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.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs June 30, 2012

Ocean View Well will provide water with a blessing on July 5th.
Photo by bigislandliving.blogspot.com

THE NEW WATER WELL AND SPIGOTS at Ocean View will be blessed on July 5 but may open sooner for public use. The Department of Water Supply announced this week that “new source approvals for drinking water are in order” with a June 26 final acceptance of the project. Several weeks ago, during testing, the pump began tripping as the reservoir re-filled. However, recent pump tests yielded performance analyses acceptable to the manufacturer, contractor, and Water Department. Water Department staff is working with the state Department of Health to finalize approval for the public water system, and operations work crews are preparing the system for imminent service to the public, the Water Department announced.
     The blessing will be on site at the fill station at the corner of Lehua Lane and Hwy 11 in Ocean View. Light refreshments will be served. The publicly funded $6 million project establishes a basic drinking water system with well, storage tank, transmission pipeline and fill station for the Ocean View community. To ensure encumbrance of state funds within the short legislative timeline of two years, the project was procured as design-build in two phases.
      Phase 1 included exploratory well development land and easement procurement an Environmental Assessment and design of the facility. Phase 2 entailed completing the design, hiring and overseeing contractors, obtaining approvals and permits for final design and building the facility.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE would have more power under a proposal by Ka`u County Council member Brittany Smart. The measure, which will be heard at the County Council meeting on Tuesday with public testimony allowed, will give more access to the commission to review proposals from the Department of Environmental Management and the County Council and make recommendations. Smart said she was surprised that the administration had launched a 90-day pilot program earlier this year to take Hilo garbage to the landfill north of Kona Airport without notifying the commission or the County Council. The program resulted in about 78.8 percent of county garbage going to the westside landfill at Pu`unahulu, and the county is coming up with a cost comparison of trucking garbage from the eastside to the westside landfill versus expanding Hilo landfill, which is reaching capacity.
     Kona Council member Angel Pilago has called for an audit of the county’s Environmental Management Agency, saying he was concerned that the county ran the pilot program without input from the County Council.

AN ELECTION FORUM yesterday evening at Ocean View Community Center drew all of the Ka`u County Council candidates and one candidate for Prosecuting Attorney.

BRADLEY WESTERVELT said the economy is a major issue. Former owner of Tex Drive-In in Pahala, which he renamed PT Café, Westervelt said he enjoyed running the restaurant but couldn’t keep it going. He worked as a legislative aide at the County Council where, he said, he “learned a lot about what it takes to get things done.” 
Bradley Westervelt (right) during the break at the Ocean View
Community Center. Photo by William Neal
Lee McIntosh (right) during last night's candidate forum in Ka`u.
Photo by William Neal
     He said pressure from his friends in Pahala and Na`alehu led him to run for Council. He said the county has taken on too much property for preservation and contended the county does not have the tax base to maintain the parks and other preserves. He suggested reaching out for private support for these activities. He said he perceives most people supporting some kind of resort development a Pohue Bay for jobs and to gain access for the public. He said a resort project could perhaps make it open to the public sooner and that if the county owned it, it could take longer and that the county may not be able to afford “to keep it nice and clean.”

LEE MCINTOSH said his vision for Ka`u “is a community where businesses and families can thrive.” He said he wants to stabilize property taxes. He said property tax should be by square footage of buildings and land rather than value. McIntosh said he wants to prevent further cuts in services, such as keeping gyms open more often to the public. McIntosh lives in Discovery Harbour and runs his own landscape business.
He noted that he and his family helped save Na`alehu’s Independence Day Parade after organizers abandoned the event. McIntosh said he is a good listener and a person who can bring solutions to problems.
     Regarding Pohue Bay, McIntosh said he supports the county purchase and management of the parcel and access to provide entry to the public.

BRENDA FORD talked about her accomplishments on the County Council after being elected three times. She said she focuses on infrastructure for health and safety and that she decided to run because she saw that anyone living outside of Hilo was not “getting a fair share.” She said she and her husband Larry have worked in the Community Emergency Response Team. They also operate a small farm from which they sell their coffee and fruit. Ford said she is very supportive of the needs of police and firefighters and worked to build water tanks for fire suppression – two in Miloli`i and one in Kona. She said, “I put my money where my mouth is.”
Brenda Ford (left) talks with an interested voter at the
Ocean View forum last night. Photo by William Neal
Maile David (left) talks with an interested citizen at the forum
sponsored by Ocean View Community Association
Photo by William Neal
     Ford said she supports the public purchase of important lands at Pohue Bay and an access road, an initiative proposed by current Ka`u Council member Brittany Smart. Ford said the island does not need another hotel built until all of the hotels are 90-percent occupied. She said it hurts resorts that are struggling for occupancy when a new hotel comes up.

MAILE DAVID said she was born and raised in Kona, her family coming from many generations in ranching and farming. “We were economically poor but rich in family and support.” She said she could not go to college but worked in the field “that interested me so much,” and has been a paralegal since 1971. She said she worked for five years on O`ahu and when she returned, “It devastated me to see the change that had happened in our home town.” She said that Ali`i Drive developed in five years. “The shoreline disappeared, and that was the start of my activism.”
      She worked with Angel Pilago as his legislative aide, and said she wrote a lot of community benefit legislation. She said her reason for running is “that given the dynamics of the potential of the people, there is a real hope that we can make Hawai`i a good place to live for everybody.”
      Regarding Pohue Bay, David said there needs to be a “balance” regarding community needs and property rights. See more on the forum in upcoming daily Ka`u News Briefs.

