About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Sept. 2, 2011

Gloria Camba and Bong Aquino with an award for their Ka'u Royal Coffee.
Photo by Julia Neal
IN A VICTORY FOR COFFEE FARMERS, Safeway has agreed to put labeling on Kona Coffee showing the amount of coffee that is not from Kona. Department of Agriculture Chair Russell Kokubun wrote to Safeway saying it was misleading to label coffee Kona when 90 percent of it was coming from another country. He noted that such labeling is required in Hawai`i and wanted Safeway to voluntarily do the same at mainland stores. Safeway has agreed. Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative president Gloria Camba said, “This fairness in labeling should help both Kona and Ka`u in selling our famous pure Hawaiian grown coffees.” 

Jenn Rasmussen checks a hive for invasive small hive beetle.
Photo from BIBA
BEEKEEPERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD will explore this island and convene on worldwide risks to bee populations and agriculture Sept. 12 - 15. The gathering of the Western Apicultural Society will be at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The public is invited and beekeepers are expected to visit some apiaries in Ka`u. Apiary recovery following assaults by Varroa mite and small hive beetles will be one focus of the meetings. Volcano encaustic artist John Matsushita will demonstrate painting with bees' wax Sept. 14. The public is invited to take part in the 2nd annual Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge that evening at the hotel.
     After the conference, Larry Connor, PhD., a beekeeping columnist and Wicwas Press publisher, will present a day-long masters' workshop in Hawi on Sept. 16 on rebuilding the apiary after losses. 

THE NEW TEMPORARY MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE RESOLUTION PROGRAM is expected to go into action soon, according to Rep. Bob Herkes who explained his effort at the public forum hosted by Sen. Gil Kahele this week. It prevents non-judicial foreclosures without a mediator, in an attempt to put the lender and homeowner face to face to work out term. 
Rep. Herkes authored a tough law to stop lender abuse.
     The dispute resolution can last up to 30 days. Homeowners must have lived on their property for at least 200 days to be eligible. Homeowners have to prove their ability to pay off their loan.
     The new law also requires mortgage lenders with 20 percent market share in the state to have a local office in Hawai`i. The program was a response to what Herkes described as “tremendous lender abuse.”
     His bill that was signed into law earlier this year, has been called the toughest foreclosure legislation in the country. Herkes said that people were being tossed from their homes without even knowing that the lender had gone out of business and homeowners have had to spend substantial money to get their houses back.
     The new law also allows foreclosures to be conducted in the courts without juries and streamlines the process of converting a non-judicial foreclosure to a judicial one.
     “This levels playing field with borrower and lender,” said Herkes.

Interisland shipping ag. products is now
taxed. Photo by Julia Neal
MANY GENERAL EXCISE TAX EXEMPTIONS are over, explained Sen. Gil Kahele at his forum this week. Under Bill 754, income from the following will be taxed: interisland shipping of agricultural products, loading and unloading of cargo, tugboat and towage services, aircraft and aircraft engine rent for interisland travel, sugarcane producers, real property leases of labor unions, shipbuilding and repairs, aircraft maintenance and construction, among others. Reimbursements received by federal cost-plus contractors for material, plant, and equipment costs will also be taxed. The bill also suspends deductions from contractors’ and real property lessees’ gross income. 
     “It was a tough decision to make for me personally,” said Kahele, “I voted for it but with reservations. Not to make an excuse for it, but I was not 100 percent.” According to Kahele, the bill will raise state $200 million annually at a time when the state struggles with a $1.6 shortfall. A building contractor in the forum expressed his concern over the suspensions, calling the bill inappropriate when contractors are “dying left and right.” The exemptions will be restored after June 30, 2013.
SEN. GIL KAHELE will host more community forums in Ka`u, at 5:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center on Oct. 14 and at Pahala Community Center on Oct. 26.

MORE FINANCIAL AID is being proposed by the University of Hawai`i at Hilo administrators. The university plans to hike tuition at Hilo by $120 per semester, increasing the need of more grants. UHH plans to increase financial aid contributions by 1% annually over the next five years. By 2017, 20% of this new revenue would constitute increased financial aid, UHH Chancellor Donald Straney told Stephens Media. 
     UHH is also planning to increase the number of jobs on campus. “Studies show that the more students work on campus,” says Straney, “the more likely they are to take a full load (of classes) and be engaged in what they're studying. Basically, if you give them a job, they graduate faster," he told Stephens Media.  Public forums on the proposed tuition schedules will be held on Sept. 28, 3:30 p.m. at UH Hilo and Sept. 29, 2 p.m. at Hawai‘i Community College. 

Saturday's the day to take hazardous household waste to Wai'ohinu.
HAWAIIAN CIVIC CLUB OF KA`U’S Steak Fry and Laulau Fundraiser will be held on Monday, September 5th (Labor Day) in the Ocean View Market parking lot from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

TOMORROW IS THE DAY TO DROP OFF HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE at Wai`ohinu Transfer Station. That’s this Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Automotive fluids, batteries, fluorescent lights, pesticides and latex paints are some of the items being accepted. Latex paints can be traded out. For more information, call 961-8554 or visit hawaiizerowaste.org.