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, March 17, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs March 17, 2012

The Kohala Center shows growing and consuming locally produced food crops leads to better health.
Photos from The Kohala Center
GROWING MORE FOOD LOCALLY could decrease hunger, increase community food security and strengthen the island’s economy, according to a report from The Kohala Center, state Department of Agriculture and Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Hawai`i. The Health Impact Assessment addresses the Hawai`i County Agriculture Development Plan, which underscores island food self-reliance in supporting community well-being. The county Ag Development Plan aims to guide government, local businesses and industry organizations to revitalize agriculture as a basis for economic development. 
      Recommendations in the health impact assessment include:
* Modifying state procurement practices to allow schools and other government institutions to purchase locally produced foods more easily;
* Promoting agricultural career pathways at the high school and college levels;
* Making the purchase of fresh local food more convenient and affordable in rural areas;
* Increasing local food processing capacity through public-private partnerships.
      Betsy Cole, a former businesswoman in Ka`u who now serves as a deputy director of The Kohala Center and co-authored the report, said, “We found that increasing local food production and providing some of that food to our school lunch programs would have positive economic impact and a number of more direct health benefits — for example, shaping children’s preferences for healthy food and making more fresh fruits and vegetables accessible to all island residents.” 
Na`alehu School has a garden and supports healthy eating
with its food service program. Photo by Julia Neal
      “As most people know by now, increased consumption of produce is linked to lower rates of obesity and associated chronic diseases,” Cole said.
      The report cites links employment from expanded agricultural production to better family health outcomes, while home production increases physical activity and improved mental health. The research was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. See it at: www.kohalacenter.org/research.html.

MORE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY PROJECTS would be allowed on agricultural land,  but only “small scale systems” for agricultural use, rather than residential or industrial development, according to House Bill 2150. It passed the state Senate Agriculture Committee this week and is headed for the Senate Committee on Energy, Water, Land and Housing. Hydroelectric, photovoltaic and biogas are among the renewable alternative energies in the proposal. The language said it must be “solely for use in the agricultural activities of the fee or leasehold owners of the property.” The bill has the support of Department of Agriculture chief Russell Kokubun but only for “bona fide farmers,” he testified. 
Biofuel refineries like this one in Danville, IL would be allowed on land
classified Agriculture in Hawai`i. Older industrial plants from the defunct
sugar companies around the islands are on lands zones for industry.
Photo from Renewable Energy Group
      Kamehameha Schools presented testimony saying that allowing more production of alternative energy on ag land would reduce costs of running irrigation pumps. Kapu C. Smith testified that one pump costs Kamehameha Schools $20,000 a month in electric bills. He said the ability to provide photovoltaic systems to support farm operations “is an important tool to fight for economic feasibility.” He noted that a hydroponic farmer on Kamehameha Schools lands spends $10,000 a month to operate a diesel fuel pump. 

THE AG BILL also includes language allowing biofuel refineries on ag land where biofuel crops are grown “provided that biofuels processing facilities and appurtenances do not adversely impact agricultural land and other agricultural uses in the vicinity.” HB 2150 describes appurtenances as “operational infrastructure of the appropriate type and scale for economic commercial storage and distribution, and other similar handling of feedstock, fuels, and other products of biofuels processing facilities.” A biofuel processing facility is defined as producing “liquid or gaseous fuels from organic sources such as biomass crops, agricultural residues and oil crops, including palm, canola, soybean and waste cooking oils; grease food wastes; and animal residues and wastes that can be used to generate energy.”

Alapaki Nahale-a
Photo from DHHL
ALAPAKI NAHALE-A is resigning as chief of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands on May 15, he announced yesterday. The 44-year-old resident of Pepeekeo said the decision was personal, as he has a family here on the Big Island. In a press release, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who appointed him, said “Alapaki is a man who has and will do good things for Hawai`i, especially Native Hawaiians. While I am saddened by his resignation, I am very proud of the work that he has done. He has reminded me of the sacrifice that many state workers are making to better Hawai`i.” 

MAYOR BILLY KENOI and directors of county departments hold a talk story this Monday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Na`alehu Elementary School. The event is hosted by Ka`u Rural Health Community Association and Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka`u.

AN EVENING OF GREEN, HAWAIIAN STYLE, takes place today at 7 p.m., at Kilauea Military Camp’s Kilauea Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Brittni Paiva, Keoki Kahumoku and Aloha Bluegrass perform. Tickets are $20 for VAC members, $22 for non-members. For more, call 967-8222. Park entrance fees apply.

Entries are still being accepted for FHVNP's
photo contest. Photo by Jack Jeffrey
IMAGES FROM THE EDGE, a photo contest sponsored by Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, is accepting entries through Monday, April 2. The contest is open to anyone with an original photograph taken in the park within the last three years. Photos may be color or black and white and can cover any subject matter. Entries can be submitted through Monday, April 2. All images will be considered for inclusion in a slideshow on Saturday, April 28 at Kilauea Visitor Center, and all finalists’ photographs will be exhibited from June 9 to 17 at Volcano Art Center Gallery. 
      For full contest rules and to enter, visit www.fhvnp.org. The entry fee for up to three photos is $25, payable online by credit card.

WATCH FOR THE HURRICANE a week from today. The original three-act murder mystery is set for next Saturday at 4 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. The performance benefits the Food Pantry. Attendees are asked to bring canned food equivalent to $10 or a check to Hawaiian Food Pantry for the same amount. For more information, call 929-7236 or email marge@hawaii.rr.com.