COMMON GROUND, a five-day workshop for ranchers, landscapers and farmers, will offer an in-depth look at the soil food web and how to use oil biology to lower costs and increase quality. Led by Dr. Elaine Ingham, of Rodale Institute, it will be held at Makapala Retreat Center in Kohala. Participants must sign up for all three sessions: Life in the Soil on July 9 – 11, Compost Class on July 12 and Microscope Class on July 13. All sessions are at 9 a.m. The fee is $400 for the five-day workshop or $500 at the door. Ka`u Specialty Inc. will be represented on Compost Day with its compost tea brewing machines. For more information, call 884-5838.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS of Brazilian and African rainforests come to Ka`u when Antonio Rocha brings his solo shows of stories and mime to local libraries on Monday. Rocha performs at Na`alehu Public Library at 9:30 a.m., then treks to Pahala Public & School Library for his show at noon. All ages are welcome.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs June 29, 2012

Ships from 22 countries will ply Hawaiian waters for nearly a month in RIMPAC war games.
Photo from U.S. Navy
TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND MILITARY personnel are starting to arrive in Hawai`i for the biannual Rim of the Pacific Exercise, the world’s largest maritime war games. The 2012 dates for RIMPC will be July 10 through Aug. 1 with 22 countries participating. This year, RIMPAC will also feature a special Humanitarian Aid/Disaster Response exercise July 15 – 2. Humanity Road Volunteers helped with this world’s largest crisis mapping exercise. During May, volunteers around the world created online content for a crisis map that will be used during RIMPAC. Over the course of six days, the U.S. Navy Quick-Nets Crisis Mapping team completed mapping activities and simulated incidents. Humanity Road will attend RIMPAC.

BIOFUEL PRODUCTION is expected to get a boost from RIMPAC. According to a headline in today’s BioBased Digest, the “U.S. Navy’s biofueled Green Fleet will highlight this year’s RIMPAC Wargames.” The Journal sates: “The United States Navy may be laboring under a congressional ban on biofuel purchases that cost more than bargain basement fossil fuels, but no one said the Navy can’t burn the biofuel it’s already got. And that’s important because if you look at history, Congress generally loosens its military purse strings only when it fears falling behind U.S. rivals, of which at least one and possibly more are currently known or suspected of working on naval biofuels.”
Aina Koa Pono Ka`u Energy Farm illustration.
     Biobased Digest writer Joelle Brink opines: “That’s the kind of competition that once brought the U.S. military congressional funding for jet engines, ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines, nuclear weapons, space stations, the Internet, and the countless other strategic advantages the nation’s armed forces enjoy today. Now, thanks to the upcoming war games in the Pacific, the U.S. armed forces may get funding for biofuels as well.”
     Biofuel crop plantations are a possibility in Ka`u. `Aina Koa Pono has a proposal for lands between Pahala and Na`alehu and for a refinery up Wood Valley Road.

EUCALYPTUS TREES above Pahala got more detailed inspection from Kamehameha Schools and Forest Solutions this week. Staff said that eucalyptus are hardy trees and can come back from some fire damage. Thousands of eucalyptus were planted on Kamehameha Schools land between Kapapala and Na`alehu. Yesterday water lifts by county helicopter put out flareups from the fires that burned more than 5,300 acres.

THE VISITOR INDUSTRY put $1.1 billion into the state economy in May, setting records for spending, with the number of tourists coming to Hawai`i topping 622,889. The last record set for May was in 2007 when 599,842 visitors spent $922 million. Last year, May saw 553,505 visitors spending $912.3 million. 
Allegiant to connect Hawai`i and small cities.
      Japanese visitors showed the largest increase, coming back from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastation. Japanese arrivals climbed 31.4 percent to 106,569, accounting for one sixth of all tourists this May. Hawai`i Tourism Authority President Mike McCartney said the additional $159 million in May contributes to job growth and positive economic recovery for all major islands. He pointed to recent increases in domestic and international airlift along with major conventions, festivals and events throughout the state.
     McCartney noted that visitor spending is up, with a 2.6 percent increase in May over the same month last year. Average daily spending reached $190, with Japanese visitors spending even more – at $307 per day. Visitors also stayed longer.
MORE AIR LIFTS, domestically and internationally, are also helping to bolster the visitor industry. Allegiant Air, which is concentrating on markets without direct flights to Hawai`i, launched its first flight to Hawai`i today, from popular destination Las Vegas. Allegiant will start service from Fresno, CA this Saturday and from Bellingham, WA; Eugene, OR; Santa Maria, CA and Stockton, CA in November. 
     Meanwhile, Hawaiian Airlines has opened two offices in China, one in Shanghai and one in Beijing, according to Pacific Business News. Hawaiian is considering a non-stop flight between Hawai`i and China.
The grand pine tree lane into Pahala was blocked
for a short time when a power pole fell.
Photo by Julia Neal
A POWER POLE fell across the pine tree lane entering Pahala this week and was replaced the same afternoon by Hawai`i Electric Light Co. 
     The crashing power pole did no damage to the signature gateway of Norfolk pines lining both sides of this road and providing a windbreak for macadamia orchards. Electricity for all residents in Pahala was preserved. 

INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE in Na`alehu will travel down Hwy 11 tomorrow beginning at 11 a.m. Last minute entries can call Debra or Lee McIntosh at 929-9872. Organizers expect more than 20 pa`u riders representing the islands in traditional costumes and colors, with leis draping both horse and rider. Classic cars, many politicians up for election Aug. 11, businesses, churches, community organizations, Summer Fun, the Kama`aina Choo Choo Train, Ka`u Hospital and the Hawai`i County Band will march under the monkeypod shaded road through Na`alehu. 
Pa`u riders with traditional dress and lei bedecked horses
will parade through Na`alehu tomorrow.
Photo by Julia Neal
     Elected officials planning to walk in the parade include: mayoral candidates Dominic Yagong and Harry Kim, state House of Representative candidates Denny Coffman and Britany Smart; and County Council candidates Maile David, Brenda Ford, Lee McIntosh and Bradley Westervelt. Other political candidates include: Fred Fogel, Charles Collins, Gary Safarik, Kawika Crowley, Marlene Hapai, Wendell Ka`ehu`ae`a, Bradley Michael Gillespie, Leolani Oyama, Jeff LaFrance, Mike Last, Daniel Cunningham, Rafael Del Castillo, Dave Bateman, Mitch Roth, Tom Baker, Paul Dolan, Richard Onishi and Lincoln Ashida.

