Big Shark At Tunnels; Hello, Birdie

A Millerbird on Laysan Island. Photo by Robby Kohley / American Bird Conservancy

North Shore alert: Marine biologist Terry Lilley says a giant Galapagos shark has been acting very aggressive at Tunnels Reef recently, even chasing swimmers and surfers from the water and stealing fish from spear fishers …

In more upbeat critter news, for the first time in 100 years an endangered Millerbird chick fledged on Hawai’i’s Laysan Island last month, after the rare songbird was reintroduced to the island. According to the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), approximately 775 Millerbirds remain in existence. Until recently, all were confined to Nihoa Island, where they risked extinction by introduced predators, hurricanes or other extreme events. In September 2011, 24 of the tiny songbirds were caught on Nihoa and released on Laysan Island, 650 miles away, in an effort to create a second population of Millerbirds and minimize the risk of extinction. At least 21 of the 24 translocated birds survived the winter storm season on Laysan.

Ultimately, the monitoring biologists hope to see the first generation of birds hatched begin breeding on their own. ABC and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Foundation are undertaking the effort, with the support of the Hawai’i Forest Bird Keystone Initiative, University of New Brunswick, University of Hawai’i, Pacific Rim Conservation, USGS National Wildlife Health Research Center, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. The Marine National Monument is co-managed by FWS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the state of Hawai’i and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. To learn more about the Millerbird project, visit papahanaumokuakea.gov, and abcbirds.org or via its Facebook page …

Deputy Chief Michael Contrades. Photo from Mary Daubert

Congratulations to Kaua’i Police Department Deputy Chief of Police Michael M. Contrades, who recently returned home after graduating from the FBI National Academy. While there, Contrades received the “Excellence in Leadership” award, a peer-nominated honor. Contrades was one of 257 participants of the 248th session of the academy, a rigorous 10-week professional course of study for both national and international law enforcement leaders. He is a 17-year veteran of the department and has served in many different capacities. Kaua’i Police Chief Darryl Perry promoted him to deputy chief of police in December 2011 …

Congratulations also to Officer Darin Irimata, named KPD officer of the month for his work as one of three officers who responded to a robbery at the Koloa Chevron gas station in January. Four disguised men entered the convenience store and demanded cash from the lone employee, and it was Irimata’s quick thinking that led to the arrest of one of the suspects within hours of the incident. The three remaining suspects were arrested shortly thereafter for first-degree robbery. It was Irimata’s stellar police work that also led to the arrest of a suspect wanted in connection with a Koloa jewelry store theft, after seeing the suspect wearing one of the stolen pieces. Nice work …

Now’s the time to be heard if you’ve got an opinion on county parks, as the public can provide perspective on the Parks Master Plan through April 20. The plan’s update began a year ago and has so far had two rounds of community meetings, and Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. says it’s now in the final stages of planning. To submit comments online, or for more information about the plan, go to kauaiparks.com. Comments also can be dropped off at any neighborhood center, at Lihu’e Civic Center or at the Department of Parks and Recreation, Mo’ikeha Building, Room 105. Following the comment period, a draft of the revised plan will be developed and reviewed, and the final version will eventually be incorporated into the county’s general plan …

Folks who call the Kaua’i Bus for its schedule and other information should take note that the number has changed to 246-8110. Not to worry if you don’t write it down, however. It will be listed in phone directories scheduled to be released this spring and also is available on the county website, kauai.gov …

The Pu’uwai Spring and Summer na opio paddling programs for youths ages 8 to 18 begin at 3 p.m. April 9 out of Wailua. All paddlers are required to swim a sufficient distance to be deemed safe in a canoe should it capsize. Swimming will be a regular aspect of cross training and instruction will be provided. Pu’uwai Canoe Club president Brian Curll says practices will be for the regatta season, which begins May 19. This year, for the first time, older na opio groups, weather permitting, will train for long-distance ocean events. Returning paddlers must have their parents/legal guardian sign a copy of the 2012 waiver and provide a copy of their birth certificate to participate. Cost is $45. For more information, call 635-6311 …

It’s that time of year again, when people rally from around the island to support the Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Kaua’i. Registration begins at 7 a.m. this Saturday, April 14, at First Hawaiian Bank on Rice Street in Lihu’e, with the torch run starting promptly at 7:30. Organizer Shelly Miyazaki Gerardo says after the run, participants are encouraged to stick around to cheer on Kaua’i’s Special Olympics athletes as they compete in various races, including the 50-meter dash, standing and running long jump, shot put and softball throw, adding, “these athletes will definitely warm your hearts and make you smile.” Cost is $25 and includes a T-shirt or tank top. Long-sleeve and drifit shirts are available for an additional $5 donation to Special Olympics Hawaii. Registration forms are available at First Hawaiian Banks around the island and on the event’s Facebook page. For more information, call Sgt. Paul Applegate at 241-1669 or Gerardo at 639-3398 …

Ho’ouluwehi at Kaua’i Community College will observe Earth Day the week of April 16-20 with everything from films to discussions about the environment, sustainability and planet protection-related issues. Movies and discussions include:

* “Establishing a Food Forest,” 6 p.m. Monday, Tech Room 114

* Tapped – The Movie, 11 a.m. Wednesday, Kaua’i Community College Student Lounge (on campus)

* “Fun Using Sustainable Energy,” 6 p.m. Thursday, Tech Room 114

* Vanishing of the Bees, 6 p.m. Friday, Tech Room 114.

In addition, an outdoor celebration will take place from noon to 6 p.m. April 19 at KCC featuring local food, products and services, contests for best environmental song, sculptures made with marine rubbish, best environmental visual art and/or photos, best KCC Earth Day logo and more. Event organizers also are seeking hip-hop and hula dancers, musicians, gymnasts, mind readers, fire dancers, jugglers, magicians, and clowns, to name a few. Students are preferred. For more info, go to hoouluwehi.blogspot.com …

There was a timing error in our April 4 MidWeek Kaua’i issue regarding the haleopio.org website. The third annual Hale ‘Opio Passion for Purses and high tea fundraiser benefitting Kaua’i youths will be from 1 to 4 p.m. May 6 at Kaua’i Beach Resort. Tickets cost $40. To order online, go to haleopio.org.

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