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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 31, 2012

New boaters must now take classes and pass an exam in order to operate boats with engines larger than ten horsepower.
Photo from edhiker on Flickr
SEASONED BOATERS will be able to take equivalency exams instead of safety courses in order to captain those boats that have engines larger than ten horsepower. The state Board of Land and Natural Resources approved the measure on Friday in Honolulu along with a new rule that requires new boaters to take classes and pass an exam. 
      BLNR Chair William Aila said that more crowding on the ocean and a need to understand appropriate behavior around protected marine life prompted the rule change. He noted more fatal accidents in the ocean in recent years and boat groundings that damage reefs. “The department is working diligently to create an education requirement that improves safety for the entire ocean-use community yet is simple and reasonable for all boaters to comply with,” said Aila. 
     Online courses certified through the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators provide up to four hours of instruction. Some are free and some cost money. Other sources for classes include the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and local U.S. Power Squadron, which offer 12-hours of instruction.
      The new rule also prohibits anyone under the age of 16 from operating a boat without supervision by a certified boat operator of at least 21 years of age. Fines for breaking the rules will range from $50 to $1,000.

No boat thefts were reported in
Hawai`i in 2011.
Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
NO BOAT THEFTS IN KA`U OR THE REST OF HAWAI`I last year. That is the story from a national survey on stollen watercraft. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which released 2011 statistics on Monday, more than 6,000 boats were stolen in the United States. Hawai`i stood out as the only state with no reports of stollen boats. The reporting data used came from the National Crime Information Center database, which gathers information from the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
      Nationwide, the study showed 6,070 reports of stolen watercraft, a 9 percent decrease from 2010. Florida suffered 1,322 watercraft thefts, followed by California with 550, Texas with 437, Washington with 224 and North Carolina with 205. The most commonly reported stolen watercraft was the Jet-Ski. To prevent boat thefts, the organization recommends the following: Chain and lock detachable motors to the boat; do not leave title or registration papers in the craft; disable the craft by shutting fuel lines or removing batteries; use a trailer hitch lock after parking a boat on its trailer; install a kill switch in the ignition system.
      See more in theft prevention at nicb.org

PARENTS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS can weigh in through Aug. 17 on a new way to measure progress in Hawai`i’s public schools. The draft on the proposed accountability system can be read at hawaiidoe.org. Citizens can give their input online.
      According to the state Department of education, the new management structure would:
 •Support ongoing efforts to raise expectations for students and better support educators;
• More accurately and fairly identify schools’ strengths and areas for improvement;
• Target interventions and support strategies to reward high-performing schools and address areas for school improvement;
• Support effective instruction and leadership; and
• Be implemented for school year 2013-14.
      Under the new plan, labeling schools with “restructuring” and other titles under Race to the Top would be fazed out.

Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park U.S. Mint quarter.
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES inspired the U.S. Mint to issue a new 25 cent silver coin to be unveiled at a ceremony at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on Aug. 29. The Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park quarter depicts an eruption on the east rift of Kilauea Volcano. It was both designed and sculpted by Charles L. Vickers.
      The ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the hula platform, just south of the Kilauea Visitor Center.
      A coin forum is scheduled for the evening prior to the ceremony. A coin exchange will take place after the ceremony with attendees swapping cash for rolls of the new quarters at face value.
      The Hawai`i Volcanoes event is one in a series of America the Beautiful Quarter releases and the U.S. Mint and the National Park Service will co-host the ceremony. The Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park quarter is the fourteenth issued in the America the Beautiful Quarters series and the fourth in 2012. Beginning on Aug. 27, 2012, Philadelphia and Denver minted Hawai`i quarters will be available in bags and rolls directly from the U.S. Mint at http://www.usmint.gov. That is the same day the quarter is set to enter circulation.

A FATAL CRASH ON SOUTH POINT ROAD has led police to ask for information about the cause of the accident about 5.5 miles south of Kamaoa Road. The 25-year-old victim from Hilo was driving a 2001 Mercury sedan and was driving without a seatbelt mauka when he lost control, and crashed into a utility pole. The car overturned several times. He was airlifted to Kona Community Hospital. The accident happened after 8 a.m., July 23. The young man died at 9:25 a.m. this Sunday, July 29. Anyone with information on the victim and the circumstances of the crash can call Police Officer Larry Flowers at 326-4646, extension 229.

WALK-IN EARLY VOTING FOR THE PRIMARY ELECTION began yesterday on all islands with the exception of Lana`i and Ni`iahu. On the Big Island, the state elections division will no longer host early voting at Pahala Community Center. Registered voters can stop in with a valid photo ID between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Hilo Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi St.; West Hawai`i Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Building G; or Waimea Community Center, 65-1260 Kawaihae Road, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

OCEAN VIEW FOOD BASKET is hosted today from noon to 2:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Call 939-7000 for more.

OCEAN VIEW NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH meets Thursday starting at 7 p.m. at the Community Center. Call 939-7033 for more.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 30, 2012

Ka`u High and Pahala Elementary School welcomed back students today to its large, uncrowded campus.
Photo by Julia Neal
TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND public school students are back to class today throughout the state.
      In Ka`u, Na`alehu School provides education to 420 students from kindergarten through sixth grade. At the helm is principal Darlene Javar and vice principal Karen Pare.
      Pahala Elementary School is teaching 154 students. Ka`u Intermediate is educating 135 students in grades 7 – 8. Ka`u High School is preparing 252 students for their futures. The principal for all three is Sharon Beck, assisted by vice principal Stacy Bello.
      Ka`u is unaffected by the statewide loss of some school bus routes. Elsewhere, some 2,000 students are making it to school without a school bus. About 1,000 of them will be able to go to school on city buses. For Ka`u, however, the school bus service will remain the same, and the Hele-On public bus service continues to provide after-school routes enabling student participation in sports and other activities.

TEACHERS ARE WORKING WITHOUT A CONTRACT. Those who teach full time belong to the Hawai`i State Teachers Association, and the union has urged them to return to work as union leaders attempt to go back to the bargaining table for a final settlement with the state Department of Education. Gov. Neil Abercrombie notified the teachers they could not use the contract they first rejected and then accepted in May and urged starting with a clean slate.

TSUNAMI CLEANUP GRANTS of up to $50,000 for each state are available from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Selected states are Hawai`i, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California. All of them face the Pacific, where debris from the Japan tsunami last year is expected to land. 
      NOAA has also launched an online reporting system and Marine Debris Handling Guide at http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/tsunamidebris/debris_handling.html.
      Nancy Wallace, director of NOAA’s marine debris program, said federal funds will help with disposal fees, cleanup supplies and dumpster rentals and that NOAA will help the states address contingency planning, monitoring and research.

