Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs May 30, 2013

A monk seal pup recently born on the Ka`u Coast, shown nursing when he was less than one week old,
has since been weaned. Photo by Justin Viezbicke 
A HAWAIIAN MONK SEAL PUP BORN on the Ka`u Coast was recently weaned from his mother, a nine-year-old seal from Moloka`i. This is her second pup, according to Justin Viezbicke, of NOAA. One of less than 1,100 seals alive today, he is currently being monitored by National Oceanic & Atmospheric Service staff and volunteers. 
      “We want to alert the public of his presence in order to relay important information about the natural behavior of newly weaned seal pups,” Viezbicke said. “In the few months after his mother leaves the area, this seal may seek out human attention and attempt to interact with humans. Encouraging this behavior and these interactions may cause him to lose his wild tendencies and severely lessen his chances of surviving in the wild.
The monk seal pup is expanding his range as he and his
confidence level grow. Photo by Julie Steelman
      “We have had to move two pups off Hawai`i island due to human interaction problems, including the first pup born in the area over 10 years ago.” 
      Viezbicke expects the pup to expand his range as his confidence grows. “Most of the seals born on Hawai`i Island remain on the island, but as they get older, they expand their range to all of Hawai`i island and possibly other islands,” he said.
      Viezbicke offered guidelines to help this and other monk seals to stay “alive and wild:”
  • Maintain a distance of at least 150 feet from the seal; 
  • If the seal approaches, ignore it and quickly move away or exit the water; 
  • Do not make eye contact with the seal or try to get its attention with loud noises; 
  • Do not feed the seal. 
      Viezbicke commended Hawai`i Wildlife Fund’s volunteer efforts in cleaning up the Ka`u Coast and keeping it as clean as possible “so that it can be used not only by the people of Hawai`i but also the animals that live here as well.”      
       Please report all seal sightings to NOAA’s Monk Seal Sighting Line at 808-987-0765. “The survival of every seal is important for the survival of the entire species,” Viezbicke said. “Thank you for helping save one of Hawai`i’s endangered species!”

The large yellow object that was found on the Ka`u Coast in October
has been removed.
THE LARGE, YELLOW, METAL OBJECT, some 20 feet in diameter and 12 feet high, that washed up on the Ka`u Coast about four miles south of Na`alehu, has been removed, according to a report at bigislandnow.com. Deborah Ward, of the state Department of Land & Natural Resources, told Dave Smith that Ka`u Andrade Contracting cut it up and hauled it away. 
      Exactly what the object was, or whether or not it was debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, is still unknown. Hawai`i state officials think it may be have been a buoy to tie up vessels at sea.
      DNLR originally said removal could cost as much as $100,000. Smith reports that Ka`u Andrade Contracting submitted the winning bid of $28,500.
      The story says another object of the same description washed ashore on an island in British Columbia.
      See more at bigislandnow.com.

KA`U HOSPITAL IS EXPECTED TO SEE a deficit of $69,000 by the end of fiscal year 2014, according to a story in today’s Hawai`i Tribune-Herald about Hawai`i Health Systems Corporation’s overall $7.2 million shortfall. The safety net hospital system, which receives subsidies from the state, is dealing with increasing health-care costs, lower reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid and upcoming changes in reimbursements as a result of ObamaCare, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 
      “Let me tell you, there’s a financial crisis with HHSC. Unquestionably. Our board, and the other HHSC region boards, are very, very, very concerned about how we’re going to be able to operate going forward,” Howard Ainsley, CEO of HHSC’s East Hawai`i Region, told reporter Colin M. Stewart. “Some hospitals are going to have difficulties making payroll unless emergency appropriations are made to these regions.”
      See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com.

A PROPOSAL BY KA`U’S COUNCIL MEMBER Brenda Ford that would have changed foreclosure procedures was postponed by the county Finance Committee yesterday. Ford proposed to reduce the number of years required for the county to wait before foreclosing on delinquency real property taxes from three to two years.
      “It isn’t that I want to foreclose on people,” Ford said. “I want them to pay their taxes.”
      In a West Hawai`i Today story, Nancy Cook Lauer reports that Council members opposing the measure said people probably don’t pay their taxes on time because they don’t have the money and that they’re also paying 12 percent interest on the balance as well as penalties.
      Kohala Council member Margaret Wille called for a task force to study the issue.
      See more at westhawaiitoday.com.

HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC AND HAWAI`I ELECTRIC LIGHT COMPANIES have scheduled a two-hour meeting next Wednesday, June 5 at 6 p.m. at Pahala Community Center to seek public comment on draft Five-Year Action Plans. The Action Plans are part of the Integrated Resource Planning process, which looks at how the utilities will meet future energy needs. The Hawaiian Electric Companies intend to file an Action Plan for each company with the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission by June 28. 
      Information about IRP, including the four energy scenarios that guided the planning analysis, is available at www.irpie.com, the website of the PUC’s independent representative facilitating and monitoring the process.
      Ongoing technical analysis of the scenarios is also available on the site. The completed analysis and Draft Action Plans will be available for public review on the site after presentation to the citizens’ Advisory Group today.
      The PUC initiated the latest round of integrated resource planning in March 2012 and named Carl Freedman of Maui-based Haiku Design & Analysis as the Commission’s independent entity to oversee the process. The PUC also named a 68-member IRP Advisory Group, composed of representatives from diverse locations and organizations in Hawai`i, to provide public input to the Hawaiian Electric utilities in the planning process.
      According to the PUC, “The goal of integrated resource planning is to develop an Action Plan that governs how the utility will meet energy objectives and customer needs consistent with state energy policies and goals while providing safe and reliable utility service at a reasonable cost through development of Resource Plans and Scenarios of possible futures that provide a broader long-term perspective.”

REGISTRATION FOR KEIKI SUMMER FUN Learn To Swim classes in June and July takes place today and tomorrow from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Pahala swimming pool. Each class is two weeks long, Monday – Friday (except for holidays) and each is $10. Payment is by cash or check.
      Call 928-8177 for more information.

Pau Hula by Kathy Long. Image from  VAC
KATHY LONG SHARES TECHNIQUES to bring depth and life to art Saturday in a drawing class from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and a pastel class from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Fee of $60 or $54 for VAC members per class includes supplies and a print from the artist. Register at 967-8222. 

VOLCANO ART CENTER PRESENTS Puna Chicks – Another Night Of Comedy Saturday at 7 p.m. at its Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village with “Puna Princess” Sherri Carden, “Puna Tita” Angie Libadisos and Tanya Anne. Tickets are $10 per person. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Call 967-8222 or see volcanoartcenter.org.



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