Public schools close Thursday

All public schools in Maui County and on the Big Island will be closed Thursday in anticipation of strong winds and heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Iselle, the state Department of Education announced Tuesday afternoon.

“The force of these storms remains uncertain. However, we do not want to wait until the last minute to close our schools,” said state schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Additionally, many of our schools are designated emergency shelters, and it is necessary to prepare these facilities as the storms approach.”

There are more than 21,000 public school students in Maui County and 23,000 in Hawaii County, school officials said.

There was no immediate word of private school closures in Maui County, although officials at St. Anthony Junior-Senior High School said a decision on whether to close the Wailuku campus as well as St. Anthony grade and preschools would be made today.

Haleakala National Park officials announced that, for visitor safety, the park’s crater and Kipahulu districts would close as of 3 p.m. Thursday. The park’s entrance gates will be locked, and the park will not be open for sunrise viewing on Friday morning, officials said.

The Kipahulu and Hosmer Grove campgrounds will shut down at noon Thursday, and back-country hikers have been notified that they will need to leave the park before 3 p.m. Thursday. In anticipation of Tropical Storm Julio, the second of two weather systems headed this way, no back country camping or cabin permits will be issued through the weekend. Existing permits have been canceled.

By 6 p.m. today, Polipoli State Park and all land managed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife was to be closed. The closure includes forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves, Na Ala Hele hiking trails, and game management areas, including one on Lanai.

People with camping permits for Polipoli State Park were being notified, according to DLNR.

Meanwhile, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Maui Calls fundraiser that had been scheduled for Friday evening was postponed, said Art Vento, the MACC’s president and chief executive officer.

The center’s premier fundraiser will be rescheduled, although to a new date that had not been determined as of early Tuesday afternoon, Vento said.

“We appreciate everyone’s support,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we want everyone focused on staying safe and dry.

“Maui Calls will be rescheduled,” Vento said. “It will be a great time, just not in the middle of a tropical storm.”

All ticket holders for the event were being notified of the postponement Tuesday afternoon, beginning with those traveling to Maui from off-island, he said.

“Every ticket buyer will be contacted directly,” Vento said, emphasizing that center officials were making phone calls, sending out and using social media “to keep everybody informed.”

Center officials decided to make the call to postpone the event early in the week, as opposed to later, to allow everyone planning to attend the event this Friday an early opportunity to make other plans, he said.

The center was working with chefs, vintners and others involved in the fundraiser to schedule another date, although that was proving to be a challenge because the center’s schedule already is mostly booked in the near future, Vento said.

Center officials were looking for a date “that works for everybody,” and “we’ll be announcing it very shortly,” he said.

In other storm-related closures, cancellations or postponements:

* Young Brothers announced that for the remainder of this week it would only accept containerized cargo. Specifically, it won’t take less-than-container-load cargo or livestock, hazardous cargo, explosives or vehicles (other than emergency response or public safety vehicles).

* The county Liquor Control Adjudication Board canceled its Thursday morning meeting.

* A state Department of Transportation meeting scheduled for Thursday evening at its Maui District Office will not be held. The event was set for public comment on the department’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. There were no plans to reschedule the meeting, officials said.

* Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center canceled its open studio classes on Friday.

* The Maui Visitors Bureau will not hold its annual meeting and marketing update on Friday morning.

* Second Friday activities in Lahaina were canceled, including those planned at Campbell Park, the Summer Block Party from Papalaua Street to Lahainaluna Road and the 2015 Lahaina poster contest reception at the Old Jail gallery in the Old Lahaina Courthouse, according to the LahainaTown Action Committee. The poster reception has been rescheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 15; the next Lahaina Second Friday will be Sept. 12.

* The Lanai Slack Key Festival was postponed until October.