Lizard Talk at Lyman Museum

Among the many immigrants to reach Hawaiian shores are certain members of the reptilian Order Squamata (which includes lizards and snakes).  A variety of lizards have arrived with people through the years and made their homes in Hawai`i.  In addition to the several species of geckos which most of us here know well, and which have been in the Islands the longest, there are species of skinks, anoles, iguanas, and chameleons that have also established themselves as colonists.

My dog freaking out on a Jackson Chameleon

My dog freaking out on a Jackson Chameleon

On Monday, August 25, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Lyman Museum, Dr. William Mautz pulls back the foliage to look at these special creatures: their habits and habitats, how and when they came to Hawai`i, and prospects for a future in which other immigrant lizards may gain a toehold.  Dr. Mautz is a professor of biology at UH-Hilo, where he teaches and conducts research on the physiology and ecology of amphibians and reptiles.

The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai`i.  Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  For more information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.

Community Meetings Scheduled to Assist and Educate Kupuna From Becoming Victims of Crime

Mayor Billy Kenoi, the Hawaiʻi Police Department, Hawaiʻi County Office of Aging and Hawaiʻi County Mass Transit Agency, in partnership with  Department of Attorney General, Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division, Community and Crime Prevention Branch, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair, Office of the Securities Commissioner, Department of Health, Executive Office on Aging, Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP Hawaiʻi), Department of Public Safety, Narcotics Enforcement Division will hold four Kupuna Alert Partners (KAP) presentations to assist and educate our kupuna to curtail and prevent becoming victims of fraud, prescription drug misuse and crime.

HPDBadgeThe KAP program was initially formed as a State multi-agency group partnership to bring pertinent information on Medicare fraud prevention, securities fraud prevention and prescription drug misuse to the community. Additionally, the Hawaiʻi Police Department will provide information and tips on securing your residence to prevent burglaries and thefts.

“Because our kupuna are particularly vulnerable and oftentimes targeted as victims of property crimes, the Hawaiʻi Police Department has established partnerships with these State and County agencies in order to reach out and educate our kupuna about awareness and prevention,” said Police Chief Harry Kubojiri. “These KAP presentations are not only for our kupuna, but also for their family members and caregivers.”

Immediately following each 1-hour Kupuna Alert Partners presentation, the Department of Public Safety’s Narcotics Enforcement Division will conduct a half-hour prescription drug take-back operation. Participants are encouraged to bring their unused or expired mediation for safe, anonymous disposal.

The following topics will be covered during the KAP presentations in Kona and Waimea on August 12 and in Hilo and Puna on August 13:

Medical Identity Theft and Medicare Fraud Prevention
Preventing Prescription Drug Misuse
Investor Fraud Prevention
Burglary Prevention Tips

The presentations will take place at the following times and locations:
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Kona
West Hawai‘i Civic Center, County Council Room
10:30-11:30 a.m. (Medication Take-Back 11:30-12:00)

Waimea
Hawaiian Homes Hall
2:30-3:30 p.m. (Medication Take-Back 3:30-4:00)
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hilo
Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale
10:00-11:00 a.m. Wednesday (Medication Take-Back 11:00-11:30)

Puna
Keaʻau Community Center
2:00-3:00 p.m. (Medication Take-Back 3:00-3:30)

The public is encouraged to attend.

Tourism to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Creates $124, 937,400 in Economic Benefit

Report shows visitor spending supports 1,476 jobs in local economy

A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2013 shows that the 1,583,209 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. This spending supported 1,476 jobs in the local area.

The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater continues to attract visitors to the park.  NPS Photo by

The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater continues to attract visitors to the park. NPS Photo by Stephen Geiger

“We are pleased to again report a steady annual increase of visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The ease of viewing the summit eruption from Kīlauea, the many free cultural and scientific programs, the re-opening of Volcano House, and the diverse ecosystem of native plants and animals that park stewards have worked hard to protect for nearly 100 years are part of what attracts people, and can be attributed to the increase,” she said.

Visitors from across the country, around the world, and from local communities statewide and island-wide, visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the NPS – and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well.  We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities and businesses,” Orlando said.

The 2013 report reflects a consistent trend of increasing visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park over the last five years, as well as higher spending by visitors in local communities. In 2013, visitation increased 6.7 percent over 2012 (1,483,928 visitors), and spending increased by 10.2 percent ($113,376,400). The 2012 visitation to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was 9.7 percent higher than 2011 (1,352,123 visitors), and 2012 spending was up 17 percent from 2011.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the NPS.

The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.

According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).

The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).

To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i, and how the NPS works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/hawaii.