Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015

Volcanic features from 1868 eruptive fissures are some of the highlights of a guided hike tomorrow at Kahuku. See details below.
NPS Photo by David Boyle
MAKAI PASTURE LANDS BEING PURCHASED at Waikapuna by Colorado-based Resource Land Holdings should be subdivided for ranching, according to Jim McCully, who is described as a partner with RLH and is in the profession of subdividing land.
Buyers are considering subdividing portions of Waikapuna
into 50- to 200-acre ranching parcels.
      McCully told Bret Yager, of West Hawai`i Today, that the land could support ranches from 50 to 200 acres in size. He also suggested that a feed lot could be built there “to finish and add value to beef,” Yager reported.
      According to Joel LaPinta, the local representative of Kennedy Wilson, which is marketing the parcels owned by Lehman Brothers, local ranchers have expressed interest in the property.
      Yager also reported that McCully said portions of Waikapuna on the Ka`u Coast contain sensitive archaeological areas “that should be protected under Nature Conservancy easements.”
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
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Danger of falling trees has closed Namakanipaio Campground.
Photo from hawaiivolcanohouse.com
NAMAKANIPAIO CAMPGROUND and cabins in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park are closed until further notice due to several large and hazardous eucalyptus trees that recently fell. Recent heavy rain and strong winds contributed to the downing of the trees. 
      The park and Hawai`i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC, which manages the campground and cabins, are completing an assessment and will determine when the campground can safely reopen.
       Kulanaokuaiki Campground remains open on a first-come, first-served basis and is currently free of charge. Reservations are not required for Kulanaokuaiki. The backcountry campgrounds along the coast, at Napau Crater Overlook, Pepeiao and on Mauna Loa remain open, and backpackers can obtain backcountry permits at the Visitor Emergency Operations Center up to 24 hours in advance. The backcountry office is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
       “We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause for park visitors and the community who enjoy Namakanipaio,” Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando said. “Safety is our number one priority in the park, and we do not want anyone to get hurt.”
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Keola Wong
KEOLA AWONG IS THE NEW SITE MANAGER for the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. She will oversee staff and visitor programs in the 116,000-acre unit, which is open to the public on weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
      Awong has served as the park’s cultural anthropologist since 2005 and will continue to serve as the park’s liaison to the native Hawaiian community. She holds a Master of Arts degree in American Studies and graduate certificates in Museum Studies and Historic Preservation from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology with a minor in Hawaiian studies from UH-Hilo. She began her career in the national park as a fee collector in 1999. 
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HEALTH INSURANCE RATES ARE INCREASING for 2016 Affordable Care Act individuals and small groups.
      Rate changes approved by Hawai`i Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Insurance Division for 2016 vary by plan type. The rates are expected to affect approximately 34,000 individuals currently purchasing health insurance on their own through the ACA marketplace. Small group rates apply to plans for businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees.
      “We were extremely concerned by the requested increases by insurers for 2016 ACA individual plans,” Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito said. “Nobody likes to see prices go up for the individual consumer. However, upon close review of the carriers’ expenses, benefits paid and other considerations, our rate analysts and actuaries found premium increases were necessary for the carriers to cover their costs, enabling them to continue to pay their customers’ claims.”
Hawai`i DCCA has approved health insurance rate increases.
Chart from DCCA
      The Insurance Division found several reasons for the 2016 rate increases. These factors were “pent up demand” for services sought by previously uninsured individuals, transitional plans and previously low penalties for ignoring ACA’s individual mandate keeping healthy populations out of the marketplace, high cost specialty drugs and ACA taxes and fees.
      A 2015 report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services showed average Hawai`i health premiums for individual ACA plans are among the lowest nationwide. At an average cost of $289.64, before marketplace tax credits or subsidies, Hawai`i was the 45th state in terms of average monthly premiums. By contrast, average monthly premiums in the most expensive state to purchase health insurance in were $522.73.
      Individuals and small businesses are encouraged to review and understand the offered ACA plans and to check their eligibility for premium tax credits prior to the open enrollment for individuals on Nov. 1, 2015.
