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.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Ka'u News Briefs Jan. 5, 2012

A program about plastic in the Pacific Ocean begins today at 5 p.m. at Volcano Art Center's Niaulani Campus.

UNCONSTITUTIONAL is what the Hawai`i Supreme Court ruled the new reapportionment plan for the state House of Representatives and Senate. The ruling, the first in Hawaiian history, gives Rep. Bob Herkes hope that he will be able to run for a House seat with nearly the same constituency he now serves from Volcano through Ocean View. The reapportionment deemed unconstitutional yesterday afternoon would have put Herkes in a district that ended near Punalu`u, cutting him off from Na`alehu, Kalae and Ocean View, where he has championed many projects. A group of people from Ocean View objected to the redistricting, noting that Herkes was a force in funding for the water well, regional disaster shelter and the South Kona Wilderness Area.
     The state’s highest court, however, ruled on two lawsuits against the Reapportionment Commission, brought to the court by two Big Island attorneys, Stan Roehrig and Michael Matsukawa. Roehrig represents four members of the Democratic party, chair Steve Pavao, Sen. Malama Solomon, Patti Cook and Louis Hao. Matsukawa said he aimed to represent the general public’s interest in his suit on the same issue. 
The state Supreme Court has ruled that the new
reapportionment plan is unconstitutional.
     The suits were based on the state including temporary residents, including the military, non-resident students and non-resident incarcerated people when counting the population and drawing the lines for the voting districts. This gave more weight to O`ahu, leaving the Big Island short on the one man, one vote principle. 
     The Supreme Court decision states that “the Hawaii Constitution, article IV, section 4, expressly mandates that only permanent residents be counted in the population base for the purpose of reapportionment.” The court concludes that the 2011 Final Reapportionment Plan “disregards this constitutional mandate by including non-permanent residents in the population base that the Reapportionment Commission used to allocate the members of the state Legislature among the basic island units.”
     When new reapportionment maps are drawn, Hawai`i County could wind up with four instead of three state Senate seats, and possibly add eight instead of nine House seats. The unanimous order instructs Reapportionment Commissioners to prepare and file a new plan.
     The state Legislature may have to extend the filing deadline for candidates running for the House and Senate this year in order to allow the Reapportionment Commission to draw the new maps.

THE QUARANTINE TO PREVENT the spread of the coffee berry borer has expired, and the state Department of Agriculture holds a public meeting today regarding modifying and making the quarantine permanent. The meeting will be held at 16 East Lanikaula Street in Hilo at 3 p.m. Rep. Clift Tsuji, chair of the state House Committee on Agriculture, said, “I would encourage Big Islanders to come out and let their concerns be known so that we can understand from a legislator's point of view how we can maintain our vigilance over the coffee berry borer, Testimony will be very important.” 
Coffee berry borer
     The quarantine prohibited unroasted coffee beans from being moved to other islands and from Kona to Ka`u and other areas of the island without treatment such as fumigation. However, the quarantine between regions on this island has been difficult to enforce, said Leslie Iseke, a plant import specialist. She told Hawai`i Tribune-Herald reporter Colin Stewart that one of the biggest changes proposed to the expired quarantine would be allowing green coffee beans to be transported outside of the primary areas of infestation to other areas on-island. “Coffee growers, roasters and processors would be expected to use their own common sense and judgment in limiting the spread of the infestation on the island.”
     Iseke said the Big Island’s coffee industry has taken the quarantine seriously and “done a good job of self policing, as the agriculture department’s resources are limited.” No extra hires have been made to cover inspections. At least one inspector from the Hilo side has been joining the two in Kona to increase inspections of coffee shipments traveling off island.
     The expiration of the quarantine means treatment of coffee being transported to other islands is no longer required, Iseke said, “which could possibly allow the spread of the coffee pest. The gap doesn’t mean we’re not doing whatever we can under the existing authorities we have available,” she said. “In terms of coffee leaving the Big Island, we’ve stepped up our inspections and sampling, because we’re still authorized to inspect propagated plants and plant parts.”
     So far, Tsuji said, federal and state agencies have contributed about $500,000 to combat the coffee berry borer infestation to prevent its spread to other islands.
     For a copy of the proposed administrative rules and more information, visit http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/Info/proposedrules/proposed-administrative-rules

Tim Freeman's ceramic vessel
Photo from VAC
THE OPENING RECEPTION for Volcano Art Center Gallery’s new exhibit is Saturday at 5 p.m. This group exhibit celebrating Hawai‘i Volcano Observatory’s centennial features paintings by Catherine Robbins and Alan Fine, ceramics by Tim Freeman and a live performance by poet Kimberly Dark. Park entrance fees apply.

PLASTICS IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN is the topic of a new book and a presentation by Captain Robert Moore and Megan Lamson tomorrow, Friday at 5 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus. Moore is the man who discovered the Pacific Garbage Patch when sailing his 50-foot catamaran from Hawai`i to California. He has studied the plastics washing up on the Ka`u Coast and has researched the damage discarded plastics are doing to the marine food chain as well as becoming a hazard to ocean life. Lamson organizes volunteer clean-up parties to scour the Ka`u Coast, under the auspices of the Hawai`i Wildlife Fund.