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, March 15, 2012

Ka'u News Briefs, March 15, 2012

Kamehame, protected by The Nature Conservancy, is one of the pristine, undeveloped beaches along the Ka'u Coast.  
Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK could expand again along the Ka`u Coast if legislation introduced by Rep. Mazie Hirono passes the U.S. Congress and funding is found. The movement on the federal level started in 2005 when then congressman Ed Case wrote to the National Park Service asking for a survey of the Ka`u Coast to determine suitability for inclusion as a unit within the National Park System.
      This study was done and Hirono has taken up the cause for further evaluation. She recently reintroduced the Ka`u Coast Preservation Act for lands between Kapa`o Point and Kahuku Point.
      Hirono told congress the National Park Service reconnaissance showed the Ka`u Coast meets National Park Service’s “demanding criteria as a resource of National Significance.”
     She noted the report recommends Congress proceed with a full resource study of the area.
      “Although under significant development pressure the coastline of Ka`u is still largely unspoiled,” Hirono testified. “The study area contains significant natural, geological and archaeological features. The northern part of the study area is adjacent to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and contains a number of noteworthy geological features, including an ancient lava tube known as the Great Crack, which the National park Service has expressed interest in acquiring in the past.”
A monk seal rests along the Ka'u Coast at Honu'apo.  
Photo by Julia Neal
      Hirono noted the study area “includes both black and green sand beaches as well as a significant number of endangered and threatened species, most notably the endangered hawksbill turtle,” and that at least half of the Hawaiian population of the rare sea turtle nests within the study area. It is also home to threatened green sea turtles, endangered Hawaiian monk seals, endangered Hawaiian hawks, native bees, endangered and very rare Hawaiian orange-black damselflies (the largest population in the state), and native endemic birds. Humpback whales and spinner dolphins also frequent the area, Hirono told Congress. “The Ka`u Coast boasts some of the best remaining examples of native coastal vegetation in Hawai`i,” the congresswoman testified. She pointed to archaeological resources related to ancient Hawaiian settlements along the Ka`u Coast as “very impressive. These include dwelling complexes, heiau (religious shrines), walls, fishing and canoe houses or sheds, burial sites, petroglyphs, water and salt collection sites, caves and trails. The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail runs through the study area,” Hirono noted.
      She also said Ka`u’s “spectacular viewscapes, are an important part of Hawai`i's and our nation's natural and cultural heritage. I believe a full feasibility study, which was recommended in the reconnaissance survey, will confirm that the area meets the National Park Service's high standards as an area of national significance,” Hirono concluded.

Signs similar to these that remain at Kawa were
removed from the mauka side of Hwy 11 yesterday.  
Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
BANNERS AND SIGNS ALONG HIGHWAY 11 AT KAWA proclaiming Hawaiian sovereignty and illegal takeover of lands were removed yesterday by the rancher leasing the adjacent land. Noni Soares, who leases the land for cattle along with her husband Kyle, said that under the watchful eye of a police officer, they removed the signs and took them to the makai side of the highway for retrieval by people who supported the signage. Soares said that fences needed to be repaired so that the pasture could be used again. She said that with the signs on the fences the ranchers had been unable to maintain them for several years. She said her husband also used equipment on the makai side of the highway to locate a waterline that goes under the highway. She said they are coordinating with the state Department of Transportation for the preservation of the waterline when the state builds its highway project that will raise Hwy 11 above sea level at Kawa Flats to lift it up out of the flood zone. Soares said they were filmed as they were working on the waterline and fence by a group of people who objected to their activities, including taking down the signs. Supporters of Kawa sovereignty planted aloe and taro where the rancher cleared vegetation to look for the water line.
Kawa sovereignty supporters planted aloe and taro after
the rancher cleared away vegetation to look for waterlines.  
Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
      The county recently completed the purchase of Kawa to preserve it for wildlife, wetlands, surfing, fishing, and other public use, a plan that was opposed by Abel Simeona Lui who has lived on the property for some two decades. West Hawai`i Today quoted Deputy Managing Director Wally Lau as saying on Monday that he is in charge of putting together a stewardship plan for Kawa and other open space land the county purchases. The newspaper reported Lau saying that, “Any stewardship program, for any county property, would start with lineal and cultural descendants of the region.” According to the report, “That means Lui could end up being a steward for Kawa,” even after court decisions that would allow eviction. Lau said, “If he wants to be a player or a participant, we can’t exclude anybody,” according to West Hawai`i Today.

