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Ka‘ū News Briefs, Friday, February 14, 2020

The critically endangered Portulaca sclerocarpa, ‛Ihi mākole. See more below. Photo by David Eickhoff
ILLICIT DRUGS, WEAPONS, AND AMMUNITION were confiscated from a property off of Coconut Drivein Hawaiian Ocean View Estates on Wednesday. During the execution of search warrants, officers recovered a total of 11.1 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 176.9 grams of dried marijuana, 56 marijuana plants, a .30-06 rifle, a .22 caliber rifle, a .357 caliber revolver, and 19 rounds of ammunition.
     Officers arrested and charged 64-year-old Edward Asuncion with promotion of a dangerous drug in the 1st degree and promotion of a dangerous drug in the 2nd degree.
     Officers also arrested and charged 72-year-old Cecelio Asuncion with commercial promotion of marijuana in the 1st degree, commercial promotion of marijuana in the 2nd degree, promotion of a detrimental drug in the 3rd degree, six counts of firearm ownership/possession prohibited and possession of a firearm with intent to facilitate the commission of a felony.
     Bail was set at $15,000 for Edward Asuncion and $55,250 for Cecilio Asuncion. Neither parties posted bail. They appeared yesterday in Kona for their initial court appearance.

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Assistant Coach Duane Pua, left, with Luke Watson of the Kaʻū wrestling
team. Watson will head to Oʻahu next week for the state championship.
Photo by Clarissa Pua
KAʻŪ HIGH WRESTLING TEAM MEMBER LUKE WATSON HEADS TO THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP on Oʻahu next weekend. Watson traveled to Konawaena on Feb. 8 to compete in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling tournament. Watson had to win at least two matches to qualify for the state champion tournament.
     Starting off strong, Watson won his first match. His second match was a loss. In his third match, Watson triumphed against a wrestler from Waiakea, in a 23 second match with a pin. Watson, nick named Kalo, pounded the third match, earning a bronze metal for placing 4th in his weight division.
     Watson is mentored this season by Assistant Coach Duane Pua, aka Mana. Coaching at his alumni, stated Pua, "has been an amazing opportunity to mentor great athletes, let alone mentoring Luke Watson. Luke has been disciplined, listening on how to strategize and counter to come out a winner." Coach Pua said he is very proud of Watson making it this far, and heading to states. "Go represent Boy. May you do well on Oʻahu; continue to make Kaʻū proud."

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THERE ARE NO COVID-19 CASES IN HAWAIʻI, according to state authorities. State Department of Health today reported a case of caronavirus in a man who visited Hawaiʻi – between Jan. 28 and Feb. 3 on Maui and Feb. 3 and 7 on Oʻahu – but is not believed to have contracted the virus in Hawaiʻi. Upon his return home to Japan, he was confirmed to have COVID-19.
     In a statement today, Hilton Grand Waikikian said a former guest was diagnosed with COVID-19 after leaving the state and that he "is now under medical care" in Japan. The hotel chain announced it is “responding based on our existing public health protocol and the latest guidance from medical professionals and public health authorities. We continue to closely monitor updates from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are staying in close communication with the Hawaiʻi Department of Health."
A medical diagram of a coronavirus structure. Image from Wikipedia
     In a press conference today, Gov. David Ige assured the public that the state is prepared for this situation and taking the proper safety precautions. Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority continues to work with DOH, state and county government officials, and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to monitor the situation.
     No regularly scheduled direct flights between WuhanChina and Hawaiʻi are allowed at this time. China Eastern Airlines suspended its flights between Shanghai and Daniel K. Inoyue InternationalAirport on Feb. 3. It was the only carrier with a direct flight to Hawaii (six times a week). HNL will continue to receive flights carrying passengers from China. This includes enhanced screening procedures and the capacity to quarantine passengers, if needed: dhs.gov/news/2020/02/02/dhs-issues-supplemental-instructions-inbound-flights-individuals-who-have-been-china.
     The CDC expects more cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. but says the risk of infection for Americans remains low. With the U.S. declaring a public health emergency, foreign nationals who have recently traveled to China will not be allowed into the U.S.,other than immediate family members of US citizens and permanent residents, until further notice. In addition, U.S. citizens coming back into the country who have visited China within the past two weeks may have to undergo a mandatory quarantine of up to 14 days, along with anyone who is showing symptoms of coronavirus.
     The U.S. Coast Guard will deny entry to the U.S any passenger vessels carrying passengers that have been to China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, within the past 14 days. Non-passenger commercial vessels that have been to, or have crew that have been to, China – excluding Hong Kong and Macau – with no sick crew members will be allowed entry to the U.S., but crew must remain aboard the vessel.

