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.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs March 14, 2012

Republicans vote to nominate a candidate for U.S. President at Na`alehu School in the first ever Republican caucus in Hawai`i as an observer from the Democratic Party stands over the polling place. Photo by Julia Neal
LIBERTARIAN RON PAUL won the Hawai`i county Republican caucus last night with 32 percent of the vote, edging out Mitt Romney who took 31 percent, Rick Santorum with 23 percent and Newt Gingrich with 15 percent. The win gave Paul one delegate towards nomination to become the Republican candidate for U.S. President.

Republicans, comprised of Tea Party,
Liberation and traditional party members,
fly Old Glory at the caucus in Na`alehu.  
Photo by Julia Neal
      Paul lost on the other islands, with 30 percent of the vote in Maui County, just under Romney’s 31 percent. Paul took 26 percent of the vote on Kaua`i where both Romney and Santorum beat him.
      Romney took 56 percent of the vote in the City & County of Honolulu, followed by Santorum, giving Romney the win statewide. The allocation from the first ever Republican caucus voting in Hawai`i gives nine delegates to Romney, four to Santorum, one to Paul and zero to Gingrich.
      Voting was held in Ka`u at Na`alehu and Ocean View. There was also a Republican caucus in Volcano. Republican Party leaders said the turnout was bigger than expected and some places ran out of ballots. In Na`alehu, people exiting the polling place were open about their support; some chosing the Libertarian, small government ideas of Ron Paul, others the conservatism of Rick Santorum and still others the moderation of Mitt Romney. A number of people identified themselves with the Tea Party.

THE LIGHTS WENT OUT late yesterday afternoon as a truck carrying a big earth mover struck a utility pole on Kama`oa Road above Discovery Harbour. Traffic was rerouted for hours. No one was injured but the pole snapped, falling on the truck. Electricity was interrupted in Na`alehu.

A 3.4 EARTHQUAKE SHOOK the earth yesterday six miles south of Volcano Village inside Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. No damage nor injuries reported.

Photo from coffeebeandirect.com
INSPECTION OF GREEN COFFEE BEANS being shipped out of their origin region and also out of the state would end if House Bill 280 passes the state Senate. State Department of Agriculture Chair Russell Kokubun provided testimonyfor a public hearing yesterday before the Senate Agriculture Committee. He explained: “Prior to 1997, green coffee certification was conducted on a voluntary basis for users requesting certification. Following a counterfeit scandal, a coffee dealer was indicted for fraud for selling counterfeit green Kona coffee at depressed prices in the mainland. This prompted legislation that required all Hawai`i-grown green coffee be certified prior to leaving the geographic region of production. However, this requirement did not apply to roasted Hawai`i-grown coffee.”
      Kokubun noted that a reduction in state Department of Agriculture staff means there is only one full-time Agricultural Commodities Marketing Specialist to inspect coffee on the west side of this island. This results in delay of inspections with a turnaround time of up to three to four weeks. The delay in exporting the coffee “limits cash flow needed to pay their coffee producers in a timely manner,” Kokubun testified. He said his department supports voluntary certification of origin but would conduct unannounced inspections to make sure coffees are from their stated origin. He also said the measure “would not trump the current quarantines in place that are meant to prevent the spread of coffee berry borer or other potential invasive pests or diseases.”
      The statewide Hawai`i Farm Bureau also supported the measure “provided that stiff, enforceable penalties in the law will punish and deter the act of counterfeiting Hawaiian grown coffee,” testified its CEO Bryan Miyamoto. The Ka`u Farm Bureau, in testimony from its President Chris Manfredi, supports lifting the certification but urged making counterfeiting coffee origin “an enforceable felony offense."
Coffee growers are split on whether to eliminate government
origin certification. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie

      The Kona Coffee Growers Association, however, testified that its 320 members oppose eliminating government coffee origin certification. Its President Cecelia Burns Smith said she is a fourth generation coffee grower and called the bill “unnecessary and dangerous. If enacted it will cause significant economic harm to the hundreds of small family farms both in Kona and in other Hawaiian geographic origins statewide that are developing a reputation for superior quality.”  She said farmers depend on mandatory inspections to ensure grade and geographic origin are certified to maintain reputation for outstanding quality and price.
      Another coffee farmer wrote: “Rather than moving backwards, the State of Hawai`i should be strengthening its systems to provide for Hawai`i-grown coffee protections similar to what Florida provides for Florida Orange Juice, the State of Georgia for Vidalia Onions, Idaho for Idaho Potatoes, and California for Napa Wines.” An inspection fee could pay for the certification, several testifiers suggested. Rep. Denny Coffman, of Kona who, if reelected will represent Ka`u from Manuka through Ocean View to Honu`apo, also opposed the measure as did Rep. Faye Hanohano. The bill was deferred in the Senate Ag committee until March 20.

Mixed Martial Arts fighter, VISTA volunteer
Dylan Rush, is asking for community help
with Ka`u High School Senior Projects.
Photo from MMAHawaii.com
KA`U HIGH SCHOOL is seeking volunteers for a wide variety of activities including coaches, tutors and mentorships for senior projects. High school seniors must create a project to receive a Board of Education certified diploma. Seniors design projects around any topic they choose. Projects this year included a documentary about immigrant Filipino life in the islands, fashion design, stone sculpting, and a drive to collect school supplies. “If you are an expert or just a hobbyist in any field, a kupuna, or just a community member who wants to get involved, you are invited to register as a volunteer for our youth,” said VISTA volunteer Dylan Rush. To register as a volunteer, log onto HelpHawaiiSchools.com. For questions, contact Rush at 310-295-8177.

MAYOR BILLY KENOI and directors of county departments meet and talk with Ka`u residents about projects and issues important to their communities this Monday, March 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Na`alehu Elementary School. The visit is hosted by Ka`u Rural Health Community Association and Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka`u.

TODAY IS THE DEADLINE to sign up for Ka`u `Ohana Day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Activities include `oli, mo`olelo, GPS, compass and measuring distance by pacing. Call 985-6019.

HAZEL BECK, of Hawai`i Small Business Development Center, discusses what it takes to get a business started at a workshop this Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon at Na`alehu Community Center. To register, contact Jane Horike at 961-8496 or jhorike@co.hawaii.hi.us.