Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016

Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park continues free entry and programs in 2016. See more below.
NPS Photo by Jessica Ferracane
HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL REVISITS tax exemptions on ag land next week. Kohala Council member Margaret Wille reworked a similar bill that she originally introduced last year.
      According to the bill, the purpose of the agricultural use assessment program is to encourage continual and committed agricultural use of lands by affording those engaged in farming a substantial break in real property taxes. It would phase out the non-dedicated agricultural use assessment program and replace it with a short-term program.
Owners of vacant ag land could get a property tax break.
      The ordinance includes a three-year transition period to provide opportunity to implement the transition to the new short-term agricultural use dedication program or to the existing ten-year dedicated agricultural use program. The phase-out period provides an opportunity for those seeking to participate in the short-term agricultural use dedication program to make any necessary adjustments in their farming operations.
      This ordinance would also allow owners of agriculturally zoned vacant land, who do not participate in one of the agricultural use dedication programs but who intend to preserve agriculturally zoned vacant land, the option of participating in the vacant land program based on a 70 percent of the market value property tax valuation.
      As of Jan. 1, 2018, those parcels not in the three-year or ten-year dedicated agricultural use programs or in the agriculturally zoned vacant land program would be assessed at market value.
      “The exemptions are intended to promote agriculture, not to force people to develop their land,” Wille told Nancy Cook Lauer, of West Hawai`i Today.
      She also said that landowners taking current ag exemptions who don’t qualify are costing taxpayers millions.
      “It’s not free money,” she said. “It means everybody else is making up the difference.”
      County administration disapproves of the measure, Cook Lauer said. “We don’t support it at this time,” Finance Director Deanna Sako told her. “We have a lot of fixed cost increases coming up.”
      “We are supportive of agriculture and farmers, just not the bill as it currently stands,” Sako said.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      Read comments, add your own, and like The Ka`u Calendar News Briefs on Facebook.

HAWAI`I DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH yesterday identified seven new cases of dengue fever, bringing the total on Jan. 1 to 202. As many as 13 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes, that can pass it to other individuals. All others are no longer infectious.
      Of the confirmed cases, 182 are Hawai`i Island residents, and 20 are visitors.
 Onset of illness occurred as late as Dec. 27.
      Read comments, add your own, and like The Ka`u Calendar News Briefs on Facebook.

Norbert Schorghover
 Photo from UH
ICE CAVES ON MAUNA LOA are likely victims of climate change and drought, according to University of Hawai`i researchers. Hawai`i News Now reported that Norbert Schorghofer has documented dramatic changes in amounts of ice compared with a study done in 1978. 
      The 1978 study reported a permanent layer of ice referred to as a skating rink in one cave, but it had melted by Schorghofer’s first visit to the cave in 2011. It also showed ice blocks that are no longer there.
      Researchers said the cave’s average temperature is slightly above freezing and that ice patches on walls are seasonal rather than permanent.
      Schorghofer told reporter Mary Vorsino that permanent ice in the cave is layered. “It should have a record of the past in it,” he said. Air and sediments trapped in the ice could contain information about past environmental conditions.
      See hawaiinewsnow.com.
      Read comments, add your own, and like The Ka`u Calendar News Briefs on Facebook.

HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK invites everyone to Find Your Park and participate in Kahuku events and guided hikes through March, including one tomorrow. Kahuku is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and all events are free.
      People and Land of Kahuku is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped and restored this land. The guided hike is offered tomorrow, Jan. 3, Jan. 24, Feb. 7, Feb. 21 and March 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
      During the Birth of Kahuku, explore the rich geologic history of Kahuku. Traverse the vast 1868 lava flow, see different volcano features and formations, and identify many parts of the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Learn about the Hawaiian hotspot and the creation of Kahuku. This guided easy-to-moderate hike is offered on March 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
`Ohi`a Lehua is one of many free programs offered at Kahuku.
NPS Photo by Michael Szoenyi
      Participants in the `Ohi`a Lehua program learn about the vital role of `ohi`a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the `ohi`a tree and the lehua flower. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk. The `Ohi`a Lehua program is offered Jan. 9, Jan. 23 Feb. 6, Feb. 27, March 12, and March 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
      Palm Trail is a moderately difficult, 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered Jan. 10, Jan. 30, Feb. 14, Feb. 28, and March 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
      Pu`u o Lokuana is a short, moderately difficult 0.4-mile hike to the top of this grassy cinder cone. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka`u. This hike is offered Jan. 16, Jan. 31, Feb. 20, and March 27 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
      In another program, discover two Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pele and Hi`iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent. Visitors will experience the sisters coming alive through the epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on this easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The Hi`iaka and Pele program is offered Jan. 17, Feb. 13, March 5 and March 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
      Kahuku `Ohana Day: Explore Lower Glover Trail calls keiki of all ages to join park rangers for a fun day of discovery on Sat., Feb. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will hike the easy Lower Glover Trail, learn to use a GPS, hear about local history and sing a mele (song) for Kahuku. A four-wheel drive is necessary, and pre-arranged carpooling is recommended. Space is limited, and registration is required; call 985-6019 to sign up by Feb. 4. Lunch is included. Bring water, a re-usable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, long pants and shoes. Sponsored by the park, Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center and Hawai`i Pacific Parks Association.
      Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘`i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Hwy 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area.
      Read comments, add your own, and like The Ka`u Calendar News Briefs on Facebook.

Zach Mermel Photo from VAC
HOW AKAMAI ARE YOU about environmentally friendly landscaping and gardening? Would you like to learn how to transform your lanai and lawn into edible and multifunctional plants? Have you ever considered methods for rapidly expanding the plant biodiversity for your garden? Where do your pollinator partners flourish? 
      If you’re saying, “Yes, yes and (well) I have no idea!” then consider signing up for the EcoLogical Land Care series at Volcano Art Center. This five-part series covers all of these questions, and yes, more.
      Module 1, EcoLogical Land Care 101, scheduled for Jan. 23, will cover Viable Alternatives to Herbicides & Pesticides. Join Zach Mermel, of Ola Design Group, and explore how akamai, environmentally friendly landscaping practices can grow healthier, more vibrant plants. Learn to reduce fertilizer and irrigation costs, while decreasing the amount of toxins in your soil and water. Participants will make a few environmentally friendly pesticides during class, which they will be able to depart with at the end of class. A handout of practical readings and resources for further learning is included.
      The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a break for lunch. Course fees are $30/$25 for VAC members plus a $15 materials fee.
      The remaining series includes Module 2: Edible Landscaping for Backyards and Beyond, Module 3: Plant Propagation 101, Module 4: Pollinator Habitat Creation – Partnering With Our Pollinator Allies, and Module 5: Edible Wild Plants – A Hands-On Foray for Foragers and Foodies.
      Bundled price is $150 for all five workshops.
      See volcanoartcenter.org or call 967-8222.


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

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