Matson delivers cargo to Hawai`i. Photo from matson.com
MATSON AND PASHA may have to pay more for fuel, which could raise cargo shipping costs for Hawai`i. An EPA rule goes into effect this week requiring lower sulfur fuel content when ships travel within 200 miles of land. The state of Alaska has been aggressive in lobbying for relief from the new EPA ruling. The Alaska Economic Journal reports that fuel costs could go up 20 to 25 percent for the required “special blended diesel.” Some shippers are predicting an eight percent rise in shipping rates. They also contend that a larger quantity of fuel will be necessary to travel the same distances, as the low sulfur mix produces less energy. They also claim that engines will eventually have to be replaced or modified to handle the new fuel.
Pasha's Jean Anne Photo from
      Alaska is more affected by the new rule since ships travel close to land when sailing between large West Coast ports and Alaska. On their journey between Hawai`i and the mainland, however, shippers are allowed to switch to the higher sulfur fuel once they are 200 miles off the coast.

Four candidates are on the ballot for County
Council District 6.
THE PRIMARY ELECTION COMING UP IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS could end up in a number of run-offs. One of the County Council candidates - Brenda Ford, Maile Davis, Lee McIntosh or Bradley Westervelt - would have to receive 50 percent plus one vote to make the primary the determining election for District 6. With no clear majority, a run-off would be scheduled for the general election on Nov. 6. For the mayor’s race between incumbent Billy Kenoi, former mayor Harry Kim, County Council chair Dominic Yagong and candidates Share Christie, Daniel Cunningham, Anne Marsh and Rand Walls, the top two vote-getters will campaign for the win in the general.

EARLY VOTING FOR THE PRIMARY starts today in Hilo, Kona and Waimea, but no longer at Pahala Community Center. Voters can cast ballots at West Hawai`i Civic Center Community Room, Waimea Community Center and Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo through Thursday, Aug. 9 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., including Saturday, Aug. 4.

State lands in Ka`u are in light green, showing a large swath
next to Ocean View, the Wai`ohinu ahupua`a going to the
ocean, property near Punalu`u and the largest holding, the
Ka`u Forest Reserve.
THE NEW PUBLIC LAND DEVELOPMENT CORP. is starting to move on its mission to make more efficient and economic use of state lands. On the Big Island, the agency is proposing to take control of a kiawe forest and protect it. On O`ahu, it’s tidying up a lease for the golf course in Waimanalo. The agency is taking proposals from private developers to develop farmland in Ewa. 
      According to this morning’s Honolulu Star Advertiser, it is the director of the Public Land Development Corp. who is allowed to select projects for state land. The agency is tasked with increasing state revenues from land managed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Projects could include harbors, resorts, commercial centers and recreational centers. The Public Land Development Corp. is exempt from land use classification and zoning regulations. The Star Advertiser reported on an O`ahu public hearing last week where the Sierra Club protested the process and a historian said, “We don’t trust what you guys are up to,” and several Ewa residents said they would fight the development on farmland owned by the state.
      No lands have been proposed for development in Ka`u, although the state does own properties along the Ka`u Coast, including parcels adjacent to Punalu`u.

BEGINNERS ARE WELCOME to play Duplicate Bridge, tomorrow and every Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Contact Pat at 375-6271 or Susan at 375-6821 or stbrown@hawaii.edu for more information. 


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 29, 2012

A report from North Hawai`i Outcomes Project shows Ka`u as the district with the highest poverty rates on the island, contributing to health challenges.
THE HEALTH PROFILE OF HAWAI`I COUNTY has improved by some measures and worsened by others, according to the recently released 2012 Community Health Profile Report. 
      The report, which can be read online at nhop.org, was put together by the North Hawai`i Outcomes Project and leads with the saying, “Community health is profoundly affected by the behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs of everyone who lives in the community.” It also says poverty contributes to health challenges and shows Ka`u as the district with the highest poverty rates on the island.
Chart from North Hawai`i Outcomes Project
shows factors that determine health.
      The study shows that confirmed child abuse cases are decreasing. Traffic deaths dropped by half during the last decade. However, diabetes rates doubled statewide, and suicide rates in this county increased, the study says. Project director, Dr. Sharon Vitousek, said that suicide rates are 20.7 deaths per 100,000 Big Island residents. This far exceeds the statewide average of 12.8 per 100,000 and slightly exceeds the nationwide average of 20 per 100,000.
      The study ties higher suicide rate on the neighbor islands to economic challenges, with 50 to 70 percent tied to alcohol, drugs and depression. The 2005 rate for suicide in Hawai`i County was five per 100,000 residents.
      Diabetes continues to be a problem, and the lack of primary care physicians may mean that some people are not getting diagnoses of diabetes early, leading to a higher rate of people being hospitalized for diabetes than in other counties. Ten percent of Big Islanders have reported a diagnosis of diabetes.
      The overall population of Hawai`i County is shown to be less healthy than the overall state, attributing the problem to “lower income per capita, more income disparity, higher smoking and binge drinking rates, higher obesity rates and significantly lower access to healthcare.”
      It suggests public policy interventions to improve education; economic development of education, science, energy and health sectors; and workforce development of the same sectors.

Ed Case
Photo by William Neal
ENDORSEMENTS FOR U.S. SENATE candidates are building. 
      Ed Case recently won the endorsement of West Hawai`i Today and also Maui News and the University of Hawai`i Professional Assembly, as well as Elevator Constructors Local 126 and Veterans in Politics International. 
Mazie Hirono
Photo by William Neal
      Mazie Hirono last week received the endorsement of U.S. House Rep. Don Young, a Republican from Alaska, drawing criticism from his party and from Hawai`i Republican senatorial candidate Linda Lingle. Hirono also has endorsements from the Honolulu Star Advertiser, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Ocean Champions, Women’s Campaign Fund and numerous unions, including AFL-CIO, Hawai`i Laborers Union, Hawai`i Government Employees Association, Hawai`i State Teachers Association, Hawai`i Firefighters Association, United Public Workers and International Longshore & Warehouse Union.
Linda Lingle supporters marched in a Fourth of July Parade.
Photo by William Neal
Linda Lingle has been endorsed by U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hawai`i Restaurant Association, State of Hawai`i Organization of Police Officers and Honolulu Fire Department Retirees. 