A hale at right, erected by Thirty Meter Telescope opponents,
still stands near Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station.
Photo from MKVIS
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HAWAI`I’S THIRD CIRCUIT COURT invalidated the Mauna Kea emergency rule that restricted access from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The state Department of Land & Natural Resources adopted the rule, and Gov. David Ige signed it, in July. The action followed blockades on the summit access road by people and rocks placed to restrict access by crews attempting to begin construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Fourteen people have been arrested for violating the rule since its implementation.
      “The state acknowledges the court’s decision and will abide by it,” Attorney General Douglas Chin and DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said in a statement. “We remind people traveling to Mauna Kea that even in light of today’s ruling, existing laws and rules remain. It is always illegal to block the road. This includes standing in the road or placing obstructions in the road. These laws will continue to be enforced.”
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Tropical Storm Nora, heading west, is forecast to turn north
before reaching Hawai`i. Map from NOAA
THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER in Miami, Florida is issuing advisories on Tropical Storm Nora, located about 1,310 miles east-southeast of Hilo at 8 a.m. Nora is expected to cross the 140 west longitude into the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s area of responsibility this evening. Nora is expected to turn north and northeast, well east of the Hawaiian Islands.
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HAWAI`I ISLAND POLICE ALERT the public about apparent lottery scams that have resurfaced.
      A Hilo resident received a letter from the “International Lotto Commission,” which purported to originate from Madrid, Spain. It claimed the recipient had won more than $4.5 million in a lottery held by the “The World Lottery.”
      The letter and variations of it request that in order for the winner to receive payment, either a processing fee must be sent to a “security company” in Spain or the winner should contact the lottery agent and provide financial account information so the funds can be deposited.
      Similar scams proliferate via the Internet, through emails and on social networking sites and have become a more effective attempt by criminals in victimizing unwary individuals because of their far-reaching impact.
      “While people are becoming more aware of these scams and are more vigilant in prevention from becoming a victim, there are those unsuspecting individuals who still fall prey to these scams,” said Lieutenant Gregory Esteban, from the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section. “If anyone receives an unsolicited letter or email that promises them a financial award in exchange for disclosing personal financial information, do not send any money or respond.” Instead, intended victims should call the Police Department non-emergency line at 935-3311.
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Support Friends of the Ka`u Libraries by purchasing tote
bags, books, T-shirts and baked goods next Saturday.
Photo from FKL
FRIEND OF THE KA`U LIBRARIES are planning their booth at Ka`u Plantation Days to be held a week from today on Saturday, Oct. 17. They will be selling books, baked goods, FKL T-shirts and tote bags. “We welcome donations of baked goods and volunteers to help that day,” President Ann Fontes said. Drop off baked items Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. to ready when the parade ends around 9:15 a.m. 
      Members are needed to march in the parade, which starts at Pahala Community Center. Members should wear their Friends T-shirt. They can call Doris Davis at 928-0919 to purchase one. Meet at Pahala Community Center at 8:30 a.m.
      Volunteers are also needed the day of the sale for set-up from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; sales shifts, 9 – 10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., 12 – 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. on; and take down, including sorting and packing unsold books.
      Baked goods must be packaged, with nuts and fruits listed for individuals who may have food allergies.
      For additional information, call Fontes at 987-7448.

A GUIDED HIKE OF PALM TRAIL takes place tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The trail is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views that the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures.
      Free. Call 985-6011 for more information.

FRIENDS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES National Park take their monthly Sunday Walk in the Park tomorrow from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Nick Shema guides this walk exploring the park’s summit. Free for Friends members; non-members can join in order to participate. Registration is required at admin@fhvnp.org or 985-7373.


For Affordable Computer Help, call John Derry at 936-1872.

See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_October2015.pdf.

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