CANDIDATE FOR PROSECUTING ATTORNEY for Hawai`i County, Paul Dolan, will host a talk story and luncheon after the 11 a.m. Na`alehu Independence Day Parade, tomorrow, June 30. It will be held at Honu`apo Beach Park. He said many members of the Hillbilly Classic Cars Club will bring their historic vehicles down to Honu`apo for the public during the Dolan event.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs June 28, 2012

Coffee berry borer on a coffee bean. Photo by Peggy Grebe of USDA Agricultural Research Service
KA`U’ S CONGRESSWOMAN Mazie Hirono issued a statement on today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold the Affordable Care Act: “This ruling means that Americans can now count on secure and stable insurance coverage. If you have a pre-existing condition, you’ll be able to get health care; if you become seriously ill, there will be no annual limits on your care; if you’re a woman you won’t be charged higher premiums; and if you don’t have coverage, you will be able to buy affordable coverage,” Hirono said. “The Affordable Care Act has already had a positive impact on the lives of Hawai`i’s families and seniors. 
Mazie Hirono
Photo by William Neal
"An estimated 6,000 young adults in Hawai`i now have access to health insurance. Nearly 25,000 people on Medicare have saved over $14.5 million in prescription drug costs. More than 200,000 people helped control long-term health costs by gaining preventative health service coverage. And Hawai`i has received millions of dollars for critical investments including the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo, and the West Hawai`i Community Health Center,” Hirono stated. 
SURVEYING TUNNELS, PIPELINES AND ACCESS routes for the old plantation irrigation system between Kapapala Ranch and Wai`ohinu has been contracted by the state Department of Agriculture. Ka`u Agricultural Water Cooperative District members said the contract has gone to Dennis Hirota and the survey will be completed and presented to the state Department of Land & Natural Resources. 
Old sugar plantation waterways will be restored. Photo from Olsen Trust.
The effort is a step toward restoration water source and distribution systems for irrigation of farms and ranches, left over from the old sugar operations in Ka`u. 
The state Department of Agriculture has released $700,000 for the first phase of the project. A two man survey crew will begin scoping work in Ka`u in early July and Hirota’s survey crew will start Aug. 1. Farmers and ranchers will help surveyors by showing the way to the water sources, as some of them are very remote and require hiking through forest. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 19 at 4 p.m. at ML Mac Nut Field Office on Pikake Street in Pahala. For more information, contact Jeff McCall at 928-6456. 

BRITTANY SMART, A STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE and current County Council member, said she plans to help the community with coordination of the Air National Guard Innovative Readiness Training Program.
Brittany Smart
Photo by Julia Neal.
She attended the June meeting of the Ka`u Agricultural Water Cooperative District, and told members that the program that brings Air National Guard trainers and trainees to communities with volunteer labor may be able to provide labor to renovate regional irrigation systems. Smart is in her first term as a County Council member and is running for the new state House of Representatives seat from Punalu`u into Hilo along Hwy 11. The seat currently includes Volcano through all of Ka`u into South Kona and is held by Rep. Bob Herkes, who is running for Senate. In her campaign, she notes her work on the governor releasing funding for the $20 million gym and disaster shelter to be built in Pahala, her input in revising the county building code and easing requirements to build farm structures on ag land, and her efforts to establish a satellite office for community input to county government. See briefs on all the candidates daily on this blog.


ABANDONED COFFEE infected with coffee berry borer may be destroyed to push back the spread of the pest with new state and federal funding. SHAC – the new Synergistic Hawai`i Agriculture Council received a $330,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service to fight the coffee berry borer. The organization, comprised of the Hawai`i Coffee Association, Hawai`i Floriculture and Nursery Association and Hawai`i Papaya Industry Association, plans to help purchase fungus that attacks the borer and also clear the region of abandoned coffee that can harbor the pest. The organization set a goal of reducing infestation to 2 to 5 percent within three years. 
Eric Tanouye of SHAC and Green Point Nurseries.
Photo from Big Island News

     The coffee berry borer devastated many coffee farms, particularly in Kona. It spread to Ka`u where growers are intent on keeping their coffee farms clean and pest free. SHAC Vice President Eric Tanouye, who is also VP of Green Point Nurseries, said he is very pleased with the funding for Synergistic Hawai`i Agriculture Council and particularly with Rod Yonemura writing the grant for the coffee berry project and his guidance for the new organization. “The best part is seeing Hawai`i agriculture come together to live up to the organization’s mission and its Synergistic name.” 
     Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced this week that he will use taxes on petroleum products to fund $200,000 to fight coffee berry borer. He said this barrel tax will be used instead of money included in House Bill 283 which he plans to veto. Bill 283 would have used a state agricultural loan fund.

A VENTURE ACCELERATOR FUNDING PROGRAM was signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday with $2 million in startup money. The governor called the program an "engine for job creation" to "nurture talent, attract talent, and keep the talent here." New ventures will be chosen for funding with a workshop in August, selection program later this year and launching in early 2013. 

Writing in Civil Beat, Jason Rushin said such efforts can help Hawai`i with “reversing the brain drain, broadening the talent pool and drivers of the economy, bringing in outside investment, creating sustainable jobs, and much, much more.
     “As everyone seems to advise, we need to take a 20-year view and commit to supporting local startups,” Rushin said. “The first few accelerator or incubator cohorts might not produce any "successful" businesses, and that would be OK, as long as our ecosystem is learning, growing, and advancing. While the accelerated startups should be aiming high and shooting for the billions, we, the ecosystem, need to understand that a billion-dollar (or even million-dollar) 'exit' is akin to winning the lottery,” he wrote. See more at the websites of the Hawai`i Strategic Development Corp at www.hsdc.hawaii.gov/ and High Technology Development Corp. at http://www.htdc.org/

A CANDIDATE FORUM for Hawai`i County Council and Prosecuting Attorney will be held at Ocean View Community Association tomorrow, Friday at 5 p.m. Candidates are Maile David, Brenda Ford, Lee McIntosh and Bradley Westervelt running for County Council District 6. Lincoln Ashida, Paul Dolan and Mitch Roth, running for prosecuting attorney, will also be on hand. Call 939-7033 for more information. 
Independence Day Parade begins at 11 a.m. Na`alehu this Saturday.
Photo by Julia Neal
THE PARADE KEEPS GROWING for Independence Day, this Saturday along Hwy 11 in Na`alehu beginning at 11 a.m.. Many of the policitians wanting the vote on Aug. 11,  primary election day, will participate, along with churches, community groups, fire trucks, the county band, and pa`u riders who, along with their horses, will be draped in lei and the colors representing each Hawaiian island. For more information call Debra or Lee McIntosh at 937-0991. 
     The Fourth of July Parade will be on July 4 beginning at 9 a.m., along Old Volcano Hwy and Wright Road.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs June 27, 2012

