Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015

Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park rangers offer tips for a positive and memorable visit to the park in the New Year.
Photo by Peter Anderson
HAWAI`I FIRE DEPARTMENT WILL CONDUCT a collection of unwanted, illegal and/or damaged fireworks from anyone wishing to turn them in for proper disposal. Members of the public will be able to drop off their unwanted fireworks islandwide on Wednesday, Jan. 28. Those wishing to participate can contact HFD’s Fire Prevention Bureau at 932-2912 by Monday, Jan. 26 between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to get more information regarding drop off locations and drop-off times.
Aerial luminary devices, illegal in Hawai`i,
can be given to the Fire Department for
disposal. Photo from wikipedia
      These fireworks are dangerous, and utmost care must be taken to keep them away from any spark or open flame. Fireworks may be soaked in water overnight and dried prior to transporting them to one of the drop-off locations. Acceptable items include all types of fireworks, fountains, sparklers, firecrackers, cakes, rockets, etc.
      Aerial luminary devices are also accepted. The state of Hawai`i deemed it illegal to buy, sell, use, possess, ignite or cause to ignite any such aerial luminary device. An aerial luminary device is defined as any homemade or manufactured device that has an open flame and which can be sent airborne or adrift, leaving the height and distance it travels to be determined by existing atmospheric conditions. These devices can start brushfires as well as entangle in electrical lines, and they have the ability to hit an aircraft if they drift near airports or in the vicinity of aircraft. Common brands found here are Sky Lanterns and Hawai`i Lanterns.
      No other hazardous materials or explosive products will be accepted.
      Hawai`i Fire Department would like to thank the community for its continued support in helping make the island as safe as possible.
      For more information, call the Fire Prevention Bureau at 932-2912.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY, with Hawai`i Island headquarters in Ka`u, is one of several organizations offering presentations during an informational briefing at the state Legislature next week. The Senate Energy And Environment Committee and House Energy and Environment Protection Committee have scheduled the briefing on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. to get an update on invasive species threats to Hawai`i. The committees will hear from state departments and organizations tasked with implementing programs for prevention, control, research and outreach related to invasive species issues.
The Nature Conservancy, which helps Ka`u residents battle little fire ants, meets
with the state Legislature regarding invasive species next week.
Photo from Hawai`i Department of Agriculture
      The Department of Agriculture will be bringing deceased specimens of invasive species including the coconut rhinoceros beetle, little fires ant, coffee berry borer, coqui frog, brown tree snake, stinging nettle caterpillar and Madagascar hissing cockroach.
      “Invasive species threaten our quality of life, native species, the health of our agricultural industries and the economy as a whole,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of ENE. “Whether it’s little fire ants, coconut rhinoceros beetles, coqui frogs or albizia, all our communities are being negatively impacted. Eliminating the spread of invasive species continues to be a top priority for lawmakers. We’ll be looking at a variety of legislation this session to continue the fight against invasive species.”
      Rep. Chris Lee, chair of the EEP Committee, added, “The spread of invasive species is an environmental and economic issue. In recent months, we’ve seen the coffee berry borer make its way from Hawai`i Island to O`ahu and possibly now Maui. This briefing will help inform lawmakers on current threats, what preventive and offensive measures are in place and what more can be done.” 
      More presenters are Hawai`i Invasive Species Council, Department of Agriculture – Plant Quarantine Branch and Plant Pest Control Branch, Invasive Species Committees, Department of Land and Natural Resources – Division of Forestry and Wildlife Watershed Partnerships and Division of Aquatic Resources.
      The briefing is not scheduled for live broadcast on Hawai`i Island but will be available later at capitol.hawaii.gov. Select Senate Webstreaming or House Webstreaming.
      More information on the briefing can be found on the hearing notice: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2015/hearingnotices/HEARING_ENE-EEP_01-13-15_INFO_.HTM.
      Ka`u residents can contact the Legislature’s Public Access Room with questions at par@capitol.hawaii.gov or toll-free at 974-4000 ext. 7-0478.
      More information about the upcoming Legislative session is available at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and House Speaker John Boehner on opening day
of the 114th Congress. Photo from Office of Rep. Gabbard
ON OPENING DAY OF THE 114TH CONGRESS Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard assisted in advancing two pieces of legislation. The Hiring More Heroes Act, which encourages businesses to hire veterans, passed unanimously by a vote of 412-0. She also introduced the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act, which she co-sponsored to support housing opportunities for Native Hawaiians. 
      “As we begin the 114th Congress, passage of this bipartisan Hire More Heroes Act, which focuses on empowering and employing our veterans, is the perfect tone to bring in the New Year,” said Gabbard, a Captain in Hawai`i Army National Guard. “This legislation will help decrease the number of unemployed veterans and support our small-business owners as they work hard to grow our economy. I was honored to immediately offer my support and co-sponsor the bill because of the important constituency that it serves — those who willingly serve and sacrifice for our nation.”
      NAHASDA seeks to empower Native communities by assisting low-income families with affordable housing. Similar legislation was introduced last year that omitted Native Hawaiian benefits, but the Gabbard-sponsored bill that was introduced today includes key provisions to ensure that Hawai`i’s native people are not forgotten. Once passed, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands will be able to continue using NAHASDA funds to manage a trust established by Congress to support Native Hawaiians through homesteading.
       “Over 1,400 low-income families in Hawai`i have benefited from these services, and, in many cases, homeownership would not have been possible given the $640,000 median price of a single-family home on the island of O`ahu,” Gabbard said. “Nationwide, passage of this legislation would represent an important step toward removing roadblocks to economic success in Native communities and reaffirm the House’s long-standing commitment to tribal sovereignty and self-determination.”