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PANAʻEWA STAMPEDE RODEO BEGINS TOMORROW at noon, Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Panaʻewa Equestrian Center on the Kaʻū side of Hilo. Held annually, this 28th Hawaiʻi Horse Owners rodeo is held Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, Feb. 15, 16, and 17. The rodeo begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday and Monday, with Cowboy Church held at 9 a.m. on Sunday and horse races held at 9 a.m. on Monday. Tickets are $8 pre-sale, $10 at the gate, free for keiki 12 and under.
     Kaʻū paniolo and paniola, and rodeo clowns, are training for the Panaʻewa Stampede. Huge crowds are expected flock to the event; last year saw over 10,000 attendees over three days. Kaʻū Multicultural Society will also join in the festivities by sharing their Kaʻū Paniolo Display.
     The event includes a wide variety of events for competitors of all ages. Rodeo clowns, cultural and historical displays, leather and saddle making exhibits, and food and craft booths will be on offer. Crowds are frequently wowed by special novelty events; last year's events included Hula Bulls and Bull Poker.

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THE STORY OF AN ENDANGERED PLANT DEFYING THE ODDS is the focus of this week's Volcano Watch, written by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory affiliates USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Centerresearch ecologist Stephanie Yelenik and USGS California Volcano Observatory research geologist Jennifer Lewicki:
     Endangered plant survives volcanic hotspot, but is challenged by invasive species.
     Portulaca sclerocarpa, also known as ‛Ihi mākole, is a critically endangered small succulent plant in the purslane family (Portulacaceae). It only occurs on the Island of Hawai‘i and on a small islet off the coast of Lanā‘i. It can be found in various sites in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, including the Puhimau thermal area.
     The Puhimau thermal area, located in the upper East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano has been an area of scientific interest since it was first detected around 1938. Sometime in the mid-1930s, heat and gases migrated to the surface as magma intruded to shallow depths beneath the area. Since then, changes in the chemistry of emitted gases have been associated with additional magma intrusions. Therefore, the Puhimau thermal area may be a potentially valuable site for monitoring the movement of magma in the East Rift Zone. Today, the Puhimau thermal area is about 50 acres (0.2 sq km) in size with hot (as high as about 200 degrees Fahrenheit, or 93degrees Celsius), steaming soils.
This Portulaca sclerocarpa, ‛Ihi mākole, individual (center) surrounded by invasive grass 
species is a critically endangered plant. The small metal tag to the right notes the plant's 
permanent identification number for long-term monitoring purposes. A WEST Systems 
fluxmeter (chamber at top) measures carbon dioxide emissions on the soil surface 
and a probe (black handle at bottom) measures soil temperature. 
USGS photo by Stephanie Yelenik, November 2019
     While there used to be over 4,000 individual Portulaca plants in the Puhimau thermal area in 1983, there are now fewer than 30 naturally occurring individuals. Because of this, National Park Service staff have grown Portulaca in a greenhouse and worked on various planting projects in the area. Unfortunately, these manually planted individuals also seem to survive in low numbers, and the National Park finds itself wondering which sites might be best for future Portulaca plantings.
     USGS biologists have been working with the National Park Service to try to better understand what is negatively affecting Portulaca, reasons that its growth may be limited, and what habitats are best for planting success. This led to a recent collaboration between USGS geologists at HVO and USGS biologists at the Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center. The study focused on how gas release at Puhimau may have been affected by the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea, and how the changing nature of the hotspot might affect Portulaca survival and growth. Recent fieldwork explored the soil carbon dioxide outgassing and temperatures that these small plants experience, as well as bulk chemistry and isotopic composition of released gases.
     It turns out that Portulaca can survive at soil temperatures up to 155 degrees Fahrenheit (68 degrees Celsius), although they may prefer lower temperatures. Competition by invasive grasses introduced in the 1980s, as well as feeding on seed capsules by invasive rodent species, may be leading to low population growth rates. This creates a bit of a conundrum, because the grasses cannot live in the very hot soils, but then grass-free sites may be too warm for the native Portulaca. On the other hand, seeds that fall into thick grassy patches probably face too much competition for water. Protective wire cages, which were installed around the plants, have failed to keep mice from eating seed capsules. This may help explain the lack of seedlings growing around adult plants over time.
Retired USGS botanist Linda Pratt, USGS research geologists Patricia Nadeau and Jennifer Lewicki, and USGS chemist 
Tamar Elias (left to right) are part of a team investigating a critically endangered succulent plant, Portulaca 
sclerocarpa, in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park's Puhimau thermal area. Invasive species, like the broomsedge grass 
shown here, may contribute to low Portulaca population growth rates. USGS photo by Stephanie Yelenik, November 2019
     In addition, Puhimau soils tend to be quite thin – only about 12 inches (30 cm) deep. Between the high temperatures and lack of depth, it is likely that soils dry out quite quickly after rainfall events. This makes susceptibility to drought and changing climates another factor that will influence the success of planting sites. Work will continue to try to bolster populations and better understand how to protect this endangered plant by creating a planting guide for managers. The recent study helps provide additional information on the different environmental stressors that Portulaca faces.
     Volcano Activity Updates
     Kīlauea Volcano is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level remains at NORMAL. Kīlauea monitoring data over the past month showed no significant changes. Rates of seismicity were variable but within long-term values. Sulfur dioxide emission rates were low at the summit and below detection limits at Puʻu ʻŌʻō and the lower East Rift Zone. The water lake at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u continued to slowly expand and deepen.
     Mauna Loa is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level remains at ADVISORY. This alert level does not mean that an eruption is imminent or that progression to an eruption is certain.
     This past week, 31 small-magnitude earthquakes were recorded beneath the upper elevations of Mauna Loa; the strongest was a M2.9 on Feb. 9. Deformation indicates continued slow summit inflation. Fumarole temperature and gas concentrations on the Southwest Rift Zone remain stable.
     Two earthquakes with three or more felt reports occurred on the Island of Hawaiʻi this past week: a magnitude-2.6 quake 20 km (12 mi) south of Honokaʻa at 23 km (14 mi) depth on Feb. 10 at 10:53 p.m., and a magnitude-3.3 quake 3 km (2 mi) southeast of Fern Acres at 39 km (24 mi) depth on Feb. 5 at 8:32 p.m.
     Visit volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvofor past Volcano Watch articles, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa updates, volcano photos, maps, recent earthquake info, and more. Email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Print edition of The Kaʻū Calendar is free to 6,250 mailboxes 
throughout Kaʻū, from Miloliʻi through Volcano, and free on 
stands throughout the district. Read online at kaucalendar.com
See daily, weekly, and monthly recurring Kaʻū and Volcano Events, Meetings, Entertainment, Exercise, Meditation, and more at kaucalendar.com.

