Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015


Mules and horses are important in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park's search and rescue operations. Here, stock manager Jordan Barthold holds Sparkles with a rescued visitor astride during a rescue in July. Photos from NPS
MULES AND A HORSE TRANSPORTED two injured hikers suffering from dehydration to safety last week in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
Barthold and first responder TJ Magno head down Keauhou
Trail last Thursday.
      The Hilo couple had planned to hike to a remote coastal campsite but was not prepared for the intense heat, lack of shade and rough terrain. They didn’t have hiking sticks, and their water filters broke. On the morning of Aug. 27, they started to hike out on Keauhou Trail. Both turned their ankles and were unable to continue. They called the number on their backcountry permit, and a team of mules and first responders was dispatched.
       The exhausted couple was located, and park mule Dozer and horse `Ohi`a calmly transported them to safety, while Sparkles and Clyde hauled their backpacks.
      It wasn’t the first rescue for these hardy stock animals. In mid-July, Sparkles carried an O`ahu man from Keauhou Trail to safety. The man, in his 60s, was separated from his group and became dehydrated and fatigued on the grueling eight-mile hike.
       Although the stock team and the first responders saved the days, both incidents were preventable, said Park Ranger Jack Corrao.
      “It’s extremely important to be prepared when going into the backcountry, or on any hike,” Corrao said. “Have plenty of water, four quarts per person per day, and make sure your water filter works. Never get separated from your group. Know your limits.”
      A detailed checklist of safety tips is provided with all backcountry permits and is on the park website at nps.gov/havo.
      Park mules perform a variety of important duties in the 333,086-acre park. They are strong, sure-hoofed and are able to carry heavy loads over uneven terrain, said stock manager Jordan Barthold. They were vital to the recent replacement of the wooden boardwalk at Pu`u Loa Petroglyphs. The mules are also used to transport equipment to the Hawaiian hawksbill sea turtle crew and haul waste from pit toilets in coastal campgrounds, among other duties.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.
NEXTERA ENERGY’S PLANS FOR ITS MERGER with Hawaiian Electric Industries include a package of 85 commitments, of which more than 50 are new, that the companies said would accelerate achievement of Hawai`i’s goal of an affordable, 100 percent renewable energy future by 2045. The companies filed the commitments with Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission yesterday.
Eric Gleason
      In the first five years following the close of the merger, the companies said customer savings would be nearly $465 million and economic benefits would be approximately $500 million. They also said customers would benefit from NextEra’s ability to accelerate the development of more modern grids through deployment of smart meters, including time-of-use rate options, as well as improvements to overall service, reliability and performance. In addition, NextEra Energy reinforced its commitment to the communities served by Hawaiian Electric and the state of Hawai`i by pledging to maintain HEI’s current levels of charitable giving for at least 10 years and to keep Hawaiian Electric locally managed.
      “Our expanded set of commitments is a clear reflection of the thoughtful input we have received from many key stakeholders, including the governor and the Consumer Advocate,” said Eric Gleason, president of NextEra Energy Hawai`i, LLC. “We fully embrace Hawai`i’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 and believe this partnership represents the best path forward to achieving this goal – the most ambitious of its kind in the nation. … We will continue to listen, learn and constructively engage with stakeholders and communities throughout the state – including Gov. Ige and his administration – as we respond to questions and present our vision to the PUC.”
      Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric’s president and chief executive officer, said, “In NextEra Energy, we have a partner whose corporate values closely align with our local values to do what’s best for customers and our communities. NextEra Energy has underscored this with a substantial set of commitments to the state of Hawai`i.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