THE STEERING COMMITTEE of the Ka`u Agricultural Water Cooperative District is moving forward, with its subgroups coming up with articles and bylaws for managing water systems for crop and orchard irrigation and livestock. Dennis Horita, of Honolulu, is expected to send a crew soon to survey the tunnels and waterways from the old plantation water system between Kapapala, Na`alehu and Wai`ohinu. The water sources have such names as Ali`i Springs, Ha`ao Springs and Noguchi Tunnel.
      During the July meeting, the Moa`ula group members reported that they were awaiting legal review of their articles and bylaws. The Ha`ao group reported their articles and bylaws are ready for review.
       Melanie Bondera, of the Kohala Center, offered advice and direction on organizing co-ops. She shared water rules and membership agreements developed by the East Kauai Water Users’ Cooperative as examples for the regional entities. She presented a sample irrigation survey that could be distributed to members and prospective members to measure interest in the organization and willingness to contribute with time and/or finances.
       The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 9 at 4 p.m. at the ML Mac Nut Field Office. For more information, contact Jeff McCall at 928-6456.

Bradley Westervelt
COUNTY COUNCIL CANDIDATE BRADLEY WESTERVELT held two talk story events in Ka`u yesterday. He reports “a rising tide of support,” with the events being well attended. He said supporters are looking for a candidate “who is not a bureaucrat or career politician.” Among the topics discussed were the county’s landfill issue and residents’ visions of sustainability. Sustainability is one of Westervelt’s key platform topics. “We must prioritize resources toward sustainability for our economy, our environment and most importantly, the people,” he says on his website. He co-authored Resolution 167-11, the sustainable habitat resolution calling upon Public Works to create an owner option alternative building code for supporting structures on ag-zoned parcels, which passed County Council in last September. He is director and treasurer of Hawai`i Sustainable Communities Alliance. See more at bradwestervelt.com.

EARLY ABSENTEE WALK-IN VOTING begins tomorrow and runs through Thursday, Aug. 9 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include Saturday, Aug. 4. The ballot includes choices for a new County Council member, mayor, state senator and representative and U.S. senator and representative. Pahala Community Center walk-in early voting has been cancelled. Voters can cast ballots at West Hawai`i Civic Center Community Room, Waimea Community Center and Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo. Absentee voting can also be done by mail. 

SOUTHSIDE ALATEEN MEETS tomorrow and every Monday at 7 p.m. at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View. The meetings for teenagers who are affected by family members’ heavy drinking provide a safe place to talk and share experiences. For more information, call Sandy at 557-9847.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 28, 2012

The Primary Election on Aug. 11 will determine the new County Council member, two state senators and two state representatives for Ka`u.  Photo from University of Hawai`i.
COUNTY CLERK JAMAE KAWAUCHI flew to Honolulu Thursday to meet with the state Attorney General regarding the island’s voter registry. According to the Nancy Cook Lauer story in West Hawai`i Today this morning, she told the newspaper, “Based upon my review of the County of Hawai`i voter registry, I found some things I thought should be investigated further, so I contacted the state Office of Elections…. I also met with the state Attorney General’s office.” 
      The story says she asked the AG to “help sort out apparent discrepancies in the county voter registration” after she shut down the voter registration office for a full day last Monday to conduct an audit.
      At least one County Council member has weighed in. According to the Cook Lauer story, council member Dennis Onishi wrote to state chief elections officer Scott Nago requesting that the state assume management of the upcoming Aug. 11 primary election in Hawai`i County. Onishi’s letter, obtained by West Hawai`i Today, says: “I must strongly insist that the state Office of Elections take all control of the operations for the coming elections…. This has put the integrity of the Election Office in shambles. Now, who can say this coming Primary Elections will be fair and open? I feel that transparency of fair and open elections has been lost.”
      Kawauchi was nominated and approved as County Clerk by the County Council majority chaired by Dominic Yagong, who is running for mayor against incumbent Billy Kenoi. Kawauchi declined to comment on whether she thinks Onishi’s characterization of her review of the voter registry is political, according to West Hawai`i Today.
      The newspaper quoted her: “The public is the priority. The Office of the County Clerk wants the public to know we are doing everything we can to make sure that our county has a fair and well-run election,” Kawauchi said, “We will keep the public informed as appropriate.”

Unemployment has gone down during the last two years.
A LOW UNEMPLOYMENT RATE for Hawai`i continues to register in national statistics. The state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced yesterday that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June in Hawai`i was 6.4 percent, a 0.1 percentage point increase from 6.3 percent in May. 
      Statewide, there were 607,800 employed and 41,500 unemployed in June, for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 649,350. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, the same as in May.
      Initial claims were down 6.1 percent, and weeks claimed were down by 7.8 percent compared to one year ago. Initial claims rose by 4.2 percent, and weeks claimed grew by 1.7 percent in June compared to May.
      The unemployment rate figures for the State of Hawai`i and the U.S. are seasonally adjusted, in accordance with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics methodology. The not-seasonally adjusted rate for the state increased to 7.1 percent in June from 6.3 percent in May.
      In a separate measure of employment, total seasonally adjusted nonagricultural jobs decreased by 1,800 jobs over-the-month.
      Within industry sectors, job gains were experienced in Other Services (+600) and Construction (+100). Employment in Manufacturing, Financial Activities, and Leisure & Hospitality remained stable.
      Job losses occurred in Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (-200), Professional & Business Services (-200), and Education & Health Services (-1,000).
      The decrease in Education & Health Services was primarily concentrated in Health Services, as Social Assistance employment (childcare and individual & family services programs) has shifted downward in May-June due to the recent years’ changes in the public school schedule.
      Government jobs contracted by 500 over-the-month, with the bulk of the decline attributed to a drop in hourly workers at the Department of Education. Over-the-year, total seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs have expanded by 7,100, with the largest increases taking place in Leisure & Hospitality (+6,400), Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (+2,700), and Financial Activities (+1,300).

Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies depicted in painting by Pegge Hopper.
HEALTHY MOTHERS HEALTHY BABIES COALITION of Hawai`i helps mothers and mothers-to-be in Ka`u with online advice on how to ensure the good health of their babies. The website directory displays phone numbers in Hawai`i that mothers and mothers-to-be might find helpful, including WIC, child care, family services, substance and alcohol abuse groups, Department of Health and many others. There is also information about prenatal health, including eating habits and exercise, and newborn and infant care including child development, breastfeeding, and immunizations. 
      The national organization was founded in 1981 to foster “a child’s right to be born healthy and raised in a safe and nurturing environment, equal access to quality health care, a collective voice to facilitate change, eliminating health disparities among all populations, cultural competence and respect for diversity and education to encourage healthy choices.” For more information, visit hmhb-hawaii.org.