Kaʻū Winter Sports Schedule
Wrestling
Fri., Feb. 21 HHSAA

Kaʻū Spring Sports Schedule
Girls Softball
Saturday, Feb. 15, 11 a.m., JV Jamboree at Konawaena
Saturday, March 7, 11 a.m., @Waiakea
Boys Baseball
Wednesday, March 4, 3 p.m., host HPA
Saturday, March 7, 1 p.m.. @Waiakea
Boys Volleyball
Friday, Feb. 21, 4:30 p.m., Preseason at Christian Liberty
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 6 p.m., host Christian Liberty
Judo
Saturday, Feb. 29, 10:30 a.m., @Kealakehe
Saturday, March 7, 10:30 a.m.. @Kealakehe
Track
Saturday, March 14, 9 a.m., @Waiakea
Saturday, March 21, 2 p.m., @Konawaena

UPCOMING
SATURDAY, FEB. 15
Paint Your Own Silk Scarf with Patti Pease Johnson, Saturday, Feb. 15, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Enrolling a loved one in the class or the finished scarf, created in class, makes a great Valentine's Day gift, suggests the announcement. volcanoartcenter.org

Zentangle: Basics with Ellen O'Dunn, Saturday, Feb. 15, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. volcanoartcenter.org

Love the Arts Valentine's Day Dance: The Roaring 2020s, Saturday, Feb. 15, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Volcano Art Center's Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Hawaiʻi Island's vintage jazz and swing musical group, the Tin Pan Alleycats, will perform the biggest hit songs of the 1920s. Angela Beck and Andrea Gill of the Hilo Hep Cats will teach 1920s dance steps such as the Charleston and Lindy Hop during the band's breaks at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Period costumes are encouraged. Tickets are $15, $10 for VAC members, or free with a Love the Arts: The Roaring 2020s ticket from Saturday, Feb. 8. Purchase tickets online at volcanoartcenter.org/event/love-the-arts-valentines-day-dance-the-roaring-2020s/?instance_id=13341.

