Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, May 14, 2015


A $2500 reward is offered for finding anyone who shot and killed three endangered nene goose and seriously injured another.
Photo from Ka`u Coffee Mill
WHO SHOT THE NENE? A $2500 reward is being offered by the Edmund C. Olson Trust II for information on identifying who shot and killed three native Nene (Hawaiian geese) and seriously injured another on lands near Ka'u Coffee Mill. The state bird, the Nene, is on the endangered species list. Federal fines can be as high as $100,000 with a year in prison.
     A poster circulating around Ka`u says, "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, is investigating the shooting of several endangered Nene, the Hawaiian Goose. Four Nene were shot on or about January 30, 2015 in the area of the Ka‘u Coffee Mill on Wood Valley Road in Pahala. Three of the four Nene died as a result of their injuries; the fourth is currently under veterinary treatment and monitoring.
       "The Edmund C. Olson Trust II, which owns and operates the Ka‘u Coffee Mill, is cooperating with the FWS investigation and is offering up to a $2,500 reward for information leading to the locating and apprehending of those responsible for the shootings." U.S. Fish & Wildlife officer Paul Chang said informants can call 933-6964 to provide information confidentially.  "Individuals who provide key information resulting in a conviction of those involved will be considered to receive the reward," the poster says.  
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THE COUNTY ETHICS COMMISSION yesterday deferred a hearing on Mayor Billy Kenoi's use of the county credit card for personal expenses. Kapa`au citizen Lanric Hyland called for the hearing, asking that Kenoi be ousted for misuse of the card. The ethics commission deferred the hearing until the state Attorney General's office comes up with its findings. The county ethics commission was appointed by Kenoi and Hyland told media after the meeting that the commission's ruling helps delay any decision until Kenoi's term as mayor is over. Kenoi has apologized for his use of the card and stated that he always intended to repay the county. He has been making payments to clear the expenses. To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