PUBLIC SCHOOL IN KA`U starts Monday at Pahala Elementary & Intermediate, Ka`u High and Na`alehu Schools. A new program for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, called After-School All-Stars Hawai`i, is free and targets middle school youth with three hours of after-school programming Monday through Friday. “It includes academics, enrichment and health/fitness activities,” explained Dawn Dunbar, president and CEO of After-School All-Stars Hawai`i. Initiatives include “service learning, sports-based youth development and career exploration. Our goal is to provide at-risk youth with the opportunities to participate in educational, sports, cultural and community enrichment programs, to build confidence and self-esteem and to encourage youth to say no to gangs, drugs and violence and yes to hope, learning and life,” Dunbar said. 
      From July 30 on, seventh- and eighth-graders at Ka`u Middle School can enroll. All-Stars begins Aug. 13 and meets at the end of each school day until 5:30 p.m. Registration forms, which must be filled out in order for any child to attend the program, were sent with school registration packets, but parents can also contact All-Star Ka`u site coordinator Thu-Tam Doan to arrange for registration at 557-7414 or tdoan@asashawaii.org.
      Five part-time program leaders will be hired for Ka`u. Each leader will work about 15 hours a week depending on the classes he or she teaches and will be paid a minimum of $12 an hour. For more about applying, contact Doan.

Moola Moola joined residents for a  Birthday Bash at CU Hawai`i's
 Pahala branch yesterday. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
CU HAWAI`I’S MOOLA MOOLA BIRTHDAY BASH was held at Na`alehu and Pahala branches yesterday. Kids were offered free cookies and juice, and those under 13 with a CU Hawai`i savings account were able to sign up for the drawing to win a free movie ticket. A winner from each branch was picked at the end of the day. Eight-year-old Dustin Dancel won in Na`alehu, and six-year-old Trulayna Bullo-Saladino won in Pahala. 
      “Moola Moola promotes savings programs for our younger members,” said AVP/Marketing manager Cheryl Weaver. For every five dollars deposited they get a stamp that they can trade in for prizes. Those prizes range from beach balls and coloring books to a maximum of three stamp cards traded for a free movie ticket. “It’s a way of teaching our youngest members financial responsibility,” Weaver added.
      Those interested in opening an account for their children can do so at any of the seven CU Hawai`i branches on the Big Island. To sign up a child, parents are required to present their own valid state I.D. and provide the child’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number.
      For more information about CU Hawai`i Federal Credit Union and their branch locations, visit cuhawaii.com or call 933-6700.

LILA FLOOD facilitates Dances Of Universal Peace at 4 p.m. tomorrow at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. This spiritual practice incorporates folk-dance-like steps and sacred mantras that draw from all major spiritual and religious traditions. No experience is necessary, and all are welcome to this free event. Donations accepted. For more call 985-9109 or 967-8222.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 27, 2012

After burning through the macadamia orchards, the fire burned up Pa`au`au gulch and jumped Hwy 11, threatening Ka`u Hospital and homes. Photo by John Cross
THE MAKAI ORCHARDS that ML Macadamia Orchards was bringing back to health may not survive the June fires, according to ML Vice President Randy Cabral. The makai orchards were cut off from irrigation and access after the 2000 flood that destroyed bridges and roads around Pahala. The orchards were abandoned for a decade but ML recently put them back into production and expected to harvest the macadamia nuts this fall, Cabral told Hawai`i Tribune Herald for a story in this morning’s paper.
      The John Burnett article says ML “ is continuing to tally the losses from fires that started in their Pahala groves last month, but preliminary figures are in the six-figure range for this year’s harvest.” Cabral told the Tribune Herald that the lower 150-acre orchard is probably a total loss, while the 30-acre orchard closer to Hwy 11 may recover but cost the company 140,000 pounds in macadamia nut losses this year. Nuts are selling for 80 cents a pound.
      The story also says that the Fire Department is looking at the possibility that one of the fires stemmed from a problem with heavy equipment. See more at hawaiitribuneherald.com.

Hele-On fleet to get three new buses.
Photo from busesworldwide.org
THREE NEW HELE ON BUSES will be purchased with the help of $1.2 million in federal grant money from the Federal Transit Administration State of Good Repair grant program. The buses will replace three older ones being retired from the Hele On fleet, which features 51 buses carrying 1.2 million passengers a year across Hawai`i Island. The Hele-On provided critical free and inexpensive transportation to connect Ka`u residents with school and work.
      Mayor Billy Kenoi said the county plans to purchase 49-passenger motor coaches to improve and expand upon its island-wide bus service. The new buses will be wheelchair accessible, air-conditioned, and equipped with bicycle racks. “These funds will go a long way in helping us improve our transportation services,” Kenoi said. “They will replace buses that are over 17 years old.”
      Kenoi said U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye was instrumental in securing this grant. A strategic goal of the federal Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration is to assist municipalities with the improvement and maintenance of America’s buses and bus facilities.

NATIVE HAWAIIAN RIGHTS, similar to those guaranteed to other indigenous people, are supported by both U.S. Senate candidates Ed Case and Mazie Hirono. Both, however, said that allowing gambling casinos on Hawaiian lands is unlikely to pass congress and Case said he outright opposes it. The two debated in a statewide telecast last night. During the debate Case promoted his centrist views and said he has the ability to work with Republicans and Democrats while Hirono said she can work well not only with her Democratic caucus but also across the aisle.

Photo from uhero.hawaii.edu
THE VISITOR INDUSTRY is fueling a recovery of the economy in Hawai`i, which is doing better than in many other states, according to the University of Hawai`i Economic Research Organization, which released its quarterly report yesterday. Tourism is expected to break records this year and could continue its upswing as visa restrictions from China are eased and Canada and Australia markets continue to grow. However, to enjoy more than modest growth, other economic sectors will need to turnaround. Construction is already doing better and residential building rates are higher in Hawai`i than nationwide. The economists predict the overall economy in Hawai`i to grow 1.1 percent in 2012 and 2.4 percent in 2013.

JUNE VISITOR ARRIVALS WERE up 11.5 percent statewide and visitors spent more money. The 677,218 tourists statewide set a record, pushing the first six months up 10.2 percent to 3.9 million visitors. The western section of the U.S. sent more visitors to Hawai`i, up 4 percent over last year and spending almost 10 percent more in June. The number of Japanese visitors grew 21.9 percent to 115,788. Japanese spending rose 31.4 percent to $219.1 million.
      Yesterday, the Hawai`i Tourism Authority board predicted that visitors will spend $13.9 billion this year, a gain of 15.4 percent over last year. It set its goal to drawing 7.89 million tourists to the islands this year, a 6.3 percent gain over last year.

Maile David talked story with community
members in Pahala yesterday.
Photo by William Neal
MAILE DAVID held a talk story at Pahala Community Center yesterday and Mayor Billy Kenoi stopped in. David, a candidate for the County Council, told District 6 supporters that credentials as a paralegal and a legislative researcher for the county council make her a good candidate. She said later that she was able to sit down with Ka`u people and find out what issues concerned them. "Many of them are quality of life issues - that's what I got from it and I reassured them that these are what I understand - being raised in a rural community," she said, noting that she saw Kona drastically change right before her very eyes."We have to be the ones to determine the future of our community," she said. Bobby and Phoebe Gomes who organized the event said, “It was a total success.” See more on Malie David at mailedavid.com.