A crowd gathers around Ranger Dean Gallagher to hear his "Life on the Edge"
talk at Jaggar Museum's observation deck overlooking Halema`uma`u.
NPS Photo by Janice Wei
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK rangers offer tips for a positive and memorable time in the national park. 
      Plan to arrive early and explore Nahuku (Thurston Lava Tube) before 10 a.m. Not only is parking available, but the lava tube is virtually empty of people. As a bonus, birdwatching at Nahuku is best in the early morning.
      The four-mile Kilauea Iki Trail is one of the most scenic and popular trails in the park. Plan to hit the trail by 8 a.m. and be out by 10:30 a.m. to avoid crowds.
      Historic and scenic Chain of Craters Road originates at the summit of Kilauea and stretches 19 miles to Holei Sea Arch. Many overlooks, pullouts, and lesser-known hikes (Mauna Ulu, Pu`uloa Petroglyphs) abound, and it’s an ideal way to avoid the crowds and see more of what the park offers.
      The best time to observe the glow from Halema`uma`u is before sunrise or after 9 p.m., when most visitors have left. The park is open 24 hours a day.
      Jaggar Museum is the closest visitors can get to the summit eruption’s glowing lava lake, and it’s the park’s most popular spot after 5:30 p.m. More than 6,670 people were counted at Jaggar Museum one night in late December. If avoiding peak hours is not possible, work with park staff who are re-routing overflow traffic to Kilauea Overlook. Bring a flashlight and a jacket for the short walk to Jaggar Museum, or consider observing the glow from a less-crowded location, like Keanakako`i, `Akanikolea (Steam Vents), or Kilauea Iki Overlook.
      Mauna Loa Road is well worth exploring during peak hours, especially in good weather. Kipukapuaulu offers an easy, forested hike, and views and birdwatching are excellent along the way to the Mauna Loa Overlook at 6,662 feet.
Yellow `ohi`a lehua Photo by David Boyle
      Visit Kahuku, which is free, never crowded, and open to the public every Saturday and Sunday.
      “With a little planning and preparation, it’s easy for visitors to avoid the crowds and have a safe and memorable park visit,” said Acting Superintendent Rhonda Loh.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

PARTICIPANTS BRING LUNCH AND LEARN about the vital role of `ohi`a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the `ohi`a lehua tree and its flower during a free program Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. 985-6011


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