Kawa during a surf meet. The county is meeting with Ka`u families and discussing the fate of Abel Simeona Lui.
Photo by Julia Neal
THE BILL TO END REQUIREMENTS for farmers to certify origin of their coffee through state inspectors will be vetoed, according to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The bill, which affects Ka`u and coffee throughout the state, was opposed by the 300-member Kona Coffee Farmers Association, which contends that coffee origin is an integral part of marketing and quality assurance. On the other side of the argument are wholesalers, blenders and their coffee farmer supporters who call for self-regulation rather than government oversight.
      Ka`u Farm and Ranch manager Chris Manfredi, who represents landowners where the most famous Ka`u Coffee grows, fought for the measure to end oversight, saying the market would self-regulate the industry and that lack of government employees to inspect the coffee can hold up coffee going to buyers.
Kona Coffee Growers took the lead on opposing the bill to end
government inspection of coffee origin.
      Kona Coffee Farmers Association celebrates the governor’s pending veto, saying on its website: “It’s a happy day for 100 percent Kona Coffee Farmers because the integrity and reputation of 100 percent Kona Coffee will not be compromised by dubious self-certification.” Legislative coordinator Bruce Corker told West Hawai`i Today, “We are delighted, and we commend the governor. We appreciate his taking a careful look at what we think is an extremely important issue.… We hope the governor stands for principles and small farms.”
      Jim Wayman, head of Hawai`i Coffee Co., the state’s biggest roaster, supported doing away with the government certification and claimed that the majority of other large and small producers support the measure to end the government origin certifications.
      Supporters of the bill also noted that tougher laws and penalties will still be enforced to prevent mislabeling of origin.
      Abercrombie in his intent-to-veto message said, “House Bill 280 removes the requirement that all Hawai`i-grown green coffee beans shall be inspected and certified by the Department of Agriculture. The implications of this measure are problematic. Further discussion is needed to ensure that the Hawai`i brand will not be undermined.”

Mayor Billy Kenoi and Abel Simeona Lui met to talk about management
of Kawa. Photo from Big Island Video News
A COURT ORDER allowing Hawai`i County to evict Abel Simeona Lui from Kawa doesn’t mean the administration will take action soon, according to a story in this morning’s West Hawai`i Today. The Erin Miller report, entitled Residents Push Kawa Eviction, says “Lui has lived at Kawa through three mayoral administrations.”
      It also quotes a longtime Lui adversary, rancher Kyle Soares, who says he hassled for years with Lui over access to water at Kawa for his livestock and now the county is telling him he cannot go on the property to fix the water line because it is classified as conservation land.
      West Hawai`i Today quotes Mayor Billy Kenoi saying that “he was unaware of any comment from a county official to Soares about the water easement.” Kenoi told citizens at his talk story session in Na`alehu earlier this year that the county is working with families with ties to Kawa to come up with a management plan. He told West Hawai`i Today that additional families have come forward to be part of the planning and that a meeting will be conducted in the next two weeks. During the earlier meeting Kenoi said he wants “to do it right” and take as much time to solve the Kawa management issue as possible. He said that, when he saw Hawaiians living on beaches and Sand Island being evicted when he was younger, he hoped he would never have to be party to such actions and could work out land issues peacefully.
      The story quotes longtime Ka`u resident Pele Hanoa claiming, “Abel (does) not belong to Ka`u. He (doesn’t) belong to Kawa.” She called for open public access to the Kawa lands that were recently purchased from the landowners for preservation of open space with its ponds and shoreline, and for surfing, shore fishing, hiking and other recreation.
      Lui, who has gone to court many times to claim ownership and lives there in a house he built, has been accused of keeping some people out, particularly in recent years as the land changed hands and preservation of the property secured.
      The West Hawai`i Today story also quotes County Council member Brittany Smart as saying that many Ka`u residents “feel threatened when they go down there. All sides should abide by the court decision.” It says that both Dominic Yagong and Harry Kim, who are running against Kenoi in the primary election Aug. 11, said they would enforce the eviction, if elected.

Fire Chief Darren Rosario
FIRE CHIEF DARREN ROSARIO is commending all of his crew who prevented the Pahala fires from hurting people and buildings and prevented more damage to coffee farms, macadamia orchards, pastures and wildlands. He said the fires are no longer spreading, but firefighters, both county and volunteer, are putting out hot spots. The Hawai`i County Fire Department is also investigating the cause of the fires mauka and makai. There are reports of the makai fire possibly starting from sparks during repair of macadamia equipment in the field and possibly an arsonist starting the mauka fire. Rewards for clues may soon be offered through Crimestoppers.
      There is also the question of how much of the fire traveled through gulches and how much jumped from tree to tree and through open grassy areas.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION holds a candidate forum at the community center Friday at 5 p.m. Candidates invited are Maile David, Brenda Ford, Lee McIntosh and Bradley Westervelt, who are running for County Council District 6 and Lincoln Ashida, Paul Dolan and Mitch Roth, who are running for prosecuting attorney. Call 939-7033 for more information about the forum.

Motorcycle teams will join in the procession down Hwy 11 Saturday at
11 a.m. in Na`alehu. Photo by Julia Neal
INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE IN NA`ALEHU is this Saturday, June 30 along Hwy 11 at 11 a.m. Organizer Debra McIntosh said that entries include political candidates – with one of them riding a horse.
      The Pahala Fire Department and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park will bring their trucks. Other participants include businesses, church groups, county marching band, Summer Fun, the Kama`aina Choo Choo Train, Ka`u School of the Arts, Halo Riders Motorcycle Ministry and Ka`u Hospital.

Pa`u riders will represent the islands at Na`alehu's
Independence Day parade. Photo by Julia Neal
      About 20 horses bedecked in lei will represent the islands with riders in traditional Hawaiian costumes.
      Elected officials include Brittany Smart and Denny Coffman, who are running for state House in Ka`u; Brenda Ford, who is running for County Council in Ka`u; and Dominic Yagong, who is running for mayor. Mayoral candidate Harry Kim will also participate. Other political candidates include Lee McIntosh, Fred Fogel, Charles Collins, Gary Safarik, Kawika Crowley, Marlene Hapai, Wendell Ka`ehu`ae`a, Maile David, Bradley Westervelt, Michael Gillespie, Leolani Oyama, Jeff LaFrance, Mike Last, Daniel Cunningham, Rafael Del Castillo, Dave Bateman, Mitch Roth, Tom Baker, Paul Dolan, Richard Onishi and Lincoln Ashida.
      Additional entries can call Debra or Lee McIntosh at 929-9872.

