Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mauna Loa snowman photo taken years ago along the road to the weather station, with Mauna Kea in the background. Several feet of snow could fall on the summits this evening and tomorrow morning. Photo from NOAA
FORMER HAWAI`I COUNTY PLANNING DIRECTOR CHRIS YUEN is a nominee for the state Board of Land & Natural Resources. According to the background statement released this morning by Gov. David Ige, Yuen is a resident of Ninole and serves on the Board on an interim basis. He held BLNR’s Hawai`i County seat from 1990 to 1998. He serves the advisory councils for the Laupahoehoe and Puuwaawaa Experimental Tropical Forest. Since 1995, Yuen has owned and managed The Family Farm, Inc., a 20-acre certified organic farm supplying local markets with bananas, lychees and rambutans. From 2000 to 2008, he was Hawai`i County’s planning director. He has also served as the County’s deputy corporation counsel and practiced law as a private attorney.
Chris Yuen
      “With significant work experience as a planner, attorney and farmer, Chris brings a balanced and insightful point of view to the Board table,” said Ige. “Hawai`i will greatly benefit from his commitment and passion to our communities and his willingness to serve.”
      Yuen received a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University, a master’s degree in environmental science from State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a juris doctorate from UH William S. Richardson School of Law.
     “It’s a pleasure and a privilege to continue serving on the board,” said Yuen. “I look forward to the deliberations of the Board and making decisions today that will shape the future of our state.”
      Ige announced two other nominations to BLNR today – all of them subject to state Senate approval.
      Born and raised in Honolulu, Keith “Keone” Downing is an expert waterman and respected big wave rider. Downing is the son of big-wave pioneer George Downing, one of Hawai`i’s major figures in modern surfing. Keone, along with his sister Kaiulu, run the family-owned business which is also Hawai`i’s oldest surf shop, Downing Hawai`i. He continues in the lasting legacy of the Downing family through his commitment to and advocacy on behalf of ocean conservation, a statement from the governor says, pointing to his long-term involvement with the nonprofit group Surfing Education Association, which “shows his dedication to the preservation of Hawai`i’s oceans coral reefs, waves and beaches. Keone’s unparalleled knowledge of local waters will be an asset to the Board of Land and Natural Resources,” said Ige. “I know he will be a voice for the community.”
      Downing graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1975 and earned a degree in commercial art from California College of the Arts. He went on to design logos for surf industry giants Quiksilver and O’Neill.
      “I’m humbled to be nominated for this position,” said Downing. “It is an honor to be asked to preserve our natural and cultural resources for future generations.”
Keith "Keone" Downing
      Ulalia Woodside, who has been serving on the Board on an interim basis since last year, lives in Waimanalo and is currently the regional asset manager for natural and cultural resources at Kamehameha Schools’ Land Assets Division. Prior to this, Woodside worked at Wilson Okamoto Corporation, The Hallstrom Group and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Ulalia Woodside
      She serves as a steering committee member for Hawai`i Green Growth and is the indigenous representative for the Landscape Conservation Cooperative National Council. She is a former commissioner for the Natural Area Reserves System Commission and a former executive council chair for the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative.
      “Ulalia has extensive experience managing Hawai`i’s natural and cultural resources, and she provides a valuable perspective on the Board,” said Ige. “I am pleased that she has agreed to continue to serve on the Board.”
      Woodside received bachelor’s degrees in political science and Hawaiian studies, along with a certificate in Hawaiian language, from UH Manoa. She is also a kumu hula, having completed the `uniki rites of her family’s genealogical hula traditions.
      “I am honored to be asked to continue to serve on the board and am committed to preserving Hawai`i’s natural resources,” said Woodside.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

RESPONDING TO HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL’S use of two percent funds without approval from the Public Access, Open Space & Natural Resources Preservation Commission, the commission yesterday changed rules on which properties can be placed on the priority list for purchase. Nancy Cook Lauer, of West Hawai`i Today, reported that properties now must have no less than 50 percent of criteria points to be placed on the list.
      County Council has twice passed resolutions to purchase lands and then asked the commission to prioritize them.
      Ka`u’s former Council member Brenda Ford was one of several who suggested the county use litigation or executive accounts funds instead of those in PONC. “We have an act of misfeasance by the county that we’re trying to cover up by a misuse of PONC funds,” Ford said at the time, as reported by Cook Lauer.
      According to the story, Deputy Corporation Counsel Bill Brilhante told the Council that, because the commission is only advisory, the Council has authority to spend the money.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Thresher sharks are being studied for possible inclusion in the Endangered
Species Act. Photo from Friends of Animals
THRESHER SHARKS, COMMON TO HAWAIIAN WATERS, may be listed as either endangered or threatened following a study by National Marine Fisheries Service. The service announced the 90-day finding for a petition to list the common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) as either endangered or threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act either worldwide or as one or more distinct population segments identified by the petitioners, Friends of Animals. 
      “We find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted for the species worldwide,” NMFS said. “We find that the petition fails to present substantial scientific or commercial information to support the identification of DPSs of the common thresher suggested by the petitioners, and, as such, we find that the petitioned action of listing one or more of these DPSs is not warranted.” NMFS will initiate a review of the status of the common thresher shark and is soliciting scientific and commercial information regarding this species.
      According to the petition, the species is subject to overutilization due to commercial, recreational, scientific and educational purposes.
The public is invited Ka`u Scenic Byway Committee's
meeting Thursday. Photo by Carrie Berry
      Historically, common thresher sharks were primarily caught in the drift gillnet fishery established off the West Coast of the United States, which targeted the species in the late 1970s. The fishery had shifted its focus to a swordfish fishery by the mid-1980s due to economic drivers but also to protect pupping female thresher sharks. Since that time, common thresher sharks have only been targeted secondarily or caught incidentally in the drift gillnet fishery there. The petition also states that in addition to broad commercial harvest of the species, direct catch related to the shark fin trade has resulted in population decline. Indirect catch is another category of overutilization identified by the petition, which states that post-release mortality may be high in the species. The petition identified recreational fishing as another category of overutilization.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U SCENIC BYWAY COMMITTEE meets Thursday at 5 p.m. at Na`alehu Methodist Church. Public is invited. For more information, email richmorrow@alohabroadband.net.

STAFF MEMBERS FROM HAWAI`I PACIFIC Parks Association share their knowledge and love of ulana niu, coconut weaving, tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center lanai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply. 

TOMORROW IS THE DEADLINE to register for Spring Break Program to be held Monday through Friday, March 16 to 20 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Grades one through six register with Nona at 928-3102. Fee is $20.

KA`U FARM BUREAU MEETS MONDAY, March 30 at 6 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Email Ralph Gaston ralph@rustyshawaiian.com for more information.

See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_March2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf and

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