its appointment of Ka`u’s U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to the House Armed Services Committee. Gabbard will fill an open seat on the committee, and the full House will vote to finalize the appointment later this week. 
      The appointment came on a recommendation by the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
      “As a twice-deployed combat veteran and Captain in the Hawai`i Army National Guard, I take very seriously the responsibility to serve on the House Armed Services Committee,” Gabbard said. “This spring, as tough debates take place about the National Defense Authorization in the House, I will continue my work to support our service members and their families and to bring our troops home quickly and safely from Afghanistan. I look forward to working toward ensuring sound national security policy and to cut waste and inefficiency within the Defense Department. I will continue my bipartisan efforts to reform our military justice system in order to end the epidemic of military sexual assault.
      “Hawai`i plays a significant role in advancing our defense and foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region, and this appointment ensures Hawai`i will continue to have a voice on this critical committee. I am honored to join the committee and look forward to working with all of its members as we set priorities and funding levels for the Department of Defense, provide for our men and women in uniform and support a robust national security strategy that focuses on emerging threats around the globe.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND, Volcano Art Center presents Process Painting - Spirit of Creativity with Patricia Hoban Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at its Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village.
      “Embark on a journey that encourages you to experiment, explore, discover and play through painting. Every one of us has creativity locked up inside, but we often have difficulty gaining access to that creativity,” Hoban said.
      Cost is $40 for VAC members, $45 non-members, with a $5 materials fee.
      Register at volcanoartcenter.org or call 967-8222.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.




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