Sen. Josh Green
DISTRICT 3 STATE SENATOR JOSH GREEN will be walking door-to-door and informally talking story for several hours in and around Na`alehu on Sunday, July 1. Sen. Green currently represents West Hawai`i residents from beyond Hawi to just before Ocean View, and will represent residents from just before Kona International Airport to Honu`apo, should he win the election. Sen. Green said he’ll have signs, banners, and bumper stickers for anyone who asks. “I’m very excited to have this return to my roots from 2000 to 2004 when I was the clinic doctor in Ka`u.”
      Green is the only Democratic candidate running for the state Senate District 3 seat against nonpartisan Michael Last and Republicans Jeff LaFrance and John Totten. Anyone needing to reach Sen. Green can call 937-0991.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs June 26, 2012

Hawksbill Sea Turtle Recovery Project manager Lauren Kurpita and The Nature Conservancy resource manager Shalan Crysdale inspect Kamehame this morning. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
KA`U COFFEE FARMERS planned to irrigate and rinse off trees this morning, following a week of flames, smoke and ash, with help from Wally Andrade's water truck, organized by coffee lands manager Chris Manfredi. According to Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative president Gloria Camba, the trees will be handled gingerly to see which ones will be able to recover and become strong and productive. Severely damaged trees, which could die or come back as weak and diseased, may be cut later, but for now the farmers will hope for the best.
Damage to world famous Ka`u Coffee farms made headlines statewide and
was filmed for network television and Big Island Video News by Lynn
Beittel, who talks with Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative president
Gloria Camba. See bigislandvideonews.com  Photo by William Neal
      Scot C. Nelson, of the University of Hawai`i Department of Plant & Environmental Protection, wrote to Camba with the following recommendation for farmers with trees damaged by the fires:
      “Scrape off a very small section of the charred bark and see if there is a pale, moist layer preserved below. If it’s whitish, pink or pale green, that’s a good sign; if it’s yellow, orange or brown, it’s probably damaged.
      “If 60 percent or more circumference of the trunk is uninjured, the tree is a good candidate for preservation. Trees damaged more seriously than this may recover, but they are more likely to be unstable and subject to attack by insects and diseases. Smaller trees are more sensitive than larger trees.
      “Hire a consulting arborist or forester to do evaluations of trees and develop recovery plans.
      “Delay all pruning except safety pruning. It can take a long time for some trees to re-sprout. In a year, it will be much easier to evaluate which parts are dead and which are alive.
      “Continue to irrigate the trees, but after the soil is rewetted, the trees won’t need as much water as they previously required.
      “Don’t cut down trees just because they ‘look dead.’ Left alone, many trees will survive and even flourish.”
      Manfredi, who represents the land managing company Ka`u Farm and Ranch and WWK Hawai`i-Moa`ula, LLC, the hui subdividing the coffee farms at Moa`ula and Pear Tree, said some of the burned lands not already in production may provide an opportunity to plant more coffee trees. When asked about more help for the farmers, Manfredi said, “The scope and depth of my assistance to the coffee farmers and the industry as a whole is incalculable at this time. This is a sad tragedy. While some farms were severely impacted, others were untouched. By working together, we will fully recover. I expect that we will also take advantage of the cleared land to expand farms.”
      See a detailed feature story on the fire at bigislandvideonews.com.

Dust storm with ash and smoke blew through farms and ranches yesterday between Na`alehu and Pahala.
Photo by Julia Neal

RED, BROWN AND BLACK DUST, smoke, soot and ash blew from the Ka`u desert across Hwy 11 in several places yesterday, reaching ranches, farms and clusters of homes along the old sugar cane haul road between Pahala and Na`alehu. Makanau and the other table top and distinctive points like Caterpillar Hill stood as mere outlines in reddish sky that seemed to rain mud on the landscape.
      During the dust storm, however, no precipitation came to the home of Phil and Merle Becker, of Aikane Plantation Coffee Co. farm. They said their land, house and farm buildings are covered in soot, and closing windows could not keep out the ash and dirt. Phil Becker said, “Our coffee is safe and undamaged compared to many other coffee farmers who have worked so hard to make a good product and Ka`u Coffee the best in the world. Our hearts go out to the farmers with their losses.”
      In Pahala, some people returned to shutting their windows and turning on air cleaners usually used for vog events as the smell of smoke and a light haze drifted into the village. This morning the air was clear.

Turtle tracks likely lead to a nest at Kamehame
this morning, where the preserve was found free
of fire damage. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
HAWKSBILL SEA TURTLE RECOVERY PROJECT manager Lauren Kurpita, along with The Nature Conservancy resource manager Shalan Crysdale, visited Kamehame this morning to check on turtle nests. They found turtle tracks in the black sand and the preserve unharmed, with no evidence of fire, smoke or ash damage from the weeklong fire that still smolders with hot spots mauka of the preserve. Fire engines were headed makai from Hwy 11 at about 9 a.m. The Turtle Project plans to soon bring in volunteers who watch over the turtle nesting beach each season, Kurpita said. 

DENNY COFFMAN, state House of Representative candidate, came through Ka`u yesterday in his campaign to win votes from citizens from Honu`apo to Kona Airport. Coffman is the incumbent in Kona and also chairs the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection, a position left by Mina Morita when she became chair of the Public Utilities Commission. His new, expanded district includes a big section of Ka`u. The other House district will represent citizens from Punalu`u through Volcano into Puna.
Denny Coffman Photo by
William Neal
      Regarding Hawai`i’s reliance on fossil fuel and soaring electric rates, Coffman said his approach is that alternative energies must make electric bills less expensive for Hawai`i residents. He said, “We have no choice but to support geothermal” as a solution for firm, affordable electricity for homes and businesses, as well as economic development. He described Hawaiian Electric Co. on O`ahu, Maui Electric Co. on Maui, Lana`i and Moloka`i and Hawai`i Electric Light Co. on the Big Island as “not good citizens.” He said they are attempting to push back on truly renewable energies and come up with such alternatives as biofuel to keep operating their old, oil burning plants where their money was invested.
      Coffman completed a career in information technology for financial institutions and business management. He has also been a weekend homebuilder. Coffman said the Legislature can put more money into water systems for agriculture and food sustainability. “These programs need more focus to make sure the funding goes to the right areas.” Speaking of campaigns to better Hawai`i, he said he believes in “putting money where our mouth is. You can’t just say it. You have to go through with it.” See more at www.dennycoffman.org, and read about all the candidates everyday on kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com until two days before primary election day, which is Saturday, Aug. 11.