BRADLEY WESTERVELT will host two events tomorrow in his quest for the County Council seat for District 6.
      The first will be at Wai`ohinu Park, from noon until 2 p.m. with a family picnic featuring Flyin’ Hawaiian Coffee, pupus and sandwiches. Families are invited to use the playground, join in a field day and enjoy demonstrations of boomerangs, kites, frisbees and electric motor bikes, weather permitting. A Question and Answer session may continue beyond 2 p.m., as needed, he said.
      The second event is at Discovery Harbour Community Center, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with beverages and desserts. Q&A begins at 7 p.m.
      No donations will be accepted at either event. Events paid for by B4 Council. Debra Cannoles and Lori Lei Shiriakawa are organizing them. Learn more about Westervelt’s campaign through his website at bradwestervelt.com.

Robert Frutos.
Photo from heartofnature.net
A GUIDED HIKE THROUGH KIPUKA`AKIHI is offered tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants explore an isolated refuge of rare plants in a remnant old-growth forest in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Pre-registration required, call 985-6011.

A WORKSHOP ON CREATING PHOTO IMAGES in the surroundings of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Inspired By Light, takes place tomorrow from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Participants are asked to bring camera, hat, tripod, jacket and water bottle. This Volcano Art Center class, taught by Robert Frutos, includes a picnic dinner. $150 for visitors and $125 for VAC members and kama`aina. Call 967-8222 for more.

DANCES OF UNIVERSAL PEACE, facilitated by Lila Flood, starts at 4 p.m. Sunday at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. This spiritual practice incorporates folk-dance-like steps and sacred mantras that draw from all major spiritual and religious traditions. No experience necessary; all are welcome to this free event. Donations accepted. For more call 985-9109 or 967-8222.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 26, 2012

Jamae Kawauchi grew up in Ka`u and is seen here with her parents David and Jamie when she was sworn in as County Clerk.
Photo by Julia Neal
NEW AND UPDATED ELECTION PRECINCT cards will be mailed to some voters on the Big Island ahead of the Aug. 11 election. County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi said the second mailing is needed for some of the yellow cards since there are some errors following the reassignment of some voters to different polling places in connection with redistricting following the 2010 census. 
      Kawauchi said, “Our goal is 100 percent inclusion in this process.” She said voting “is a very profound thing and a great way to show support for the island. The numbers show how strong we are in our community.” She said the registered voter total reached 101,000 in mid July out of 184,158 people residing permanently on the island.
      The County Clerk said she encourages voting by mail to help foster more participation. The Permanent Absentee Voting by mail applications must be postmarked by Tuesday, Aug. 4 for the Aug. 11 Primary Election. Precinct locations can be found on the county elections website at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/lb-clerk-elections/. Call 961-8277 or 323-4400.

THE AFTERSCHOOL ALL-STARS program is coming to Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School and looking to hire energetic and dynamic program leader team members. After-School All-Stars Hawai‘i provides “free structured after-school programming targeting middle school youth – three hours of programming Monday through Friday, which includes academics, enrichment and health/fitness activities,” as explained by Dawn Dunbar.
      Program initiatives include “service learning, sports-based youth development, career exploration and high school transition into the after-school curriculum. Our goal is provide at-risk youth with the opportunities to participate in educational, sports, cultural and community enrichment programs; to build confidence and self-esteem; and to encourage youth to say 'no' to gangs, drugs and violence and 'yes' to hope, learning and life,” Dunbar added.
      From July 30 on, seventh and eighth graders can enroll in the free All-Star program, which, starting Aug. 13, meets at the end of each school day until 5:30 p.m. Registration forms, which must be filled out in order for any child to attend the program, were sent with school registration packets, but parents can also contact All-Star Ka`u Site Coordinator Thu-Tam Doan. Contact Doan at 557-7414 or tdoan@asashawaii.org to register or apply as a part-time team leader.

Hauling garbage to the westside may be less expensive than
H-Power or expanding landfills.
Hilo landfill photo from Geometrician Associates
HAULING TRASH TO THE WESTSIDE is much less expensive than building a new Hilo landfill or an incinerator that would produce electricity, according to a report presented yesterday to the county’s Environmental Management Commission. A story by Nancy Cook Lauer in this morning’s West Hawai`i Today says that Solid Waste Director Greg Goodale plans to present the study to the County Council and mayor before taking it to public meetings. Cook Lauer reports the “the study showed it would cost an average of $52 to $72 per ton to haul all the county’s garbage to the West Hawai`i landfill at Pu`uanahulu. In comparison, a new Hilo landfill would cost $92 to $110 a ton and a waste-to-energy plant would go anywhere from $80 to $210 a ton… Goodale said there have been discussions about expanding the Pu`uanahulu landfill, which still has an estimated 30 years left — if it doesn’t take on any more east-side garbage than it does now. He said the state owns land mauka of the landfill that could be used for expansion and there has also been talk of lowering the sub grade land to allow for greater capacity,” Cook Lauer reported.

Bradley Westervelt hosts Ka`u events on Saturday.
Photo by David Howard Donald
BRADLEY WESTERVELT, County Council candidate for District 6, has announced two meet-the-candidate talk story events this Saturday. One will be at Wai`ohinu Park, noon until 2 p.m. with a family picnic featuring Flyin’ Hawaiian Coffee, pupus and sandwiches. Families are invited to use the playground, join in a field day and enjoy demonstrations of boomerangs, kites, frisbees and electric motor bikes, weather permitting. A Question and Answer session may continue beyond 2 p.m., as needed, he said. The second event is at Discovery Harbour Community Center, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with beverages and desserts. Q&A begins at 7 p.m. No donations will be accepted at either event. Events paid for by B4 Council. Debra Cannoles and Lori Lei Shiriakawa are organizing them. Learn more about Westervelt’s campaign through his website at bradwestervelt.com.

MAILE DAVID, County Council candidate for District 6, will host a talk story session today from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. All are welcome to attend. Community members are invited to meet David and learn more about how she can serve Ka`u if elected to County Council. Supporters Bobby and Phoebe Gomes are organizing the event for David, who is running to take the council seat of Brittany Smart. Smart is running for state House of Representative rather than for re-election in the County Council. Learn more about David’s campaign through her website at mailedavid.com.

Inside Kipuka`akihi. Photo from nps.gov
HA`AO SPRINGS/MOUNTAIN HOUSE AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE meets today at 2:30 p.m. at Wai`ohinu Park. Everyone interested in seeing an ag. water system for the area is invited to attend.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORP. meets tonight, 5:30 p.m., in the Community Center.