Hawai`i DLNR will hold public meeting about new rules proposed
for harvesting sea cucumbers. Photo from DLNR
NEW ADMINISTRATIVE RULES to manage the harvest of sea cucumbers from state waters will be considered at yet-to-be-scheduled, statewide public hearings. Following the mass taking of sea cucumbers on Maui and O`ahu earlier this year, Hawai`i Board of Land and Natural Resources imposed an emergency rule that took effect on June 26 prohibiting all take and possession of sea cucumbers from state waters. This rule has a 120-day time limit. The purpose of proposed permanent rules is to provide more long-term management of the sea cucumber fishery to ensure resources will not be overharvested. 
      The new rules would prohibit commercial harvest of sea cucumbers for consumption purposes, defined as “for food, medicine, or any other use whereby the sea cucumber is killed.” Commercial aquarium collection of sea cucumbers would be allowed, subject to restrictions.
      The proposed rules also allow the general public to take up to five sea cucumbers per person per day for personal, non-commercial use. They can be viewed at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/ under the “Announcements” section.
A Pahala neighborhood is working to eradicate
little fire ants. Photo from HDOA  
      The Division of Aquatic Resources will issue a formal notice when public hearings are scheduled.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

LITTLE FIRE ANTS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED at some houses on Huapala Street in Pahala. Royal Hawaiian Orchards is working with residents to control and eradicate them.
      The pest in considered one of the world’s worst invasive species. Their painful and irritating stings cause long-lasting, itchy rashes or welts. Ants crawl in pets’ fur and sting soft tissue, including their eyes. As a result, pets suffer high rates of skin irritation and tropical kerytopathy, a clouding of the corneas that resembles cataracts.
      For more information from Hawai`i Ant Lab, see littlefireants.com or call 315-5656.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A PEACOCK AND A CRANE JOIN PLANETS as some of the objects visible in Ka`u’s night skies, according to astronomer Lew Cook, who writes a monthly column for The Ka`u Calendar.
Pavo's brightest star is named Peacock. Photo from wikipedia
      “Appearing in the southern sky this month are several constellations that are poorly known by those of us in the northern hemisphere,” Cook wrote. “The reason is that Pavo, the peacock, is one that can’t be seen by anyone north of 34 degrees latitude. The brightest star in the constellation is named Peacock! Also, there in the vicinity is Indus, which is considered an American Indian. It is little known and has few bright stars. It was created by 1598 based on star charts drawn by Dutch navigators who sailed the southern oceans in the 16th century. 
      “The constellation Grus can be visualized as a long-necked bird flying up out of the southern horizon. This bird is a crane, which can be seen nesting on top of the chimneys in Europe. These cranes winter in Africa and migrate northward in the northern hemisphere’s spring. We have no cranes in Hawai`i. On the mainland, there are red-headed Sandhill Cranes and a few Whooping Cranes remaining.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U HIGH GIRLS VOLLEYBALL TEAMS won their matches hosting Makua Lani yesterday. Varsity lost the first game 23-25 but recovered to take the next two 25-11 and 25-13. JV only needed two sets to win 25-18 and 25-15.
      The teams host St. Joseph today at 6 p.m.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U FARMERS UNION UNITED holds a meeting Saturday, Sept. 19 at Earth Matters farm at the corner of Kama`oa and South Point Road at 10 a.m. Rep. Richard Creagan will talk about plans for the 2016 Legislature and his field trips on issues. Membership is not required to attend. Call 443-3300.

A walking tour of Volcano's historic homes is
coming up. Photo from VAC
WANT TO GET A PEEK into some of Volcano’s historic homes? A tour led by architect and historian Boone Morrison will provide insight into the history of some of the early families and businesses that helped shape modern-day Volcano. This historic buildings walking tour takes place on Saturday, Sept. 12, and includes lunch after the tour. 
      To reserve space, email volcanocommunity@gmail.com or call 967-7366. The tour, sponsored by Volcano Community Foundation with support from Volcano Art Center, begins with a 9:15 a.m. check-in.

WEDNESDAY IS GAME NIGHT at Discovery Harbour Community Hall. On the first Wednesday of each month, a potluck begins at 5:30 p.m.; bring a favorite dish for six. Fun, games and great conversation begin at 6:30 p.m.
      For more information, call 929-9258.

PAINT YOUR OWN SILK SCARF is the topic of Patti Pease Johnson’s workshop Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Each participant paints an 8’ x 53” scarf using three colors of their choice, which will create many more colors on the silk. This workshop is a way to enjoy the instant results of dyes while creating unique pieces of artwork.
      Cost is $60 and $54 for VAC Members plus a $10 supply fee per person. Beginning and intermediate artists are welcome.
      To register, call 967-8222.


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