KALAEKILOHANA BED & BREAKFAST will become a five-bedroom lodge with certified kitchen. The application by owners Kenny Joyce and Kilohana Domingo to expand their operation has been approved by the Windward Planning Commission. The expansion allows them to serve lunch and dinner, as well as breakfast, to a maximum of 15 registered guests, “so the guests can avoid long travel times and driving at night on unfamiliar roads,” states Commission chair Zendo Kern’s approval letter. The lodge on South Point Road will also be able to hold community and private events once a month with a maximum of 75 guests.

ELIZABETH PICKETT, executive director of Hawai`i Wildfire Management Organization, offers a presentation that describes what residents and communities can do to prepare for wildfire at After Dark in the Park tonight at 7 p.m. Based on the Ready, Set, Go! program, the presentation takes place at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Two-dollar donations support park programs; park entrance fees apply. Call 985-6011 for more information. 

FEATHER KAHILI MAKING is the topic during a free program given by rangers Jaeneise Cuison and Keoki Wells tomorrow on the lanai of Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Park entrance fees apply.

CANDIDATES FOR COUNTY COUNCIL District 6 and Prosecuting Attorney meet the public at Ocean View Community Center Friday at 7 p.m. County Council District 6 candidates are Maile David, Brenda Ford, Lee McIntosh and Bradley Westervelt. Prosecuting Attorney candidates are Lincoln Ashida, Paul Dolan and Mitch Roth. Call 939-7033 for more information about the forum.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs June 25, 2012

Strong tradewinds lifted dust and ash yesteray from burnt areas makai of Pahala, carrying it across Hwy 11
into mauka residential and agricultural areas as firefighters looked for flareups. Photo by Ron Johnson
Lorna Jeyte and friend with Mazie Hirono in Volcano
yesterday. Photo by William Neal
ED CASE AND MAZIE HIRONO brought their campaigns to the Big Island with both candidates describing their differences at public meetings. Last Thursday, Case workers threw a party at Aunty Sally’s Lu`au House in Hilo, and yesterday Hirono spoke to supporters in a meeting room at Kilauea Lodge. Hirono said she has the experience in Congress to work across party lines and distinguished herself from Case by saying she would have voted against the Iraq war, while Case said he would have voted for it, given the information available at the time. Hirono noted that the National Democratic Party endorses her and has sent her around the country with other women senatorial contenders as they try to fend off a Republican effort to win four more seats to take over the Senate. Hirono said she voted against extending the Bush tax cuts while Case voted for it.
Ed Case and his wife Audrey greeted the public in Hilo
Thursday. Photo by Julia Neal
      Whether Hirono could beat former Gov. Linda Lingle is a question Case supporters brought up at his party, noting that Lingle has defeated Hirono in the past. With Case seen as a centrist Democrat and sometimes as a “Republican in disguise,” he could beat Lingle, his supporters contend. Hirono said that electing Case would be electing someone who works outside the Democratic Party. She also said she is the best candidate to protect Social Security, health care and to stimulate the economy through research and development on food and energy sustainability and other programs. Case noted his many community meetings during his term in Congress when he often returned to Ka`u and met with the public, taking down individuals’ concerns and getting back to them. Hirono said she also works on many issues brought to her by individual citizens as the sitting Congresswoman. The primary election is Aug. 11.

THE BATTLE WILL BE CLOSE as eight candidates compete to represent Congressional District 2, according to political scientist Neil Miner, quoted in this morning’s Honolulu Star Advertiser. The District covers all of Ka`u and Volcano as well as all Neighbor Islands and rural O`ahu. Candidates from the Big Island are Democrat Bob Marx and Republican Kawika Crowley, both of Hilo. The other Republican in the race is Matt DiGeronimo, a retired Naval officer and financier on O`ahu. The other Democrats are former Office of Hawaiian Affairs advocate Esther Kia`aina of Nanakuli, Honolulu attorney Rafael del Castillo and Miles Shiratori of Kane`ohe, as well as the two candidates leading in the polls, who live on O`ahu. They are former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann and Honolulu County Council member Tulsi Gabbard. The polls show them neck and neck, with Hannemann raising the most money and Gabbard coming from behind with a strong surge over the last month. Hannemann is running on his record, his education and experience in business and government, while Gabbard is running on the idea that Hawai`i needs fresh ideas. She also touts her military and community service background.

Marlene Hapai, candidate for District 3 state Representative, met with
Ka`u residents in Pahala yesterday. Photo by Ron Johnson
STATE REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 3 candidate Marlene Hapai visited Pahala yesterday, bringing her message of “Putting People First.” She talked about her “dreams for our district and our state,” including economic recovery and jobs, improved educational opportunities, increased agricultural opportunities and addressing important health and safety issues. Hapai said she plans to engage the community in determining its wants and needs in the way of jobs. She also said she wants to make higher education more affordable and accessible by “bringing the campus to the people.” Greater collaboration of various agricultural groups could lead to an increase in federal dollars for state ag programs, she said. Improving highway safety and vog monitoring are also on her agenda. 
      Residents brought up concerns about basic services during the meeting. One resident mentioned the lack of public restrooms in Pahala, noting that, when recent fires closed Ka`u Hospital, there were no public facilities available.
      Another resident questioned limited hours at the transfer station.
      When a resident brought up publicity that recent fires brought to Pahala, which “nobody thinks about,” Hapai responded, “Maybe this is a good opportunity” to bring attention to the area.