KIPUKA`AKIHI HIKE is offered this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Participants explore an isolated refuge of rare plants in a remnant old-growth forest. Pre-registration required, call 985-6011.

INSPIRED BY LIGHT, a Volcano Arts Center workshop taught by Robert Frutos on creating photo images in the surroundings of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, takes place Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Participants are asked to bring camera, hat, tripod, jacket and water bottle. The class, including a picnic dinner, costs $150 for visitors and $125 for VAC members and kama`aina. Call 967-8222 for more.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 25, 2012

Fishermen like Guy Sesson, of Pahala, and other operators of boats with engines over 10HP may have to take
classes and pass tests if the Board of Land & Natural Resources approves new rules on Friday. Photo by Julia Neal

POWER BOAT OPERATORS would be required to pass a safety course if new rules are adopted by the state Board of Land & Natural Resources on Friday. The proposal would go into effect two years after being signed off by the governor. Rules would require operators to successfully complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and state-approved boating safety course to legally operate a motor vessel. The rules would set a minimum age for operating a vessel unsupervised. They would establish a fine between $50 and $1,000 for violators.
        New rules would exempt those possessing a valid license to operate a vessel issued for maritime personnel by the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as operators of vessels in Hawai`i’s waters who voyage here from outside the state and remain in state waters less than 60 calendar days. It would also exempt those vessel renters for the contract period who receive a safety briefing from the boat livery operator that is approved by the state.
       Rules could also exempt vessels with motors under 10 horsepower.
       Board of Land & Natural Resources chair William Aila, Jr. posted on the BLNR website, saying new rules are necessary because “our oceans are no longer the wide open spaces we remember. It is increasingly more crowded as people are diving and paddling farther from shore. We are experiencing more and more fatal accidents in our waters.”
      The BLNR chief said, “It’s the right time to raise awareness about the growth of the number of people using our waters to recreate and make sure everyone operating a vessel understands the rules of the road. The department is working diligently to create an education requirement that improves safety for the entire ocean-user community yet is simple and reasonable for all boaters to comply with.”
      Testimony can be sent to the BLNR board by tomorrow by emailing dlnr@hawaii.gov or adaline.f.cummings@hawaii.gov; by faxing 808-587-0390 or by mailing DLNR at 115 Punchbowl St., Room 130, Honolulu, HI 96813.

Ka`u Coffee took half the top ten commercial spots at
HCA's cupping event. Photo from kaucoffeefest.com
KA`U TOOK HALF OF THE TOP TEN SPOTS in the statewide Commercial Division of the Hawai`i Coffee Association’s fourth annual cupping event last Saturday. Rusty’s Hawaiian placed in the top ten in all three divisions of competition. More details released Tuesday noted that 62 percent of the 51 Commercial Division entries and 68 percent of the 66 Creative Division entries achieved a cupping score of 80.0 or higher. 
      In the Commercial Division, Wood Valley Coffee Co. took first and second with its Wet Process Peaberry and its Wet Process #18 Screen. R&A Coffee Co., from the Javar family, took seventh. Rusty’s Hawaiian took eighth with its Wet Process Typica, and Ka`u Coffee Mill took tenth with its Natural Process Typica.
      In the Ka`u District Division, Wood Valley Coffee Farm took first and second, followed by Rusty’s Hawaiian.
Ka`u Coffee Bag from kaucoffeemill.com.
      In the statewide Creative Division, Rusty’s Hawaiian took third with its Guatemalan Typica/Bourbon Wet Process. JN Coffee Farm, owned by the Leo Norberte family, took fifth with its Guatemalan Washed. Will and Grace Tabios took tenth with their Rising Sun coffee.
      Lead judges for this year’s cupping panel were Shawn Hamilton of Java City Roasters, Warren Muller of Inter American Coffee, and Paul Thornton of Coffee Bean International. “This event seems to be creating more interest in learning and improving,” said Thornton, who also serves as president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. “There are more, better coffees than ever.”
      The new Hawai`i Coffee Association president Greg Stille said, “New farms and the improvement and expansion of existing farms are combining to raise the bar on innovation and quality for the benefit of the entire Hawai`i coffee industry and the drinking enjoyment of the specialty coffee consumer.”
      Stille and his wife Suzie operate the small Piliani Coffee farm on Maui where their motto is “Sustainable Farming Practices, from Seed to Cup.” To grow its coffee, Piliani employs worm propagation; organic compost; cinnamon/clove oil weed control; mazi injected compost tea; good bug blend plants and nitrogen fixing ground cover.
Cartoon from Hawai`i State
Ethics Commission
      HCA promises complete rankings and scores for the cupping event will soon be published on its website at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org.

FINES FOR FAILING TO FILE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS will be levied on 22 state House and Senate candidates, according to the state Ethics Commission. The fines which will be collected from several incumbents and other candidates will be $25 each. The paperwork filed by candidates discloses sources of income, property and business ownership and other financial interests. The commission is yet to release the names of those who failed to make the filing deadline.

County Council candidate Maile David visits Pahala
Community Center this Thursday. Photo by David Howard Donald
FRIENDS OF MAILE DAVID host a talk story session this Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Supporters Bobby and Phoebe Gomes are organizing the event for David, who is running to take the District 6 County Council seat of Brittany Smart, who is running for state House of Representative rather than for re-election.

HOSPICE, WHICH SERVES KA`U, is providing training for volunteers willing to be a part of its team, providing compassionate end-of-life care and support. Volunteer training sessions are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18 and Saturday, Aug. 25 through Hospice of Hilo. Volunteer manager Pearl Lyman said Hospice volunteers perform supportive services, including patient care and feeding, respite care, bereavement care, transportation, companionship, shopping, errands, active listening and reading, as well as office administrative support, community education and public relations.
Training for Hospice will be given at the new Hospice of Hilo center,
which serves Ka`u. Photo from Hospice of Hilo
      Volunteers can serve locally or travel to Hilo to the new Pohai Malama Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Care Center “where there will be a need for cooking, gardening and even playing the piano,” Lyman said. “Our volunteers give so much, and ask for so little. They meet the families where they’re at, and they journey with them through the unknown. I am so lucky to work among these wonderful people.”
      Volunteer Nancy Molitor said it’s all about, “caring for all humanity.”
      Hospice periodically offers retreats for bereaved teens at Pahala Plantation House.
      To find out more about becoming a Hospice volunteer, contact Lyman at 969-1733 or email pearl@hospiceofhilo.org.

Ka`u Scenic Byway extends from
Manuka State Park to Hawai`i
Volcanoes National Park.
KA`U `OHANA BAND rehearses today and every Wednesday and Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. The band is looking for flute and clarinet players. Instruments are provided, and no experience is necessary. Call 929-7544.

