Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Friday, Jan. 29, 2016

Rapid `Ohi`a Death has come to Ka`u, spreading faster than expected. Map from Hawai`i DLNR
RAPID `OHI`A DEATH HAS INVADED Ka`u, Hawai`i Department of Land & Natural Resources confirmed today. The fungal infestation of `ohi`a trees is much greater than earlier thought, as shown by recent aerial surveys of 810,000 acres of Hawai`i Island forests. Crews from a collaboration of state, county and federal agencies took the survey from Jan. 11 through Jan. 15. Satellite imagery of `ohi`a forests in 2014 resulted in an estimate of 15,000 acres infected by this newly identified disease. The latest survey, pending ground verification, estimates the infection has now spread to some 34,000 acres of the Big Island’s `ohi`a forest.
Symptoms of Rapid `Ohi`a Death include rapid browning
of affected tree crowns. Photo from UH-CTAHR
      “It’s sad but not unexpected that we have a confirmed case of Rapid `Ohi`a Death in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park,” Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando said. “We are very concerned about the impacts to our cherished `ohi`a that thrives throughout the park, and we will continue to implement the stringent measures developed by our interagency partners to prevent the spread of this devastating disease. We will also continue to sample trees throughout the park.”
      Dr. Flint Hughes, with USDA Forest Service, said, “Unfortunately, Rapid `Ohi`a Death is spreading much quicker than we had hoped. The aerial surveyors noted `ohi`a trees with no leaves or brown leaves, likely impacted by the disease, as well as `ohi`a trees which have been dead for a longer time and those that have been affected by either drought or vog. It’s important that we differentiate the causes of tree deaths and continue to carefully and closely monitor the spread of Rapid `Ohi`a Death to aid in reducing its spread on Hawai`i Island and around the state.”
      `Ohi`a forests cover approximately 865,000 acres of land across the state and are considered the primary species providing habitat for countless plants, animals and invertebrates. These forests protect watersheds that provide significant agriculture and drinking water across the state.
      Research into treatments for the particular fungus that causes Rapid `Ohi`a Death continues at the USDA Agricultural Research Service lab in Hilo. Investigation into how it spreads is also being conducted with potential culprits being insects, underground via roots, on small wood or dust particles, on clothing and shoes, and possibly on animals. Ultimately, scientists hope that by identifying what is spreading the fungus, they will be able to mitigate its devastating impacts.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Gil Kahele Photo by Julia Neal
A CELEBRATION OF LIFE for the late Sen. Gil Kahele has been set for Monday, Feb. 8 at Hilo Civic Auditorium, Democratic Party of Hawai`i announced. After a series of heart attacks, Kahele, who represented Ka`u in 2011 and 2012, died on Tuesday at the age of 73.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I COUNTY MANAGING DIRECTOR Wally Lau is running for mayor. Lau resigned from his position yesterday.
      Lau has helped manage daily operations of Hawai`i County administration for the past seven years, as deputy managing director and managing director.
      “I did not want any perception of a conflict of interest, or that 100 percent of my energies are not being invested in my job,” Lau said. “By resigning, I am able to focus on my campaign by meeting with people and sharing with them my values and my vision.”
      Lau said, “I listen and respond. “I always seek for what is fair and pono. When presented with challenging decisions, I always ask: ‘Will it be in the best interest of the public? Is it good for the community?’” Lau said that principle will guide the county under his administration if elected, as he leads the island with aloha and a spirit of cooperation and collaboration with the community.
Wally Lau
      Lau said his vision is to meet the needs of the people, support and sustain a healthy economy, care for the environment and create a safer and better island community, where government is responsible, accountable and open.
      Lau said he would continue the current administration’s efforts of being accessible and responsive to the community. He said he will uphold a balanced administration that represents East and West Hawai`i with a “how can” attitude and treating people with aloha.
      He said he is prepared to address issues of public safety and disaster preparedness, homelessness, affordable housing, the need to improve our business climate, ensure efficiency of the county permitting process, improving maintenance of county facilities and properties, improving solid waste operations, exploring renewable energy projects that would provide lower rates for consumers without environmental tradeoffs, and diversified agriculture, all while preserving and protecting our environment.
      For additional information, see wallylau.com.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Russell Ruderman
GE TAX COULD GO UP in Hawai`i County. Last year, the state Legislature passed and Gov. Ige signed a bill permitting counties to raise the tax by 0.5 percent to fund transportation projects. Counties that want to institute the tax must pass it by July 1, and it would go into effect in January 2018.
      Ka`u’s Sen. Russell Ruderman told Nancy Cook Lauer, of West Hawai`i Today, that he supports the tax, “but I have concerns that it could go all wrong.”
      “It’s an important tool; it’s an additional tool to pay for important infrastructure,” Cook Lauer reported Mayor Billy Kenoi saying when the state law passed. “It’s something we’ll take a look at. It’s not something we’re asking the council to do at this time.”
      A public meeting would be required before the county institutes the tax.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

MISS KA`U COFFEE PAGEANT APPLICATIONS are available through Saturday, April 2.
Appications are available to enter Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant.
      Miss Ka`u Coffee candidates must be between the ages of 16 and 24 as of the day of the pageant. It will be held at 6 p.m. at Ka`u Coffee Mill on Saturday, May 14. Pageant Chair is Trinidad Marques. Candidates must be residents of Ka`u, even if attending school or working outside the district. Junior Miss Ka`u Coffee candidates must be 11-15 years of age on day of pageant. Miss Peaberry must be 6-10.
      For Miss Ka`u Coffee, categories to be judged include talent, career plan and dress, swim suit with pareo, evening gown, and interview on the subject of Ka`u Coffee and its contribution to the community.
      Candidates of all ages and their supporters will sell $10 pageant admission tickets (for those 12 and older) to support the event and to raise funds for each candidate's expenses through commissions. Keiki admission tickets for those 5-11 are $5. Toddlers sitting with parents will be admitted at no costs.
Ka`u's dengue risk level has been lowered. Map from DOH
      Also supporting the event will be Friends of Ka`u Coffee donation tickets for $1 each with drawings for prizes at the pageant. For more information call Trini Marques at 936-0015.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U’S RISK FOR DENGUE FEVER has been lowered. On Wednesday, Hawai`i Department of Health issued an updated map showing most of Ka`u in the clear, with only Ocean View rated with “some risk.” In November, areas from Na`alehu to South Point were listed as “high risk,” downgraded to “moderate risk” later that month and then became “some risk” in December.
      Of 241 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, 217 are Hawai`i Island residents, and 24 are visitors. Onset of illness occurred as late as Jan. 21.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

JAZZ IN THE FOREST 2016 SERIES begins tomorrow at Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Vocalist Jeannine Guillory’s background in jazz, reggae, pop and rhythm & blues lends a strong, versatile sound and energy.
Jeannine Guillory
      Guillory is currently a popular mainstream vocalist with Pacific Fusion and Island Express throughout Kailua-Kona and along the Kohala Coast. She also appears with Volcano Choy, Jr. at selected venues around the island and was featured as one of the Divas of Jazz at Volcano Art Center.      Tickets are $20 for VAC members and $30 for non-members for the 4:30 p.m. matinee; $25 for members and $35 for non-members for the 7:30 p.m. show. Call 967-8222, or see volcanoartcenter.org.

PALM TRAIL HIKE tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. is a moderately difficult, 2.6-mile loop trail providing one of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures.
      Enter the Kahuku unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka side of Hwy 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, rain gear, sun protection and a snack are recommended.
      See nps.gov/havo.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_January2016.pdf.

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

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