THE SHAKA “may be disappearing on Hawai`i’s roads as a way to say thanks to a courteous driver,” according to a Dan Nakasone story in this morning’s Honolulu Star Advertiser. The story refers to a survey by QMark Research in Honolulu, showing 76 percent of respondents preferring a simple wave of the hand instead of the shaka to show gratitude toward another driver. The survey was conducted as part of the new campaign Take the HI Road, sponsored by First Insurance Co. of Hawai`i and online at www.ficoh.com/takethehiroad
      The campaign includes an effort to save the shaka. According to the First Insurance statement, “All of us need to make driver courtesy a priority in order to improve safety and traffic flow on our roadways. In short, how we drive matters. When we’re courteous to other drivers, chances are they’ll return the courtesy and spread the goodwill to others. Imagine how much time courteous driving will shave off our commutes and how much better we’ll feel when we get to our destinations.”
      The survey showed 55 percent of respondents thinking drivers in Hawai`i are less courteous than they were five years ago, particularly on O`ahu, where 58 percent said drivers are less courteous than five years ago, compared with 49 percent on Neighbor Islands.
      The survey showed, however, that 89 percent either strongly or somewhat agreed with the following: “If I show someone courtesy on the road, they are more likely to be courteous to someone else.”
      According to the Nakasone story, First Insurance “hopes to make courtesy on Hawai`i’s roads infectious.” First Insurance employees will carry signs that say “Drive with Courtesy,” “Bring Back the Wave” and “No Need to Speed” to emphasize the importance of courteous driving — hoping that drivers spread the message through social media. The survey also shows drivers upset about being cut off, lack of turn signal use and discourteous driving habits.

Miloli`i Lawai`a `Ohana Camp takes place this week.
MILOLI`I LAWAI`A `OHANA CAMP, sponsored by Pa`a Pono Miloli`i in conjunction with Conservation International and the Hawai`i Fish Trust, begins Wednesday. Held at Miloli`i Beach Park, it is for three nights and four days and concludes Saturday. Camp coordinators Kaimi Kaupiko and Lei Kaupu will focus on three species which they feel are paramount to preserving Miloli`i’s resources: pakukui, opihi, and limu. Students will experience a biological fish monitoring project, mo`olelo - stories about the three species, hula, fish alkaline pond restoration - a hike to Honomalino Bay, cross net demonstration and a community lu`au for everyone. For more information, contact: Kaimi Kaupiko at 937-1310 or 
Lei Kaupu at kainoa_12@hotmail.com.

Participants are invited to make feather kahili at
a free program Wednesday. Photo from NPS
KA`U RESIDENTS interested in learning how to prepare for wildfires are invited to After Dark in the Park tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Elizabeth Pickett, executive director of Hawai`i Wildfire Management Organization, offers a presentation based on the Ready, Set, Go! program. Two-dollar donations support park programs, and park entrance fees apply. Call 985-6011 for more information. 

HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK rangers Jaeneise Cuison and Keoki Wells demonstrate the art of making feather kahili during a free program Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the lanai at Kilauea Visitor Center. Park entrance fees apply.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs June 24, 2012

Brown smoke from the fire and dust at dusk blows across the Ka`u Desert, in clear view from Honu`apo Lookout.
Photo by Julia Neal
PAHALA FIRES PUFFED along the coastal plain yesterday evening, with winds blowing a stream of brown smoke toward Pahala village. Last week makai fires burned more than 4,800 acres of macadamia, pasture and wildlands and are proclaimed more than 60 percent contained. The mauka fire burned through more than 400 acres of eucalyptus, pasture and into some Ka`u Coffee farms at Pear Tree. It is assessed as 95 percent contained, with firefighters still stamping out hot spots.
Hwy 11 state road sign at Kamani Street entrance to Pahala melted.
      Firefighters from the county, volunteer units and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park still hold the fires in check with firebreaks and dousing hot spots. While makai fires meander through remote wildlands on their own, rains Friday and Saturday and some possible sprinklings today help calm them. Lack of wind helps prevent flare-ups.
      Wildlife workers plan to visit Kamehame Preserve early this week. Owned by The Nature Conservancy, the 26-acre beachfront makai of Pahala is a nesting place for endangered hawksbill turtles and is makai of the smoke and ash, as well as fires still traveling toward the coast.
Fire jumped the road and burned into Ka`u Hospital's lawn next to houses and coffee trees along Hwy 11.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Owners of property damaged by the fires include ML Macadamia with its orchards, State of Hawai`i with Hwy 11 and Ka`u Hospital, Kamehameha Schools with eucalyptus farms and WWK Hawai`i-Moa`ula, LLC, where Ka`u Coffee farmers grow their famous brand of beans and some 2,000 acres are planned for subdivision.
Pa`au`au Gulch from Hwy 11 looking makai, where fire still travels
toward Kamehame. Photo by Julia Neal
      No lives or buildings were lost to the fires that started last Monday morning after a night and day of strong winds. There is some concern that ignition came from an arsonist. Investigations are underway.

PREGNANCY RATES AMONG TEENS are dropping in Hawai`i County, mirroring a trend nationwide, according to an article yesterday in Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. The Colin Stewart story reports that 2.5 percent of girls 15 to 17 years of age became pregnant in 2010, a drop from 3.5 percent a little more than a decade ago. Nationally, rates have been higher than in Hawai`i, but dropping from 5.2 percent in 2000 to four percent in 2008. The reason for fewer teen pregnancies? Perhaps the recession and more education. The story reports state adolescent health coordinator Noella Kong saying, “If you look back at the early ’90s, there was not that much of a concentration on teen pregnancy prevention way back then…. From about ’95 on, federal administrations started putting more effort in teen pregnancy prevention grants to the state, and we believe that has helped tremendously.” Kong pointed to the Hawai`i County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office’s new program to help spread awareness about pregnancy prevention among teens.
      The Tribune-Herald story says health officials are concerned about higher rates of teen pregnancy among native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and quotes the 2011 Hawai`i County Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System: “Teen mothers are more likely to drop out of school, remain unmarried and live in poverty. Their children are more likely to be born at low birth weight, grow up poor, live in single-parent households, experience abuse and neglect, enter the child welfare system, become teen parents and be incarcerated.”

MILOLI`I EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM has received a grant from the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation to help with start-up costs and to purchase emergency supplies for the community. Miloli`i is one of 24 Community Emergency Response Teams on Hawai`i Island supporting their communities in the event of an emergency situation.
       Dennis Kent, Miloli`i Emergency Response Team volunteer, noted, “A & B has shown a real commitment to improving one of the most remote communities in Hawai’i. We truly thank them for helping protect our people and preserving our way of life.”
       More information on Miloli`i CERT can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/miloliicertsite. More on the A&B Foundation can be found at http://www.alexanderbaldwinfoundation.org.