KA`U SCENIC BYWAY committee invites the public to meet today at 4:30 p.m. at Punalu`u Bake Shop’s upper pavilion. Agenda items include a GIS training proposal, federal funding and project status.

HA`AO SPRINGS/MOUNTAIN HOUSE AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE meets tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. at Wai`ohinu Park. Everyone interested in seeing an ag water system for the area is invited to attend.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 24, 2012

The remaining trees along the property line between Pahala Community Center and River of Life
Assembly of God Church are being cut down by county crews today. Photo by Julia Neal
A SHADE TREE CRASHED TO THE GROUND early this morning at Pahala Community Center as the county cut the last in a row of trees that adorned the park and provided shade for generations. A county tree cutter said they were told that the community approved of cutting the giant trees. The plan stemmed from the adjacent River of Life Assembly of God Church complaining to the county that leaves were falling on the building the church built next to the county park line and that the church feared branches could fall and hurt someone. At least eight large shade trees were cut down in spring of 2010.
      One Pahala-born man said he grew up playing under the trees and that he saw it as a tragedy as the trees were heavily pruned at great expense last year and did not seem to pose any danger.
      In December 2010, Jen Knippling, of County Council member Brittany Smart’s office, said the Department of Parks and Recreation has determined that the remaining shade trees were well trimmed and in good health. Brittany Smart said that she was told today that the county safety officer had determined that the branches high in the tree constituted a safety risk.

The latest Hawai`i drought monitor shows areas of drought.
HAWAI`I COUNTY IS A DISASTER AREA FOR DROUGHT, and Ka`u has suffered some of the driest conditions on the island. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated the Big Island and Honolulu County as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by ongoing drought. The designation makes all qualified farm operators eligible for low-interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met. 
      Farmers have until March 12, 2013 to apply for loans to help cover part of actual losses. Farm Service Agency will take into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
      The USDA also has other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
      Interested farmers may contact USDA Service Center in Hilo at 933-8381. Find out more at 
fsa.usda.gov/hi and disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

Deep-sea coral is collected through NOAA's Pisces IV three-person, battery-powered submersible with a
maximum operating depth of 6,280 feet. Scientists observe the deep sea through multiple view ports,
 video records, instrument placement, sample collecting and environmental monitoring. Photo from NOAA
THE FEDERAL ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST may include more corals found in Hawaiian waters. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration invites public review through July 31 of reports on corals that could be nominated for the list this December. In the Status Review Report, NOAA examines biology, threat and extinction risk of 82 coral species. In the Management Report, NOAA describes regulatory mechanisms and conservation efforts to manage corals.
Bamboo coral in Hawaiian waters.
      The proposal to add the corals began in 2009 when the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to list 83 corals as threatened or endangered, predicting decline in habitat with anthropogenic climate change and ocean acidification as lead stressors on corals. Research was conducted on 82 of the coral species and found a strong likelihood that most of them would fall below critical risk threshold by 2100 without additional conservation measures. The public can view the studies and weigh in on the proposal at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stor-ies/2012/04/4_13_12corals_petition.html.

NOAA HAS GATHERED GARBAGE in Hawaiian waters over the last month, concentrating on the Northern Hawaiian Islands at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. The crew of the NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette collected nearly 50 metric tons of marine debris, which threatens monk seals, sea turtles and other marine life in the coral reef ecosystem.
NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette Photo from NOAA
      NOAA has conducted annual removal missions of marine debris in the NWHI since 1996 as part of a coral restoration effort. “What surprises us is that after many years of marine debris removal in Papahanaumokuakea and more than 700 metric tons of debris later, we are still collecting a significant amount of derelict fishing gear from the shallow coral reefs and shorelines,” said Kyle Koyanagi, marine debris operations manager at NOAA Fisheries’ Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and chief scientist for the mission. “The ship was at maximum capacity, and we did not have any space for more debris.”
      As part of this year’s mission, the NOAA team checked but didn’t find debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Scientists monitored marine debris for radiation in partnership with the Hawai`i Department of Health and gathered baseline data from the NWHI.
      Marine debris removed will be used to create electricity through Hawai`i’s Nets to Energy Program, a public-private partnership also used for disposal of debris found along the Ka`u Coast. Since 2002, more than 730 metric tons of derelict nets have been used to create electricity— enough to power nearly 350 Hawai`i homes for a year.

County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi
THE ELECTIONS OFFICE in Hilo went through an audit yesterday, overseen by County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi. According to a Nancy Cook Lauer story in this morning’s West Hawai`i Today, Kawauchi, who shut down the office during the audit, said “she wanted to give the list a good review before sending the poll books out to the printer. ‘We’re looking at the list to make sure it’s clean and accurate,’ Kawauchi said. ‘We’re trying to be as thorough as possible to run a fair and well-run election.… This is part of us making sure we’re doing everything we can to make that happen.’” 
      Among changes, according to the story, is the number of people registered to vote by mail, increasing by 167 percent, from 6,400 to 17,085, since the last election.
      The West Hawai`i Today article also reports that “Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi, who has taken his concerns about the readiness of the office to conduct an election all the way to the state Elections Commission, questioned why Kawauchi would conduct an audit so close to an election. He also questioned whether 10,000 new voters have been added to the list since Kawauchi became clerk in late 2010.” The story quotes Onishi: “The clerk is appointed by the (County Council) chairman. The staff is also appointed,” Onishi said. “It just sounds fishy to me.” See more at westhawaiitoday.com.

Pahala Public & School Library will be open one day per week beginning
in August. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U’S LIBRARIES WILL HAVE CHANGES in schedules beginning next month due to staff shortages. Pahala Public & School Library will be open only on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. until further notice, and Na`alehu Public Library will have intermittent closures. Announcements of closed days will be posted on the library bulletin board and on recorded messages to be left on the library answering machine. 
      The book drop will remain open at both libraries for returns. Patrons may call any library for help with renewals or call the telephone renewal number at 1-800-820-7368.
      “With only one permanent staff member managing both libraries in Ka`u, when that staff needs to take time off, and with no other permanent staff to cover the libraries, both libraries will be affected until permanent staff are hired to fill the positions,” states the press release from Debbie Wong Yuen, temporary branch manager of both libraries.
      For more information, contact Wong Yuen at 939-2442.

Hawaiian quilting is the topic at After Dark in the Park.
ROBERTA MULLER DISCUSSES the art of Hawaiian quilting at After Dark in the Park tonight at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Two-dollar donations support park programs, and park entrance fees apply.

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED to a meeting of the Ka`u Scenic Byway Committee tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at Punalu`u Bake Shop’s upper pavilion. Agenda items include a GIS training proposal, federal funding and project status.