SAVING THE HAWAI`I  HEALTH CONNECTOR is a priority for Gov. David Ige, according to a press release from the governor's office issued yesterday.  A billion dollars in federal funding for Medicaid are at stake, should the state be unable to fix Hawai`i Health Connector to meet the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services standards. The agency found the Hawai’i Health Connector to be non-compliant with the Affordable Care Act earlier this year. "The non-compliance included unresolved IT issues, a non-integrated eligibility enrollment system and lack of financial sustainability," the governor's press release noted. It states that representatives of Ige’s administration have been meeting, since February, with Hawai`i Health Connector staff members, to determine how to address non-compliance.
     The federal government has restricted grant funding to Hawai`i Health Connector and is providing limited funding pending approval of a draft plan being developed by the state. "If Hawai’i’s plan is not acceptable to CMS, Hawai’i risks losing $1 billion in matching federal Medicaid funds," the governor's message states.
     “Governor Ige and his administration will negotiate the release of federal grant funds to ensure compliance with the ACA in time for the Fall 2015 open enrollment,” said Deputy Chief of Staff Laurel Johnston.
     “Our first priority is to ensure the continuity of coverage for the 37,000 to 40,000 Hawai’i residents who are receiving health insurance coverage through HHC,” said Hawai`i Health Connector Executive Director Jeff Kissel. To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A BUSY WEEKEND AT HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK is expected as the Park welcomes hundreds of scientists, students and Hawaiian cultural practitioners to the National Geographic sponsored BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival.    
   Opportunities remain to participate in the BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival, and new registrations are welcome to sign up for a program that will join scientists and the community together to count species within the park on Friday and Saturday. The BioBlitz will host hundreds of Hawai`i school children. One aim is to show youth how using mobile technology can impact education and help get kids out of the classroom and into the world to learn from experience.
National Geographic and its BioBlitz activities tomorrow and Saturday aim to
show youth that mobile technology can lead keiki outdoors for a
learning experience. Photo from National Geographic
    To learn more and to register, visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com
     Entrance fees will be waived on both days of the BioBlitz and festival, tomorrow, Friday, May 15,  and Saturday, May 16.
     “This weekend will showcase the very best of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and we welcome everyone to enjoy and find their national park,” said Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Following our ‘insider tips’ will help everyone make the most of their park visit.”
     To best enjoy the park, visitors are encouraged to plan ahead and prepare for their visit. Insider tips include:
     • Expect heavy traffic before 5 p.m., when BioBlitz and cultural festival activities will be taking place. Be prepared for long waits and follow the directions of park rangers and parking attendants.
     • Consider exploring Chain of Craters Road during the day and leave Crater Rim Drive for after 6 p.m.
     • Use the free shuttle buses for traveling Crater Rim Drive, or travel by foot along Crater Rim Trail.
     • If planning to view the glow from Halema‘uma‘u Crater after dark, wear sturdy closed-toe shoes and bring a flashlight – walking is required to reach the viewpoint at the Jaggar Museum observation deck. Parking is limited at Kīlauea summit and you may need to walk up to a mile one way along an unlit path.
Halemau`umau, though in a deflation phase, still puts on a show for
BioBlitz. Photo from National Park Service
    • Before leaving home, check the weather forecast. Prepare for cold, wet and windy conditions. The temperature at the summit is often more than 20 degrees lower than along the coast.
     • Check volcano visibility at USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams.
     • The use of unmanned aircraft (drones) is prohibited in all national parks without a special use permit.
     While the lava lake within Halema‘ma‘u Crater at Kīlauea volcano’s summit has continued to drop and lava is no longer visible from the Jaggar Museum observation deck, volcanic activity is still very visible. Particularly after dark, a spectacular orange glow reflects off the crater walls with a plume of gas, particulates and vapor.
    Because of an increase in seismic activity along the east and southwest rift zones, all backcountry trails between Crater Rim Drive and the coast, as well as Kulanaokuaiki campground, are closed to overnight use. They remain open for day use.
     For the most current volcano status report, check hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php
     For more on BioBlitz, see www.nationalgeographic.com/explorers/projects/bioblitz
     For more information about visiting Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, visit http://www.nps.gov/havo. 
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INTRODUCING NEW WILDLIFE to Hawaiian islands will net law breakers heavy fines, says new Department of Land & Natural Rescources chief Suzanne Case. She recently left her longtime mission, as head of The Nature Conservancy in Hawai`i, to run DLNR and chair the state Board of Land & Natural Resources, after her appointment by Gov. David Ige.
The first axis deer, after illegal introduction to the Big Island, was killed
 in Ka`u in 2012. Photo from Big Island Invasive Species Committee
    Case issued a statement pointing to new state law that provides for fines of up to $25,000 and allows the state to seize aircraft, vehicles, boats and any other equipment used to illegally transport wildlife into the state or from one island to another. The new fines went into effect in late February and were prompted by a Maui helicopter pilot and a hunting enthusiast lifting axis deer from Maui, where they are a scourge on native forests, farms and ranches, to the Big Island where the lawbreakers hoped that herds of deer would become established and would expand for hunting.      
     Deer were spotted in Ka`u, one killed in 2012, and the two men prosecuted.
     Case noted that, “The movement of live, introduced wildlife such as was experienced in (2009) with discovery of deer on Hawai`i Island, poses direct threats to our native ecosystems." She said the new level of enforcement and punishment "will help prevent harm to our natural resources and economy.”
     Under new rules, DLNR will also have more power to eliminate invasive animals. They state that invasive species "found harmful or destructive to agriculture or aquaculture, native plants or wildlife, or constituting a threat to human health or safety," can be the subject to board approval for programs to control or eliminate the species "in any area for a specified time period without requiring permits or reports.”  The new rules can be viewed at dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw/rules.
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RED CROSS VOLUNTEER MEETING is tonight at the HOVE Road Maintenance Corp. office at 7 p.m. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer may attend. Call Hannah Uribes at 929-9953.


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