Participants begin last year's Rain Forest Runs. Photos from Volcano Art Center
VOLCANO ART CENTER’S Rain Forest Runs made a push into Kona yesterday as volunteers from Ka`u and Volcano joined the Kona Marathon Expo to help bring runners to the annual event on this side of the island.
Race director Sharron Faff at last year's Rain Forest Runs.
       On the grounds of the Keauhou Beach Resort, Volcano Art Center board members took registrations for the Rain Forest Runs while other volunteers, including race director Sharron Faff and Charlene and Amos Meyers, worked alongside Kona Marathon volunteers who will help with the 5K, 10K and half marathon races on this side of the island August 18. For more on the Rain Forest Runs, see volcanoartcenter.org

PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER Robert Frutos leads a four-hour photo tour of wildlife and natural features in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The tour begins at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village then continues on to the national park for easy walking and photography. $125 or $95 for VAC members and kama`aina. Sign up at 967-8222.

HAWAI`I ISLAND: IN THE LINE OF FIRE is the timely topic at After Dark in the Park Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Elizabeth Pickett, executive director of Hawai`i Wildfire Management Organization, offers a presentation based on the Ready, Set, Go! program that describes what residents and communities can do to prepare for wildfire. Two-dollar donations support park programs; park entrance fees apply. Call 985-6011 for more information.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs June 23, 2012

Ka`u Coffee farmer Godofredo Miranda surveys trees with burnt leaves and green beans as Ka`u Coffee Growers
Cooperative president Gloria Camba assesses damage. Photo by William Neal
WAS THE PAHALA FIRE started by someone last Monday? This is a major question by fire investigators, landowners, farmers and ranchers, as trees still smolder, the fire still travels makai of the village and residents hope that winds stay calm and avoid another flare-up. Some residents talked about putting together funding for Crimestoppers to give a reward for turning in evidence. Others talk about keeping gulches clean near agriculture and residential areas.
Gloria Camba examines healthy green coffee beans among
singed leaves. Photo by William Neal
      Coffee farmers are looking for help to repair their farms, and ML Macadamia, LLC is looking at heavy losses with as much as total loss on some 150 acres of trees makai of Hwy 11, plus huge costs in rebuilding irrigation systems after pipes and tubing melted in the flames.
      Gloria Camba, Ka`u Coffee farmer and president of Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative, traveled to the farm of Godofredo Miranda yesterday and saw green coffee beans in the midst of brown and blackened, singed leaves. She said she was told that as long as the branches of the trees are more yellow than brown, “they should make it.” Farmers were offered help from Rep. Bob Herkes, the county and Ka`u Coffee Mill founder Edmund C. Olson.
Norfolk pine windbreaks for coffee farms were singed by
the fire. Photo by William Neal
      Conservationists are planning to visit the coastal area makai of the fires early next week to assess possible damage to the Kamehame Preserve.
      Hawai`i County Fire Department reports that the mauka fire is 95 percent contained and under control, while the makai fires are 60 percent contained. Pahala Fire Captain Shawn Hayashida told Hawai`i Tribune-Herald that it was expected to burn itself out. He said it would be unlikely that the fire would be more than 60 percent contained because of the difficulty in reaching some areas to create a fire break.

Trees still smoldered Friday at Pear Tree.
Photo by William Neal
DANIEL ORODENKER has been named executive officer of the state’s Land Use Commission, which is responsible for preserving and protecting Hawai`i’s lands and encouraging those uses to which lands are best suited. Orodenker represents the state’s interests and concerns in decisions about land use. He has a law background, has held a variety of government positions and has experience in nonprofits and environmental organizations, including The Nature Conservancy. Orodenker said his first focus will be “to improve communications on all issues, and to ensure that all viewpoints are fairly represented to the Commission.”

Ua Alencastre-Galimba with her Grand Champion 4-H steer.
UA ALENCASTRE-GALIMBA, OF KUAHIWI RANCH, won top honors with her Grand Champion 4-H steer at last Saturday’s Hawai`i County Livestock Show at Mealani Research Station in Waimea. About a dozen 4-H members from Ka`u participated, including Kaile Aickin, McKella Akana, Grant Galimba, Gavin Galimba, Brandi Hashimoto, Donald Mello-Waiwai`ole, Kaleo Mello-Waiwai`ole, Keani Mello-Waiwai`ole, Leah Mello-Waiwai`ole and Shavon Mello-Waiwai`ole. Club Leader is Guy Galimba.
      4-H strives to help young people “make the best better” through programs that emphasize learning by doing. Approximately 35,000 young people participate in its varied programs annually throughout the state of Hawai`i. To learn more, visit ctahr.hawaii.edu/4H.

A FEMALE NENE GOOSE died Tuesday evening after being struck by a vehicle on Chain of Craters Road near Pauahi Crater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Her mate of 13 years escaped unharmed, but remains in the area. The female, known as Green DU, was hatched in captivity in the park in December 1991 and released in March 1992. She was a consistent breeder who successfully raised 24 goslings. Green DU was what wildlife biologists call a rare “double-clutch” breeder who once reared two goslings to fledglings and then re-nested and raised an additional four goslings in a single breeding season.
Motorists are cautioned to watch out for nene. A male lost his mate when
she was hit by a car Tuesday. Photo from Jessica Ferracane/NPS
      “It is a shame that a nene with such a long and productive life had to die so tragically,” said Dr. Rhonda Loh, the park’s chief of resource management.
      Nene are quite active in the late evening and early morning, and their grayish coloring makes them difficult to see during those hours. Park officials urge motorists to slow down and watch out for the endemic and federally endangered nene while driving and also caution visitors not to feed geese because birds seeking handouts fall prey to oncoming vehicles.

BIG ISLAND BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION invites raw honey producers to participate in the third annual Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge to be held in November. The Challenge showcases the quality of unprocessed, unfiltered honey produced by local beekeepers statewide and consists of a formal judging and a public tasting. Top scorers by category in the formal judging receive awards, and in the public tasting people vote for their favorite, which wins the People’s Choice award. The complete Challenge invitation is posted at http://bibahawaiibees.org. For more information, contact Pattie Rechtman at 990-4943 or pattier@aol.com.

MARLENE HAPAI, candidate for state House District 3, visits Pahala tomorrow at Holy Rosary Catholic Church from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The public is invited to hear her speak and share their concerns for the area. Refreshments will be served.