HA`AO/SOUTH POINT AG WATER CO-OP meets Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at Wai`ohinu Park. Everyone interested in seeing an ag water system for the area is invited to attend.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 23, 2012

Senate Bill 3399 proposes to study the Ka`u Coast and other locations in the nation to see if they would
 be suitable additions  for National Parks. Photo from apacificview.blogspot.com
ADDING MORE OF THE KA`U COAST to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park will be studied if a bill introduced recently into the U.S. Senate passes. The bill proposes to study nine areas across the country including the Ka`u Coast to see if they would be suitable locations for national parks.
      There are only two national parks in Hawai`i, one being Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, and the other at Haleakala on Maui. The United States has 58 national parks.
      The list of places to be studied also includes sites in such diverse locations as villages of Makushin, Kashega and Attu on Attu in Alaska where Aleuts were forced to abandon their homes during World War II;  Japanese American Relocation Centers from WWII; the Hudson River Valley; Galveston Bay in Texas; and the island of Rota in the Northern Mariana Islands.
      New Mexico Democrat Jeff Bingaman proposed Senate Bill 3399, on July 18. It was assigned to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

VOTING FOR A NEW COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER, mayor, state Senator and Rep., and U.S. Senator and Rep. begins next Monday, July 30.  Early absentee ballot walk-in voting will be at Building T in West Hawai`i Civic Center,  and county annex in Waimea, and the county building in Hilo. Absentee voting can also be done by mail.
      The Pahala Community Center walk-in early voting program has been cancelled. The Hilo, Kona and Waimea walk-in voting will run from July 30 through Thursday, Aug. 9 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include Saturday, Aug. 4. Yellow cards have been sent from the county elections division to registered voters throughout the district. Absentee ballot applications are available at the County Clerk’s office in Hilo, West Hawai`i Civic Center, all U.S. Post Offices, police stations, fire departments, public libraries and state agencies.

Ka'u Coffee cherries. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
WOOD VALLEY COFFEE Co. manager Brian Riggs, whose coffee entries took first in the state Commercial Division and first and second in the Ka`u District competition at the Hawai`i Coffee Association over the weekend, gave credit to the land of Ka`u for the success of coffee. “The ‘terroir’ of Ka`u is so amazing. A lot of sweat and tears go into coffee. I personally would like to congratulate everyone in the Ka`u coffee industry," said Riggs. A trained winemaker, Riggs said, "Growing coffee is like growing grapes for fine wine.” On the farm, 28 sheep kept down the grass and desmodium weed between the rows and also fertilized the coffee. Riggs said he also mulched around the coffee trees. For the processing, Riggs said he used some traditional small tub fermentation practices learned from winemakers and later found the process was already employed by Ka`u Coffee farmers. “The Ka`u Coffee farmers are all professionals,” he said. Riggs said he also wanted to thank his partner in processing, Kimberly Granger.

Parchment full of coffee berry borer holes.
Photo from jimseven.com
HAWAI`I COFFEE GROWERS EXPECT SMALLER PRODUCTION this year, according to presentations at the annual meeting of the Hawai`i Coffee Growers Association, held over the weekend on Maui. Howard Dicus, who covered the meeting for Hawai`i News Now, said that the coffee berry borer infestation is up 20 percent over last year. It is largely limited to Kona and has spread to Ka`u. Tom Greenwell, a Kona coffee grower and miller, urged farmers to keep the ground clean in addition to spraying to try to keep the borer under control. Dicus reported that drought is also holding back coffee production and that some farmers have resorted to catchment. While production is smaller, quality is good, Dicus reported, making it hard to meet the demands of the market, which continues to grow for Hawaiian coffee.

H-Power plant on O`ahu.
Photo from heco.com
H-POWER IS THE WAY TO HANDLE GARBAGE that is expected to fill up Hilo landfill within five to eight years, according to Mayor Billy Kenoi. A story over the weekend by Tom Callis in Hawai`i Tribune Herald says the mayor favors a waste-to-energy project, following a test run earlier this year with the county hauling east side garbage to the west side landfill. The story quoted Kenoi saying: “My solution is that I believe we have to move to waste reduction, and I believe H-Power is our model.” Callis reports that H-Power on O`ahu can “consume 2,160 tons of garbage per day and can generate 46 megawatts of electricity. It also reduces landfill input by 90 percent, according to the utility’s website.” The story points out that a $125.5 million waste-to-energy project under former mayor and current candidate for mayor Harry Kim was turned down by the County Council in 2008. County Council Chair Dominic Yagong who is also running for mayor, said he too would consider the H-Power model to reduce waste and make energy.

THE HI-5 BEVERAGE CONTAINER FEE WILL INCREASE by half a cent to 1.5 cents per container on Sept. 1. This means the deposit plus container fee will increase to 6.5 cents – a 5 cent deposit to be returned to the consumer when the container is recycled and a non-refundable 1.5 cent container fee to cover administrative costs.
      The increase is expected to result in an additional $4.5 million in annual program revenues for the state Department of Health. It charges the fee to manufacturers, distributors and importers of beverages in Hawai`i. The fee was last raised four years ago. After consideration of the fiscal year 2012 redemption rate of 77 percent and evaluation of current deposit beverage special fund balance, DOH Director Loretta Fuddy increased the fee and notified distributors.
      “The half-cent fee increase was written into the bottle law from its inception to ensure the recycling program could sustain itself and continue to pay back deposits to consumers,” Fuddy said. “We were able to hold off a fee increase for four years by using existing funds. However, the special fund is now too low to continue the program through 2014, and the current fee is not enough to build critical program reserves necessary to conduct essential operations.” State law requires the container fee to increase from 1 cent to 1.5 cents per container if the redemption rate exceeds 70 percent, unless DOH’s director, in consultation with the state auditor, determines a fee increase is not needed.
      A decision to postpone the fee increase was made in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 based on the program’s ability to continue operations by drawing from existing reserve funds.
      Because the law only requires beverage distributors pay the container fee to DOH, there is no guidance on how retailers may decide to pass on the fee to customers. Retailers may choose to round-up or round-down the additional half-cent charge.

Roberta Muller teaches the art of Hawaiian
Quilting, at After Dark in the Park tomorrow.
Photo from the Hawaiian Quilt Research Project
ROBERTA MULLER PRESENTS STITCHING A LEGACY at After Dark in the Park tomorrow night, 7 p.m., at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Muller teaches the art of Hawaiian quilting. Two-dollar donations support park programs, and park entrance fees apply.

SOUTHSIDE ALATEEN MEETS today and every Monday at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View. Call Sandy at 557-9847 for more information.

KA`U SCENIC BYWAY COMMITTEE invites the public to its meeting Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at Punalu`u Bake Shop’s upper pavilion. Agenda items include a GIS training proposal, federal funding and project status.