Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015

Humpback whales are living along the Ka`u Coast for winter. A whale count is set for Jan. 31.
Photo from NOAA
WARM WINDS FROM THE SOUTHWEST and west whipped through Ka`u last night, damaging some roofs and downing branches and trees, while causing local power outages. The unusually strong gusts with periods of silence between them were predicted to reach more than 60 mph, according to the National Weather Service, which issued a high wind warning through noon today, with the expectation of constant winds 40 mph and higher. “The strongest winds are likely to occur along exposed coastal areas and where winds accelerate downslope from higher terrain. Strong winds will also be present in scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms,” the weather service warned. The weather service attributed the strong winds to a cold front moving across the Big Island. The winds also whipped up waves that are crashing along the coastline, making swimming and launching boats very dangerous.
     At dawn, Ka`u Coffee farmers and macadamia orchard growers were out assessing damage from the windstorm.
     Overnight Hwy 19 was blocked by fallen trees near Glenwood near the 19 mile marker. While Ka`u was spared from most of the heavy rain from the storm, much of the island experienced downpours and thunderstorms.
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The Coast Guard, NOAA and DLNR coordinate enforcement of
whale protection laws, with help from the public.
Photo from NOAA
WHALE SEASON IS BACK IN FULL FIPPER with numerous humpback sightings reported at Punalu`u, Honu`apo and Ka Lae. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary has set dates to count the whales along the shoreline for Jan. 31, Feb. 28 and March 28. Both site leaders and general volunteers are needed for the Ka`u Coast.
      This year, 2015, marks the 20th anniversary of the whale count. The sanctuary is raising money for the project by selling Keep Calm and Count the Whales short-sleeve and long-sleeve tees and hooded sweatshirts. To register to volunteer for the whale count, see more at hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.
     The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Sactuary was created by Congress in 1992. According to its website, “the sanctuary, which lies within the shaller (less than 600 feet deep) waters of the main Hawaiian Islands, constitutes one of the world’s most important humpback whale habitats.
     “Through education, outreach, research and resource protection activities, the sanctuary strives to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai`i.” Federal law protects them from harassment and probhibits approaching humbacks by any means to within 100 yards in the water and 1,000 feet via aircraft. Enforcement is coordinated by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard and state Department of Land & Natural Resources. Anyone seeing a boat, helicopter or persons harassing whales can make a report to 800-256-9840.
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NOVEMBER WAS A STRONG MONTH FOR TOURISM, according to the Hawai`i Tourism Authority. The tourism count was up in November for the Big Island. The count increased 4.8 percent over last November and tourists spent an extra 6.8 percent. The number of visitors coming here reached 106,800 and they shelled out $141.7 million in just the one month.
     According to HTA, the number of visitors arriving to Hawai`i County during the first 11 months of 2014 topped 1.3 million. Their spending increased by 5.4 percent - unloading $1.7 billion into Hawai`i Island businesses through November, with an average daily expenditure per visitor of $174.
     Airline capacity to the island has increased, providing more seats to get here, particularly to the Kona airport. Through November, there were 619,789 seats available to the west side of the Island. There were 42,000 to Hilo Airport.
     The Japanese tourist count was up 3 percent for November of 2014 over 2013, reported Hawai`i Tourism Authority.
The Kahuku section of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is open every Saturday
and Sunday with no entrance fees. Photo from NPS
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EVENTS AT KAHUKU IN KA`U have been announced by Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park for January through March.  The Kahuku unit of the park is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday and all events are free. Those who travel through the entrance on the mauka side of Hwy 11 between Ocean View and South Point Road near mile marker 70.5 can explore on their own, or join these upcoming programs:
     ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua. Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the lehua flower. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk. The ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua program is offered Jan. 10, Feb. 15, and March 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
     Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pastures 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 amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered Jan. 11, Jan. 25, Feb. 1, and March 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
     People & 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. 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 Jan. 17 and Feb. 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
     Hi‘iaka & Pele. Discover two fascinating Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pele and Hi‘iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent. Visitors will experience the sisters coming alive through the epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on this easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The Hi‘iaka and Pele program is offered Jan. 18, Feb. 21, March 21, and March 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
    Pu‘u o Lokuana is a short, moderately difficult 0.4-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone, Pu‘u o Lokuana. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū. This hike is offered Jan. 31 and March 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
    Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all activities at Kahuku.
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KONAWAENA COMES TO KA`U HIGH today for boy's soccer, travel permitting. Coach for the Ka`u Trojans is Crystal Mandaquit. Start time is 3 p.m.
Ka`u High's girls basketball team hosts Kealakehe this evening at the Pahala gym.
Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U HIGH HOSTS KEALAKEHE this evening in girls basketball with coach Cy Lopez this evening at the gym in Pahala. Start time is 6 p.m. The next game is Wednesday when the Trojan wahine travel to Kohala. Next Saturday, Hilo High comes to Ka`u.

KA`U HIGH'S WRESTLING TEAM was scheduled to travel to Kamehameha School today for tournament play starting at 10 a.m.

AMAHL & THE NIGHT VISITORS continues tonight at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow with a 2:30 p.m. final performance at Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.  For tickets, call 982-7344 or email kden73@aol.com.

HAM RADIO OPERATORS HOST A POTLUCK PICNIC tomorrow, Sunday, Jan. 4 at Manukā Park just west of Ocean View. All American Radio Emergency Service members and those seeking to operate a Ham radio and families are invited. Ham radio operators coordinate with the county civil defense and medical providers for disaster preparedness. For more information, call Dennis Smith, 989-3028

VOLCANO ART CENTER'S EXHIBIT for Christmas in the Country wraps up tomorrow, Sunday, Jan. 4 with wreaths and other art for sale. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park entrance fees apply.

WALK INTO THE PAST  this Tuesday, Jan. 6 and again on Jan. 20 at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., beginning at Kīlauea Visitor Center and entering the Whitney Vault in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Ka‘ū resident Dick Hershberger brings Hawaiian Volcano Observatory founder Thomas Jaggar to life every other Tuesday.
Lava fingers headed toward Pahoha. Photo from USGS

AFTER DARK IN THE PARK offers Updates on Kilauea’s Two Eruptions, at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Matt Patrick talks about Halema‘uma‘u lava lake and presents a brief overview on the first 30 years of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō’s eruption and the  lava flow that has advanced toward Pāhoa over the past six months. The 32nd anniversary of the beginning of the eruption is today. Free; park entrance fees apply.

TROJAN BOYS BASKETBALL PLAYERS travel to Kealakehe with coach Daryl Shibuya for a 6 p.m. game next Tuesday.

KA`U SCENIC BYWAY COMMITTEE meets Thursday, Jan. 8 at 5 p.m., Nā‘ālehu Methodist Church. Public invited. Contact richmorrow@alohabroadband.net

A RED CROSS VOLUNTEER MEETING will be held Thursday, Jan 8 at 7 p.m., in the HOVE Road Maintenance Corp. office. The gathering is for volunteers and those interested in becoming volunteers. Call Hannah Uribes, 929-9953.

JOHN DAWSON'S EXHIBIT, entitled Over & Under, will be unveiled on Saturday, Jan. 10 at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The tag line is More of His Nature. On display will be fresh observations of the park through the Dawson paintings. The show closes Feb. 15.


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