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 29, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs March 29, 2012

Proposed legislation would waive environmental impact studies for development on State owned lands.
Photo of Mahana Bay by Geneveve Fyvie
WAIVING REQUIREMENTS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDIES for state projects, has the support of Neil Abercrombie as a “general idea,” Civil Beat reports today, following an interview with the governor. However, according to Civil Beat, Abercrombie said that he does not want to undermine "the essentials of the environmental law philosophy."
Hawai`i landowners map from DBED
     The governor told Civil Beat: "If I can expedite something without doing any environmental harm, obviously I would like to do that. If there is something that is in the way that's really administrative in nature as opposed to creating some circumstance where there would be some adverse environmental impact that would otherwise be ignored. So, I wouldn't do something like that. But, I'll just have to see how it (the legislation) works out in the end."
      Abercrombie was referring to a bill in the state legislature that has attracted debate since the state is also proposing to use state land for economic development by leasing it out and could potentially wave environmental study requirements for its selected projects. Senate Bill 755 would exempt state projects from the special management area permit and shoreline setback variance requirements. It would also exempts all work involving submerged lands used for state commercial harbor purposes from any permit and site plan review requirements for lands in the conservation district. It would temporarily authorizes a more streamlined process for exempting state and county projects from the environmental review process and shortens the deadline for challenging the lack of an environmental assessment for a state or county project.
      The Building Industry Association of Hawai`i, the General Contractors Association and developer landowner groups support the exemption from environmental study requirements.
      However, the state’s own Office of Planning and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs opposed it along with numerous individuals and groups, including Life of the Land, Hawai`i’s 1000 Friends and Historic Hawai`i Foundation. Kevin Butterbaugh wrote, “The Hawai`i environmental protection law should be followed regardless of economic development concerns….often times we are too easily convinced that it is in the best interest of our economic means to disregard our environment. Keep the existing policy intact.” The Marine and Coastal Advocacy Council wrote that it opposes a measure that would “promote economic development at the expense of Hawai`i’s environment. The overly broad exemptions proposed in this bill would bypass processes designed to protect coastal and marine resources.”
      Testifier Michal Stover wrote: “impacts brought to light by following public review of environmental impacts saves time and money in the long run. Having to implement mitigation later rather than earlier is more costly, and having to deal with impacts for which mitigation measures were never put in place could be doubly so, and could irrevocably harm the environment in the process. Presenting these bills as a choice between economic development and thoughtful planning/ environmental protection precludes the idea that there could be more proactive and well thought out solutions that could address the concerns of all parties.” Read more and testify on any bill at hawaii.capitol.gov.

CUTTING OFF WATER to those who fail to pay sewer bills is under consideration by the county water board. Department of Environmental Management business manager Robin Bauman told the water board this week that residents in Hawai`i County are $1.7 million behind in their sewer bills which cost $27 a month in neighborhoods with county sewer lines. In recent years, the county took over servicing sections of Na`alehu and Pahala where old sugar plantation sewer lines run to gang cesspools. The county is charging for this service and is planning to replace the cesspools with sewage systems.
      The Department of Environmental Service is hesitant to cut off sewer lines when people don’t pay their bills because of health concerns. Cutting off water instead would require legislation.

Willie Tabios is the top
Ka`u farmer in the 2012
Coffees of the Year.
 Photos by Julia Neal
KA`U COFFEE FARMERS are headed for Portland, Oregon in late April for the Specialty Coffee Association of America convention. Ka`u won three spots in the top ten among coffees entered worldwide. Awards will be presented at the annual Specialty Coffee Association of America convention, April 19-22. Among those planning to represent Ka`u during the convention are top Hawai`i finisher Willie Tabios, as well as Lorie Obra and family. This is the third time that Tabios has scored in the top 10, placing 7th in 2007 and earning a Coffee of the Year award in 2010. “I’m so glad that Ka`u won again”, extols Tabios. “It’s the farm and the processing that makes good quality coffee. All Ka`u coffee is good coffee. I’m just trying to do my best.”
Lorie Obra in the top ten at
SCAA, with barista champion
Pete Licata, her daughter
 Joan and son Rusty, Jr.
     Lorie Obra said, “This is a special day at Rusty's Hawaiian Coffee. It was my husband Rusty's vision that Ka`u would become one of the world's top coffee-producing origins. Seeing three Ka`u coffees among the Coffees of the Year continues to keep his legacy and vision alive. This victory is for Rusty, for Ka`u, for Hawai`i and the USA.”
Trini Marques in the
top ten at SCAA.
     Trinidad Marques sees it another way: “It’s the spiritual connection to the `aina (land). As Hawaiians, the `aina and nature speak to us. I knew one day we would make it. It feels great to see the results of our perseverance.” Trinidad and Frances Marques also finished in the top ten.
     Also attending the SCAA Convention will be last year’s U.S. winner Bull Kailiawa, representatives of Ka`u Coffee Mill, Ka`u Specialty Inc., and Chris Manfredi of Ka`u Farm & Ranch Co., who represents the owners of the land where the coffee is grown and brokered the deal to sell Ka`u coffee to Starbucks. Ka`u Coffee Festival Committee Chair Manfredi said, “I’m again so pleased and proud of all the Ka`u growers. Their dedication, combined passion and willingness to work together make Ka`u a very special place and Ka`u coffee exceptional.” For more about the SCAA Convention see scaa.org.

Moses and Keoki Kahumoku will perform at the
Ho`olaulea and Triple C Recipe Contest. Photo by Julia Neal
THE KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL schedule is filling up for the May 12 Ho`olaule`a at Pahala Community Center. Entertainers include Emcee Skylark, Keoki & Moses Kahumoku, Cyril Pahinui & Moses Espaniola, Bruddah Waltah & Sammi Fo, Halau Hula O Leionalani from Lana`i, Keaiwa with Demetrius Oliveira, Ka`u `Ukulele Kids.
     The festival has expanded from one to two weekends with the following events: Ka`u Farmers’ Table: A Feast for the Senses on May 5; Triple C Recipe Contest on May 6; Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a and Ka`u Coffee Experience on May 12; and Ka`u Coffee College on May 13. Call 929-0550 or visit kaucoffeefest.com for more details on all Ka`u Coffee Festival events.

KA`U HIGH GIRLS SOFTBALL got off to a promising start yesterday, leading Hilo by one run at the end of the first inning. Ka`u went to score two more runs in the fourth, while the Vikings scored once in the second, third and sixth innings and two in the fifth. Final score: 5-3, Hilo. The Trojans made eight hits and Hilo only six. Both teams recorded one error. Winning Hilo pitcher was Wendilyn Simmons. Shaylin Navarro pitched for the Trojans.

Photo from gohawaii.about.com
THE FINAL WHALE COUNT for 2012 takes place Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at various locations throughout Ka`u. Volunteers count humpback whales and document their behavior. Sign up at hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.

THY WORD MINISTRIES KA`U holds its ninth annual Easter Family Fun Day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Na`alehu Hongwanji Hall. The event includes a craft fair, free lunch, music, hula and an Easter egg hunt for all ages. For more information, call 936-9114.

PARK ARCHAEOLOGIST JADELYN MONIZ NAKAMURA leads a walk, Kealakomowaena: Life On A Lava Landscape, through time and teaches how Hawaiians living in the shadow of Pele adapted to life on a lava landscape. The walk, sponsored by Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, takes place Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friends members pay $45, non-members pay $65, with students (K-12 and college) pay half price with valid student ID. Call 985-7373 or visit www.fhvnp.org.