Kaua`i Coffee Company's estate. Photo from kauaicoffee.com
A PRIVATELY OWNED COFFEE COMPANY could be funded to build a new factory with state revenue bonds to make Hawaiian coffee into instant, freeze dried, syrups and other value added products. Senate Bill 2352 would “authorize $10 million in special purpose revenue bonds to assist Kaua`i Coffee Company, Inc. in the planning, construction and operation of a coffee processing facility for the production of Hawai`i-based coffee products.” The standing committee report says that “in order to develop additional markets for Hawai`i-grown coffee, the coffee industry must be able to offer new and innovative products. Therefore, creating a new coffee processing facility would allow the coffee industry to create products that the global market is demanding. The coffee processing facility will also benefit all Hawai`i coffee producers by allowing them to process their product in Hawai`i,” the legislation states. The legislation names liquid concentrated coffee and freeze dried coffee as examples. “Prospective buyers for these products include the United States military, overseas markets, and niche markets that demand portable and durable food products,” the legislation says.
Photo from mjbcoffee.com
      In support yesterday, state Department of Agriculture Chair Russell Kokubun noted that 54.4 million pounds of coffee have been produced in the state since 2003, with about 55 percent in Hawai`i County and the rest of the state producing 45 percent. “All counties have need for a processing facility for coffee as well as other agricultural commodities to add value to their production,” Kokubun contended.
      Dr. Bryce Decker, a member of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association, testified against the bill. “Department of Agriculture needs to allocate resources to combat the coffee berry borer, which threatens the entire Hawaiian coffee industry. There are some 600 hundred coffee farmers affected. Bills that favor a single large producer, while neglecting 99 percent of them in real trouble with the borer, strike me as very unwise policy. We can do better,” he wrote.
      Coffee farmers Page Trygstad and Yoko Harada also opposed the measure. “This is inappropriate construction of a facility for a foreign owned company.” In the meantime coffee farmers suffer “from inadequate or no assistance from the state in its battle against the coffee berry borer,” they wrote.
Photo from hillsbros.com
      Coffee farmer Bruce Corker also opposed the measure. He wrote, the “committee is giving a hearing to a bill to provide special financial assistance to a ‘Big Ag’ corporation-while providing no apparent support for coffee farmers facing economic devastation…Why does the HDOA support allocation of economic resources to Kaua`i Coffee Co. when it is unable to hire and place an entomologist in Hawai`i County?” he asked.
      Coffee farmer Sandra Scarr wrote that in January 2019, Alexander & Baldwin “sold its coffee operations to global coffee giant Massimo Zanette. MZ is the world’s largest privately owned coffee group, comprised of 49 companies operating in over 35 countries. In addition to Kaua`i Coffee, their brands include Hills Bros, MJB, Chock-Full-Of-Nuts, Chase & Sanborn and others. Why does MZ need Hawai`i state-guaranteed bonds? Is this just cheap money or were the bonds part of an A&B promissory note on the sale?” asks the coffee farmer.
      The bill is scheduled for decision-making in the House Agriculture committee tomorrow. Anyone can testify by going to www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

Photo from Blue Planet Foundation
REPLACING OLD LIGHT BULBS with new energy efficient bulbs is once again a fundraiser possibility for Ka`u community groups. Blue Planet Foundation hopes residents across Hawai`i will replace 25,000 incandescent light bulbs with CFLs. Schools community groups, social clubs, churches and athletic teams are welcome to apply for up to a thousand free CFLs at a time. The groups will receive 50 cents for each old bulb turned in that has been replaced by a CFL. Replacing 25,000 light bulbs is calculated to save $4.8 million during the life of the light bulbs and reduce Hawai`i’s dependency on importing fossil fuel. Interested organizations can call 954-6161 to sign up and attend an orientation. Deadline is March 30.

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, 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.

Keoki Kahumoku performs at
Kilauea Theater Saturday.
EVENTS PLANNED FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY, in Volcano, include a workshop, concert and dinner. A zen inspired writing workshop, Zen Pen, taught by Tom Peek is hosted at Volcano Art Center's Niaulani Campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. $77 for VAC members, $85 for non-members. Call Julie, 967-8222. VAC offers An Evening of Green, Hawaiian Style bluegrass concert that evening at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camps, Kilauea Theater in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. A St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Special is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests at Kilauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Café, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.