Panaʻewa Stampede, Saturday through Monday, Feb. 15, 16, and 17. Rodeo begins at noon on Saturday, 11 a.m. on Sunday and Monday. Cowboy Church held 9 a.m. Sunday. Horse Races held 9 a.m. Monday. Panaʻewa Equestrian Center just outside of Hilo. Rodeo competitors from Kaʻū and around the island joined by rodeo clowns and other entertainers. Tickets are $8 pre-sale, $10 at the gate, free for keiki 12 and under. HawaiiRodeoStampede.com

SUNDAY, FEB. 16
RSVP for the Bicentennial celebration of Kauahaʻao Congregational Church, Sunday, Feb. 16 at the Henry ‘Opukahaʻia Memorial Chapel, Hokuloa Church, Punaluʻu. Celebration begins at 10 a.m.; pot-luck fellowship at 11:30 a.m. in large pavilion at Punaluʻu Black Sands Beach Park. For more information and to RSVP with the number of people attending, contact Debbie Wong Yuen, Kahu at Kauahaʻao Church, at 808-928-8039.

MONDAY, FEB. 17 – President's Day
AdvoCATS, Monday, Feb. 17, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Ocean View Community Center. Free spay/neuter for cats. Reserve spot in advance. 895-9283, advocatshawaii.org

TUESDAY, FEB. 18
Keiki O Palehua ʻOhana Meeting on Childcare and Education for Keiki of Kaʻū Coffee Pickers, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 4 p.m., at Kaʻū District Gym Multipurpose Room at 96-1219 Kamani St. in Pāhala. Organizer Laura Diaz said special guests aiming to help with the project will be Glenn Sako of county Department of Research & Development and Daniel Goya, of Partners in Development Foundation. Diaz said, "We need your input, ideas, and support to move forward with this program ; we're ready to open doors but need everyone's cooperation to do it." Keiki O Palehua ʻOhana is designed to help the Marshallese community care for young children while working on Kaʻū Coffee farms.

Minidoka: An American Concentration Camp Short Film, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m.KīlaueaVisitor Center in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The special After Dark in the Park program will address Japanese American internment during World War II. Following the movie, National Park Service Archeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura will discuss the experience and subsequent detention of Japanese Americans here following the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. For more information on Japanese American confinement during World War II, visit nps.gov/subjects/internment/index.htm.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 19
Concert with Christy Lassiter & Friends, Wednesday, Feb. 19; seating begins at 6:30 p.m., concert starts at 7 p.m. at Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. This talented trio plays traditional Hawaiian music and have performed together for several years. They are devoted to the perpetuation of the old Hawaiian songs they grew up hearing in their homes. The use of guitar, ‘ukulele, bass and three-part harmonies create a memorable and enjoyable musical experience. Part of the Nā Leo Manu (Heavenly Voices) Hawaiian music concert program. Free; Park entrance fees apply. nps.gov/havo

THURSDAY, FEB. 20
2020 U.S. Census Workshop, Thursday, Feb. 20, p.m. to 6 p.m., Pāhala Gym Multipurpose room. Dinner and light refreshments will be provided. Census takers pay is $20/hour. Gas is reimbursable. Eligible applicants will be at least 18 years old, have a valid Social Security Number, and pass a criminal and background check. Those with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits will have their Census income counted as exempt. See 2020census.gov/en/jobs.html for more and to apply.

FRIDAY, FEB. 21
Mardi Gras Dinner Fundraiser for St. Jude's Episcopal Church, Friday, Feb. 21, Paradise Circle-Mauka. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner is served p.m. to 8 p.m. Dinner includes Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice, Cornbread, Drink, and Dessert. Tickets at the door, $8 per person, $15 for two, and $20 for family.

ONGOING
RSVP for the Bicentennial Celebration of Kauahaʻao Congregational Church, Sunday, Feb. 16 at the Henry ‘Opukahaʻia Memorial Chapel, Hokuloa Church, in Punaluʻu. Celebration begins at 10 a.m., followed by pot-luck fellowship at 11:30 a.m. in the large pavilion at Punaluʻu Black Sands Beach Park. For more information and to RSVP With the number of people attending, contact Debbie Wong Yuen, Kahu at Kauahaʻao Church, at 808-928-8039.

Sharp Turns – The Creative Art of Woodturning, Volcano Art Center Gallery exhibit, featuring the works of Aaron Hammer and Mark and Karen Stebbins, continues daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Feb. 16. 967-8222, volcanoartcenter.org

Aloha Kidney in Kaʻū, Thursday afternoons, p.m. to 3:30 p.m., through Feb 20, Kaʻū Resource Center, 96-3126 Puahala St. in Pāhala. The free class series on Chronic Kidney Disease lead by retired kidney doctor Ramona Wong. Bring a pen and whomever cares/cooks/shops for the person(s) with CKD. See alohakidney.com. Call (808) 585-8404 to enroll.

Register for a Free CERT Basic Training Course, four Saturdays starting Feb. 22 through March 14 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Community Emergency Response Team encourages community participation and provides support to emergency response organizations when the need arises. Four consecutive classes are a 27-hour FEMA certification course. Sign up by emailing hawaiicert@gmail.com. Bill Hanson, 808-937-2181, hawaiicounty.gov/departments/civil-defense/hawai-i-county-cert.

Register for ʻO Kaʻū Kākou's 12th Annual Keiki Fishing Tournament and Canned Food Drive through Wednesday, Feb. 19 at noon. Event takes place Saturday, Feb. 22, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Poles, gear, and bait, and lunch for all, provided. Each child receives a prize, chosen during registration, in the order they register; register early. Keiki one to 14 years old register online at okaukakou.org, or pick up form at Nāʻālehu Elementary School, Nāʻālehu Ace Hardware, PāhalaElementary School, Mizuno Superette in Pāhala, Wiki Wiki Mart in Nāʻālehu, Kahuku Country Market in Ocean View, and Ocean View Auto Parts. Bring one can per person for food drive. For more information, contact Guy Enriques at 808-217-2253 or Wayne Kawachi at 808-937-4773. okaukakou.org

PETFIX Spay and Neuter Free Clinic for Cats and Dogs, Thursday and Friday, March 5 and 6, Ocean View Ranchos. Registration: contact Bridget at (808)990-3548 or petfixbigisland@gmail.com.

Hawaiʻi International Music Festival, Sunday March 8, 6:30 p.m., Pāhala Plantation House. The concert will feature music that will celebrate native plants of the Kaʻū Dryland Forest and will raise funds for Hoʻomalu Kaʻū.
     Performers will include: Maya Hoover, Hawaiʻi based Mezzo-Soprano at Professor at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; Jonathan Korth, Hawaiʻi based Pianist and Professor at UH-Mānoa; and Joshua Nakazawa, Cellist from Hawaiʻi Symphony. They will be joined by the three HIMF co-founders: Amy Shoremount-Obra, Internationally Acclaimed Metropolitan Opera Soprano; Eric Silberger, Internationally Acclaimed Prize-Winning Virutuoso Violinist; and Carlin Ma, Multi-Media Artist and Pianist.
     Tickets are $30 and are available at kauconcert.bpt.me. See himusicfestival.com for more.

Sign Up to Vend at the New ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Nāʻālehu Farmers Market, Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the site of the old Fruit Stand, mauka of Hwy 11 in Nāʻālehu. Vending focuses on Kaʻū products, including mushrooms from the new farm in Nāʻālehu, fresh breads, vegetables, fruits, and other products. The market may offer music in the future, and there are plans to acquire picnic tables for market goers. Call Manager Sue Barnett at 345-9374 to sign up.

Cultural Understanding Through Art & the Environment, features classes on block printing, lauhala weaving, ti leaf lei making, and more. A free guided Cultural Forest Tour, and a Mele and Hula ‘Auana performance are also slated. Visit the website events calendar for the full lineup. volcanoartcenter.org

T-Ball and Coach Pitch Baseball League: Ocean View Team - Mondays and Wednesdays, Kahuku Park. Nā‘ālehu Team - Tuesdays and Thursdays, Nā‘ālehu Park. Pāhala Team (seeking coaches) - attend Nā‘ālehu practice. T-Ball, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 pm, ages 5-6. Coach Pitch, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., ages 7-8. Programs take place through April 16. Wear cleats or tennis shoes, bring a glove if possible. Extras gloves available for use. All skills and genders welcome. $35 per teammate. See Ka‘ū Youth Baseball on Facebook. Josh or Elizabeth Crook, 345-0511

Tūtū & Me Home Visiting Program is a free service to Pāhala families with keiki, birth to five years old. This caregiver support program offers those taking care of young keiki "a compassionate listening ear, helpful parenting tips and strategies, fun and exciting activities, and wonderful educational resources" from Tūtū & Me Traveling Preschool. Home visits are one hour in length, two to four times per month, for 12 to 15 visits. Snacks are provided. See pidfoundation.org or call 808-938-1088.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.


   

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